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15 Days Beijing - Chengdu - Lhasa - Xian - Zhangjiajie - Shanghai Tour

China Tibet Tours 316
TOT: 15 Days Beijing - Chengdu - Lhasa - Xian - Zhangjiajie - Shanghai Tour
Tour Type: Private Tour: Flexible Travel Date & Travel Routes
Guide & Driver: Chinese-English-speaking guide & air-conditioned
Highlights:
  • Learn about the past, present and future in China’s golden triangle cities of Xian, Beijing and Shanghai;
  • Relax yourself in the leisurely lifestyle of Chengdu and get up close and personal with the amazing Giant Pandas;
  • Be awestruck by the striking natural beauty of Zhangjiajie.
Itinerary
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Day 1  Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to the historic capital city of China! Upon your arrival at the airport or train station, you will be met by your local tour guide and then transferred to your downtown Beijing hotel. After checking in at the hotel, you will be free to rest up from your journey or to explore the local area on your own.

Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing

tibet tour

tibet tour

Day 2  Beijing: Tian'anmen Square, Summer Palace

China has more than 4,000 years of history with its Imperial Social System, and Beijing is the best place in China to experience this magnificent history and the culture of ancient China. Today your guide will pick you up at your hotel after your breakfast to begin the wonderful ancient China culture and history tour!

First up on your visit to Beijing is the world's largest plaza - Tian'anmen Square. The grandiose Tian'anmen Gate is the place where Chairman Mao Ze Dong announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China to the world in 1949. Passing through Tian'anmen Gate, you will enter the ancient and splendid Forbidden City, the home of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties for nearly 600 years. Magnificent architecture, intricate ornaments and touching legends make this a must-see site while in China.

After lunch, you'll visit the stunning and exquisite Summer Palace, where you'll be amazed at the vast ensemble of lakes, gardens, temples and palaces that together make up a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. During the Qing Dynasty, the Summer Palace was the personal summer retreat of the royal family. The overall layout of the Summer Palace consists of a front hill, back hill, and Kunming Lake. The front hill area contains splendid halls and pavilions while the back hill provides quiet, natural beauty.

After visiting these sites, we will take you back to your hotel to relax.

Recommended Optional Night Activities:
1) The exciting Legend of Kung Fu Show at the Red Theatre (usual showtime begins at 19:30)
2) The famous Beijing Opera Show at the Liyuan Theater (showtime 19:30 - 21:00)

Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing

summer palace

tiananmen square

Day 3  Beijing Sightseeing: Mutianyu Great Wall

Hiking on the Great Wall of China is just a dream for most people, but today you will make that dream come true. We will escort you about 70 kilometers from your downtown Beijing hotel to the world-famous Mutianyu Great Wall, which has fewer tourists than the often over-crowded Badaling Great Wall. Mutianyu is also the best section of the Great Wall to view the expansive and beautiful scenery while appreciating the grand scale of the Wall. After we purchase the entrance tickets at the ticket office, we will take the cable car up to the Great Wall for about 2 hours of hiking along the lengths of the Wall.

After hiking the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, we will take you back to downtown Beijing, but along the way we will stop at the solemn Ming Tombs, the final resting place of the ancient emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Here you can wander along the Sacred Road, a tranquil path that in the past was reserved for royalty. The road is lined with statues of devine animals and officials as it leads to the mysterious Underground Palace, which we will also visit. One last stop before returning to your hotel will be at the Beijing Olympic Village, where you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the outsides of the instantly recognizable "Bird's Nest" stadium and the Water Cube.

Recommended Optional Evening Activity:
Authentic Peking Roast Duck Dinner at the world famous Quanjude Restaurant.

Accommodation: Overnight in Beijing

mutianyu

mutianyu

Day 4  Flight from Beijing to Chengdu

After breakfast at your hotel, we will take you to marvel at one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in the world - the Temple of Heaven, where the ancient emperors of China presided over various rituals to ensure a good harvest for the empire. Today, the outer area of the Temple of Heaven is a public park where the locals gather to practice Tai Chi, fly kites, play mah jong, and chat, while the inner area remains a historical site for visitors to learn about ancient Chinese history and culture. After visiting the Temple of Heaven, we will visit some of the most famous "hutongs", which are ancient alleyways that stiill retain the traditional architecture that originated in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 A.D.) Even today there are still many local Beijingers that live in these old quarters where during the Qing Dynasty (1636 - 1912 A.D.) many noble families lived. You will be able to wander freely around these narrow alleyways to experience the way people lived during ancient times, or you can take a relaxing rickshaw ride through the hutongs as well. Lunch will be arranged in the home of a local hutong family for a truly memorable experience. You can even learn to cook some Chinese dumplings if you like.

