When planning a long-term trip to Chengdu and Tibet, you should not miss this 12-day Chengdu to Lhasa train tour. Following a classic itinerary from Chengdu to Lhasa by train, the tour also brings you to see the sacred Namtso Lake and glamourous Mount Everest Peak, to take in the most beautiful scenery on the plateau.
After visiting the Giant Panda in Chengdu, you will take the Tibet train to Lhasa, where you will spend two days exploring the majestic Potala Palace, husting Barkhor Street, and more important monasteries. Then head to the holy Namtso Lake to appreciate the heavenly lake sight. Continue drive westwards to Shigatse to Everest Base Camp, you will see magnificent Himalayan ranges on the way, and the sunrise appearing on the top of Mt. Everest. After that, drive back to Lhasa to finish this wonderful journey.
- Have a close contact with Giant Pandas in Chengdu.
- Experience the Sky Train, the world’s highest train ride from Chengdu to Lhasa.
- Tour the sacred monasteries in Lhasa.
- Get a taste of the turquoise waters, snowy peaks and nomads’ tents of stunning high-altitude Lake Namtso.
- Gaze upon the awe-inspiring summit of Mt. Everest.
Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu and Chengdu Sightseeing
Upon your arrival in Chengdu, our guide will meet you outside the baggage claim area of the airport and transfer you to the hotel.
Then, you can take a leisure stroll along Jinli Street. It is a famous commercial pedestrian street in the City, boasting rows of old-style buildings, delicious local snacks, interesting handicrafts and elegant restaurants. Later, drive to Wenshu Monastery to have wonderful taste of the vegetarian food for dinner. Another alternative is to enjoy the cultural show - Sichuan Opera in the evening.
Stay overnight in Chengdu
Day 2: Tour Chengdu Panda Breeding Center and Board Chengdu-Lhasa Train to Tibet
In the morning, you will have a special date with the adorable giant pandas in Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. You could also learn more about the life and habits of the national treasure of China. The remainder of the day is free for you to have a good rest or explore the city before taking the train to Tibet.
You will board the train from Chengdu to Lhasa in the evening. The Tibet Railway offers a stunning alpine scenery full of snow caped mountains, lakes, vast plateau plains littered with nomads, yaks, Tibetan antelope and many other wild life elements. Tibet Railway is the world’s highest Railway. The rail line expands a vast highland area with an average altitude of 4,300 meters above sea level, the highest being 5,068 meters.
Overnight on the train.
Day 3-4: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Sightseeing by train; Arrive in Lhasa
The train will move on Qinghai Tibet Plateau, and you will pass by Yuzhu Peak, which is the main peak of Kunlun Mountain, World Natural Heritage Kekexili Natural Preserve, Tuotuo River-the resource of Yangtze River, Naqu Grassland and Cuona Lake.
Upon arrival on the next day, you will be greeted by local guide at the train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck! After group photo at the station, board on the vehicle and transfer back to hotel, you will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way.
Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days and try to drink some water.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 5: Lhasa Highlights Escorted Tour
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. With the golden roof shinning in the sun, it is visible from any distance. You can spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building and exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures having numerous individual temples within it, dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot-high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha.
Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa - Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning have a tour for Drepung, the ever-largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks. Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
You can spend the afternoon touring Sera Monastery and have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. Sera monastery was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As roses are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning to Lhasa.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 7: Lhasa to Namtso Lake and drive back to Damxung
In the morning, drive from Lhasa to Lake Namtso, one of the four holy lakes of Tibet and also the highest saline lake in the world. On the way, you can see snow-capped Nyenchen Thanglha Mountain Ranges and lots of nomads and their tent with grazing yak and sheep densely-populated on the flourishing grassland (in summer). Besides, you can enjoy the view of the Sky-Road Railway with snow mountain background; while standing at the famous Lagenla Pass(5190m), you can view the stunning vista of holy Namtso Lake.
Then we can enjoy our time doing a leisurely trek around Tashi Dor Island and along the lakeshore. Drive back to Damxung. (For environment protection, the Lakeshore guesthouses were close by the government.)
Stay overnight in Damxung.
Day 8: Damxung to Shigatse
After breakfast, we will first visit Chimelong Nunnery (Phyirmil Lung Nunnery). Roam over the peaceful small nunnery and get an idea of different Buddhist studies in Tibet, you may also spot a sky burial site (Tibet funeral site) in the distance.
Then, we can go to Tsurphu Monastery, the seat of the Karmapa branch of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Here, you can learn more about the ‘Black Hats’, the Karma Kagyupa school of Tibetan Buddhism. In the summertime (June to September), we can also go for a ‘Linka outing’ (Tibetan-style picnic) in the small village at the foot of the hill of Tsurphu Monastery.
Finally, we will drive to Shigatse.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Today’s Cultural Tips: Sky burial is a funeral practice commonly seen in Tibet. The corpse will be disposed of and later devoured by vultures. In Tibetan Buddhism, sky burial is believed to represent their wishes to go to heaven. Only family members of the dead can attend the funeral.
Day 9: Shigatse (3900m) to Everest (5200m) via Tingri
Drive to Lhatse, it is a small town where tourists can have lunch. Then, head to Shegar and if the weather is clear enough then on the way down to Shegar tourists will view the Mt. Everest in the distance. After 4 to 6 hours’ drive, tourists will arrive at Rongbuk Monastery but on the way, they will pass one of the highest Passes in Tibet (pang la pass height 5050m) from that pass they will view the whole five highest peaks in the world.
Overnight in Rongbuk Tent Guest house.
Day 10: EBC (5200m) and Drive back to Shigatse (3900m)
Open your eyes, and wake up to the first sunlight shining over the pyramid-shaped summit of imposing Mt. Everest. Grab your camera for an epic shot and stroll to the Rongbuk Monastery, exploring this world’s highest Buddhist compound. If you wish, you can do the meditation and experience the unparalleled tranquility and harmony there. Or you can interact with monks and nuns with the help of guide to learn more of their unique spiritual life.
The temperature can get bitterly cold in the early morning. Do wear enough cloths like your down jacket, scarf and mittens to protect the extreme coldness. Finally, jump into our tour vehicle and say farewell to the world’s highest peaks through the rearview mirror of the van. By following the zigzag roads on Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, we head back to Shigatse.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 11: Shigatse (3900m) to Lhasa (3650m) 350km
Today, we will drive back to Lhasa by following Yalong Valley. You can stand on the viewing platform and view the vast Yalong River bed. Finally, the guide will transfer you back to your hotels in Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 12: Finish this Unforgettable Tour
Today, our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
Tour services end and Tibet welcome you back forever.
1.Tibet Entry Permit
2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;
3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
4. Professional English speaking tour guide;
5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
6.All measl listed in the itinerary;
7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance
What’s not included?
1. International flight to and out of China;
2. Chinese Visa
3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)
4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;
5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish
6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
5. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
7. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.