After the scenic Himalayan flight to the roof of the world! You will be picked up by tour guide at the airport hall, and then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city in a private vehicle. After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local areas and acclimatize yourself to the air, temperature and high altitude of Lhasa. Overnight stay in the hotel in Lhasa.
After breakfast in the morning, start today’s Lhasa exploration with an exciting visit to the landmark – Potala Palace which is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural building in the world. You will climb up the palace along the zigzag stone paths with white-and-red walls to the top of the palace where you can not only appreciate the exotic Tibetan-style architecture, but also get a great view of Lhasa’s urban areas, then walk into the inner space of Potala Palace to explore the stately chapels and learn about the history of the palace. Continuing your exploration, you will then get to Jokhang Temple which is considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Each day, there are thousands of pilgrims coming from different places in Tibet to the temple to worship the Buddha. This temple is also known as the “house of Buddha” because it keeps the precious Jowo Rinpoche, the life-sized (5 foot/1.5m) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. The last site for today’s exploration is the famous Barkhor Street. It is a circular and wide street encircling the Jokhang Temple. The local people like to walk on the street for several circles usually in the late afternoon as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handcrafts. Overnight stay in the hotel.
After breakfast, you will firstly go to visit the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in the ancient time, and now is a public park. It is famous for its Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai lamas with grandiose Tibetan architecture style. The beautiful gardens and the architecture of the palace will blow your mind. Next, drive several kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. Drepung, in Tibetan, means “prosperity”. Since its establishment, Drepung Monastery has always been one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. In its heyday, there were more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders used to study here, especially the Dalai Lamas. So Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”. In the afternoon, you will be taken to another famous monastery in Lhasa – Sera Monastery. It is famous for the spectacular “Buddhism Debating”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the Buddhist doctrines with supplemented gestures, which is thought to be helpful to, facilitates better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the “Buddhism Debating”, you will be transferred to explore a very characteristic monastery – Drigung Thil Monastery which is about 140km away from Lhasa. The landscape along the driving is amazing. Drigung Thil Monastery was built by Jigten Sumgon in 1179, which established the famous Drigung Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is famous for its meditation study with meditators living and meditating in nearby caves, and site for sky burial. There is a college in the monastery where the monks will spend five years finishing the study on sutra and tantra subjects. In the annual Tibetan New Year, thousands of pilgrims come from far distance to worship here. There are more than fifty buildings housing about 250 monks so far. From the monastery, you can get a wonderful panoramic view of the front valley. Overnight stay in the Drigung monastery.
Today, you will transfer to another featured monastery which has played important role in Tibetan Buddhism history – Reting Monastery. You have to take about 5 hours’ driving on bumping mountain roads from Drigung to Reting. Reting Monastery, built in 1,057 by Dromton who was the pupil of the ancient Indian Buddhist master Atisha. Dromton also brought Atisha’s remains to Reting, and buried in a stupa there after Atisha died. The monastery is the seat of Reting Regent who plays as the regent of Dalai Lama before he gets 16 years old. Reting Monastery sits on the mountain facing south from north covering more than 1,667 square meters. Important buildings are the Tsogchen (assembly hall), scripture hall, Reting Rinpoche’s room, etc. The monastery usually holds grand ceremonies during the Tibetan festivals. Accommodate at local guest house for the night.
After breakfast in the morning take an exciting trip to the holy lake Namtso which is about 5-6 hours driving from Reting Monastery. You will arrvie at Namtso Lake around the early afternoon. Take some rest and throw yourself into the incredible landscape of holy lake. Namtso Lake is the highest saltwater lake in the world with an altitude of 4718 meters, also the second largest saltwater lake in China (after the Qinghai Lake). It’s quite common for tourists who are awestruck at the Namtso at the first sight. With the snowy mountains in the background, the crystal-clear dazzling blue water, Namtso is stretching to the horizon. There is no wonder why it was called “Heavenly Lake”. With hundreds of colored prayer flags, attached to the rugged, spiked cliffs facing the lake, Namtso seems more than just a scenic spot. The sound of prayer wheel, fluttered in the strong wind to remind its holiness. Overnight stay in the yak hair tents.
In the morning, get up early and view the magnificent sun rise and catch the best views in the morning sunlights with your camera. The Yingbin Stone, Gassho Stone and Good and Evil Hole are some great locations to watch the sunrise and shoot the lake scenery. And the Hilltop on Tashi peninsula is a high point to shoot the beautiful sunrise of Namtso Lake and Nyainqentanglha Range. Then drive back to Lhasa. En route, you have chance to bath in the spectacular hot springs which are formed from terrestrial heat in Yangpachen(optional). Upon arrival to Lhasa, check in to hotel for overnight stay.
Today you will be transferred to Gonggar airport as per your flight schedule to onward destination.