This was our fourth trip with Remote Lands...Thank you for making the introductions to a wonderful people and culture in Tibet.
An eight-hour drive from Lhasa, Gyantse is one of the most authentic towns in Tibet, and little-touched by Chinese influences. In the twentieth century, Gyantse, due to its location, was the site of a series of bloody battles between invading British forces and the Tibetan defenders; later, the town suffered serious devastation during the Cultural Revolution, when monks were persecuted and the prominent Pelkhor Chode Monastery was damaged.
Despite the turmoil it has faced, however, Gyantse today has retained much of its Tibetan heritage, and has recently gained attention from curious travelers seeking to experience Tibet at its most authentic. Highlights include the landmark Yamdrok Tso, a scenic lake that is among the four holy lakes of Tibet; Gyantse Dzong, a large fort overlooking the town; and the Pelkhor Chode Monastery.
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From Our Blog
Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald was amazed by Tibet's stunning mountain & desert scenery, and by the beauty of its ancient palaces.
Stop at Lake Yamdrok Tso, also known as the Scorpion Lake for its unique shape. One of the four holy lakes of Tibet, Yamdrok Tso covers a staggering 230 square miles and lies at nearly 15,000 feet above sea level. Rife with aquatic life, dotted with islets, and surrounded by fields of wildflowers, Yamdrok Tso is not only naturally stunning but an important place of pilgrimage; its waters are believed to hold powers of rejuvenation and longevity, and to bless children with intelligence.
Its small islands are home to roosting birds and, during the herding season, to flocks of sheep, ferried there by herders who leave them in peace and safety until the onset of winter. Pilgrims often wander the lake's shores,making their way along kora paths, many of which take a week to complete.
Gyantse is home to an impressive fort, the Gyantse Dzong, which sits on a hilltop towering over the valley and town, offering amazing views. It was famously captured by British forces in 1904 in a rare, high-altitude battle, allowing the British to proceed to Lhasa and establish trade with Tibet. Given Gyantse Dzong's commanding location, there are a plethora of opportunities for hiking and photography.
Tea with the Locals
Visit a remote village and have tea and lunch with a local family, who will be delighted to meet you and speak with you about their way of life.
Pelkhor Chode Monastery
Spend the afternoon exploring the Pelkhor Chode Monastery, formerly home to huge populations of Gelugpa and Sakya monks. The monastery suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution, but is now having a revival. The monastery is most famed for its massive Kumbum Chorten (the “100,000 Images Stupa”), which was built around 1440 and is covered in murals and frescoes, and has sets of “Buddha eyes” looking out protectively over the surrounding countryside.
Pelkhor also offers another opportunity to see pilgrims making their koras, spinning prayer wheels and reciting mantras as they circumnavigate the giant stupa. This experience offers a rare opportunity for unique insight into the rural life of Tibet. Have tea or dinner with a few of the pilgrims and hear from them about their powerfully spiritual journey.
Mystical scenes await you on this luxurious 16-day journey through Eastern Tibet and several fantastic locations within China. Not much has changed over the centuries in this world. See for yourself as you visit monasteries and ancient temples, marvel at majestic mountains and watch Giant Pandas at play.
This twelve-day guided tour takes you on a journey of enlightenment through one of the world’s most mysterious places: Tibet. Starting from the capital, Lhasa, you’ll pass over breathtaking mountain roads, explore spiritual monasteries and witness quaint, untouched village life that has barely changed over hundreds of years.
The 3* Gyantse Hotel is the best hotel in Gyantse. It offers a mix of western and Tibetan-style rooms (with hard beds, according to local customs!), all with TV, hot water and en-suite bathrooms. Many of the rooms have fantastic views of the town of Gyantse and the surrounding mountains.
The Yeti Hotel is a charming, newly refurbished 3* property designed in traditional Tibetan style and located just outside Gyantse Old Town. It has 34 twin-bedded rooms and 2 deluxe suites, all with locally hand-crafted furniture & fittings including painted walls and woven rugs, as well modern amenities such as en-suite bathroom, satellite TV, hot water, telephone, aircon and tea/coffee facilities. Yeti Garden restaurant serves local and international dishes, whilst the hotel also has a yak hair tent in the courtyard. There are also music & dance performances in the garden. WiFi is available in public areas.