Luxury China & Tibet Adventure
Travel to China & Tibet on a tailored private tour and experience a country that’s brimming with cultural splendor, beautiful landscapes and adventure activities. Look into China’s future in Shanghai when savoring delicate dim sum, witness the magnificent Terracotta Army and visit a local family to learn dumpling making, then embark on theepic Xining to Lhasa train journey. With expert local guidance, continue your trip from Lhasa to Lijiang and Chengdu, unwind in Lijiang Old Town, meet giant panda and indulge in traditional Taoist culture in Mt. Qingcheng.
Duration: 15 days & 14 nights
Destinations: Shanghai - Xian - Xining - Lhasa - Lijiang - Chengdu
Travel Style: Private guided tour - Flexible & Free to customize
Customize Your Tour:
☑ Travel Dates ☑ Your Interests ☑ Your Travel Style
Itinerary Expand All
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Shanghai was considered as the largest commercial city in the Far East, and the third largest financial center in the world, ranking after New York and London. With fast development of China in the past 40 years, it returns to its former prosperous as one of the most important cultural, commercial, financial, industrial and communications centers of China. Perfectly combined traditional Chinese and western cultures in architecture, ideology and lifestyle, it is undoubtedly the best inbound city for you to immerge into Chinese culture gradually.
After clear custom after landing at Pudong Airport, you will be met by your guide at the exit of the arrival hall. Transfer to hotel your hotel by private car and rest of the day is at leisure for you to recover from jet lag.
Recommended luxury accommodation in Shanghai:
- The Peninsula Shanghai, Fairmont Peace Hotel, Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund
Leisure breakfast in hotel and meet you guide at the lobby at around 9am. We start from the Bund, which ranks first in any introduction to the city in contemporary guides as the place to go to discover the wonders of Shanghai. It was the rich and powerful center of the foreign establishment in Shanghai after its opening to the west in late 19th century. By the 1940s, the Bund housed the headquarters of many of the major financial institutions operating in China. Most of the buildings are still standing there without change outside. Walk along the Bund by Huangpu River, you will also view the most developed economic and financial center on the opposite, Pudong New District.
Walk along by Nanjing Road, you will then visit Shanghai Museum. It is one of the most important museums of ancient Chinese Art. You can view ancient Chinese Bronze, sculpture, Ceramics, Paintings, furniture and arts and crafts by Chinese minorities.
Transfer to Shanghai Xintiandi area and enjoy a Dim Sum lunch at Lvbolang Restaurant, which served US former president Bill Linton family and Queen Elizabeth II. Take walk after lunch to view Shikumen house, an architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements in the past.
Visit Yu Garden in the afternoon when there are fewer tourists. It’s a traditional garden of China, and you can find it is so different from its western counterparts. Old quarters near the garden, also called Chenghuangmiao (City God Temple), is great to learn local people’s life style and try some snacks.
- ERA Intersection of Time Acrobatic Show is a fascinating show that tells a story from ancient times till present day. This show includes surprising feats, live music, complete plots and other spectacular features.
Meal: B, L
Relaxing morning to arrange your own activities, either spend the time in a coffee bar with nice view, or go to Tianzifang Street or M50 Art District for a wandering is the rhythm of Shanghai. At appropriate time, you will be picked up and transfer to airport for flight to Xian. Upon arrival in Xian, your guide in Xian will meet you and then transfer to hotel by private car.
Fly from Shanghai to Xian is around 2 hours, but the change is from the most developed metropolis to the most ancient city of China. It was the capital of six dynasties since it became a cultural and political center of China in the 11th century BC with the founding of the Zhou Dynasty. It was also the starting point of Silk Road, an ancient trade route connecting China with the Middle East and Europe. You will explore the history of this ancient city in the next two days.
This morning, you will go to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda after breakfast. The pagoda was built in Tang Dynasty to hold sutras and figurines of Gautama Buddha brought back by Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk and scholar after his travel to ancient India. Afterwards, you will transfer to Xianyang, en route visit a Cave Dwelling house to understand how local people lived for thousand years.
