Potala palace

Lhasa and Shigatse Tour

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Lhasa and Shigatse Tour Overview

  • Trip Code: CT-10097
  • Package: Lhasa and Shigatse Tour
  • Duration: 6 Day(s)
  • Trip Level:
    Requires some level of experience in trekking with basic physical ability.
  • Start At: Lhasa
  • Ends At: Lhasa

Trip Highlights

  • Embark on a week-long exploration of Tibet, uncovering the treasures of Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse.
  • Embark on a thrilling overland adventure along the Tibetan golden tourist route from vibrant Lhasa to pristine Shigatse.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Lhasa, a revered hub of Tibetan Buddhism for centuries.
  • Marvel at the awe-inspiring Potala Palace, an architectural masterpiece adorned with intricate designs and remarkable artwork.
  • Discover the sacred Jokhang Temple, housing revered statues of the Buddha Shakyamuni.
  • Engage in a spiritual journey as you complete the kora (circumambulation) around the Jokhang Temple.
  • Experience the vibrant Tibetan lifestyle as you wander through the bustling Barkhor Street.
  • Visit the Drepung Monastery, once the world's largest monastery and a former seat of Tibetan governance before the Potala Palace.
  • Witness the captivating debates on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in the courtyard of the Sera Monastery.
  • Capture the breathtaking beauty of Yamdrok Lake, with its turquoise waters and the majestic Nyenchen Khangsar Peak.
  • Admire the magnificent Karola Glacier, visible along the highway connecting Lhasa and Shigatse.
  • Explore the historical city of Gyantse, steeped in Tibetan heritage and cultural significance.
  • Cross the stunning Kamba La and Simila Pass, two of Tibet's most picturesque mountain passes.
  • Visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery, an important center of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Marvel at the splendid Kumbum Stupa, an iconic landmark in Gyantse.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the Gyantse fortress, showcasing a unique Tibetan architectural style.
  • Appreciate the architectural and artistic wonders of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
  • Observe the daily lifestyle of the monks as you wander through the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
  • Behold the grandeur of the massive gilded statue of Maitreya (the Buddha of the future) and the tombs of the Panchen Lamas at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
  • Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture, witness religious practices, and gain insights into Buddhist principles.

Experience the enchanting Lhasa and Shigatse Tour, an extraordinary adventure that unveils the wonders of Tibet's most captivating cities: Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse. This remarkable journey takes you along the revered Tibetan golden tourist route from Lhasa to Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. It serves as a remarkable stopover en route to the Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour on the Tibetan side, adding an exquisite touch to your exploration.

Immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of Lhasa and Shigatse as you traverse historic landmarks and revel in the awe-inspiring landscapes. Begin your six-day odyssey in Lhasa, the cultural and spiritual heart of Tibet. Discover the iconic Potala Palace, the revered Jokhang Temple, the bustling Barkhor Street, and the sacred monastic complexes of Drepung and Sera. Delve into the essence of Tibetan culture, architecture, and history, all intertwined within these sacred sites.

From Lhasa, embark on a scenic overland journey to Shigatse, an integral part of this captivating tour. Travel along the legendary G318 National Highway, known as the Friendship Highway, which connects Lhasa to the Nepal Border. This renowned route showcases some of the most breathtaking scenery on the Tibetan plateau. Marvel at the splendor of Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet's three sacred lakes, as it shimmers with a mesmerizing turquoise hue. At the Kamba La Pass, at an elevation of 4,790 meters (15,715 feet), you'll be spellbound by the panoramic view of the lake and the majestic Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance.

The exhilarating drive continues, taking you through the awe-inspiring Karola Glaciers and Simila Pass at 4,200 meters (13,780 feet). As you traverse the Simila Pass, you'll be greeted by undulating terrains and invigorating mountain breezes. In Gyantse, be captivated by the must-visit Pelkor Chode (Palcho) Monastery and the magnificent Kumbum Stupa. Admire the distinctive architecture, ancient mural paintings, and immerse yourself in the profound teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Don't miss the splendid distant view of the Gyantse fortress, adding an extra layer of grandeur to your journey.

Continuing your voyage, you'll reach Shigatse, renowned for its most famous attraction, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. Established by the first Dalai Lama in 1447, this monastery boasts a monumental gilded statue of the Maitreya Buddha, adorned with precious jewels and stones. Witness the devotion of pilgrims as they reverently rub their prayer beads against the statue's flank. Take time to explore the vibrant market surrounding the monastery, immersing yourself in the local atmosphere.

