Lonely peaks, Buddhist monasteries and welcoming people, Tibet’s a place unlike any other. Centuries of isolation have lent the kingdom of Tibet a deep sense of spirituality and mysticism. Once upon a time you could only get there after conquering treacherous terrain and fierce warrior monks, but now – despite the complex political situation – Tibet’s open for travellers to explore. Surround yourself with smoke, incense and the murmuring of the faithful in the country’s endless temples and monasteries and experience giddy Everest views. Cross high-altitude passes, twist through towering peaks past plodding yaks, and discover contemporary Tibetan life – a mix of pilgrims and pop music, monks and mobile phones.
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|Tour Type||Trip Name||No. Days||Bookings||Prices per person|
|Independent Tour||Treasures of Tibet||15||From $6,520.00|
Treasures of Tibet
Experience the magic, mystery and culture of Nepal and Tibet. Tales of magic and mystery have long attracted travellers to Tibet and today the lure of this once forbidden land remains strong. Fascinating culture, magnificent monasteries and awesome mountain scenery combine to make this journey one of the most spectacular in the world. Begin in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and discover one of the plant’s most legendary cities. In Lhasa, explore the magnificent Potala Palace, as well as various monasteries. Continuing across the arid Tibetan Plateau, pass through Shambala to Gyantse, at the head of the old trading route to India, and on to Shigatse, home to the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery and the Panchen Lama.
|Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu||
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. On arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be met at the airport by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 20 minutes). To book your complimentary arrival transfer, please provide your flight details at the the time of booking or at least 14 days prior to departure. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, perhaps arrive a day early so you're able to attend. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. At this meeting, details will be collected and important forms filled in. If you arrive in Kathmandu early, step out into the buzzing markets and narrow streets where holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and cows all mingle in a rich spiritual melting pot. This evening is free, but your leader will usually organise an optional evening meal at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants.
|Day 2: Kathmandu||
Explore Kathmandu on a sightseeing tour. You’ll start by joining the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. Continue on to Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, just outside the city. It's dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals) and here you can see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. Perhaps explore Patan's Durbar Square, or see the ancient Swayambhunath stupa, known to tourists as the Monkey Temple, which is Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal.
|Day 3: Kathmandu||
Today, we leave in the morning on a private bus to visit one of the most highly rated ancient town near Kathmandu – Bhaktapur. 14 KM away from Kathmandu, Bhakatapur was one of the 3 royal cities in Kathmandu valley, and remains a living museum with stunning architecture and art, rich history and fascinating religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. Take a stroll with your leader through the zigzagging alleys and learn about the stories of the kings and the saints of the past, say hi to the locals and admire the intricate wood carvings and pottery making. Continue on to Changu Narayan, a hidden gem in Kathmandu’s religious scene, being one of the oldest Hindu temple in the region. Enjoy some time of tranquillity and nature here before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
|Day 4: Kathmandu - Lhasa||
Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa (approximately 1.5 hours). You will have the next five nights in Lhasa and surround to explore this once-isolated city, with its monasteries and markets bulging with pilgrims and traders. The colourful and historic holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley, and for many years it was a mysterious place, virtually unknown to the outside world. Even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reached the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. Over the next 4 days there will be a mix of included activities and you can enjoy some free time to explore the city. While this is subject to the Chinese authorities and the ever-changing political climate, there are never any problems filling the days in such a fascinating city.
|Day 5: Lhasa||
Today you will visit the Drepung Monastery, Nechung Monastery and Sera Monastery. The latter is one of the most important university monasteries in Tibet. To get there, you'll travel out to the base of Pubuchok Mountain. It's well known for its dramatic daily debates between monks, who as part of their training come together in a central courtyard to contest the finer points of Buddhist learning. Junior monks sit on the floor while senior monks drill them on knowledge, dramatically slapping their hand in a signal to respond, which makes the temple much livelier and noisier than many others.
|Day 6: Lhasa||
Enjoy a walking tour around Lhasa's old town. Visit a Tibetan Traditional Medicine market. Some types of medicine, such as the caterpillar fungus are known to fetch prices as high as $50,000 per pound! This rare substance, which grows as a parasite in ghost moths on the Tibetan plateau, is lauded for its health benefits for humans. Seeing it marketed and sold in its birthplace is a most fascinating intersection of Eastern medicine and Tibetan culture. Today you will also visit an area where Thangka painting are made and sold. See and learn more about the preparation and significance of Thangka painting in the region. A Thangka is a traditional painting on a cotton or silk canvas, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, and the authentic article seen up close is a beautiful thing. Then it's on to the holiest temple in the Tibetan Buddhist world, Jokhang Temple. The spiritual heart of Tibet and one of the region's most active religious sites, the atmosphere amongst visiting pilgrims is much of the temple’s appeal. Visit the incredible Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama perched 130 metres above the city. The palace is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular and used as offices and the like) and the Red Palace (home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). Although the palace cannot be freely explored, and a strict guided-viewing schedule must be adhered to, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world. As you witness the gold and jewel-filled rooms and take in the views from the roof, you’ll rub shoulders with excited Tibetan pilgrims making offerings at the altars.
