Chengdu and Lhasa Classic
8-Day Chengdu Pandas, Sichuan Cuisine and Lhasa Tibetan culture Tour
This tour is recommended for a first-time visitor who seeks a tour containing the most important features of Chengdu and Lhasa: Pandas, Sichuan cuisine, holy temples and picturesque landscape.
- Say hello to the giant pandas in the Panda Breeding and Research Center
- Take up a food challenge at the city's last farmers' market
- Step into an experienced chef's kitchen and cook real Sichuan cuisine together.
- Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street
- Enjoy a picnic at picturesque Lake Yamdrok
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Fantastic Chengdu family visit
We explored wonderful Chengdu and surroundings in 4 days. City tour in a relaxed way with delicious local snacks, really nice! Spectacular new dinosaur museum, Dujiangyan (combined Panda and dam in one outing, very recommendable), Leshan Buddha. All above super cool with the kids (ours are 7 and 4). Emei Shan impressive, maybe a little long driving to explore it and watch out for the hotels there, not all are nice and in the town itself there is nothing. But we were blessed with perfect weather on the top and perfect views. Eating hot pot is spectacular in Chengdu, but watch out how spicy it can be. Michael is just a perfect tour guide! He speaks super fluent German and has a very relaxed and competent style of explaining, which made the whole tour so nice. We love Chengdu and will definitely come back!more
Apr 2023, Stefan P
Giant Pandas - Giant Buddha - Mount Emei
We had a wonderful 3 days in Chengdu area,visiting the Panda breeding Center, Leshan Giant Buddha and hiking at Mount Emei.We have been travelling several times with Chinahighlights and everything was well organised as usual. Our guide Michael (fluent in English and German) was great showing us the beauty of Sichuan. We can highly recommend travelling with him and Chinahighlights.more
Mar 2023, steffenwet
Two amazing tours
Both tours were led by excellent guides who knew a lot about everywhere we went, and were very helpful and friendly. The agent was equally helpful and quick in responding to questions which was ,especially in covid restrictions time, extremely convenient.more
Jul 2022, Elizabeth
Panda Keeper for a Day at Dujianyan Sichuan
This is was the second time that we had signed up for the program Panda Keeper for a Day, this time at the Dujianyan Panda Base, about 1 hour drive away from Chengdu. Great experience again. We will surely do it once again.more
Mar 2022, Thomas
Amazing Tibet experience in Sichuan
Henry was an informative guide who went out of his way to ensure positive experiences. Mr Wu was not only a safe and attentive driver on sometimes rough roads but also a great photographer, capturing shots of us as we toured. Henry went out of his way to talk to anyone around to help bring the place alive through stories so we had the opportunity to meet so many locals, real people, and hear about their lives. Another highlight was the opportunity to climb a 1000 year old watchtower in Danba and meet the local family who managed it. Truly magical. Henry was also a consummate foodie who provided us with great local food recommendations along the way.more
Jul 2021, Deborah J
Amazing visit to panda bases in Chengdu and Woolong
Jason was terrific; he understood our interests in pandas and he made our outings very enjoyable. We plan to return to Chengdu to visit pandas and will be asking for Jason again.more
Dec 2019, victoriadH3461ED
We have just completed the Chengdu leg of our trip to China organised by Robert Hui at China Highlights. Our Guide for the 2 Day trip was Daisy Du who made us feel very welcome and helped us check in and ensured our rooms were satisfactory then gave us directions of where to go for the best food. The next day Daisy took us straight to the Giant Panda Breeding and Research centre. It was fantastic to see the Pandas so close. It’s a little sad that they are in captivity but it is essential to increase the breeding rate and so save these wonderful animals from extinction. We saw Pandas of all ages and sizes including a tiny little baby that was only 36 day old. After an extremely tasty lunch picked for us by Daisy she then took us into the people’s park and showed us the tea houses and dating area where parents can advertise their single ‘30 something’ children to potential partners. The day ended with a wander around Jinli Old Street where you can buy anything from food to souvenirs to furniture. We have had the best time in Chengdu helped no end by the friendly, helpfulness of our guide Daisy who knew all the best places to go and sights to see. Thank you Daisy, a great time was had by all. ---jayne_Stu Halifax, United Kingdommore
Nov 2019, jayne_Stu
Wonderful Chengdu tour with Jason
