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15 Days Best China Tibet Tour from Shanghai

Tour Route: Shanghai - Chengdu - Train to Lhasa - Xian - Beijing

Trip Overview:

Take this 15-day trip of exploration across China to the Tibetan capital and back and you will discover the long history of this ancient nation. First explore the delights of Shanghai, China’s largest city, and stroll through the fabulous Yu Garden and along the lit streets of The Bund at night. Then in Chengdu, visit the cute yet auspicious giant pandas that were mythical in early China and explore the exquisite halls of the city’s most famous temple.

On the high Tibetan plateau, explore the many monasteries that sit in the City of Sunshine, and climb up to the high palace on the Red Hill, before kneeling in prayer at the most sacred of Buddhist temples. As you move to Xi’an, you will go on to tour around the ancient Chinese Imperial capital and discover why the First Emperor of China made thousands of soldiers to aid his journey to the afterlife. At last, in Beijing, roam the “once” Forbidden City, see the beauty of the Summer Palace, climb onto the Great Wall of China, and visit the tombs of the ancient Ming Emperors.

  • Tour Code: TTO-TT-STT15

  • Trip Level:

  • Tour Type: Private tour with private guide and vehicle

  • Time to Visit:

Highlights:

  • Experience the thrills of visiting the ancient and modern capitals of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.
  • Stand on top of the Great Wall of China and be seen from space.
  • Kneel to pray at the world’s most sacred temple in Lhasa and join the pilgrims on their circumambulations.
  • See the auspicious pandas that were once just a myth in ancient China.
  • Discover the army that lay hidden beneath China for thousands of years.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Shanghai

When international flight lands in Shanghai, please take a taxi by yourself to our reserved hotel. The rest of the day free for you to be on your own.

Stay overnight in Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai Day Tour: Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden and the Bund

In the morning, visit Shanghai Museum. It is a large museum exhibiting the ancient art while featuring bronze ware, chinaware, calligraphy and painting. Then, travel to the Yu Garden, which is a famous classic garden of south region. The beautiful scenery and quiet atmosphere here make it a peaceful place in bustling Shanghai.

In the afternoon, we will transfer you to the Bund area for a short cruise on the Huangpu River. Standing on the cruise ship, you will see many western-style buildings from Shanghai's colonial days in Puxi area. While on Pudong side, rows of skyscrapers will come into view. The utterly different buildings are the best records of the development of the city. You will explore the Bund area and then visit an old street in Shanghai.

Stay overnight in Shanghai.

Day 3: Shanghai Half-day Tour; Fly to Chengdu

Today, you will first visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and Jade Buddha Temple. As an important window for publicity of Shanghai, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center will let tourists (especially the first-time visitors) have a better understanding of this charming city. And the Jade Buddha Temple is venerable Buddhist temple, built to keep two jade Buddha statues which were brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen.

After that, you will be escorted to the airport for the flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to the hotel in Chengdu.

Stay overnight in Chengdu.

Day 4: Chengdu Day Tour – Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha

In the morning, the guide will pick you up to visit Chengdu Panda Research Center. Morning is pandas' feeding time, and you will visit both adult and baby pandashouses and watch them eating fresh bamboo. In the afternoon, drive about 2 hours to Leshan, where you can visit biggest sitting Buddha sculpture in the Lingyun Temple. The grand Buddha was completed in 803 of Tang Dynasty after 90 year's construction and enjoys the fame of the biggest sitting stone sculpture in the world, about 71- meter in height. Either watching the Buddha by hiking or by cruise. After the tour, drive back to Chengdu, end the tour at Tianfu Square. Please take taxi to your reserved Hotel

Stay overnight in Chengdu.

Day 5: Free day to explore the city, board the train to Lhasa

Enjoy your free time in Chengdu to visit some tourist attractions like Jinli Street, Wuhou Temple, Jinsha Museum, etc. 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 in the train

Day 6-7: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Sightseeing by train, arrive in Lhasa

The train will move on Qinghai Tibet Plateau, and you will pass by Yuzhufeng, which is the main peak of Kunlun Mountain, World Natural Heritage Kekexili Naturel Preserve, Tuotuo River-the resource of Yangtze River, Naqu Grassland and Cuona Lake. In the morning of the next day, the train will arrive in Lhasa. Tour guide will meet you at railway station.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 8: Lhasa Day Tour to Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

