Namtso Shangri La Travels, Tibet

Central Tibet by train from Xining - 10 days

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Central Tibet (Xining-Lhasa)

Day1. Arrive Xining, meet your guide and transfer to 3* hotel
Day2. Visit Kumbum monastery. Afternoon board the train to Lhasa
Day3. Meet your Tibetan guide at Lhasa train station and transfer to Yak hotel
Day 4. Sightseeing Drepung and Sera monasteries
Day5. Sightseeing Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
Day6. Day trip to Drak Yerpa
Day7. Lhasa to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake and Karola glacier (overnight Yeti htl)
Day8. Gyantse to Shigatse, via Shalu monastery and visit Tashilumpo (overnight Manasarovar htl)
Day9. Shigatse to Lhasa (overnight Yak htl)
Day 10. Transfer to airport or train station

The Detail

Day 1. Arrive Lhasa
Arrive at Lhasa airport or train station where your guide will be waiting to meet you. Transfer to your hotel and relax and adjust to the altitude.

Day2. Visit Kumbum monastery. Afternoon catch the train to Lhasa
Visit Kumbum monastery in the morning. The name "Kumbum" translates as "hundred thousand images of the Buddha". It is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelukpa sect and birthplace of the Gelukpa founder and great teacher, Tsong Khapa. It was founded in 1583 and expanded into a great complex of halls, temples and stupas - at its height housing over 5000 monks with a widespread reputation as an excellent teaching institution.
In the afternoon transfer to the train station where you will board the train to Lhasa.
Day3. Meet your guide at Lhasa train station and transfer to Yak hotel
Day4. Drepung monastery (8km to the west) and Sera monastery (5km to the north)
Morning, visit Drepung Monastery (rice heap). Drepung monastery was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Cheojee a disciple of Tsong-khapa. It was one of six great monasteries of Gelukpa sect and possibly the largest monastery in the world. Before the construction of the Potala by the fifth Dalai Lama; it was the principal seat of the Gelukpa Sect. There were originally 7 colleges but were consolidated into 4, each with its own abbot and syllabus. The monastery keeps plentiful historical relics, Buddhist scriptures, and arts and crafts.
Afternoon, visit Sera Monastery: one of the three great monasteries of Gelukpa sect in Lhasa-Ganden, Drepung and Sera. Sera monastery means merciful hail'-the origin of the name is thought to derive from the fact that Sera was in constant competition with Drepung ('rice heap monastery') and that the 'hail' of Sera destroyed the 'rice' of Drepung. It was founded in 1419 by Shamchen chejee-a disciple of Tsongkhapa. One of the highlights of a visit to Sera is the debating session from 3pm to 5pm attended by most of the monks. The noise and fervor is exciting even if you can't understand a word they are saying.
Day5. Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
Morning, visit The Potala Palace. The original construction dates back to the 7th century, and was built by King Songtsen Gampo. Later in the 17th century the 5th Dalai Lama rebuilt the Potala Palace to its present size with 1500 artisans and 5000 workers. The maze-like structure contains over a thousand rooms and is thought to house 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. The massive structure contains a small world within it itself with a 13-storey castle rising over 117m high.
Afternoon visit to the world heritage site of Jokhang Temple and explore the bustling bazaar along the Barkhor Street. The Jokhang Temple is the first temple in Tibet and built by King Sontsen Gampo’s wife princess Bhrikuti in the 7th century when he moved his capital to Lhasa. Unlike most temples, the Jokhang is not identified with a particular sect because it houses the holiest statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old and consecrated by Buddha himself.
Day6. Day trip to Drak Yerpa
Drak Yerpa: (18km northeast of Lhasa) is one of the holiest cave retreats in Lhasa area. Among many ascetics who have sojourned here are Guru Rinpoche during the 8th century and Atisha (Jowo-je) the Bengali Buddhist who spent 12 years proselytizing in Tibet. King Songtsen Gampo also meditated here, after his Tibetan wife established the first chapel in the 7th century. This hermitage has more than 80 meditation caves tucked away in the hills. The Dalai Lamas and most Tibetan masters took meditation here. It is very good for hiking with an extremely beautiful view.
Day7. Lhasa to Gyantse (3900m) via Yamdrok Lake  
Morning drive up to Kambala pass (4794m), you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-yutso and a wonderful view of Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance. Yamdrok-yutso is one of the four holy lakes in Tibet {the others are Lhamo latso, Namtso and Manasarover} and seat of wrathful deities. After a morning of fantastic views reach Nangartse for lunch. Then along the Friendship Southern Hwy drive to Gyantse, visit Pelkor monastery and the famous stupa; Gyantse Kumbum built in 1427 by Gyantse King. The 35m-high Stupa with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome makes it a stunning architectural wonder in Tibet.
Day8. Gyantse to Shigatse (3800m), via Shalu monastery (90km)
Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse and on the way visit Shalu monastery (3850m) which dates back to the 11th century. It rose to prominence in the 14th century when its abbot, Buton Rinnchen Drup, emerged as the foremost interpreter and compiler of Sanskrit Buddhist texts of his day. Afternoon visit Tashilumpo Monastery which was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama. Later, Lobsang Chökyi Gyalsten, the Fourth Panchen Lama, made major expansions to the monastery. Tashilumpo Monastery is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. The monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelukpa tradition.
Day9. Shigatse to Lhasa (overnight yak htl)
Drive back to Lhasa, which is 280km from Shigatse and it takes 5/6 hours driving along the Yarlung Tsangpo river with beautiful views of countryside along the way.
Day10. Transfer to Airport
Departure from Lhasa to airport and fly to your next destination.