16 days China highlights and Tibet tour from Beijing
Start this memorable Tibet tour from Beijing. Witness two of the most beautiful lakes: Qinghai Lake and Namtso Lake in the following two weeks. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring views of the highest plateau in the World, Qinhai-Tibetean Plateau as you have a soft train ride to Lhasa. Explore the famous spots in and around Lhasa city to learn about the Tibetan Buddhism and cultures and much more.
Welcome to Beijing, the capital city in China, your wonderful Beijing Tibet tour starts here. As one of the most famous ancient cities, Beijing holds rich historical heritages and tourism resources, traveling around this city will give a sense that you are twisting a kaleidoscope which mixes the modern city life with ancient culture.
Once upon arrival at the airport or railway station, be greeted and assisted to your hotel by a local guide and driver, take a break for the rest of the day or easily explore this ancient city on your own, your local guide will be pleasure to offer suggestions on where to go or what to do your first night in Beijing.
Start today's tour with a guided visit to Tiananmen Square, which is regarded as the biggest public square in world. The square is located in the center of Beijing city, indicating it as the symbolic center to Chinese people.
Afterwards, go straight to the north end of Tiananmen Square and visit the magnificent Forbidden City, which was the dwelling palace to two dynasties of emperors and got its name as it was off limits for 500 years. Now it serves as a museum to present an incredible large collection of preserved ancient wooden structures and countless historical treasures.
Another worthwhile morning destination is Jingshan Park, behind the Forbidden City. Climb to the top for a magnificent panorama view of this capital city and princely views over the russet roofing of Forbidden City.
After lunch, drive to the Summer Palace, a royal garden built during Qing dynasty. Here be impressed by the awe-inspiring landscape design and architectures, which combines the natural landscape of rolling hills and open waterways with many elegant pavilions, temples and bridges. Together with Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
If time is allowed, you can also wonder at the beautiful campus of Tsinghua University, one of the top universities in China.
In the evening, you can choose to enjoy one of the cultural - Kongfu Show at Red Theatre or Peking opera at Liyuan Theatre (Entrance tickets on your own).
Early morning visit the Temple of Heaven, a holy place for the emperors during Ming and Qing Dynasties to pray to the God of Heaven for good harvest. Seen from above, the temple halls are round and the bases square, shapes respectively symbolizing heaven and the earth. Morning is considered as a good time to visit Temple of Heaven as seniors go there for morning exercises with traditional music, dancing and Taichi, etc..
Afterwards drive about 2 hours to visit Mutianyu Great Wall with breathtaking views of rolling mountains. Comparison with Badaling, Mutianyu Great Wall is less crowded and you will have oppotunity to see both restored and un-restored walls. We always suggest our clients to head east towards to the Tower One where they can enjoy the wonderful restored wall and after a short walk to get to the un-restored sections.
While standing atop of the watchtowers and seeing the wall winding its way across the mountains, you will immerse yourself into the majestic scenery and admire the wisdom of ancient Chinese people. During your visit, cable car is also available for those who require assistance in reaching the wall, also the cable car or Toboggan is for your choice to get down of the wall.
On the way back to the downtown, stop at Olympic Green, full of iconic symbols from the 2008 Olympic games, have a short time view of both the National Stadium - the Bird's Nest and National Aquatics Center - the Water Cube.
In the evening, You can choose to enjoy an authentic Beijing roasted duck dinner or have your guides or driver to drop you off at the Wangfujing for the local snacks and shopping.
You will have a chance to explore the ancient Hutong culture in the last day staying in Beijing. After breakfast, head to Shichahai Area and take one hour to visit a 300 years old courtyard. With the assistance of your English speaking tour guide, you will learn about the history, culture and layout of Beijing Hutongs. Talk with the local housekeepers to gain direct insight to these historical places. Do all this while experiencing the life of local Beijingers by taking the rickshaw through the Hutongs.
After you are dropped off at the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge), walk along the old Tobacco Pipe Lean Street (Yandai Xiejie) which has over 800 years history, and stop at the Drum Tower to witness the surrounding Hutongs and traditional courtyards from an aerial view.
Then head to visit Yonghegong also known as Lama temple, is considered as the largest and most preserved lamasery in Beijing. It's worth a visit to take in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
After lunch, board the early afternoon train to Xi'an (G867, 14:00-18:25). Upon arrival at Xi'an, to be met and transferred to hotel. Overnight at Xi'an.
This morning, make an excursion trip to the Terracotta Warriors in the northeast countryside of Xi'an. It's hard to imagine this subterranean life-size army of thousands has stood guard over the soul of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang for over 2,000 years, and this is why the site is also called as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
After lunch, head back to downtown and pay a visit to Xi'an City Wall, one of the oldest and best preserved city wall in China. To visit the city wall, you can choose to explore it on foot or by bicycle. If you are interested in artwork and crafts, then just get down at the South gate of City Wall and visit Shuyuan Men Cultural Street, it is a place that jammed with many shops for selling delicate traditional art crafts.
Afterwards head to Muslim Quarter, the hub of the Muslim community in Xi'an, and is famous for its mosques, Beiyuanmen Moslem market featuring delicious food and souvenirs.
In the evening you can choose to enjoy a cultural show of Tang Dynasty Dance and Music or learning how to make dumplings at one of local families.
