Great Historical Sites of Central Tibet

Tibet (U-Tsang) | 11 Days



Lhasa, literally ‘The place of gods’ attracts Tibetans from all over Tibet who come to pay homage to the Jowo, a representation of the Buddha blessed by the Buddha himself and to the multitude of other great sacred places. We invite you to discover this unique city and the great historical sites of Central Tibet which remain the spiritual heart of Tibet.


  • Your Tibetan guide who introduces you to his culture.
  • Visit of U-Tsang most famous historical and holy places.
  • Beautiful landscapes of Central Tibet (Yardrok Yum-tso, sand dunes on Yarlung Tsampo bank…).
  • Lunch in a family, in a small Tibetan village located culturally between the two worlds of the Tibetan farmer and the Tibetan nomad.


Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu and flight to Lhasa (3,650 meters above sea level)

  • CHENGDU: Meet Global Nomad team member at Chengdu airport where he will give you your permit to Tibet before you take your flight to Lhasa.
  • LHASA: You will be met at the Lhasa airport by your guide and driver. After checking into your hotel and relaxing for a while, you’ll take a short walk to central Lhasa. You’ll spend time in the lively central area where pilgrims from the entire Tibetan plateau gather. You’ll stroll along the Barkor, (a lovely central street that winds around the Jokhang Temple), the shopping streets of the Tibetan district, and the Muslim street close to Lhasa’s main
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 2: Lhasa

  • In the morning you’ll explore what many consider to be the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist world: the famous Jokhang Temple. The “Jo”, as it is commonly referred to, was founded in the 7th century by the first great Buddhist king, Songtsen Gampo. Deep in the interior of the Jokhang you’ll see what many consider the most sacred image of Tibet, the statue of Jowo Shakyamuni, a representation of the Buddha at the age of twelve.
  • Visit the beautiful, flower-filled nun’s convent of Ané Tsang Gung. The nunnery has a teahouse where pilgrims often stop to rest and enjoy a cup of Lhasa’s sweet milk tea. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and make some connections with the residents of this magical place.
  • Visit Séra Monastery, one of three great monasteries connected with the Géluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. In a shaded courtyard you’ll see lively philosophical debates that never fail to amaze visitors.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 3: Lhasa

  • Visit the towering, iconic Potala Palace. This thirteen-story building has two main sections: the White Palace, once the headquarters of the Tibetan administration and the winter residence of the Dalaï-Lamas; and the Red Palace, which holds the chapels and tombs of the Dalaï-Lamas.
  • You’ll join a procession of pilgrims to see hundreds of beautiful bas-relief rock carvings on Chakpori Hill, a hill facing the Potala Palace. This group of carvings is one of the largest of its kind in Tibet, some of them dating back over a thousand years.
  • Visit the famous Norbulingka (“Jewel Park”), the summer residence of the Dalaï-Lamas. This is one of the loveliest areas of Lhasa and you’ll find it relaxing and invigorating to walk among the trees, ponds, palaces and pavilions.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 4: Lhasa – Gyantsé (3,950m)

  • Distance: 250 km. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs.
  • You will head to Gyantsé. The road ascends the Gampa-la pass (4,794m), overlooking the deep blue turquoise waters of Lake Yardrok Yum-tso (the “Lake of the Scorpion”). You’ll ascend to a second pass at 5,020 m (the Kharo-la), that offers an exceptional view of the glaciers of Néchen Gangzang’s Mountains. You will then leave the main road and stop for a visit at Ralung monastery, a major center of the Drukpa Kagyü (a division of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism). Finally, the Friendship Highway will take you over the pass at Sémé-la to arrive at the city of Gyansté. This city, situated at the crossroads of trade routes to India, Bhutan and Nepal, was a center of great importance and power in Tibetan history during the 14th century.
  • Before dinner, you’ll have time to wander the streets of the old Tibetan part of town that lies at the foot of Gyantsé’s huge stone fort.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 5: GyantséZhikatsé (3,900m)

  • Distance: 90 km. Approximate travel time: 1,5 hrs.
  • The morning is dedicated to exploring Pelkhor Chörten monastery and its huge, multi-story stupa: the famous Kumbum Chörten.  The Kumbum Choten is a truly awe-inspiring sight, rising almost 35m high.  Some of the frescos in its 77 chapels reflect 15th century Chinese and Nepalese influences, while many others mark the emergence of a uniquely Tibetan style of painting and sculpture.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 6: ZhikatséTsétang (3,500m)

  • Distance: 340 km. Approximate travel time: 7 hrs.
  • Drive to Tsetang, in the vicinity of the Yarlung Valley.
  • Stroll around the streets of Tsétang’s old town.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 7: Tsétang

  • Distance: 80 km. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs.
  • Visit Yumbu Lakhar, the first palace of the kings of the Yarlung Dynasty (7th-9th centuries). This building (now rebuilt) is considered to be one of the oldest examples of Tibetan architecture. It overlooks the magnificent valley of Yarlung, cradle of Tibetan civilization.
  • Visit the old temple of Tradruk, the main shrine of Yarlung
  • Visit the Chongyé Tombs, where 22 kings of the Yarlung Dynasty (6th to 9th centuries) are buried.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 8: TsétangSamyé (3,400m)

  • Distance: 50 km. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs.
  • Drive to Samyé Monastery. On the way you can admire the beautiful landscapes of the sand dunes on bank of Yarlung Tsampo River.
  • Visit Samyé, Tibet’s first monastery. It was founded in the 8th century by the second religious king Tristong Detsen, who decreed that Buddhism be the state religion and Samye be its first monastery.  The monastery layout, buildings, and walls were designed to serve as a map or cosmological representation of the universe.  The many buildings on the site display various Indian, Nepali, and Tibetan architectural styles of the past two thousand years.
  • You can hike on Hépori Hill to enjoy a beautiful view of the monastery, and do the kora (ritual circumbulation of Samyé Monastery and Hépori Hill).
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 9: Samyé – Lhasa

  • Distance: 195 km. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs.
  • Visit Chinpuk where hundreds of hermits practice meditation in small houses or caves which entrance are closed by large stones. It is possible to walk (1-4 hours walking) in this sacred site provided you don’t disturb the hermits. Picnic next to the local nunnery.
  • Drive back to Lhasa.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 10: Lhasa – Ganden Monastery – Lhasa

  • Distance: 90 km. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs (roundtrip).
  • You’ll travel to the monastery of Ganden, 45 km from Lhasa. Ganden monastery was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the great reformer of Tibetan Buddhism. Ganden is the main seat of the Géluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. Unlike the protocol followed by many other monasteries, the title “Abbot of Ganden” (Ganden Tripa) cannot be conferred by heredity or reincarnation but depends entirely on the candidate’s scholasticism and merit.
  • Lunch in a family, in a small Tibetan village located culturally between the two worlds of the Tibetan farmer and the Tibetan nomad. Thanks to your guide who will translate, you can discuss with your host and learn about their daily life, see dri (female yak) milking… You will have time to walk leisurely through the village and to the local temple before returning to Lhasa.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 11: Departure from Lhasa

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight.


Please note that the transportation time is an estimation and doesn’t include stops to go to toilets, take pictures… The travel time might also be longer related to weather, road constructions or local traffic police policies.

Departure from From To Price
Chengdu 4 May 2019 14 May 2019 US$ 2230

Price for a group of 6 persons:

US$ 2,230 per person in dual occupancy

US$ 2,564 per person in single occupancy


This price includes

Airfare from Chengdu to Lhasa (Day 1) and from Lhasa to Chengdu (Day 11)

  • The transfers mentioned in the program, by private vehicle with driver
  • Accommodation, breakfasts included
  • Lunches and dinners (drink included: tea or mineral water)
  • Entrance tickets for sites included in the program
  • Services of an English-speaking Tibetan guide
  • “Tibet Autonomous Region” entrance permit fee


This price excludes

  • Your Chinese visa fee
  • Health and accident insurance
  • Medical or repatriation costs
  • Domestic and international airfares and/or trains tickets (except the Chengdu – Lhasa and Lhasa – Chengdu flights)
  • Extra expenses due to circumstances beyond our control
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips for guide and driver



Following hotels or similar:

Lhasa :                 Dekhang (3*) – Tibetan style hotel

Tsétang :             Tsétang Hotel (3*)

Samyé :               Monastery Hotel (1*)

Gyantsé :            Gyantsé Hotel (2*)

Zhikatsé :           Gesar Hotel (3*) – Tibetan style hotel

Please note accommodations listed are rated and assessed by Global Nomad

1* = Basic accommodation

2* = Simple and clean

3* = Nice, very comfortable

If you wish to make your own group or customize this trip, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Due to the high altitude of the places visited, it is essential to be in good physical condition to register to this trip. During the trip, especially the first few days and above 4,000 m, it is important to drink a lot of water (at least 2 liters per day).

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary should circumstances beyond our control, namely those related to the specific situation of Tibetan areas, require us to do so.

It is strictly forbidden to talk about political matters with guides and Tibetans in general. This could have extremely serious consequences for them, the driver, the local agency and all agencies’ employees. Likewise, it’s forbidden to bring anything that could make local authorities unhappy.

During the trip, clients must follow the instructions of the guide and of the local agency.

Kawa Karpo
Ask a question
Book Now


Great Historical Sites of Central Tibet

Find a Travel