16 Days Xi’an to Lhasa and Nyingchi, Tsedang and Shigatse Tour

Xian - Train to Lhasa - Nyingchi - Gyatsa - Tsedang - Gyantse - Shigatse - Lhasa

From USD p.p

This 16-day tour incorporates the best of ancient China, a cultural exploration of the ancient Chinese capital, Xi’an, with the cultural excellence of Nyingchi, Tsedang, and Shigatse, in Tibet. You will be left stunned by the outstanding alpine scenery, the local culture, and the Tibetan Buddhism, which is closely woven into the everyday lives of the Tibetan people.

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) to Nyingchi (3100m) (B)

On day eight you will drive from Lhasa to Bayi Town, in Nyingchi, crossing the Mila Mountain Pass along the way at a height of 5,013 meters. On the way you will pass through Kongpo Gamda Town, where you will take a detour to Bason Tso Lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 3,500 meters, and starts in the foothills of Nyching Tangha Mountain. At only twelve kilometers long, it is not a big lake, by Tibetan standards, but it has several small islands which all have Lamaist temples built on them. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, icy glaciers, and alpine forests, which can be seen reflected in the lake’s surface.

After the stop by the lake, you will continue the drive along the Nyiyang Riveren route to Bayi Town.

Stay overnight in Nyingchi.

Day 9 - Nyingchi Tour - Great Cypress Nature Reserve Area (B)

The first trip of the day is to the great Cypress Nature reserve, around 15km south of Bayi Town. The reserve is home to the Giant Cypress trees, most of which are around 40 meters tall. However, there is one great Giant Cypress tree which has grown to just over 50 meters, and is known as the King Cypress. Known by the locals as “the god of tree”, the cypress is thousands of years old, and has seen the birth of Bon, one of the world’s oldest religions.

The tour continues on from there to Sekyim la Pass, where you can enjoy the views of the great mountain, Namjia Bawa, in the distance. The mountain sits at 7,700 meters, and is the highest mountain in the area. Continuing the drive you will head to Lunang Forest, at an elevation of 3,700 meters. The forest covers both sides of the Castle Peak, and sits above a lush highland meadow with an abundance of wild animals that graze there. The scenery is typically alpine, with wispy clouds drifting in the clear blue sky, snow-capped mountains, and an endless forest of pines.

You will then drive back to Nyingchi.

Stay overnight in Nyingchi.

Day 10 - Nyingchi (3100m) to Gyatsa ( 330km, 7hrs) (B)

The next day, you will drive through Nang County to Gyatsa, where you can visit the ancient Lama Ling Monastery. It is one of the monasteries of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is surrounded by dense forests. In Nyingchi, it is the primary monastery for the area. You will then drive along the Yarlung Tsangpo River to Gyatsa, with the forest thinning out to lush riverside meadows, full of flora and fauna.

Stay overnight in Gyatsa.

Day 11 - Gyatsa to Tsedang (3515m) (125km, 5hrs) (B)

The trip along the road today is tougher than previously, as the dusty road twists and winds up the Po-dang la, to an elevation of 5,030 meters. Once down the other side you will come back to paved highway again, and on to the ancient capital, Tsedang. Situated in the beautiful, fertile Yarlung valley, the place is known as the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Yambulakhang Palace, in Tsedang, is the first ever palace, which was built for the first Tibetan King, Nyatri Tsedpo, who is said to have come down from heaven. Nearby lies the Traduk Temple, the oldest temple in Tibet, dating back to the 7th century, and pre-dating the Jokhang temple, in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Tsedang.

Day 12 - Tsedang Tour - Samye Monastery (B)

The day will be spent visiting the famous Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, that was built in the 7th century. The main temple is a mix of Tibetan, Han, and Indian, and is the first complete monastery with the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

Stay overnight in Tsedang.

Day 13 - Tsedang (3515m) to Gyantse (3950m) (B)

In the morning you will leave Tsedang for Gyantse, and will have the chance to see some of the beautiful scenery of the region. The route passes over Gampala Pass, at 4,790 meters, and you will get a brief glimpse of Lake Yamdrok-tso. Surrounded by many high mountains, the lake shimmers a deep turquoise in the sunlight, and beyond it you will see the holy mountain, Nyenchen Khangsar, which at 7,191 meters is the highest mountain close to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Gyantse.

Day 14 - Gyantse (3950m) to Shigatse (3900m) (B)

Today you will go and visit the famed Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa. The monastery is the main monastery for Buddhists in Gyantse, and houses thousands of Buddhist sutras, scripts, and artifacts, as well as many paintings, which have left a deep influence on Tibetan art.

After the visit you will travel for another hour and a half to reach Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. You will get to visit the famous Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, which contains the largest, ancient, and well preserved statue of Jampa, the future Buddha. The monastery is also the seat of Tibetan Buddhism’s second highest spiritual incarnation, the Panchen Lama.

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

Day 15 - Shigatse (3900m) to Lhasa (3650m) (B)

The day is spent driving back to Lhasa along the famous Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway. The road to Lhasa is 280 km long and it takes around six hours to drive. The road follows the course of the Yarlung Tsangpo river, which is the longest and largest river in Tibet. The evening will be yours to rest from the long drive.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 16 - Depart from Lhasa (B)

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.

Service Inclusion

  1. Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
  2. Domestic train/flight tickets as indicated in the itinerary
  3. All lodging listed in the itinerary
  4. Meals listed in itinerary
  5. Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
  6. Local Tour Transfers according to group size
  7. Excellent English-Speaking Tour Guide in China Tour and local Tibetan English-speaking guide in Tibet
  8. Government tax and travel agency service

Service Exclusion

  1. Chinese visa
  2. International flight to and out of China
  3. Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary
  4. Meals not specified the itinerary
  5. Tips and gratitude to tour guide and drive
  6. Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.

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