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Grand Tour of China and Tibet

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Beijing to Lhasa on a stunning rail adventure

16 days From £3,995 per person

2022 Tour code: CTG22

About the tour

Experience an epic journey across the 'Roof of the World' and explore the Himalayan Kingdom of Tibet, one of the most iconic nations in Asia. Start your holiday in Beijing, China's vibrant capital, before traversing varied and diverse landscapes, climbing to the magical city of Lhasa on board one of the most remarkable railways in the world.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Beijing

Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Beijing, via Hong Kong.

Day 2 - Beijing

Arriving on Day 2 in Beijing you'll be met by an English-speaking guide before transferring to your hotel for the next three nights.

Day 3 - Beijing

We begin Day 3 with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the city's political heart, and home to Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. Next, we explore the mysteries of the Forbidden City, a labyrinthine complex of palaces from where the Imperial dynasties once ruled, then, after lunch, we continue to the incredible Summer Palace.

Day 4 - Great Wall of China

Day 4 takes us to one of the country's most famous attractions, the magnificent Great Wall of China. Stretching an astonishing 5,500 miles from Dadong all the way to Lop Lake, the wall was originally built as a defence against the steppe hordes of Eurasia. The Great Wall and its original foundations are over 2,300 years old and enjoy UNESCO World Heritage status. After a thrilling ascent by chair lift, we enjoy the chance to walk along one of the quieter sections of the wall, marvelling at the captivating mountain scenery and sweeping valleys below. Back in Beijing this evening, we drive past the marvellous Bird's Nest and Water Cube arenas, venues for the 2008 Olympic Games, on our way to a local restaurant where we get to sample Beijing's signature dish, Peking duck.

Day 5 - Xi’an

We make a visit to the Temple of Heaven this morning before boarding the high-speed train to Xi'an, a bustling megalopolis of different cultures that sits at the end of the once-famous Silk Road.

 

Day 6 - Terracotta Warriors

Day 6 takes us to the city's most renowned attraction, the Terracotta Warriors. One of the greatest archaeological finds of the modern era, this clay army is made up of over 8,000 soldiers, as well as horses and chariots, and was buried alongside the tomb of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang to protect him in the afterlife. Back in Xi'an this afternoon, we enjoy a private tour of the city, seeing the great city walls, the Grand Mosque, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the local bazaar. This is followed by an authentic dumpling-making lesson and dumpling banquet.

Day 7 - Xining

Transferring to the airport for an early morning flight to Xining, we set out on a guided tour of the city on arrival. After lunch at a nearby hotel, we're transported to the station to join the overnight sleeper train to Lhasa. Travelling on the highest railway on earth, this pioneering route is a testament to the ingenuity of the engineers who designed it and features magnificent views of glaciers, mountains and Himalayan villages as we climb towards Tibet across the 'Roof of the World'.

Day 8 - Across the 'Roof of the world' to Lhasa

Waking to spectacular views on Day 8, our train crosses the Tangula Pass, home to long haired yaks, multicoloured prayer flags and frosted peaks, before beginning the descent into colourful Lhasa. After transferring to our hotel, the rest of your day is free.

Day 9 - The Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery

We start our day at Lhasa's ancient Jokhang temple, made up of different chapels decorated in glorious colours and with ornate motifs. We also see the bustling Barkhour circuit, a fascinating rectangle of streets that form a pilgrim circuit around the temple. After lunch, we visit the Sera Monastery, a remarkable complex of delightful colleges and temples. As an educational institute, the monastery is responsible for teaching up to 3,000 monks from the ages of seven upwards.

 

Day 10 - Potala Palace

Our explorations continue on Day 10, with time at the dazzling Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama. Featuring over 1,000 rooms, we ascend the distinctive zig-zagged stairs to discover the regal living quarters and meditation rooms before continuing to the Norbulingka Palace. A summer resort boasting the largest gardens in Tibet, soak in a cornucopia of colour as we admire the golden structures and blooming floral displays.

Day 11 - Gyantse

Leaving Lhasa, we travel by coach through the mountains to Gyantse. On the way, we stop at glorious Yamdrok Lake, said to be populated by powerful deities. Lying several hundred feet below the road, the tranquil waters are a brilliant shade of turquoise, contrasting with the sandy inlets that surround it. Later, we check into our hotel in Gyantse for the night.

Day 12 - Palkhor Chode Monastery

On Day 12, we make our way to the striking Palkhor Chode Monastery. This famous gold-domed monastery complex has 108 chapels as well as one of the largest Kumbum towers in Tibet, the Kumbum Stupa. From Palkhor Chode, we continue by road to Shigatse and check into our hotel. Shigatse has an important role in Tibet's history, having, in the past, been the centre of Tibetan military and political power. Nowadays, it's a fine example of modern urban life, with vibrant streets and multi-hued flags on each corner. 

Day 13 - Shigatse & Chengdu

We get to know some of its grand landmarks on a sightseeing tour on  Day 13, visiting the Tashilhunpo Monastery in the Old Town, founded by the first Dalai Lama, ahead of our flight to Chengdu.

Day 14 – Panda Research Institute

Today we come face to face with one of nature's most lovable animals - the giant panda. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute is home to more than 100 of these magnificent creatures, allowing us to see them at close range as they enjoy go about their everyday lives.

 

Day 15 - Fly to London Heathrow

On Day 15, we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London Heathrow, via Hong Kong.

Day 16 - London Heathrow

We land in the UK on Day 16.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

 

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

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Grand Tour of China and Tibet

Beijing to Lhasa on a stunning rail adventure

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Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Helen Laverack
Helen