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.
- 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.
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.
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.