2020 Annual Eclipse Tour to Tibet, China

Escorted or Guided Tour China
2020 Annual Eclipse Tour to Tibet, China

Step into prayer halls of chanting Tibetan monks in magnificent monasteries on the roof of the world. Tibet offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude walks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likeable cultures you will ever encounter. Tibet’s spiritual nature and remote cliffside meditation retreats are essential parts of Tibet Experience. Walk with the Tibet’s pilgrims – from local grandmothers murmuring mantras in temples heavy with the aromas of juniper incense and yak butter to villagers coming to Lhasa to celebrate the Saga Dawa festival. Tibetans have a level of devotion and faith that seems to belong to an earlier, almost medieval age. It is fascinating, inspiring and endlessly photogenic.

9 Days: Tibet & Annular Eclipse – Jun. 15 to 23, 2020

5 Days extension (Jun. 23 to 27) to Gyantse & Shigatse + 10 Days extension (Jun. 26 to Jul. 5) to the Guge Kingdom.


Land tour- $4,999.00 per person sharing

Single room- $ 5.549.00


Trip Includes:

  • Hotel accommodations as listed or similar with private bath/shower
  • Daily breakfasts at the hotels, Lunches and dinners as listed in the itinerary (B- Breakfast, L- Lunch & D- Dinner). Vegetarian and special dietary needs arranged upon written request.
  • Transfers and tours as listed by AC Bus
  • Private eclipse viewing arrangements- chairs, tables, hot/cold beverages and snacks served during the eclipse
  • Pre-Eclipse site inspection, briefing, lecture/s by our Astronomy expert/s and dinner.
  • Post Eclipse report by our eclipse expert and celebratory dinner
  • Services of local English-speaking guide during sightseeing tours and excursions
  • Entrance fees to monuments, guide & driver fees, parking etc.
  • Services of an expert Tour Manager
  • Astronomy lectures by a well-known astronomer- Prof. Jay Pasachoff
  • Travel Documents- provide one month or more prior to departure
  • Eclipse viewing glasses
  • Eclipse memorabilia

ITINERARY

Day 1- Jun. 15, MON: ARRIVE LHASA- Tibet.

Arrive in Lhasa, meeting assistance and transfer to Hotel. The term Lhasa means “place of the gods”. Ancient Tibetan documents and inscriptions demonstrate that the place was called Rasa, which either meant “goats’ place”, or, as a contraction of rawe sa, a “place surrounded by a wall,” or ‘enclosure’, suggesting that the site was originally a hunting preserve within the royal residence on Marpori Hill. Lhasa is first recorded as the name, referring to the area’s temple of Jowo, in a treaty drawn up between China and Tibet in 822 C.E. Rest of the day is at leisure to acclimatize. Tibet has been a Buddhist country for centuries. The Dalai Lamas were also heads of State. This practice ended sometime around 1950 once the Chinese gained power through bloodshed. The spiritual leader of the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, fled to India and has lived there in exile ever since. The rest of the day will be spent at leisure to get acclimated to the altitude. This evening meet your fellow tour members at dinner, followed by a tour briefing and Eclipse briefing by our eclipse expert. Thangka Hotel B,D


The Saga Dawa Festival worships the life of Buddha and coincides with three crucial events in his life: birth, nirvana, and death. In Tibetan “Saga” means “fourth” and “Dawa” means “month,” which is why the festival is celebrated through the whole 4th Tibetan month and is believed to be one of the most significant religious occasions solemnized in Tibet which casts aside all barriers of color, religion or nationality. During this festival, a large number of pilgrims come to Lhasa to visit the monasteries and take part in the ritual `walk around the Lingkhor path’. A late afternoon picnic in the Dzongyab Lukhang Park is another excellent way to see & photograph Saga Dawa.


Note: Tour participants will be able to witness the festivals during the stay in Tibet. Tour plans will be adjusted to accommodate the festivities when firm details of festival & celebrations become available.


