Home > Tibet Discovery Tour
12 Days Private Tour Lhasa - Tsetang – Yamdrok – Samding - Gyantse – Shalu - Shigatse – Sakya – Nartang – Shigatse - Lhasa – Drak Yerpa - Gandan - Terdrom - Drigung – Reting – Damxung – Nam Tso / Nianqingtanggula – Damxung - Tsurpu - Lhasa
On this extraordinary journey on the roof of the world we discover unique landscapes and experience cultural highlights. We visit interesting areas which are rarely visited by tourists. Almost all the most important monasteries will be visited. At Nam Tso Lake on the endless expanse of Changtang Plain we will meet the local Tibetan nomads.
Highlights
DAY
1

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
Pilgrim on Barkhor Street
Pilgrim on Barkhor Street
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
2

Lhasa

Potala Palace – landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street

Full-day visits: Potala in the morning and Jokhang in the afternoon.
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 every day. 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 Palace
Potala Palace
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
3

Lhasa

Panoramic view over Potala, Norbulingka, Debate in Sera

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 Norbulinka, the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas. 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.

Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Debate in Sera Monastery
Debate in Sera Monastery
DAY
4

Lhasa – Tsetang

Samye Monastery and Palace Yongbulakang in Tsetang, the cradle of the Tibetan culture

Drive to Tsetang, the cradle of Tibetan culture. You will first visit Samye Monastery, the 8th-century Tibet's oldest monastery. The monastery is surrounded by sand dunes and lies on the northern side of Yarlung-Tsangpo, about 40 km from Tsetang. The monastery Samye is considered as "image of the universe" in the Buddhist sense. The famous building contains Tibetan, Chinese and Indian architectural styles. In the afternoon visit the oldest palace of Tibet from the Turpo kingdom - Yongbulakang. The climb to Yongbulakang Castle rewards you with a fantastic view of the fertile Yarlung Valley.

153 km
2 hours 40 minutes
Overnight at 4*Tsetang Hotel
Breakfast
Yongbulakang Palace
Yongbulakang Palace
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
5

Tsetang – Gyantse

Karo La pass and glacier, sacred lake Yamdrok, monastery Samding, Palkhor with pagoda Kumbum

Look forward to a breathtaking mountain world! Today you drive over several passes to Gyantse (260 km). At the highest point of the trip (Karo La Pass at 5,010 m) is the glacier of Noejin Kangsa (7,223 m) during the drive. On the way to the third largest holy lake of Tibet - Yamdrok, you can take some photos, and then detour to the idyllically situated monastery Samding (13th century), which lies high above the lake. It is the only male monastery in Tibet, according to legend, it is led by a woman reborn as the Tantric guard deity Dorje Phagmo (Sanskrit Vajravarahi). Upon arrival in Gyantse, you will visit the Palkhor Monastery and the impressive pagoda of Kumbum in Gyantse.

324 km
6 hours 6 minutes
Overnight at Yeti Garden Hotel
Breakfast
Palkhor Monastery with Kumbum Pagoda
Palkhor Monastery with Kumbum Pagoda
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
6

Gyantse - Shigatse

Shalu Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse

After breakfast drive to Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet. On the way, take a detour to the Shalu Monastery. What characterizes the Shalu Monastery is its design. It is built in mixed Han and Tibetan style. In the afternoon visit Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse. Tashilunpo is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelukpa. Shigatse was the seat of Pantschen Lama. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in China.

101 km
1 hour 55 minutes
Overnight at 4*Mulunlazong Hotel
Breakfast
Tashilunpo Monastery
Tashilunpo Monastery
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
7

Shigatse - Sakya – Narthang - Shigatse

Sakya Monastery – the first monastery of Sakya sect, Narthang Monastery

Drive to the Sakya Monastery. The monastery was built by the founder of the Sakya sect in 1073, is the first monastery of the Sakya sect. Today it is also the main monastery of the Sakya sect. Continue to Nartang Monastery. It is next to the Potala in Lhasa and Dege Parkhang in Dege. It is also one of the three major traditional Tibetan printing places. Its block print editions of the Kanjur and Tanjur from the Tibetan Tripitaka are famous.