As you bid farewell to the beautiful city of Shigatse, your return journey to Lhasa will be filled with tranquility and scenic wonders. Let the gentle breeze and picturesque Tibetan landscapes accompany you, as cherished memories of your Lhasa and Shigatse Tour come to life. Finally, conclude your six-day adventure with a final flight that will carry you to your next destination, forever carrying the essence of Tibet within you.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Altitude
Day 1 Tashi Delek! Welcome to Lhasa, the revered land of Tibet! Tibet (3,650m/11,980ft)
Day 2 Lhasa Tour- Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
Day 3 Lhasa Tour- Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
Day 4 Lhasa to Shigatse (3,800m/12,470ft) via Gyantse (4,000m/12,470ft) Gyantse (4,000m/12,470ft)
Day 5 Shigatse to Lhasa
Day 6 Departure from Lhasa

Lhasa and Shigatse Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Tashi Delek! Welcome to Lhasa, the revered land of Tibet!

Upon your arrival at Lhasa airport, you will be warmly greeted by your Tibetan guide, who will accompany you on this remarkable journey. From the airport, you will embark on a comfortable drive to your hotel located in the heart of Lhasa city. Throughout the journey, your guide will provide you with valuable insights and answer any questions you may have.

Once you arrive at the hotel, your guide will assist you with the check-in process, ensuring a seamless experience. Take this opportunity to settle into your room and allow yourself time to rest and adjust to the high altitude of Tibet. It's essential to acclimatize gradually for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

During your first day in Lhasa, it's advisable to engage in light activities and avoid exertion to facilitate your acclimatization process. Drink plenty of water and take it easy to allow your body to adjust to the altitude.

Savor the anticipation of the incredible adventures that lie ahead as you relax and prepare for the captivating experiences that await you in the days to come.

Enjoy a comfortable overnight stay in Lhasa, allowing the tranquility of the city to embrace you.

Maximum Altitude: Tibet (3,650m/11,980ft)
Day 2

Lhasa Tour- Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

After enjoying a satisfying breakfast, you'll set off on an enthralling sightseeing tour of Lhasa City. Your first stop is the iconic Potala Palace, majestically perched on the Marpo Ri (Red Hill) at an elevation of 130 meters. This grand palace boasts an impressive architectural design with 13 stories, over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines, and a staggering 200,000 statues. As you explore its intricate layout, you'll encounter various halls, chapels, and libraries. One of the highlights is the Great-West Hall, adorned with exquisite ancient murals that are sure to captivate your senses.

Next, you'll make your way to the heart of the old Lhasa city to visit the revered Jokhang Temple. This sacred temple holds immense significance throughout Tibet and is constantly bustling with devoted local Tibetan pilgrims. It has played a pivotal role in the growth and development of Buddhism in the region. Within the temple, you'll find a well-preserved life-size image of the 12-year-old Jowa Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha. The temple's roof is a notable feature, adorned with gilded bronze tiles. As you explore further, you'll encounter Buddha statues of various sizes and ancient murals, offering glimpses into Tibet's rich spiritual heritage.

Barkhor Street

Afterward, you'll wander through the enchanting Barkhor Street, an ancient holy circuit in Tibet. Although it has transformed into a vibrant commercial street, you'll still witness numerous pilgrims devoutly spinning prayer wheels as they walk in a clockwise direction along Barkhor Street. This presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and browse through the famous old market. You can shop for Tibetan handicrafts, intricate jewelry, traditional Thangka paintings, and more, acquiring souvenirs that embody the essence of Tibetan culture.

Relish the experiences of the day as you retreat to your accommodation for a peaceful overnight stay in Lhasa, eagerly anticipating the adventures that await you in the coming days.

Day 3

Lhasa Tour- Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery

Start your day with a delightful Tibetan breakfast to fuel your energy for an exciting day ahead. Today's itinerary includes a visit to two significant monasteries: Drepung and Sera Monastery.

You'll begin by driving approximately 5 kilometers to the west side of Lhasa city, where you'll explore the renowned Drepung Monastery. Once the largest monastery in the world, it was home to an impressive community of 10,000 monks. As you wander through the monastery, you'll come across its notable highlights, including the vast monastery kitchen, which is the largest of its kind. Don't miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the monastery, where you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of Lhasa City and the majestic Potala Palace.

