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Highlights of Tibet: Beijing to Lhasa

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13 Days

Highlights of Tibet: Beijing to Lhasa


The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Potala Palace – magical names known to all. Explore all these incredible world heritage sites and more on an amazing tour across the north of China and into Tibet. Visit one of the most important Tibetan monasteries outside Tibet, cross the breathtaking expanse of the Changtang Plateau on the world’s highest rail line, marvel at the stunning landscapes of central Tibet as well as witness the daily life of the locals, both religious and secular.

Detailed Itinerary

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  • Day 1 Beijing Arrival & Beijing Duck Dinner
    Nihao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in your hotel lobby. Your guide will go over more details about your trip including meeting up with your guides in each city. This evening take an orientation walk around the hotel area followed by a Beijing Duck dinner.

    •Chongwenmen Hotel or similar (2 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Peking Duck dinner
  • Day 2 Beijing Old & New: Explore Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Hutongs
    There will be a lot of walking today as well as using the subway to get around some of Beijing’s most famous sights. Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest public squares, is home to the Monument of the People's Heroes and the Great hall of the People. From here enter the Forbidden City (built 1406-1420), the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for more than 500 years. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the most extensive collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
    After the Forbidden City, we will stroll through the alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyards known as Hutong and experience the local lifestyle of Old Beijing.

    • Chongwenmen Hotel or similar (2 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 3 Beijing Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, train to Xi’an
    Travel about 2 hours out of Beijing to the Mutianyu Great Wall. This is one of the best-preserved and restored sections so it is easy to climb, but you can still appreciate the difficulty of its construction. A picnic lunch on the Wall is provided.
    Return to Beijing in the afternoon; you will have time for some free sightseeing or shopping before boarding the overnight train to Xian.

    • Overnight on soft sleeper train Beijing/Xi’an (1 night)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 4 Xi'an City Wall, Chinese Shadow Puppet Show, Muslim Quarter
    Arriving in Xi’an head to the hotel for breakfast. Start today with a walking tour of the ancient City Wall, the most significant and best-preserved wall extant in China stretching over 13 kilometers around Xian. Later, we will visit one of the best-preserved old residences in Xi’an, dating back 400 years. The courtyard was once home to seven generations of the Gao family – notable officials of the royal court and houses period furniture, pottery, porcelain and paintings. Enjoy a performance of Chinese Shadow Puppets before meeting the artist behind the scene. If you are interested, try your hand at handling the puppets!
    Later, take a walk around the Muslim quarter, home to the Hui Muslim community for centuries. Stroll through these narrow streets dotted with small shops, halal butchers, sesame-oil factories, small mosques markets and restaurants.

    • Manxin Hotel Bell Tower or similar ( 2 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 5 Xi'an – Terracotta Warriors
    The Terracotta Warriors were buried for 2,000 years before being discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976. Three of the main pits, containing almost 2,000 of the 6,000+ warriors, archers and chariots, are open to view. Each figure is individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height and even facial expressions – stand in battle formation. After marveling at this incredible display we will lunch in a local village before returning to Xi’an city in mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free for your own explorations.

    • Manxin Hotel Bell Tower or similar (2 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 6 Train Xi’an to Xining, visit Kumbum Monastery, board train to Lhasa
    This morning catch a bullet train to Xining (around 4.5 hours). Xining is set on the northwest plateau of China, home to about 500,000 Chinese Muslims.
    Upon arrival, we will head to the renowned Kumbum (Ta’er Si) Monastery which is in a small town 30 km out of Xining. Kumbum, meaning “100,000 images” is one of the six great Gelukpa Monasteries and was founded in the hometown of one of the most famous figures in the history of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, Tsongkhapa. It is an enormous monastic university complex and many great incarnate Lamas have studied here. You will view the stupas, Teaching Hall as well as the amazing butter sculptures.
    Return to Xining in time to catch the overnight train to Lhasa (approximately 21.5 hours). Leaving Xining the train climbs to cross the Changtang Plateau and the sheer vastness of this landscape is not something you will quickly forget.

    • Overnight on soft sleeper train Xining/Lhasa ( 1 night)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 7 Across the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa
    Wake to find yourself well inside Tibet as you travel the world’s highest railway. The passes may be covered by snow at any time of year and in summer the lakes are surrounded by vast grasslands and are host to numerous bird species.
    On arrival at Lhasa station, on the outskirts of the city, you are warmly welcomed with a1 white katak scarf (prayer scarf).

