11 Days Chengdu Tibet Train Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

Chengdu - Train to Lhasa - Lhasa - Chongqing - Yangtze River Cruise - Yichang

From USD p.p

A beautiful sightseeing tour that includes a cruise down the world-renowned Yangtze River, this China Tibet tour starts in Chengdu with a visit to see the breeding center for the rare and endangered giant pandas that are indigenous to the area. Then it is on to Lhasa, where you will visit the monasteries around the Tibetan capital, as well as the spectacular Potala Palace and the most holy of Buddhist sites, the Jokhang Temple. Then fly to the city of Chongqing, on the banks of the Yangtze River, where your Yangtze River cruise will start. Following the course of the Yangtze for three days, the cruise takes in the riverside pagoda at Shibaozhai and passes through the Three Gorges, one of the highlights of China’s Yangtze River, and culminates with a spectacular farewell performance and party before you disembark.

Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Arrival in Chengdu

When you arrive in Chengdu, our local tour guide will be there to meet you at the Chengdu International Airport, and help you transfer to your hotel, where you can rest after your flight. The rest of the day is yours to either rest or to explore the area and take in some of the local sights.

Stay overnight in Chengdu.

Day 2 Chengdu Sightseeing: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Wenshu Temple, Renmin Park and Jinli Street

In the morning, drive to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Breeding, the home to giant pandas, where you will catch pandas' feeding time. They are at their most active, both Adults and Babies. There's a wealth of information and a panda museum in this 230-hectare park 10 km (6 miles) north of Chengdu. It takes about 2.5 hours to visit this site.

Then, you will visit some other highlights of Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple, Renmin Park and Jinli Street. As the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu, Wenshu Temple is famous for its exquisite gardens and halls. Renmin Park is a beautiful city park often filled with locals, and you can enjoy a cup of tea to experience the slow life of Chengdu there. In the end of today, you will walk along the Jinli Old Street to fully appreciate Sichuan’s customs and folk arts.

Stay overnight in Chengdu.

Day 3 Free to Explore the city, then Board Train to Lhasa

The whole day is free for you to explore around the city. In the evening, you will be transferred to Chengdu Railway Station for the train to Lhasa. Your Tibet Permit will need to be checked before boarding.

Stay overnight on the train.

Day 4 Train to Lhasa

Today, you will spend the whole day on the train to Lhasa. It is quite a long journey from Chengdu to Lhasa, for about 36 hours in total. You will pass through two important provincial capital cities in northwest China, Lanzhou and Xining. Xining is known as the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

You will witness the most beautiful scenery along Qinghai-Tibet Railway. From the deserts to massive grassland, snowy mountains to turquoise lakes, all these landscapes will continually appear and strongly appeal to your eyes.

Stay overnight on the train.

Day 5 Scenery View of Tibet Railway, and arrive in Lhasa

The Chengdu-Lhasa train will arrive in Lhasa in the morning. Upon your arrival, your tour guide will hold a board with your name on it at the exit to welcome you. A private car will take you to the reserved hotel. You may view the Yarlung Tsangpo River (the longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa River on their way to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Tips: If this is your first visit to Tibet, you will need to acclimatize to the increased elevation, to prevent altitude sickness. This is best done by resting in the hotel and minimizing any physical exertion.

Day 6 Lhasa Sightseeing: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

Today, you’ll pay a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the world cultural heritage. You can explore its audience halls, the jeweled and Golden burial chortens (stupa Tombs) of past Dalai Lamas, and a tremendous number of Buddhist frescoes, Thangkas, combinations of mandala, etc.

Then tourists will head to the holiest temple in Tibet, the Jokhang Temple, built during Songtsen Gampo's reign by princess Wencheng of Tang dynasty, 647 A.D. Here you can observe sincere pilgrims making prostration in front of Jokhang Temple. While entering the temple, you can see the holiest statue of Buddha. Around the monastery is the famous Barkhor Street, where you can do the kora with pilgrims and locals. And then we’ll go to explore the old market and you may have the chance to see the traditional jewelry trading between people from different part of Tibet.

Finally, you’ll taste Tibetan tea with locals in the tea house and enjoy a welcome dinner at night.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

After finishing the sightseeing, if time allows, you may go with tour guide to visit Tibetan handicraft art or Tibetan Traditional Medicine center. Besides, you can also choose to upgrade your tour to enjoy Tibetan Culture Show in the evening (fr. 60USD).

Day 7 Lhasa Sightseeing: Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery

Today, you will visit two of the three prestigious Gelugpa monasteries in Lhasa, the Drepung and the Sera. Founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416, Drepung Monastery is the largest monastery in Tibet. Situated at the foot of Gambo Utse Mountain, Drepung was once home to more than 10000 monks. Here you can see the biggest monastery kitchen inside and then pay a visit to the Buddhist Sculpture Carving near Drepung.

