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11-Day Lijiang Chengdu Tibet Tour by Train

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Overview

Tour Type: Private Tour: Flexible Travel Date & Travel Routes
Guide & Driver: Chinese-English-speaking guide & air-conditioned
  • Explore Lijiang Ancient Town in Yunnan, the historic home of the Naxi and other ethnic minority groups;
  • Get up close to the adorable Giant Pandas in their hometown of Chengdu;
  • Embark on the train journey of a lifetime as you travel along the Qinghai – Tibet Railway;
  • Find inner peace in the mystical Tibetan Buddhist temples, palaces and monasteries of Tibet.

Itinerary Day by Day

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Day1  Arrival in Lijiang – Lijiang Ancient Town, Lion Hill
Upon your arrival at the Lijiang airport or train station, your local tour guide will greet you and escort you to your private car to begin your exploration of this fascinating area of Yunnan. First up, we will take you to explore Lijiang Ancient Town, the oldest part of the city that has been preserved much as it has been throughout its 1,000 year history. We will stop at the Ming Dynasty-era Mufu Palace, sometimes called “The Forbidden City of Lijiang”, where you can learn about the ancient rulers of the city and the Naxi people’s lives in the past. We can stroll around the ancient alleyways over old bridges and see many shops and bars on our way to Sifang Street Square, an open square where people relax amidst a lively atmosphere. We may be able to join some of the local Naxi people in a nightly dancing ceremony as they dance to native music around a fire in the evening. You may also want to climb up Lion Hill to the top of the Wanggu Tower to enjoy a panoramic view over the entire Old Town with the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.

After an enjoyable day exploring the ancient village, we will take you to your hotel to check in for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lijiang

Day2  Lijiang – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Black Dragon Pool
This morning after a nice local breakfast, we will take you to visit the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the picturesque backdrop to all of Lijiang. You will want to be sure to dress warmly as it will be cold at the top of the mountain no matter what time of year you are visiting. Depending on the time of your visit, we can reach the fantastic Glacier Peak and stop off at some of the different meadows on the mountain, each with its own specific charms.

After checking out Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, we will move on to the beautiful Black Dragon Pool located in the picturesque Jade Spring Park, which was built in 1737. Here we can stroll along the cobblestone paths for a striking view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain over the pool’s white marble bridge and visit the Moon Embracing Pavilion. If time allows and you have any interest, we can also visit the Dongba Culture Museum inside the park.

After visiting Black Dragon Pool, we will take you back to your accommodations in Lijiang Ancient Town where you will have the evening to rest and relax or explore around the beautiful village on your own. The old village is beautifully lit up at night, so a stroll around the area makes for a perfect ending to your time in Yunnan.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lijiang

Day3  Depart from Lijiang – Flight to Chengdu, Kuanzhai Xiangzi (Wide and Narrow Alleys)
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel by private car to transport you to the Lijiang Airport and help you get checked in for your flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival at the Chengdu airport, your local guide will greet you to escort you to your private car to transfer to your downtown Chengdu hotel. You will have time for a short rest before we begin your exploration of this historic city with a visit to Kuanzhai Xiangzi, also known as Wide and Narrow Alleys. This is a great place to be introduced to the laid back culture of Chengdu, with this ancient area’s architecture restored in the Ming and Qing Dynasty styles. You can sample the local snacks and find all kinds of great souvenirs, or just sit back and relax with a coffee or beer and watch the people going by. After we’ve had enough time absorbing the relaxing vibe of these ancient alleyways, we will take you back to your hotel for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Chengdu

Day4  Chengdu Day Tour – Giant Panda Breeding & Research Center, Jinli Street, Wuhou Temple – Departure from Chengdu – Board Train to Lhasa
This morning your local tour guide will pick you up from your Chengdu hotel to visit the Chengdu Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center – the world’s largest panda scientific research center and the residence of more than 100 giant pandas. You can stroll at your leisure through the bamboo lined pathways that lead to each panda home where you can closely observe giant pandas of all different ages as they eat bamboo, play with each other, climb trees, etc. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to see the mother pandas nursing their cubs in the center’s nursery rooms. You can also visit the very informative Panda Museum to learn about the history and science involved with this amazing species.

After meeting the pandas, we will take you back to downtown Chengdu to visit Old Jinli Street for a stroll on the lively streets full of delicious local snacks, traditional handicrafts, folk shows and much more. We can then visit the nearby Wuhou Temple, which is an ancient shrine dedicated to Zhuge Liang, the Marquis of Wu of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period of China (220 – 280 A.D.) The shrine was originally established in 221 A.D. as a tomb for Shu Emperor Liu Bei, but the current temple was rebuilt in 1672 as it had evolved into a memorial for other rulers as well. One of the highlights of the temple is the 1,210-year old “Three Success Stele” that was erected in 809 A.D.

