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Tibet Roof of the World

Tibet, Asia

from $6,295* per person 12 Days May, September
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Asia Transpacific Journeys 18 people max
  • Lhasa airport china
  • Culture & Nature trips
f the world's a stage, this is its mightiest set. On this definitive Tibet tour, explore the country's most stunning ridge-top monasteries, see snow-capped Himalayan peaks, and feel the spiritual pulse of these intensely devoted, gentle people. At Everest Base Camp, revel in the proximity to Nature's greatest masterpiece and experience the ultimate in Tibet travel.

    Superb Tibet tour leadership by an expert on Tibetan culture
    Immersion in the kora (sacred cuicuit) at the Jokhang Temple
    Visit the holy Drak Yerpa caves
    Hike to the actual base camp of Chomolungma (Mt. Everest) for an unparalleled Tibet travel experience
    In-depth, insightful discussions on Buddhism and Tibetan history
    Explore the magnificent, remote Gyantse Kumbum, Tibet's largest stupa
    Local Tibetan (not Chinese) guides, who are knowledgeable on the culture and environmentally aware

Locations visited/nearby

Tibet, Asia

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1 testimonial about the provider, Asia Transpacific Journeys:

  • Reviewer:
    We had a superb time and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. We had excellent guides everywhere-they met us on schedule, they took great care of us and showed us the personality of their own counries. Thanks again for putting together a trip that gave us a lot of people contact. It was truly memorable!

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Day 1-2 En Route/Beijing
Fly U.S. west coast to Beijing. Cross the
International Dateline and arrive on day two.
Arrive Beijing. Transfer to our convenient airport
hotel. Overnight Crown Plaza Airport Hotel

Day 3 Beijing/Lhasa
Fly to Lhasa. Transfer to the hotel to rest and
acclimatize. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight.
Overnight Four Points Sheraton (B,D)

Day 4 Lhasa
We’ll spend the day exploring Lhasa, beginning
with the 7th century Jokhang Temple, which
combines architecture from the Tang Dynasty as
well as Indian Buddhist temples. We’ll experience
the moving sensation of immersion in the
kora at the Jokhang, and as such, touch an
ancient and enduring spiritual pulse. Stepping
into the stream of humanity you will be swept
into a clock-wise circuit, or kora, around the
temple grounds. It’s an electrifying experience to
join the kora at Lhasa, like a water droplet uniting
with a strong and ancient river. You’ll pass
pilgrims performing chaktsal, or ritual prostration,
around the entire kora circuit.
At the Barkhor Market that surrounds the
temple, hundreds of merchants sell their wares
to the innumerable pilgrims. One can buy
everything from incense and prayer scarves to
yak butter and Pringles. While literally rubbing
shoulders with the local Tibetans, it becomes
clear why these people are renowned throughout
the world for their good humor and gentle, gracious
After lunch we’ll visit the Dalai Lama’s former
summer palace, Norbulingka, a tranquil and
shady retreat. We’ll then visit the New Tibet
Autonomous Region Museum, which opened
in 1999. It contains four galleries: Prehistoric
Culture, Culture and Arts, Art of Thangka
Painting, and Folklore and Culture. We’ll also
visit Sera Monastery, noted for its theological
debates. The monks grill each other on the profound
insights and esoteric minutiae of sacred
texts: if a monk answers incorrectly, the others
clap and the sound reverberates throughout the
chamber. It’s good-natured,
boisterous fun. Dinner will be
on your own tonight, offering
opportunities to explore or relax
at our hotel. Overnight Four
Points Sheraton (B,L)

Day 5 Lhasa
If you’re picturing Tibet,
chances are you’re picturing
the Potala Palace, and today
we will visit this UNESCO
World Heritage site. Sacked by
the Chinese during their “liberation”
of Tibet, it is frankly
but a shadow of what it once
was, actually functioning as a
museum of Tibetan culture. Yet
it remains a powerful symbol
of Tibetan autonomy, and the
focal point of nationalist yearnings. We will stroll
through its 13 stories, housing 1,000 rooms, and
see what remains of its antiquities. Afterwards
we head west of the city to Drepung Monastery.
At the time of the Chinese takeover, Drepung
housed over 10,000 monks in their individual
colleges and residences. There is plenty of art,
armor and an extensive library. A peek into the
gigantic, medieval, smoke-filled kitchen will
reveal boiling pots of rice and monks tending
the fires.
We then visit the traditional Tibetan hospital
of Mentsekhang. One of the oldest medical
traditions in the world, Tibetan medicine dates
back 2500 years, and has developed its own
unique healing practices. In the 8th century, the
renowned Tibetan physician Yutok Yonten Gonpo
authored the Four Medical Tantras, known as
Goo-Shee, after combining the medical knowledge
of Tibet with that of China, India, Nepal
and Persia. His descendant, the younger Yutok
wrote eighteen supplemental medical works. At
that time the traditional principles of Tibetan
medicine had been established. Mentsekhang
Hospital, founded in 1916 by the 13th Dalai
Lama, was and still is the primary training
center for Tibetan physicians. We’ll continue
to explore Lhasa in depth, visiting a nunnery
and many other smaller temples and monasteries,
which are rarely visited by Westerners,
hidden in the back alleys of the old quarter.
Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at a favorite café with
Tibetan dance and music. Overnight Four Points
Sheraton (B,L,D)

