Fly to Lhasa (B)
Today we fly to Tibet. This flight is included in your package (makes up $800 of the cost of this trip!). Upon arrival in Lhasa airport, we are met by Tibetan Guide and we are transferred to our hotel in the city. Today, we just take easy to cope with the effects of the altitude. This is free afternoon for complete rest / to acclimatize to altitude. Tibet lies at the center of Asia, with an area of 2.5 million square kilometers. Encircled by the Earth’s highest mountains, Tibet is a vast, arid plateau with an average altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level. The Tibetan plateau has unique and exceptional ecosystems. The headwaters of Asia’s major rivers originate on the Tibetan plateau, which supply 85% of the population of Asia with water—approximately 47% of the world’s population.Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo, Kham, and U-Tsang. Amdo is now split by China into the provinces of Qinghai and part of Gansu. Kham is largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan, and U-Tsang, together with western Kham, is today referred to by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The TAR comprises less than half of historic Tibet and was created by China in 1965 for administrative reasons. It is important to note that when Chinese officials and publications use the term “Tibet” they are referring only to TAR. Tibetans use the term Tibet to mean the three provinces described above, the area traditionally known as Tibet before the invasion in 1949-50. Despite over 60 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Tibetan people refuse to be conquered and subjugated by China. The present Chinese policy—a combination of demographic and economic manipulation and discrimination—aims to suppress the Tibetan issue by changing the very character and the identity of Tibet and its people. In 1959 the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, fled into exile in India followed by over 100,000 Tibetans and established the Tibetan Government-in Exile. Today, Tibetans are outnumbered by Chinese in their own homeland. Tibetan culture is inseparably linked to Tibetan Buddhism. Over the last 1,000 years, Tibet has developed a unique, spiritual and peaceful culture with Buddhism at its heart. Overnight in Lhasa hotel Kyichu (B) Lhasa: Located at the foot of Mount Gephel, Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, and is a city that has captivated the fascination of the west for centuries. Lhasa is basically famous for it is the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama and is a place that is revered by every Tibetan. In the 7th century, a powerful and visionary king called Songtsen Gampo conquered many tribes, united Tibet and moved the capital from Yarlung to Lhasa. Apart from the amazing monasteries that surrounds the city as well as the bustling tourist friendly Barkhor Street, it is the Potala palace that captivates the mind, the eye and the soul. The Potala palace is perched on the top of the Red Hill and dominates the skyline. It was built by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Later on, the palace became the residence of the Dalai Lamas. It still holds items like murals, Holy Scriptures and sutras that are invaluable to Buddhism. The city has about 2, 55,000 inhabitants and stands at an altitude of approximately 3,650 m. Some of the aesthetically as well as historically important sites in Lhasa are the Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Norbulingka Palaces.