This 11-day tour takes you from the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an, former capital for 13 dynasties, and home of the famed Terracotta Warriors, to the heady heights of Tibet. Visit the amazing monasteries, such as Jokhang, Drepung and Sera, as well as the majestic Potala Palace, before heading off to see the amazing majesty of the world’s highest mountain, Mt Everest. After experiencing the exotic culture and customs of Tibet, and the friendly local people, head off across the border to continue your adventure in Kathmandu.
Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1 - Arrive in Xi'an
When you arrive at Xi’an 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.
Stay overnight in Xi’an.
Day 2 - Xi’an Tour: The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
The next morning will see you visiting the Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, a must-see when in Xi'an. Around 8,000 ancient, life-sized figures were created to accompany the first Emperor of China to the afterlife, and were part of his mausoleum. Each figure has a unique facial structure and expression, as if they had been made from living people. The warriors were buried with the Emperor in 208BC and were not discovered until 1974.
After the warriors, you will head over to another of the most visited sites in Xi'an, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in 652, the pagoda is a repository of Buddhist figures and scriptures brought to Xi'an from India by, Xuanzang, the first abbot of Daci'en Temple.
Stay overnight in Xi’an.
Day 3 - Xi’an Tour: Shaanxi History Museum, Cycling on the top of Ancient City Wall, and Muslim Quarter
The first trip of the day will be to visit the Shaanxi History Museum, where you can take in the glory and ancient history of China. The museum holds artifacts that date back as far as the Paleolithic era, up to the more recent Qing Dynasty. The museum is packed with thousands of exhibits from all periods of history, and is a busy, popular attraction.
In the afternoon you will be able to enjoy the ancient City Wall of Xi'an by bicycle tour. The wall around the inner part of the city was built in the 14th century and is 14km long. It is an amazing example of ancient defensive structures.
In the evening you will be able to travel to the Muslim quarter, with its famed gourmet street full of tasty delights. It is the largest area of Muslim business in the city, and is the perfect place to buy souvenirs of Xi'an and China, with a wide range of local snacks and handicrafts.
Stay overnight in Xi'an.
Day 4 - Take train to Lhasa and enjoy the train scenery
In the morning you will transfer to the Xi'an Railway Station, to begin the ride over the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Lhasa. Traveling along the most scenic railway in the world, you will experience sights that will leave you breathless, and cross a plateau with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. Do not forget to check out the view as you go over the Tanggula Pass, the highest railway pass in the world at 5072 meters above sea level.
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 on the train.
Day 5 - Arrival in Lhasa
When you arrive in Lhasa in the mid-afternoon, our guide will greet you warmly with the phrase, "Tashi Delek", which means 'wish you all the best'. Your tour guide will meet you at the exit of the station, and a private car will transport you to your hotel to allow you to rest and acclimatize for the rest of the day.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6 - Lhasa Tour: 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 - Lhasa Tour: 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 - Lhasa (3650m) - Yamdrok Lake - Shigatse (3900m) Tour
In the morning our guide will drive you from Lhasa to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city. En route to Shigatse you will pass over Gampala Pass, which lies at an elevation of 4,790 meters, and will pass the amazing Lake Yamdrok. At 4,400 meters above sea level, the lake lies nestled between lofty mountains, and you will see the holy mountain, Nyenchen Khangsar, its 7,191 meter peak standing tall in the distance.
In Gyantse, you will get to visit the unique Pelkor Monastery, which is rare due to it housing three different sects of Tibetan Buddhism under one roof. You will also get to see the Gyantse Kumbum, a giant architectural stupa that stands 34 meters high.
After another hour and a half of driving you will reach Shigatse, and will be able to visit the seat of Tibet's second highest spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama, at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 9 - Shigatse (3900m) to Everest Base Camp (5200)
After obtaining your Alien's Travel Permit, which is needed to tour this area, you will leave Shigatse for Lhatse, a small town where you can get a nice lunch. On the drive on to Shegar, weather permitting, you will get your first look at the amazing sight of Mt. Everest, or Mt. Qomolangma as it is called in Tibetan.
The drive on to Rongbuk Monastery crosses one of the highest passes in Tibet, the Pang La Pass, at 5,050 meters, from which you can see all five of the world's highest peaks. After arriving at Rongbuk you will be able to rest from the long drive, ready for the trip to EBC.
Stay overnight in a tent or at the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House (depending on availability)
Tips: The location is very remote and inhospitable, and the accommodation facilities are very basic here. Water is in short supply, there is no hot water, and toilets are just a pit in the ground. You should also be aware that in this remote region, you will be "roughing it", and sleeping facilities are not ideal. However, it is more than worth it to put up with the basic facilities for the amazingly spectacular views of Everest, and we will do our best to ensure that your personal requirements can be met, and you get the very best service from us.
Day 10 - EBC (5200m) and return to Shigatse (3900m)
In the morning, you can catch the stunning sunrise of Everest Peak if weather permits at the lodging area and then pay a visit to Rongbu Monastery - the unique highest monastery with nuns and monks living together. You’ll have the chance to take the closest picture of Mt. Everest at the base camp.
After visiting EBC, and taking all the photographs you can manage, you will head back to Rongbuk for a tour of this amazing monastery. The highest monastery in the world, at 5,000 meters above sea level, it is part of the Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is unique in that both monks and nuns live together in the same monastery. After, you will be driven back to Shigatse.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 11 - Old Tingri (4300m) to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port
Early in the morning you will be driven from Shigatse to the Sino-Nepal border, at Gyirong Port. On the route to Gyirong port you will cross the Nyalam Tong Pass, at an elevation of 5,150 meters. While the road to Gyirong Port is not as bad as in some places in this remote region, there is a fast increase in altitude along the route, so care should be taken in your condition, and if you feel any effects of altitude sickness, you should inform our guide.
You will arrive at Gyirong Port in the early afternoon, from where you will be transported to Kathmandu. Our Tibetan guide will drop you off at the border bridge, as they are not permitted to cross.
Service Ends at the border.
Optional Service: Transfers from Gyirong to Kathmandu can be arranged, but are not included in the package, and will require an extra payment if requested.
- 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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