Follow the train tour from Xi’an to Lhasa and EBC to enjoy the stunning scenery along the trail, witness the brilliant culture and history of Xi’an, the ancient capital city of China, and dig the Buddhism traditions of Lhasa, the city of sunlight in Tibet. The tour of Xi’an will take you to Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, well-preserved Ancient City Wall, and Bell Tower & Drum Tower. In Lhasa, you will tour Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, and watch the monks debating in Sera and Drepung Monastery. Except for Lhasa, you will also go further to explore the city of Gyantse and Shigatse. Also, you will have an overnight stay at Everest Base Camp for the gorgeous sunrise here.
- Explore the ancient imperial capital of Xian, have up-close access to the Terracotta Warriors.
- Experience the Sky Train, the world’s highest train ride from Xian to Lhasa.
- Fully explore the sunlight city Lhasa with its well-known Potala Palace and holy monasteries of Jokhang, Sera and Drepung.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor Street, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Have a deep discovery of the two important cities of Tsang, Gyantse and Shigatse, climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, and worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilhunpo Monastery.
- Stay overnight at Everest Base Camp and enjoy superb scenery of the north face of Mt. Everest and the Rongbuk monastery.
Day 1: Arrival in Xian
Welcome to Xian, the ancient capital city of China! The prelude of your exciting China tour starts when you meet our professional local guide at Xian Airport/train station after reclaiming your luggage and clearing the customs.
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 this ancient imperial city by yourself.
Stay overnight in Xian.
Day 2: Xian - Day tour to Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and Forest of Stone Steles Museum
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.
In the afternoon, you will appreciate Chinese calligraphy and stele culture at Forest of Stone Steles Museum.
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.
Stay overnight in Xian.
Day 3: Xian - Day tour to Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall and Bell Tower & Drum Tower
Today, you will visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Ancient City Wall. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built under the emperor's conduct to collect scriptures, Buddha statues and Buddhist relics taken from India about 1,300 years ago. Different from those typical Islamic buildings, the following City Wall is the existing most complete urban fortification in China.
Cycling on the ancient wall is a special experience that many people like to try (bike rental fee is not included).
After the visit to Bell Tower & Drum Tower, Square and Muslim's Quarter, transfer back to your hotel.
Stay overnight in Xian.
Day 4: Board Xi'an to Lhasa Train
Today is free for you until you get on the train to Lhasa at Xi'an Railway Station.
The Xian-Lhasa Railway extends about 2864km across the heartland of the Middle Kingdom and the Tibetan Plateau. It will take you 32 to 33 hrs to get Lhasa across the 5200-meter-high mountain and 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 has 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 is equipped with a TV monitor and headset as well as oxygen canisters for those with altitude sickness.
Stay overnight on the train.
Day 5: Scenery along the Tibet Railway, and Arrive in Lhasa
Today, you are going to witness the most beautiful scenery of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Along the way to Nagchu, you could see Tanggula Pass come and go, almost indistinguishable from the rest of the high land. 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.
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 in Lhasa, 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.
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 and Sera Monastery
In the morning 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, and 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 Monks Debate (from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 8: Lhasa (3650m) to Shigatse (3900m) via Gyantse
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).
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.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 9: Shigatse to Rongbuk Monastery
Today we have an early start to drive westwards the Friendship way to Rongbuk. On the road 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 Rongbuk.
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).
Stay overnight at Rongbuk Guest House.
Day 10: EBC and Drive back to Shigatse
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. Finally, jump into our tour vehicle and say farewell to the world’s highest peaks through the rearview mirror of the van. By following the zigzag roads on Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, we head back to Shigatse.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 11: Shigatse to Lhasa
This morning 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.
Then you’ll take a slightly different route back to Lhasa along Yarlung Tsangpo River, be wrapped again in the endless vistas of the Tibetan plateau.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 12: Depart from Lhasa
Today, our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
Tour services end and Tibet welcome you back forever.
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.