Explore Beijing to Lhasa on a stunning rail adventure
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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.
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.
We begin today at 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. From here, we visit Tiananmen Square, the city's political heart, and home to Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. This public area was famously the site of various demonstrations in 1989, in which the iconic Tank Man picture was taken of a man facing down a line of tanks in protest. 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. 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 this architectural masterpiece, marvelling at the captivating mountain scenery and sweeping valleys below.
Back in Beijing, we visit the marvellous Bird's Nest and Water Cube, venues for the 2008 Olympic Games. These two structures are marvellous examples of modern architecture. Tonight we sample Beijing's signature dish, Peking duck.
Today we take the high-speed rail service to Xi'an, a teeming megalopolis of different cultures and a varied history at the end of the famous Silk Road. On Day 6 we enjoy a visit to the Terracotta Warriors. One of the greatest archeological finds of the modern era, this army is made up of over 8,000 terracotta soldiers, as well as horses and chariots, which were buried alongside the tomb of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. It was thought that they were designed to protect the emperor in the afterlife. We then return to Xi'an for a tour of its attractions, such as the city walls and the Grand Mosque.
We fly from Xi'an to Xining today, where we take a tour of multicultural Xining, before embarking on an epic journey on the highest railway on earth, ascending to the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet. This pioneering railway line is a testament to the ingenuity of the engineers who built it and a spectacular feat of modern construction. It features magnificent views of glaciers, mountains and Himalayan villages.
We cross the Tangula Pass early on Day 8, home to long haired yaks, multicoloured banners and frosted peaks. From here we begin the long lazy descent into the colourful city of Lhasa.
Please Note: The overnight sleeper train from Xining to Lhasa is in 4 berth compartments.
We begin today in Lhasa at the ancient Jokhang temple, which is possibly the country's most revered structure. This building is made up of an array of chapels which are decorated in glorious colours and ornate motifs. An air of tranquillity makes exploring these hallowed halls a delight. We also see the bustling Barkhour circuit, a fascinating rectangle of streets which make up a pilgrim circuit around the Jokhang Temple.
This afternoon we visit the Sera Monastery, a remarkable complex of delightful colleges and temples. As an educational institute, this monastery is responsible for teaching around 3,000 monks from the age of 7 onwards.
We explore some of Lhasa's most famous sights today beginning at the dazzling Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama, made up of over a thousand rooms. We ascend the distinctive zig-zagged stairs to explore the regal living quarters and meditation rooms.
We then continue to the Norbulingka Palace. A summer palace featuring the largest gardens in Tibet, these buildings display a cornucopia of colour with their golden structures and blooming floral displays.
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, the tranquil water is a brilliant shade of turquoise, contrasting with the sandy inlets that surround it. Later, we check into our hotel in Gyantse.
On Day 12 we visit a highlight of the region today in Gyantse, the striking Palkhor Chode Monastery. This famous gold-domed monastery complex has 108 chapels and one of the largest Kubum towers in Tibet, the Kumbum Stupa. From Palkhor Chode we continue to Shigatse, with majestic views of Everest appearing along the route. On arrival, we check into our hotel.
Shigatse has played an important role in Tibet's history, having, in the past, been the centre of Tibetan military and political power. Nowadays, it is a fine example of modern Tibetan urban life, with vibrant streets and multihued flags on each corner. Today we explore some of its grand landmarks on a sightseeing tour, visiting the Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded by the first Dalai Lama. Later, we make the return journey to Lhasa.
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 as they enjoy their natural habitats. On Day 15 we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London, via Hong Kong, where your tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Explore Beijing to Lhasa on a stunning rail adventure