The Tibet Dragon
Tibet, the most asked about China destination, is one of several places in Asia that inspired the fictional kingdom of ‘Shangri-La’! Rightfully so, the Himalayan region introduces you to one of the most colorful spots in the world. Devout pilgrims, monks with prayer wheels, street vendors selling spices and nomadic peoples herding yaks compete for attention with centuries old monastery complexes decorated with exquisite brocades and Buddhist tankas. A true adventure, you’ll fly among 20,000 foot high snow-capped mountains and glaciers to a place which still has many characteristics of its 7th Century beginnings. Tibet’s history is based on an intense preoccupation with a religion of mysticism. An atmosphere of fatalistic serenity and powerful beliefs in spirits of ancient Tantric Indian Buddhism is pervasive. The remoteness and the beauty of high mountains and lakes are part of the magic of this unique destination.
LHASA - the capital and political center of the autonomous region includes tours to the Potala Palace with magnificent views from the former winter residence of teh Dalai Lama. See one of Tibet's oldest temples at the Jokhang Temple. Adjacent is the Bokhar Bazaar where people buy daily supplies and you can try your hand at bargaining for Tibetan trinkets. Other points of interest include: Norbulingka - former summer home of the Dalai Lama and the Drepung and Sera Monasteries on the outskirts of the city.
XIGAZE - is the seat of the Panchen Lama the 2nd most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Visit the Tashilumpo Monastery currently very active with many monks in residence. Xigaze is about a two hour drive across the high Tibetan plateau from Gyantse.
GYANTSE - The trip to Gyantse goes over several montain passes as high as 17,00 feet above sea level. The views are exhilarating and photo oppertunities abound as you make stops along the way. Sights in Gyantse are the monastery-temples Palkhor and Kumbum surrounded by the walls of an ancient fort (destroyed by the British in 1904).
SHANNAN - Shannan, (Tsedang) located in the Yarlong region, is also known to be the "cradle of Tibetan civilization". See the Tombs of ancient Tibetan kinds, the castle of Yumbu Lankang and Samye Monastery.
Suggested Group Departures - April to October
DAY 1 Thursday depart USA
Depart from a gateway city across the Pacific and the International Dateline to Asia .
DAY 2 Friday arrive BEIJING
Arrive in the evening and overnight at the CITIC Airport Hotel.
DAY 3 Saturday BEIJING/LHASA (B, L, D)
Transfer for a morning flight via Chengdu to Lhasa . Drive from the airport at Gongar to Lhasa . Stay at the Lhasa Hotel. Rest in the afternoon to adjust to the altitude.
DAY 4 Sunday LHASA (B, L, D)
This morning visit the Bokhar Market and the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the city. Also see a traditional Tibetan medicine hospital.
DAY 5 Monday LHASA (B, L, D)
Tour the Potala Palace , former home of the Dali Lama. Also visit Norbulingka (the Dali Lama’s summer palace) and Sera Monastery.
DAY 6 Tuesday LHASA/TSEDANG (B, L, D)
Drive to Tsedang in the Shannan area. Enroute stop and cross the Tsangpo River by ferry to visit Samye Monastery. After lunch return across the river and if there is time, visit Mindroling Monastery, the only remaining monastery of the Red Hat sect, the oldest and most unchanged sect of Tibetan Lamaism. Stay at the Tsedang Hotel.
DAY 7 Wednesday SHANNAN (B, L, D)
Tour to the 6th century castle of Yumbu Lankang and Changzhu Temple , one of the oldest monasteries in Tibet . A visit to the “ Valley of the Kings ” with ancient tombs introduces traditional Tibetan Legends.
DAY 8 Thursday TSEDANG/GYANTSE (B, L, D)
Drive to Gyantse with a stop at the spectacular Yalung Tsangpo Gorge. Tour Palkor Monastery and Kumbum, a stupa temple in the shadow of an ancient fort. Overnight at the Gyantse Hotel.
DAY 9 Friday GYANTSE/XIGAZE (B, L, D)
This morning drive to Xigaze. On arrival visit the Tashilumpo Monastery, the most important in the city. Founded in 1447, it was home to the Panchen Lama, the reincarnation of the Buddha of Eternal Light. Stay at the Xigatse Hotel.
DAY 10 Saturday XIGAZE/LHASA (B, L, D)
Drive back to Lhasa passing glaciers in the Karola Pass. Stop for a picnic lunch at the beautiful turquoise Lake Yamdrok . Arrive in Lhasa in the late afternoon.
DAY 11 Sunday LHASA/HONG KONG (B, L)
Depart Lhasa on a flight to Chengdu connecting to Hong Kong the same day. Overnight at the Royal Pacific Hotel .
DAY 12 Monday HONG KONG/USA
Depart for the States arriving back on the same day.
Tibet programs are scheduled, but not guaranteed due to travel regulations which may be subject to change. ? ? Code Depart/Return
2016 Suggested Departures
TD1 • April 28-May 9
TD2 • May 19-30
TD3 • June 16-27
TD4 • July 21-August 1
TD5 • September 15-26
TD6 • October 20-31