Upon your arrival at the Lhasa airport, your tour guide will greet you and escort you to your hotel and help you get checked in. You will have the rest of the day and evening to rest and relax to become acclimatized to the higher altitude of Tibet.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the incredible Potala Palace – the highest palace in the world. As we climb to the entrance gate, you will have a spectacular view over all of Lhasa. After exploring the numerous interesting chapels and learning about the traditional culture and history of the palace and the city, we will move on to the spiritually significant Jokhang Temple, one of the most important temples in Tibetan Buddhism. To see the “real” Lhasa, we’ll stroll through Barkhor Street with its thriving local market where you can pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.
Today features visits to 2 of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism – the Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Drepung Monastery is located on the hillside west of Lhasa – at one time the world’s largest monastery with about 10,000 monks living there. A pleasant walk up the hill leads to the solemn ambience inside the monastery’s many halls and chapels. After Drepung, we will move on to the Sera Monastery. The main highlight of the Sera Monastery is watching the crowd of monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. Every day except Sunday, hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups and practice their debating skills – a very impressive sight to behold, as the monks are very animated in their debates about the various attributes of Buddhist scriptures.
Today we will take the short drive to the Ganden Monastery, located about 60 kilometers east of Lhasa. The monastery is situated on the Wangpori Mountain at an elevation of 3800 meters above sea level. You may want to follow the Lingkor Trek (religious circuit) around the monastery where you can also see Tsongkhapa’s mediation cave, many religious figure statues and a beautiful view across the Lhasa valley. On the way to Ganden Monastery, we will spend some time at Drak Perpa Hermitage. It is a mountain retreat endowed with remarkable spiritual power situated about 30km northeast of Lhasa, it’s fascinating to drive on the paved road, across the Ngachen-la pass (4000m), and turn into the Yerpa Valley, spend the time by stepping into many small caves and chapels with Tibetan pilgrims. Drive back to Lhasa in the late afternoon
Today you will have free time until your tour guide escorts you to the Lhasa train station or airport for your departing train or flight from Lhasa. This will end your tour services in Tibet.