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The Great Rail Journey – China and Tibet Tour

16 days

Experience this unique and exciting itinerary of the famous sites of the region. Our China and Tibet Tour features journeys on the fastest and the highest railways in the world. Catch the speeding Bullet Train from Beijing to Shanghai before gliding through the Himalaya on the Tibet Sky Train from Lhasa to Xian.

    • Forbidden_City
    • Beijing_to_Shanghai_Bullet_Train
    • TraditionalChinesepavilionsYuYuanBazaar
    • Leshan_Buddha
    • moutain_pass_tibet
    • Potala Palace, Tibet Tour with Asian Horizons
    • Jokhang Temple Lhasa
    • lhasa
    • China_and_Tibet_Tour _Sky_Train
    • Terracotta_Warriors
    • Rail Adventure

    Our Great Rail Journey is not just for train buffs, but for anyone who wants an adventure! From the Forbidden City and Great Wall, speed first class on the Bullet Train to ultra-modern Shanghai before moving on to a Giant Panda reserve and the historic city of Chengdu. Next we fly to the roof of the world and the Lhasa Valley where we visit the Potala Palace, the Johkang and many other highlights including Yamdrok Tso Lake, high in the Himalaya. Next we board the Sky Train and head out over the Qinghai Plateau, travelling on the highest railway in the world before arriving back in central China and the ancient capital of Xian. Experience the magic of both Chinese and Tibetan cultures, unforgettable sights and two of the most exciting train journeys in the world as well as superior accommodation and a delicious range of cuisine.


    Price includes
    Return international flights;
    First Class seat on Bullet Train & Soft Sleeper berth on Sky Train
    Accommodation as listed on itinerary (twin/double share);
    All domestic flights and land transportation;
    All excursions and sight-seeing entrance fees;
    Meals as listed (B, L, D);
    Tibetan Travel Permit
    Taxes and surcharges

    Price excludes
    Single supplement where applicable (from £395)
    Travel Insurance;
    Chinese Visas;
    Tips and gratuities


     

    TOUR ROUTE MAP
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  • Day 1: UK – Beijing (Meals on board)

    Your China and Tibet Tour begins with an overnight scheduled flight to Beijing. For those who may experience jet lag, we recommend adding a pre-tour night in Beijing for a refreshing start to your holiday – from £39 per person. We can also offer flight upgrades, please enquire for supplement prices.


    Day 2: Beijing (Meals on board, D)

    Upon arrival into Beijing, you will be greeted by our tour manager and transferred to your hotel. Later in the day, there will be a relaxing cyclo-rickshaw ride through the traditional old city alleyways known as the Hutongs. This evening there will be a warm welcome dinner of contemporary Chinese cuisine at a stylish restaurant.


    Day 3: Beijing (B, L, D)

    The day starts with a relaxed walk around the vast Tiananmen Square, before we pass through Tiananmen Gate and enter the Forbidden City. It will be possible to see the main palaces as well as some of the more private courtyards that belonged to the Emperor and his family. Our tour is followed by an impressive lunch of Imperial Cuisine – featuring recipes that were once only prepared for the Imperial family.

    In the afternoon you will explore the Temple of Heaven, a place of profound cultural importance for the Chinese and a brilliant location to understand more about the country’s ancient philosophy, history and religion. There is a chance to enjoy some time in the surrounding park, which the local Beijingers now use for leisure pursuits including Tai Chi and flying kites. The evening meal will feature a wide range of authentic culinary delights including Peking duck.


    Day 4: Beijing (B, L)

    The day begins at a remote section of the Great Wall which will ensure you avoid the majority of the tourists and be ideally placed to fully discover this iconic landmark. Lunch is enjoyed in a neighbouring village before we return to the outskirts of Beijing and the Summer Palace. This beautiful location is where the Emperors escaped from the sweltering summer temperatures of the Forbidden City. On the way back to the hotel, we will stop by to see the site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including the well-known Birds Nest Stadium and Water Cube. In the evening, there will be dinner and a famous Kungfu Show.


