5 Days Shoton/Yogurt Banquet Festival Tour
Escorted by private guide and vehicle; leave 365 days a year!
Easy - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
Trip Level Guide:
- Easy - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
- Moderate - suitable for ones with average level fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 yrs.
- Moderate to Strenous - suitable for ones physically fit; have experiences of high altitude trek.
- Strenuous: suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.
In this 5 day’s short tour in Tibet, not only visiting the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in Lhasa like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, etc, you’ll have a great opportunity to see one of the most important and popular annual festival in Tibet called “Shoton Festival” means Yogurt Banquet.
Traditionally the monks from all major Buddhist monasteries have a summer retreat for two months. During this period, they are not supposed to leave the monastery just staying inside the monastery for studying or meditation. The first day after this long retreat, the monks are offered fresh Yak Yogurt by the local people and following 7 days off as their holiday. So this is the origin of Shoton Festival or Yogurt Banquet Festival. Today it became the most important festival or summer holiday for everyone in Lhasa.
Tourists can see a lot of Lamas in Drepung Monastery spreading out the giant "Thanka" of Buddha, and performing wonderful Tibetan operas in Norbulingka. Monasteries will also hold various solemn chanting activities, and people throughout the city will turn out to worship holy monasteries and have lingka (lingka literally means picnic) in park or suburbs, which lasts for a week.
If you don’t want to do a more adventurous tour on the plateau, this itinerary is the best choice for you to experience Tibet’s culture in such a short time!
At a GlanceDay 1
Arrival to Lhasa airport or railway station and transfer to hotelDay 2
Sightseeing in Lhasa, the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkor StreetDay 3
Sightseeing in Lhasa, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, Beginning ceremony of Shoton Festival by Grand Thangka/scroll painting showDay 4
Sightseeing in Lhasa Norbulinka / Summer Palace and Tibetan OperaDay 5
Departure from Lhasa
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival to Lhasa airport or railway station and transfer to hotel
Arrival to Lhasa airport or train station where you will be picked up by our local guide and driver then transfer you to hotel. Main highlights on the way to Lhasa, you will see the biggest river in Tibet called Yarlung Tsangpo or Barmaputra in Indian language, the unique architectural village houses of Tibetan farmers and the first glance of Potala Palace.
Free sightseeing or take rest in your room in late afternoon to acclimatize. Your guide will give you more detail advice on acclimatization.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Note: If your Arrival is by train, then you don’t have the chance to see the river view and Tibetan village houses because the train station is next to the city.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Lhasa, the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkor Street
In the morning your guide and driver will meet you at hotel lobby and drive you to the Potala this majestic palace, the land mark of Tibet, the first construction ever built in Lhasa by the most well known and outstanding Tibetan king Tsongtsen Gambo in seventh century as his residence and central government official. And in seventeenth century the fifth Dalailama began to extend it into current style. It is listed into the UNESCO’s World Heritage in December 1994. More than three hours visiting outside and inside the palace, you will learn all detail history about the palace by your guide.
After marvelous visiting and climbing hundreds of stairs there, your driver will pick you up at the exit of Potala and transfer you to local restaurant near by Jokhang, you will feel bit exhausted and tired but no matter you can have good relax during the lunch time and ask for your guide to order a glass of Ginger Lemon Tea+honey that will give you more energy and feel fresh again.
After lunch break, your guide will lead you to Jokhang Temple and Barkor by walking to explore the culture center of Tibet, the heart of Tibetan Buddhism and the main destination of the pilgrims coming from all over the Tibetan territories and the Barkor Ancient Street with local bazaar and art workshops.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Day 3: Sightseeing in Lhasa, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, Beginning ceremony of Shoton Festival by Grand Thangka/scroll painting show
Today you have a great opportunity to visit the beginning ceremony of the most important annual festival in Lhasa called “Shoton” means Yogurt Banquet. The opening ceremony begins from Drepung and Sera the two largest monasteries in Lhasa.
In the very early morning your guide and driver will pick you up and drive to Drepung Monastery to attend the ceremony. With thousands of local pilgrims and tourists, you will luckily see one of the largest embroidered Thangka/scroll painting of Buddha in Tibet. Hundreds of monks and volunteers transfer it to a hillside not far from the monastery and display on a huge wall then the monks perform a special religious ritual to open the ceremony, the pilgrims from nomadic area offer fresh Yak Yogurt to the monks and everyone receives blessings from main master of monastery.
In the afternoon you will be driven to Sera the second largest monastery to visit another beautiful Grand Thangka and religious ceremony. It’s a very busy day for you but very worth.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Day 4: Sightseeing in Lhasa Norbulinka / Summer Palace and Tibetan Opera
Today you will spend whole day in Norbulinka to see how peopleare enjoying their festival, you will have a great chance to watch the performance of traditional Tibetan opera, join with very friendly local people, their hospitality towards you makes you feel like very close friends, they will serve you free cookies, Yak meat or yogurt sometimes and plenty of their homemade barley beer if you like it.
You will also visit the main residence of the successive Dalailamas’personal residences, guest interview room, meeting rooms, the wall of paintings that tells the general history of Tibet and ancient civilization as well as its unique architectural design and wooden carves.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Day 5: Departure from Lhasa
Departure to your next destination, your guide and driver will transfer you back to airport or railway station and help you to get the boarding pass. Say good bye Tibet!
- 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;
- 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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