After breakfast, you will be going to visit the official seat of Panchen Lama – Tashilhunpo Monastery, also an influential monastery Geleg School. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery is one of the largest temples in Tibet with about 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 monks to take part in Buddhist activities. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style, those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition. Here you will see a giant statue of Future Buddha, the largest one of its kind on earth ( 26.2 meters high and 11.5 meters wide ), decorated with precious pearls, turquoises, corals, and ambers.
After the sightseeing, you will leave Shigatse and drive about 8 hours to Lhasa Palcho Monastery (altitude: 4,040m). 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.
Keeping driving about 2 hours from Gyantse, you will stop along the road and see the imposing Karola Glacier (altitude: 5,045m) towering aloft on the left side of the road. Moving on not very far from Karola Glacier, you will reach the holy Yamdrok Lake (altitude: 4,400m). As the largest fresh lake in the north of the Himalaya Mountains, it spreads about 675 square meters from south to north, like an eardrop lying in the arms of snow-capped giant mountains. Viewing from a distance, you can see fertile pastures full of yaks and sheep, and some small Tibetan villages along the lakeshore.
Continuing your trip, you will arrive in Lhasa in the afternoon. Have a good rest!
Tips for today: 1) wear warm clothes to prevent cold and wild; 2) pack some food and drinks with you because you will spend much time on the road.