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Welcome to China and the start of an amazing holiday! We will be there to meet you upon arrival and transfer you in a private vehicle to your hotel. The remainder of today can be spent at your leisure.
Today, we embark on a guided tour of the nation’s capital. Tiananmen Square, a patriotic vision of grandeur and the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors boasting stunning temples, courtyards and reception halls. This afternoon, enjoy a rickshaw ride navigating the old back lanes and courtyards of Beijing’s Hutongs.
Today we walk the famous Great Wall. Said to be seen from space, the enduring symbol of Chinese civilisation and genius is a prize national treasure. The UNESCO protected Great Wall of China was built as a defensive structure to protect China against marauding invaders from the north. Our visit offers a healthy, if steep and vertiginous walk with breathtaking views of the Chinese countryside. Later, we visit the Summer Palace. The vast complex is replete with lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi.
We visit the Temple of Heaven and the famed Silk Alley markets today. Later, we transfer you to the airport for your flight to Guilin. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.
The Lijiang River cruise is a true pleasure that offers an endless procession of peaks and simple villages. Cruising at a sedate pace along the often misty river, local village boys paddle out to the river boats with all manner of souvenirs, whilst local fishermen use trained cormorants to catch fish. We return to Guilin after your cruise.
Today we see the Elephant Trunk hill and visit Reed Flute Cave which offers the chance to walk inside a gargantuan and deep limestone cave that features innumerable stalactites, stalagmites and rocky outcrops. Later, we transfer to the airport for your flight to Kunming. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
We take an excursion to Stone Forest today. Celebrated as a natural wonder, it’s Yunnan’s most visited sight. As you stroll along the winding paths and lookout points, you will be in awe of the bizaare, tightly packed formations of almost ‘petrified’ stone that forms this unusual attraction 120 km from Kunming. En route back to Kunming we visit Qi Cai Yunnan. Tonight we take the overnight sleeper train to Dali.
Upon arrival into Dali you will be met at the train station and taken to your hotel for breakfast. Picturesquely situated on Lake Erhai with a backdrop formed by the peaks of the 50km long Cang Shang range and covering only about 4 sq km, much of Dali is contained by the remains of its Ming dynasty walls. Sightseeing in Dali and surrounds today includes a cruise on Lake Erhai, some orientation stops at some ancient temples and villages, a visit to Butterfly Spring and the famous Three Pagodas.
Leaving Dali today we travel north to UNESCO-listed Lijiang - a Naxi stronghold, enjoy free time in the labyrinthine streets of Dayan Old Town and a visit to Yufengsi Lamasery. This evening enjoy a Naxi ancient music show.
Today we head to the thrillingly named Tiger leaping gorge on the Yangtze River, where there is time to walk and take in the scenery. Some 16km long and up to 3000m deep, it is the worlds deepest canyon. The gorge is so narrow at various points that legend has it a tiger once escaped pursuit by leaping across. Visiting the gorge, you will have a chance to walk a section and take in the dramatic, yet stark scenery.
Enjoy an excursion to the stunning Jade Dragon Snow Mountain; its landscape includes one of the southernmost glaciers in the world. Access to the mountain is provided by a cable lift to Dragon Spruce Meadow, halfway to the glacier peak. Later, take the overnight sleeper train to Kunming.
Upon arrival to Kunming you will be met and transferred to your hotel for breakfast. We take an excursion to Kunming Flower and Bird market and visit Western Hills Dragon Gate.
Saying goodbye to China today we transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa, Tibet. Arrive at Lhasa Gongkar Airport where you will receive a warm Tibetan welcome by our representative at the airport. Transfer to Lhasa (approx 70kms), soaking up the wonderful mountain scenery en route. Check into your hotel and spend the remains of the day at leisure, to acclimatise.
Today enjoy a guided tour of the autonomous region's capital. Sightseeing includes a visit to the beautiful Potala Palace - the dominant landmark of Lhasa, towering 117 meters above the city below. Construction started on the red hill in 1645 under the 5th Dalai Lama. Sightseeing also includes the Sera Monastery and Norbulinka monastery - the Dalai Lama's summer palace which was completed in 1783 under the Eighth Dalai Lama. Set in beautiful grounds with fountains, chapels and pools, Norbulinka is located on the outskirts of Lhasa and it is from here that the present Dalai Lama fled in the 1950's.
Another full day of sightseeing in the fabled city of Lhasa, visiting the 15th century Drepung Monastery, formerly one of the largest monasteries in Tibet, once housing 10,000 monks and bustling Barkhor Street. The highlight of the day is a visit to Jokhang Temple, the most sacred and important temple in Tibet and also the most captivating. There is an electric atmosphere as crowds of pilgrims travel around the chapels praying.
After breakfast depart Lhasa and journey to Gyantse. En route we visit the Drolma Lhakang Temple, associated with the Buddhist teachings of Atisha, and we stop at the elevated view point of Kampa La, to soak up the incredible views of the spectacular scorpion shaped Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok is one of Tibet's three sacred lakes and according to local mythology, it is the transformation of a goddess. At over 72kms in length, with electric blue water and surrounded by snow capped mountains, it's an incredible sight to behold. Continuing your journey, drive alongside Yamdrok lake for about an hour to reach Gyantse. Overnight in Gyantse.
Today after breakfast, visit Kumbum and Pelku Chode, two of the prime sightseeing spots in Gyantse. Kumbum was founded in the year 1427 by a Gyantse prince. With a gold dome, and 9 levels, it contains 77 chapels. Pelku Chode is the Monastery inside the same compound of Kumbum. After finished with sightseeing of Kumbum and Pelku Chode, drive on to Shigatse (95kms from Gyantse), Tibets second most important city.
After breakfast enjoy a tour of Tashilunpo Monastery, founded in 1447, it is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet and the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lamas palace. At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 metre high sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha, cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world. After the sightseeing and strolling around the free market, we journey back to Lhasa.
Today after breakfast you will drive to Tsedang via Samye Monastery. Samye Monastery was founded in the 8th century during the reign of King Trisong Detsen with the help of the Indian Buddhist masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, whom the king had invited to Tibet to help spread Buddhism. Continuing on to Tsedang, visit Yumbulakhang the oldest palace in Tibet. It was believed that King Nyatri Tsenpo descended from heaven to build this palace in 2nd century BC and myths says it is the founding of Tibetan civilization. Overnight in Tsedang.
Say farewell to Tibet today as we transfer back to Lhasa and to the train station for the train back to Beijing.
Sit back, relax and watch the scenery go by as you make the 4,064 km journey back towards Beijing.
We bid you farewell today. Our services will end upon your arrival into Beijing.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...