With other two friends I have visited Chengdu in September 2018 and our tour guide was Jason, who has been really amazing with us.He had the smart idea to bring us to the Pandas reserve very early in order to avoid the crowds, even if we were visiting Chengdu right during the Chinese national holidays.After the Pandas reserve, we visited the tea park and the city centre, where Jason could give us a lot of information about Chengdu. Jason gave us also very nice suggestions about places to visit in the evenings during our free time. Totally recommended!!! ---Vittorio C Berlin, Germanymore
Nov 2019, Vittorio C
Cecelia is your guide in Chengdu
We had a great time in Chengdu seeing the pandas and other excursions. Cecelia, our guide, picked us up with a bag of fruit and a wealth of knowledge. She took great care of us, got us through lines quickly and brought us to great restaurants. We even took a cooking class. Highly recommend her. --Robert D,Seattle, Washington, USmore
Oct 2019, Robert D
Chengdu and Wolong Panda base with Aaron
Aaron picked us up from the airport and drove us straight to the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. We had a very enjoyable time touring the Research Center with Aaron. Even though he has probably been to the research center many times he seemed just as excited to see them as we were. Especially the babies! The next morning we headed to the Wolong Panda Base with a stop at the 2008 Earthquake memorial site. We had a great lunch in the small town of Gengda and then went on a hike in the Dengsheng Gorge with a local guide. The next day we did the panda keeper program which entailed cleaning cages (inside and out), feeding pandas, making panda cakes, watching a film about the program and walking around the base looking at the many pandas. After the program we drove back to Chengdu. While we were working Aaron took some great pictures of us cleaning and feeding the pandas. The next morning tour guide Snow took us to the train station. Aaron was such fun to be around, he spoke English wonderfully and gave us great info about the pandas. ---Cougfan Auburn, Washington, USmore
Oct 2019, Cougfan
Panda keeper program
Had a wonderful time on the panda keeper program which we booked through China Highlights. We generally avoid doing organised tours whenever possible as we prefer to do our own thing. Cecilia was our guide for the day and quickly made us feel at ease in her company she was interesting, knowledgeable and enthusiastic everything you want in a guide. The whole day was great and Cecilia certainly enhanced the experience, she took lots of photos for us throughout the day which was brilliant as it’s difficult getting photos together, she also provided us with buckwheat tea and biscuits which was a lovely touch. A big thank you to Cecilia. --Maria & Peter Foulgermore
Sep 2019, Mariafoulger
During this whole trip, at anytime , if we need to modify our schedule or activities, Aaron and the driver can accommodate. They are friendly, knowledgeable, good communicator, flexible, and dedicated to making sure our needs are met. Aaron, thanks for making this an unforgettable trip for us! --Venture114992more
Your private guide will meet and greet you at the arrival hall of the airport or at the train station's exit. A comfortable private car (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel, where your guide will help you check-in.
Tibet Hotel Chengdu
Minshan Lhasa Grand Hotel
A Morning Date with the Pandas (2 Hours)
Visiting the city's panda base can be a challenge as it is easily accessible and has various animals. We've designed a smart route to beat the crowds while matching the pandas' active period as much as possible for you.
If you travel in late summer, you will have a chance to see baby pandas .
A Food Challenge in an Original Farmers' Market (1½ Hours)
Chengdu was named as the first city of gastronomy in Asia by UNESCO, and the local delicacies are rooted in close-to-life market.
Try some snacks, such as pickled dishes, century eggs, Chinese rice wine, and so on.
Learn some local skills: how to bargain like a local and how to wrap Chengdu dumplings - learn this from the shopkeepers who can easily make 100 perfect dumplings in minutes.
Learn Sichuan Cuisine Recipes from a Local Chef (2½ Hours)
It is very hard to travel like an insider when you are surrounded by thousands of tourists in incredibly crowded tourist areas. Instead, a visit to a local chef's home will be one of the best ways to get a taste of local life.
Unearth the secrets of Sichuan cuisine as you cook three typical Sichuan dishes with the chef and invent your own recipe. Try to play mahjong in the living room as well if you want to.
Be Like a Chengduer in a Local Park (2½ Hours)
Chengdu is probably the laziest city among China's new first-tier cities.
There has always been a teahouse on every corner in the city. The daily ritual of stopping at a teahouse to meet friends and chat began in Chengdu at least 1,000 years ago. Take a seat and sip a cup of tea. Your guide will explain the etiquette to you of how to drink tea and the intentions you express when you put the lid, bowl, and tray in different places.
Square dancing is already a part of the locals' lifestyle and the dance form nowadays is much more interesting and uniquely Chinese. Feel the good vibes and join in with line dancing, a waltz, or a little Chinese salsa if you want to.