    Day 5: Beijing – Shanghai (Bullet Train) (B, L)

    Today you’ll experience the amazing Chinese bullet train as it speeds you from central Beijing to Central Shanghai in under 5 hours. Sit back and relax from the comfort of your first class seat as rural China flies past at a breath taking pace. The bullet train is actually quicker than flying if you include time spent travelling to and from airports, checking-in and collecting baggage. On arrival in Shanghai, transfer to your hotel where there will be time to freshen up before a stroll along the Bund. Our walking tour features a look the old HSBC building with its beautifully preserved colonial architecture and the Shanghai Gallery of Modern Art with works by some of China’s most cutting edge contemporary artists. After some free time to explore the waterfront, a dinner of Shanghai cuisine is followed by a night time cruise along the Huangpu River, where you’ll have the best view of the glittering lights of Pudong – Shanghai’s stunning modern skyline.


    Day 6: Shanghai (B, L, D)

    After breakfast we pay a visit to the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall where a giant scale model of amazing accuracy and detail depicts the city in 2020. After a lunch of traditional Shanghai Dimsum, we head to the lively Yuyuan Bazaar where there will be free time to hunt for bargains and barter with local street sellers. After time to freshen up at your hotel, dinner is followed by a stroll through the vibrant night life of the former French Concession. Following a brief tour of the most popular area of Xintiandi, you will have the option to head back to the hotel or stay and enjoy a drink or two at one of the sophisticated wine bars.


    Day 7: Shanghai – Chengdu (B, L, D)

    After breakfast and check out, we take a morning flight to Chengdu. On arrival we travel directly to Leshan to view the Grand Buddha. This giant statue is the largest of its kind and carved out of the natural cliff face, took over a century to complete. After exploring the statue and surrounding area, we return to Chengdu. There will be time to freshen up at the hotel before this evening’s dinner of traditional Sichuan Hot Pot. Sichuan Hot Pots are famous for their fiery spices and a milder alternative will be available for those who prefer.


    Day 8: Chengdu (B, L, D)

    The morning will be spent at the Panda Breeding Research Institute, which is world renowned for its attempts to preserve this iconic species. Our tour will include Giant Panda and lesser known Red Panda enclosures, the nursery and visitor centre. There will also be some free time for you further explore the gardens and other enclosures on your own.

    From here we head to the Wenshu Temple for a delicious vegetarian lunch. After a stroll through a local park and some traditional afternoon tea, there will be time freshen up at the hotel before dinner and this evening’s Acrobatics and Face Changing show.


    Day 9: Chengdu – Lhasa (B, L, D)

    After an early checkout, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa. As you ascend into the Himalaya, sit back and enjoy the view as you fly over the awesome mountain scenery below. On arrival in Tibet, transfer from the Gongkar Plateau to Lhasa and your hotel. After a few hours to rest and a light lunch, we head to the outskirts of Lhasa to Sera Monastery. After a tour of the ancient buildings, we move onto the monastery’s garden where there will be time to sit in quiet contemplation as you watch the Monks chant and debate. Form here we head to dinner before returning to the hotel for free time.


    Day 10: Lhasa (B, L)

    After a leisurely breakfast we visit the Potala Palace, a stunning demonstration of Tibetan architecture which dates from the 7th Century. There will be time to view the galleries, chapels and tombs of former Dalai Lamas. After lunch we head to the Jokhang Temple, regarded as a centre of Tibetan Buddhism for more than a thousand years. Here in the inner sanctums, we will find an original gold statue of the Bodhisattva – the Buddha of compassion. After leaving the temple, we will join the holy Barkhor Circuit, a continual stream of devotees who prostrate themselves – to symbolise redemption and virtue – as they encircle the temple. It is acceptable for you to walk the circuit! While sun sets, you can relax at one of the cafés or explore the market stalls around the square before returning to the hotel.


