Tour Itinerary of Tibet and Grassland Adventure by Shangri-La Express from Lhasa to Beijing

13-Day of Lhasa, Gyantze, Shigatse, Xining, Shapotou, Yinchuan, Hohhot, Gegengtala Prairie and Beijing Tour (CHTGP-TB-02)

Visit the roof of the world - Tibet and Mongolian grassland. See the best of China from the comfort of the Shangri-La Express – one of finest trains in China.
A service fee of $130/CNY810 p/p must be paid for personal service on board the train.

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Day 1

Place & Transport: Arrive in Lhasa, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Airport Transfer (Lhasa)

Accommodations: Xinding Hotel (Superior) 

Day 2

Place & Transport: Lhasa
Today's Activities: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Tibetan Dance Show
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Junwangfu Restaurant, Chinese Dinner

- Potala Palace (1 hour): Former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for climbing up the long stairways.
- Jokhang Temple (2 hours): Smaller and more manageable than the Potala, this 4-storey, golden-roofed temple is at the heart of a rich and living Tibetan Buddhism. Many locals pray here regularly; the Temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street and thronged with pilgrims and visitors. Yak butter lamps burn in front of rich statuary that includes the Sakyamuni Buddha brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng in the 7th Century.
- Barkhor Street (2 hours): Built about 1,300 years ago, The Barkhor (pilgrims' circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. In the past, it was a designated circumambulation circuit, "a saint's road" in the eyes of Tibetans. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits typical Tibetan life. Watch the pilgrims, wearing their local dress from many different parts of Tibet, as they circle clockwise around Jokhang Temple with prayer wheels, or prostrate them near the front gate. Join the locals and visitors to shop for local goods at the colourful stalls, or relax in a coffee shop or tea house to enjoy the passing parade.
- Tibetan Dance Show: This show includes Zang minority culture dance show and traditional activities and clothes show. The music, lights and dancing ensure you an amazing performance.
- Junwangfu Restaurant: Junwangfu Restaurant serves Tibetan food. It is very famous for its various mushroom hot pots. The restaurant is a cultural theme of the Revolutionary Classical Restaurant. Servers are all dress in a uniform of the Chinese Red Army.

Accommodations: Xinding Hotel (Superior) 

Day 3

Place & Transport: Lhasa to Gyantze to Shigatse
Today's Activities: The Palgor Chorten, , Yomdrok Lake, Our guide and driver will escort you from Gyantze to Shigatse
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- The Palgor Chorten (1.5 hours): Pelkhor Choede (Kumbum), also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. It lies about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.
- Yomdrok Lake (2 hours): Dotted with a dozen islands and abundant in natural resources, Lake Yamdrok has the highest power station in the world, and is also the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting countless swans and gulls every summer.

Accommodations: Shigatse Hotel (Superior) 

Day 4

Place & Transport: Shigatse to Lhasa
Today's Activities: Tashilunpo Monastery, Our guide and driver will escort you from Shigatse to Lhasa
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner at Chongqing Hot pot

- Tashilunpo Monastery (2 hours): Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gyalwa Gendun Drup (1st Dalai Lama) and is a historically and culturally important monastery. Its name means "heap of glory" or "all fortune and happiness gathered here". Painted in red and white, the buildings in the kloster stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. Tashilunpo Kloster represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit.5 story temple which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha (Jamba Chyenmu) inside the grounds of the monastery. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.
- Chongqing Hot pot: Enjoy the famous Chongqing Hot Pot in a poplar local restaurant with a traditional decoration.

Accommodations: Xinding Hotel (Superior) 

Day 5

Place & Transport: Lhasa to Overnight train, Train No. TBA
Today's Activities: Plateau Train, Scenery on Plateau Train, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Lhasa)
Meals: Breakfast

- Plateau Train: Take a special plateau train heading to Tibet. The facility on this train will provide enough oxygen for people.
- Scenery on Plateau Train: The beautiful scenery of Tibetan Plateau offers a great window tour on train. The grassland, snow mountain and river will ensue you a unique experience on a highland.

Day 6

Place & Transport: Overnight train to Xining
Today's Activities: Train station Transfer (Xining), Taer Monastery
Meals: Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Taer Monastery (2 hours): The Ta'er Monastery is located in Huangzhong County, 26 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province. It's the Buddhist garden buildings, combining the architectural arts of the Zang and Han nationalities. A lot of cultural relics are stored in the temple, including all kinds of instruments used in Buddhism, statues of Buddha in different poses, profound sutras and stone inscriptions in language of the Zang and Man nationalities, as well as Mongolian.

