Explore Himalaya has exclusively designed this central Tibet tour package to assist ardent travelers explore cultural wealth of Tibet. Besides witnessing stunningly well preserved architecture of cultural heritages and historical places, you also find a perfect getaway to cleanse yourself spiritually. As you bask in the grandeur of Potala palace, you bond with Tibetan culture and history. You can stroll along Barkhor markets to observe colorful mosaic of Tibetan arts, culture, custom, tradition, lifestyle and cuisine.
Visits to Jokhang temple and Drepung Monastery further heighten your excitement and zest. In the towns of Gyantse and Shigatse you have an exclusive opportunity to explore monasteries and fully immerse yourselves in the Buddhist culture. On this tour, you are in for an experience of a lifetime.
You will be met at Gonggar Airport by your Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3650 meters. It’s advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa’s altitude..
Once you relinquish your delicious breakfast, you straightaway make arrangements for your sightseeing tour. Your experienced guide accompanies you to the famous monasteries of Tibet. On your awe-inspiring visit to SERA MONASTERY, you are introduced to the important aspects of Buddhism. After lunch, you once again continue exploring Tibetan ancient cultures and civilizations as you pay a visit to NORBULINGKA, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Jokhang temple provides yet another exciting and educative tour. Wandering around BARKHOR MARKETS is another major highlight of the day. Finally, you head back to your hotel for relaxation and refreshments..
On this day you get more acquainted with the mystiques of Lhasa. In the morning after breakfast, you will set off to view majestic POTALA PALACE towering above city of Lhasa. You get to witness unique, pristine and overwhelming array of intricate Tibetan murals, temples, stupas, and tombs of eight past Dalai Lamas from a perfect vantage point. Ancient Tibetan cultures come alive with your every exploration. Later in the noon after lunch, you will visit beautifully landscaped DREPUNG MONASTERY. You can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses. After this religious journey, you eventually return to your hotel for delicious dinner and well-eared peaceful sleep..
After spending some time in Lhasa take a 2-hour drive along Yarlung Tsangpo river through barley and wheat fields to the third largest city in Tibet. In route TSEDANG (or Tsetang) you stop at NYETHANG (NETANG DROMALA LAKHANG), a temple built in 10th century by Atisa, an India Buddhist. The temple contains interesting artifacts and hold significant importance in Tibetan Buddhism. Another stop before you reach Tsedang is MINDROLING, 10th century monastery, rebuilt in 1676 and highly reputed for its contribution towards astronomy, astrology, medicine and calligraphy. The Murals on the wall have very special significances and shows the typical Tantric arts..
Today will be spent exploring the Yarlug valley which is also known as the Valley of Tombs. Ancient Tibetan history boasts that Tibetan civilization was originated from Yarlung valley. You can spot massive burial mounds of Tibetan Kings. Today’s sights include TANDRUK (TRANDRUK) MONASTERY, a 7th century monastery, which holds fantastic wood carved altar, interesting relics and murals. YAMBULAKANG, the castle perched dramatically on a pinnacle above the valley is the oldest known dwelling in Tibet, reputedly the home of the Yarlung Kings. The view from the castle is awesome. The tour continues to the west of Tsedang, crossing the TSANGPO RIVER on a boat to SAMYE MONASTERY, founded in 779 AD, is in a green valley among barren mountains surrounded by a village. Samya Monastery is one of the most imposing sights of Tibet. Built between 763 and 75 AD modeled on the University of Otantapuri in India and planned as a representation of the universe it has a collection of pagodas and temples..
It is 2 hrs drive to the airport, your guide will escort you to the airport in time to catch your flight home. .
Lhasa is connected by railway line from Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Xining and Shanghai.
Air China operates flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa (Tue, Thu & Sat - 2008). This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. We will organize your pick up once you reach Lhasa and drive you to your hotel.
For Tibet, we organize a group visa, and in order to do this we will need a copy of your passport at least 30 days prior to the commencement of your trip. Tourism regulations in Tibet are subject to change without prior notice. As per current regulation Chinese Embassy issues visa on Monday, Wed and Fri (9am – 11am). Hence, we will need your original passport 1 day before the visa processing day. Those entering Tibet from mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin etc) have to get Chinese visa from their country (please ask us for the best way of doing it).
We bring together a small group of like minded people. During the trip, not only do they gain a memorable and insightful travel experience but also get an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other. On our fixed scheduled departures, group comprises of maximum12 & minimum 2 persons. You are likely to join a group from different countries. Average age ranges from early 20s to mid 50s.For private trips, no minimum and maximum apply. If you would like to travel independently or with your friends, families and colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient time frame for any number of people (min 1 max 100 at a time).
In Lhasa, you will stay in a 3 star hotel. The hotel is renowned for its hospitality and warm Tibetan ambience. It is conveniently situated in the centre of town, just a few minutes walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Square. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case. (Up gradation to 4 & 5 star available on request).Elsewhere during the trip, accommodation will be in the available hotels, your guide book the rooms on arrival. If rooms are not available at specified hotel, he will book a room at another similar category hotel. We shall try our best to provide the best accommodation available but please do keep in mind that you are taking an adventure tour, and sometimes the arrangement may be basic. Traveling in Tibet is a fantastic experience but sometimes you have to put up with a bit of discomfort. To enjoy this trip you need to have an adventurous spirit and the ability to overlook minor discomforts.