Sera Monastery

Next, you'll proceed to the esteemed Sera Monastery. Built-in 1419 by Jamchen Choeje, one of Tsongkhapa's disciples, this monastery holds great historical and religious significance. A major highlight of your visit will be witnessing the renowned Monk's debate, which takes place in the monastery's courtyard in the afternoon (except on Saturdays and Sundays). This captivating debate showcases the intellectual prowess and philosophical discussions of the Tibetan monks. Additionally, you'll have the chance to explore the Tibetan religious scripture printing house within the monastery. Inside, you'll find three intricate sand mandalas and vibrant rock paintings of Buddha, offering a visually mesmerizing experience.

After an enriching day of exploration, return to your accommodation in Lhasa for a comfortable overnight stay. Take the time to reflect on the spiritual and cultural encounters you've had and prepare for the adventures that await you in the following days.

Day 4

Lhasa to Shigatse (3,800m/12,470ft) via Gyantse (4,000m/12,470ft)

After a satisfying breakfast, prepare for an unforgettable journey from Lhasa to Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. This scenic drive will take approximately 6 to 7 hours, covering a distance of 360 kilometers. As you leave Lhasa behind, be prepared to be enchanted by the natural beauty of the Tibetan landscape.

Your route will follow the Friendship Highway, offering you plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the wilderness of Tibet. As you ascend the Kamba La Pass at an exhilarating altitude of 4,794 meters, you'll be rewarded with mesmerizing views of Yamdrok Lake, set against the backdrop of the magnificent Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar. This freshwater lake is one of the three holy lakes of Tibet and a popular tourist destination, offering breathtaking panoramas.

Continuing westward, your journey will bring you to Gyantse, a town renowned for its historic and cultural significance. Here, you'll visit the Palcho Monastery, a testament to the fusion of Tibetan, Nepalese, Han, and Indian architectural styles. Within the monastery, you'll discover the iconic Gyantse Kumbum, an extraordinary stupa adorned with 100,000 Buddhist statues, chapels, wall paintings, and murals. Take a moment to appreciate the distant view of Gyantse Dzong, one of the best-preserved fortresses in Tibet.

Palcho Monastery

As you proceed along the highway, you'll be treated to magnificent views of the Karola Glacier and the tranquil Manak Dam Lake. Passing through the stunning Simila Pass, adorned with fluttering Tibetan prayer flags, you'll feel the essence of Tibetan spirituality and culture. Finally, after a long but rewarding drive, you'll arrive in Shigatse.

Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and freshen up. Take some time to explore the traditional Barley Mill and admire the golden landscapes of the Barley Fields, which are especially captivating during the summer months. One of the main attractions in Shigatse is the ancient Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of this revered monastery and witness its architectural wonders.

End your day with a comfortable overnight stay in Shigatse, knowing that you have experienced the beauty of Tibet's landscapes and the cultural heritage of its historic sites.

Maximum Altitude: Gyantse (4,000m/12,470ft)
Drive Approx.: 6 to 7 hours (360km)
Day 5

Shigatse to Lhasa

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, embark on an excursion to the magnificent Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. This revered monastery is known for its exquisite religious murals that adorn its walls, depicting intricate Tibetan Buddhist iconography. As you explore the halls of the monastery, you'll be captivated by the beautiful decorations that reflect the tantric ideology of Tibetan Buddhism. Marvel at the unique Tibetan architecture, including the hanging thangka (scroll paintings) on the monastery walls, the impressive Maitreya Buddha statue, the Kelsang Temple, and the stupa-tomb of the tenth Panchen Lama.

After spending a delightful time in Shigatse, it's time to make your way back to Lhasa along the Friendship Highway. The drive will take approximately 6 to 7 hours, allowing you to soak in the picturesque landscapes of Tibet. Upon returning to Lhasa, you can either take some time to rest at the hotel or explore the bustling Barkhor Square nearby. Strolling through this historic street, you'll encounter numerous stalls offering Tibetan handicrafts, silver jewelry, thangka (scroll paintings), and other unique souvenirs, making it a delightful shopping experience.

Conclude your day with a comfortable overnight stay in Lhasa, cherishing the memories of your journey and the cultural treasures you have encountered along the way.

Drive Approx.: 6 to 7 hours
Day 6

Departure from Lhasa

Your unforgettable Lhasa and Shigatse Tour comes to an end today. Your Tibetan guide will assist you in transferring from the hotel to the airport, ensuring a smooth departure process. As you bid farewell to the sacred land of Tibet, you'll carry with you countless beautiful memories and experiences from this extraordinary journey.