Lunch will be arranged in a special restaurant featured in Qin dynasty culture.You will learn the table manner and have chance to wear Qin dynasty style costume.
After lunch, you will go to visit the stunning Terracotta Warriors Museum. In peak season, this is the best time to avoid crowds of tourists. Transfer back to downtown and you will take a visit to local family, where to make Chinese dumplings with hosts. You will have chance to talk with the host regarding their life and anything you’re interested in. Enjoy what you make for dinner.
Meal: B, L, D
Check out after breakfast as we will fly to Xining later today, but before that, you will visit the Ancient City Wall in the morning. As one of the oldest, largest and best preserved city walls in China, it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Total length of the wall is 14 km (8.7 mile) and 12-14 meters in width on top. You can rent a bike to ride on it, which takes around one hour. And then, you will take a walk at Muslim Quarters near the Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Try some snacks or just wander around to experience how Chinese Muslim is different from others.
It takes around 2 hours from Xian to Xining, a commercial hub along the Northern Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor and one of the most important transportation points to Tibet. Hui (Muslim) and Tibetan are two largest minority people in this area. If your flight can fit the schedule, you will arrive in Xining at around 4.30pm and the guide will take you to Donguan Mosque. You will see the most real local lifestyle - Muslim people finish their daily prey at around 5pm and then have a chat with friends, or go to the nearby wet market to choose their food for dinner.
Though Ta’er Monastery is the most important Tibetan monastery in the area and is a must-visit site for tourists, we will skip it to a less noted temple named Qutan Temple. This Tibetan Buddhist temple has a history of over 600 years and showcases a group of some of the most well-preserved Ming Dynasty style buildings in northwest China. As the overall structure, layout and architectural style are very similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing, it is called the “little Forbidden City” on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The Ming and Qing religious murals are the highlights of the temple. After the visit, transfer back to downtown for lunch before taking overnight train to Lhasa.
Since the Qinghai-Tibet railway was inaugurated on July 1st, 2006, taking train to Lhasa has been a dream of many people. And it is also regarded as the best transport to Tibet as you can acclimatize the altitude gradually. The best section to experience this railway is from Xining to Lhasa, which takes about 21.5hrs. You will be booked into a soft sleeper cabin, the best on the train and a private cabin can be booked on request. We will prepare some snacks for your journey.
- High altitude tips: Lhasa is at an elevation of 3650m (11975ft), so travelers should be aware of the altitude sickness. Please follow your guide’s instructions, move slowly in this area and don’t do any strenuous exercise. Consult your doctor before the trip if needed.
Meal: B, L
Passing Golmud, Tanggula Pass (5072 meters above sea level), Naqu and Damxung, your train arrives at the holy city Lhasa at noon time. You guide will be waiting you at the exit of the station and then take private car to your hotel. Check in and take a good rest after long train journey. At an altitude of 3,656 metres (11,990 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. Try to be in a slower pace to acclimatize the altitude. At around 3.30pm, your guide will escort you to visit a small Nunnery in down town area. Ani Tsankhung Nunnery (Canggu Nunnery) is the only nunnery in the city. Besides Buddhist activities every day, the nuns do some works including sewing, weaving and making handicrafts. They also run a small restaurant, where you can have a cup of tea there and have a chat with nuns on duty.
Meal: No Meal
This morning, you will drive out of city to Ganden Monastery, one of the “Great three”Gelukpa university monasteries in Tibet. Unlike the other two, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery in city, it is on the Gokpori Ridge at 3800 meters above sea level. Visit the Monastery and have a bird view of the Kichu Valley. You can also choose to take a leisure hike around the monastery.
Afterwards, let’s drive to Trupshi village and visit a local Tibetan family. Warmly welcomed by the host with a cup of Tibetan tea, and have a free chatting with them to learn more about their lives. Taste some Tibetan snacks or have a leisure walk around before transfer back to down town.
