Tibet and Silk Road Adventures
13-Day China Orient Express Group Tour
*The Qinghai-Tibet railway:
The Qinghai-Tibet railway (at a total length of 1,956 kilometers) stretches from Xining in the east to Lhasa in the south, just like a huge dragon spanning the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Known as the "Sky Road", the Qinghai-Tibet railway is also a marvel in the history of human engineering and construction. A 960-kilometer section of the railway is more than 4,000 meters above sea level, and 550 kilometers has permafrost.
The highest elevation of the railway across the Tanggula Mountains is at 5,072 meters. It is a plateau railway with the world's highest elevation, longest distance with permafrost, and world-class difficulty.
*China Orient Express:
Let the world's unique train – China Orient Express (also known as the Shangri-La Express) – take you to the Silk Road, which dates back to over 1,000 years, so that you can explore the best attractions of the ancient Silk Road in 2019!
With its fabulous design and the intimate services offered on China Orient Express, as well as the various haunting sights along the Silk Road, we promise that you'll be dazzled.
Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide who will present you with a Hada, a white scarf, which is the traditional Tibetan way to wish you good luck.
Then you will be transferred to your hotel to rest so you can acclimatize to the high altitude.
Inter Continental Lhasa Paradise or same class
Following breakfast, you will begin your exploration of the famous Potala Palace, perched on the northern side of Red Mountain. Throughout the ages, it had been the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas. Its name means 'sacred Buddhist site' in the Tibetan language.
This palace-like complex of buildings was first built in the 7th century AD by King Songtsen Gampo to mark his marriage to the Tang princess, Wencheng, as well as to house the Buddha images brought by Princess Wencheng and the Nepalese princess, Bhrikuti Devi.
The palace also houses priceless artifacts and artworks. Continue on to Jokhang Monastery, situated in the center of Lhasa. It was first built in 674 AD to celebrate the marriage of King Songtsen Gampo with Princess Wencheng and Princess Bhrikuti Devi, both devout Buddhists.
This monastery underwent expansion over the years and its four-level main hall now sports a gilded roof and has a blend of Han Chinese, Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian architectural styles.
Proceed to Barkhor Street in the old city, which offers you glimpses of the traditional Tibetan lifestyle.
Watch the people chant and circumambulate around Jokhang Monastery. In this circular street, there are also shops selling a wide variety of crafts, such as Tibetan knives, bangles, shoes, and more.
Inter Continental Lhasa Paradise or same class
Following breakfast, you will depart for Shigatse. Along the way, you will pass Yamdrok Lake, whose name means 'swan lake'. It is wedged between two mountains, resembling a swan spanning its wings.
The crystal-clear lake, located over 4,000 meters above sea level, has an area of 638 square meters. It is the largest freshwater lake in Tibet, with a depth of up to 59 meters. Afterward, continue on to Shigatse.
Shigatse Hotel or same class
In the morning, visit the famous Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, where you can see the largest, well-preserved statue of Jampa (the future Buddha) in the world. This monastery, whose beauty is on a par with that of the Potala Palace, is located 2 kilometers west of Shigatse.
It was founded by the first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drupa, in 1447 AD. Its name means 'all fortune and happiness gather here'. The Main Chanting Hall houses the Panchen Lama's throne and several chapels, including a Sakyamuni chapel, Bodhisattva chapel, and Tara chapel.
Don't miss the tenth Panchen Lama's stupa. The tenth Panchen Lama was a highly respected Tibetan Buddhist leader. You will then head back to Lhasa.
On the way, you can enjoy scenic views of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and the Brahmaputra River, which is the longest and largest river in Tibet. You will stay overnight in Lhasa.
Inter Continental Lhasa Paradise or same class
After breakfast, enjoy some free time until it is time to board the train on the world's highest railway. Begin the scenic train journey through the highest point in the world.
Along the way, you will pass magnificent sights. These include snowcapped mountains, such as Yuzhu Peak and the Kunlun Mountains, the Kekexili nature reserve, and the Tuotuo River, which is the source of the Yangtze River.
Other magnificent sights are the Fenghuo Mountain Tunnel, which is the world's highest mountain tunnel, Tanggula Railway Station, which is the world's highest railway station located at 5,072 meters above sea level, and the Qiangtang Grassland.
Over Night Train of Qingzhang (soft sleeper for 4 guests)
Enjoy the fabulous scenery during your train trip. You will arrive at Xining Railway Station and visit Ta'er Monastery, the name of which means '10,000 Buddhas'. Its construction began in the Ming Dynasty during the Jiaqing period.
In 1560 AD, it was one of the six principal temples of the Tibetan Buddhist Yellow Hat sect. Don't miss its three treasures, which are of high artistic value.
