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Shoton Festival Tour

4 Days
From USD970
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Tour Type:
Private Tour
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This 4 days Tour will show you the grandest festival to Tibetans - Shoton Festival lasting from August 22 of Tibetan calendar. The most attractive of which is Buddha Thangka and Tibetan Opera. Also, it’s the most sacred way to show the deepest respect for Buddhism. During this festival, you also will have a chance to well know the holy city Lhasa by visiting historical Potala Palace, mystical Jokhang temple, sprawling Sera and Drepung monastery.
DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m) Pick up and transfer to the hotel.
2 Lhasa Sightseeing Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
3 Lhasa Sightseeing Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery
4 Lhasa departure Send off to the airport/train station

Daily Itinerary


When you arrive in Lhasa, our staff will pick you up at Lhasa Airport/ Railway Station and transfer you to the hotel. From the airport, it takes about 1.5 hours. From the train station, it only takes 20 minutes. Afterward, it's better to relax and take it easy on the first day to get acclimatized to high altitude and alleviate the jet lag. You might go to the local market and wander around the city on your own but try not to overtax yourself.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Today, you will explore the Potala Palace, which is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet. It's best to explore the inside of the Potala in the morning for 2-3 hours. Afterward, you may walk the pilgrimage route around the Potala Palace.

In the afternoon, you will head to the Jokhang Temple, which is well known as the center of the Tibetan Buddhism, features Buddhist prayer wheels, reclining deer, golden sutra streamers, etc. Also, you can see a great many of pilgrims praying in front of the temple and do kora with local pilgrims. After visiting the Jokhang Temple, you will stroll in the old alleys of Barkhor Street, where you can drink the sweet tea, chat with locals and even bargain with the street vendors to understand the real-life in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

The entrance of Potala Palace
Three Tibetan women at the gate of Jokhang Temple.

Today's highlight is the annual Shoton Festival lasting from August 22 of Tibetan calendar. First, you will watch Qamba Buddha Thangka unfolding at the Drepung Monastery by about 100 lamas. At that moment, horns resound and scripture chanting starts. Disciples offer Khada to the Thangka and touch it by forehead to show their devotion. Within two hours, the Thangka will be rolled up again and carried back. We’ll not see it until the next year. Later, you will head to Norbulingka to watch the various superb Tibetan Opera, performed from about 11:00 am.

After having lunch and a short rest, you'll visit the Sera Monastery, which is another one of the 'Great Three' Gelug monasteries. It is famous for the Buddhism activities of "Monks Debate" held at around 3 to 5 PM in the afternoon. Also, inside the monastery, the three sand Mandalas and colorful Rock Painting of Buddha are hot attractions.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Drepung Monastery
Tyokyil Potrang is a pavilion in the midst of a lake and known for the top scenic spot in Norbulingka
Your Tibet tour ends today. After breakfast, you will be free in the morning. Our staff will collect you at your hotel to transfer to Lhasa Airport/Railway Station.
Tour Price and Service

From US$970 p/p

Based on 3-star hotels for 2 people. Price varies according to travel season, number of people and level of accommodation.

  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB) and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance tickets fee for tourist attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Experienced local English-speaking tour guide;
  • Travel-licensed vehicle according to group size & season as itinerary needed including gas and parking fee;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel, or guesthouse. Please tell us your preference;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Pick-up & Drop-off service from Airport/railway station;
  • Travel Agency Liability insurance;
  • Government tax;
  • Express delivery fee of Permit (eg. SF. Express);
  • Food & lodgings for guide & driver;
  • Oxygen tank for emergency use;
  • Sleeping bags;
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day.

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese Visa/China Group Visa; (Note: we could help you by providing the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies for your Chinese Visa or the invitation letter for your China Group Visa)
  • Domestic flight/train to and out of Lhasa; (We can help you book the domestic flight/train ticket at the BEST price. Please contact us for details.)
  • Meals are not included but we will recommend some good ones for you according to your requirements. Usually, it takes 3-10 USD per person for each meal.
  • While the gratuity for guide and driver is NOT mandatory, it is expected. Based on their service, you can tip them on the last day of the tour. Each of you is suggested to tip them 5-10 USD/day in total;
  • All the commission and tax charged by PayPal, Bank, and government when making payment. (e.g. PayPal --- 4.2%. Wire transfer --- 2%);
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions.

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Gary***

Shoton Festival tour. Is it too late to go this year. I know TTP takes 15-20 days. Travel has proved to be difficult. Train tickets are sold out. My wife is Chinese and there are just the two of us. We are interested in joining a group. We are in China now. Please advise, thank you,

Answered by Claire 2017-07-27

Hi, Gary!

About the train tickets you mentioned, I’d love to book it for you. So don’t worry, my dear. By the way, May I know where you will depart from by train?

About the tour you are interested in, is a private tour. But we have the fixed 4-day group tour and its itinerary is similar with the private one. Meanwhile, there is an existing 4-day tour on our tour calendar, which the date of departure is on 19th Aug. So you can catch up the Shoton Festival on 21th Aug when the biggest show is held in that day.



Asked by Trac***

I have never traveled to Asia, but it is my dream to experience the city of Lhasa. I would be traveling with my husband. I have no idea how to get to Tibet by air so would require guidance on where to fly from. Curious as to cost. Thinking about making this trip next summer 2018. Thank you.

Answered by Amy 2017-06-28

Dear Tracey Malesa-Wheaton, about transportation, you could fly from your country to a China city first such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing or Guangzhou etc, then take flight or train from one of China cities to Lhasa directly, this is not a problem. 

Since you are very interested in exploring the city of Lhasa in summer, I highly suggest you take our 4 Days-Lhasa City Cultural Tour between June and Aug(Sep is very good time to visit too). With this tour, you will see the best & most famous attractions Lhasa gotta to offer and experience the local life of Tibetans, hope you like it.

Asked by Anat***

2 people, please offer also other tours

Answered by Penny 2017-05-25

Dear Anat Hadash, the Shoton Festival will be held on 21 Aug, 2017. Could you kindly let me know more information as following so that I can provide you the proposal accordingly?

1. How many days you plan to stay in Tibet?

2. What kind of accommodation you would like to stay in, the Luxurious (5-star), the comfortable (4-star)/economy class (3-star) hotel or the budget guest house?

What Our Customers Say
Barkhor street

I just returned to Beijing yesterday and I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful trip to Tibet. Your company arranged everything very well, and Lobsang was an excellent tour guide, I was deeply impressed by how hard-working and dedicated he was, especially when he helped arrange my nucleic a ....

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