After lunch, you will visit Jokhang Temple, which is 1300 years old and one of Tibet’s holiest shrines. It is Jokhang Temple that makes Lhasa the holy city. Outside Jokhang Temple is the famous bazaar of Barkhor Street. With a history of more than 1,300 years, the Barkhor is essentially a pilgrim circuit, which is followed clockwise round the periphery of the Jokhang.
Meal: B, L
This morning, we will visit Lhasa’s cardinal landmark, Potala Palace. It was once the seat of the Tibetan government and the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas. In 1994, it was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List. As the most important monastery in holy Lhasa, many Tibetan pilgrims walk and prey the whole way from their home to visit, which they think is the must-do thing in their lives. In the afternoon, you will go to visit Sera Monastery, one of the “great three” Gelug university monasteries of Tibet. The highlight of this monastery is the debate sessions in the afternoon. The rest of the day is free at leisure to walk around the city.
Meal: B, L
Say goodbye to Tibet and fly to Lijiang, an ancient but relaxing small town on ancient Tea-Horse route. Dayan ancient town has a history of 800 years and is the home for the Naxi minority people. It was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. You will be met and transfer to hotel by private car. Spend of the rest of the day to walk around the ancient town.
Late departure from hotel and you will visit the ancient town of Lijiang with the guide escorted. Climb up to the top of Lion Hill in the east of the town and you can have a bird view of the whole town. And to the north, you will see the white cap of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. And then, you will visit the Mu’s Mansion at the foot of the hill. It was formerly the residence of the local Naxi rulers. Local Naxi people sing and dance at Sifang Street (town square) every morning. Visitors can join them for fun. You will then go to visit a wet market to see many unique cooking materials like vegetable, mushroom, fruits, etc.
This afternoon you will be transferred to the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain where Yuhu Village is located. Take a walk in this Naxi village and visit the Former Residence of Dr. Joseph Rock, who was considered as the first foreign scholar to introduce local Lijiang culture to western world.
Meal: B, L
Free at leisure to relax in the ancient town before being transferred to airport for flight to Chengdu in late afternoon.
Among all main cities in China, Chengdu is considered as the most relaxing one – people like delicious cuisine more than anything else, tea houses are everywhere and always full of people, Mahjong is the most popular entertainment. You will experience all of this lifestyle of Chengdu people before leaving China. Today, you can just walk around hotel to have a glance of the city.
A little bit early departure this morning to catch up the breakfast time of the pandas, when pandas are most active. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was created on behalf of six sick and hungry giant pandas that were rescued in the 1980s and now is the world’s famous giant panda ex situ conservation base. You will have chance to see infant pandas and pandas cubs in the Moonlight Nursery House and Sunshine Nursery House for Giant Panda. And then, you will visit a local wet market, where you will learn various seasons for famous Sichuan cuisine. You can also have chance to learn Spring Roll or Wonton making from the stall owner. Lunch will be an authentic Sichuan cuisine.
In the afternoon, visit Renmin Park to see how Chengdu people spend their leisure time. People loves music may have their band to practice of perform here, and others may dance nearby. Sure, the famous matchmaking corner in the park offers a good chance to compare marriage and family between east and west. Tea houses in the park are far from luxury, but we highly recommend a trying to experience local people’s real life. You may learn Mahjong playing from the guide.
- Sichuan Opera - Face changing is the highlight of Sichuan Opera, which is a must to see.
Meal: B, L
Mt. Qingcheng is considered one of the birthplaces of Taoism and one of the most important Taoist centers in China. Drive one hour northwest to mountain and take cable car to the top and walk some way to visit the Taoist temples. In the temple, you will have chance to learn Taoist meditation and worship etiquette. Having tea with Taoist priest and learn more about Taoism. Have a vegetarian lunch in the temple before descending by cable car. On the way back, visit Sichuan Cuisine Museum to discover the secret of the most popular cuisine in China. Free at leisure for rest of the day.
Meal: B, L
At appropriate time, you will be transferred to airport for you flight back home.