|Day 1||Arrival in Lhasa and transfer to Hotel Yak Deluxe (4 Nights)|
|Day 2||Visit Jokhang Temple and Ani Tsankhung Nunnery|
|Day 3||Visit Potala, Norbulinka and Sera Monastery|
|Day 4||Lhasa Free Day|
|Day 5||Day 1: Travelling from Lhasa (or from Tsetang) to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake and Karo la.|
|Day 6||Day 02: Visit of Pelkor Choede & Sakya Monastery|
|Day 7||Visit of Rombuk Monastery & Everest Base Camp|
|Day 8||Day 4: All day drive to Shigatse.|
|Day 9||Day 05: Visit of Tashilumpo Monastery & Drive on to Lhasa (or Tsetang and continue with 4.)|
|Day 10||Departure transfer to the airport|
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrival in Lhasa and transfer to Hotel Yak Deluxe (4 Nights)
The flight from Kathmandu to Tibet is spectacular. It takes about 90 minutes from Gongkar airport to reach the center of Lhasa by car or bus. Overnight at Yak Hotel.
Visit Jokhang Temple and Ani Tsankhung Nunnery
The Jokhang Temple was founded in the 642 AD by Tibet’s first Buddhist king with the help of his Chinese and Nepali wives. Many Tibetans still use its original name, Tsuglagkhang, which means ‘House of Sciences’ (religious sciences like astrology, divination and geomancy). It is the center of the Tibetan mandala housing the oldest and most sacred Buddha statue, the Jowo. Although some parts of the temple has been rebuilt during the last centuries, original elements remain: the wooden beams and rafters have been shown by carbon dating to be original; the Newari door frames and columns date from the 7th and 8th centuries. From the rooftop you get a stunning view of the main square and the Potala. The temple is surrounded by the Barkhor, the “middle circle”, a traditional circumambulation path filled with traditional shops, old shrines, and Tibetan pilgrims walking around especially after sunrise and before sunset.
Ani Tsankhung Nunnery, In this nunnery of Lhasa more than one hundred Buddhist nuns live today. It was built on a site used for meditation by Tibet’s first Buddhist king, Songtsen Gampo. The nunnery was originally built in the 15th century and later enlarged in the 20th century. The nuns try to make a humble living by making handicrafts and printing religious texts in the old traditional fashion with wooden blocks. They also run an open air restaurant for pilgrims where you can try thugpa (noodle soup), momo (dumpling) and cha ngarmo (sweet tea) if you are adventurous enough.
Overnight at Yak Hotel
Visit Potala, Norbulinka and Sera Monastery
The Potala Palace, the seat of the Dalai Lamas for centuries is the most well-known landmark of Tibet. It is situated on the Marpori, the Red Hill, and after climbing its impressing stairway, you will see audience halls and living quarters of the Dalai Lamas, some exceptional relics, stupas, three dimensional mandalas, numberless beautiful statues, and even the meditation cave of Songtsen Gampo, the first Buddhist king of Tibet. As the Dalai Lamas are considered to be emanations of Chenrezi, the bodhisattva of compassion and protector of Tibet, their residence is called Potala, the heavenly abode of the bodhisattva of compassion. In its present form it was built by the great 5thDalai Lama, who was a famous polymath of the 17th century. The White Palace was built first in 1649 as a residence for the Dalai Lama and his government. The Red Palace was added for religious studies after the 5th Dalai Lama`s passed away, and his personal monastery, the Namgyal also moved there. In 1994 the Potala Palace was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Today the Potala is a museum.
When you visit, please, bring your passport and make sure that you don’t carry any water, cream, liquid, lipstick, matches, lighters, knife in your bag, when you enter. You can buy water and other drinks inside the palace.
Norbu Lingka: The Norbu Linka or Treasure Garden is the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, a quiet and beautiful gardenin the western part of Lhasa. Its construction was started by the 7th Dalai Lama in 1755, and finished during the reign of the 13thand 14th Dalai Lamas in the 20th century. It is a huge well-kept garden, where you can walk around and enjoy the beauty of high altitude flora, and visit three palaces. The most interesting is the 14th Dalai Lama’s palace, where the murals of the audience hall depict events of Tibetan history, and his living quarters show his fascination with Western inventions. He escaped from this palace to India on March 10, 1959.
