Our Winter Package consists of 9 days Itinerary plan. In these nine days, we will be visiting major cities and towns in Tibet - Tsedang, Lhasa, Ghyantse, Shigatse, Sakya and Xegar. Enroute we will also be visiting the Everest Base Camp, cross the Nepal/China border and then drive back to Kathmandu.
Today, we will be having our one hour flight to Lhasa Gonggar Airport which is at an elevation of 3570 meters. It is one of the highest airports in the world and about 60km far from Lhasa. Upon arriving in the airport, we will be travelling to Tsedang (3580m) ,and the drive will take about 1 and half hour. Tsedang is the birthplace of Tibetan Civilization and has played an important role in the formation of Tibetan Buddhism. Today, the rest of the day is free to explore and acclimatize ourselves to the air, temperature and high altitude.
Overnight: @Hotel in Tsedang
Today after having our breakfast, we will be visiting two historical and influential sites in Tsedang - Yumbulagang and Treduk temple. Yumbulakang is Tibet’s 1st palace known for its long history of over 2000 years. It boasts many rare sculptures and painting from ancient time. It is located on a rocky outcrop and offers a spectacular view over the valley. After our visit to Yumbulagang, we will be visiting Treduk temple. Treduk is one of the twelve Tibetan Buddhist lama temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century as well as one of the important sacred places among three sacred pagodas, three sacred caves, and three sacred places Yarlung Valley. The temple was constantly maintained in the different stages of history. We will also be visiting the famous Samye Monastery which is located 40 km far from Tsedang. It is believed to be the first official Buddhist monastery in Tibet and was built according to the description of the universe in Buddhism scriptures, combined features of Tibetan, Chinese and Indian, symbolizing the center of the universe. After our visit to Samye monastery, we will be driving to Lhasa which will take about 2 hours drive.
Overnight: @Hotel in Lhasa
Today, we will be starting our exploration by visiting Potala Palace. A visit to Tibet cannot be considered complete without a visit to the Potala Palace. It contains the private stays of the consecutive Dalai Lama as well as numerous government rooms and many chapels. We will climb up the palace along the zigzag stone paths with white and red walls to the top of the palace which offers great views of old and new Lhasa. We will walk into the inner space of the palace to explore and learn about the history of the palace which was the winter residence of Dalai Lama. Then we will be visiting the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in ancient time and now is a public park. Lastly, we will be visiting the Jokhang temple. The Jokhang temple is the most important pilgrimage point of Tibetan Buddhism. Around the temple is Barkhor Street where we can do koro with pilgrims and locals. You can interact with the locals so that you can learn more about their culture. You will be seeing many local people on the street wearing their own traditional attire with some beautiful traditional hairstyle. Perhaps, you can click some snaps with them too. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods and religious items. Here, we can also buy some souvenirs.
Overnight: @Hotel in Lhasa
Today we will be exploring some other places in Lhasa. In the morning, we will venture off to Drepung Monastery founded in the 14th century. For a time, it was the largest monastery in the world, with a population of about 10,000 monks. Today that number has dropped to several hundred, but it remains a very interesting monastery to see because it did not suffer great damage during the cultural revolution and houses many sacred objects and original paintings. In the afternoon, we will be visiting the Sera Monastery, the most important Gelugpa Buddhist University in Tibet. The highlight of visiting Sera Monastery will be watching monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. Every day, hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups and practice their debating skills.
Overnight: @Hotel Kyichu, Full Board
Today, we will be having our breakfast at 8 am and then continue our journey to Gyantse at 8:30 am. Gyantse is 290 km far from Lhasa. The road goes along the lake Yamdrok, huge blue mirror at 4300 meters above sea level, then rises to the 5010 meters of the Karo La, a spectacular step grossed between the glaciers. We will then reach Gyantse, a small and humble town with a magnificent history. This is an ideal place for one to also experience the rural Tibetan culture and beliefs at its purest and best form. Upon our arrival, we will check into a hotel, have some rest and then visit Pelkor Chode. It was built in 1418 by the Dharma King of Gyantse Rabtan Kumsang Phag and the first Panchen Lama Khedrup Gelek. It’s a non-sectarian Buddhist center where Gelugpa, Sakyapa, and Butonpa co-exist in harmony and peace. Later in 1427, the Great Stupa Kubum was erected in the pattern of the Multi-door Stupa (Tashi Gomang), one of the eight prototype stupas of a Buddhism. Kubum is of 32.4 meters high and includes 108 altars where a hundred thousand Buddhist images are enshrined as statues and murals.
Overnight: @Hotel Gyantse
Today, we will be heading towards Shigatse which is 90 km far from Gyantse. After 1 and a half hour of drive, we will reach Shigatse which is the farming hub for all of the Tibet. Here, we will be visiting the Tashilumpo monastery - the seat of Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha of endless enlightenment. Items of interest inside this monastery built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama are the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya and a mind-boggling collection of thankas and statues. After visiting the monastery, we will then continue our drive to Sakya which is 150 km far and takes 3-hour drive. Upon reaching in Sakya, we will check into our hotel for rest and then have dinner. This town is small and cute and you can walk around at your own will.
Today, after having our breakfast, we will be heading to Xegar. It’s a town with a population of 3000. Its importance lies in the fact that it is the center of this large and remote country also because it is the base from where expeditions to Mt. Everest and other peaks are launched. This route involves a highest viewpoint-Gesola (5248M). After reaching Xegar, we will then depart for Everest Base Camp. Despite having only 110 km to EBC, we will arrive at Rongbuk, the last inhabited nucleus in the vicinity of Everest. This is an esplanade with semi-nomadic shops that serve as hotels and restaurant and it’s where the Everest Base Camp is located.
Overnight: @Guest House
Today morning, after breakfast we will proceed to beautiful drive through a series of switchback bends. The road descends to Nyalam within the Matsang Tsangpo gorge and beautiful waterfalls can be seen on both side of the road. The trip continues to pass over two spectacular passes: Thong La pass (5050m) and Lalung La pass (5082m). Along with the two passes, we also get to enjoy fabulous views of the high mountains including Shisha Pangma (8,013m). We eventually will reach Sino Nepal border.
Overnight: @Kerung port: Guest House.
Today will be the last day of our trip to Tibet. We will cross the border on foot after finishing all the immigration formalities on the Tibet/China side. We will bid a farewell to the Tibetan guide and driver then complete the immigration process on the Nepal side to be able to enter back into Nepal. When all the immigration work is completed, we will drive to Kathmandu. On the way, we will be stopping at Syabrubesi for lunch, and then again continue our drive to Kathmandu (7 hours).
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Trail Finder. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the Itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; However, as this is adventure travel in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee it! Weather conditions, health condition of a member, unexpected natural disasters etc, can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.