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Beijing to Tibet - 'Across the Roof of the World'

(Tour code: CTG17)Explore Beijing to Lhasa on a stunning rail adventure

Join us on an epic journey to the 'Roof of the World', and explore the mystical Himalayan Kingdom of Tibet, one of the most iconic nations in Asia. We start our journey in Beijing, China's vibrant capital, before traversing varied and diverse landscapes, and climbing to the mystical city of Lhasa on board arguably the most remarkable railway journey in the world.

Tour Highlights
  • Beijing
  • Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Forbidden City
  • The Great Wall
  • Terracotta Warriors
  • The ‘Roof of the World’ rail journey to Tibet
  • Lhasa
  • Jokhang Temple
  • Potala Palace
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 3-5* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    13 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Return Scheduled Flights
    Upgrades Available

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Fly Options

Regional Departures Available

To make your travel arrangements even more convenient for you, we are excited to announce that we are now offering some regional airport options outside London for this tour.

To view prices and flight options, please click the 'View Dates & Prices' button and select the departure that you are interested in as options may vary. Alternative, click the image on the left to see flight options and call us on 01904 734 111 to book.

Days 1-2

London to Beijing

We depart London on our overnight flight to Beijing, arriving on Day 2. On arrival, we visit the impressive Temple of Heaven in the bustling centre of China's capital, a local and cultural hub that is a popular meeting spot for residents. We then transfer to our base for the next three nights, the Novotel Xinqiao Hotel. The rest of your day is free.

  • In-flight Meal
  • Day 1 - Scheduled Flights
  • Day 2 - Temple of Heaven
Great Wall of China
Days 3-4

Exploring Beijing and the Great Wall

Today is spent sightseeing in Beijing. We visit Tiananmen Square, the city's political heart, and home to Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. We then explore the mysteries of the Forbidden City, a labyrinthine complex of palaces from where the Imperial dynasties once ruled. With its 18th century buildings, it is the perfect symbol of Imperial China's grandeur. On Day 4 we visit one of the country's most famous attractions, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the magnificent Great Wall. After a thrilling ascent by chair lift, we enjoy the chance to walk along this architectural masterpiece, marvelling at the captivating mountain scenery and sweeping valleys below. Back in Beijing, we see the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, both built for the 2008 Olympic Games. Tonight we sample Beijing's signature dish, Peking duck.

  • Day 3 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 3 - Tiannamen Square & Forbidden City
  • Day 4 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 4 - Great Wall of China
Terracotta Warriors
Days 5-6

Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

Today we take the high-speed rail service to Xi'an, the former imperial capital, for two nights at the Grand Mercure Hotel. On Day 6 we enjoy a visit to the Terracotta Warriors. Built as a replica of the first Emperor of China's army, the life-sized statues were designed to protect him in death. Each figure has individual features and is arranged according to rank. The sheer scale of the site makes it difficult to believe they were only discovered in the 1970s. We return to Xi'an for a tour of its attractions such as the city walls and Grand Mosque.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 6 - Terracotta Warriors
Xian, Wild Grey Goose Pagoda
Days 7-8

Xi'an to Tibet across the 'Roof of the World'

We embark on an epic journey on the highest railway on earth today, ascending to the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet. Our journey begins early in the morning, allowing us a full day to drink in the changing scenery along the route as we traverse mountain landscapes, glaciers and desert. We pass through a jumble of rice paddies snaking up the hillsides, our train climbing through low-lying clouds. This pioneering railway line is a testament to the ingenuity of the engineers who built it and a spectacular feat of modern construction. Cresting at over 5,000m above sea-level, we cross the Tangula Pass early on Day 8, home to long-haired yaks and frosted peaks. From here we begin the long lazy descent into Lhasa, with the scenery becoming noticeably more rural and verdant. We enjoy a simple breakfast and lunch on the train, as we continue through Tibet's rolling pastoral scenery. The architectural style is noticeably different, and as we pass the small villages, colourful prayer flags can be seen adorning the houses and roadsides. In the late afternoon we arrive in Lhasa, Tibet's remote capital. Although it is Tibet's largest city, Lhasa still feels delightfully rustic, with an intricate narrow backstreet network of ramshackle craft-shops stretched out around the temples and monasteries. We spend three nights here at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 7 - Heritage Railway Journey
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, dinner
  • Day 8 - Lhasa
Lhasa, Jokhang Temple
Day 9

Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery

We begin today at the ancient Jokhang temple, which is possibly the country's most revered structure. The aroma of incense fills the air in the warren of beautiful and ornate chapels, and here we enjoy time to admire the sculptures and tapestries. This afternoon we visit the Sera Monastery, a remarkable complex of colleges and temples where monks are trained in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. You are free to explore the colourful buildings in and around the cobblestoned courtyards before our return to the city.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery
Potala Palace
Day 10

The Barkhor Circuit and Potala Palace

Today we explore some of Lhasa's most famous sights on a guided tour. We walk along the Barkhor Circuit, a fascinating rectangle of streets where pilgrims mingle with red-robed monks and street traders. Later we visit the dazzling Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama and a true wonder of architecture. Containing more than a thousand rooms, the imposing white citadel manages to tower over one of the world's highest cities. We ascend the distinctive zig-zagged stairs to explore the regal living quarters and meditation rooms.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Potala Palace & Sera Monastery
Yamdrok Lake
Day 11

Yamdrok Lake and Gyantse

Today we leave Lhasa and travel through the mountains to Gyantse. During our trip we stop to visit the glorious Yamdrok Lake, said to be populated by powerful deities. Lying several hundred metres below the road, this tranquil lake is a brilliant shade of turquoise, contrasting with the sandy inlets that surround it. After time to take in the superb view, we drive to Gyantse, for a night at the Gyantse Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Yamdruk Lake
Chode Monastery
Day 12

Palkor Chode Monastery

We visit a highlight of the region today, the striking Palkor Chode Monastery. Housed within a ring of protective walls high up on the tree-lined hillside, the 15th century complex is known for its gold-domed temple filled with detailed murals and effigies of Buddha. From Palkor Chode we continue to Shigatse, with majestic views of Everest appearing along the route. We spend tonight in Shigatse at the Shigatse Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Palkhor Chode Kubum Monastery
Shigatse Monastery
Day 13

Shigatse sightseeing

Shigatse has played an important role in Tibet's history. Today we explore some of its grand landmarks on a sightseeing tour, visiting the Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded by the first Dalai Lama. Covering several acres, this huge monastery resembles a walled town, with its ochre and whitewashed buildings dominated by gilded-bronze temples. Before leaving Shigatse, we visit a local family to learn more about Tibetan life, and then in the afternoon we journey by coach back to Lhasa.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Sightseeing in Shigatse
Chengdu Pandas
Days 14-16

Chengdu, Pandas and Home

Today we take a short flight to Chengdu for one night at the Tibet Hotel. We visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute, which is home to more than 100 of these magnificent creatures, and allows us to see the enchanting animals at close range. On Day 15 we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London.

  • In-flight Meal
  • Day 14 - Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute
  • Day 14 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 15 - Scheduled Flights

Please note

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


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Helping you plan your holiday...

Julie Longfield
Lori Mcclaren
James Eaton
Kathryn Cambridge



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