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.
This day will give you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in Tibetan culture as you will be involved in the hands-on process of Tibetan cooking and the creation of traditional Tibetan handicrafts; then witness a truly Tibetan tradition with the debating monks at one of Tibetan Buddhhim's holiest monasteries - the Sera Monastery. After breakfast, in the ethereal morning rays of light of a Lhasa morning, we will learn how to make traditional Tibetan cuisine in a typical Tibetan setting. Dishes will include Kasei (fried dough foods), Tsampa (roasted barley) with butter and cheese, Tibetan butter tea, Xiabujin (raw beef paste), and other tasty Tibetan treats. After learning the essence of Tibetan cooking, we will move on to Xueduibai Traditional Handicraft Art Center by bus. This treasure house of Tibetan culture will teach you all about various Tibetan costumes as you learn how to make Tibetan incense, the methods behind Tibetan calligraphy, how to create thangka (Tibetan Buddhist painting), and the secrets of block printing.
Having mastered the art of Tibetan cuisine and Tibetan handicrafts, we will move on to visit the holy Sera Monastery, which is held in the courtyard almost every day between 3 and 5:30 p.m. Please note that in case of some special monastery activities such as the Dharma Meeting or the reception of VIPs, the monk debates may be canceled that day. After our visit to the monastery, feel free to stroll around the streets of Lhasa as you absorb the atmosphere and spirit of the devoted Tibetan people, or you may return to your hotel to rest and relax from this wonderful Tibetan cultural experience.
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.