You will also see some vibrant scenes that may only happen in Chengdu: desperate parents are posting messages in a marriage market looking for a partner for their unmarried offspring; a local man is enjoying a traditional teahouse strong>ear massage with a metal rod in his ear; Chengdunese are playing mahjong everywhere in summer - even in the river.
Go Behind the Scenes When You Venture Backstage at the Theater (1 Hour)
Chengdu is the main home of Sichuan opera. A lot of old fans visit the grassroots opera house that we recommend every day. After lunch, follow your guide for the chance to go backstage to see how the actors and actresses do their makeup and have a chat with them.
Enjoy a Panda Afternoon Tea and a Bird's-Eye View of Tianfu Square (1½ Hours)
Chengdu was inhabited over 4,000 years ago and was once the center of the ancient Shu culture. It is a miracle that you can still trace its cultural features today in the city.
Tianfu Square is the geographical center and important landmark of Chengdu. From above, it looks like a huge tai chi pattern depicting yin and yang, and you can see the image of a flying sunbird in the center, which is the emblem of the city.
There is a strong link between the city's historical functions and street names. Your guide will tell you the most featured and interesting city street names and the stories behind them.
Your private driver and guide will be ready for you when you arrive in Lhasa. Sit back in a comfortable vehicle, leave the hassles to your guide, and enjoy a trouble-free transfer to your hotel.
Visit the Summer Palace for the Dalai Lamas in Tibet(1½ Hours)
Enjoy an unhurried Western breakfast, such as bread, hot coffee, and salad. In the morning, you will visit Norbulingka, stroll in the park, and get used to the altitude.
Later, you will be driven for about 15 minutes to Drepung Monastery where you will climb the stairs up to the hill and visit the delicate temples. If you are lucky, you will hear the monks chanting together, which sounds just like singing.
Have lunch in a local restaurant and choose Tibetan food, Western food, or even spicy Sichuan food. Your tour guide will help you to order.
Monks debate at Sera Monastery (1 Hour)
In the afternoon, you'll watch monks debating over age-old scripts in a courtyard of Sera Monastery. When debating, the monks will do a lot of gesturing. Enjoy their 'dance” and guess what it means.
Visit the Most Holy Temple to Buddhists (2 Hours)
Visit the Jokhang Temple in the morning. You will find a lot of devoted pilgrims prostrating themselves near the front gate. The Jokhang Temple Square is also an interesting place. You can write down your wish and hang your prayer flags on the tall praying pillar.
Barkhor Streetstrong> is like a backstreet around the Jokhang Temple. Walk clockwise and join the local people's kora (circle for religion). There are many interesting shops in the street.
Visit the the Winter Palace for the Dalai Lamas (2 Hours)
The Potala Palace is built on a mountain and before entering the palace you will need to climb about 360 steps. This is your third day in Tibet so you should be ready to do it.
Once you get into the palace, you will be surprised by the exquisite wall paintings and glorious chambers. Listen carefully as your guide is going to explain a lot of Buddhist culture.
After breakfast, drive for about 2 hours to reach the holy lake, Lake Yamdrok, it's one of the top four Buddhist holy lakes in Tibet.
If the weather permits, we will prepare a picnic by the lakeside and you will have sandwiches, vegetables, and fruit.
The lake is decorated by many islands and natural resources. As a major waterbird habitat in Tibet, it's also a great place to see hundreds of swans and gulls in summer.
1. Customizing the Tour - According to Your Needs
This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extending or shortening it to suit your price, interests, and schedule.
2. Tibet Travel Permit
You will need a Tibet Entry Permit. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us.
In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
3. Altitude Sickness
Before your trip, ask your doctor for any suggestions in relation to altitude sickness and take some medicine with you, just in case. The most popular altitude medicine among foreigners is Acetazolamide/Diamox. We recommend that during the first 2 days after arriving in Tibet, you should keep warm, avoid taking a bath, and refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol.
Drink plenty of water (more than 4 liters per day) before you go out and when you have reached a higher altitude, and eat lots of vegetables and carbohydrates. Slow down, even if you feel energetic. Moving slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
If you don't feel well after entering Tibet, go and see a doctor as soon as possible. There are doctors in major hotels in Lhasa, and you can call your tour guide for help at any time. We offer a free oxygen bag in the car.
4. General rules for visiting temples in Tibet:
Cameras are not allowed in the temples or in the debate field, but taking photos with a cell phone is acceptable.
When entering a temple, please take off your hat and sunglasses to show respect. Your shoulders should be covered and you should not wear shorts.
Walk clockwise when visiting Barkhor Street.
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