Upon your arrival at the Lhasa airport or train station, you will be greeted by your Tibetan guide and escorted to your hotel in Lhasa. It only takes about a half an hour for the drive from the airport to the city center of Lhasa via the Lhasa-Gonggar Airport Highway. Along the way you will be able to enjoy the spectacular scenery along the Brahmaputra River. You will have the rest of the afternoon or evening (depending upon your arrival time) to rest, relax and become acclimatized to the higher altitude of Tibet.
Today we will start off with the fantastic Potala Palace, which historically served as the winter home of the Dalai Lama. It was first used in the 7th century by the 33rd king of Tibet. The most valuable collections in the Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of the former Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet. After lunch, we will move on to the Jokhang Temple, which was also founded in the 7th century by the 33rd great king of Tibet to promote the Buddhist religion. Inside you can see the statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni as he was at the age of twelve – this is perhaps the most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Around the temple is Barkhor Street where you can perform the “Kora” (a religious circuit around a sacred building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals. The Barkhor market is also a great place to pick up locally made handicrafts and souvenirs.
This morning we will visit the Drepung Monastery – one of the great three Gelug monasteries of Tibet. Founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choge, on Tosngkhapa’s main disciples, the Drepung Monastery is home of Ganden Palace, which formerly served as the Dalai Lama’s palace before later moving on to the Potala Palace. In the afternoon we will move on to see another of the great three of the Gelug monasteries in Tibet – the Sera Monastery. Founded in 1419 by another main disciple of Tsongkhapa, Jamchen Chojey, the main attraction of this monastery is the lively scene of the monks debating Buddhist scriptures in the courtyard behind the monastery in the afternoon.
Today’s schedule features a long bike ride of approximately 155 kilometers along the Qinghai – Tibet highway to our eventual destination of Damxung. The road is smooth and well maintained so it makes for a pleasant day of biking. We will stopover in Yangpachen to have lunch and rest for a while before riding on to Damxung to spend the night.
Today we will have a challenging but beautiful ride with the Nyenchen Thanglha snow mountain ranges appearing in front of you all along the way. The most difficult part of today’s ride is the climbing of the Mt. Nagenla Pass with its 5190-meter elevation, but we will have a 4-wheel drive vehicle at the ready to take you and your bike up and over the mountain pass if necessary. After conquering the mountain pass, you will see the sheepherders’ tents, green grasslands, herds of sheep and yaks, and the tents of nomads alongside the road. Finally we will reach the incredibly beautiful Namtso Lake – a heavenly lake known as one of the three holy lakes of Tibet and also as the world’s highest salt lake. Situated at an elevation of 5000 meters, Namtso Lake lies on the highest plateau in the world. We’ll enjoy a memorable stay at the lakeshore tonight.
While enjoying the beautifully clear morning at the lakeshore, you can trek along the shoreline to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves. After a morning of exploration, we’ll begin the journey back to Lhasa with a bike ride to Yangpachen, where we can relax in the natural hot spring before retiring for the night.
Today we will enjoy the final leg of our bike tour as we ride back to Lhasa from Yangpachen. We will be on the same highway as before, and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop for photos. After arriving back in Lhasa you will have free time the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax and enjoy your final night in Tibet.
Your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel to escort you back to Lhasa Gonggar Airport or to the Lhasa train station for your departing flight or train.