Tour Name: Tour of Shoton Festival and Horse Racing Festival
Tour dates: Aug. 18 to Aug. 24, 2009
Tour Last: 6 nights / 7 days
This tour provides you an opportunity to celebrate the famous Shoton Festival and Damxung Horse Racing Festival with the local Tibetan people. It could give you a special experience of mysterious Tibetan customs and a glimpse of Tibet’s traditions and colorful festival lifestyle.
Itinerary day by day (6 nights/7 days)
Day 01 (Aug. 18) Arrive in Lhasa, get the first impression of Tibetan daily life
Highlights: Spectacular scenery and typical Tibetan villages along the way.
Take morning flight to Lhasa, upon arrival, be greeted by local guide at airport and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck! After group photo at airport, board on the coach and transfer back to hotel, you will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way. Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.
Wild Duck in Lhasa River
Day 02 (Aug. 19) Lhasa highlights escorted tour
Highlights: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
Visit Potala, which was constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet and later reconstructed and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas. Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where innumerable pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Then walk on the Barkhor Street nearby the temple, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa
Day 03 (Aug. 20) Shoton Festival in Lhasa [B]
Highlights: Buddha exhibition in Drepung Monastery, then a short hiking into Tibet nature, catch the famous debate sessions of the monks in Sera monastery.
Shoton Festival is on this day. Get up very early in morning, and go to Drepung monastery, and find a good seat to watch the Buddha exhibition ceremony. Then drive to Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Display of the Huge Thangka of Buddha in Drepung
Day 04 (Aug. 21) Lhasa/Damxung
Highlights: enjoy the Local Festival Performance in Norbulinka, share the happiness with Tibetans
Watch the Tibetan opera, performed in Norbulingkha as part of Shoton Festival, and other sports game like yaks racing, etc, and goods exchanges. In the late afternoon, drive 170km to Damxung to expect the coming of Horse Racing Festival on the vast grassland of Damxung in the coming day.
Tibetan Opera in Summer Palace of Dalai Lama
Day 05 (Aug. 22) Damxung Horse Racing Festival
Highlights: horse race, archery and other recreational performances
Today is the Horse Race Festival in Damxung, you could enjoy yourself among the locals. The Horse racing festival held in Damxung is one of the grandest of the racing festivals and events held throughout Tibet each year. Dressed in traditional military attire, the Tibetans proudly display their riding skills, attracting enthusiastic crowds of locals and pilgrims. Stay the whole day here to feel the true northern Tibetan landscape and tradition, in the evening you can also join in the bonfire evening party with local Tibetans to sing and dance.
Trick riding performance in Damxung Horse Racing Festival
Day 06 (Aug. 23) Damxung/Namtso/Lhasa
Highlights: Namtso Lake with her lover Nyianchentangula, and fabulous views of Yangpachen
Drive about one and half hours covers 70km to reach the Nam Tso or Tengri Nor (heaven lake in Mongolian) along the newly paved way and set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula. In clear weather the water is a miraculous shade of turquoise and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains. When arrival, enjoying the glory of sunset over the lake. By the lake, you can view the peak of Nyianchentangula (7162m). It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. The wide open spaces, dotted with the tents of local nomads are intoxicating. If lucky enough, there is the opportunity to get a peek at the otherwise inaccessible nomadic life at the Changtang, Tibet’s vast northern plateau. You may get the opportunity to stop at the brown or black spider-like tents of nomads. In late afternoon drive back to Lhasa, on the way having a shot stop for the beautiful view of the grassland near Yangpachen to enjoy the sunset over the wild grassland.
Day 07 (Aug. 24) Finish this unforgettable tour
Free morning for shopping, buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. After lunch, take a transfer journey to the airport and time to say good-bye. Tour services ends.
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