China & Tibet

Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lhasa & Shanghai

Overview

TOUR CODE: CHNTBT

Your adventure begins in Beijing and Xian to take in the major highlights such as the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall.   In Xian, see the City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Great Mosque. We continue to Chengdu, home of the Giant Panda where we will visit a Breeding Research Center which provides the most ideal ecological place for visitors all around the world to get to know the appearance of the pandas and to get around the wild nature. Move on to Lhasa and explore the mysterious Buddhist kingdom of Tibet locked away in the mountains of the Himalayas. See Buddhist monks recite their mantras and spin prayer wheels as you enjoy the stunning views of the world’s highest mountains. Your tour will end in colorful Shanghai, see an amazing acrobatic show, places of interest and ride the world’s first commercial magnetic levitation train, the Maglev.

What’s Included

  • Economy class airfare from Xian to Chengdu on a local airline
  • Economy class airfare from Chengdu to Lhasa on a local airline
  • Economy class airfare from Lhasa to Shanghai on a local airline
  • First class train ticket from Beijing to Xian
  • One way Maglev train experience in Shanghai
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation in Beijing
  • 1 night hotel accommodation in Xian
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Chengdu
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation in Lhasa
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Shanghai
  • Tibet Permit
  • Transfers, meals and sightseeing as specified in the itinerary
  • All taxes, fees and carrier imposed surcharges

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARRIVE BEIJING

After customs and immigration procedure, you will be escorted to your hotel for check – in.

DAY 02

TIANANMEN SQUARE/FORBIDDEN CITY/HUTONGS RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (B/L)

This morning, visit Tiananmen Square (literally known as Gate of Heavenly Peace) for a stroll on the largest public plaza on earth. Lying in the center of Beijing, Tiananmen Square is thought of as the very heart of the city. The square, in spite of its past events, remains one of the most popular venues in Beijing.  Here, on any given day, thousands of visitors gather to walk, fly kites, or enjoy the view of the monuments that surround the square. Proceed to the extraordinary Forbidden City.  Center of the Chinese world for nearly 500 years, the Imperial Palace remains the most complete and best preserved collection of ancient buildings in China.  Called the “Forbidden City” for the exclusive nature of the emperors who built and inhabited it, the Palace is a vast complex of halls, pavilions, courtyards and walls.  It was within these walls that 24 emperors of two dynasties, aided by their ministers, eunuch guards, concubines and servants, acted out the drama of ruling imperial China from the early Ming Dynasty in 1420 to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Before we head out for our afternoon tour, lunch will be served at a local restaurant. This afternoon, enjoy a pedicab ride through Beijing’s hutongs.  “Hutong” is a Manchurian term referring to the network of small winding alleyways that once covered the city of Beijing.  Like a warren of interconnecting alleyways, islands of neighborhoods were created within the larger area of the city.  Although many of Beijing’s hutongs are now giving rise to modern skyscrapers, patches of simple courtyard houses have managed to survive the modern age.  A brief stroll through the hutongs concludes with a visit to one of the local families here. Visit the Temple of Heaven, a perfection of Ming architecture and one of the symbols of Beijing.  Built in 1420, this huge site (twice the size of the Forbidden City) follows a route traversed by past emperors and their entourages in splendid procession from which the commoner had to avert his eyes.  The emperors came to the Temple of Heaven during the winter solstice to offer sacrifices to Heaven and pray for bountiful harvests – momentous occasions for which the temple’s beauty and simplicity provided a fitting background.

DAY 03

GREAT WALL AT MUTIANYU/SUMMER PALACE (B/L)

This morning, you will be driven to the Great Wall at the Mutianyu site. Here you will have the opportunity to ride a cable car up and a toboggan sled down.  You can take the cable car up to the Wall (or the chairlift) and then come down by bobsled – an artificial steel track has been laid down the mountain slope (not suitable for children) – if you do not take the bobsled you can come back down by either the cable car or the chair lift. Rising from the wash of waves along China’s Bohai Gulf in the east, riding the crest of rugged forest-mantled mountains in north China and running across the grassy steppe and desert waste of the far northwest, the Great Wall is the ultimate expression of China’s past.  Imposing and almost defying possibilities this stunning structure literally defined a border between worlds far removed from each other.  Its towering ramparts threw up a defense against the incursions marauding nomad hordes while within its walls flourished the light of East Asian civilization – imperial China.   Enjoy time to walk and explore the ramparts and battlement towers that once stood at the vanguard of Chinese civilization. There is no better or more fitting way to remember a visit to Beijing than to walk along the wall of time that symbolizes the imperial majesty that is China. Following lunch continue on to visit the magical Summer Palace – enjoy your visit to this ethereal garden of imperial grandeur set around the shores of Kunming Lake – last reconstruction of the imperial summer residence – history dates to the Jin dynasty (1115 – 1234) and last site from 1888 – tour by foot and by private boat – walk the “Chang Lang” (the Long Corridor) and end your visit with a shared boat ride on Kunming Lake.

DAY 04

BEIJING/XIAN (B)

Today, transfer to the train station for your journey to Xian. Upon arriving in Xian, check in at the hotel and start your afternoon sightseeing and take a stroll along the top of the City Wall, one of the few remaining City Walls in China.  Originally built to provide the inner city with an effective means of defense against attack, the City Wall contains four gates and a large number of that towers and bastions. X’ian City Wall is the best preserved, oldest and largest ancient city defense system in China. It is also one of the most important landmarks of the city. Proceed with a walk through Xian’s Muslim Quarter en route to the mosque. The Great Mosque, one of the most interesting sites in a city known for its rich history.  While the Buddhist traditions of Chinese culture are well known to most visitors, the influence exerted by Islam is not.  Yet, of the religious beliefs within China today, no one can claim the strength of belief that Islam does. Following your visit to the Mosque, proceed to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is the second religious building to survive from the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.).  It formed part of the Temple of Great Mercy and Goodness, built by Prince Li Zhi in the first half of the 7th Century in honor of his mother.

DAY 05

XIAN/CHENGDU (B)

This morning, your sightseeing will commence at 07:30.  You are kindly requested to arrive at the Museum early – it opens at 08:30, and it can get very crowded. You will travel overland to Lintong County, site of the single greatest archeological find of the 20th century: the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Excavation.  The drive will give you the chance to view the fertile loess fields of Shaanxi; an ever replenished supply of soil which has been the foundation of civilization.  For millions of years the annual flow and deposition of mineral rich dust or loess soil over a region of north central China (Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Henan provinces) has provided farmers with a renewable source of nutrients for grain crops for thousands of years. The Terra-Cotta site is made up of three distinct dig “pits ”; the Bronze Chariot Museum; and a theatre in the round, which shows a short film on the history of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (220 B.C. – 209 B.C.) and the construction of his mausoleum. As most people now know the site was rediscovered by accident in 1974 when a local farmer, Yang Zhifa, and his production team were digging a well. They accidentally unearthed some pieces of terra-cotta figures (not a head as is commonly said), which were turned over to the local archaeological authorities. The archaeologists quickly understood the significance of this find. Records written by the Han historian, Sima Qian, in the first century B.C. clearly confirmed that the massive burial complex of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty lay in this region. A full brigade of archaeologists and technicians was sent to the sight and over the ensuing years thousands of figures – warriors and horses – were unearthed, catalogued and restored.  They were put back into their original situation and eventually provided researchers with a clue to the meaning of this extraordinary find. The site represents just a portion of a greater funerary sight – which would include the tomb and satellite tombs of the emperor and his retinue.  The current dig is made up entirely of military figures, which the professor, Wang Xueli (formerly the director of the Terra-Cotta Dig), says represents a classic example of 2nd century B.C. Chinese military might.  In the evening, fly to Chengdu.

DAY 06

CHENGDU (B/L)

This morning, proceed to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center, which is situated on the Axe Hill about 6 miles from the north suburb of Chengdu.  It covers an area of 600 acres.  The environment here is exquisitely designed; the air is refreshing with the bamboo growing luxuriantly and flocks of wild birds flying around. Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre is the most famous conservation and protection center for giant pandas and “State Science Popularization Center”.  It also provides the most ideal ecological place for visitors all around the world to get to know the appearance of the pandas and to get around the wild nature.  Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center was awarded “Global 500″ twice by the United Nations in the years of 1989 and 1994. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and continue to tour the city in the afternoon, at Jin Li Street and People’s Park. See locals relaxing and families spending time with each other. Observe the local artist painting Chinese characters along with locals playing chess and mahjong in traditional bamboo chairs. Afterwards, visit the Jinli Street, located to the east of the Wu Hou Monastery.  It is an ancient street for tourists to relax, admire the traditional-style buildings, buy some curios and taste some local snacks.

