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17 Days Oriental Cultural Exploration and Tibet Tour

17 Days Oriental Cultural Exploration and Tibet Tour

(STT006) Shanghai - Guilin - Chengdu - Lhasa - Xi'an - Beijing


17-day China and Tibet tour covers large part of mainland China. Tourists can experience the prosperity of modern China in Shanghai. While in Guilin, the picturesque landscape makes you wonder if you are travelling in canvas of Chinese oil painting. As you enter Tibet from Chengdu, you will be entering a holy land, deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. From Tibet, you will tour the famous ancient capitals in Xi’an and Beijing.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Shanghai

As you arrive in Shanghai, the megacity and financial hub of China, our local guide will be expecting you at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Later, the guide will escort you to your hotel. After you check in, the rest of the day is for you to have a good rest or explore the surroundings yourself.

Stay overnight in Shanghai

Day 2: Shanghai Tour: Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden, and Oriental Pearl TV Tower, The Bund

Today we are about to visit some of the highlights of highlights of Shanghai Tour. Starting with fascinating Shanghai Museum, the magnificent 4-story building houses an incredible collection of bronzes, sculptures, ceramics, coins, paintings, calligraphy, costumes and other exhibits in different dynasties. It’s the perfect place for fans of Chinese history and art.

Next comes the Yu Garden. Built in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty, the Yu Garden used to be the private residence of a senior Government administrator in the Ming Dynasty. For passionate photographer, never miss the chance to photograph Old Street of Yu Garden

In the evening, we will visit the most iconic building of Shanghai, i.e. Oriental Pearl TV Tower. You can enjoy the amazing panorama of the skyline of Shanghai at night. And as you stroll along the Bund, you will get amazed at the spectacular Huangpu River and dazzling light from buildings of Pudong.

Stay overnight in Shanghai

Day 3: Shanghai to Guilin: Nanjing Road and take flight to Guilin

In the morning, we would head to the renowned pedestrian precinct Nanjing Road to take a nice stroll. From small boutiques selling handicrafts and other souvenirs to high-end fashion shops, you can shop to your heart’s content. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the local snacks and a great number of distinctive architecture.

Later, you will be transferred to Shanghai Pudong Internatonal airport to fly to Guilin. After your arrival in Guilin, the guide will greet you and help you get to the hotel. The rest of your day is for rest or explore the city on your own.

Stay overnight in Guilin

Day 4: Guilin Tour: Elephant Trunk Hill & Reed Flute Cave

In the morning, you will visit the Elephant Trunk Hill, which is believed to be one of the landmarks of Guilin. The famous rock formation requires a bit of imagination to see it as an elephant rather than a natural arch. One suggestion is to enjoy it from the raft.

Then, in the afternoon, we are about to visit another must-see attraction in Guilin, i.e. the Reed Flute Cave. With more than 180 million years, Reed Flute Cave features natural limestone caves with dazzling artificial lighting of multiple colors.

Stay overnight in Guilin

Day 5: Guilin Tour: Yangshuo, Li River & West Street

Undoubtedly, the highlight of today’s tour would be the Li River Cruise, which flows 83km from Guilin to Yangshuo. The marvelous karst mountains, enchanting scenery such as vertical mountains, lovely bamboo rafts, and water buffaloes, etc. are perfect subjects for landscape photography. We would stop around the mountains that make up the scenery of 20 RMB note.

In the afternoon, the guide will take you to visit the bustling commercial street, i.e. West Street. Touristy as it seems, West Street is well-arranged and tidy, making for a pleasurable stroll. Besides, the unique Yangshuo backdrop in the distance makes it an enjoyable promenade.

Stay overnight in Yangshuo

Day 6: Fly from Guilin to Chendu and Visit Wide and Narrow Alley

Take the morning flight from Guilin to Chengdu. Upon your arrival in Chengdu, you will be escorted to the hotels. In the afternoon, tourists will tour Wide and Narrow Alley in downtown Chengdu. The lively and vibrant alley showcases the old life style and houses of Chengdu. You can enjoy the tea and tasty local snacks and buy interesting souvenirs as you tour this pedestrianized area.

Stay overnight in Chengdu

Day 7: Chengdu Tour: Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center, Jin Li Street and Wuhou Shrine

Chengdu is the major overland gateway to Tibet and home to giant pandas. In the morning, we will drive about half an hour to Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, where you will catch pandas' feeding time, they are at their most active, both Adults and Babies. There's a wealth of information and a panda museum in this 230-hectare park 10 km (6 miles) north of Chengdu. It takes about 2.5 hours to visit this site.