|Day 7: Lhasa - Terdrom||
Travel by private bus from Lhasa to Terdrom. Venture into the high hills where the Drigung Monastery awaits. At 4,465 metres above sea level, this monastery boasts a dramatic location, perched on a broad mountain ridge overlooking the Shorong Valley. From here you will take in stunning panoramas. There will also be a visit to the impressive Trimdum Monastery today. Your accommodation tonight is the sublime Shambhala Source, a hidden retreat built on the edge of a cliff.
|Day 8: Terdrom - Lhasa||
Take a private bus to Lhasa via the 15th-century Ganden Monastery, which is located 50 km northeast of Lhasa. This is one of the earliest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, and stands above of the six great temples of Gelugpa (a branch of Tibetan Buddhism). It makes for one of the most incredible day trips from Lhasa, which is saying a lot. After exploring this immense sight and learning some of its history, continue to Lhasa, where you can enjoy some free time and rest your legs.
|Day 9: Lhasa - Gyantse||
The drive to Gyantse today is spectacular, with unforgettable views around every bend. You’ll cross over several stunning passes, at elevations of around 5,000 metres, twisting through the thrilling mountains as the peaks dramatically tower over the road. You’ll enjoy incredible views of Yamdrok Lake, a mystical perfect mirror of the sky above where we will stop, climb Khamba La pass and see yaks plodding along the mountainside. Pass sheep herder villages scattered along the lakeside and be confronted by the soaring Noijin Kangsang, the peak of the Lhagoi Kangri mountain range. Climb up to the Karo La pass and then descend down to the town of Gyantse. The drive should take around 6 hours. Gyantse is a small agricultural town set at 3,950 metres above sea level, and is famed for its wool carpets. While there’s still a feel of tradition and life continuing much as it has for centuries, Gyantse is also a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life in the backstreets, where pilgrims, pop music, cows, “cowboys” on motorbikes, kids and monks all mingle in a lively mix of cultures. There are a number of interesting buildings in the town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414 that brought together 15 monasteries and three different orders of Tibetan Buddhism.
|Day 10: Gyantse - Shigatse||
This morning you will spend some time in the unique Gyantse Kumbum, an impressive layered stupa designed as a kind of 3D mandala (symbol that represents the universe) as well as a model of the Buddhist universe, with each storey representing a step to enlightenment. If you have a head for heights you can wind your way up the pilgrim circuit, passing dozens of tiny painting-filled chapels, the passages steadily getting narrower as you get higher and the air becoming more and more intoxicating with incense and smoke from yak butter lamps. Also visit the Pelkor Monastery and Shalu Monastery before driving to Tibet's second-largest city, Shigatse (approximately 90 kilometres, at least 2 hours). Encircled by mountains, Shigatse is a busy, buzzing and dusty city that’s rapidly modernising. Enjoy a free evening – perhaps ask your leader for directions to the tranquil Chapel of Jampa or Kelsang Chapel (the latter is one of the best places to observe the pilgrims and monks preparing for ceremonies).
|Day 11: Shigatse||
Visit Tashilunpo Monastery today. This was founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, and is a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet's second-largest city. It's one of the few in Tibet to have come out virtually unscathed from the Cultural Revolution. With its expansive territory inside thick stone walls, it’s almost like a town in itself. Afterward the visit, take the 'Kora Walk'. This is a little trek that Tibetans do, in a clockwise direction, on a circuit that's considered holy. The one you will partake in will be around Tashilunpo monastery on a hill track, and it takes around 1.5 hours to complete. It's not strenuous per se, but it's best to consider the altitude, as with any physical activity while in Tibet. Afterwards, you will visit a local market in town, after which the day is your to spend as you please.
|Day 12: Shigatse - Tsedang||
Travel to Tsedang today (approx 6 hours). This small city is located 183 kilometres southeast of Lhasa. Tsedang is best known as the cradle of Tibetan's civilization, thought of as the birthplace of the earliest Tibetans, who are said to be the offspring of a monkey and a demoness. Tsedang literally means 'monkey’s playground'. Samye, Tibet's first monastery, is located 30 kilometres from Tsedang and was founded in 779 CE by King Trisong Detsen.
|Day 13: Tsedang||
Pay a visit to Yumbulagang Palace today. This marvellous site lies about 11 kilometres southwest of Tsedang and was built by the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo, in the 2nd century AD. It is the very first palace to have been built in Tibet, giving it all the more allure. Its name, interestingly, translates to the 'Sacred Palace of Mother and Son'. Learn a little more about its history as you explore. After that, continue to Tandruk Monestary and the Chongye burial site. This burial site is a rare marker of pre-Buddhist cultures in Tibet, and a great chance to see how the Bon faith plays into the history of these mythical hills.
|Day 14: Tsedang - Kathmandu||
Farewell your Tibetan leader and return to Kathmandu with a spectacular flight over the Himalayas. The rest of the day is free to do some souvenir shopping or further sightseeing. Tonight you can enjoy an optional final dinner with your group to celebrate the end of your Himalayan adventure.
|Day 15: Depart Kathmandu||
Your journey draws to a close this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. A transfer to the airport is not included, but you can organise one through Peregrine prior to departure. Your leader will also be on hand to advise you as to further options.
|Meals:||14 breakfasts, 1 lunch|
|Transport:||Airport transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle|
|Flights:||Flight Ticket: Kathmandu / Lhasa / Kathmandu|
|Guide:||Local English Speaking Guide|
|Entrance Fees & Touring:||Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary|