The capital of China, Beijing, is located in the North China, usually served as the most popular gateway to China. While, traveling to Tibet from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp is a lifetime-trip to explore the friendly local Tibetans, striking monasteries and landmarks, scenic landscapes and high mountains. It is a good idea to make a 12-day trip to visit both imperial capital Beijing and the Roof of the World - Tibet. From the bustling modern capital to the remote snow-capped scared mountains, from the classic sites exploration to the grandeur of mighty Himalaya and Tibetan culture, it will give you all the discovery about a Beijing Tibet tour. Go and explore with Asia Odyssey Travel with local office in Beijing and Lhasa - local cheap price is guaranteed!
Beijing (4 Days)
Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Tian’anmen Square, Summer Palace, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, Temple of Heaven, Old Hutongs
Lhasa (4 Days)
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Dadong Village, Sera Monastery
Shannan & Gyantse
Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier
Shigatse (2 Days)
Mount Everest (2 Days)
Rongbuk Monastery, Everest Base Camp, Gyawu La Pass
Nihao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital city of China! Upon your arrival at the airport/train station in Beijing, the tour guide and driver will meet and greet you at the exit, and then escort you to the well-selected hotel in downtown Beijing. The rest of the day is free on your own so you can have a good rest for the jet lag or explore by yourself around your hotel.
Beijing is well connected by air and high speed rail. There are two airports - Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport operating many international and domestic airlines. Travelers can go to Beijing by air from most cities of China, like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Xiamen, Guiyang, Chongqing, and Lanzhou. In addition, travelers can take the high speed train to Beijing from Xian (4-5 hours), Shanghai (4.5-6 hours), Zhengzhou (2.5-3 hours), Wuhan (4-5 hours), Harbin (5-5.5 hours), etc.
Free Time Ideas:
You are welcome to ask your tour guide for some useful tips to spend your free time based on your time and interest.
Today you will spend the whole day exploring the ancient citadel Beijing through China’s famous landmarks, epic imperial grandeur and royal gardens.
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and then head to Tian’anmen Square, which is the world’s largest public square and also the symbol of China. It has witnessed many big events in China over the past decades and from here you can take good pictures of Tiananmen Gate showing on CCTV News every day.
Walk across the square and you will visit the might and splendor of the awe-inspiring Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex and one-time home to 24 emperors of China. Listed as a world heritage site, Forbidden City has about 500 years’ history, and served as the political and ritual center of China during the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. With over 8,728 rooms, the Forbidden City is not only China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings, but also a city within the city, like the Vatican in Rome. Enter through Meridian Gate and visit along the central axis to ensure you won’t miss any highlighted palaces. You can admire its brilliant architecture and numerous ancient art treasures while listening to your guide and learning more about the emperors’ stories hidden inside the Imperial Palace. Later, take another 15-minute walk up to Jingshan Park, where you can have a magnificent panorama of modern Beijing and princely views over the russet roofs of the Forbidden City.
In this afternoon, drive to the “Museum of Royal Garden” - Summer Palace, which used to be the resort for royal families to flee summer heat. The grounds, temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes, bridges, gate-towers, and corridors are a marvel of landscaping. Enjoy the leisure walk and take your time to appreciate the imperial architectures, hilltop views, and beautiful lakes, which offer a pastoral escape into the landscapes of traditional Chinese painting.
In this morning, you will head northwest of Beijing (about 1.5-2 hours’ drive, 73km) to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. The Great Wall boasts a history over 2,000 years and stretches more than 3,000 miles across several provinces of northern China, making it one of the most impressive ancient masterpieces on the planet. Mutianyu Great Wall is connected with the Jiankou Great Wall in the west and the Gubeikou Great Wall in the east. Mutianyu is the longest and best fully-restored Great Wall with fewer tourists and is also famed for its 23 Ming-era watchtowers and stunning views. Take the cable car up to the 14th watchtower and then enjoy the memorable hiking time on the wall while visiting its western route. With the green pines and cypresses covering the surrounding area, and the winding wall standing majestically on the vast land, you will capture the most stunning natural scenery in this section. Challenge yourselves while climbing up to the 20th watchtower where you could fulfill your Great Wall dream. Cherish the chance and take photos as many as you like!
After the once-in-lifetime experience, head back to downtown Beijing and have the chance to take photos with the exterior of the Bird's Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center). They were both designed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and used for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. After that, transfer back to your hotel and have a good rest tonight.
This morning you will head to Temple of Heaven. Located in Beijing's Tiantan Park, the Temple of Heaven is much bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace. As a World Heritage, the Temple of Heaven (Taoist temple) is also known for its rigorous symbolic layout, peculiar structure, and magnificent decoration. The Temple of Heaven used to be a place to offer sacrifice to Heaven by 22 Chinese emperors twice a year for good harvests. You can learn more about the grand praying ceremony there, as well as observe the amazing designs such as the Echo Wall and the Triple Sound Stones. Nowadays, it is also a park for local people to do morning exercise and you are welcome to join them.
If there is more time, you can also enjoy the relaxing time exploring the ordinary local life through the old Hutongs. Take a rickshaw tour to travel through the narrow alleys with many featured shops standing on both sides.
In this afternoon, you are free on your own to wander around Beijing and get prepared for the flight to Lhasa in the tomorrow morning. Have a good rest tonight.
After breakfast, you will have some free time in Beijing and explore more on your own till your guide escorts you to airport for your flight to Lhasa (about 4.5 hours).
Tashi Delek! Welcome to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region! Upon your arrival at the airport in Lhasa, the tour guide and driver will meet you at the exit, and then escort you to the hotel in downtown Lhasa. You can have a good rest to get used to the altitude (3,650m) in your hotel and get ready to explore Lhasa with your guide the next day.
1. It is good to avoid the highland sickness by slow down, keep warm, drink some water frequently, no shower for the first one or two days, take it easy, and sleep well.
2. You should always follow your doctor’s advice on altitude according to your health condition.
3. Be sure to let your guide or the hotel staff know whenever you feel unwell or need help. The people there are always willing to help and good at dealing with altitude sickness.
Today you will explore Lhasa for its brilliant architectures, culture, and history, then stroll through the famous Barkhor Street with locals and experience the daily kora life of Tibetans.
In the morning, you can walk into Potala Palace, the traditional residence and winter palace of the Dalai Lama (1649-1959). It takes 365 steps from potala gate to reach the Red Palace which is the highest palace in the world at an altitude of 3,700m. Through the principal halls, chapels, and shrines of past Dalai Lamas in the Red Palace, you will be astonished and touched by its remarkable paintings, gorgeous jeweled works, skilled carving, colorful ornamentation, and the mystery stories behind the treasures. Inside the Potala Palace you will meet lots of Tibetan pilgrims who come all the way from afar to this sacred site to pray as their life time destination. You can also ask your guide to share more information about Songtsen Gampo, the 33rd king of Tibet, who first build the Potala Palace in the 7th century for his marriage to Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty. (Note: We may adjust the visit order due to the visiting time of your Potala Palace ticket. All visitors must visit the Potala Palace with a tour group while staying inside for an hour. No photo inside.)
After exploring the Potala Palace Museum, move to the 1300-year-old Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet and a world cultural heritage site. It is said that the Jokhang Monastery is built for King Songtsen Gampo's two brides: Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal Princess Bhrikuti. "Jokhang" means "House of Buddha", it houses the statue of the life-size 12-year-old Sakyamuni which is the treasure of the Buddhism world. That is why Buddhist pilgrims take it as the holiest destination. The time seems to stand still when you watch them pray in front of the temple during the day and night.
Later, you can take a walk back to the busy Barkhor Street, it was a place for Buddhists to do a kora (pilgrim circuit) around the Jokhang Monastery in ancient times. Nowadays, it become a thriving local market where you can try local snacks, dress in Tibetan clothes for photos, and pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. The first stop today is to visit Dadong Village, one of the best preserved Tibetan villages hidden in the peaceful valley. It is said that the 6th Dalai Lama - Tsangyang Gyatso had lived in coupled with the original local Tibetan house and he conducted his spiritual exercise there for years and left numerous romantic poems like On the Top of the East Mountain. Take a relaxing walk to the Nyimatang Monastery. This monastery is the place that the first generation of grand Tibetan Medicine masters studied the Medicine, and it makes plenty of Tibetan medicinal substances and remains the only temple in Tibet that mainly enshrines Bhaiṣajyaguru. Walk around and enjoy the primitive local Tibetan life in this beautiful village and then pay a visit to a local Tibetan family and enjoy lunch offered by the family.
In this afternoon, drive about 50 minutes (30km) to visit Sera Monastery. Step on one of the most beautiful monastery compounds, and its white stone roads and walkways makes you feel almost Mediterranean. The highlight of Sera Monastery is watch the monks’ debate at around 15:00 - 17:00 (except Sundays). It is an interesting form of debate, you can see one monk, the questioner, standing while the answerer or group of answerers, sitting. The standing monk will ask question and slap his palms and stomp, each action has its special meaning, such as activating wisdom, and are not meant to be aggressive. Furthermore, pay a visit to Tibetan Religious Scripture Printing House and appreciate three sand Mandalas and the colorful Rock Painting of Buddha.
After that, be escorted back to your hotel in Lhasa.
On this day, drive about 8 to 9 hours (340km) from Lhasa to Shigatse via a visit to two amazing natural landscapes - Yamdrok Lake and Karola Glacier on the way.
In the morning, after about 3 to 4 hours’ drive (200km), you'd better have your camera ready. When reaching Kampala Pass (4,797 meters), you’ll have a breathtaking view of Yamdrok Lake (a freshwater lake) down below as well as spectacular views of the holy Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance. It is one of the four largest sacred lakes in Tibet along with Lake Lhamo Latso, Lake Manasarovar, and Lake Namtso. And Lake Yamdrok is said to be able to help Tibetans find the reincarnated soul of the Dalai Lama. You will be happy to see dressed-up Tibetan mastiffs/dogs, goats, and yaks there. It is optional for you to pay 5-10 yuan to pose with and take photos of them, for local Tibetans, it’s a subsidy income for their family.
