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9 Days Lhasa to EBC Meditation Journey

9 Days Lhasa to EBC Meditation Journey

(TMT03) Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse-Everest Base Camp-Shigatse-Lhasa

Overview

An amazing experience on the roof of the world, this awesome tour takes you to all of the best meditation spots on the route from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to the stunning Mount Everest Base Camp in the farthest west of Tibet. A stunning nine-day tour of the plateau and its sights and scenery, the meditation sites are carefully chosen to give you the best meditation experiences in Tibet for this route across the vast plateau.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa (3650m)

Highlights:
Receive the auspicious White Hada and Tibet Travel guide from our Tibetan guide;
Get a glimpse of Potala Palace and holy Lhasa city;

Tashi Delek! Welcome to Lhasa, the modern utopia as well as the spiritual heart of Tibet; Your hospitable Tibetan guide and friendly drivers have already been expecting you at the designated places at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or Lhasa Railway Station.

As you receive our auspicious white Hada, simply leave your hassle to our staff to take care and enjoy the scenic ride to your hotel in Lhasa city. Our handful Tibetan guide will help you check in and inform you of the travel plan the next day. Then have a good rest at the hotel for tomorrow’s exciting tour.

Meal: No Meal is included today

Accommodation: Lhasa Yak Hotel (3 star), Cang-Gyan Lhasa Hotel (4 star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips:
For the new-comers to Tibet, never rush to visit attractions downtown as your body needs time to get acclimatized to the high altitude on Tibetan Plateau. Slight headache, dizziness, and rapid pulse are pretty common. They will disappear in a couple of days. Feel anything you need, please feel free to reach your Tibetan guide. Pay special attention to sun protection when meditating in the wilderness in Tibet.

Day 2: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

Highlights:
Explore the White House and Red House in Potala Palace;
Enjoy the bird’s eye view of Lhasa city from Potala;
Visit the sandalwood statue of Sakyamuni in Potala; the life-size statue of Sakyamuni in Jokhang;
Experience the famous Barkhor Kora;
Taste Tibetan sweet tea and other local food.
Basking in eye-blinding sunshine, Lhasa is teeming with magnificent Buddhist temples and monasteries, devoted Tibetan pilgrims and historical backstreets, pleasing culinary discovery.

Follow the footsteps of your guide to hike the long stairs of impressive Potala Palace for the commanding view of Lhasa city; the UNESCO heritage site perched on the Red hill used to be the winter palace of the generations of Dalai Lama. Now, it is the most iconic building of Tibet. You will have a chance to explore the residence of Dalai Lama in White Palace and religious chambers in the Red Palace and gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas, etc.

After lunch, we will head to Jokhang Temple, the holiest Buddhist site in Lhasa. Traveling in the dimly-lit rooms, you can hear the constant mumbling of Buddhist chanting and see local Tibetans adding butter oil to the oil lamps. Never miss the chance to worship the life-size statue of 12-year-old Buddha Sakyamuni.

Outside the Jokhang Temple, follow the prostrating Tibetan pilgrims for the famous Barkhor kora nearby. You may also look for the delicately-made souvenirs in the boutiques that flank the Barkhor Street.

When you head starts to spin, delve into the quiet backstreet of Barkhor and treat yourself with a couple of tasty sweet tea and local delicacy and fully immerse yourself in the distinct vibes of a local teahouse.

At the light falls, the lively music bars and restaurants take on a different splendor for you to explore.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Lhasa Yak Hotel (3 star), Cang-gyan Lhasa Hotel (4 star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips:
As each traveler only has one hour for visiting Potala Palace, do closely follow our guide’s guidance; walk slowly and take a rest if needed when you hike the Potala Palace;

Dress properly when visiting the Buddhist site and no photo is allowed inside the Buddhist hall.

With time permitting, you may also visit Tibetan handicraft art or Tibetan Traditional Medicine center and farm produce market in Tromsikhang Market. You can upgrade your service to enjoy Tibetan Culture Show in the evening (fr. 60USD)

Day 3: Lhasa Tour: Pabonka, Pabonka, Rizhui, and Sera Monastery

Highlights:
Visit Pabonka Palace
Meditate in Pabongka Rizhui
Enjoy the Birds’ eye view of Lhasa city
Experience the lively monk debate and colorful sand mandala in Sera Monastery

Have an early rise for the breakfast at hotel; later we will enjoy the ride to the cliff-side Pabonka, a Tibetan palace 15km from the Lhasa; briefly visit the holy cave where Songtsen Gampo the 33rd Tibetan king used to meditate.

