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8-Day Xining to Tibet Tour Via the 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 surroundings, 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 

Itinerary Day by Day

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Day1  Arrival in Xining
Upon your arrival at the Xining airport or train station, your local tour guide will meet you and escort you to your private vehicle to take you on to your downtown Xining hotel and check in. You will have the rest of the day free to rest and relax from your trip to Xining, or you can begin to explore around the city on your own.

Accommodation:Overnight in Xining

Day2  Xining Full Day Tour – Ta’er Monastery, Dongguan Mosque
Xining developed over the centuries with major influences from both Buddhist and Muslim cultures and today’s tour will allow you to compare and contrast those cultures with visits to their two most important sites in the area. We will pick you up from your hotel with a private vehicle to take you to visit the Ta’er Monastery, also known as the “Kumbum Monastery”. Located about 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) outside of Xining, 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”.

From one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism we will go back to downtown Xining to visit the Dongguan Mosque, with its impressive mixture of Tibetan, Han, Arabic and European architectural styles. The Dongguan Mosque is the largest mosque in Qinghai, so it is fascinating to compare and contrast the architecture and culture with the massive Ta’er Monastery and these two very different religions. Originally built in 1380 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty, the Dongguan Mosque is regarded as one of the “Four Great Mosques” in China. Proper dress is required, so no shorts or tank tops are allowed, but it is an interesting place to visit. After your visit, we will take you to your hotel to relax for the evening.

Accommodation:Overnight in Xining

Day3  Xining - Qinghai Lake Full Day Tour - Xining
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 a full day of exploring around Qinghai Lake, we will drive back to Xining to spend the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Xining

Day4  Free Morning – Board the Overnight Train to Lhasa
This morning will be free for you to lounge around your hotel or do some exploring and shopping around Xining on your own. After lunch, we will take you to the Xining train station to begin your adventure along the Qinghai – Tibet Railway to Lhasa and Tibet. 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

Day5  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

Day6  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.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day7  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.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Norbulingka Palace

Sera Monastery

Day8  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

 Nepal890
Travel Date:May 16, 2019

Anfangs April 2019 flog ich von Zürich-Chengdu nach Xining Dort blieb ich 2 Nächte ( anklimatisieren) und nahm nachher den Abendzug nach Lhasa. Etwas skeptisch betr. Sauberkeit! Alles war tadellos und die Abteils 1. Klasse (unbedingt) sehr sauber. Nach 20 Std. Fahrt sah es dann anders aus! Mein Tipp gilt für die ganze Tibetreise, viel trinken (pro 1000m Höhe.1 Liter) kein Alkohol, kein Stress, Diamox und Nasenspray. Ich hatte die ganze Zeit überhaupt kein Problem ( der Körper signalisiert es frühzeitig)

In Lhasa begann meine Overlandtour, die Gruppe bestand aus 2 Personen! Super! Die ganze Reise war wunderschön, alles gut organisiert. Ein Dankeschön geht an Asia Odyssey travel, besonders an Claire, meine Betreuerin ( die sehr gut deutsch sprich)t und an den Guide Pingzhuo, ein ganz toller, lieber Kerl!

Ich kann die Tour in jeder Beziehung nur empfehlen!

 Chrisz
Travel Date:Sep. 21st 2018

It was the first time we went to Tibet. Too much things we need to arrange, itinerary, travel date, tickets, permit…We were lucky to have had Kay handle our plan. She was professional, efficient and dealt everything in order. Our trip went smoothly as planned. We visited Lhasa, yamdroke lake, Everest, the beauty of Tibet was beyond my expectation except the altitude sickness.

 Fidschibitter
Travel Date:May 26, 2019

Wir reisten im April diesen Jahres (gute Reisezeit) nach Tibet, mit Tibet Odyssey Tours als Reiseveranstalter. Es hat uns sehr bewegt und wir träumen immer noch von unserer Reise nach Tibet, von der frischen Luft, den grünen Seen, den majestätischen Bergen und den vielen weiteren Sehenwürdigkeiten. Wir möchten unbedingt erneut nach Tibet. Die Einheimischen waren besonders freundlich zu den Touristen. Ein paar sprachen zwar kein Chinesisch, aber sie haben uns angelächelt und uns somit hallo gesagt. Wir haben uns einfach sehr Wilkommen gefühlt. Tibet Odyssey Tours ist eine perfekte Reiseagentur und wir hatten einen Tourguide mit viel Humor, Ortskenntnissen und Einfühlungsvermögen : ) Auf unserem Weg zum Everest Base Camp hat er uns stets gute Orte für Fotos empfohlen und er hat sich gut um uns gekümmert, z.B. wenn jemand an der Höhenkrankheit litt. Er war stets besorgt um unsere Gesundheit und hat uns jederzeit immer geholfen. Wir haben eine Nacht im Everest Base Camp geschlafen. Die Erfahrung war einmalig. Leider gab es nur eine öffentliche Toilette und es war sehr kalt, aber unser Guide hat uns mit den bescheidenen Mitteln, die vor Ort vorhanden waren, geholfen. Er hat sogar für Licht mit seinem Handy gesorgt. Diese Hilfsbereitschaft hat uns wirklich sehr bewegt. Die Reiseagentour können wir nur wärmstens empfehlen. Hier gilt unser spezieller Dank Amy, die sich sehr viel Mühe gegeben hat.

Unsere nächste Tour buchen wir wieder dort.

 Ramachandran
Travel Date:Sep. 22nd 2018

We definitely recommend to book a Tibet trip through Tibet Odyssey! We had a great trip in June,exploring beautiful lakes and Mt. Everest base camp. Our guide was super patient.

 Pol
Travel Date:May 06th 2018

Highly recommend the tour. We visited Tibet and had Lomsang as our guide. This was one of the most special trips I had taken in my life. Our guide told us the culture of the Tibetan people, we met with breathtaking sceneries. Our guide was adept with great driving skills. We felt safe sitting in the vehicle. Lomsang was one of the best guide we have ever had. he was extremely organized, patient, and attentive to the group. I was so impressed with his capabilities. Overall, excellent service and excellent experience.

 booyunhan
Travel Date:June 6, 2019

I had a wonderful 9 days trip in tibet. I enjoyed very aspect of this trip. Registration and organisation was very easy, and the driver was very kind and enthusiastic, so we weren't bored even during long distances. The food was great, and I especially enjoyed the purple sweet potato. The staff were polite and did their best to make us feel comfortable and listen to our needs.

I felt comfortable with everyone I met on this trip. I truly felt as if I had experienced and witnessed the lifestyle of Tibet, and I definitely recommend this place to other travelers. If the chance arises, I would like to go on this trip once again.

Thanks Amy, Tashi; he was a fantastic guide and my sweet driver; he made me laugh a lot. Oh, don't forget to bring a lot of headache tablet you might need a lot.