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11 Days Imperial China & Holy Tibet

Tour Route: Beijing - Lhasa - Xi'an

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Trip Overview:

This tour features three of the most historically significant cities in China. You will see all of the major attractions this trio has to offer during your relatively short stay. When wandering in Beijing and Xi’an, you will indulge in the unique atmosphere of those imperial sites. Then follow the footsteps of devoted Tibetans to explore their religion and pilgrimage routes.
 

  • Tour Code:
    TTO-TT-BLX11
  • Max Altitude:
    3,650 m
  • Tour Type:
    Private tour with private guide and vehicle
  • Phisycal Demand:

    Phisycal Demand Level Guide:
    1. Easy (1 point) - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
    2. Moderate (2-3 Points) - suitable for those having average level for fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 years.
    3. Moderate to Strenous (4 Points) - suitable for those physically fit and have experiences of high altitude trekking.
    4. Strenuous (5 Points) - suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.

  • Season:
    springSpringSummerSummerautumnAutumnwinterWinter

Hightlights:

  • Visit the capital of China and tour hot attractions like Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Temple of Heaven, Badaling Great Wall, the Summer Palace and olympic stadium Bird's nest
  • Enjoy the scenic Beijing-Lhasa train ride
  • Tour many religious sites in Lhasa such as Potala Palace, The Jokhang and Drepung and Sera monastery, and bustling Barkhor street
  • Travel in Xian and visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Great Mosque,etc.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

The prelude of your exciting China tour starts when you meet our professional local guide at Beijing Airport after reclaiming your luggage and clearing the customs. The guide will accompany you in a comfortable vehicle to the hotel and help you with the check-in procedure. The rest of the day is left for you to have a good rest or to become familiar with our capital city by yourself. 

Day 2: Beijing Sightseeing

Today your tour officially starts. First you will meet your group members at the hotel lobby and have a short meeting with the guide. Then head to the first stop today, the impressive Tian'anmen Square, which is the biggest urban city square in the world. Nowadays, many constructions of great historical importance have been built on and around it.  From there you will enter the "Imperial Palace" known as the Forbidden City to explore its many fascinating halls and pavilions.

Here, you will not only get to know how the emperor handled political affairs and lived their lives, but also appreciate numerous ancient art treasures. In the afternoon, you will go to the Temple of Heaven, the place where the emperors worshipped the heaven for good harvests. As the dwelling of the God of Heaven, it covers an area even larger than the dwelling of the emperor, Forbidden City. To round off a memorable start to your travel, we will arrange a lively and dramatic Chinese Kung Fu Show at the Red Theater.

Day 3: Beijing Sightseeing and transfer to the Sky Train to Lhasa

This morning you will be taken to Badaling where you will experience at first hand the wonder of the Great Wall. Standing on the wall and looking at it stretching up and down into boundless distance is an exciting experience and will leave you a life-long memory. To celebrate and commemorate this moment, we specially provide red wine for a group-toasting on the Great Wall. After lunch, we will drive you back to the city center, while on the way back to downtown, you will have a short stay at the Bird's Nest (Olympic National Stadium), the major venue for 2008 Olympic Games, and take photos with the huge nest.

In the afternoon, visit China's largest imperial garden, the Summer Palace, which is renowned for the perfect combination of natural landscape and gardening design. You can see beautiful scenery of lakes, mountains, islands and trees, as well as traditional Chinese garden construction of long corridors, pavilions, bridges and halls.  Departure transfer to Beijing West Station to take Train No.T27 starting at 9:30pm for Lhasa. The Beijing Lhasa Railway extends about 3753km across the heartland of the Middle Kingdom and the Tibetan Plateau. It will take you 43 hrs 32 min. and across the 5200 meter high mountain pass amidst the grand vistas of surreal mountain range and uniquely shaped Tibetan Landscape. It would be an unforgettable expedition across full bosomed clear streams cascading down beautiful mountain ranges, sharing kisses with glistering dew drops, an amorous ride with nature.

Day 4: On the train

Lanzhou 1:04pm The Lanzhou Train Station is located in a narrow valley. The Yellow River passes through the city. It is one of the largest cities in the northeast. And there is an famous attraction around Lanzhou - the Bingling Temple Caves.  Xining 3:50pm Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, and an important stopover for a visit to China's largest inland lake, Qinghaihu, a bird watchers paradise. It is a good starting pointing to come into Tibet from here. 

Day 5: Afternoon arriving at Lhasa

When you arrive in Lhasa either by train or flight, your guide will greet you and take you to your hotel .An route to view the Yarlung Tsangpo River/ Bhamaputra river (the Longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa river.

After arriving in Lhasa ,you can take a rest and acclimatize to plateau environment. If you feel to go out, then you can go to the Potala square, where you will enjoy the fountain with different colors and get amazing photos of the Potala and around.

Day 6: 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. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.

In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have 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. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.

Day 7: 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.

The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there, in the afternoon, visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose 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 back to Lhasa.

Day 8: from Lhasa to Xian by air

Free time at your disposal this morning, explore the bustling markets of the Barkhor to buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. After lunch, departure transfer to the airport and fly to Xian. Our guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to have a good rest or explore the city. 

Day 9: Xian Sightseeing

The visit to the majestic Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum will start your day's trip. In the museum, there are altogether three excavated pits exhibiting amazing warrior figures and Chinese ancient weapons. No wonder a great site to learn about Chinese ancient military affairs. At noon, a special homely cooked a la carte lunch will be served to you at a local people's home. It is a good chance for you to experience close contact with the local people and will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.   

In the afternoon, visit one of the landmarks of Xian, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Originally built to collect Buddhist scriptures, now the pagoda has been a symbol of this ancient capital city. Later, our guide will take you to the Provincial History Museum, China's most comprehensive museum exhibiting ancient China in all aspects. 

Day 10: Xian Sightseeing

Pay a visit to the City Wall in the morning. Originally built as military defensive systems in the Ming Dynasty, at present, a garden has been built along the wall. Standing on it, you may see the local people doing morning exercises, singing, playing games. Or you could cycle on the ancient wall which is a special experience that many people like to try. In the afternoon, continue to visit the Great Mosque, a place where the local Muslims attend worship ceremony. You may have a glimpse of Xian Muslims' life here. This evening, you will enjoy a marvelous Tang Dynasty Dinner Show at the Tang Dynasty Palace. The show will take you back to 1400 years ago - the dreamy and glorious Tang Dynasty.

Day 11: Departure from Xian

Our guide will pick you up from the hotel and send you to the airport so that you can board the flight back home after this pleasant tour. Alternatively, should you wish to stay on rather than return home right away, you could contact us and choose our other City Packages as an extension to your memorable adventure!

What’s included?

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.

Trip Notes:

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.

2. Accommodation

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.

4. Toilet

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.

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