Day 2- Jun. 16, TUE: LHASA TOUR

Rise early this morning to visit Yao Wan Hill (Chakpori Hill) at the time of sunrise (subject to weather). On the cliff, one will see many well-preserved figures of Buddha, tracing back to 1,000 years ago. Excellent opportunity to view and photograph the Potala Palace from the Hill. Later return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, enjoy a full-day tour starting off with Norbulingka, which means “the jewelled garden,’ the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. The large complex of many palaces lies within the walled garden that covers 360,000 square meters, housing fascinating murals, mandalas and frescoes in excellent condition. Visit Sera Monastery set at the foot of the Wudu Hill, the monastery compromises of a great sutra chanting hall and a college. Founded by Jamchenchupje in 1419, Sera was famous for its martial arts and monks perfecting the art by practicing for many years. Continue to Drepung Monastery located at the foot of West Valley Mountain, 10 kilometres away from Lhasa. One of the largest monasteries belonging to Gelugpa sect, houses a huge collection of rare Buddhist scriptures, cultural relics and gilded statues.


This evening, enjoy the night view of Potala. Time free to enjoy dinner on own at a local restaurant & transfer back to Hotel. Stay overnight at the hotel. Thangka Hotel B, L



Day 3- Jun. 17, WED: LHASA TOUR

After breakfast, begin your tour of the Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Stunningly dominating the skyline of Lhasa atop the crest of Marpo Ri Hill, the 7th century Potala is considered Lhasa’s most holy destination for a pilgrimage. Winding up the hill, a stone path leads to the 14 story 1,000 room and 23,000 square foot palace. Each day, thousands of pilgrims give the prayer wheels lining the path a clockwise spin as they make their way up to the entrance. Though a holy place, it is also an administrative and political complex. Next, visit Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet also the holiest destination for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. Your final stop is at Barkhor Street, a place full of religious atmosphere and a world of exotic articles. Located in the center of old Lhasa, it is the oldest street in Lhasa as well as the most representative. Being a circular street, Barkhor is where pilgrims either walk or crawl around Jokhang Temple.


Following dinner at a local restaurant, attend “Princess Wencheng” a live-action opera set in the mountainous region of Lhasa. Opera incorporates Tang Dynasty and Tibetan dances, Tibetan opera, songs, and numerous other artistic performances, recounting the stories of Princess Wencheng, who travelled a long way to ancient Tibet to marry Songtsen Gampo. Tangka Hotel B, L, D


Day 4- Jun. 18, THU: LHASA – Day free

Day free for independent activities. Tangka Hotel B


Day 5- Jun. 19, FRI: LHASA / DANGXIONG

After breakfast, leave Lhasa and travel overland to Dangxiong. Located on the border between southern and northern Tibet. Its most famous attraction is Nam Co, one of Tibet’s three holy lakes. The endless snow-capped mountain beside the lake is the Nyainqentanglha Mountain. On a beautiful day, the snow-capped mountains are reflected in the lake, giving a sense of peace and tranquillity. There are numerous secular believers who come to Nam Co every year to celebrate the Saga Dawa Festival. We will stop at the Yangbajing geothermal hot springs. There are large-scale fountains, geysers & hot water lakes. The huge steam generated by the geothermal field rises from the lake. We may be lucky to see a hot spring eruption, rushing towards the sky, which is very spectacular. Travel through the Lakenla Pass, standing on the mountain pass over 5000 meters (16,440 feet) above sea level, you will feel a howling wind. In the hearts of the Tibetan people, each mountain pass is a sacred place. Therefore, the mountain pass is full of prayer flags, showing reverence towards the gods. The Nianqing Tanggula Mountain Observation Deck is an excellent location to watch the main peak of the Nyainqentanglha Mountain. the blue sky, the white clouds, the snowy mountains, the black and white yak, and the prayers that dance in the wind, all form a colorful picture.


