AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Tibet Tour: Day 7

This was our last day of the tour and our last full day in Tibet. We were going to see Drepung Monastery first then in the afternoon we would be visiting Sera Monastery. Both were within a mile or so of central Lhasa.

We started the day at 9:30am. The bus took us from the hotel to Drepung Monastery, via the railway ticket office. The English couple had booked their tickets online to cut commission on the train tickets (something we didn’t know was possible). They had to collect the tickets in Lhasa. At the booking office they were told it was a booking office only, they would still have to go to the train station and collect the physical tickets.

At Drepung they asked the guide what to do. The station was shut over lunch and would shut around 5:30pm. They couldn’t collect on the day, the guide had warned that tickets are cancelled on the day if they haven’t been collected. After some discussion a decision was made. We’d go straight to the second monastery and skip lunch. This would give them enough time to collect the tickets in the afternoon. Maybe I’m just been selfish but we’d been in Lhasa two evenings and had most of the afternoon the day before to ourselves and they hadn’t bothered to go and collect the tickets. Now they were affecting us because they had left it to the final day! Sure, we can have a late lunch, that’s not the point! Why not go before? Argh! Anyway, group consensus, skip lunch.

Drepung Monastery was the largest monastery in Tibet. It had over 7,700 monks and at busy times had over 10,000 monks. It was more of a town than a monastery! Now it’s little more than a shadow of its former self. It sits on the side of a hill overlooking the west side of Lhasa.


We were taken around the many parts of the monastery, with its many shrines and to multiple thrones for the Dalai Lama,
if any ever return. By now we were starting to get ‘templed out’ and the information and sights were just blurring into one. The kitchen was vast, with a range taking up most of the room and containing holes large enough for pans 2m in diameter! The amount of wood required to keep that range hot must have been staggering. Nowadays, it doesn’t seem to be used. Instead a modern rice steamer was in the corner.

As with all the other monastery’s there was a camera charge for each shrine and section of the monastery and temple. Some of the rooms were pretty good but we were told to wait for the vast main hall, that would be worth paying for. An interesting statement our guide made was that he had been a monk at the monastery for 7 years when he was younger. That would explain his detailed knowledge of Buddhism.











After Drepung Monastery we were taken to Sera Monastery. The gate was impressive, so bright and colourful!

Entrance to Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery Gateway

We saw the great hall and many other smaller temples but remember very little and we have no photos because of the camera charge per room.

The Great Assembly Hall, Sera Monastery

Posted from Lhasa, Xizang (Tibet), China.

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