Travel to Samye
On the first day you’ll leave Lhasa early in the morning with your guide and driver towards Samye. The road runs east along the Yarlong Tsangpo River, also known as the holy Bhramaputra. This river becomes broader and broader and later becomes the mighty Ganges River in India. During this part of your trip, you’ll see Tibetans sailing the river in boats made of yak skins.
The monasteries in Samye, Tsedang and in nearby areas Yarlong and Chonggye have now been opened to tourists. Samye was the first monastery in Tibet where Tibetans could learn to become monks. The sounds of monks praying and the sight of burning yak butter candles make the atmosphere quite special. You’ll also smell the scent of incense wafting through the quiet hallways and prayer rooms.
Travel to Gyantse
Next you’ll travel to Gyantse, the paved road ahead of you will soon make way for a gravel road and you’ll see several interesting Buddhist monasteries, villages and camps built on hillsides while nomads roam with their herds of yak. After a while you’ll start to climb the first mountain pass, the Kamba-La at 4700m. On the mountain pass you’ll have a spectacular view of the deep-azure blue Yamdrok-Tso.
You’ll have lunch in one of the villages and then continue on to the next mountain pass, the Kora-La at an altitude of 5045m. You’ll see the first mountain tops and glaciers in the distance. At the end of the afternoon you’ll reach Gyantse (elevation 3950m) where you’ll have your own room with private shower/toilet. If you feel up to it, you can go for a walk through town and have a look at the fort.
Travel to Shigatse
In the morning you’ll visit the Pelkor Choede monastery and the Kunbum Stupa which is home to 100,000 Buddha statues, is not only considered a great museum but is one of the most spectacular architectural monuments in Tibet. After lunch you’ll have time to pack your bags before heading on through the Nyangchu Valley to Tibet’s second largest city, Shigatse.
Travel to Lhasa
Shigatse lies at an altitude of 3900m and is the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, where a large golden stupa marks the 4th Panchen Lama’s grave. This is a holy area and the monastery is the most important in the Gelukpa sect. You’ll visit with your guide during your time here before heading back to Lhasa in the afternoon across the Friendship Highway.
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