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4 Days Central Lhasa Spiritual Tour, Urban Lhasa-Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Drephung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Norbulingka Summer Palace
Tour Map of Urban Lhasa in Tibet

Day 1: Flying or taking a train ride to Lhasa from a Chinese city or Kathmandu (flight only) and having a rest in the hotel in order to acclimatize to the plateau altitude
 
Lhasa Gongkar Airport  Lhasa Train Station

A limousine or private pick-up from Lhasa Gongkar Airport or train station is always arranged during fixed time buckets, and then travelers will be escorted to your hotel in urban Lhasa. Please calm down and do NOT do strenuous exercise so that you can adapt to the high elevation as soon as possible (1-2 days most of the time). Please avoid taking a shower or bath, keep the window open for better air fluidity when sleeping on the first day upon your arrival so as not to catch a cold. Some effective drugs produced in China are recommended to alleviate altitude stress such as Fenbid (headache killer) and Rhodiola rosea capsule (Nuodi Capsule), etc. Soaking Rhodiola rosea in hot water and drinking the solution have turned out NOT effective enough (according to our tourists). Our Tibet travel consultants can help you obtain the medicines once you ask for.
 
Accommodating in comfortable class hotel in authentic Tibetan style in Lhasa (hot water supply, air-conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi or Ethernet access, showering facilities, English speaking clerks and breakfast the next morning);
 

Day 2: Visiting Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar Street 
  
The Golden Top of Well Known Potala Palace3 hours of visiting inside Potala Palace in the morning will be arranged in the first place. Potala Palace had been strongly fortified for decades, but tourists are currently allowed to take photos by paying a certain sum of fee. The Golden Top of Potala Palace is resplendent so is worth a stay there. Intense religious ambience pervades the entire urban Lhasa--numerous effusive followers worship around on bended knees on Potala Square every morning, or circumambulate Potala Palace clockwise for 1, 3, 5 or 7 laps. Initially constructed during Songtsen Gampo’s regime in the 7th century as a profoundly memorable and resplendent groups of buildings (height: 117.9 meters, 13 floors) for marrying princess Wencheng, Potala Palace has became the preaching place of successive Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan center of politics and religion since the 17th century. The great palace, the highest ancient palace buildings constructed in groups, consists of red palace and white palace; the main body of red palace is a spirit tower and various family halls for worshiping the Buddha, where all sorts of Buddhism activities are held; white palace is the site where Dalai Lamas of all sessions live, chant sutras and handle administrative affairs.
 

Jokhang Temple in Urban Lhasa City         The visiting duration in Jokhang Temple will be around 30-50 minutes depending on tourists’ willingness and visitors’ flow rate. Considered by believers as the holy land of pilgrims and the center of Tibetan Buddhism, Jokhang Temple located in the old center of Lhasa City was established by princess Wencheng. Thousands of Buddhists annually congregate in Jokhang Temple by kowtowing 1 time once walking for every 3 steps on the whole way from their hometown thousands of miles away. The purpose of their kowtowing is to pray in front of the 12-year old statue of Sakyamuni (the founder of Buddhism) for blessing.
 
         The periphery of Jokhang Temple is the well known circumambulating path--
Barkhor Street, also famous as the shopping center of Lhasa, where travelers can experience Tibetan ethnic features and exotic customs by purchasing multitudinous artifacts in numerous shops while witnessing the pilgrims from all corners of the world. As regards to authentic Tibetan beverages, Tibetan butter tea at a reasonable price of 4-5 RMB per kettle is highly recommended, but foreign visitors need to be mentally well prepared about its extremely unique taste which some regard as delectable whereas some frown upon it.
 

*Warm NOTE:
1. The accurate time when tourists visit Potala Palace will be in accordance with the appointment as the quota of Potala visitors is limited so that the ancient structure will NOT be overloaded.
 
2. A relatively long time will be spent staying outdoors today, so please prepare sunbonnet (sun helmet), sunglasses, sun screens and potable water.
 