Sera Monastery is a famous monastic university of Tibet belonging to the Gelukpa school founded in the early 15thcentury, about 5 km away from the center of Lhasa. Among its many buildings it is worth to visit the impressive assembly hall where the monks do their daily rituals, and its Hayagriva shrine, as this Tantric deity is the remover of obstacles and its blessing heals headache and altitude sickness. Next to this building is a fenced debating courtyard, where every afternoon the monks test their knowledge of Buddhist philosophy in a spectacular way between 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Overnight at Yak Hotel
Lhasa Free Day
With a relaxed pace to allow for the effects of altitude, explore this fantastic city on the roof of the world. The spiritual heart of Tibet is the Jokhang Temple and every morning is full of life as pilgrims bring offerings of butter and barley flour. The Potala Palace rises above the city and, more than any other sight, symbolizes the history and culture of Tibet. Nearby are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera – still active institutions.
Day 1: Travelling from Lhasa (or from Tsetang) to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake and Karo la.
Day 02: Visit of Pelkor Choede & Sakya Monastery
Palkhor Chode Monastery:
In the morning, visit Gyantse’s main monastery called Palkor Chode. The main temple was built between 1418 and 1425 AD by the prince of Gyantse. It was an eclectic academy with 16 dratsang (colleges) belonging to various Buddhist schools like the Sakya, Butonpa, Geluk and Kagyu. All the college buildings have been destroyed, however the main assembly hall has been preserved with its remarkable 15th century images and murals. Don’t miss the tiny Protectors’ Hall in the ground floor, and visit the nine-story stupa next to the main temple with its 108 shrines, which houses the most interesting statues and paintings of Tibetan Buddhism.
The name of the monastery means “light coloured earth”, and it comes from the white patch on the hillside opposite the main temple complex. Sakya was not only a famous monastery and seat of the Sakya school in Tibet, but also the center of power in the 13-14th century, when Sakya lamas were tutors of the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty of China. The main sutra halls house various relics, huge statues and an impressive library of Tibetan scriptures.
Drive on to Shegar.
Visit of Rombuk Monastery & Everest Base Camp
After leaving Shegar, we will turn off the friendship highway for a stunning drive through Qomolangma National Park, and reach the Rombuk valley by the afternoon for our first glimpse of Mt. Everest or Jomolangma in the local tongue, meaning the “Queen of the mountain range”. The best views you get from the tiny Tibetan monastery, Rombuk Gompa (5100 m), where we will spend the night. A less than two hours walk (7.5 km) or a short bus ride will take you to Everest Base Camp (5200 m), the closest point to the mighty mountain you can access without climbing permit.
Rombuk Monastery: Rombuk Monastery is also called Dzarong, and it belongs to the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Rombuk is claimed to be the highest monastery in the world. For Sherpas (Himalayan ethnic group), living on the Nepali side of Everest, was always an important site of pilgrimage. Early expeditions to the Everest regularly visited the monastery to sponsor a ritual in order to appease the mountain gods and ensure good weather for their journey. The monastery was founded in 1902 by Ngawang Tenzin Norbu, popularly known as Dzatul Rinpoche, in an area, where already for a century nuns set up meditation huts for extended religious practice. Rombuk always maintained a close relationship with other monasteries in the Himalaya founded by Dzatrul Rinpoche, especially with Tengboche in Solu Khumbu, Nepal, where many books and other treasures were taken for safekeeping after Rombuk was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Rombuk was reconstructed in 1983 in the original style and manner with some beautiful murals, and since then it is a home of about 30 monks and nuns.
Everest Base Camp:
Mt. Everest has two base camps, one on the Nepali side, and the other, we visit on this trip is the north face, situated on the Tibetan side of the mountain (5150 m). The actual climbers’ base camp is located 7 km from Rombuk. There is a motorable road going up all the way, and depending on the season you can either walk all the way, or drive up to the tent city halway between Rombuk Monastery and EBC, and take a government bus to Base Camp.
Day 4: All day drive to Shigatse.
Day 05: Visit of Tashilumpo Monastery & Drive on to Lhasa (or Tsetang and continue with 4.)
Early morning visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the main seat of the Panchen Lamas, an important reincarnation lineage of the Gelukpa school. Between the 17th and the 20th century the Panchen Lama ranked second highest among Tibetan Lamas, and he had the right to approve even the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. His impressive monastery has numerous halls containing memorial stupas of Panchen Lamas and the highest statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha.
Drive on to Lhasa (or Tsetang and continue with 4.)
Departure transfer to the airport
An early start for the return drive to Gongkar airport and flight back to Kathmandu.