This once-in-a-lifetime trip takes you from Beijing, the bustling heart of modern China, to Lhasa in Tibet - a complete contrast. You’ll then take a spectacular train journey along the world’s highest railway line to Xining. Combining wonderful sights and incredible scenery, this is a holiday you’ll never forget.
Depart on your scheduled flight to Beijing.
On arrival in Beijing, transfer to your hotel for a two night stay.
Today we include an introductory city tour,
visiting the heart of Beijing - Tiananmen
Square. It is the largest public square in
the world, bordered by the Qianmen Gate,
the Great Hall of the People and the Gate
of Heavenly Peace. You will go through
the gate, which forms the entrance to the
incredible Forbidden City, to marvel at
the magnificent buildings that house the
Imperial Palace from which China was ruled
by the imperial dynasties for hundreds of
years. During your guided tour you will see
magnificent collections of Chinese bronzes,
porcelain, paintings, jade and other
treasures. You will also see the Bird’s Nest
stadium, built for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for our flight to Lhasa in Tibet, where we will stay for the next four nights. You are at leisure for the rest of the day, before an included dinner.
In the old quarter of Lhasa, people go
about their business as they have done for
centuries. Farmers bring in produce for the
market by donkey, vendors set up stalls,
potters spread their wares in the dust and
the crowds press into the small market
place. Outside the temples, the devout
mumble prayers, whilst those inside light
yak butter, then prostrate themselves before
a statue of Buddha. Scriptures are chanted
and pilgrims spin their prayer wheels.
The capital of the Tibetan Autonomous
Region, Lhasa boasts a skyline dominated
by the immense Potala Palace. The
birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism, Lhasa
is a fascinating cultural hybrid of modern
China and traditional Tibet. Its bustling
backstreets are well worth exploring - this is
classic Tibet at its best.
Today we include a visit to Tibet’s most holy
shrine, the 13th century Jokhang Temple.
As you wander around this highly venerated
site, lit by butter lamps, you’ll be impressed
with the devotion of the many visiting
pilgrims. This afternoon, you’ll visit the
bustling Barkhor Market, a fascinating maze
of streets lined with stalls selling everything
from Chinese army surplus to religious
Join our included excursion to Norbulingka,
the Dalai Lama’s summer palace, which
was built in the 1740s, and Sera Monastery
to the north of Lhasa, built in 1419. Many of
the monks who lived at the Sera Monastery
made the perilous journey across the
Himalayas with the current Dalai Lama and
now reside with him in Mysore, India at the
new Sera Monastery there.
The Potala Palace, our destination this morning, is the former seat of Tibet’s government and was the winter residence of the Dalai Lama before his exile to India. It boasts a commanding presence over the city and is still used for worship, as well as containing priceless paintings, shrines and treasures.
Board the high-altitude Rooftop of the
World train in Lhasa for your spectacular
journey to Xining. You will travel about
750 miles, reaching an altitude of almost
17,000 feet as you cross the Tangula Pass.
This recently completed railway line is the
first to link Tibet with the rest of China
and is a magnificent feat of engineering.
The high-tech trains all have specialist
carriages with their own oxygen supplies,
and in places the track is cooled so that
the permafrost it’s laid over does not melt.
Magnificent vistas and incredible open
spaces are spanned by long bridges and
interspersed with modern stations - this
is one rail journey that you’ll never forget.
Arrive in Xining and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, then visit the Kumbum Monastery, a highly revered holy site. This evening, join the overnight train for the journey to Xian.
Enjoy breakfast, before your mid-morning
arrival in Xian, where you will stay overnight.
Xian, the ‘City of Eternal Peace’, was once
the flourishing capital of China and the
most important city in Asia. The recent
archaeological discoveries near the city
have staggered the imagination, for it
is here that the first Qin emperor was
interred in 200 BC with at least 6,000
life-size terracotta figures representing the
individuals of the Imperial Guard. They are
grouped in battle order, rank by rank, some
mounted on horse-drawn chariots, others
armed with spears, swords and crossbows.
This afternoon we include a visit to the
incredible Terracotta Army of the first Qin
emperor at Li Shan Mountain. This evening,
enjoy an included Tang Dynasty show and
dinner in a local restaurant.
This morning, we discover the sights of
Xian, including the old city walls, the Big
Wild Goose Pagoda and the Bell Tower.
This afternoon, return to Beijing by air for an
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK, arriving later the same day.