18 Days Travel through Silk Road to Tibet and Exotic Nepal
Tour Route: Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang- Xian- Lhasa- Gyangtse-Shigatse-Dingri-Everest Base Camp-Dingri- Zhangmu- Katmandu
Explore the most “inland” region in the world. Immerse yourself in Uygur minority culture. Follow in the footsteps of ancient merchants along the historic international trade route. Enjoy the spectacular and intriguing desert scenery. Take the world’s highest train ride from Xi’an to Lhasa across the 5200 meter high mountain pass amidst the grand vistas of surreal mountain range and uniquely shaped Tibetan Landscape. Marvel at the never-ending landscapes and unique culture and folklores along the Friendship Hwy from Tibet to Nepal. Appreciate world heritage sites in Kathmandu.
- Tour Code:
- Max Altitude:
- 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.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala, the impressive but spiritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Take in a prayer meeting or some monk debating at Sera and Drepung, two of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, a monumental chorten with mural-filled chapels.
- Worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilumpo Monastery, a walled complex the size of a village.
- Sleep in nomad tents and gaze upon the north face of Mt. Everest.
Day 1: Arrival in Urumqi
The prelude of your exciting China tour starts when you meet our professional local guide at Urumqi Airport .
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 the capital city of Xinjiang Province by yourself.
Day 2: Drive Urumqi to Turpan
Drive to Turpan in the morning, upon arrival you will visit Jiaohe Ruins, which is one of the most important towns along the ancient Silk Road. It is also the largest, oldest and best-preserved earth construction in the world. Although 2,000 years have passed, the former glory of Jiaohe can still be found from the ruins.
Then you will visit the famous Karez Well, the gigantic underground irrigation system created by ancient Xinjiang people. Over 1,100 Karez Wells in Turpan have provided precious water source to this dry and hot area during the past 400 years.
The next stop will be the existing largest ancient pagoda in Xinjiang, Sugong Pagoda. The pagoda is a 44-meter-high (144 feet) Islamic pagoda, which bears a history of over 200 years.
Day 3: Turpan Sightseeing & board overnight train to Dunhuang
Today you will visit another famous ruin in Turpan, Gaochang Ruins, which used to be the capital of ancient Gaochang Kingdom. From the outline of the ruins, you can still find the trace of many former buildings, like temples, markets and palace.
Then you will go to the Bizaklik Thousand Buddha Cave, a cluster of caves with thousands of Buddhism murals. The vivid murals show many Buddhism figures, stories, and the social life about 1,000 years ago in Ancient Gaochang Kingdom.
The last stop will be the hottest place in China, the Flaming Hill, which is located at the north of ancient Silk Road. Nothing grows on the hill and the highest temperature of summer could reach 47.8 C (118 F). Seen from afar, the Flaming Hill resembles a red fire dragon flying upward.
Afterwards, you will board an overnight soft sleeper train to Dunhuang.
Day 4: Dunhuang Sightseeing
Breakfast is on your own. Upon your arrival, our guide will meet you at Liuyuan railway station and escort you to the hotel in Dunhuang. It will take about two hours' drive from Liuyuan Station to Dunhuang.
After a short rest in the hotel, visit the famous Mogao Caves, which is one of the four most famous caves in China. Known as the “Oriental Louvre”, the Mogao Caves not only boasts a large number of vivid Buddhism murals, statues and architecture, but also is renowned as the treasure house of Buddhism culture.
Then continue your trip to Dunhuang Museum, where you will get a better understanding of the Silk Road from the exhibited historical relics.
Day 5: Dunhuang Sightseeing & fly to Xian
Today you will visit one of the most famous attractions along the Silk Road, the Echoing-Sand Mountain. It is so named because when you slide down the slope, you can hear the roaring echo of sands.
You will experience a short camel ride along the mountain to reach the Crescent Lake. It is really a natural wonder that the crescent-shaped spring surrounded by the endless Gobi desert has not dried up over the past one thousand years and still gushes with fresh current.
Then you will board a flight to Xian. Our guide will meet you and escort you to the hotel in downtown.