After lunch and a farewell to your new hutong family friends, we will take you to the Beijing airport for your flight to Chengdu. Upon your arrival in Chengdu, your local tour guide will greet you and escort you to your downtown Chengdu hotel. You will have the rest of the evening to relax or do a little exploration around the city on your own.

Accommodation: Overnight in Chengdu

chengdu panda

chengdu panda

Day 5  Chengdu: Panda Base, Wenshu Temple, Renmin Park, Jinli Street

Chengdu has three famous features as a major Chinese city – the Giant Pandas, its ancient history, and a leisurely pace of living. For the first day of your tour, we will get to experience all three of these features. First, we’ll visit the lovely Giant Pandas at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base & Breeding Center, which is the number one must-do thing in Chengdu. We will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel and drive about 30 minutes to the panda base to see giant pandas as they are being fed, playing with each other, climbing trees, etc. There are many different enclosures for pandas of different ages, from baby pandas to 1-year old pandas to teenage pandas and older. Beautiful tree-lined walking paths lead you from one enclosure to the next so it’s an enjoyable morning spending time with the pandas.

After meeting the pandas, we’ll visit the sacred Wenshu Temple, which is hidden in a peaceful location right in the middle of modern Chengdu. This temple is the most popular Buddhist temple in the Chengdu region. With its beautiful, traditional and ancient architecture, the atmosphere is very calm and quiet, with some people praying, right in the midst of a busy and modern urban city. The grounds have a small garden and the monastery is very colorfully decorated, making it a fascinating place to visit.

After the Wenshu Temple, we will experience the leisurely pace of the life of the locals at Renmin Park and Jinlin Street. Renmin (People’s) Park is where the locals go for a relaxing walk, to meet friends or have a cup of tea. Jinli Street, by contrast, is a street mainly for tourists but it does offer a view of the way things were in ancient times. You can wander along this traditional old street to absorb the special atmosphere of Chengdu while tasting the local snacks, watching street performers, etc.

Optional Recommended Night Activity:
Take in the incredible Sichuan Opera & Face Changing Performance in a local theater.

Accommodation: Overnight in Chengdu

renmin park

wenshu temple

Day 6  Flight from Chengdu to Lhasa

Today you will have free time until your local tour guide picks you up and escorts you to the 2-hour flight to the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. Upon arrival at Lhasa Gongga Airport, your tour guide will meet you with a private vehicle to escort you to your Lhasa hotel and help you check in. The rest of this day will be free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to the high altitude of Lhasa.

Tips for High Altitude Acclimatization:
1) Go for a leisurely walk in the fresh high altitude air, but avoid any strenuous activity after your arrival.
2) It's better to avoid taking a bath, to avoid catching a cold.
3) Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and eat some fresh fruit.
4) Get plenty of rest.

Accommodation: Overnight in Lhasa

tibet tour

tibet tour

Day 7  Lhasa Sightseeing: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

Start your exploration of Lhasa today with a visit to a world-famous landmark - the Potala Palace, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of architecture in the world. Climb up the palace along zig-zagging stone paths alongside the white and red walls to the top of the palace where you can gain a greater appreciation of the exotic Tibetan-style buildings as well as for a great view of Lhasa's entire urban area. After admiring the sweeping outside views, explore the inner spaces of the Potala Palace to find the stately chapels and learn more about the fascinating history of this special place.

From one historic landmark to another, your next stop will be at the Jokhang Temple, considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Every day thousands of pilgrims come from all over Tibet and other places to the temple to worship the Buddha. The Jokhang Temple is also known as the "House of Buddha" because it houses the precious Jowo Rinpoche, a life-sized (1.5 meter/5 feet) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12.

The last stop for today's Lhasa exploration is Barkor Street, the wide, circular street that surrounds the Jokhang Temple. Local residents enjoy walking on the street, completing several circuits around the temple as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many small shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handicrafts.

Tips for today's tour:
1) There are 1,080 steps to the top of the Potala Palace, so it's best to take it slowly to avoid high altitude sickness.
2) Taking photos is not allowed inside the Potala Palace.
3) Most of today will be spent outside, so please bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and some water with you to protect yourself from the more intense sun at the higher altitude.

Accommodation: Overnight in Lhasa

potala palace

barkhor street

Day 8  Lhasa Sightseeing: Norbulingka Palace, Sera Monastery

After breakfast at your hotel, we will visit the beautiful Norbulingka Palace and Park, the location of the former summer palace of the Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until 1959. It features the famous Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai Lamas built in the grandiose style of traditional Tibetan architecture.