On arrival at Dangxiong, check-in and rest before Dinner. Dangxiong Kangma hot spring hotel B, L, D


Day 6- Jun. 20, SAT: RETING MONASTERY EXCURSION

After Breakfast visit the Reting Monastery, at an elevation of 4,150 m (213,600 feet). The Monastery is the seat of the Reting Rinpoche: this lineage started in the eighteenth century when the seventh Dalai Lama appointed his tutor as abbot of Reting. The monastery dates back to 1056. It was initially associated with Atisha but in its later years, it had an important connection with the Gelugpa order and the Dalai Lamas. The current main assembly hall or Tsogchen is half its original size. Enter the hall to the right to get to the main inner shrine, the Utse. The central statue of Jampai Dorje is an unusual amalgam of the gods Jampelyang, Chana Dorje and Chenresig. To the left is an ancient Thangka of Drolma that, according to the resident monks, was brought here by Atisha himself. A wooden box beside the altar holds the giant molar of Sangye Wosong, the Buddha before Shakyamuni. To the left of the Utse is a rare mural of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. After the visit, we return to the Hotel. After dinner this evening, we will observe the night sky (subject to weather) accompanied by Dr. Jay Pasachoff, our astronomy expert. Dangxiong Kangma hot spring hotel B, L, D



Day 7- Jun. 21, SUN: ANNULAR ECLIPSE AT XIANGMAOXIANG VILLAGE

After an early breakfast, we will travel for about 2 hrs to Xiangmaoxiang village, our base for Annular Eclipse viewing. Basic Lunch will be served at the Village. We will return back to the Hotel after the eclipse. During Dinner, Dr. Jay Pasachoff will brief us on his findings and annular eclipse experience. Dangxiong Kangma hot spring hotel B, L, D


Day 8- Jun. 22, MON: DANGXIONG/ LHASA

After Breakfast, we will travel back to Lhasa. The rest of day is free for independent activities. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant this evening Including Tibetan dance & music. Tangka Hotel B, L, D


Day 9- Jun. 23, TUE: DEPART LHASA

Breakfast at Hotel & time free until transfer for your flight returning home. B


TOUR EXTENSION 1- GYANTSE & XIGAZE

Land tour- $ 1,596.00 per person sharing

Single room- $ 1,850.00.00



Day 9- Jun. 23, TUE: LHASA-YAMDROK LAKE-GYANTSE

On our drive to Gyantse, we will cross two high passes over 5000 m (15,400 feet) Khambo la and Kharo la plus & a beautiful lake ‘Yamdrok Tso’ providing wondrous views of the Himalayan range. a colossal glacier `Karola’ rises nearly straight up from the road as we pass Kharo la pass. The drive is no daunting task as we pass through many more beautiful Tibetan valleys and quiet villages along the way to Gyantse. After settling in at our Hotel & brief rest, we will walk through the local market. Wonder around in the old town of Gyangtse, where you may chat with the local people to better know their life. Gyantse Hotel- B, L, D


Day 10- Jun. 24, WED: GYANTSE TOUR / XIGATSE

This morning we will visit the mysterious Palcho Monastery. The monks and tradition of three important sects of Tibetan Buddhism – Sakyapa, Zhalupa and Gelukpa, peacefully coexist in this monastery. Its Kumbum, which is 35 meters high and has 76 small chapels with hundreds of images of Kriyatantras, is believed to be the largest such structure in Tibet. Next visit Gyantse Dzong Fortress, famous for a patriotic story. In 1904, British troops invaded Gyangtse but encountered fierce opposition from the strong and brave Gyangtse people. They defended their city from this fortress on Zhongshan Hill, using primitive guns and cannons, swords, and even bows and arrows. The famous cliff where this fight took place is located in the centre of Gyangtse. It is 125-meter high at an altitude of 4,020 meters. It is a very impressive fortress with typical Tibetan palace architecture style which is inherited from Yumbulagang Palace – The First Palace of Tibet. Enjoy as well as photograph panoramic views on the city from the fortress.


After lunch travel to Xigatse visiting- Pala Manor enroute. Pala Manor is a well-preserved serf manor, situated at the Banjorlhunbo Village. Belonging to the noble Pala Family, Manor once had a large scale of 37 affiliated small manors and over 100 serfs. Today it is a well maintained 3-story house, showcasing traditional Tibetan architecture & noble layout. an insight into the wealthy landowning people. With beautiful decorations, exorbitant furniture and exquisite living supplies, it’s easy to gauge the extravagant luxury. On the other side, the serfs had a terribly impoverished life under the extremely unjust treatment by living in the dark narrow space. Experience and learn the old Tibetan society of privileged and slavery, an important part of Tibetan history.


