Explore Classic Tibet in this 5-day luxury itinerary. Visit ancient monasteries where monks engage in lively philosophical debate, and haggle for souvenirs in the picturesque Barkhor Square. Enjoy a meditative walk with pilgrims at Jokhang Temple and see some of the oldest buildings in Tibet on a side-trip to the city of Tsetang. Each night of your journey, enjoy the comfort of Tibet’s best available hotels.
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After your arrival in Lhasa you’ll embark on the 115 mile drive to Tsetang, one of Tibet’s largest cities. Visit Yungbulakang Palace, which dates back to the 2nd century AD and is said to be Tibet’s first building. After that, pay a visit to the ancient Tadruk Monastery where you’ll see remnants of intricate Buddhist artwork and ornate temple architecture. Tonight, check into Tsetang Hotel for the evening.
Continue your exploration of Tsetang with a visit to Samye Monastery, one of the first temples built in Tibet and the site of the “Great Debate,” that took place during 792-794 between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chan, or Zen, Buddhists. Afterwards, visit the Chimpuk Meditation Caves—100 caves where the faithful practice personal spiritual exploration.
Today you’ll drive back to Lhasa, visiting Yamdrok Tso Lake along the way. Here you can follow one of the hiking trails and enjoy a picnic with far-reaching views over jagged mountains and snow-capped peaks.Return to your hotel in Lhasa tonight – the St Regis is one of Lhasa’s finest hotels.
Visit Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was once the home of the Dalai Lama. From Potala, head to Norbulingka, a park founded in 1755 by the seventh Dalai Lama and home to the summer residence of the Lama lineage. Afterwards, haggle in the vibrant street market of Barkhor Square, and visit Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest temple. Here, you’ll have the chance to join other pilgrims circumambulating the temple and be blessed by one of the senior monks.
Continue your tour of Lhasa’s holy sights with a visit to the 15th-century Drepung Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in the world. Here, you can taste traditional yak butter tea and witness monks in chanting meditation. Afterward, embark on a 1-2 hour hike, stopping at Sera Monastery, famous for its lively monk debates, where different aspects of Buddhist philosophy are discussed. Five-thousand monks live in this 15th-century building, which is one of three major “Gelupka” universities.
Complete your pilgrimage with Ganden Monastery, the final of the three holiest monasteries in Tibet. Alternatively, visit the beautiful Namtso Lake, a stunning blue expanse extending from the mountains and surrounded by hidden hermitages. In the evening you’ll return to your hotel in Lhasa for the final night of your journey.
This modern 233-room hotel is located close to Tsetang town, around 20 minutes' walk from the old Tibetan quarter. There are a range of rooms to choose here, from standard, up to president suites, each offering air-conditioning, WiFi, TV with cable channels and minibar, plus a modern bathroom with all amenities provided. Some rooms even offer spectacular views. The onsite restaurants cater to an international clientele, with regional Chinese dishes, Western fare and authentic Tibetan cuisine all on offer. The property is also equipped with leisure facilities including a fitness center, bowling alley, tea house, hair salon and billiard room. Outside, Tsetang Hotel has extensive gardens where guests can enjoy a stroll in the brisk Tibetan air.
Opened in April 2014, this luxury property is a fitting new addition to the Lhasa hospitality scene. Shangri-La is, after all, the mythical kingdom believed to inhabit the Tibetan plateaus. Located in the city center, this stylish urban retreat allows guests to experience time-honored Tibetan customs - being welcomed with a local drink called chima, for instance, and being presented with a ceremonial khata scarf. Visitors at the Shangri-La Lhasa can enjoy being within strolling distance of this historic city's main attractions, including Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. For those who find Lhasa's high-altitude landscapes literally breathtaking, there's an oxygen lounge and relaxation center at the resort primed for guest recuperation. As with all Shangri-La properties, local culture plays a vital role in both the hospitality and the décor. At the Lhasa resort, this manifests in traditional architecture and design, with contemporary, luxuriously appointed guest rooms accented with local Tibetan textiles and artworks. Guests are also spoiled with far-reaching views of the mountains, the city and the spectacular Potala Palace.
Opened in November 2010, the St. Regis Resort in Lhasa stands on eight acres of land at “the roof of the world," with sweeping views of the Potala Palace. The spacious 162 rooms and villas with marble baths are decorated with carefully sourced artifacts that reflect the richness of Tibetan culture. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, including the intimate private wine club Decanter by Haut-Brisson and Si Zi Kang, which serves traditional Tibetan cuisine. The health club boasts an indoor heated swimming pool, a yoga and pilates studio, and Iridium, a spa offering refined indulgence with Tibetan flavor. The business center offers 4 meeting rooms, copy and printing services, and faxing services. Other amenities include secretarial service and 24-hour butler service. The St. Regis Lhasa is located just minutes from the Potala Palace, the famous Barkhor area, Jokang Temple, Norbulinka, and is 46 miles from Gongga International Airport.