After having lunch, you’ll continue to visit the Sera Monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Choeje. The highlight is the monk debate held in the courtyard at around 3-5 in the afternoon. Besides, you can also see the colorful Rock Painting of Buddha and the three sand Mandalas and then visit the Tibetan scripture printing house.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 8 Flight from Lhasa to Chongqing; Boarding your Yangtze River Cruise Ship

In the morning, you will fly from Lhasa to Chongqing, one of the gateway cities to Tibet, where you can spend the afternoon touring the city. One of the greatest sites of the city is the General Joseph W. Stilwell Museum, founded in memory of an American general from World War II. The Allied Chief of Staff in the China area during the Second World War, his men knew him as “Vinegar Joe”, and he was a positive foreign supporter of the Communist forces in China. The museum is located in the General’s former residence in the Yuzhong District of Chongqing, and was turned into a museum in 1994 by the Chongqing Municipal Government.

Then it is on to the Chongqing Pier, where you will board the ship for your Yangtze River cruise. The ship will depart the dock in the late evening, and you can spend the rest of the evening enjoying the dining and entertainment on the cruise ship.

Stay overnight on the ship.

Day 9 Yangtze River Cruise: Shibaozhai Pagoda

On the first full day of your delightful river cruise, the ship will pass by the Fengdu Ghost City, where an optional excursion can take you this 2,000 year-old city. Filled with information and images of Chinese Ghost Culture, the city includes the cultures of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, the three main religions in China.

Later in the day, the ship will dock at the side of the riverside pagoda at Shibaozhai. Built into the cliff face in the Qing Dynasty, this wooden pagoda is 56 meters high and consists of 12 levels, the bottom nine of which denote the nine levels of heaven. The pagoda was constructed by the Qing craftsmen without the use of a single metal nail, and the inside includes a stunning wooden zigzag staircase that is the only way to the top level.

Stay overnight on the ship.

Day 10 Yangtze River Cruise: Three Gorges, Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream), Captain’s Farewell Party

The last full day of the cruise starts with the ship entering the stunning area known as the Three Gorges. Consisting of the Qutang Gorge, the Wu Gorge, and the Xiling Gorge, these gorges follow one after the other along a huge stretch of the Yangtze River, and are famous for their stunning scenery. Stretching for over 120 kilometers, the gorges are edged with both sloping hills and steep, jagged cliffs at different parts, and are an important part of Chinese culture and history that lies at the bottom of the gorges.

Later in the day, you will get to take an excursion along the 30 kilometer-long Shennv Stream, a popular scenic spot along the Yangtze River. Also known as Goddess Stream, this beautiful gorge lies on the southern side of the Wu Gorge, and the area is completely undeveloped and primeval in appearance. One of the most beautiful, pristine, and untouched areas of China, the Shennv Gorge trip is done in a small motor boat.

In the evening, the crew and the Captain of the cruise ship will host a performance and party as a farewell gesture on your last night on board. Crew members perform folk dances for the guests, and play traditional music to dance to, as the Captain hosts a formal dinner and party, where food and drink are laid on. At the end of the evening, the Captain holds a toast to his guests, as a thanks for joining him.

Stay overnight on the ship.

Day 11 Morning excursion to Three Gorges Dam; Disembark at Yichang, and Yichang Departure

On the last day of the cruise, the morning will be spent on a visit to the world’s largest dam and hydroelectric power station in the world, the Three Gorges Dam. Constructed in the middle of the Xiling Gorge, the water level behind the dam is 110 meters higher than the level on the downstream side. The dam is a major tourist location along the Yangtze River, and is an amazing feat of engineering and construction.

River traffic traversing the upper to lower reaches of the Yangtze pass through the Five Level Ship Dock of the dam, taking the entire ship 110 meters down to the continuation of the river below.

Then it is on to the docks at Yichang, where you will depart and say goodbye to the ship and crew, and your guide will transfer you to the local Yichang Airport for your flight onwards.

Service Inclusion

  1. Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
  2. Domestic train/flight tickets as indicated in the itinerary, including Chengdu to Lhasa train ticket etc.
  3. 4-day and 3-night Yangtze River cruise from Chongqing to Yichang
  4. All lodging listed in the itinerary. If you travel individually, you will need to share one room with another tourist. If you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, you will have to pay the single room supplement
  5. Meals listed in itinerary
  6. Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
  7. Local tour transfer, comfortable tourist vehicle according to group size
  8. Excellent English-speaking tour guide in China tour and local Tibetan English-speaking guide in Tibet
  9. Tourist accident/casualty insurance
  10. First aid kit

Service Exclusion

  1. Chinese visa
  2. International flight to and out of China
  3. Domestic train/flight not listed in the itinerary. (We offer domestic train/flight ticket booking service, please contact our travel experts for the details.)
  4. Meals not specified the itinerary
  5. Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver
  6. Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.

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