This former capital of 13 different dynasties in China is a major part of Chinese history and culture. Formerly known as Changan, the city contains some of the most glorious aspects of this ancient Chinese civilization. You can enjoy the sights and attractions of the city, before taking the train to Tibet, and enjoying the unique culture of the roof of the world.
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.
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.
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 - 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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