This is a wonderful trip that brings you to the top popular destinations in Yunnan and Tibet, connected by convenient flight. First start your discovery Yunnan’s ancient cultural city - Lijiang, to stroll along the old streets and stone alleys and to climb Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Then drive to Shangri-la to appreciate the idyllic beauty of this land. After that transfer to Lhasa by flight, beginning your sightseeing in Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and more religiously holy sites. At last, you will go further to Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, to visit the world-famed Terra-Cotta Warriors and witness the profound history of Chinese civilization.
- Head to Lijiang where tourists can tour beautiful Lijiang Ancient Town and famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- As you travel to Shangri-La, you will enjoy First Bend of the Yangtze River, The Stone Drum Town, and Songzanlin Temple, etc.
- Get impressed by the brilliant Potala Palace, revered Jokhang Temple, and more important monasteries in holy Lhasa.
- Get amazed by the majestic Terra-Cotta Warriors.
Day 1: Arrival in Lijiang and Visit Lijiang Ancient Town and Lion Hill
Welcome to Lijiang! As you arrive in Lijiang, our guide will meet you outside of the airport and transfer you to the hotel. After a short rest, you will explore Lijiang Ancient Town, a national historical and cultural city. It is the most preserved and most Naxi-style ancient town in China. You can stroll in the streets of ancient town, buy some exquisite souvenir, and drink a cup coffee or wine in cafes and bars, and so on. Besides, you can also climb to Wangu Tower of the Lion Hill to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire ancient town.
Stay overnight in Lijiang.
Day 2: Lijiang Day Tour: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Black Dragon Pool
Today, you will firstly tour Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the southernmost snow mountain in China. The Jade Dragon Snow mountain is surrounded by clouds and fog, looking like a silver-white dragon. Then, head to Black Dragon Pool, built in 1737 during the Qing dynasty.
Stay overnight in Lijiang.
Day 3: Drive Lijiang to Shangri-La
Today, we will drive you from Lijiang to Shangri-La for about four to five hours. Along the way, you will visit one of China's deepest and most beautiful gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge has a reputation of being dangerous: one is the dangerous mountain with high peaks, steep cliffs, jagged rocks and winded gigantic old creepers; the other is dangerous water with a high drop, fast water current, numerous rocks, dangerous shoals and cascading waterfalls. All these forms a rare spectacle in the world.
Then you will come to the First Bend of the Yangtze River. It is named so because a sudden V-shaped bend has been formed when the Yangtze River flowing by. The nearly 180-degree turn creates marvelous and astonishing views. The Stone Drum Town, the town where the First Bend of the Yangtze River located, is the last stop on route. There is a drum-shaped marble monument in this town, hence the name. The town has for long been an important town for Han and Tibetan people to do business transactions. Upon arrival at Shangri-La, you will check in at the hotel.
Stay overnight in Shangri La.
Day 4: Shangri-la Sightseeing: Songzanlin Temple, Bitahai Lake, Shudu Lake
Today's tour will begin with a visit to the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Yunnan, Songzanlin Temple. This temple collects the elite of Tibetan religious culture and presents splendid architecture. Because of its similar appearance and layout to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, it is also reputed as 'small Potala Palace'. Then, you will travel to the Bitahai Lake. Fed by small streams from the snow-capped mountains encircled, the lake shapes just like a trumpet shell. In the color of azure with snowy mountains and trees reflecting in it, the gorgeous lake is a wonderland to appreciate the beauty of nature. There is also another lake of beauty and peacefulness, Shudu Lake. The plants around the lake are lush and the wild animals are various.
Stay overnight in Shangri La.
Day 5: Fly Shangri-la to Lhasa
Take morning flight to Lhasa, our guide will welcome you with a warm Tibetan style greeting and present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). Then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. For most of the way, you follow the Kyichu River, you could see Tibetan homes with their trapezoid shaped windows and fluttering prayer flags, and Tibetans walking beside the roads wearing their distinctive national costumes.
Do have a comfort stop near Nietang Buddha where a giant statue of Buddha has been carved out of a stone cliff-face centuries ago. One of the first buildings you could see as you enter the city is the Potala Palace, sitting majestically on a hill dominating Lhasa. 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 just and now.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa Sightseeing - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
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 Temple. 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 Street 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.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 7: Lhasa Sightseeing - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
In the morning, you will have a tour for Drepung Monastery, 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.
In the afternoon, you are going to visit Sera Monastery, 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 rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You may have the chance to watch the famous Monks Debate (usually from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 8: Fly from Lhasa to Xi’an
Today, fly from Lhasa to Xi’an. Our guide will transfer you to the airport and help you get on board. As you arrive in Xi’an, our local guide will meet you outside of the airport and transfer you to the hotel. The remainder of the day is on your own to have a rest or explore the city.
Stay overnight in Xi’an.
Day 9: Xi’an tour: Terra-Cotta Warriors and Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Today, you will visit Terra-Cotta Warriors, which is one of the eight wonders in the world. These terracotta warriors and horses are the size of a real army, and were buried alongside the Emperor in a vast underground palace. Then, you head for Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The Buddhist scriptures and figurines of the Buddha brought by Xuanzang are reserved here.
Stay overnight in Xi’an.
Day 10: Departure from Xi’an
Our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
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.