While this tour concludes, you may find yourself longing to further explore the wonders of Tibet or embark on new adventures in neighboring Himalayan countries. If you wish to extend your trip, you have the option to discover more cities in Tibet, delve deeper into its rich culture and spirituality, or venture into the enchanting landscapes of Nepal, Bhutan, or India. Whether you choose to continue your exploration or depart for your next destination, the captivating allure of the Himalayas will surely beckon you back in the future.

As you leave Lhasa, may your heart be filled with cherished memories, and may the spirit of Tibet accompany you on your onward journey. Tashi Delek!

Not satisfied with this itinerary? CoreTreks offers a customized itinerary option that allows you to personalize your trek according to your preferences and requirements.

Here is a list of the top things to do in Lhasa and Shigatse:

In Lhasa:

  1. Potala Palace: Explore the majestic winter palace of the Dalai Lamas, known for its stunning architecture and historical significance.
  2. Jokhang Temple: Visit the holiest temple in Lhasa and witness the devotion of Tibetan pilgrims. Admire the ancient statues and vibrant murals.
  3. Barkhor Street: Experience the bustling atmosphere of this traditional market and join the pilgrims on their clockwise circuit around the Jokhang Temple.
  4. Drepung Monastery: Discover one of the largest monasteries in Tibet, known for its historical importance and beautiful architecture.
  5. Sera Monastery: Witness the famous monk debates that take place in the monastery courtyard and explore the serene surroundings.
  6. Norbulingka: Visit the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas and enjoy the peaceful gardens and beautiful Tibetan architecture.
  7. Ganden Monastery: Take a day trip to this stunning monastery located outside of Lhasa and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
  8. Drak Yerpa Monastery: Explore this sacred site known for its meditation caves and panoramic views of the Lhasa Valley.
  9. Lake Namtso: Embark on a 2-day excursion from Lhasa to this serene lake, known as one of the most beautiful in Tibet.

In Shigatse:

  1. Tashilhunpo Monastery: Visit the seat of the Panchen Lama and explore the grand halls, chapels, and the impressive Maitreya Buddha statue.
  2. Sakya Monastery: Discover the second-largest Buddhist sect in Tibet and explore the monastery's vast collection of scriptures, murals, and Thangkas.
  3. Gyantse Kumbum: Marvel at this unique Nepali-style stupa, famous for its intricate artwork and 108 chapels.
  4. Everest Base Camp: Take a scenic drive from Shigatse to witness the breathtaking views of the Everest Himalayas and visit Rongbuk Monastery.

These are just a few highlights of what Lhasa and Shigatse have to offer. The region is rich in cultural, historical, and natural wonders, providing visitors with a truly unforgettable experience in the heart of Tibet.


The best time to visit Lhasa and Shigatse depends on your specific preferences and interests. Here is a breakdown of the different seasons and what they offer:

Spring (April to May):

  • Weather: Generally mild and pleasant, with occasional rain showers.
  • Highlights: Clear skies, blooming flowers, and fewer tourists. Ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the cities without the crowds.

Summer (June to August):

  • Weather: Warm to hot temperatures, with occasional rainfall.
  • Highlights: Vibrant festivals and celebrations, such as the Saga Dawa Festival and Shoton Festival. The highland meadows are lush and green, and it's a great time for trekking and visiting the holy lakes.

Autumn (September to October):

  • Weather: Mild temperatures and clear skies.
  • Highlights: Stunning autumn foliage, perfect for photography. The weather is generally stable, making it an ideal time for trekking, visiting monasteries, and enjoying outdoor activities.

Winter (November to February):

  • Weather: Cold temperatures, especially in high-altitude areas.
  • Highlights: Fewer tourists and lower prices. Ideal for budget travelers and those seeking a more peaceful experience. Winter landscapes can be stunning but be prepared for cold weather and limited access to certain areas due to snowfall.

It's important to note that Tibet experiences high altitudes and the weather can be unpredictable. It's advisable to check the weather forecast and road conditions before planning your trip. Additionally, due to the sensitive political situation in Tibet, it's recommended to stay informed about any travel restrictions or permits required.

Overall, the best time to visit Lhasa and Shigatse is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is generally pleasant, and the landscapes are beautiful. However, each season has its unique charm, so it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and priorities.

Read About: Best Time to Visit Nepal

Additional Information

Equipment And Gears

To prepare for your trek in Nepal, it's essential to consider both the specific route and the time of year. Here is a Nepal trekking packing list to help you pack wisely. Here’s our Nepal Trekking packing list.

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