Home > Tibet Festival Tour
9 Days Private Tour Lhasa – Tsurpu - Damxung - Naqu – Damxung - Nam Tso – Damxung - Lhasa
On this trip we’ll experience the lively Shoton Festival in Lhasa, Tibet at first. The Shoton is one such festive occasion with a long tradition. “Sho” means “yogurt” and “ton”, “Banquet”, so “Shoton” is translated as “Yogurt Banquet”, which is what it originally was. Later the banquet part gradually gave way to Tibetan opera performances, so that the “Yogurt Banquet” in fact became an opera festival.

Then drive from Lhasa to Naqu, where we will stay two days to enjoy the fascinating horse racing festival, what starts on every 10th August of Gregorian calendar and lasts one week. Before the horse racing festival, the Tibetans will spend a few days to decorate the grassland with numerous beautiful tents around the racing track. There are many other interesting activities during this festival, dancing and singing performance, Buddhist activities, different kinds of exciting races such as yak race, tug-of-war, stone raising, Tibetan opera performance etc, which ignite the passion of Naqu county.

Finally it takes us to the Tibetan sacred lake Nam Tso to enjoy the nice soft hiking at Tashi Dorie peninsula.
Highlights
Tibet Tour during Shoton Festival in Lhasa and Horse Racing Festival in Naqu 2021
DAY
1

05.08.2021 Arrive in Lhasa

Welcome in Tibet - the roof of the world

Today arrive in Lhasa (3650 m), the capital of Tibet, transfer to hotel. Stay at the hotel for adapting to the high altitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water.

Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Barkhor
Barkhor
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
2

06.08.2021 Lhasa

Potala Palace - landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street

In the morning visit Potala, which was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon visit Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.

Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Potala
Potala
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
3

07.08.2021 Lhasa

Panoramic view over Potala, Ani Sangkhung Nunnery, Ramoche Monastery

In the morning visit Parla Lupu Cave Monastery, located on the slopes of Yaowang Mountain, was built in the 7th century. It is 22m high and from here you can have a wonderful panoramic view over Potala palace. Afterwards visit the hospital of Tibetan Traditional Medicine and 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. Then visit Ramoche Monastery.

Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Debate in Sera
Debate in Sera
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
4

08.08.2021 Lhasa

Shoton Festival. Thangka unrolling at Drepung Monastery, Tibetan Opera in Norbulinka, Sera monastery

The Shoton Festival takes place today (always on first day of the seventh Tibetan month). In Tibetan language Shoton means yogurt. Before the end of the 16th century, it was purely religious. In light of the monastic discipline at that time, monks stayed in retreat for dozens of days, during which they were forbidden to go out to avoid killing any insects. Afterwards, the lay people would donate yogurts to them. That was the Origin of the festival. Later on, in the middle 17th century, the Tibetan opera play was gradually added as a major event, and therefore, it is also known as Tibetan Opera Festival. Since then it has been celebrated regularly, but still outside of monasteries. Until the early 18th century, the Norbulinka was inaugurated as the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, and also as the official venue of the annual Festival, where ordinary people were allowed access to watch the opera playing. A set of ritualized programs was thus formed. Early in the morning watch the unrolling of Thangka with Buddha image in the Drepung Monastery. Afterwards enjoy Tibetan Opera in the Norbulingka, the “Garden of Treasures”. In the afternoon visit Sera Monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. It is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelugpa. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You have the opportunity to experience the famous monks' "Buddhism scriptures debates". Public religious debates are part of the education of monks. You may also see a huge unrolled Thangka at the Sera monastery.

Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Tibetan Opera
Tibetan Opera
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
5

09.08.2021 Lhasa – Tsurpu - Damxung – Naqu (Nagchu)

Tsurpu Monastery, the main monastery of the Karma Kagyu sect

In the morning drive via Damxung to Naqu along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. On the way detour to Tsurpu Monastery (4300 m), 60 km northwest of Lhasa on the upper reaches of the river Tsurpu. Tsurpu Monastery is the main monastery of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsurpu was established in 1189 by Duesum Khyenpa, a pupil of Gampopa and the first Karmapa. He introduced the principle of reincarnation into Tibet. He told his disciples that he would reincarnate and pointed out the location of the second Karmapas reborn. In contrast to Yellow Caps (Gelug) the Karmapa Kagye are regarded as the Black Hat. Visit the Tsurpu Monastery, if time is available, hike on the pilgrim's way around the monastery (about 1 hour).

378 km
6 hours 52 minutes
Overnight at 3*Keston Hotel
Breakfast
Tsurpu
Tsurpu
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
6

10.08.2021 Horse Racing Festival in Naqu (Nagchu)

Naqu (Nagchu) Horse Racing Festival

The famous annual Naqu (Nagchu) Horse Racing Festival held every August is quite an occasion to admire the natural landscape and folk customs of the grassland in northern Tibet. It starts on every 10th August of Gregorian calendar, lasts one week. In fact, the Festival is done for the good harvest, the commodity fair and the entertainment. Gradually, Tibetan religious culture and politics permeate the festival.

Overnight at 3*Keston Hotel
Breakfast
Horse Racing Festival Naqu
Horse Racing Festival Naqu
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
7

11.08.2021 Naqu – Damxung - Nam Tso Village

Naqu Horse Racing Festival

In the morning take part in the Horse Racing Festival in Naqu. In the afternoon pass by Damxung town and the 5,150-meter Lhachen La and reach the Nam Tso village.

197 km
3 hours 36 minutes
Overnight at simple guesthouse
Breakfast
Horse Racing Festival Naqu
Horse Racing Festival Naqu
Photo by Petra
DAY
8

12.08.2021 Nam Tso Lake – Damxung - Lhasa

Sunrise of Nam Tso and Nyenchentangla. Walking by Nam Tso

In the early morning enjoy the splendid sunrise of the holy lake Nam Tso and the holy mountain Nyenchentangla, if the weather is fine. Visit Nam Tso (or Tengri Nor, heaven lake in Mongolian) at Tashi Dorie peninsula. Nam Tso, the biggest salty lake of Tibet, is 70 kilometers long from east to west and 30 kilometers wide from north to south, covering an area of 1,920 square kilometers with an altitude of 4,700 meters above sea level. It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain Nyenchentangla are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. Explore the Tashi peninsula by walking around the holy hill, the cliffs of which have eroded over the centuries. On the way piles of mani stones stand. Also visit the nomads in yak hair tents who have been living on the pastures between the holy Nam Tso and Nyenchentangla. In the afternoon drive back to Lhasa.

227 km
4 hours 26 minutes
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Nam Tso and Nianqingtanggula
Nam Tso and Nianqingtanggula
Photo by Mr. Zeng
DAY
9

13.08.2021 Leave Tibet

Travel to next destination

Today transfer to airport or railway station, leave Tibet.
Breakfast
Barkhor
Barkhor
Photo by Liu Bin
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With individual China Tibet travel, you can decide when, where and how you go on tour by yourself. What's more, you can choose the length of travel and whom you go with.

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Hotel, program and itinerary are subjected to change with prior notice.
We must point out that you counter a basic tourism infrastructure in this region. You stay overnight mostly at simple hotel/guesthouse. Long journeys on bad roads and on high altitude and delays require good physical fitness, resilience orologi replica and flexibility of the participants. Program and route changes due to unforeseen events are expressly reserved. If you desire the unknown and have an understanding of contingency, this is the right trip for you.
More Impressions
Barkhor | Photo by Liu Bin
Barkhor Street | Photo by Liu Bin
Jokhang Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Potala | Photo by Liu Bin
Debate in Sera | Photo by Liu Bin
Norbulinka | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Tibet Opera | Photo by Liu Bin
Pilgrims during Shoton Festival at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Pilgrims during Shoton Festival at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Thangka Unfolding at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Pilgrims during Shoton Festival at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Pilgrim during Shoton Festival at Drepung Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin