Southeast of Lhasa, Lhamo Latso is above 5,300 meter sea level. It is a small oval lake which is said to be the most sacred in Tibet. It is where senior Tibetan monks go for visions to assist in the discovery of reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas. This is one of Tibet’s most unexplored trekking regions, hiding its beautiful scenery in remote locations, but due to its prominent religious value in Tibetan Buddhism, hundreds of Tibetans make their pilgrimage there every year.
This pilgrimage to Lhamo Latso is richly varied and has much to offer: a magnificent monastery, seldom visited cave hermitages, nomads and their black-tent culture, high snow mountains, besides the high point a sacred 'oracle lake'. As less people inhabits along the trekking route, we'd better prepare all camping gears for one night near by the lake.
Day to Day arrangement
Day 01?Arrival in Lhasa by plane/train
Our local Tibetan travel guide will be ready to pick you up at Lhasa airport or Lhasa railway station with your name sign. You will be greeted with a warm Tashidelek(meaning hello with blessing), and be presented with a white Kada(traditional Tibetan ceremonial by give you a white scarf). Then transfer to hotel in Lhasa city.
To rest well on this first day is essential to avoid Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS, also known as altitude sickness). Try your best to resist the temptation of going out.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 02: Lhasa City
Highlights: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Tibetan Carpet Workshop
Potala Palace: Lhasa’s cardinal landmark, Potala Palace is one of the great wonders of world architecture. As has been the case with centuries of Pilgrims before you, the first sight of the fortress-like structure will be a magical moment that you will remember for a long time. Entry to Potala is up two steep access ramps that will soon leave you wheezing in the oxygen-depleted air. Travel light and not to worry abt your water supplies for there are bottled mineral water for sell all along the way up to the top of Potala.
Jokang Temple: also known in Tibetan as the Tsuglhakhang, Jokhang Temple is the most revered religious structure in Tibet. Thick with yak butter, the murmur of mantras and the shuffling of wide-eyed pilgrims, Jokhang is an unrivalled Tibetan experience. In front of the entrance to Jokhang is a forecourt that is perpetually crowded with pilgrims polishing the flagstones with their prostrations.
Barkhor Street: Barkhor is a quadrangle of streets that surroungs the Jokhang complex. It is an area unrivalled in Tibet for its fascinating combination of sacred significance and push-and shove market economics. This is both the spiritual heart of the Holy City & the main shopping district for Tibetans.
Tibetan Carpet Workshop: Tibetan Carpet making is an ancient, traditional craft. The knotting method used in Tibetan carpet-making is different from that used in other rug making traditions worldwide. Pay a visit to the carpet workshop and see how to make traditional Tibetan rugs is definitely a unique experience.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 03: Lhasa Suburb
Highlights: Drak Yerpa, Sera Monastery
Drak Yerpa: for those with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Drak Yerpa(4885m), abt 16km northeast of Lhasa, is one of the holiest cave retreats in Ü of Tibet. Among the many ascetics who have sojourned here are Guru Rinpoche and Atisha(Jowo-je), the Bengali Buddhist who spent 12 years proselytizing in Tibet. King Songtse Gampo also medicated in a cave, after his Tibetan wife established the first of Yerpa’s chapels.
Sera Monastery: approximately 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera Monastery was one of Lhasa’s two great Gelugpa monasteries, second only to Drepung. Between 3pm~5pm of Monday to Friday, debating is held in the monastery’s debating courtyard, which is a sight so extraordinary and enchanting even you don’t understand a word they’re saying.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 04: Lhasa – Samye - Trandruk – Yumbulagang - Tsetang
Highlights: Samye Monastery, Trandruk Monastery, Yumbulagang Palace
Samye Monastery: Samye(elev 3630m) is deservedly the most popular destination for travelers in the Ü region. Surrounded by the barren mountains and dramatic sand dunes and approached via a beautiful river crossing the monastery has a magic abt it that causes many travellers to stay longer than they had intended. As Tibet’s 1st monastery and the place where Buddhism was established, Samye is also of major historical and religious importance.
Trandruk Monastery: Trandruk is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, having been founded at the same time as Jokhang & Ramoche in Lhasa. Dating back to the 7th-century region of Songtsen Gampo, it is also one of Tibet’s demoness-subduing temples.
Yumbulagang Palace: a fine, tapering finger of structure that sprouts from a craggy ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of Yarlung Valley, Yumbulagang is considered the oldest building in Tibet.
Overnight in Tsetang.
Day 05: Tsetang – Gyatsa - Chökorgye
Highlights: Chökorgye Monastery
Chökorgye Monastery: the dramatic, but mostly ruined Chökorgye founded in 1509 by the second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso(1476-1542), Chökorgye served later Dalai Lamas and regents as a staging post for visits to Lhamo Latso Lake. On the nearby slope is a mani wall that consecrates a footprint stone of the second Dalai Lama.
Overnight in Chökorgye.
Day 06: Chökorgye – Lhamo Latso - Chökorgye
Highlights: Lhamo Latso Lake
Lhamo Latso Lake: one of Ü’s most important pilgrimage destinations, Lhamo La-tso has been revered for centuries as an oracle lake. The Dalai Lamas have traditionally made pilgrimages to Lhamo La-tso to seek visions that appear on its surface. The lake is considered the home of the protectress Palden Lhamo. Just short of the mountain pass that overlooks Lhamo La-tso is a ritual shökde(throne) built for the Dalai Lamas. It is now buried under a mound of Kathak(silk scarves). Its’s a 15mins walk from the shökde to the pass and another 1.5 hours to get down to the lake(roughly 3.5km in total), which is encircled by a kora.
Overnight in Chökorgye.
Day 07: Chökorgye – Lhasa
Highlights: Local Tibetan Family Visit
Local Tibetan Family Visit: the hospitality of Tibetan people is legendary. Local Tibetans need little excuse to have a party, and having guests over is always a call for celebration. Their houses are extremely colourful, full of Tibetan flavored design. You’ll be entertained with local snacks and yak butter tea, and often barley wine. It is a matter of honor for Tibetans to make their guests enjoy themselves at their household. What a better way to experience Tibet than this?!!
Overnight in Lhasa
Day 08: Departure from Lhasa by plane/train
After breakfast at your hotel make the most of the last morning of your tour in Lhasa. Transfer to Lhasa Airport or Railway Station for next destination.