Keep following the scenic hike that takes around 30 minutes behind Pabonka; we will reach Pabongka Rizhui, an exceedingly peaceful and remote Buddhist temple that has a commanding view of the Lhasa city. You may enjoy the perfect solitude and meditate here for hours.

Then we will travel back to Lhasa for the lunch at around noon. After lunch, make it to the prominent Sera Monastery; the second biggest Gelugpa monastery in Lhasa now is the major stage for the “monk debate”. Find a spot in the boisterous debate courtyard to enjoy this dramatic “monastic defense”. Though you may not understand what they say, the slapping of hands, yelling and jumping and rolling of Buddhist mala give you a vivid display of long-held tradition of Buddhist study. Besides, you may also enjoy exquisite sand mandala and Buddhist scripture printing press and visit the main assembly hall in this Buddhist academy.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Lhasa Yak Hotel (3 star), Cang-gyan Lhasa Hotel (4 star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips:
In fact, if you prefer, you may spend days mediating in Pabongka Rizhui. However, sleeping in the Buddhist compound is not allowed according to the Tibet travel policy for international tourists. However, we can arrange the transfer service for you from Lhasa or you may stay with our Tibetan guide in the local guesthouse nearby. And “Rizhi” literally means a place for meditation in Tibetan.

Day 4: Lhasa to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake and Karola Glacier (263 km, 4,790m)

Highlights:
Visit Lake Yamdrok
Meditate on the shores of Lake Yamdrok
Hang Prayer Flags at Simila Pass
Visit Karola Glacier
Visit Pelkor Monastery

After a good breakfast, we will depart from Lhasa to head to Gyantse, the stop for today. The route takes us over the stunning Gampala Pass (4,790m), where you will get your first glimpse of Lake Yamdrok. The view of the lake from the pass is astounding, and you can see for many miles, with great views of the snow-capped mountains that fringe the lake, including the highest mountain near Lhasa, Mount Nyenchen Khangsar, at 7,191 meters.

After a short drive, we will arrive at the lake’s northern shores, where you can spend a few hours meditating before tucking into a delicious picnic. The peaceful and serene shores of this sacred lake are an ideal spot for meditating and getting back in touch with your natural surroundings.

In the afternoon, we will continue our journey to Gyantse, stopping at the famous Karola Glacier, one of the many pristine glaciers in Tibet. On the way to the glacier, we will pass over Simila Pass (4,200m), where we can stop for you to hang prayer flags, in the tradition of most devout Tibetan pilgrims.

After we arrive in Gyantse, we will head straight for the Pelkor Chode Monastery, the location of the famous Gyantse Kumbum, a 32-meter stupa that is the only one of its kind in Tibet. You can climb up to the upper levels of this 9-story stupa, and after we will take a walk around the rest of the monastery.

Later in the afternoon we will take a relaxing stroll around the Old Town of Gyantse, through the ancient cobbled streets, before turning in for the night at the hotel.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Gyantse Hotel (3-star), Gyantse Yeti(3-star) , upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips: 
Gyantse lies at an elevation of 4,500 meters, so it is best not to hurry when wandering around the monastery and the old streets because of the increased altitude from Lhasa. Lake Yamdrok has very little shade around it, so you need to take care when meditating in the open air, and cover up to protect yourself from the harsh sunlight.

Day 5: Travel from Gyantse to Shigatse: Tashilhunpo Monastery and Tashilhunpo Kora (95 km)

Highlights:
Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery
Meditate in the Assembly Hall of the monastery
Experience the unique kora route around Tashilhunpo
Meditate on the hill overlooking Shigatse

In the morning, we will take the short drive to Shigatse, the second city of Tibet, and the location of the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery. Built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, the monastery is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest Buddhist incarnation in Tibet.

After touring around the monastery, we will enter the assembly hall, where the monks of the monastery practice their ritual chanting. Here we will be able to meditate for an hour or two, relaxing to the sounds of the ritual chanting, a mesmerizing sound in the silence of the monastery.

In the afternoon, we will take on the kora route that runs around the Tashilhunpo Monastery. The kora is a long route around the monastery that has some of the most amazing views out over the city of Shigatse and the surrounding countryside. Running the entire length of the kora is a stone walkway, and there are prayer wheels that line the route for almost the entire distance.

After completing the kora, we will stop on the hillside above the monastery, where you can see down over the valley and the city, all the way to the famous Shigatse Dzong. Here, we will spend some time meditating in the tranquility of the beautiful Shigatse countryside.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Manasarovar Hotel (3-star), Tashi Choeta Hotel(4-star), Shigatse Gesar Hotel(4-star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips: 
The kora route around the monastery is not considered to be a hard hike, but it is partially uphill, and at an altitude of around 3,800-4,000 meters, it is high enough to need to be careful of altitude sickness. When entering the Tashilhunpo Monastery for meditating in the assembly hall, you will need to remove your shoes and observe the protocols of Tibetan monasteries.