DAY 07

CHENGDU/LHASA (B)

In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa. The reminder of the day is at leisure for acclimatization time

DAY 08

LHASA (B/L)

Today, we will visit the famous sites of Lhasa. Sanggye Dhunghor (rock carvings) located in the southern part of Lhasa. The rock is covered with carved figures of Buddha, which vary in shape and color. Legend suggests that the carving of the rock began during the 7th century, and people in the city have it cleaned every few years. Potala Palace, the former winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, located in the northwest of the city on a south-facing hillside. Queen Songtsen Gampo, ruler of the Tufan kingdom had the palace built in the 7th century following his marriage to Princess Wencheng.  Towering to a height of over 330 feet, the complex can be divided into three sections – the palaces (the “red palace” and “white palace” containing the burial stupas and residential quarters), the defensive fortifications and the gardens.  Many of the palace walls are exquisitely covered with frescoes depicting episodes from Buddhist scriptures, landscapes from the surrounding area and historical events such as the arrival of the two Tang Dynasty princesses or the journey of the 5th Dalai Lama to Beijing. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and in the afternoon, continue to Sera Monastery & Jokhang Temple & Bakhor Bazaar. The Sera Monastery lies at the base of Sera Utse Ridge, a mountain of the Tatipu Range that defines the northern limit of Lhasa City and serves as a watershed for the Kyi Chu and Penpo Rivers. Jokhang Temple, considered Tibet’s most sacred temple and thought to be Tibet’s first significant religious institution.  Located in the very heart of Lhasa’s colorful Tibetan quarter, Jokhang is the focus of devotion day and night.  It was built by Queen Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to house a statue of the 8-year-old boy Buddha which was brought to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Tritsun and also a Sakyamuni Buddha statue brought by the Chinese Princess Wencheng.  The Sakyamuni Buddha statue, originally presented to the Chinese emperor as a gift from the Queen of Bengal, is generally regarded as Tibet’s most sacred object.  In the pilgrimage season, long lines of pilgrims wait patiently for hours just to touch their foreheads to the sacred image of Sakyamuni. Encircling Jokhang Temple is the Barkhor, or holy path of transformation.  It is now the site of Lhasa’s bustling marketplace and all manner of things are to be found here.  Enjoy a walk around Barkhor Bazaar and explore the countless clothes, jewelry, crafts, etc. available.

DAY 09

LHASA (B/L)

We continue our discovery of Tibet’s cultural jewels. Drepung Monastery, founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje, a celebrated Yellow Hat lama.  The name Drepung means “rice heap” which comes from the Sanskrit Dhanyakataka, the name of a stupa in south India where the Buddha first taught the Kalachakra tantra.  Drepung is also the site of the burial stupas of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Dalai Lamas (only the Potala Palace has more).  As one of Tibet’s Great Six monasteries, Drepung was an effective center of political power and by the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, its population had grown to a staggering 10,000 monks and novices – easily the largest monastic institution in the world.  It was renowned as a great center of learning and attracted the best and the brightest.  Nechung Monastery – Has an important place in the history of Tibet. Nechung originally came to Tibet with a descendant of the Indian sage Dharmapala. The Nechung Monastery is the seat of Nechung, Tibet’s State Oracle and the oracle is the medium through whom Dorje Drakden (Nechung), the principal protector of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government, communicates with His Holiness and the cabinet. After lunch, you will visit the Norbulingka (the Jewel Park), one of the most relaxing pleasant places in Lhasa.  It is a large 99 acre enclave on the outskirts of town covered with trees, ponds, gardens, palaces and pavilions.  From the middle of the 18th century, Norbu Lingka was the official summer residence of the Dalai Lama and the major areas contained with the compound are residential palaces, opera grounds, government offices and the forest section. As Tibet’s first Museum in the modern sense, the Museum of Tibet was inaugurated in October 1999 and is dedicated to the preservation, research and social education of Tibetan history.  Covering about 2 square miles, the museum is an enormous and magnificent building complex with several exhibition halls which, strictly arranged along the axis of the compound, include the Introductory hall, the Main Exhibition Hall and the Storehouse for Cultural Relics.  The treasure of cultural relics housed in the museum include a wide range of prehistoric cultural remains, statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas made of different materials, ancient Tibetan scriptural texts written in inks of gold silver and coral, delicate thangka paintings, various musical instruments and ritual artifacts.

