16 days Mysterious Tibet Lhasa tour with Yangtze cruise
This tour combines a marvelous Tibet trip and a wonderful Yangtze River cruise. Have a great time with exploring the highest plateau in the world, viewing the unspoiled natural world along Yangzte River and more. Have an in depth understanding of the Han and Tibetan, two different cultures as you stop at five highlight cities in China. Your journey is full of memories.
Start your 16-day tour to mysterious Tibet, a memorable Yangtze cruise and more upon your arrival in Beijing. This modern capital is a famous ancient city that holds the keys to many rich tourism sites. Be greeted by our local guide and driver at the airport and get settled into your downtown hotel. The rest of the day is left free for you to relax or just walk around the city, easily ask your Travel Advisor or local guide for some advice about the place to go.
In the morning, make an excursion to Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square which is located in the heart of Beijing city, indicating it as a symbolic center in China. Then take a visit to the palace complex behind the gate, namely Forbidden City. Forbidden City got its name as it was the dwelling place for the emperors during Ming and Qing dynasties and had been off-limits for 500 years.
Next up with a visit to the Temple of Heaven situated in the southern part of Beijing city. The temple was built in 1420 for only imperial use, for worshipping the God of Heaven and praying for a good harvest. You will see the circle is widely adopted in the design of the temple's gorgeous building since Chinese ancient people believed that the sky was in a circular shape and the earth was square, and these circular architectures would be in accord with their imagination of heaven.
Afterward, head to the Summer Palace, a well-preserved imperial garden that combines the natural landscape of rolling hills and open waterways with many elegant buildings.
Start today's tour by heading to Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the greatest world heritage sites in China. As one of the best section to have a glimpse of Great Wall, Mutianyu gains its fame for its spectacular scenery of the walling presenting a shape of the soaring dragon to stretch along with the majestic mountain ranges. Take two or three hours to walk along the wall, and the cable car is also available for those who do not like hiking.
In the afternoon, drive back to Beijing city and continue your visit to Beiluoguoxiang, here you will have a chance to experience the traditional Beijing Hutong culture. Take a traditional rickshaw riding through the various Hutongs and to get un understanding of the old local manners and customs from your local guide. In the late afternoon, drive to the railway station and take the high-speed train to Xi'an, another famous ancient capital in China.
Today's schedule will start from the eighth wonder of the world, Terracotta Warriors and Horses. This incredible life-size army was one part of the first emperor in China, Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum, used for help Qin Shi Huang rule in his afterlife. At present, you can still see their distinct facial expressions and positions orderly arranged in battle formations.
Afternoon, drive back to Xi'an city and take a visit to Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the most famous landmark of Xi'an. This 64 m. (210 ft.) high square pyramid structure has been standing for almost 1,500 years and witnessing the development of Xi'an city. The last attraction you will visit today is the Great Mosque, which is is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China. Next, take a walk in the Muslim Quarter to explore the Chinese Muslim culture in Xi'an.
Morning you will visit the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the largest state museums where you will learn about the history in China. The museum is composed of three sections, the General Exhibition Hall, where you will see vast storage of cultural relics, the Local Themes Exhibition Hall, which displays many themed items reflecting Shaanxi's characteristic local culture, and the Temporary Exhibition Hall, which is used for temporary exhibitions from home and abroad.
Afterward, take a walk along the Xi'an City Wall and discovery the glorious history of this ancient capital of 13 dynasties from every brick and tile. Then walk through Shuyuan Men, a famous ancient street that jammed with small shops selling traditional arts and crafts.
Morning drive to Xi'an Xianyang Airport for the flight to Lhasa, the flight will take over 3 hours. Upon arrival, you will be driven to Tsedang, a small town which is located 87 km. (48 mi.) from Lhasa Gonggar Airport. The rest of today is left free for you to start acclimatizing the high altitude, your mysterious Tibet tour will start tomorrow.
After breakfast, head to the Yongbulakang Palace, which is regarded as the first palace in Tibet. The palace is situated in the hinterland of the Yarlung Valley, with the meaning of palace like a doe's leg on a mountain slope. Here you will have a good chance to see the fascinating scenery of Yarlung Valley.
Afterwards, take a visit to Samye Monastery, which is the first Buddhist monastery built in Tibet. The same with the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the layout design of this monastery was also based on the ideal universe described in the Buddhist scriptures, compared with these two places, you will learn some different and unique characteristics between Chinese traditional culture and Tibetan Buddhism culture. In the late afternoon, drive back to Lhasa city, and check into the hotel for preparing the next day.
