Arrival in Chengdu, capital of province Sichuan, the home town of Panda. Picked up by the local guide at airport and transferred to hotel. 1N at 4*Tianfu Sunshine Hotel
Day02 Train Chengdu – Lhasa BL
In the morning drive to Chengdu Giant Panda Base of Breeding and Research. Founder in 1985, today there are over 50 giant pandas living here. In the afternoon visit of the Jinsha Site Museum. The museum displays a lot of cultural and custom relics dating back to over 2500 years. In the evening transfer to railway station, train ride to Lhasa (soft sleeper, 4-Bed-Cabin). It is a whole 43hrs train ride from Chengdu to Lhasa. The train will be passing through Guangyuan, Lanzhou, Xining, Golmud und Nagqu. A highlight of the ride, without doubt, is the leg from Lhasa to Xining, a journey of 1956 km on the highest rail of the world. It is a fascinating spectacle of the nature’s beauty. The snowy mountains, meadows, creeks and the immense grasslands are its components. Yaks, sheep flocks, horses and other wild different species are active alongside the railway. If you are lucky, you might have the chance to see the most rare and protected animal of the plateau, the Tibetan Antelope or known as “chiru”, which lives on snowy plateau at 3500 – 5000 m high. 2N in the train
Day03 Train ride to Lhasa
Day04 Arrival in Lhasa
Today, arrival in Lhasa (3650 m), the capital of Tibet, transfer to hotel. Stay at the hotel to acclimatize to the high altitude. For the first few days, try to drink some water regularly. 4N at 3*Thangka Hotel
Day05 Lhasa BL
In the morning, visit of the Potala, which was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and used as the Dalai Lamas’ winter residence and as the religious and political center of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, the innumerable and magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures put altogether create a dense religious and artistic atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon, visit of Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist believers, where thousands of pilgrims come to worship every day. The temple, built in 647, is the oldest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big market selling local specialities.
Day06 Lhasa BL
In the morning visit of Drepung monastery, the sacred land of Gelug Sect., which was established in 1416, and the second, third and fourth Dalai Lama once resided in (place of living). After the visit of Norbulinka, the Dalai Lamas’summer residence. In the afternoon, visit of Sera monastery, which was built in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As roses are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild roses”. Today 200 lamas still live there. The "Buddhism Scriptures Debate" in Sera is very famous.
Day07 Lhasa BL
In the morning drive to visit Ganden Monastery, which was built by Tsongkhaba in present-day Dagaze County to the east of Lhasa in 1409 soon after the Monlam Festival was over. Ganden is one of the three main monasteries of Gelug Sect. Anyhow, different from Drepung and Sera, it once played a more prominent political role in Tibetan history. The abbot of this monastery possesses a high religious position within the system of Gelug Sect, just inferior to Dalai and Panchan. Visit of the Gandan Monastery and walking on the pilgrimage way around it. On the way back to Lhasa visit of the Dark Yerpa Monastery, where you’ll visit the famous ancient meditation caves in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley.
Day08 Lhasa – Tsetang BL
Today drive to Tsetang. Located in the southeast of Lhasa, Tsetang is 3,500 meters high. It was said the legendary ancestors of Tibetans, a monkey (Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the shape of a monkey) and his wife Dakhini once lived on the Gongpori mountain in the east of the city. And so the city of Tsetang is regarded as the “Playground of Monkeys” and the Tibetans as the descendant of the Monkey. In terms of geography, the fertile valleys of Yarlung and Chongye here are appropriate for the Tibetan civilization development; there were once numerous temples, shrines and Stupas in this area. Besides, Chonggye is the birthplace of the 5th Dalai Lama (1617-1682). At first visit of Samye monastery. Located in the north of Yarlung Tsangpo River and hold in the arms of mountains, it is the oldest monastery of Tibet (8th century). The stele hanging on the entrance to the main temple shows that king Trisong Detsen took Buddhism as the state religion in 779. The monastery complex consists of several buildings, whose arrangement reflects the Buddhist conception of the structure of the universe. In the afternoon we make a trip to visit the Yumbulakhang, a castle built in the 7th and 8th centuries during the time of the first Tibetan kings. You can see the castle by far, as it is built on a hill and looks brightly white. The original fortress is now converted into a chapel; on the ground floor there is a shrine in honor of the early kings. The stairs are steep but it does worth it as the view from the top of the hill is beautiful. 1N at 3*Yulong Holiday Hotel
Day09 Tsetang – Yamdrok Lake – Gyantse BL
Drive to Gyantse. On the Kamba La (4796 m) we have a fantastic view of the holy lake Yamdrok (4,441 m), one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the largest habitat of waterfowls in south Tibet. After arrival, visit of Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby. Both of them were built in the 15th century and are situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. This typical Tibetan Buddhist monastery is the only large building complex in Tibet that old monastery and stupas are completely preserved, and characterized as a monument. It is recorded 14,000 kilograms of copper were used to make the 8-meter-high sitting statue of Sakyamuni Buddha housed in the grand hall of the temple. The 8-storey stupa is 42m high and 62m diameter contains a total of 76 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world. Arrival after a drive of 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. 1N at 3*Gyantse Hotel
Day10 Gyantse – Shalu – Shigatse BL
Drive to Shalu monastery, situated 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Shigatse. It is a perfect combination of Han and Tibet architectural styles. It was built in 1087 by Jigzun Xerab Qoinnyai. Then drive to Shigatse (3,880 m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. In the afternoon visit of Tashilunpo monastery of Gelug Sect, the seat of the Panchen Lama built in 1447 and one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in China, and the grave of the 4th Panchen Lama containing masses of jewels and gold. In Tibet Buddhism, Panchen Lama is the reincarnation of Maitreya Buddha. 1N at 3*Manasarovar Hotel
Day11 Shigatse – Lhasa BL
Drive back to Lhasa, visit of the beautiful Ani Sangkhung Nunnery. There are plants everywhere and it feels like you are in a garden in the middle of the city. In the nunnery there is a little shop where they print prayer books. If the nuns are working on it you are welcome inside to see how it is done. 1N at 3*Thangka Hotel
Day12 Air Lhasa – Chengdu BL
After breakfast transfer to Gongga Airport, fly back to Chengdu. In the afternoon visit of the Taoism Temple Qingyang Gong. 1N at 4*Minshan Lhasa Hotel
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