After visiting the Wuhou Temple, we will transfer you to the Chengdu train station and help you get on board your train to Lhasa, which departs at 21:37 (9:37 p.m.). This train will travel 3,600 kilometers through southwestern China via Lanzhou and Xining, then crossing over the Qinghai – Tibet Plateau and arriving in Lhasa at 09:55 the morning of the third day. Although it is a long journey, you will be able to see and experience much that most normal travelers never have the opportunity to do as you travel along the world’s highest railway while enjoying the endless snow-capped mountain scenery and rare wild life right outside of your train’s windows.

Today’s trip notes:

1) It’s best to arrive at the Chengdu train station at least 45 minutes before your train’s scheduled departure time, so we will have you there around 20:50 (8:50 p.m.) Ticket and Tibet Entry Permit check to board the the train starts about 30 minutes before the train departs.

2) It is a good idea to take some food, snacks and drinks for the long train journey.

Accommodation:Overnight on the train

Day5  Onboard the Chengdu – Lhasa Train
Today you will be traveling along the tracks of the world’s highest altitude train line – the Qinghai – Tibet Railway. Taking the train to Tibet is certainly a slower way to travel than by flight, but you will get to witness thousands of kilometers of some of the most stunning plateau landscapes in the world.

Today’s trip notes:

1) There is access to outlets for battery charging on board the train, but you will want to make sure that you have a proper socket adapter;

2) Only Chinese-style food is available on board the train, including breakfast, boxed lunches and self-selected meals in the dining car.

Accommodation:Overnight on the train

Day6  Arrival in Lhasa
As you awake in the morning you will find that the train is traveling across the vast Nagchu Grasslands on its way into Lhasa. From Nagchu, it will take about 4 hours to arrive at your final destination on this long train journey – Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

After arriving at the Lhasa Railway Station at around 9:55 a.m., your local tour guide will greet you to escort you by private car to your hotel in Lhasa. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to the air, temperature and high altitude of Lhasa.

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

Day7  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

Day8  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

Day9  Lhasa to Namtso Lake
We will get an early start today as it takes about 4 hours to get to the holy Namtso Lake – but the stunning beauty that awaits you will make the drive worthwhile. There is also much to see along the way, so we will have time to stop and take pictures of some of the magnificent landscape enroute. We should arrive at Namtso Lake around noon, just in time for a nice local lunch with a view of the peaceful lake. You will have the opportunity to explore the lake, which is the highest altitude saltwater lake in the world, as well as one of the holiest lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. Snow-capped mountains and rolling grasslands dotted with nomadic herdsmen and their sheep and yaks make this one of the most beautiful places in all of Tibet. We will be able to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the lake as we stay overnight in one of the local guesthouses, which will have very basic but sufficient accommodations.

Accommodation:Overnight at Local Hotel in Dangxiong

Day10  Namtso Lake to Lhasa Via Yampachen
Upon your arrival at the Lijiang airport or train station, your local tour guide will greet you and escort you to your private car to begin your exploration of this fascinating area of Yunnan. First up, we will take you to explore Lijiang Ancient Town, the oldest part of the city that has been preserved much as it has been throughout its 1,000 year history. We will stop at the Ming Dynasty-era Mufu Palace, sometimes called “The Forbidden City of Lijiang”, where you can learn about the ancient rulers of the city and the Naxi people’s lives in the past. We can stroll around the ancient alleyways over old bridges and see many shops and bars on our way to Sifang Street Square, an open square where people relax amidst a lively atmosphere. We may be able to join some of the local Naxi people in a nightly dancing ceremony as they dance to native music around a fire in the evening. You may also want to climb up Lion Hill to the top of the Wanggu Tower to enjoy a panoramic view over the entire Old Town with the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.

After an enjoyable day exploring the ancient village, we will take you to your hotel to check in for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day11  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

 changshu1999
Travel Date:August 11, 2019

The tour guide and diver are pretty kind and zealous! And all the stories the guide told are very attractive as well. Hope next time visiting there, they can entertain us again.

 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!

 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!

 Chetan
Travel Date:Nov. 17th 2018

Overall, I am very satisfied with the service. Our travel consultant Monica is very responsive and helpful. She responded to our questions promptly and willing to accommodate my request. Tibet tour is very nice and memorable. We got well along with other travel members and became very good friends. The only thing I do mind is the condition of the public toilets, hard to describe, you should see them by yourself.

 Karin88888
Travel Date:May 30, 2019

We had a wonderful 8 days trip in Tibet with agency Odyssey travel’s organization and thanks too to our operator Amy’s help from begining to the end. Also, our guide she is an excellent guide, she is passionate and knowledgeable about Tibetan culture and religion, she taught us more than we thought. Thank you again Amy for your patience and all the follow-ups when I had questions even at night local time in China, it was great to have you as my tour operator. I feel very lucky to have accomplished my goal to the Mr. Everest, thanks for making this possible for us : )