Airport Transfer (Beijing), Airport Transfer (Lhasa)
Potala Palace (1 hour): Former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for climbing up the long stairways.
Barkhor Street (2 hours): Built about 1,300 years ago, The Barkhor (pilgrims' circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. In the past, it was a designated circumambulation circuit, "a saint's road" in the eyes of Tibetans. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits typical Tibetan life. Watch the pilgrims, wearing their local dress from many different parts of Tibet, as they circle clockwise around Jokhang Temple with prayer wheels, or prostrate them near the front gate. Join the locals and visitors to shop for local goods at the colourful stalls, or relax in a coffee shop or tea house to enjoy the passing parade.
Jokhang Temple (2 hours): Smaller and more manageable than the Potala, this 4-storey, golden-roofed temple is at the heart of a rich and living Tibetan Buddhism. Many locals pray here regularly; the Temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street and thronged with pilgrims and visitors. Yak butter lamps burn in front of rich statuary that includes the Sakyamuni Buddha brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng in the 7th Century.
Drepung Monastery (3.5 hours): Drepung Monastery lies in west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse, clustered round by the black mountain, its white grand buildings shining under the sunlight. Built in 1416, it is considered as one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect in China. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace (after the 5th Dalai Lamas was bestowed by Qing emperor Qianlong). The grand Shonton Festival is held in the early part of August every year. That is the busiest day there with crowds of people. It is an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of this festival.
Sera Monastery (3 hours): Located in the northern suburbs of Lhasa, The Sera Monastery is a complex of 4 structures; the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. 'Sera' means wild roses and was called this because the monastery was surrounded by wild roses. One of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is here that the monks "famous daily debates" take place.
Tips: Every day (except Mondays) at 15:00, there is a debate about Buddhist doctrines among the monks at Sera Monastery. The debating is held in the grounds and is a necessary way of learning sutras and scriptures. Visitors can watch the debate, but it is advised to keep quiet.
Norbulingka (2.5 hours): Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". Constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, it later served the whole government administration. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both administrative and religious purposes.
Hotel to airport Transfer (Lhasa), Airport Transfer (Beijing)