After breakfast, head to the heart of Lhasa city, you will see the magnificent Potala Palace standing on the side of Marpo Ri (Red Mountain). The whole palace was designed like a fortress, composed of the Red Palace on the top and the White Palace at the bottom. In ancient time, Potala Palace was used for the living quarters of Dalai Lama and many other religious functions.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Jokhang Temple, which is the holy shrine for all the Tibetan Buddhists. Standing at the roof of Jokhang you will have an excellent view of Barkhor square and the Potala Palace in the distance. You can also see many pilgrims prostrating themselves at the entrance of the temple. The street around Jokhang Temple is called Barkhor, the most important Kora for pilgrims, as well as the most famous shopping street for visitors. End the trip today by walking around this street and visiting one local family in Lhasa.
Today you will visit two famous Gelugpa Sect monasteries in and near Lhasa city, Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery. Ganden Monastery is the first one that was built by the founder of Gelugpa Sect himself. and now is well known for its Kora. While walking along the path, you will see many pilgrims and monks offering prayers, rubbing holy rocks and prostrating themselves.
Sera Monastery is famous for its debating. The debating is usually set within a stone-walled natural courtyard every afternoon, where you will see some monks clap their hand and debate the Buddhism scriptures, it is an old tradition in Tibetan Buddhism.
Depart for Chongqing in the morning, our guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to board on the cruise ship in the late afternoon. Spend the next three days on Yangtze cruise and enjoy the breathtaking attractions along the Yangtze River.
Today you will have an exciting cruise along the Yangtze River, the longest river in China, enjoy the breathtaking scenery and learn the geography and river lore from your guide on board. Disembark for a short excursion at the Fengdu Ghost City. The town is about 170 km. (110 mi.) downstream from Chongqing on the north bank of Yangtze River, which is a place to learn about Chinese ghost culture, the afterlife, and to see what the Chinese would call a “model of hell.”. After walking around this ghost city and visiting several strange architectures with numerous statues of Chinese ancient ghosts, return to your ship and continue your journey on the river. The dinner will be offered onboard.
Today you will travel through the spectacular Three Gorges. Begin the passage with Qutang Gorge, the shortest and the grandest among three gorges. Have a glimpse of the exquisite peaks and grotesquely shaped rocks along the two banks of Yangtze River. Then pass the Wu Gorge, considered to be the most beautiful one where you will have a graceful view of the lofty and misty peaks.
During your visit through Wu Gorge, you will have a chance to take a short cruise on Little Three Gorges or take a pea-boat floating along the verdant Shennong Stream (based on the seasons). Then continue sailing into Xiling Gorges, the last section of Three Gorges of the downstream cruise. It was once the most dangerous part among three gorges since the river filled with countless reefs, riffles, and rocks. But the current became milder because of the improvement on the riverway these years.
This morning, take a visit to Three Gorges Dam, the largest and most magnificent hydroelectric project in the world. Then check out from the ship in Yichang at noon, our guide will meet you once you disembark, and transfer you to the airport for taking the flight to Shanghai in the afternoon. Get settled into the downtown hotel and take a rest after your arrival in Shanghai.
Start your trips in Shanghai with a visit to Yu Garden, one of the masterpieces that involve the incredible layout design and fascinating landscape of the Chinese classic gardens. Compare with Summer Palace while visiting here to see the differences between the ancient gardens in the north region and south region of China. Next to the garden you will find a market for selling Chinese ancient arts and crafts.
Afterward, go to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall for getting an understanding of the development of modern Shanghai. Next up with sightseeing in Shanghai World Financial Center, which is considered to be one of the tallest buildings in the world. Then, you will come to Nanjing Road, take a walk along the road to see the beautiful scenery of The Bund. In the evening, experience a short cruise journey on Huangpu River to appreciate different scenes along both sides of the river.
After breakfast, take a private car to Suzhou, a beautiful city that is famous for its ancient gardens, the drive will take over one hour. Upon arrival, head to the Humble Administrator's Garden, a natural and elegant garden that has almost 500 years of history. Every building and pavilions in the garden are meticulously placed and each has wonderful stories about them, you will have no idea what the surprise you will see next while walking in the garden. Afterward, have a cruise on the Grand Canal, the longest canal or artificial river in the world.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Lingering Garden, another ancient garden in Suzhou. The same with the Humble Administrator's Garden, you will also be rewarded with scenes more splendid than the one you were just in while visiting in the garden, and this is one of the main characteristics of Suzhou gardens.
Your fantastic tour will come to an end today. Drive to the airport and railway station and say farewell to your local guide. Wish you have a pleasant journey home.