After visiting the palaces and park at Norbulingka, we will travel around 5 kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit the Drepung Monastery. The word "drepung" in Tibetan language means "prosperity". Since its establishment in 1416, Drepung Monastery has served as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. During its prime, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders studied at this monastery, including the Dalai Lamas. Accordingly, Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.

In the afternoon, we will escort you on to another famous monastery in Lhasa - the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery is famous for its spectacular “Buddhist Debates”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the various Buddhist doctrines with exaggerated gestures, which is thought to be helpful in facilitating a better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the "Buddhist Debates", we will take you back to your hotel with the rest of the day and evening to relax or explore on your own.

Tips for Proper Etiquette While Visiting Monasteries
1) For clothing, shorts and/or bare shoulders are not allowed.
2) Hats and sunglasses should be removed before entering the chapels.
3) Taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.

Accommodation: Overnight in Lhasa

nurbulingka palace

sera monastery

Day 9  Flight from Lhasa to Xian

Today you will have free time until we transfer you from your hotel to the airport in plenty of time for your flight to Xian. After you have arrived in Xian, your local guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you by private car to your Xian hotel, with the rest of the day free to rest and relax or leisurely explore this great ancient capital city on your own.

Accommodation: Overnight in Xian

tibet train

tibet train

Day 10  Xian: Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall

After breakfast at your hotel, we will drive around 90 minutes to witness the magnificent man-made wonders of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, which were created and buried to protect the First Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. More than 8,000 life-sized terracotta warrriors and horses, each one designed differently than the others, along with numerous bronze weapons are arranged into a large-scale military sytem to recreate the Qin army as it appeared more than 2,000 years ago.

In the afternoon, we will drive back to the city of Xian to visit the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best preserved ancient city wall in China. Built during the Ming Dynasty as a military defense, the wall's top was designed to be wider than its height as to allow the army to perform drill practices over the centuries. You will be able to stroll along the top of this ancient wall to observe the modern city of Xian that has now surrounded it and immerse yourself in the charm of this ancient capital. After exploring the city wall, we will visit the nearby Muslim Quarter, an interesting street with various local foods and snacks. This is also a great place for a leisurely walk to see how the locals live.

Recommended Optional Activities:
1) Bicycle rental for riding bikes on top of the ancient city wall.
2) Enjoy a wonderful evening performance of the Tang Dynasty Show (showtime is usually 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly).

Accommodation: Overnight in Xian

terracotta warriors and horses

mutianyu

Day 11  Flight from Xian to Zhangjiajie

Today's tour of Xian starts with a visit to one of the ancient landmarks of the city - the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The earliest and largest pavilion style pagoda built during the Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a seven-layered pagoda standing 64.5 meters tall. The pagoda was originally built to store the Buddhist sutras brought back from ancient India by the Chinese monk and religious scholar Xuanzang (the model for the character of Tang Seng in the classic novel "Journey to the West").

Following our visit to the historic pagoda, we will take you on to visit the Shaanxi History Museum, which houses a collection of more than 370,000 cultural relics from the different Chinese dynasties, including ancient bronzes, porcelain, gold and silver wares, tomb frescoes, coins from the various dynasties, and so much more that is held in its vast collections.

After your visit to the museum, we will escort you to the Xian airport to board your flight to Zhangjiajie. Upon arriving in Zhangjiajie, your local tour guide will meet you to escort you by private car to your hotel. You will have the rest of the evening free to rest up for tomorrow’s sightseeing.

Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangjiajie

stone village

stone village

Day 12  Zhangjiajie: Huangshi Village and Golden Whip Creek

After a good rest and a nice breakfast at your hotel, It’s time to begin your two-day Zhangjiajie adventure. This morning you will visit two of the most beautiful places in all of Zhangjiajie National Park – Huangshi Village and Golden Whip Creek. To get there, we’ll take the sightseeing bus for a bit through the marvelous scenery to reach the cable car, which we will take up to the Huangshi Village (Yellow Stone Village), which is situated higher up on the mountain making it the best place to witness the incredible views of the dominating mountain pillars from the park’s largest sightseeing platform with its 360-degree views of the park. Not far from Huangshi Village is the tranquil and scenic Golden Whip Creek. The landscape here is stunning in its diversity – meandering streams run from beautiful waterfalls, exotic plants thrive, and wild animals frolic amongst steep cliffs and serene valleys.

After a full day of sightseeing, we will take the sightseeing bus back to the park’s entrance and then transfer back to your hotel for the night.