The tour will begin from UNESCO World Heritage site - Potala Palace, which is also the winter palace of Dalai Lama. It's situated at 12,139 feet above sea level. It's a 13-story high building that contains over 1,000 rooms, various statues, stupas, murals and artifacts. Then continue to Jokhang Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a spiritual center for Buddhists in Tibet. Next to the temple there is Barkhor Street, filled with pilgrims and street vendors, selling traditional Tibetan items such as prayer wheels and jewelry.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 9: Lhasa Day Tour to Visit Two Important Monasteries in Lhasa, Sera & Drepung

In the morning, tourists are going to visit Drepung Monastery which was one of the “three greet” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1416. Ganden palace is used as Dalai Lama’s palace in the Drepung before moving to the Potala palace. In the afternoon, Sera Monastery---It was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419. The highlight is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 10: Flight from Lhasa to Xian

Today, you will head to take the flight to Xi’an from Lhasa. Your guide will transfer you to the airport. It will take about 3 hours to get to Xi’an by flight.

The local guide will pick you up upon your arrival, and then take you to the reserved hotel. The rest of the day is for you to have a good rest.

Stay overnight in Xi'an.

Day 11: Xian Day Tour: Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter

In the morning, you will visit the Museum of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, a must-see when in Xi'an. Around 8,000 ancient, life-sized figures were created to accompany the first Emperor of China to the afterlife and were part of his mausoleum. Each figure has a unique facial structure and expression as if they had been made from living people. The warriors were buried with the Emperor in 208BC and were not discovered until 1974.

After the warriors, you will head over to the Ancient City Wall of Xi'an for a leisure bicycle tour. The wall around the inner part of the city was built in the 14th century and is 14km long. It is an amazing example of ancient defensive structures. Then you will travel to the Muslim Quarter, the largest area of Muslim business in the city. It is the perfect place to buy souvenirs of Xi'an and China, with a wide range of local snacks and handicrafts.

Stay overnight in Xi'an.

Day 12: Xian Day Tour: Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum; High Speed Train to Beijing

In the morning, you will continue exploring this fascinating city of Xi’an. First, you will visit one of the most popular sites in Xi'an, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in 652, the pagoda is a repository of Buddhist figures and scriptures brought to Xi'an from India by, Xuanzang, the first abbot of Daci'en Temple.

Afterwards, you will head to Shanxi History Museum, where you can take in the glory and ancient history of China. The museum holds artifacts that date back as far as the Paleolithic era, up to the more recent Qing Dynasty. The museum is packed with thousands of exhibits from all periods of history, and is a busy, popular attraction.

Finally, the guide will take you to the railway station for your high-speed train to Beijing. On arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.

Stay overnight in Beijing.

Day 13: Beijing Day Tour: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace

Today is guided tour to Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace which are the traditional must-see places in Beijing. These attractions presentto the visitors an image of how the ancient Chinese emperors manage the country, what their family life is, how they spent leisure time, how they sacrifice gods.

Overnight in Beijing.

Day 14: Beijing Day Tour: Mutianyu Great Wall, Bird's Nest and Water Cube from Outside

The Great Wall tour proves that China was one of the strongest country in its history. Stretching thousands of kilometers, the Great Wall protected the ancient Chinese against the invasion of the enemy from its north side for more than 1000 years, the Great Wall was listed as one of the world's eight wonders. Mutianyu Great Wall, featured “graceful”, enjoy the best quality among all Wall sections, 80km north-east of Beijing with 22 ancient watchtowers, about one every kilometer. (Cable car is optional if you do not want to walk)

After that, you will be transferred back to the hotel in downtown area. On the way, you will witness the remarkable Bird's Nest and Water Cube from the outside. Both designed as the main stadiums of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, they now become the popular landmarks of Beijing.

Stay overnight in Beijing.

Day 15: Beijing Departure

Today, you will be transferred to Beijing International Airport for your flight home or next destination.

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. How to Get the Tibet Travel Permit?

    The Tibet Travel Permit is essential for any Tibet tour. We help to obtain this permit free of charge when you book your Tibet tour through us. Simply send us copies of your passport and China visa at least 20 days in advance. Once we receive your documents, we will promptly process the permit application with the Tibet Tourism Bureau. After obtaining your permit, we will notify you and send it to your hotel in mainland China.