Day 6: 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 7: 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 8: Xian - Lhasa by overnight train
Xian is not the original departure for Lhasa, there are three trains have a stop in Xi’an. The Xian-Lhasa Railway extends about 2864km across the heartland of the Middle Kingdom and the Tibetan Plateau. It will take you 33 to 34 hrs to get Lhasa 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. Each car had an electronic sign showing the speed, altitude and next stop. In the compartment, the beds are stacked up like facing bunk beds across a table, with pressed cotton sheets, pillows and comforters. Each sleeper was equipped with a TV monitor and headset as well as oxygen canisters for those with altitude sickness.
Day 9: Afternoon arriving at Lhasa
Golmud The amazing railway from Golmud to Lhasa is 1142 km long. On 15 October 2005 the final section of the rail was finished on the banks of the Lhasa River. The Age of the train in Tibet dawned on July 01 2006.
Along the way to Nagchu, you could see Tanggula Pass come and go, almost indistinguishable from the rest of the high land. Nagqu There you could find villagers gaze at the passing train and yaks bolted off the tracks. Up here, every few minutes another range of snow-capped peaks with glaciers streaming down their sides appeared on the horizon. Lhasa After the whole daytime in the train enjoying the views outside, finally arrive at Lhasa in the afternoon.
Upon arrival, be greeted by local guide at the train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck! After group photo at the station, board on the vehicle and transfer back to hotel, you will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way. 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.
Day 10: Lhasa sightseeing
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.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. 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 11: Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning you will visit Drepung monastery, which used to be the 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.
In the Tibetan language,Drepung monastery means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
The afternoon you will 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. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Day 12: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
After fully explore Lhasa, you’ll 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 metres below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m).
Then 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 Tashilumpo 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.
Day 13: Shigatse to Rongbuk Monastery
Today we have an early start to drive westwards the Friendship way to Rongbuk. On the way the drive 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 14: Snake down to Zhangmu
Get up early to enjoy sunrise. You could take the local bus to go to Everest Base camp for half an hour, or you also can have a hike to Base Camp around 1.5-2 hours one way. It's interesting and much warmer, but hard to breath. The morning is frigid and as the wind howl your fingers must be frozen trying to take pictures of the iconic mountain but it is worth the pain to view such an amazing site.
Then in the afternoon around 1:00pm go down from E.B.C back to Shegar, and continue go west to Zhangmu. 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 15: Drive to Kathmandu
Our Guide in Tibet side 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.
After you get to Nepal side, please look for your guide. The guide will accompany you in a comfortable vehicle to the hotel in downtown 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 the capital city of Nepal by yourself.
Day 16: Kathmandu Sightseeing
Start the morning with a visit to the Katmandu Durbar Square. As the most noted square in Katmandu, the square assembles many splendid ancient buildings between 16th and 19th century, including over 50 temples and palaces. The magnificent Nepal architecture, exquisite decorations and numerous historical items will show you the unique culture of Nepal.
Then continue to visit the Swayambhunath Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist holy lands and famous for the glistening pagoda. Your next destination is the Buddhanikantha Temple, where you will see the huge statue of Vishnu lying on the giant snake Ananta.
Today's visit will end up with the Bouddhanath Stupa which is about 11 km (7 miles) from the city center of Katmandu and is the largest spherical stupa in the world.
Day 17: Kathmandu Sightseeing
After breakfast, you will visit the oldest Hinduism Temple in Katmandu, the Pashupatnath Temple. Although the temple is only open to the Hindus, you can still see the splendid buildings on the viewing platform across the river.
Then proceed to the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. About 19 kilometers (about 12 miles) from Katmandu, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the best model of Nepalese craftsmanship. The highlight of the square is the royal palace with its 55 windows of brick and wood, and the Golden Gate, carved with the portrait of Goddess Durga.
Afterward, head for another famous square, the Patan Durbar Square, where you will pay a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most famous Vihara in Katmandu Valley.
Day 18: Departure from Kathmandu
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!
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.
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