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6-Day Xining to Lhasa Tour Via Qinghai Tibet Railway

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Overview

Tour Type: Private Tour: Flexible Travel Date & Travel Routes
Guide & Driver: Chinese-English-speaking guide & air-conditioned
  • See the best highlights of Xining and its surrounding areas, including the Ta‘er Monastery and the largest lake in China at Qinghai Lake;
  • Experience the adventure of traveling by train across the Tibetan Plateau through spectacular scenery along the Qinghai – Tibet Railway;
  • Immerse yourself in Tibetan Buddhism in the holy city of Lhasa while visiting some of its most sacred sites – the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, the Drepung and Sera Monasteries and more.

Itinerary Day by Day

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Day1  Arrival in Xining
Whether you come by train or by plane, your local tour guide will greet you at the airport or train station to welcome you to Xining and then escort you by private car to your downtown Xining hotel. If time allows today, we can take you to visit one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most important sites – the Ta’er Monastery. This monastery was founded in 1583 A.D. on the foundations of some earlier temples that were built to mark the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug (“Yellow Hat”) sect of Buddhism, who was born in 1357 A.D. This huge complex contains ancient relics of the Yellow Hat sect including a silver tower covered with precious gems and wrapped in ten layers of silk, and a tower reportedly made of pure gold and containing the ashes of Tsongkhapa. Ta’er Monastery is also known for its barbola embroidery, impressive murals and yak butter sculptures known as “suyouhua”.

After visiting the monastery, we will take you to your hotel and help you check in. You can rest and relax in your room or explore the local area around your hotel on your own.

Accommodation:Overnight in Xining

Day2  Xining – Qinghai Lake – Train from Xining to Lhasa
We will get an early start today to take you on the scenic 2 ½ hour, 130-kilometer (80 mile) drive to reach the beautiful and massive Qinghai Lake. This lake is the largest lake in China, and it is classified as an alkaline salwater lake. Sitting at an altitude of 3,205 meters (10,515 feet), Qinghai Lake has a surface area of 4,317 square kilometres (1,667 square miles); an average depth of 21 metres (69 feet), and a maximum depth of 25.5 meters (84 feet). The lake is considered to be a holy Tibetan Buddhist site, so you can often see many pilgrims walking along the lakeshore. We will take you to the Erlangjian Scenic Area, where you can walk out on a long pier over the calm waters to enjoy the beauty of Qinghai Lake. Enroute we will pass through some fascinating landscapes of vast grasslands, wide open blue skies, herds of yaks and sheep, and a view of Riyue (Sun & Moon) Mountain so it is an interesting drive getting there and coming back. If you are interested, we can add in some optional sites such as the Dangaer Ancient City or the Jinyintan Prairie along the way.

Due to Qinghai Lake’s location and massive size, it serves as a popular stopover point for many species of migrant birds, particularly on the aptly named Bird Island. The best time to visit for bird watching would be during May and June. Another great time to visit is from late July to early August to see the amazingly beautiful rape flower fields that surround Qinghai Lake.

After visiting the lake, we will drive back to the Xining train station for your late afternoon or evening train to Lhasa. You will probably want to pick up some food and drinks for the train ride as you will be on the train for more than 20 hours.

Accommodation:Overnight on the train

Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake

Day3  Qinghai – Tibet Railway, Arrival in Lhasa
This morning you will awake to the fantastic scenery along the Tibetan Plateau as you travel onward to Lhasa on board the train. You will pass through the Kekexili Nature Reserve, see the wonderful blue waters of Qinghai – Tibet Plateau lakes, vast grasslands, deserts and the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayan mountain range as you approach Lhasa. Upon your arrival in Lhasa, your local tour guide will greet you and escort you to your private vehicle as we transfer you to your downtown Lhasa hotel. You will have the rest of the evening free to rest, relax and acclimatize yourself to the higher altitude.

Tips for High Altitude Acclimatization:
1) Go for a leisurely walk in the fresh high altitude air, but avoid any strenuous activity after your arrival.
2) It's better to avoid taking a bath to avoid catching a cold.
3) Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and eat some fresh fruit.
4) Get plenty of rest.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day4  Lhasa Full Day Tour – Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
Start your exploration of Lhasa today with a visit to a world-famous landmark - the Potala Palace, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of architecture in the world. Climb up to the palace along zig-zagging stone paths alongside the white and red walls to the top of the palace where you can gain a greater appreciation of the exotic Tibetan-style buildings as well as for a great view of Lhasa's entire urban area. After admiring the sweeping outside views, explore the inner spaces of the Potala Palace to find the stately chapels and learn more about the fascinating history of this special place.

From one historic landmark to another, your next stop will be at the Jokhang Temple, considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Every day thousands of pilgrims come from all over Tibet and other places to the temple to worship the Buddha. The Jokhang Temple is also known as the "House of Buddha" because it houses the precious Jowo Rinpoche, a life-sized (1.5 meter/5 feet) image of the Sakyamuni at the age of 12.

The last stop for today's Lhasa exploration is Barkhor Street, the wide, circular street that surrounds the Jokhang Temple. Local residents enjoy walking on the street, completing several circuits around the temple as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many small shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handicrafts.

After your visit to the Jokhang Temple, we will take you back to your hotel for the evening.

Tips for Visiting the Potala Palace
1. The number of visitors to the palace is strictly limited to 2,300 per day. Visitors can only visit during the time specified on the admission ticket.
2. Admission tickets to visit the Potala Palace are sold out almost every day, so it is strongly recommended to book your tickets several days in advance.
3. There are many steps at the Potala Palace, so it’s best to take it slowly to avoid possible altitude discomfort.
4. Visitors should respect the rules while visiting. Do not wear hats, wear revealing clothes or step on thresholds as these actions violate local customs.
5. Photography and the taking of videos are forbidden inside the Potala Palace.
6. A security search will take place at the entrance to the palace. Explosives, flammables, knives, lighters and even water bottles are not allowed inside the Potala Palace.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day5  Lhasa Full Day Tour – Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
This morning we will visit the beautiful Norbulingka Palace and Park, the location of the former summer palace of the Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until 1959. It features the famous Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai Lamas built in the grandiose style of traditional Tibetan architecture.

After visiting the palaces and park at Norbulingka, we will travel around 5 kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit the Drepung Monastery. The word "drepung" in Tibetan language means "prosperity". Since its establishment in 1416, Drepung Monastery has served as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. During its prime, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders studied at this monastery, including the Dalai Lamas. Accordingly, Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.

In the afternoon, we will escort you on to another famous monastery in Lhasa - the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery is famous for its spectacular “Buddhist Debates”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the various Buddhist doctrines with exaggerated gestures, which is thought to be helpful in facilitating a better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the "Buddhist Debates", we will take you back to your hotel with the rest of the day and evening to relax or explore on your own.

Tips for Proper Etiquette While Visiting Monasteries
1) For clothing, shorts and/or bare shoulders are not allowed. 
2) Hats and sunglasses should be removed before entering the chapels. 
3) Taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day6  Departure from Lhasa
Today you will have free time until we meet you in the lobby of your hotel to transfer you to the Lhasa airport or train station for your departing flight or train.

Today's Tips:
1) Please take care to pack all of your belongings, particularly the small things that are easy to forget about, such as phone and camera chargers, power adapters, mobile phones, wallets, etc. 
2) If your flight or train is in the afternoon, please be sure to check out of your hotel room by 12 p.m.

Accommodation:None

What's Included

Private professional English-Speaking local tour guide
Licensed Vehicle with experienced driver
All necessary Tibet travel permits.
All accommodations listed in the itinerary
Meals specified in the itinerary as "B, L, D".
Entrance tickets listed in the itinerary
Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance
A container of Oxygen for emergency use in Tibet
All taxes, fees and handling charges
Lodging and meal allowance to the guide & driver
2 bottles of drinking water per person per day
International flight to and from China.
China visa.
Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
Meals not listed in the itinerary.
Personal expenses such as laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional tour activities, etc.
Tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
Entrance tickets not listed in the itinerary
Single room supplement.