Accommodation: Overnight in Zhangjiajie

stone village

stone village

Day 13  Zhangjiajie -Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain; Fly to Shanghai

Today we’ll visit two other magnificent places in Zhangjiajie National Park – Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain. Again we will take the park’s sightseeing bus from the entrance to the 326-meter high Bailong Elevator, the highest and fastest elevator in the world. At the top we will reach the beautiful Yuanjiajie, where the view and landscape inspired the design of the alien world in the Hollywood movie “Avatar”. There is a sightseeing platform here that allows for fantastic views of the sweeping landscape of mountainous pillars of rock topped with live trees somehow impossibly growing there. Next, we will jump on another sightseeing bus for the 30 to 40 minutes of driving to reach Tianzi Mountain. Here we will find another fantastic area that features “four wonders” – the Sea of Clouds, the Radiance of the Moonlight, Rays of Sunshine, and the Snow in Winter.

After today’s sightseeing, we will take you back to the Zhangjiajie Airport for your flight to Shanghai. At the Shanghai Airport, your local tour guide will meet you to take you by private car to your Shanghai hotel.

Today’s Optional Activity:
If you are interested and your flight’s departure time allows, you will have the opportunity for a thrilling visit to the world’s longest glass bridge – the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, located about a half hour’s drive from Zhangjiajie National Park

Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai

shanghai museum

shanghai museum

Day 14  Shanghai: Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, Nanjing Road

Today your wonderful Shanghai visit and China journey begins with a visit to the Shanghai Museum. The building housing the museum was built to resemble an ancient Chinese “Ding” vessel with a round dome and a square earth base, representing Chinese philosophy. The Shanghai Museum is one of the must-see attractions of Shanghai as it is famous for its countless treasured cultural collections including ancient bronzes, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, jade, emperor’s seals, as well as vast other exhibits, all tracing more than 5,000 years of Chinese history and beyond.

Moving on from the museum, your next stop in Shanghai will be the Yu Garden. This formerly private garden that was built during the Ming Dynasty fully demonstrates the achitecture and design style of the classical Chinese gardens with its delicate pavilions, clear ponds and man-made hills. After your visit to the garden, we will walk leisurely through the Yuyuan Bazaar, a marketplace full of tasty local snacks along with elaborate traditional Chinese handicraft and art works. The Yuyuan Bazaar is conveniently located right next to Yu Garden. .

After exploring ancient Chinese history at the Shanghai Museum and classical Chinese garden design in Shanghai, we will drive you to Lujiazui to see a more modern side of Shanghai. If the weather is clear, ascending to the tallest skyscraper in Asia – the majestic Shanghai Tower – a look from the viewing deck on the 126th floor will show you the expansive landscape of one of Asia’s most prosperous and modern cities stretching out in front of you.

After a nice local lunch, we will stroll along Nanjing Road – a world famous shopping street that has something for everyone as a paradise for shoppers. At the east end of the road we will come to The Bund, an iconic symbol of Shanghai situated on the west bank of the Huangpu River. Walking along The Bund will allow you to feel the perfect fusion of Chinese and Western cultures while viewing the fantastically modern Shanghai skyline with your own eyes.

Recommended Optional Night Activity:
Enjoy a night time cruise along the Huangpu River to enjoy the amazing futuristic skyline of Shanghai when it is lit up at night.

Accommodation: Overnight in Shanghai

shanghai museum

yu garden

Day 15  Shanghai Departure

After enjoying your breakfast at your hotel, we will take you to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with its multimedia and interactive displays that are used to help visitors learn about the past history, present facts and future plans of Shanghai. After the exhibition center, we will move on to the Jade Buddha Temple, where the largest jade buddha in the world is housed along with numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures. The Jade Buddha Temple is a quiet sanctuary hidden in the midddle of a crowded and modern metropolis. At this Chinese Zen-Buddhist temple, you will see Song Dynasty style architecture with people quietly praying, a fitting end to your exciting journey through China.

You will have the rest of the day free untii your tour guide and driver escort you to the Shanghai airport or train station for your departing flight or train.

Accommodation: None

lhasa airport

lhasa airport

Price Includes.
    • Private professional English-Speaking local tour guide
    • Licensed Vehicle with experienced driver
    • All necessary Tibet travel permits.
    • All accommodations listed in the itinerary
    • Meals specified in the itinerary as "B,L,D".
    • Entrance tickets listed in the itinerary
    • Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance
    • A container of Oxygen for emergency use in Tibet
    • All taxes, fees and handling charges
    • Lodging and meal allowance to the guide & driver
    • 2 bottles of drinking water per person per day
Price Excludes.
    • International flight to and from China.
    • China visa.
    • Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary.
    • Personal expenses such as laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional tour activities, etc.
    • Tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
    • Entrance tickets not listed in the itinerary
    • Single room supplement.
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