China & Tibet Discovery

12 Days / 11 Nights

  Beijing - Tibet - Chengdu

12 Days / 11 Nights

China & Tibet Discovery

  Beijing - Tibet - Chengdu

From bustling cities and ancient architecture to breathtaking landscapes and intriguing traditions, explore the very best of China and Tibet on this captivating 12-day journey. See the highlights of the nation’s giant capital and walk along a section of the Great Wall of China. Travel to the Autonomous Region of Tibet and be amazed by the sights and sceneries of this mystical part of the world on an adventurous road trip. End the trip in Sichuan Province’s capital, Chengdu, and get the chance to meet China’s cuddliest creature – the Giant Panda.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the highlights of China’s sprawling capital on a tour of Beijing
  • Get the chance to walk along the Great Wall of China – one of humankind’s greatest engineering feats
  • Visit the highest ancient palace in the world – Potala Palace
  • Embark on a road trip of Tibet, complete with ancient monasteries and amazing landscapes
  • Get up close with the cuddly creatures at the Panda Conservation Centre in Chengdu

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Meals as specified in itinerary
  • English-speaking guide
  • Transfer in air-conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites
  • Tibet Travel Permit
  • Air tickets as mentioned

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Beijing

DAY 1 - Beijing

Welcome to China! Touch down in the nation’s sprawling capital and transfer to the hotel in Beijing. With one foot in the past and the other in the future, the metropolis unites an impressive mix of historical architecture and modern design, ancient traditions and innovative technology.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Beijing – Sightseeing Tour

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and spend the day touring some of the city’s most remarkable sites. Start at Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square and the setting of several important historical events, before moving on to the adjacent Forbidden City. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the enormous palace complex served as the seat of Chinese political power for almost 500 years and is home to an extensive collection of preserved ancient wooden structures.

After lunch, head to the Temple of Heaven, a 15th-century architectural masterpiece, where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used to pray for good harvest. Admire the intricate structure and take some time to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of its surroundings, where locals come to practice Tai Chi, play cards or just hang out.

In the evening, indulge in a traditional Peking duck dinner at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Beijing – Great Wall

Fuel up with breakfast before heading out to witness the spectacular landmark that is the Great Wall of China. Travel to the Mutianyu section of the Wall and enjoy a walk along the ancient structure, admiring the dramatic scenery as the iconic wall winds way across the mountainous terrain.

In the afternoon, delve deeper in the local life of Beijing and explore the city’s maze of narrow lanes, known as hutongs. Strolling through this labyrinth of quaint alleys and picturesque low-rise buildings is one of the best ways to experience traditional culture and the local way of life.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Beijing – Lhasa

After breakfast at the hotel, head to the airport and leave Beijing for the city of Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. One of the highest cities in the world, enjoy a relaxed afternoon at leisure, adapting to the high altitude of 3,656 metres.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Lhasa

With over a millennium of cultural and spiritual history, spend the first full day in the ‘Place of the Gods’ visiting some of the city’s main sites. Stroll across Barkhor Square and hear about its tumultuous past as the centre of political protest. Browse through the local Tibetan handicrafts at the many street stalls and take in the mysterious atmosphere whilst observing Buddhist pilgrims and monks expressing their devotion in this holy place. Continue to visit Jokhang Temple, considered the most sacred temple in Tibet. Constructed in the 7th century, the four-story complex houses a number of venerated artefacts, including the original Jowo Sakyamuni Buddha statue – its most valuable possession.

Last stop for today is the Sera Monastery. Located in the northern part of Lhasa, it is one of the three Geluk University monasteries, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and known for its debate sessions. Get the chance to witness as groups of red-robed monks gather to practice their debate skills before returning to the hotel.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Lhasa

Start the day with breakfast before visiting Lhasa’s most iconic structure – Potala Palace. Honoured as the highest ancient palace in the world, it sits on top of the Red Hill and towers over the city of Lhasa. Now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the red-and-white structure was the residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. Wander some the giant complex’ 1,000 rooms and admire the magnificent murals, depicting the story of Tibet.

After visiting this architectural highlight, continue west to Norbulingka, the former summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas. Meaning ‘Treasure Garden’ in Tibetan, the park encompasses several palaces, and is considered the biggest manmade garden in Tibet. Take a walk around, visiting some of the beautiful structures whilst taking in the atmospheric scenery.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional Tibetan dinner accompanied by an enchanting dance performance.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Lhasa – Gyantse

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before embarking on an overland journey to Gyantse. Upon arrival, visit the Pelkor Chode (or Palcho) Monastery. Located at the foot of the Dzong Fort, admire the monastery’s famous ‘Kumbum’, a striking nine-tier structure, filled with thousands of unique Buddha images, and examine the ancient murals and stunning statues of the main temple assembly hall.

Next, head to the Gyantse Dzong, a 14th-century fort towering above the city on top of Zongshan Hill. A key location during the British invasion in 1904, explore the fortress’ rooms and enjoy the magnificent views of the Pelkor Monastery and the charming whitewashed buildings of Gyantse’s old town.

Stay overnight in Gyantse before continuing the Tibetan adventure the next day.

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Gyantse – Shigatse

After breakfast, hit the road and travel to Tibet’s second largest city, Shigatse. Upon entering the lively city, be welcomed by the spectacular sight of the Shigatse Dzong, a reconstructed fortress overlooking the city from the top of a hill. Visit the nearby Tashilhunpo Monastery – the main highlight of Shigatse. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, it’s the official seat of the successive Panchen Lamas, the second most important spiritual figure after the Dalai Lama. Wander the expansive monastery and see some its many treasures, including the world’s largest gilded Buddha statue and the magnificent stupas, continuing the relics of past Panchen Lamas.

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Shigatse – Lhasa

Fuel up with breakfast and end this road trip driving back to Lhasa. Along the way, stop to view Yamdrok Lake, one of the three sacred Tibet Lakes. Take in the awe-inspiring views of the turquoise freshwater lake, flanked by past green-grey mountains, and witness as the water changes colours in the sunlight. Besides its stunning scenery, the lake also plays an important role in finding the reincarnated soul of the Dalai Lama.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Lhasa – Chengdu

It’s time to say goodbye to magical Tibet and head to the airport to fly to Chengdu. Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxed introduction to the capital of China’s Sichuan Province and get comfortable in a local tea house in Chengdu People’s Park. Kick back with a cup of soothing tea and experience traditional Sichuan tea culture, including more peculiar activities and acts such as ‘ear cleaning’ and ‘tea doctors’.

Continue to stroll along Jin Li Street, a picturesque alley lined with traditional Chinese buildings, numerous souvenir shops and restaurants, before ending the day savouring a delicious Sichuanese meal.

DAY 11

DAY 11 - Chengdu

In the morning, get ready to meet China’s national icon at the Chengdu Panda Conservation Centre. Learn more about the endangered black-and-white bears and observe the cuddly creatures as they play and relax in spacious enclosures that mirror their natural habitat.

Later, continue to the Jinsha Site Museum and see one of China’s major archaeological discoveries of the 21st century. With several thousand relics on display, browse through the large collections of artefacts and witness ancient treasures, including the Sunbird Gold Disk and the Giant Elephant Tusk.

DAY 12

DAY 12 - Chengdu

The day has come to bid farewell to this fascinating country. After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for a departing flight.

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