Additional Info

Alterations of Itineraries

The travel date, service items, itinerary and number of visitors, visitors’ ID information, etc. can be modified free of charge 30 days or more before the trip. If the visitor needs to make a second modification, an additional service fee of 5% of the deposit will be charged. Every time the content of the travel contract is modified, the company reserves the right to re-quote.

Cancellation Policy

Once the deposit is paid, your trip is confirmed. If you need to change or cancel your itinerary, please contact your travel consultant by email, phone, instant messenger, etc. There will be a charge for Cancellation or modification. The policy is as follows:

1. Notice of trip cancellation due to personal reasons before the trip starts
Cancellation 30 days or more before the trip starts, 10% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 29-15 days before the trip starts, 20% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 14-7 days before the trip starts, 30% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 6-2 days before the trip starts, 50% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation within 48 hours prior to the trip starts, no refund of your deposit.

2. Trip cancellation due to irresistible factors before the trip starts

If you have to cancel the itinerary due to irresistible reasons such as traffic, weather, politics, etc., the deposit will be fully refunded by the company (for loss related to air ticket/train ticket, please take reference of the first item).

Reviews

 Stacy
Travel Date:July 15th 2018

Firstly, special thanks to our tour guide we met, Mr. 扎西. He was so helpful, knowledgeable, considerate, experienced and professional. He is fluent in English. We had smooth conversation.
Secondly, thanks to our tour Consultant, Amy, for organizing o

 Travelprofi0
Travel Date:September 5, 2019

We are thankful so much again to our agency Asia Odyssey Travel and my dear Amy for the wonderful arrangement and make my trip to Mt Kailash trip possible, really apperiated! We did Kora around Mt.Kailash for 3 days in August as I had been looking forward this trip for quite a long time, even the second day of Kora are hardest to all of us because part of the roads are covered by snowing with long-distance walking and quite high altitude too, so we spent a lot of physical strength on this but it’s totally worth because the views along the way are very incredible, I think we may not have much chance or time to go there again.

Anyway, I really miss Tibet also my dear, hope we will come and see you one day again, many thanks again for all of your help!!!

 GeminiTraveller24
Travel Date:August 5, 2019

My best friend and I were looking forward to taking the train ride from Xining to Lhasa. Unfortunately, until the day we landed in Chengdu, our tour operator (different from Asia Odyssey) was unable to purchase the tickets for us. I contacted Danny after Googling and he was extremely helpful. Within 3 hours of contact, he had our train tickets. They were delivered to our hotel the next day before we left for Xining, and until we boarded the train, he was in contact with us to ensure that everything went smoothly. Thanks to Danny, we got to experience this once in a lifetime journey! Highly recommended for excellent and fast response! Thanks, Danny!

 Sharu
Travel Date:May 11th 2018

From the airport pickup time to the train station drop of, we enjoyed a five star service. I was welcome in a Tibetan way with Hada and Tibetan greetings, and our guide was careful with my itinerary and flight schedule, very thoughtful.

 Dom B
Travel Date:January 5, 2019

My first and only group tour trip so far. What shall I say? Everything worked like a clockwork. My group mates where great and we had a lot of fun (and celebrated new year successfully). The travel agency (asia Odyssey travel) was definitely a good choice. The advises and caretaking I got from my agency (thanks amy, you are an angel ) was better then the one of my other group members (we talked about it openly). I'm lucky that I choose this trip, tour and agency. It was a good experience and I can definitely recommend it if you like a good and organized tour through tibet.

 Teoh chin kok
Travel Date:June 15th 2018

With the accompaniment of our experienced driver and guide-Lomsang. I forgot the name of our driver. Terribly sorry. He did a great job. Our guide is fluent in English, we had no problem in communicating. He made us laugh during the long drive and took care of my daughter. We had altitude sickness when we were at the tent of Everest Base Camp, he didn’t sleep well also in order to look after us. He also explained tibetan culture clearly which I find it pretty interesting. We would like to thank him for making our trip in tibet extraordinary. We were lucky to book a tour with Tibet odyssey tours.