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19-Day Mystical Tibet: Monks to Mountains

Mystical Tibet: Monks to Mountains -- Trip Photo of Tibet tour  Tibet map

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu

Visiting: Kathmandu

You will be met and assisted by our representative at the airport and transferred to the hotel.

  • Meals:
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Tibet

Day 2 : Tours of Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath & Pashupatinath

Visiting: Kathmandu

Kathmandu City:

Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is the political as well as the cultural capital of the country. Like any big city, Kathmandu has seen rapid expansion in the last decade, but despite the hustle and bustle so typical of metropolitan cities, its people remain as refreshingly friendly as ever. Kathmandu Valley comprises the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, which were once independent states ruled by the Malla kings from the 12th to the 18th centuries. The three cities house seven UNESCO World Heritage shrines that are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture).

Visit the vegetable & spice markets: We visit the vegetable & spice market in Ason, and see its many courtyards and bustling bazaars.

The temple of the Living Goddess: The Kumari Devi is the most important of several living goddesses in Nepal. She is seen on the temple’s balcony regularly.

Durbar Square: ‘Durbar’ means ‘palace’, and takes its name from the old Royal Palace. This is the centre of the old city, and there are a number of interesting temples including Kasthamandap, the House of Wood, which gives the city its name.

Swayambhunath:

Swayambhunath Stupa also known as the Monkey Temple is a UNESCO WORLD Heritage Site. It rests on a hillock 3 km towards the western edge of Kathmandu and is one of the most important and the most sacred Buddhist shrines of Nepal.

Boudhanath:

Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most imposing landmarks of Kathmandu and is a center of Tibetan Buddhism.The ancient stupa is one of the largest in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pashupatinath:

The magnificent temple of Pashupatinath with its astonishing architectural beauty is situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River. The richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pashupatinath is also Nepal's most renowned Hindu cremation site.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Tibet

Day 3 : Kathmandu: Tours of Patan, Durbar Square, Bungamati & Khokana

Visiting: Kathmandu

Patan:

Patan also known as Lalitpur, the city of artisans is a paradise of fine arts and one of the three cities in the Kathmandu Valley. Located 5 miles southeast from the Kathmandu City, Patan is best known for its rich cultural heritage. Patan Durbar Square is one of seven monument zones in the Kathmandu Valley that together have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also located in the square is the Patan Museum, formerly a Malla palace, which houses bronze statues and religious objects, some dating back to the 11th century.

Bungamati:

Bungamati is a typical medieval Newari village perched near the Bagmati River, 10 km north from the capital city Kathmandu. Less influenced by modern life and abiding by its old culture and civilization, Bungamati exemplifies true beauty. A tour through the village of Bungamati gives a clear picture of the primitive lifestyle of the Newari community.

Khokana:

Khokana is a small Newari village on the southern flank of the Kathmandu valley. Located about 8 km from the Kathmandu city, Khokana was established in the 7th century by the mighty Licchhavi rulers of Nepal. A village of its own, Khokana is unique in many ways. Khokana has its own history and over the years it is less affected by modern civilization and has managed to retain its own culture and tradition. Khokana is the first habitation to be electrified, even before the Kathmandu city. Nominated to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khokana represents itself as a vernacular village and for its industrial heritage of mustard-oil seed.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Tibet

Day 4 : Fly to Lhasa

Visiting: Lhasa

Transfer to airport for flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival, meet and assist at the airport by our representative and transfer to the hotel in Lhasa. The rest of the day is free.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Kyichu Hotel

Day 5 : Tour Lhasa: Potala Palace, Norbulinka Summer Palace, Jokhang Monastery, & Barkhor Market

Visiting: Lhasa

Potala Palace:

Potala Palace, the chief residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century has been the focus of the travelers for centuries. It is the cardinal landmark and a structure of massive proportion. It symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its role in the traditional administration of Tibet. It is an architectural gem that was built in the colossal monastic style of Central Tibet in the 7th century but rebuilt in the mid 17th century. The Tibetans themselves rarely speak of the sacred place as the "Potala", but rather as "Peak Potala" (Tse Potala), or usually as "The Peak."

Norbulinka:

Built 100 years after the Potala palace, Norbulingka means ‘Treasure Park’ in Tibetan and is situated in the western suburb of Lhasa City, on the bank of the Kyichu River, about one kilometer southwest of the Potala Palace. It is the biggest man-made garden in Tibet. The park was built by the Seventh Dalai Lama in 1755, and became the summer residence of the Eighth Dalai Lama. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Norbulingka complex suffered extensive damage. However, in 2001, the Central Committee of the Chinese Government in its 4th Tibet Session resolved to restore the complex to its original glory.

Jokhang Temple:

Jokhang meaning ‘House of the Lord’ in Tibetan is located at the center of the old Lhasa and is the oldest and the most revered religious structure in Tibet. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features an intriguing mix of architectural styles.

Jokhang Temple also houses many invaluable cultural relics. Every year, the Great Prayer Festival is held here. The rites of Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas' initiation into lamahood are also held in the monastery.

Barkhor Market:

Barkhor Street is the oldest street in Lhasa and runs through the center of the old city. It is a circular street where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble. The word Barkhor refers to the middle of the three concentric holy circuits around the Jokhang. The Barkhor Circuit runs through the heart of the old city where life has changed little down the centuries and it gives you a curious sensation of having slipped through time into a medieval carnival. Tibetans walk clockwise around the Jokhang Temple to pay their respects to Sakyamuni, establishing Barkhor Street as Tibet's "Sacred Way".