Accommodations: San Wang Hotel 

Day 7

Place & Transport: Xining to Shapotou, Train No. Shangri-La Express 04 (Xining Railway Station - Shapotou Railway Station) Dep 22:30 - Arr 09:30
Today's Activities: Qinghai Lake, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Xining)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Qinghai Lake (2 hours): Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland salt water lake is at 3200 meters above sea level and is situated at the east of Qinghai province, around 2.30 hours drive from Xining. The ellipse-shaped lake looks like a huge poplar leaf sitting on the alpine prairie. Scenery in Qinghai lake varies according to seasons. Summer and autumn are the most comfortable weather conditions and the lake's scenery is most beautiful during these seasons.

Day 8

Place & Transport: Shapotou to Yinchuan, Train No. Shangri-La Express 04 (Shapotou Railway Station - Yinchuan Railway Station) Dep 16:00 - Arr 19:00
Today's Activities: Train station Transfer (Yinchuan), Shapotou
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Shapotou: Shapotou, around 150m km away from Yinchuan, is an oasis of farm stay sandwiched between the stark desert and the loess-filled Yellow River. Shapotou offers many adventure-filled experiences in a spectacular setting. Various activities are arranged for travelers including sand rafting, camel riding, and drifting along the Yellow River. Those with a delicate temperament may choose to sip a cup of coffee in a coffee bar, or join the locals for a lively chat, especially if you have a friend along who knows Chinese.

Accommodations: Guomao Holiday Hotel 

Day 9

Place & Transport: Yinchuan to Hohhot, Train No. Shangri-La Express 04 (Yinchuan Railway Station - Hohhot Railway Station) Dep 20:30 - Arr 08:30
Today's Activities: Helanshan Rock Carvings, Xixia Mausoleum, Hotel to Train station Transfer (Yinchuan)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Helanshan Rock Carvings (1.5 hours): Tens of thousands of carvings have been found in the rocks of Helanshan Mountain and in the wild rocky plains surrounding it. In the Helanshan Mountain pass alone, over 4,000 depictions have been discovered including 726 facet carvings, about 1300 animal scripts and approximately 1600 pictographic scripts. Those scripts are of great historical and tourist value, and are treasured by both the Chinese government and the World Heritage Organization.
- Xixia Mausoleum (30 minutes): Xixia Mausoleum (40 minutes): The Royal Mausoleum of the Western Xia State is located at the foot of Mt. Helan, 35 kilometers form Yinchuan. Covering an area of 50 square kilometers, these tombs were used to bury 9 emperors and more than 140 royal family members and their servants who were buried alive with their masters. The neat layout of the mausoleum complex was considered a reflection of the prosperity of the capital of their kingdom. The tombs are in the shape of pyramid, hence its name the “Pyramid in China”.

Day 10

Place & Transport: Hohhot to Gegengtala Prairie
Today's Activities: Gegentala Grassland, Our guide and driver will escort you from Hohhot to Gegengtala Prairie
Meals: Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner, Breakfast

- Gegentala Grassland (4 hours): Gegenda Prairie is 145 km from Hohhot. With luxuriant grasses, undulating hills, abundant lakes, grazing horses and sheep, the seemingly endless grassland resembles a beautiful painting and has the feel of an otherworldly place. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the grassland on horseback, experience camel riding, listen to shepherds sing, learn about customs and manners of the Mongolian people, enjoy performances and sample ethnic foods.

Accommodations: Mongolia Yurt 

Day 11

Place & Transport: Gegengtala Prairie to Hohhot to Beijing, Train No. Shangri-La Express 04 (Hohhot Railway Station - Beijing Railway Station) Dep 21:30 - Arr 08:30
Today's Activities: Our guide and driver will escort you from Gegengtala Prairie to Hohhot, Zhaojun Tomb, Dazhao Lamasery, Train station Transfer (Hohhot)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner

- Zhaojun Tomb (1.5 hours): Zhaojun Tomb is located near Hei He River, 95km from Hohhot. It is also called Green Tomb because the grasses on the top of the tomb are always green. This Tomb was built for a beautiful Han imperial concubine, Wang Zhaojun. The Han emperor married her to a Hun chieftain to assure a peaceful relationship between the two tribes. Good views of the countryside can be seen from the top of the tomb.
- Dazhao Lamasery (1.5 hours): Situated in Dazhao-qian Street, Yuquan District, Hohhot, the Dazhao Lamasery was built by Alatan Khan--chief of Tumd Mongolian Tribe in the 7th year of Wanli Age of the Ming Dynasty. It is the oldest and best known of all lamaseries of Geluk Tibetan Buddhism as well as the biggest and most complete wooden structure ever built in Hohhot which is still retaining its former grandeur today. The Lamasery boasts a large collection of religious and cultural relics, among which the silver statue of Buddha, dragon sculpture and frescos are the most cherished treasures.