Start today's tour by heading to the famous Shaanxi History Museum in the early morning. Once get there, you will be impressed by its unique and magnificent appearance, which recalls the architectural style of Tang Dynasty. Shaanxi History Museum is one of the best and largest state museums in China, which preserves over 300,000 exhibitions including the enormous Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty bronze tripods, Qin burial objects,bronze arrows and crossbows, and several original terracotta warrior statues.
Next for today is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous landmark in Xi'an. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a preserved ancient building which was built in 652 AD to house the Buddhist sutras brought back from India. Atop of the pagoda it offers a bird's eye view of Xi'an city.
After lunch, drop you off at Xi'an airport for the flight to Xining. Upon arrival, be greeted and assisted to your hotel by the local Xining guide and driver.
Today make an excursion to Qinghai Lake, the largest salt lake which often serves as the symbolic midway point between Tibet and Mongolia in China. The lake is a gift that is endowed by nature, and you will agree or disagree once you witness the incredible natural beauty around the lake.
In the late afternoon or evening, board the overnight train for your journey to Lhasa. The Cabins are pressurized and double glazed for the comfort of the passengers as it ascends into the high altitude of Tibet.
On the train to Lhasa, you will have a perfect glimpse of the magnificent Tibetan Plateau, see groups of nomads with their yaks and the cruel but beautiful Kekexili Nature Reserve. Arrive Lhasa in the evening, then be assist to your hotel by the local guide to take a good rest for acclimatizing the high altitude.
Since it's your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, you will only be arranged to visit Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace in Lhasa city. Jokhang Temple is a 1,300-year old temple which regarded as the spiritual center of Tibet, it is located at the heart of old town in Lhasa. The circuit around the temple is called Barkhor, it is a popular devotional place for pilgrims and locals. The street is also a good place for travelers to purchase local souvenirs.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Potala Palace, the landmark of Lhasa city. The palace can be declared as an architectural miracle even by modern standards, it rises 13 stories and contains more than 1,000 rooms. The layout of Potala Palace includes the White Palace, used for the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, and the Red Palace, used for religious functions. Now Potala Palace serves as a holy shrine to Tibetan Buddhism believers.
If you are still feeling well, then wander through the small alleys of the old Lhasa town to get understand the locals' life.
Note: The sightseeing order may be changed based on the actual condition, so that you may visit Potala Palace in the moring and Jokhang Temple in the afternoon.
Make an excursion to two of the "great three" Gelugpa Sect Monasteries in Lhasa today, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. Drepung Monastery is purportedly the largest monastery in world. Sera Monastery is well-known for its debating tradition, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Afterwards, take a visit to Norbulingka Summer Palace, where you can see the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. The park is crowded with picnickers and traditional activities during the Shoton (Yogurt festival) in August.
You need an early breakfast today for the day tour to Namtso Lake. On the way to get there, have a distance view of the Nyenchen Thanglha snow mountain ranges and Northern Tibetan grassland. Namtso is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, and is also called as sky lake by locals. The lake is also regarded as the highest salt lake in world. Once get there, take several hours to walk along the lakeshore and enjoy the charming natural scenery on the highest plateau of world. Afternoon drive back to Lhasa, on the way back, you will be arranged to visit one nomad family, experience the local life and taste the local food.
Note: Namtso Lake is normally closed to tourists in winter season starting from mid of Oct. till the next end of March or early of April due to too much snow at the high pass. During this time, we normally arrange Yamdrok tso Lake instead.
Morning head to the airport and say farewell to your Lhasa local guide, then take a flight to Chengdu, the flight will take over 2 hours. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by your local driver (only driver no guide) and transferred to the hotel in the downtown. Afternoon freely exploration on your own.
Morning around 7:30 to 8:00, to be met at your hotel and drive to Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. See the morning feeding of the adorable pandas and spend time and get up close with the panda, one of the rarest animals in China. Now the giant panda only lives in Sichuan Province mountain ranges in central China and cultivation centers like the Chengdu Panda Base.Then you will have some time to watch the film to know the panda daily life.
After lunch, drive to the airport for the flight to Shanghai, your Shanghai local guide will meet you there and help you check in the hotel, then take a break in the rest of the day.
Start today with a visit to Yu Garden in the old town of Shanghai. Yu Garden is an over 400-year history garden filled with the shaded alcoves,glittering ponds filled with carp, pavilions and pines sprouting wistfully from beautiful rock formations. Immerse yourself into the breathtaking landscape and admire the architectural design of Chinese ancient gardens. Next to the garden is Yuyuan Market, a place for you to buy some antiques or souvenirs.
Afterwards, hop over to the Shanghai Urban Exhibition Hall, a museum where you can get a clear understanding the scale and plan of future Shanghai. Here you can also witness some old photographs of old Shanghai.
Cross the Huangpu River and head to the observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the tallest buildings in the world. After, walk through Nanjing Road and see the beautiful scenery of the Bund in Shanghai.
In the evening, you can choose to cruise along the Huangpu River to see the night scene of Shanghai from another unique vantage point or just enjoy an Acrobatics show (entrance tickets are on your own).
Today is left open and flexible for you to explore Shanghai on your own. You can spend the day shopping or just walking around to get a better understanding of the city. Please easily ask your local guide for some suggestions on where to go and what to see.
After breakfast, be escorted to the airport and ready for the departure. Wish you have a pleasant journey home, and WindhorseTour is happily to assist you in extending your tour within China.