Day 6: Head to Everest Base Camp (5,200m) from Shigatse (3,900m) (337 km, 5,248m)

Highlights:
Enjoy the views from Gawu La Pass
Visit Rongbuk Monastery
Visit Everest Base Camp and view the world’s highest summit
Experience staying in a yak-hair tent at the base camp

After a good night’s sleep. We will depart Shigatse for Mount Everest Base Camp and the famous Rongbuk Monastery. The route to the base camp runs over three high passes, the first two being the Tsola Pass (4,600m) and the Gyatsola Pass (5,248m), which is the highest pass on the route to EBC. After cresting Gyatsola Pass, we will drop down and enter the Chomolungma National Nature Reserve, before climbing up to the amazing Gawu La Pass. At 5,198 meters above sea level, the views of the Himalayan panorama are outstanding, and you get a great view of several of the highest mountains in Tibet.

Later we will board the designated eco-bus to Rongbuk Monastery, known as the “official” highest Buddhist monastery in the world. Built in 1902, the monastery is a sacred site for the Buddhist Sherpas of the mountains, and is one of the few monasteries in Tibet where monks and nuns live together under one roof. You may enjoy the stunning sunset, as the orange glow of the setting sun reflects of the mountain’s snow-clad slopes.

After taking the last of the photos in the dying light, we will stay overnight in one of the amazing tent hostels that are set up annually at the base camp for tourists and visitors. These authentic yak-hair tents are the traditional homes of the nomadic Tibetan herders, and the experience is one that you will never forget.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Yak Tent or Rongbuk Monastery guesthouse at Everest Base Camp.

Insider Tips: 
Everest Base Camp is one of the highest points in Tibet for tourists, and the weather at the site is cold at night all year round. Even in the summer months, the temperatures can get down to almost freezing, so it is essential that you bring enough warm clothing to maintain a decent body temperature while you are here. It is also important to monitor your condition for the symptoms of altitude sickness, as the base camp lies more than 1,300 meters higher than Shigatse, the last place we stopped for the night.

The accommodation at the base camp is a yak-hair tent in the style of the traditional Tibetan nomads, and the facilities are very basic. There is no shower, an outside pit for a toilet, and cold water for washing. The tents only have dung-burning stoves for heating, so it can still get cold at night.

Day 7: Mediation at Rongbuk and Drive back to Shigatse (337 km)

Highlights:
Meditate in Rongbuk Monastery
Enjoy the pleasant scenic drive back to Shigatse

After a hearty traditional Tibetan breakfast in the tent, we will head straight back to Rongbuk, where we will spend the morning meditating in or around the monastery. The meditation session will last until noon, after which we will have a nice lunch.

After lunch, we will take the long and winding road back to Tingri, crossing the high scenic passes along the way. At Tingri, we will rejoin the Friendship Highway, and make the journey back to Shigatse.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Manasarovar Hotel (3-star), Tashi Choeta Hotel(4-star), Shigatse Gesar Hotel(4-star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips: 
One important thing to remember at the monastery and the base camp is the strong biting winds, which blow across this area of Tibet all year long. These winds can be chaffing to the hands, face, and lips, so lip balm and moisturizers are important packing items. The harsh sun can also burn the skin, due to the high altitude and thinner atmosphere.

The use of a good sunblock and hats is recommended. Long sleeved tops and long pants are also a better idea than t-shirts and shorts, to protect the skin of your arms and legs. And always bring a warm down or fleece jacket, as it can get pretty cold, even in the summer months.

Day 8: Drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse (274 km)

Highlights:
Scenic drive from Shigatse to Lhasa

Today, after a good breakfast at the hotel, we will depart Tibet’s second city for the capital of Lhasa. The route along the Friendship Highway is a long one, and will take almost all day, stopping for a nice lunch along the way. The stunning landscape and scenery of the plateau will pass by out of the windows of the tour vehicle, and you can sit back and relax while you enjoy the view.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: Lhasa Yak Hotel (3 star), Cang-Gyan Lhasa Hotel (4 star), upgrade available when needed.

Insider Tips: 
The route from Shigatse to Lhasa is one of more than 270km, and will take around six to seven hours, with a stop for lunch. The scenery along the route is stunning, and we will be able to stop for rests along the way so you can stretch your legs.

Day 9: Depart from Lhasa

Your guide will transfer you to the airport or train station for the next onward flight or journey.

Meal: Breakfast

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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