In the afternoon, drive about 1.5 hours (70km) to visit one of the most beautiful Glaciers in Tibet - Karola Glacier, the location of the film Red Valley (Hong He Gu). As one of Tibet's three major continental glaciers, backed by the southern slope of Naiqin Kangsang Peak (7,191 meters), one of the four highest peaks in Tibet, this white glacier is also the source of the eastern part of the Nianchu River. The Karola Glacier (5,012m) is only 300 meters away from the Highway connecting Lhasa to Gyantse town. You can view it right off the highway from your car. Sure you can easily walk to the foot of the charming glacier which shape is like a frozen waterfall right above the road and you. Besides the fantastic hike to the Karola Glacier, on the opposite side of the road, you can appreciate the beautiful snow-capped mountain of Mt Kalurong.
Karola Glacier Visiting Notes:
1. The altitude at the glacier scenic spot is about 5,012m, be sure to slow down to avoid altitude sickness.
2. The public toilet at the glacier is very basic.
3. Local people would ask you to take photos with them for a fee. Be sure to ask before taking photos to avoid potential little troubles.
After that, drive about 3.5h (170km) to your hotel in Shigatse, the nearest town on the Friendship Highway between Tibet and Nepal. Have a good rest and get ready for a lifetime trip to EBC the next day.
After breakfast, drive about 6.5 hours (330km) to the peak of the world - Mount Everest, while stopping by the Rongbuk Monastery - the world’s highest altitude monastery before spending the night at the Everest Base Camp.
Departing from Shigatse, after about 4.5 hours of driving (240km), you would get your first glimpse of Mt. Everest from the Gyawu La Pass (5,200m, Gyatso La Pass), between Lhatse and Shelkar. Apart from Mt. Everest, you will be marveled at the zigzag road that looks winding to the end of the world. On the road, you may see local people biking or hiking all the way to Everest Base Camp, for them reaching the base of the world's highest mountain is a must do goal or holy belief that is worth the effort.
After enjoying the beautiful and unique scenery on the pass with incredibly snow-capped mountain ranges, blue skies, floating high clouds, and endless grasslands, it is time to head to Rongbuk Monastery (about 3.5 hours,122km) for the first good view of Mt. Everest. At an altitude of 5,154m, Rongbuk Monastery is the world’s highest monastery, a must-visit for spiritual travelers, and you will find it photo worthy. It used to be an area of meditation huts, and you can find hermitage meditation caves with a history of over 400 years, dotting the cliff walls all around the monastery and the valley. Along with incredible Mt. Everest views, at Rongbuk Monastery you will be touched by the breathtaking scenery such as large white chorten, piles of mani stones, colorful prayer flags, devout pilgrims passing by...
1. Travelers can only go as far as the Rongbuk Temple area rather than a few kilometers farther as before. But it’s no big difference in terms of viewing Mt. Everest.
2. Today’s food and lodging is very basic. Due to the high altitude, it is possible that you may have some symptoms of altitude sickness. We recommend that you stay well hydrated, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery to minimize your symptoms.
You will get an early start with the sunrise of Mt Everest, then head to Gyatso La Pass (Gyawu La Pass, the Dingri Boundary, 122km, 3.5 hours) again with a quick photographic stop. After that, drive back to Shigatse (240km, about 4.5 hours) to visit Tashilumpo Monastery.
Founded by His Holiness the 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gedun Drup in 1447, Tashilumpo Monastery is the largest monastery in Tsang Area, Tibet. In Tashi Lumpo Monastery, you can unveil the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, Tibet's second-highest incarnation. Pay a visit to the ancient tombs of the fourth and tenth Panchen Lama and the chortens, which hold the bones and remains of the sacred Tibetan lamas. Learn more from your guide about Panchen Lamas and Dalai Lamas while appreciating the brilliant religious painting on Tibetan architecture, listening to the Tibetan Buddhism chanting by local monks, and even participating in the kora like locals. Don’t forget to hike up to the top of the monastery and have a stunning bird view of the monastery itself and Shigatse City.
After that, drive back to your sweet hotel in Shigatse, take a shower and prepare for the departure by train the next day.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. It is time to drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse. On the way, you have a chance to appreciate some stunning landscapes on the viewing platform. With several hours’ driving, you will arrive in Lhasa and be transferred to the hotel for a good rest.
It is time to end your 12-day China Tibet tour. You will have some free time in Beijing and explore more on your own till your guide escorts you to the airport/train station for your flight or high speed train to your next destination.
Thank you for choosing Asia Odyssey Travel for your China tour, and we are always here working for you and hope to see you again for your next trip to China/Asia. Safe journey!
(Based on a private tour for two people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people.)
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