Overnight in comfortable class hotel in authentic Tibetan style in Lhasa (hot water supply, air-conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi or Ethernet access, showering facilities, English speaking clerks and breakfast the next morning);
 

Day 3: Visiting [Drephung Monastery] in the morning, which is the largest monastery among all Tibetan monasteries; in the afternoon visiting another well known monastery of Yellow Sect Buddhism—[Sera Monastery], and then heading to [Norbulinka Summer Palace], the imperial palace for short stays of Dalai Lama’s

 
Drephung Monastery in Lhasa, Gigantic Thangka Hung on the Mountain SlopeDrephung Monastery is a monastery where prominent Buddhists originate from and where Dalai Lamas of 1-5 generations resided. During every Shoton Festival (June 30th according to Tibetan calendar), the Buddha Display Ritual is held in Drephung Monastery. On the same day, Buddhists of Drephung Monastery hang out a portrait of Sakyamuni (the founder of Tibetan Buddhism) which is 20 meters wide and 30 meters high on the slope of Mountain Genpewuchi for visitors to appreciate with reverence and admiration.
 

Sera Monastery, Debating Monks at ShowSky-burial platforms and a tiny internal monastery accommodating only 3 monks in Sera Monastery are the most attractive spots. Early in 1418, the 16th year of Yongle of Ming Dynasty, Sera Monastery was built by Sakyajerzy, one of the 8 primary apprentices of Tsongkhapa who was the establisher of Gulug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The entire Sera Monastery is comprised of 3 Chagcams (economical yards) named Geba, Maiba and Aba and 29 villages with the quota of 5,500 people for clergies to live in.
 

*Warm Tips:
1. Some antique wall paintings (murals or frescos) are preserved in many big halls in Sera Monastery, so it is suggested to bring flash lights.
 
2. There is NO reason to miss the exclusive and spectacular Sera Monastery monk debate that begins at 3 p.m. every day. Quite a few tourists gather and watch the cultural debate. (Please note that he debate is NOT conducted every day in shoulder and low season when there are just few visitors.)
 
Norbulinka Summer Palace in Central Lhasa
Norbulinka Park is the summer palace where Dalai Lamas of all previous generations relieve summer heat and manage government affairs. After expanded for over 200 consecutive years, the whole park occupies 360,000 square meters with a variety of buildings mainly in the styles of Gesang Phobrang, Golden Phobrang and Dadengmingo Phobrang, which ranks the top in terms of scale, scenic beauty and the number of historical sites among Tibetan artificial gardens. The sole Tibetan zoo is located in Norbulinka Park.
 
         The open time of Norbulinka is 9:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00 with an interval of 3 hours in the midday. Tibetan dramas are performed at 11:00 in Norbulinka Park, which visitors could view as an extra option.
 

*Remark:
At night, the Youth Road (Qingnian Road) full of BBQ stalls offering distinctive flavors is a good place to stroll. And people who are bar addicts also have quite a few choices; however, 1-6 a.m. is the only prime time.
 
Lodging in comfortable class hotel in authentic Tibetan style in Lhasa (hot water supply, air-conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi or Ethernet access, showering facilities, English speaking clerks and breakfast the next morning);
 

Day 4: Our guide and driver will wish all tourists bon voyage at Lhasa Gongkar airport or train station, accomplishing the spiritually exotic Tibet trip
 
**P.S.: Recommended Cultural Trips in the Neighboring Sichuan Province on the East of Tibet:

Route 1: 2 Days’ Chengdu Local Tour, Chengdu Panda Base, Wuhou Temple, Wenshu Monastery and Sichuan Opera Face Changing (Click the link to view)

Route 2:
 7 Days’ Emei Mountain and Leshan Giant Buddha Tour, Chengdu Panda Tour, Sanxingdui Museum and Huanglongxi Ancient Town Tour (Click the link to read)

Route 3: Cost-efficient 4-day Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong Tour Packages from Chengdu, Double Entry Jiuzhaigou Natural Valley Reserve (Click the link on the left) 

Route 4: 7 Days Overland Aba-Ganzi Sichuan Khampa Tours, Danba-Siguniang-Kangding-Hailuogou Travel in Sichuan Tibetan Area (Click the italic link to view)
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