This 8 days Xining Lhasa train tour with Qinghai Lake visit will take you to explore the two cities of Xining, the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, and Lhasa, the City of Sunshine. Not far away from Xining, you will go to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Qinghai Lake. Next, you will catch the Sky Train to Lhasa and along the way, you will be rewarded with stunning landscapes, covering vast tracts of farmland, wide grassland dotted with wildflowers, desolate Gobi and desert and impressive snow mountains. Then in Lhasa, you will tour the highlighted cultural heritages inherited over the centuries, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera and Drepung Monastery.
- Appreciate the breathtaking beauty of Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in China.
- Experience the Sky Train, the world’s highest train ride from Xining to Lhasa.
- Go down into the bowels of the Potala Palace, the impressive but spiritless citadel of the Dalai Lamas.
- Join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims around the shrines of the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
- Follow monks, mendicants and fellow pilgrims around the Barkhor Street, Lhasa’s fascinating medieval pilgrim circuit.
- Take in a prayer meeting or some monk debating at Sera and Drepung Monastery, two of the largest and most intact of Tibet’s great monasteries.
Day 1: Arrive in Xining
After you arrive at the Xining airport or railway station, your guide will greet you and drive you to the hotel. The rest of the time is for leisure. You can have a good rest or walk around in the city.
Stay overnight in Xining.
Day 2: Xining - Day tour to Ta’er Monastery and Dongguan Mosque
In the morning, you are about to Ta’er Monastery, also named Kumbum Monastery, lies on 25 km to the northeast of Xining. It is the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, well-known Tibetan Buddhist master. In the afternoon, you will head to Dongguan Mosque, the largest mosque in Qinghai. It was originally built in 1380 and has a mixture of Tibetan, Han, and Arabic and European architectural styles.
Stay overnight in Xining.
Day 3: Xining - Day tour to Qinghai Lake
Today, you will take the short drive to Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in China. There you will see different varieties of birds. It is suggested to take a cycling trip around the lake the appreciate the beautiful scenery. The lake is elliptical in shape, and the crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding mountains and the clear blue sky.
In the afternoon, drive back to Xining to see the beautiful view of Riyue Mountain, known locally as “Sun and Moon Mountain”. Legend tells that it was on this mountain that Princess Wencheng lost a mirror called Sun and Moon, that allowed her to see her home in Xi’an, and the Datong River was born from her tears.
Stay overnight in Xining.
Day 4: Xining to Lhasa by overnight train
Xining, the beginning of Qinghai - Tibet Railway, offers the most trains to Lhasa. Today, you will transfer to Xining Railway Station for your overnight train to Lhasa. Please be sure to arrive in train station at least 1 hour before the train departure.
It will take you 23.5 to 24 hrs to get Lhasa and across the 5200 meter high mountain pass amidst the grand vistas of stunning 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.
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: 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.