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Welcome to China. Today you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Today and tomorrow are free time to explore the city.
Today you will be collected at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lhasa. Arrive at Lhasa Gongkar Airport where you will be receive a warm Tibetan welcome by our representative at the airport. Transfer to Lhasa (approx 70kms), soaking up the wonderful mountain scenery en route. Check into your hotel and spend the remains of the day at leisure, to acclimatise. Norbulinka is located on the outskirts of Lhasa and it is from here that the present Dalai Lama fled in the 1950's.
Today sightseeing includes a visit to the beautiful Potala Palace - the dominant landmark of Lhasa. The entire building is made of stone and wood and covers an area of 130,000 square meters. The Potala is full of elaborate art work and frescos that tell many stories. Sightseeing also includes the Sera Monastery and Norbulinka monastery - the Dalai Lama's summer palace. The highlight of the day is a visit to Jokhang Temple, the most sacred and important temple in Tibet and also the most captivating. There is an electric atmosphere as crowds of pilgrims travel around the chapels, praying and prostrating Sera Monastery is still a working retreat, 600 years after its foundation as a main teaching monastery and one of the three great Gelukpa 'universities' once housing more than 5500 monks
Another full day of sightseeing in the fabled city of Lhasa, visiting the 15th century Drepung Monastery, formerly one of the largest monasteries in Tibet, once housing 10,000 monks. After breakfast enjoy a tour of Tashilunpo Monastery, founded in 1447, it is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet and the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lamas palace. At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. After the sightseeing and you have free time to stroll around the market.
After breakfast depart Lhasa and journey to Gyantse. En route visit the Drolma Lhakang Temple, associated with the Buddhist teachings of Atisha (a revered Bengali scholar), and we stop at the elevated view point of Kampa La, to soak up the incredible views of the spectacular scorpion shaped Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok is one of Tibet's three sacred lakes and according to local mythology, it is the transformation of a goddess. At over 72kms in length, with electric blue water and surrounded by snow capped mountains, it's an incredible sight to behold. Continuing your journey, drive alongside Yamdrok lake for about an hour to reach Gyantse
Today after breakfast you will drive to Tsedang via Samye Monastery. The first Tibetan monks were ordained here after examination, and are referred to as the Seven Examined Men. Continuing on to Tsedang, visit Yumbulakhang the oldest palace in Tibet. It was believed that King Nyatri Tsenpo descended from heaven to build this palace in 2nd century BC and myths says it is the founding of Tibetan civilization. Not very far from Yumbulakhang, is Tandruk Monastery, situated at the road side. It’s said that renowned figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Padmasambhava and Milariba, had practised Buddhism nearby after it was built and the remaining relics are sacred land for the devotees
After breakfast transfer to Gongkar Airport in Lhasa for your onward flight.