Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, and a major gateway into the country from Hong Kong. The city is a sprawling metropolis sitting on the Pearl River, and is a major cultural center in China. Its position on the Pearl River, and its closeness to Hong Kong have long made it a thriving commercial center. After visiting some of the city's most iconic attractions, you will board the train to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, for the start of your high-altitude adventure among the stupendous landscapes and sacred monasteries around Lhasa.
Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1: Arrive in Guangzhou and Tour Canton Tower at Night
When you arrive at Guangzhou Airport, our guide will pick you up from the waiting area, and transport you to your hotel. There you will be able to rest after your flight, or explore the area around the hotel.
After dinner, our guide will pick you up for a night visit to the famous Canton Tower, a must-see attraction for any visitor to the city. The tower is the highest TV tower in China, and the third highest in the world, at 595.7 meters tall. From the top you will have an excellent view out over the city, and inside there is a host of entertainments and restaurants.
The Sky Drop is a 100-foot high free-fall, which you can do sitting down or standing up, and the Bubble Tram, with its 16 crystal cabins, is a popular attraction as it spins around the top of the tower. The Spider Walk is the world's longest spiral staircase, with 1,095 steps, making it an arduous climb. And there are 3D and 4D cinemas on the lower floors.
Day 2: Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Chimelong International Circus
The following morning, you will be visiting the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the former academy of the Chen clans, built to school their children while preparing for their imperial examination. Constructed in 1894, during the Qing Dynasty, the hall was later converted to be a school and college, and is no the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. This tranquil complex consists of 19 buildings, which house nine halls and six courtyards in a symmetrical pattern. The museum is filled with porcelain, sculptures, and other works of art, and is covered with rich decorations both inside and outside the halls, on almost every beam, ridge, wall, and column.
After lunch, we will be going to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, another of Guangzhou's most historical buildings. This octagonal-shaped building was designed by Lu Yanzhi in memory of Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese physician, writer, philosopher, and the founding father of the Republic of China. Sun was a uniting figure in post-imperial China, and is widely revered amongst the people. The hall has immense historic value in China, and the tranquil, landscaped gardens are home to the two largest white jade orchid trees in China.
In the evening, we will take you to the world famous Chimelong International Circus, which is situated just outside Guangzhou. The circus is a classic style of entertainment, and the acts include hundreds of international performers from around the world. The stage literally comes to life in a series of spectacular shows with acrobats, clowns, dancers, and animal performers combined with amazingly choreographed music, lasers, lights, and fireworks. The performances are non-stop, and breathtaking, with parades roaming through the audience, and the chance of getting wet if you are too close to the front.
Stay overnight in Guangzhou
Day 3: Take Guangzhou-Lhasa train to Tibet
On the third day, our guide will take you to Guangzhou Train Station, to board the train for the journey to Tibet. The train departs at 11:45am and the journey covers an amazing 4,980km, the longest of the seven routes from China into Tibet. The trip will take around 53-54 hours to reach Lhasa.
Tips: It is advisable to prepare snacks and packaged food for the journey, as well as some books, music, and other entertainment. The three-day trip will take you through some of the most spectacular countryside in the world, but is long and can be stressful.
Stay overnight on the train.
Day 4: Train Ride to Tibet
During the second day of the trip the train will pass through Xi'an and on to Xining, which is the start of the Qingzang Railway, the highest plateau railway in the world.
Stay overnight on the train.
Day 5: Scenery View of Tibet Railway and Arrive in Lhasa
On the third day of the journey, the train will have passed by Golmud, and be entering the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The views from the windows at this point are spectacular, with breathtaking scenes of snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear lakes. Immense grasslands and arid deserts pass by outside, framed in the background by the lofty mountains, and dotted with hundreds of different species of wildlife that live and thrive in this desolate landscape.
Your train will arrive in Lhasa on the afternoon of the third day of the journey, and our guide will be there to greet you warmly with the phrase "Tashi Delek", which means 'wish you all the best'. Once you have been taken to your hotel in Lhasa, you can rest and acclimatize to the high altitude of the region.
Tips: High Altitude Sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can be avoided by resting and acclimatizing to the increased elevation. We recommend that you rest and eat plenty of high-protein foods and drink lots of water while you get used to the high altitude. It is also a good idea not to shower for the first two days to avoid catching a cold.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street
The following day your first stop will be the world famous Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Sitting atop Moburi (Red Hill), the palace looks down on the town of Lhasa from its 3,750-meter vantage point. The temple dates back to the 7th century, and houses artifacts and works of art from throughout Tibetan History. The palace also has the gilded burial stupas of the past Dalai Lamas, and below ground lies the ancient meditation cave of the 33rd King of Tibet.
After some lunch, you will head downtown to Jokhang Temple, the primary seat of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built by the 33rd King of Tibet in 647AD, and is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Inside sits the most precious object in the temple, a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni when he was just 12 years old. Adorned with many precious gems, this gilded statue is the most sacred object in Tibet.
Running around the temple is the famed Barkhor Street. As well as the route of the holy kora, or religious circumambulation, it is also the site of many sellers where you can buy authentic souvenirs from across the region. You can join the pilgrims on their clockwise walk around the temple.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 7: Drepung and Sera Monastery
The next morning you will leave early for a trip outside Lhasa, first to Drepung Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Sitting at the foot of Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers outside Lhasa, it was founded by Jamyang Choge, one of the disciples of Tsong Khapa, in 1416. The Ganden Potrang, sited in the southwest corner of the monastery, was the former residence of the Dalai Lama, until the move to the Potala Palace.
In the afternoon you will travel back across the city to the northern suburbs, to visit Sera Monastery, another of the Great Three monasteries. Founded in 1419, the name, Sera, means "wild rose" in Tibetan, and was named because of the roses that were in bloom on the hill behind it when it was built. The main attraction of the monastery is the colorful and animated debating of the monks, held under the trees in the debating field every afternoon. Definitely something to watch, even if you do not understand what is said.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 8: Departure from Lhasa
On the last day of your tour, our guide will take you to the airport or train station, and help you with checking in and boarding.
- Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
- Domestic train/flight tickets as indicated in the itinerary
- All lodging listed in the itinerary
- Meals listed in itinerary
- Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
- Local Tour Transfers according to group size
- Excellent English-Speaking Tour Guide in China Tour and local Tibetan English-speaking guide in Tibet
- Government tax and travel agency service
- Chinese visa
- International flight to and out of China
- Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary
- Meals not specified the itinerary
- Tips and gratitude to tour guide and drive
- Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
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