302 km
5 hours 23 minutes
Overnight at 4*Mulunlazong Hotel
Breakfast
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Photo by Li Chaojun
DAY
8

Shigatse – Lhasa

Traditional manufactory for Tibetan incense sticks, nunnery Ani Sangkhung

In the morning drive back to Lhasa, on the way visit a traditional manufactory for Tibetan incense sticks in the small village Tunba by the Yarlung Tsangpo River. In the afternoon visit to the nunnery Ani Sangkhung. "Ani" means nun, "Sangkhung" is meditation cave. The nunnery Ani Sangkhung was founded in the 15th century by a disciple of Tsongkapa. It is located in the old city center near Jokhang. Today about 100 nuns live here. In the monastery prayer hall, dorm, kitchen, etc, are set up. The nuns grow many plants, so the monastery looks like a garden.

273 km
4 hours 58 minutes
Overnight at the 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
9

Lhasa – Drak Yerpa - Gandan – Terdrom

Drak Yerpa, Gandan Monastery with pilgrimage, Terdrom Nunnery

Morning drive to the Gardan Monastery. It was built in 1409 by Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelukpa of Tibetan Buddhism. Gandan, Drepung and Sera are among the three largest monasteries in Lhasa. And Gandan is the place where Tsongkapa passed away. Therefore, it has the highest reputation in all the temples of the Gelugpa. If you are interested, you can walk along the pilgrimage way to the left and right hillsides of Gandan Monastery to visit Tsongkhapa’s meditation cave and enjoy the panorama of Gandan Monastery and magnificent scenery of Lhasa River valley. Continue to the Drak Yerpa monastery. Drak Yerpa is a rock monastery dating back to the 7th century. The caves of the monastery are located near the village of Yerpa at the foot of the Yerpa Mountains. It is considered one of the holiest caves in the region. Many famous people have stayed here - including Songtsen Gampo of the Yarlung dynasty and Padmasambhava – who has contributed to the holiness of the place. Walk to the meditation caves of Drak Yerpa. In the evening arrival at the Terdrom Nunnery. Terdrom is an important power place, the hot springs have healing powers.

180 km
3 hours 53 minutes
Overnight at the simple Hotel Shambala Source
Breakfast
Gandan Monastery
Gandan Monastery
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
10

Terdrom - Drigung Til - Reting - Damxung

Drigung Til Monastery, Reting Monastery

Morning drive to Drigung Til Monastery, a perfectly intact Kagyu Gompa. After visiting Drigung Til Monastery drive to Damxung. On the way visit the Reting Monastery and hike around the monastery. Reting Monastery is an important monastery of the Gelugpa. Here grow in the bizarre landscapes large juniper trees.

235 km
6 hours 12 minutes
Overnight at the 2*Baima Hotel
Breakfast
Drak Yerpa Monastery
Drak Yerpa Monastery
Photo by Li Chaojun
DAY
11

Damxung - Lhachen La - Nam Tso - Damxung - Tsurpu - Lhasa

Nam Tso Lake, hike on the Tashi Peninsula, Tsurpu Monastery

Today, you will wake up early to experience the unforgettable sunrise over the Nam Tso Lake and Nianqingtanggula Mountain on a clear day. At Nam Tso Lake, the nomads live in the vast Changthang Plain. Walk on the Tashi Peninsula and complete a circle around the sacred mountain whose cliffs have been eroded in recent centuries. On the street are the mani walls. You have the opportunity to visit the nomads in the Yakshaare woven tents. Return via Lhachen La and Damxung to Lhasa. 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). Back to Lhasa.

335 km
7 hours 1 minute
Overnight at the 3*Yak Hotel
Breakfast
Nam Tso Lake and Mountain Nianqingtanggula
Nam Tso Lake and Mountain Nianqingtanggula
DAY
12

Leave Tibet

Travel to next destination

Today transfer to airport or railway station, leave Tibet.
Breakfast
Pilgrim on Barkhor Street
Pilgrim on Barkhor Street
Photo by Liu Bin
Tailor-make this tour

This trip can also be tailor-made, please let us know your travel idea: travel date, duration, number of travelers, child (2 - 12 years old), baby (0 - 2 years old), other travel destinations, meals, accommodation category, boutique hotel, special interest ...

Salutation:

Click to change

Other Programs of Tibet Discovery Tour
Included
Excluded
Tour Price

Private travel, great experiences! Please contact us for your tailor-made travel offer.

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.

Information
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 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
Jokhang Temple | Photo by Liu Bin
Barkhor Street | Photo by Liu Bin
Samye Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Drak Yerpa Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Drak Yerpa Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Gandan Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Yangbajing Valley | Photo by Liu Bin
Nianqingtanggula Viewing Platform | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso Lake | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso Lake | Photo by Liu Bin
Tsurpu Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Tsurpu Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
 Tashi Monastery by Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso and Nianqingtanggula Mountain | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin
Nam Tso | Photo by Liu Bin