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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.
Today enjoy a guided tour of the autonomous region's capital. Sightseeing includes a visit to the beautiful Potala Palace. This immense building is 13 storeys high, containing over 1000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues, it was both the residence of the current Dalai Lama and tomb of the former Heads of state. Sightseeing also includes the Sera Monastery and Norbulinka monastery. Set in beautiful grounds with fountains, chapels and pools, Norbulinka is located on the outskirts of Lhasa. 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 and bustling Barkhor Street. 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 themselves.
After breakfast depart Lhasa and journey to Gyantse. En route visit the Drolma Lhakang Temple, associated with the Buddhist teachings of Atisha 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. Upon arrival spend the remains of the day at leisure at your hotel.
Today after breakfast, visit Kumbum and Pelku Chode, two of the prime sightseeing spots in Gyantse. Kumbum was founded in the year 1427 by a Gyantse prince. With a gold dome, and 9 levels, it contains 77 chapels. Pelku Chode is the Monastery inside the same compound of Kumbum. After finished with sightseeing of Kumbum and Pelku Chode, drive on to Shigatse (95kms from Gyantse), Tibets second most important city.
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. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meter high sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha, cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world. After the sightseeing, journey back to Lhasa.
Today after breakfast you will drive to Tsedang via Samye Monastery. Samye Monastery was founded in the 8th century during the reign of King Trisong Detsen . The first Tibetan monks were ordained here after examination, and are referred to as the Seven Examined Men. Over the centuries Samye has been associated with various schools of Tibetan Buddhism and today Tibetans of all traditions come to worship here. Continuing on to Tsedang, visit Yumbulakhang the oldest palace in Tibet. Yumbulakhang is constructed at the perfect crest of the hill. Not very far from Yumbulakhang, is Tandruk Monastery, situated at the road side. Enjoy a tour of the monastery and overnight in Tsedang.
After breakfast transfer to Gongkar Airport in Lhasa for your onward flight.