This facinating 11 day rail tour begins in Tibet's capital Lhasa and ends in Beijing, home of Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. Your visit to Xian not only includes the 6,000 Terracotta Warriors (among the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century) but also the city's remarkable old walls and pagodas, as well as its drum and bell towers.
Home for most of the tour will be the Shangri La Express, although you will also ride on the high altitude regular service train from Lhasa to Golmud.
- 2 nights in Beijing
- 4 nights aboard the Shangri-La Express
- 4 nights in Lhasa
- Freedom of Choice Touring options
- Guided off-train excursions
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Meals daily
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Porterage between hotels and rail station
- All gratuities
- Lhasa - The world's highest capital city. Visit the 17th Century Potala Palace, the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Containing thousands of rooms, this breathtaking structure perches high above Lhasa.
- Highest Railway in the World - Experience an extraordinary and unforgettable journey over the 701 mile 'Roof of the World' line - through the Tangula Pass (16,640 feet, 5,072m) - the world's highest railway.
- Xian - Explore the famous and restored Terracotta Warriors - one of the greatest finds of the 20th Century.
Day 1 - Beijing
Guests are met upon arrival in Beijing and are transferred to the centrally located five-star Regent Hotel, or similar, for a two-night stay. This afternoon you have the first opportunity to meet your fellow travelers as we take a tour to the magnificent Summer Palace, which has the largest Imperial Garden in the world. Gaining UNESCO World Heritage status in 1988, it is a wonderful start to our 11-day journey. Our welcome banquet is hosted in a local restaurant and we get to experience our first proper taste of authentic Chinese cuisine.
Day 2 - Beijing
Today's tour includes the magnificently restored Forbidden City, home to the Emperors and their numerous concubines. Our afternoon sightseeing program is devoted to one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the whole of China, the Great Wall. We travel out to a section at Badaling and have the opportunity to walk along some of the restored walkways. This evening we visit Tiananmen Square, the largest open urban square in the world and the site of several key events in China's history, most infamously the student protests in 1989; and we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant near the Square.
Day 3 - Beijing
This morning we will visit the Temple of Heaven, the grandest of the four great temples situated in Beijing before having free time to explore more of this fascinating city and maybe spend some time bartering for souvenirs in the local markets. We meet up again in the late afternoon to board the Shangri-La Express, China's most prestigious train and our home for the next 4 nights. There is time to settle into your comfortable cabin with modern facilities and enjoy a drink in the bar car with new friends before enjoying a delicious dinner on board.
Day 4 - Luoyang
Arriving into Luoyang in the morning, we have a full day to discover this former ancient capital situated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River Valley. Visit the local museum, which contains many relics from Luoyang's days of glory, including artifacts recovered from tombs, such as sculpted horses and camels. We then travel out to the Longmen Caves, one of China's most important artistic sites and a UNESCO World Heritage site, this enchanting network of 1,350 caves contains over 110,000 statues.
Day 5 - Xian
This morning we arrive in the ancient city of Xian. The morning is dedicated to visiting the world famous Terracotta Warriors, discovered by peasants barely 30 years ago. The 6,000 Terracotta figures, arranged in row after row of warriors and horses, are one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. After lunch we take in some of the highlights of the city including the Great Mosque, the 14-km city walls, Drum and Bell Towers, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. If there is time we can take a stroll through the historic Muslim quarter with its winding lanes and spend some time bartering for souvenirs. This evening we attend the excellent Tang Dynasty dinner show before a late evening departure.
Day 6 - Onboard the Shangri-La Express
The day is spent relaxing on board our comfortable train as we head through the Gobi desert. As well as watching the magnificent passing scenery, there is time to socialize in the bar car and maybe take in a one of the talks that is on offer to increase our knowledge of this fascinating country.
Day 7 - Golmud and the "Roof of the World"
After an early arrival in Golmud, starting point for the 1,142 km "Roof of the World" line to Lhasa, we say goodbye to the Shangri-La Express. From here we change to the new high-altitude train and embark on a 14-hour daylight journey into the Tibetan Capital of Lhasa cresting the 16,640 foot (5,072m) Tangula Pass 6 hours after leaving Golmud. This is the world's highest scenic railway pass - over 3 miles above sea level and is certainly a once in a lifetime experience. Due to the high altitude, extra oxygen is pumped in through the ventilation system, and personal oxygen masks are available if required to make the journey as comfortable as possible. On arrival into Lhasa we are transferred to the Brahmaputra Hotel for a four-night stay.
Day 8 - Lhasa
Lhasa is located in a small basin surrounded by mountains, and it literally means "place of the gods." At an altitude of around 11,975 ft it is one of the highest cities in the world; it is also the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama and the holiest center of Tibet with over a thousand years of cultural and spiritual history. Today there is free time to either explore the city or relax at the hotel.
Day 9 - Lhasa
On our second full day here, we visit the 13th century Jokhang Temple, Tibet's holiest shrine and the spiritual home for almost all Tibetans. Next we explore the adjacent Barkhor market, the oldest market in the capital and a well-trodden route for the many pilgrims who make their way to the temple. A local lunch is accompanied by traditional folk music. This afternoon we visit the 17th century Potala Palace, former seat of the Tibetan Government and the Dalai Lama's winter residence before he fled to India in 1959. It contains thousands of rooms, dominates the city skyline. Perched upon Marpo Ri hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 170 meters, is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet and one of the architectural wonders of the world.
Day 10 - Lhasa
This morning we visit Norbu Lingka, the Dalai Lama's Summer Palace. It was built in the 1740's as a retreat from which to escape the heat of the summer. Meaning either "jewel garden" or "precious garden" it is still a tranquil haven from the noise of the city and a wonderful place to explore. This afternoon we have free time to wander through Lhasa and soak up the atmosphere of this picturesque city. We have our farewell dinner tonight and say our goodbyes.
Day 11 - Lhasa
Early morning transfer to Lhasa airport for flight departures.
Price is land-only, per person based on double occupancy.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Lhasa, Xian & Beijing Tour.