    Day 11: Lhasa Yamdrok Tso Lake (B, L)

    This morning’s journey takes you away from sprawling Lhasa onto a stunningly high plateau landscape. The path will gradually climb to a staggering 4,800m (15,800 feet) above sea level on the way to the Kambala Pass, which is an excellent vantage point to see the beautiful turquoise waters of the Yamdrok Tso Lake. This is one of the sacred Tibetan lakes and is believed to be the home of wrathful gods.

    After a picnic lunch near the lake (weather permitting), we return to the outskirts of Lhasa to Drepung Monastery. Built in 1416 it was the Temple of Dalai Lamas before Tibetan officials relocated to Potala Palace. In the late afternoon, there is the option to return to Barkhor Square and further explore on your own. Free time in the evening.


    Day 12: Lhasa – Sky train (B)

    After breakfast and check out, transfer to the station to board your sky train to Xian. Now considered the highest rail-road in the world, you will pass through some of the most stunning mountain scenery, viewed from the comfort of your soft sleeper class cabin. Over-night on the train.


    Day 13: Sky train – Xian

    Sit back and relax as you take in the gentle changes in climate, temperature and landscape as you leave the mountains and journey towards China’s central flat-lands. Your train arrives into Xian in the evening where you transfer to your hotel. Settle in and relax.


    Day 14: Xian (B, L)

    Breakfast is followed by the world famous Terracotta Army that was constructed to protect the burial chamber of the first Emperor and escort his spirit in the afterlife. After exploring the main archaeological sites and the museum, we enjoy a buffet lunch at the site’s top restaurant which includes traditional handpulled noodles. On the way back to the city, we stop by a work shop where local craftspeople make replica statues for souvenirs. In the afternoon, we visit the ancient city wall at the South Gate. This structure is fully restored and there will be an opportunity to hire bicycles and cycle around the top.

    In the evening there will be time to pack and prepare for tomorrow flight or the choice of dinner and a theatre show of cultural Chinese music and dance.


    Day 15: Xian – Beijing (B, L)

    We enjoy breakfast before visiting the traditional Moslem Quarter of the city. This community originated with the ancient silk merchants that migrated from the Middle East and it can sometimes feel more like part of Cairo than Beijing! We will walk through some of the covered Bazaar and stop by the Chinese Mosque at the heart of this district, which resembles a Taoist Temple, before a farewell lunch of Chinese Dumplings. Fashioned into shapes of the food they contain, this local speciality is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. From here we transfer to the airport for our flight to Beijing. On arrival, check in for our final night’s stay at Beijing airport.


    Day 16: Beijing (B)

    After a leisurely breakfast, take the free shuttle bus transfer to the airport and check in for your flight home. Our airport hotel is conveniently located close to the airport making this final transfer quick and easy. Not ready to leave? Extra nights in Beijing start at £39 per person (including breakfast) or you can choose from our range of exciting extension options.


    Accommodation

    Beijing: 5* Chang’an Grand Hotel or Beijing Traders Hotel by Shangri-la
    Shanghai: 4* Ambassador
    Chengdu: 4* Eastar Hotel
    Lhasa: 4* Xinding Hotel
    Xian: 5* Days Hotel and Suites
    Beijing: 4* CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport (final night only)


     

    BOOK NOW

    Please don't hesitate to contact us about this tour
    Make an Enquiry

  • Depart UKArrive UKPrice pp fromBook
    06/09/201421/09/2014£3390
    18/10/201402/11/2014£3290
    11/04/201526/04/2015£3450
    09/05/201524/05/2015£3450
    13/06/201528/06/2015£3450
    25/07/201509/08/2015£3550
    01/08/201516/08/2015£3550
    05/09/201520/09/2015£3490
    17/10/201501/11/2015£3390
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