Day 1: Xining(6,825 ft)
If you are flying to Xining by yourself, please meet the group at the Xining airport.
Arrive in Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province. You will be met by your tour guide at the airport and transferred to your hotel. A good rest is a must for everyone to adjust to the altitude change.
Day 2: Xining
Travel to QINGHAI LAKE, the largest salt water lake in China. Stroll along the banks of the lake; you might find some Tibetan Buddhists on their pilgrimage to this holy lake. The lake is home to a large quantity of fish, the most unique of which is the naked carp, which has no scales. Because of the abundance of fish, the lake is also home to a thriving bird population, which uses the lake as a stopping point during migration. Later, visit the “Sun Moon Mount,” a memorial dedicated to the Tang Dynasty Princess Wencheng, who is credited as one of the people who brought Buddhism to this region. Upon returning to Xining, visit the PROVINCIAL MUSEUM. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Xining Lhasa(10,950 ft)
Visit KUMBUM MONASTERY, also known as Ta’er Si, in the morning. This monastery is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist sites in China. The founder of the Gelugpa sect, or the Yellow Hat Sect, of Tibetan Buddhism, was born here, and the first temple to honor his memory was built in 1560. There were once 3000 monks living in this monastery, but today only about 600 monks remain. Board your train cabin on the Qinghai- Tibet Railway in the evening. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Lhasa
Enjoy the train scenery as the train continues on to Lhasa. Completed in 2005, the railway is 1215 miles long and includes Tanggula Pass, which at 16,640 feet above sea level is the world’s highest railway station. Spend the day relaxing in your cabin or exploring the train. The train pulls into Lhasa in the evening. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Lhasa
Visit POTALA PALACE in the morning. At 13 stories tall, this was once the home of the Dalai Lama and now houses many Tibetan artifacts and Buddhist art. The palace is separated into two sections: the White Palace and the Red Palace. The entrance to the White Palace has a triple stairway, with the middle set reserved only for the Dalai Lama. Be prepared to climb the structural base’s 2000 steps to reach the palaces. The view of Lhasa and the relics inside the palace are well worth the climb. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Lhasa
Wander the stalls of BARKHOR DISTRICT, Lhasa’s liveliest neighborhood, and maybe pick up a souvenir or people watch in the morning. Then, visit the TIBET MUSEUM, which houses artifacts found in Tibet since prehistoric times. Afterwards, visit NORBU LINGKA, a lovely park where many summer palaces were built for the Dalai Lamas to reside. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Lhasa Lake Yamdrok (14,400 ft) Tsetang (9,600 ft)
Board your bus for the city of TSETANG, one of the largest cities in Tibet. Along the way, stop at LAKE YAMDROK, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. Many Tibetans make pilgrimages to the lake, which they consider to be the transformation of a goddess. Then, visit YUMBU LAKHANG, an ancient palace that is considered the first building in Tibet. According to legend, Yumbu Lakhang was built in the second century BC for the first king of Tibet. Climb (or ride one of the many horses stationed below the palace) to the palace for some impressive views of the Tibetan countryside. The palace became a shrine under the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama, and so houses many golden statues of the Buddha. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Tsetang
Continue your bus tour to the BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER. At 1800 miles long, this is one of the major rivers in Asia and provides irrigation and transportation for local Tibetans. The river flows out of Tibet and joins the Ganges in India. Bundle up and take a ferry ride on the river to travel to SAMYE MONASTERY, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. Founded during the 8th century, this monastery was the site of a public debate that determined the Indian school of Buddhism would be followed in Tibet. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Tsetang Gonggar Airport Home
Fly home or on to your next destination. (B)
* Some destinations on this program are located at and altitude of 5,000 ft or higher, visitors with high blood pressure, respiratory, or heart problems are advised to consult their doctors before applying. Customers are expected to understand the risks that are involved, and it would be best for them to reconsider their travel plans.
* You have the option of purchasing international round trip air tickets via Grand American Travels. For more details, please inquire with our travel agents.