Day 12

Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: Hutong Tour in Xicheng District, Summer Palace
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, Chinese Dinner

- Hutong Tour in Xicheng District (1 hour): Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards.
- Summer Palace (1.5 hours): Much-loved summer retreat of the Imperial families, the lovely landscaped gardens, halls, pavilions and corridors are set around the lake and rivers in natural harmony. It is the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China, and also a World Heritage Site.
- Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant: Beijing Roast Duck is renowned as the most delicious food of Beijing while Quanjude Restaurants enjoy a high reputation for its Beijing roast duck. Quanjude restaurants have developed their own technique and are famous for outstanding quality. Hepingmen Quanjude restaurant was established in 1979 and located beside Hepingmen Gate (Peace Gate).

Accommodations: Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing (Superior) 

Day 13

Place & Transport: Depart Beijing, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing)
Meals: Breakfast

Departure Dates and Prices-Top-
  1. Normally hotels allow a maximum of 3 people per room with an extra bed. Some hotels will allow three adults and a small child.
  2. Tour price is for reference, please enquire for a detailed quotation.
  3. Prices are shown in US dollars per person are indicative prices only. The tour price will vary as the exchange rates changes. Click here to change prices to your Currency


The quotation price is based on 4 people in one room. Single Occupancy is only for hotels. Single Occupancy on train is on request.
Tipping: A service fee of $130/CNY810 p/p must be paid for personal service on board the train. The service fee should be paid to the guide at the commencement of the trip. The guide will ensure that the staff on board the train receive are paid.


Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Price Inclusions:

  • Entrance Fees:
    To scenic spots as listed in the itinerary.
  • Meals:
    All meals as specified in the itinerary.
    If the restaurant indicated is not available on the day, your guide will arrange another restaurant from our list of approved restaurants. Breakfast is usually a western style buffet. We endeavor to ensure that a choice of western and Chinese breakfasts is supplied, however there may be occasions when only a Chinese breakfast is available in some remote locations.
  • Private Transfers:
    Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in Lhasa, Gyantze, Shigatse, Xining, Shapotou, Yinchuan, Hohhot, Gegengtala Prairie, Beijing by private air conditioned vehicle with a driver and English-speaking guide (as listed above).
    Your comfort is our priority! Click here to get a description of the vehicles that we use for our tours.
  • Guide:
    As outlined in the itinerary an English-speaking guide and driver will be provided in each city, who will remain with you throughout your time in that city. A new guide and a new driver will meet you at each city on your tour, to provide you with the best local knowledge available.
  • Hotels:
    Hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds.
    All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
  • Transportation:
    Lhasa To Xining Transfer via: Train, TBA (Our arrangements)
    Xining To Shapotou Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 04 (Our arrangements)
    Shapotou To Yinchuan Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 04 (Our arrangements)
    Yinchuan To Hohhot Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 04 (Our arrangements)
    Hohhot To Beijing Transfer via: Train, Shangri-La Express 04 (Our arrangements)

  • Service Charge & Government Taxes:
  • Insurance
    The insurance is China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance.
    Click here to learn more about the insurance coverage and the sum insured.
  • Luggage Transfers:
    Between airports/railway stations and hotels.
  • Arrangements:
    The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Exclusions:

  • International Airfare or Train Tickets to enter or leave China.
    USA-CHINA/CHINA-USA: China Highlights has negotiated special discount fares (restrictions apply) for selected flights operated by Air China from major US and China gateways. We are able to offer these special deals to confirmed customers. Discount US to China Flights
  • China Entry Visa Fees.
  • Excess Baggage Charges.
    Passengers holding an adult fare or half fare ticket are entitled to a free baggage allowance of 20kg, for economy class. Total weight of carry on baggage for each passenger may not exceed 5kg. The size may not exceed 20x40x 55cm. More
  • Personal Expenses:
    Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary.
  • Meals:
    Any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary.
  • Single Room Supplement.
Customers' Reviews

It is a great idea to get the services from China Highlights since China is a large country and is kind of difficult to do all traveling by yourself. Read more

Ivan Mar. 24, 2010

Our guides were very professional, flexible and we felt comfortable with all of them. Read more

James Mar. 23, 2010

The tour organisation was well done. Thanks for a great tour.  Read more

Robert Mar. 19, 2010

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