Continue to Shigatse, capital of Tsang province (western Tibet), For centuries tension has existed between Lhasa, the capital of U (Central Tibet). After the collapse of the Pamotrupa dynasty in 1418, the centre of political power in Tibet shifted from the Yarlung Valley region to Tsang, first to Rinpung (east of Shigatse) and then, in 1565, to Shigatse itself became the base of the powerful king of Tsang, who, allied with the Karmapas at Tsurpu monastery, sought to gain control over the whole Tibet. In 1610 the King’s authority was tenuously extended by the powerful Geluk school and their patrons. The conflict culminated in 1642 in the defeat of the Tsang king by the principal Geluk patron, the Mongol Gushri Khan, and the enthronement of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the vanquished king’s capital. Upon arrival check-in at Hotel. Qomo Lanzong Hotel B, L, D


Day 11- Jun. 25, THU: SHIGATSE

Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, one of the few monasteries in Tibet to weather the stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution, Tashilhunpo remains relatively unscathed. Explore the cobbled lanes twisting around its aged buildings. Covering 70,000 sq metres, the monastery is now the largest functioning religious institution in Tibet – home to around 950 monks – and one of its great monastic sights. The huge golden statue of the Future Buddha is the largest gilded statue in the world. Walkthrough the monastery to the first and probably most impressive of Tashilhunpo’s sights: the Chapel of Jampa (Jamkhang Chenmo). An entire building houses a 26m figure of Jampa (Maitreya), the Future Buddha. The statue was made in 1914 under the auspices of the ninth Panchen Lama and took some 900 artisans and labourer’s four years to complete. The impressive, finely crafted and serene-looking statue towers high over the viewer. Each of Jampa’s fingers is more than 1m long, and in excess of 300kg of gold went into his coating, much of which is also studded with precious stones. Next visit the Victory Chapel (Namgyel Lhakhang) housing a large statue of Tsongkhapa flanked by his two disciples. The tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (Serdung Sisum Namgyel) is a dazzling gold-plated funeral chörten. The ceiling of the chapel is painted with a Kalachakra (Dukhor in Tibetan) mandala, with a mural of the deity on the left wall, and the walls are painted with gold buddhas in various mudras (hand gestures). The gold-roofed chapel holds the tomb of the fourth Panchen Lama (Kundun Lhakhang), Lobsang Choekyi Gyeltsen (1567–1662), teacher of the fifth Dalai Lama. This was the only mausoleum at Tashilhunpo to be spared during the Cultural Revolution. The 11m-high funerary chörten is inlaid with semiprecious stones and contains 85kg of gold. The rest of the afternoon is free for independent activities. Qomo Lanzong Hotel B, L, D


Day 12- Jun. 26, FRI: SHIGATSE / LHASA

After breakfast, we travel back to Lhasa where the rest of the evening is free. Thangka Hotel Lhasa- B, L


Day 13- Jun. 27, SAT: LHASA/ HOME

Breakfast at Hotel and transfer to the airport for your international flight.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE:

$1,000.00 per person deposit is due at time of booking with registration.

2nd payment of $2,000.00 due on or before Dec. 31, 2019

Balance payment due on Mar. 15, 2020


CANCELLATIONS:

$500.00 per person after booking

$1000.00 per person until Dec. 30, 2019

100% penalty if cancelled after Mar. 15, 2020


PLEASE NOTE: Group air rates from major US cities will be negotiated with the airlines and offered to participants (usually 11 months prior to departure). Airlines may require the purchase of International air to receive low domestic travel rates or rates may be combined for both International and Domestic travel.


Traveler Health

It is each traveler’s responsibility to take all appropriate medical advice prior to booking as to whether or not they are fit enough to undertake this trip.


Trip Cancellation Insurance

We recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your travel investment.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.