DAY 10

LHASA/SHANGHAI (B)

The morning will be free at leisure until your flight to Shanghai.  This evening, enjoy a dazzling display of spectacular agility as you attend a Chinese Acrobatic Show including round trip transfers. The contortions and balancing acts are quite incredible and sometimes seem almost super human, or super rubber human. You will be at the edge of your seat through most of the show saying “don’t fall, don’t drop it!” And incredibly, they never do.

DAY 11

SHANGHAI (B/L)

Start your day with breakfast at the hotel and begin your tour at The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a new landmark of Shanghai which faces the Bund across the Huangpu River at Lujiazui, the busiest part of Pudong new Area. At a height of 1535 ft, it is the tallest TV tower in Asia. An elevator whisks visitors to the tower’s observational deck, where they can feast their eyes on a panoramic view of Shanghai. The tower is equipped with tourist service facilities, including eateries, shops, recreational centers and a hotel. Proceed to The Bund. This waterfront area sweeping along the Huangpu River has become the center of Shanghai’s foreign business establishment and the symbol of Shanghai’s identity as a modern city.  Take a walk through Shanghai’s old Chinese quarter to the lovely Yu Yuan garden, a 16th century Ming Dynasty private garden and residence.  Despite Shanghai’s crowded lanes and teeming masses, the garden remains an oasis of tranquility.  Its deceptive size, laid out with many corners and breezeways to give one the illusion of size, houses in exquisite harmony the essential elements of a Chinese garden – pavilions, water, vegetation, rock formations, and bridges. The Old Town refers to the original Chinese city that flourished in the Ming dynasty. The architecture of the area has been restored to the original Ming period style. For lunch, Dim Sum will be served and the rest of the day is free at leisure.

DAY 12

SHANGHAI DEPARTURE (B)

This morning you will be transferred to the airport by private vehicle and Maglev Train.  The traditional, long-aspired dream of Chinese philosophers was to be able to “run with the wind” is now a reality in Shanghai with the world’s first commercial magnetic levitation train, the Maglev. Beginning operation in 2004, the $1.2 billion Maglev covers 20 miles from Pudong to the outskirts of the city in a blistering 7 minutes and 20 seconds. With a design speed of over 310 mph and a regular service speed of 267 mph, Shanghai’s Maglev is the world’s fastest railway system in commercial operation. On arrival at Pudong International Airport, you will be assisted with your check-in for the international flight.

Meals: B= Breakfast   L= Lunch    D=Dinner

Contact us at (800) 988-4833 or Email us to Book this Trip NOW!

Pricing

Per person, based on double occupancy

2016Land OnlySingle Supplement
Oct 12, 19, 26$5,499$3,900
Nov 02, 09$5,499$3,900
Nov 16, 23$5,299$3,700
2017
Mar 08, 15$5,399$3,800
Apr 05, 12, 19, 26$5,599$3,950
May 10, 17, 24, 31$5,599$3,950
Jun 07, 14, 21$5,499$3,900
Jul 05, 12, 19$5,499$3,900
Aug 09, 16, 23$5,499$3,900
Sep 06, 13, 20, 27$5,599$3,950
Oct 11, 18, 25$5,599$3,950
Nov 01, 08$5,599$3,950
Nov 15, 22$5,299$3,700
Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. This is a land only package without International airfare. Tour prices include hotel taxes and service charges. (AI/10122015/C-12)
2016Land OnlySingle Supplement
Oct 19, 26$6,899$5,300
Nov 02, 09, 16$6,599$5,000
2017
Mar 08, 15, 22, 29$6,599$5,000
Apr 05, 12, 19$6,799$5,300
May 10, 17, 24$6,799$5,300
Jun 07, 14, 21$6,599$5,000
Jul 05, 12, 19$6,599$5,000
Aug 02, 09, 16$6,899$5,300
Sep 06, 13, 22$6,899$5,300
Oct 11, 18, 25$6,899$5,300
Nov 01, 08, 15$6,599$5,000
Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. This is a land only package without International airfare. Tour prices include hotel taxes and service charges. (AI/10122015/C-12)

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Federal law forbids the carriage of hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your luggage or on your person. Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. For further information, review the prohibited items webpage on the FAA website: www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/

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