10 Days Shalu to Nartang Trek
Discover the pearl on the roof of the world – the Potala Palace
Explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries – the Drepung & Sera
Trek from Tsurphu to Yangpachen and enjoy Tibetan camping
Visit the seat of the Karmapa – the Tsurphu Monastery
- Itinerary Details
Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving at the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Relax with free time after your arrival in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high altitude.
This is your 2rd day in Tibet, so you should be physically ready for Potala Palace—the palace with a lot of steps.
Climb up to Potala Palace, Tibet’s iconic landmark. You’ll see a lot of precious decorated statues, Buddhist scriptures and murals inside. Your guide will reveal to you the interesting history of the palace.
Visit Jokhang Temple (elevation 3,700 m), said to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. You will see many pilgrims prostrating themselves near the temple. Take part with locals in the 20-minute walk with prayer wheels, clockwise around Jokhang Temple. Take a stroll round Barkhor Street and see some Tibetan handicrafts.
There are 1,080 steps up to Potala Palace and climbing steps on the plateau is not easy. If it’s too demanding physically, you don’t have to climb all the steps, and your tour guide will adjust your route accordingly.
Enjoy a hotel breakfast, and visit Norbulingka in the morning; formerly the summer palace for the Dalai Lamas. Nowadays, Norbulingka is a beautiful public park and a good place to see locals camping and picnicking in summer.
Watch a monks’ daily debate in Sera Monastery (elevation 4,000 m), the second most important monastery in Tibet. The debate not to be missed is held at 15:30 every day, except Sundays. Monks are happy to live in the monastery and study Buddhist scriptures there.
Later you will visit Drepung Monastery, renowned as the site for the annual Shoton Festival. If you visit in early August, you will have a chance to see for yourself this largest of Tibetan festivals.
General rules for visiting temples in Tibet: Cameras are not allowed in the temples or in the debate field, but taking photos with a cell phone is ok. When visiting a temple, your shoulders should be covered, and you should not wear shorts. Walk clockwise when visiting Barkhor Street.
Today we will drive to Tsedang, the capital of Shannan Prefecture, located at Yarlung Valley and known as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization". Here we will visit Yumbu lhakhang, the first imperial palace of the first Tibetan king, where you can witness the fantastic view of the entire valley from the palace. After that we will visit the Samye Monastery, which is the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, built in the 8th century. A unique monastery layout was designed in the form of giant “mandala” - a representation of the Buddhist universe. The main temple in the center represents Mt. Meru, the mythical mountain at the center of the Buddhist universe. The four continents in the ocean around Mt. Meru are represented by the four temples at the cardinal points, each flanked by two smaller temples to symbolize islands in the ocean.
This morning we will enjoy a scenic drive from Tsedang to Gyantse. Along the way we will cross over the Gampala Pass (elevation 4790 meters) with its stunning views of the Karola Glacier and Yamdrok-tso Lake (elevation 4400 meters). The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains with spectacular views of the holy Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar, (elevation 7191 meters), the highest mountain near Lhasa, We will proceed westward along the lake and drive towards Gyantse. Gyantse was historically Tibet's third largest city after Lhasa and Shigatse. In Gyantse, we will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum (a “kumbum” is a multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels).
In the morning we will drive to Shalu Monastery from Gyantse via a 49 kilometer asphalt road, where we will visit the Shalu Monastery. This monastery was the seat of Buton Rinchendrub (1290-1346), who was the great codifier of the Tibetan translations of the Indian Buddhist canon. After our visit there, in the afternoon we will start the trek to Upper Lungsang.
Today’s trek will take us through the farming fields to the Ngor village with its ancient monastery. The Ngor Monastery is renowned for its Sanskrit library and Newar-style murals. There were once five assembly halls, 18 colleges and 400 monks, but now only 25 monks remain.
Today we will trek from Ngor to Nartang, traveling through several villages, mountain saddles, and one electric utility. After our visit to Nartang Monastery, we will transfer to Shigatse.
This morning we will make the scenic drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse, which will take around 4 hours. Along the way, we will visit the largest monastery in west Tibet, the Tashilunpo Monastery, the last historic site on this Tibetan tour itinerary. The Tashilunpo Monastery is one of the six great Gelukpa institutions. It was founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, Genden Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa. Jamkhang Chenmo (future Buddha statue) contains the world's largest gilded copper image (26 meters high) of the future god Jampa. After our visit to Tashilunpo, we will drive along the Friendship Highway back to Lhasa.
The guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
- Service Included
Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
All meals listed in the above itinerary;
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
First aid kit;
International flight to and out of China;
Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
- Trip Notes
1.Tibet Travel Permit;
You will need a Tibet Entry Permit. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
We’ve selected heritage hotels in the more traditional area of Lhasa, near Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, so that travelers can experience more of the local life and culture. If you prefer to stay in a hotel with special oxygen supplies, other hotels in Lhasa are recommended (as above).
The accommodation in Dingri is poor (see above).
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service.
Enjoy local Tibetan, Western Chinese and Nepalese food on the tour.
You will have standard western hotel breakfast in Lhasa, and specially prepared breakfasts outside of Lhasa: including butter, bread, coffee, tea, etc.
After the first day, lunch is included every day. Your guide can recommend some good local restaurants for dinner. Outside Lhasa, we suggest you have dinner in the hotels where you are staying.
Before your trip, ask your doctor for any suggestions in relation to altitude sickness and bring some medicine just in case. The most popular altitude medicine among foreigners is Acetazolamide/Diamox.
We recommend that during the first two days after arriving in Tibet, visitors should keep warm, not take a bath, not smoke or drink alcohol. Drink plenty of water (>4 litres per day) before going and at altitude, and eat lots of vegetables and carbohydrates. Slow down, even if you feel energetic. Moving slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
If you don’t feel well after entering Tibet, go and see a doctor as soon as possible. There are doctors in major hotels in Lhasa, and you can call your tour guide for help at any time. We offer a free oxygen bag in the car.
6. What to Pack
Seek medical advice about altitude effects and pack any medicine you might need. Sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block, walking boots, and down jackets are all recommended.
Comfortable private cars/vans with experienced drivers will be arranged for you. All our vehicles meet the requirements of the Tibet Tourist Bureau, and are equipped with GPS and speed-limiting equipment.
Take into consideration the time you need to apply for your Tibet Entry Permit. It’s best to book a tour with us at least 30 days before your tour starts.
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