Day 6 Ganden/Lhasa
Today head 25 miles northeast of Lhasa to visit
the spectacularly situated Ganden Monastery.
The views from here are astounding, and the
pilgrims making their kora are an exotic and
inspiring sight to behold, some prostrating
themselves on the ground with each step to
amplify the meditative and cleansing effects of
the ritual. To behold this level of devotion is a
wondrous sight in itself, and contemplating its
source is something essentially human. After
exploring the grounds, with their many chapels,
residences, throne room and debating courtyard,
we will do a kora ourselves. We’ll be immersed
in a forest of colorful prayer flags, clouds of
sandalwood incense, and experience firsthand
the immense devotion of the Tibetan people. On
our way back to Lhasa drive along the opposite
side of the Kyi Chu Valley and visit the Drak
Yerpa caves, one of the holiest cave retreats in
Tibet. This sacred site has been visited by Guru
Rinpoche and Atisha, the Bengali Buddhist
who spent 12 years proselytizing in Tibet. The
great Tibetan leader King Songtsen Gampo also
meditated in a cave here, after his Tibetan wife
established the first chapel of Yerpa Monastery
that was situated on a hill at the base of the
cliffs. The monastery was destroyed during the
Cultural Revolution so unfortunately there is
little left to see. High atop the perch, surrounded
by caves, are hundreds of prayer flags bearing
witness to the power of Buddhism and prayer in
Tibet. Some monks may be on meditation retreat
in the caves, a practice that has returned after
years of abandonment due to the desecration
of the caves by the Chinese Red Guards. Dinner
will be on your own tonightl. Overnight Four
Points Sheraton (B,L)

Day 7 Gyantse
This morning, depart Lhasa for a spectacular
overland journey across the Tibetan Plateau
towards Chomolungma (Mt. Everest ) base
camp. Experience authentic Tibetan life and see
how the local people live throughout the land.
Take in the stunning scenery, spectacular mountain
passes, and stop in local villages. During
our drive to Gyantse (12,956 ft) we will cross
Kampa La pass (15,724 ft), passing massive
glaciers. The highlight of today’s drive is the
view of Yamdrok Tso (14,701 ft) also known as
Turquoise Lake, covering some 372 sq. miles. It
is one of the three largest lakes in Tibet and is
considered one of the 24 sacred “power places”
in Tibet. As we pass mountains, glaciers, lakes
and streams, take a moment to reflect that to
the Tibetan people, many of these features are
imbued with spiritual dimensions and healing
powers. It is believed that a pilgrimage to these
areas may endow one with magical powers in
the next life, or cure illness in this one. Gyantse
is one of Tibet’s most traditional towns, with
little influence by the Chinese. See the famed
Gyantse Kumbum, a magnificent structure that
rises over four symmetrical floors and is topped
by a gold dome. A clockwise route spirals up
through all six floors taking in the chapels that
line the walls of the chorten. We will explore the
Pelkor Chode Monastery just next door as well as
drive up to the Gyantse Dzong. From the dzong,
the views of the surrounding countryside are
breathtaking. Overnight Gyantse Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 Gyantse/Shigatse
This morning we will depart Gyantse on the
relatively short drive to Shigatse (12,792 ft).
Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet,
consisting of the predictably drab, Stalin-esque
concrete cubes that make up the “modern”
Chinese section of the city, and a delightfully
whimsical jumble of monasteries and dzongs
comprising the old Tibetan quarter. Visit the
Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447. It is
one of the few monasteries virtually untouched
by the Cultural Revolution and is a fascinating
place to explore. Overnight Shigatse Hotel

Day 9 Xegar
This morning depart Shigatse on the half-day
drive to Chomalungma (Mt. Everest) passing
through Lhatse and Xegar en route. Lhatse is
essentially a truck stop, while Xegar, also known
as New Tingri, houses the ruins of Shegar Dzong–
the Crystal Fortress–once the capital of the Tingri
region. We’ll have an opportunity to visit the fortress
and dzong. Overnight Baiba Hotel (B,L,D)

Days 10 – 11 Everest Base Camp
Depart Xegar on the drive to the Everest Base
Camp where we will spend the morning enjoying
the views of Mt. Everest. Once at Rongbuk, we
have the option of either walking (approximately
two hours) or taking a horse cart to the Everest
Base Camp, as cars are not permitted in the valley
due to environmental concerns.
As you approach the mountain, reflect that there
are many awe-inspiring sites in the world, but
there is only one highest point. To behold Mt.
Everest is to stand within the circumference of a
great gravity, one that has drawn explorers and
pilgrims for centuries. A mountain possessed of
an unsurpassed majesty, it’s Nature’s signature
piece, and its summit represents Earth’s best
effort to reach heaven. The walk is quite level
but the altitude could have you breathing hard
within a few minutes of starting. So take it easy,
and spend these days exploring the base camp
area, the Sherab Choling Hermitage, Rongbuk,
and soaking up the majesty of the mountain.
Overnight Rongbuk Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 12 Shigatse
This morning we’ll begin the scenic drive back
towards Lhasa. Overnight Shigatse Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 13 Lhasa
Continue the drive, arriving in Lhasa this evening
afternoon. Tonight we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner
at a favorite local restaurant. Overnight Four
Points Sheraton (B,L,D)

Day 14 Lhasa/Beijing
After a leisurely morning convene for lunch. Then
transfer to the airport for the flight to Beijing.
Upon arrival in Beijing, transfer to our convenient
airport hotel. Dinner is on your own. Overnight
Crown Plaza Airport Hotel (B,L)

Day 15 Home
This morning is free at your leisure. Depart
Beijing for your flight home, or begin a private
extension to other great destinations in Asia. (B)

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