In the afternoon, we will move back to downtown Chengdu to visit Jin Li Street, a vivid replica of the old commercial street of Qin, Han, and Three Kingdom dynasties. You can take a leisurely stroll along the street and buy some souvenirs. After that, we can tour the famous Wushou Shrine, where tourists can learn more of the celebrated warriors of Three Kingdoms and many more Chinese poetry and calligraphy, etc. can also be seen.

Stay overnight in Chengdu

Day 8: Board the Train to Lhasa and Enjoy the Train Ride

In the morning, you may do some shopping around the hotels. After lunch, we are about to head to Chengdu Railway Station and you will spend the rest of the day on the train to Lhasa. It is quite a long journey of taking a train from Chengdu to Lhasa. It will take 43:07 hours, two days and two nights in the Train. On the first day you will pass through two important provincial capital cities in northwest China, Lanzhou and Xining. Xining is known as the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Travelling along the rail line, you could see the scenery of countryside and cities in northwest China.

Stay overnight in the train

Day 9: Enjoy beautiful scenery of Qinghai-Tibet Railway and arrive in Lhasa

Today, you will enjoy the most beautiful scenery of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, spectacular land of snows, boundless desert, vast grassland, and grand snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes that will continually appear and strongly attract your heart. You will arrive in Lhasa at about 09:55. Your tour guide will hold a welcome sign with your name on it to greet you at the exit of the train station and escort you from the train station to your reserved hotel in Lhasa. The rest of the day is for you to get acclimatized to the altitude of Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 10: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

Today's tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai lama. It was put to use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.

Then after lunch, tourists head to Jokhang Temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century, in order to promote the Buddhist religion. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve, perhaps the only most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Around the temple is Barkhor street where you can do kora (a religious circle of a building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals, in the meantime you can buy souvenirs.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 11: Lhasa Tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery

In the morning ,you are going to visit Drepung Monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. Ganden palace used to be Dalai lama’s palace in the Drepung before he moved to the Potala palace.

In the Afternoon, Tourists will visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. The hot attraction is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 12: Fly from Lhasa to Xi’an

The guide will transfer you to the airport and help you board the plane bound for Xi’an. After around 3 hours’ flight, you will land in Xi’an. The local guide will escort you to your hotels. And the rest of the day is for you to have a rest.

Stay overnight in Xi’an

Day 13: Xi’an Tour: The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda

In the morning, we are about to visit the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. You will not only be attracted by the life-sized warrior figures and horses, each of which has distinct facial expressions and positions, but also be astonished by various kinds of ancient weapons which reflect the highly advanced technology in weapon-making 2,200 years ago.

Afterwards, we will head to tour another must-see attraction in Xi’an Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Originally built in 652 during the Tang dynasty, the Pagoda is known for keeping the Buddhist scriptures and figurines of the Buddha brought by Xuanzang, one of the most renowned Chinese monks. The whole place is one of the most visited destinations by international tourists in Xi’an.

Day 14: Fly from Xi’an to Beijing and visit Tiananmen Square

Take the morning flight (around 2 hours) from Xi’an to Beijing first. Later the guide will get you transferred to hotels. In the afternoon, we will visit his Tiananmen Square. The tremendous and impressive square is skirted by Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Great Hall of the People and National Museum of China.

Day 15: Beijing Tour: Great Wall at Badaling and Forbidden City

In the morning, tourists are supposed to visit Visit the majestic Great Wall (Badaling section). You will be taken on a group tour to the Great Wall, the most famous symbol of China and one of the world’s most remarkable architectural wonders. This section was first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

After lunch, we will tour magnificent Forbidden City. It is the most complete imperial palace in China and used to serve as home of emperors of different dynasties. It’s a live encyclopedia of Chinese history, art, architecture, culture, etc.

Day 16: Beijing Tour: Ming Tombs, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven

In the morning, tourists will visit Ming Tombs, the burial site of the emperor Wangli, the 13th emperor of the Ming Dynasty who ruled for 48 years until his death in 1620.

While in the afternoon, you will marvel at the incredible Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. Summer Palace was an imperial summer resort of the Qing Dynasty. The Temple of Heaven is a royal sacred site, where prayer for good harvests, prosperity and harmonious life are offered.

Day 17: Departure from Beijing

The guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board. The tour ends.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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