This epic 11-day adventure takes you from the eastern seashores of China on the Yangtze River mouth to the heights of the most spiritual land on the planet and beyond. Firstly, see skyscrapers blend seamlessly with ancient port buildings in Shanghai, and discover the rare and auspicious Giant Pandas of China’s ancient past in Chengdu.
Then, discover the heights of serenity in the Potala palace, and pray for enlightenment in the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred of all the world’s Buddhist temples. Travel to the foot of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. And then extend beyond the spiritual to the exotic, as you tour all the way to Nepal’s exotic capital city and the home of the true Nepal, in the Kathmandu Valley.
- Explore the city of Shanghai and enjoy the views along the Huangpu River and the lights of Pudong at night.
- Experience the cutest and most auspicious bears on the planet at the Chengdu Giant Panda Sanctuaries.
- Discover the spiritual feeling of prayer at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.
- Stand in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.
- Explore the most exotic city on earth, and visit Kathmandu’s Buddhist and Hindu temples that coexist peacefully in the valley.
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 Day Tour; Fly to Chengdu
In the morning, we 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.
Stay overnight in Chengdu.
Day 4: Chengdu Day Tour
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.
Then, head to visit the Wenshu Temple, Renmin Park and Jinli Street. As the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu, Wenshu Temple is famous for its exquisite gardens and halls. Renmin Park is a beautiful city park often filled with locals, and you can enjoy a cup of tea to experience the slow life of Chengdu there. In the end of today, you will walk along the Jinli Old Street to fully appreciate Sichuan’s customs and folk arts.
Stay overnight in Chengdu.
Day 5: Fly from Chengdu to Lhasa
Take a morning flight to Lhasa, and upon arrival our guide will welcome you with a warm Tibetan style greeting and present you with Hada (traditional Tibetan scarves). Then you will 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. 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 more water.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: 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 7: 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 8: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
After breakfast, start your journey to Shigatse via Gyantse. You will have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion.
Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m). Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse.
In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. Upon arrival, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the holy seat of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 9: Shigatse to Rongbuk Monastery
Today we have an early start to drive westwards the Friendship way to Rongbuk. Along the road is full of magnificent scenery and cross some extremely high passes including Gyatsola (5248m). The road to Everest diverts off the newly paved Friendship highway near the town of Shegar and turns into bumpy gravel trail, which is still 90km to get to Rongpuk.
If it is in clear weather, you can have a glimpse of 4 mountains which is 8000m high or more, such as: Mt. Lhotse (8516m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Qowowuyag (8201m), Mt Mayalu (8463m).
Day 10: Snake down to Gyirong
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.
Then in the afternoon, back to Gyirong. The road snaked ever downward. After a few switchbacks you will find yourselves in a lush ravine with waterfalls bursting from the mountains on all sides and flowing to a raging river far below.
Day 11: See you off at Nepalese Border
Our Guide will drop you off in the morning at the border bridge, You are kindly required to hike on your own to cross the border bridge which is 50m long, then check in Nepal side, you can get the Nepal visa upon arrival with US$30, please prepare one photo at passport size to get Nepal Visa. Next step, you need to find a car or bus towards Kathmandu, 50m ahead from border bridge, dozens of car or bus are parking here to pick up travelers.
Tour ends at the border in Tibet side.
Optional Service: Our company provides private transfer service from Nepal border to Kathmandu, if you need, please ask it from your travel advisor.
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.