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Kyichu Hotel

Day 6 : Tour Lhasa: Sera and Drepung Monasteries

Visiting: Lhasa

Sera Monastery:

5km North of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery’s setting is one of the prettiest in Lhasa, hugging the ridge that forms the Northern wall of the Kyi Chu Valley. Founded in 1419, Sera Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries in Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of the name 'Sera' is not certain, but it may have come from the wild roses (se ra in Tibetan) surrounding the original site.

Drepung Monastery:

About 8km to the west of central Lhasa, Drepung is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Seen from afar, Drepung’s grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice hence; Drepung literally means ‘heaps of rice’. The fertility of its fields supported a monastic community that before 1959, ranked as Tibet’s largest monastery with 7,770 monks.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Kyichu Hotel

Day 7 : Drive to Drikung, hike to Drikung Thil Monastery

Visiting: Drikung

After breakfast drive for about 3 hours to the foot of the Drikung Thil monastery and hike to the monastery. The hike today is fairly steep and will take about an hour. Those not yet prepared for the steep hike can drive to the monastery. Further up from the monastery is a large sky burial site which we will attempt to visit if we are granted permission. On the way down from the monastery we can pay short visit to the primary.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Guest House

Day 8 : Hike to Terdrom Nunnery and visit hot springs

Visiting: Drikung

After breakfast we will drive to Terdrom and trek up to the nunnery retreat. It will take about 3 to 4 hours up to the Nunnery Retreat called Dhingye Ghang. The trek there is truly a wonderful experience as it is part of the inner Kora of the Drikung Mandala. Lunch will be served at the retreat Center or in the vicinity. Then it will take about two hours down to the Terdorm hot springs where, if you like, we will make arrangements to soak in the hot springs (ladies and men have their own separate sections).

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Guest House

Day 9 : Drive to Samye, visit Samye Monastery

Visiting: Samye

Samye Monastery:

Situated amidst breathtaking scenery, built in the 8th century, Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet by King Trisong Detsen of Tibet who sought to revitalize Buddhism, which had in the 7th century. A unique monastery and village rolled into one, Samye is a highlight of a visit to Tibet.

Samye is famous for its sacred mandala design the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach it.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Guest House

Day 10 : Samye: Visit Lifelong Meditation Caves

Visiting: Samye

Today, you will visit the caves where people devote their entire lives to meditation. We will take food the people and visit with them.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Guest House

Day 11 : Visit Drak Yangzom and drive to Tsedang

Visiting: Tsedang

Visit Drak Yangzom and drive to Tsedang.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Yulung Valley

Day 12 : Visit Olga Cholung

Visiting: Tsedang

Visit Olga Cholung

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Yulung Valley

Day 13 : Drive to Gyantse, visit Kumbum and Phalkor Stupas

Visiting: Gyantse

Early morning drive to Gyantse. Visit Kumbum and Phalkor stupas.

Kumbum stupa:

The spectacular Bodhi stupa, or Kumbum in Tibetan was built in 1412 and completed 10 years later. Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular "stupa" consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons. Kumbum means 10,000 images. The pagoda is said to have 100,000 images, either sculptured or painted, this is the reason for its name "100,000 Image Pagoda".

Phalkor stupa:

Located about 100 km east of Shigatse, the unique Palkhor Monstery, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. It is reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas and is famous for its architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. Palkhor Monastery enjoys a high status in Tibetan Buddhism history because it houses three sects, Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa together. It was built in collaboration with the Newari architects and Tibetan artists.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Yudok

Day 14 : Drive to Shigatse, visit Tashilunpo Monastery

Visiting: Shigatse

Today drive to Shigatse. Visit Tashilunpo Monastery.

Tashilunpo Monastery:

Tashilhunpo Monastery is a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet. It is located on a hill in the center of Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. Tashilhunpo in Tibet means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".

Since the early 1980s parts of the Tashilhunpo monastery have been open to the public and it is an important tourist attraction in Tibet today.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Mansarovar Hotel

Day 15 : Drive from Shigatse to Shegar

Visiting: Shegar

Depart Shigatse for a 5-6 hour drive to Shegar, passing through Lhatse en route.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Shanghai Chomulangma Hotel

Day 16 : Drive from Shegar to Rongbuk then hike to Everest Base Camp

Visiting:

Depart Shegar on a 4-5 hour drive to Rongbuk where you will spend the morning enjoying your first views of Mt. Everest. Once at Rongbuk you have the option of either hiking for 2 hours or taking a horse cart to Everest Base Camp (17,915 ft / 5,460 m). The route is level but the altitude could have you breathing hard so take it slowly.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Rongbuk Guest House

Day 17 : Drive from Rongbuk to Kodari

Visiting: Kodari

Today early morning drive to Kodari via Zhangmu. Kodari lies at the border point between Nepal and Tibetan Region of People’s Republic of China. The 144 km Arniko Highway from Kathmandu takes about 4 to 5 hours each way. It is a beautiful drive through countryside, magnificent river gorges with stunning natural beauty. This border village is still an important trading center between Nepal and Tibet.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Last Resort Hotel

Day 18 : Drive to Kathmandu

Visiting: Kathmandu

Drive to Kathmandu.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Tibet

Day 19 : Depart Kathmandu

Visiting: Kathmandu

Transfer to airport for your flight home.

  • Meals: B

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