    In exceptional cases, our staff can personally deliver the permit to you at the airport or railway station. With years of experience in handling Tibet Travel Permit, we assure you a smooth visit to Tibet by ensuring the acquisition of your permit.

  • 2. Where to Stay in Tibet?

    Accommodation facilities and services in Tibet might not match those found in the coastal and central parts of China. However, there's a diverse range of hotel options available. However, you can choose from a wide range of hotel options. In big cities like Lhasa and Shigatse, from cheap and clean youth hostels to distinct Tibetan-style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotels, you will find one that suits your interests and budget.

    As you travel to remote areas of Tibet, such as EBC and the Mount Kailash region, the accommodations tend to be more basic. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel, while others may only offer electric blankets in the guesthouses. Nonetheless, we always handpick cozy and safe accommodations for you along your itinerary in Tibet, ensuring a pleasant night's stay for your Tibet tour.

  • 3. How about the Guiding and Tipping in Tibet?

    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 monitor your health and provide prompt assistance to you. If you encounter any trouble, please do not hesitate to contact them or our customer service manager.

    Travelers' tipping to Tibetan guides and drivers is seen as extra gratitude for their excellent service, much like what you do in the West. Normally, a tipping amount of 7 USD per day is acceptable. The basic principle is rewarding good service with fair pay.

  • 4. How are the Toilets in Tibet?

    Undoubtedly, for many Western tourists, using toilets in Tibet can be a challenging experience. Therefore, it's advisable to moderate your expectations. If you travel to Lhasa by Tibet train, both western-style and squat toilets are available onboard. Staying in hotels rated above 3 stars in cities like Lhasa and Shigatse ensures access to standard Western flush toilets, eliminating any discomfort.

    However, when visiting attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso or outdoor sites like EBC, you're likely to encounter smelly and unclean pit toilets. It's recommended to carry sufficient toilet paper for such occasions.

  • 5. How is the Weather in Tibet? What to Pack for Visiting Tibet?

    One of the notable weather features on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the significant temperature fluctuation between day and night. In Lhasa, the annual temperatures range from -2℃ to 12℃ (spring), 9℃ to 22℃ (summer), 7℃ to 19℃ (fall), and -7℃ to 9℃ (winter). Ensure proper clothing, such as thermal tops, a fleece jacket, breathable underwear, a down jacket, jeans, a beanie, and other essentials.

    Moreover, essentials like sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are crucial to shield yourself from the intense, blinding sunlight of the plateau. Staying hydrated by drinking more water and including vegetables in your diet is advisable to prevent dehydration during your travels in Tibet.

  • 6. How to Prevent from Altitude Sickness in Tibet?

    For first-time visitors to Tibet, whether arriving by flight or train, allowing ample rest is crucial for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Avoid rushing to explore the streets or attractions independently. Walk at a slower pace and refrain from exerting yourself by running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa before venturing to places like Shigatse or Namtso allows for better acclimatization. If you experience any discomfort, inform your guide, and they will assist you.

  • 7. Are There some Dos and Don'ts while Touring Tibet?

    Photography is generally prohibited in monasteries. If you wish to capture images of Tibetan pilgrims, kindly seek their permission or maintain a considerable distance while taking photos. Swimming and fishing are prohibited in the sacred lakes of Tibet. Avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics. According to policy, international tourists are not permitted to travel alone in Tibet.

    While navigating Barkhor Street, adhere to the custom of walking clockwise. Refrain from exploring unfamiliar trails. Take proactive steps to preserve Tibet's delicate ecosystem.

    Given that Tibetan Buddhism profoundly influences the lives of Tibetans, always show reverence and respect for their unique customs. If uncertain about any practice, it's advisable to seek guidance from your tour guide before proceeding.

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    Experienced Drivers for Safe and Scenic Routes

    Our skilled drivers make sure your journey is safe and fun, going through different routes like winding mountains and wide grasslands. Get ready for an amazing adventure exploring Tibet's beautiful landscapes with us! And don't worry—we always have oxygen and bottled water in our vehicles for your safety and comfort.

  • Our small group at Jokhang Temple

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    We're the top Tibetan tour operator, focusing on small group tours—our specialty! Our trips offer classic experiences with lots of choices and often leave at great prices. No shopping pressure, just budget-friendly fun! Our groups stay small, maxing out at 12 people, and we get over 5,000 clients every year.