    • Thangka Hotel or similar (3 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Dinner
  • Day 8 Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
    Today visit the two largest university monasteries in Tibet – Drepung and Sera, both built on the lower slopes of the hills north of Lhasa. Drepung was founded by one of Tsongkhapa’s disciples in 1416 and once had up to 10,000 monks. The main assembly hall is incredible, and you will often have the chance to hear monks chanting here.
    Nearby is Nechung, temple of the Oracle, adviser to the Dalai Lamas and powerful controller of Tibet’s destiny.
    In the afternoon visit Sera where the monks practice lively philosophical debating in the afternoons (except Sundays).

    • Thangka Hotel or similar (3 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 9 Lhasa Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple
    One of the most iconic structures ever built; the Potala Palace was the seat of the Tibetan government and winter residence of the successive Dalai Lamas. A visit is an awe-inspiring experience. Perched 130meters above the city, it is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular) and the Red Palace (religious - home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). Although you must stick with your guide whilst exploring, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is a true architectural wonder.
    Later, visit the Jokhang; the spiritual heart and most sacred temple of Tibet which always attracts steady waves of pilgrims. Spend some time exploring this large World-Heritage listed site and learn of its rich history. According to legend, the temple was built over a lake after many failed attempts to build monasteries in other nearby locations. Feast your eyes on the golden Buddha which stands in the center. After the visit join the pilgrims walking around the Barkhor Street (in a clockwise direction) considered a sacred kora by Tibetans.
    *Potala visit times are assigned when tickets booked so may visit Jokhang first, Potala later depending on ticket time.

    • Thangka Hotel or similar (3 nights)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 10 Khamba La, Yamdrok Tso, Karo La, Gyantse, Gyantse Dzong
    Today we will drive to Gyantse. There will be many photo stops as this is a spectacular route. From the top of the Khamba-la (4750m) the views of the beautiful turquoise lake, Yamdrok Tso, are superb. Descent to skirt the lake before climbing again to the Karo-la (5045m) for a close-up view of NojinGangzang glacier.
    Upon arrival, we will visit Pelkhor Choede Monastery, founded by the King of Gyantse in the C15th. It does not belong to a specific tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and whilst much reduced from its original size it remains a very active center. Within the complex stands Gyantse Kumbum (meaning 100,000 images), it is an eight-story structure containing a seemingly endless series of tiny chapels full of Buddhist images – Buddhas, demons, protectors, and saints.
    We will also take a walk to the Dzong (fort) from where you will have fantastic views of the town and surrounding countryside.

    • Gyantse Hotel or similar (1 night)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 11 To Shigatse, Tashilumpo
    A short drive through small villages to Shigatse, Tibet's second-largest city. Upon arrival, we will first visit the Tashilumpo Monastery, home to the Panchen Lamas. Tour the buildings, each with their own intricate decorations, legends and religious imagery. After that, you can opt to do a “kora” around the monastery or visit the local market.

    • Shigatse Hotel or similar (1 night)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 12 Return to Lhasa
    It is approximately 6 hours drive back to Lhasa, following the Yarlung Tsangpo River. The rest of the day is free for you for some shopping, join the locals in a teahouse or follow pilgrims circuiting around the Barkhor.

    • Thangka Hotel or similar (1 night)
    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast
  • Day 13 Depart Lhasa
    Today is free and includes a transfer to the airport for your departure.

    Meals Included:
    • Breakfast


    · 10 nights' hotel accommodation based on twin share
    · Local English speaking guide service in each city for FIT booking of 2-5 pax
    · National English speaking guide service throughout for group booking of 6 pax or up
    · Private transfers as specified
    · Sightseeing tours with entrance fee as specified
    · 11 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 2 dinners
    · Overnight soft-sleeper train Beijing-Xi'an (1 night) & Xining-Lhasa (1 night)
    · Regular class fast train Xi'an-Xining
    · International flights
    · Travel insurance
    · Chinese visa
    · Expenses of personal nature, ie laundry, alcoholic drinks, and etc.


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This Itinerary: 13 days,12 nights
2-5 Traveller : $3,410
6-9 Traveller : $2,230
10 + Traveller : $1,880
Single Occupation: $462

Start: Beijing

End: Lhasa

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