Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Beijing, via Hong
Day 2 - Beijing
We arrive on Day 2 where you'll be met by
an English-speaking guide before transferring to your hotel for the
next three nights.
Day 3 - Tiananmen Square
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
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 and across the ‘Roof of the World’ to Lhasa
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 - 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.
Days 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 - Shigatse
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
Day 13 - Shigatse and 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
Day 15 - To London
On Day 15, we transfer to the airport for
our flight back to London Heathrow, via Hong Kong.