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    With 30+ years of experience, we provide you with a free Tibet Permit! Count on us to handle all your travel needs smoothly, ensuring your trip to explore stunning Tibet is stress-free. Your permit is our promise for an amazing adventure in the Himalayas!

  • Local Tibetan restaurant

    Supporting Local Communities through Tibetan-Owned Businesses

    We only pick Tibetan-owned restaurants and hotels to help our community. Your trip with us directly helps the Tibetan community by supporting local businesses. Come embrace real Tibet and make a positive impact while exploring with us!

  • Explore Mount Kailash

    Authentic Exploration of Tibet's Rich Culture

    Discover the real Tibet with us! We're dedicated to showing its true spirit and exploring its lively culture. Our aim is to give you an authentic experience, sharing the beauty and richness of Tibetan traditions. Come along for a journey deep into the heart of Tibet!

  • Leisurely explore Lake Yamdrok

    Unhurried Exploration of Every Destination

    We never hurry on our tours, so you can enjoy every spot fully. We promise a relaxed pace, letting you take in each place on our list. Journey with us for a truly satisfying experience!

  • Photo with Mount Everest

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    Feel safe with our 24/7 local support! Your safety and comfort matter most to us. We talk to our guides every day to keep your trip smooth. Count on us for ongoing help, making your journey hassle-free and fun. Relax knowing we're here for you throughout your adventure!

  • Pleasant trip in Tibet

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    Join us for amazing travel adventures! We keep making our trips better every year, improving quality wherever we go. We're dedicated to giving you the best service possible. Come with us on unforgettable journeys where every detail shows how much we care about making you happy!

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What Our Customers Say

  • My Tibetan tour

    I just returned from my 8 day Tibetan excursion with my guide Kelsang Dorje I had a wonderful trip seeing fantastic places - there Jokhong Temple ,Potala Palace , the base camp of Everest. Kelsang was a wonderful guide and very informative about all the visits...More reviews

    May 2024 teri
  • Amazing trip with Pasang as the best guide ever!

    This was a great tour! Tibet is of course amazing but what really made this trip special is our guide Pasang! I feel we could not have been more lucky with him as our guide...More reviews

    May 2024 Celine C
  • Wonderful experience in Tibet

    Really enjoyed visiting the monasteries and Everest base camp. Our tour guide Keldor was very good with arranging everything for us in the trip. Our experience wouldn’t be as great as it is without Keldor.More reviews

    May 2024 Nathan N
  • If you go to Tibet you will never forget

    This trip was one of the most amazing I have ever taken! I experienced the most unique way to learn about Tibetan culture and people. And nature is just mind blowing. No words can describe beauty of Tibetan nature, you must see yourself to believe it...More reviews

    April 2024 Juris U
  • Amazing experience

    Amazing experience, thankfully to our guide the young Kunga, whose knowledge is amazing! Superb experience, highly recommended...More reviews

    April 2024 Tim Starcic
  • Best Tibet trip ever

    Such an amazing trip! Having the opportunity to visit this lovely part of the world is very eye-opening:) our guide, Tenzin, was very knowledgeble and kind. A 10/10 experience...More reviews

    April 2024 Crete
  • Truly memorable experience

    We did a private trip actually, after a thorough research of numerous agencies we decided to go with Tibet Vista as they seem very experienced in Tibet tours and they are also very responsive. It was well-made decision, we loved our tour and our guide Kungga was excellent, he was attentive and accomodating to us...More reviews

    Apr 2024 Denira K
  • Once in a life time

    14 days from Beijing to Tibet and Nepal. The reality was beyond my expectations. A trip that I will remember for the rest of my life. The trip was arranged in an exceptional way! Laura Tang did an amazing job! She responded to all my questions immediately, she supported and solved any problems very quickly. The hotels she arranged for me were amazing!! ...More reviews

    Jan 2024 nico k
  • Nice view in winter!

    The view was magnificent. got to see snow and snow capped mountains. Thanks to Gemma Wei for helping with all the planning. Also thanks to Kunchok and Tsering for going accomodating to my needs as i was not used to the altitude. They also helped alot with the trek up the hills! ...More reviews

    Dec 2023 Benjamin X
  • Tibet is beautiful

    The tour was great! We visited amazing places and could feel the sacred atmosphere in all the temples. The nature is breathtaking with beautiful mountain and lake views. Our guide Jingme told us all about the history and showed us great places. All the hotels were much better than what I expected...More reviews

    Nov 2023 Krisyna H

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