Communication facilities in Tibet have been improved over the past few years. All the hotels we use in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse have international IDD phone and fax services. Phone calls can also be made from public booth in bigger towns. Internet cafes are also available at bigger towns, check with your guide for the best cyber cafes in each town.
You can also have a roaming facility added to your mobile phone as mobile phones work fine in Tibet. If you buy a Chinese SIM card at the border, you could stay in touch with your family and friends most of the time. Please ask us for the latest facilities and schemes on Chinese mobile phones. For latest updates, you can also consult our website- www.explorehimalaya.com.
Climate and best time to visit
The best time for this tour is from April to November. Between April and November the average temperature ranges form 15-25 degrees Celsius and the skies are generally clear and blue. From July to August though there can be the odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius.
Clothing & accessories
During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings. Keep a scarf handy as some of the roads can be dusty. While visiting sites and exploring during the day, keep yourself covered from the UV rays with a sun hat or cap and sunscreen lotion or cream.
Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China also accepts credit cards. ATM is not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China (exchange rate between USD & RMB is 1:7.5 at the time of writing this text). While changing money at the local money exchange centers, please make sure that you are accompanied by your guide and do consult him as you may easily be duped with counterfeit notes.
Tibet is becoming more expensive every year. There are many shops in Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse that sell traditional Tibetan handicrafts. We recommend you to bring extra money to spend on souvenirs.
Tips are appreciated by your support team, after completion of the trip. The amount you give depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. For this you can allocate around 5% of your total tour cost.
Vaccination requirements change frequently, so we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to your trip. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate.
Rescue and Evacuation
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen, you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses and emergency repatriation.
One should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip that takes you into one of the remotest corner of the Tibetan plateau, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.
We use the best 4WD Land cruisers (Toyota 4500) for the overland drive across the Tibetan highland. These vehicles are extremely sturdy, spacious and reliable and they make the journey as comfortable as possible.
After breakfast, we begin our day's drive at about 9am. We'll drive for several hours, stopping along the way for photographs or places of special interest, before stopping for lunch at around midday. After lunch we continue our journey, generally arriving at our destination by 3 or 4pm.
The Tibetans are classified as belonging to the Mongoloid family of people. They are probably descendents of a variety of nomadic tribes who migrated from the north and settled along sedentary cultivation of Tibet’s river valleys. The Tibetans living within the borders of present day Tibet are easily identified by their distinctive dialects, social customs and dress. The Topas live in the highland regions (Lato and Ngari), the Tsangpas in the West Tibet (Tsang), the Upas live in central Tibet, the Horpas comes from the north (Nagchu/Jangtang), the Kongpowas from the south, the Khampas live in the east, the Amdowa in the northeast, and the Gyarongwa in the extreme east.
Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be friendly and possessing a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with Tibetans. The further from Lhasa you travel, the more often Tibetan is used. Religion is extremely important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs. Always circumambulate Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes.
In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects They are warm and friendly people. Some speak a bit of English and are happy to have a chat with you. Don't photograph people without permission, and be aware that some locations prohibit photography without a fee.
Losar or “New Year” is celebrated in the month of February by the Tibetans. During Losar, Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.
Saga Dawa (Buddha’s Birthday), celebrated on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month, is an occasion for outdoor operas and to see many pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple and Mount Kailash.
Gyanste Damang (Gyantse Horse Racing and Archery), celebrated in May/June, honours the Tibetan marksmanship while riding at full tilt. Horse riding and archery competitions are held during this festival.
Samye Dholdhe Festival is celebrated in the month of June, as pilgrims and monks from distant monasteries journey to Samye to watch masked dances and obtain blessings of Buddha.
Zabling Chi Sang (World Incense Day) is a special day dedicated to pray for peace in the world.
Ganden Khi-khu (Ganden Thangka Festival) is celebrated in July to honor the founder of the Gelugpa sect.
Karma Durba (Bathing Week) is celebrated in August/ September. During the festival, the Lhasans flock to the waters of the Kyi Chu River which literally means “Changing the stars” in the belief that if they bathe all week, they will drive evil spirits from their bodies and enjoy good health in the following year.
In addition to the Central Tibet tour, we can organize trip extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try white water rafting or go on a jungle safari in the deep jungles of Chitwan or take a cultural tour. You may as well take a trip to India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you. Please ask us for details or check our website www.explorehimalaya.com.
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary can be taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by international or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural calamities etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of US$ 500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
Those joining the tour in Kathmandu can pay the balance on arrival.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
Date Of Cancellation (Charge incurred)
2 months before departure - loss of deposit (US$ 500)
29 days to 2 months before departure - 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure - 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure - 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours (Sunday to Friday). If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418-100.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.