Buttered figurines, sculpted from colored butter, are lively and realistic depictions of stories, nature, and humans, while colorful murals adorn the monastery's walls.
The third treasure is a collection of satin appliques in the shape of Buddha and subjects from nature, which are filled with cotton or wool and sewn onto large pieces of fabric.
Afterward, you will depart on the night train to Xining. Then you will be escorted to the hotel so that you can check in.
Sanwant Hotel Xining or same class (5 starts)
After breakfast, visit Zhongshan Bridge, also called the first bridge over the Yellow River.
In 1907, under the proposal of local officers in Lanzhou and Gansu and with the help of a German businessman, the Qing government began to build this first iron bridge over the upper reaches of the Yellow River.
All materials, even the rivets, were transported from Germany to China using ships, trains, carts, and any other means possible. The bridge was completed in 2 years and named ‘Lanzhou Yellow River Iron Bridge'.
Next, you will be driven to Lanzhou to visit the Waterwheel Garden. Originating in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), the waterwheel is the oldest irrigation tool in the Yellow River area of Lanzhou. The Waterwheel Garden is a theme garden exhibiting the waterwheel culture.
There, you can appreciate how the waterwheel is driven by the flowing water all year round to collect water from the river or cofferdam.
At 4:30pm, you will take the China Orient Express train to Jiayuguan. Have a nice night on the train with wonderful evening and morning views of the local countryside.
China Orient Express
After breakfast, visit Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass), which is the western end of the Great Wall that was built in the Ming Dynasty. It is known as 'the First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven', and is the best-preserved and most magnificent military fort in China.
Then you will be driven for 7 miles to visit the Overhanging Great Wall. It got its named due to hanging on a mountain ridge at an angle of 45 degrees and it resembles a huge dragon.
Holiday Plaza Hotel Jiayuguan or same class (5 stars)
After a pleasant breakfast, take this deluxe train to Dunhuang at 10am. We have arranged for Dunhuang experts and professors to introduce this exotic city in detail to you.
After arriving in Dunhuang, you will visit the beautiful Crescent Lake and the Singing Sand Mountains. Crescent Lake is an oasis in the Gobi Desert, surrounded by numerous sand dunes that reach a relative height of 250 meters (820 feet).
The Singing Sand (Mingsha) Mountains were named because of the sound created by the wind whipping off the dunes.
Dunhuang Hotel or same class (4 stars, the best local hotel)
After breakfast, visit the world-famous Mogao Caves, an area that was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for having 1,600 years of accumulated cultural, architectural, and art treasures. There are 492 cave temples and 45,000 square meters of frescoes remaining there.
According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk had witnessed onsite a vision of 1,000 Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started construction of the caves and this work spanned across 10 dynasties. The Mogao Caves are commonly known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.
At 5pm, you will begin your journey on the China Orient Express charter luxury train to Turpan.
China Orient Express
It's a day for sightseeing in Turpan! Visit the Karez Well System at 7am to witness the wisdom of the Uyghur people. The irrigation system is especially designed for its desert location.
If all of these underground channels are connected, the total length would reach more than 5,000 kilometers, so it is regarded as one of the three engineering miracles of ancient China, along with the Great Wall and the Jing-Hang Grand Canal.
Afterward, you will move on to the Flaming Mountains, well-known by Chinese people because of the legendary story Journey to the West. It is regarded as the hottest place in China.
Next, you will be driven to the ancient city of Jiaohe, an island-shaped plateau situated in Yarnaz Valley. It is the largest, oldest, and most well-preserved earth-structured city in the world, with a history of 2,000–2,300 years.
Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)
After breakfast, visit Heavenly Lake of Tianshan by way of a boat tour. The mountain lake is 1,980 meters above sea level and features picturesque scenery of snowcapped peaks.
It is very pleasurable to take a boat trip across Heavenly Lake, which is covered with a layer of magical color, and to hear many beautiful myths and legends. Then head for Urumqi and visit the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar.
Grand Melia Xian or same class (5 stars)
It is time to say farewell to your memorable Silk Road trip and the unique China Orient Express. After a pleasant breakfast, enjoy some free time until it's time for your transfer to the airport for the flight back to your hometown or next destination. Bon voyage!
1. This is a group tour, with about 25 travelers per group.
2. Prices are subject to change without any further notice.
3. Gratuities are not included. The current rate for all services is 150 USD per person.
4. Accommodation and tour itineraries are subject to change at any time due to circumstances beyond our control.
5. We reserve the right to distribute passengers who are sharing cabins.
6. Children under 11 years old will be credited the difference on hotel room costs.
A non-refundable 10% deposit per person is required at the time of booking.
A cancelation received 45 days prior to the group departure will result in the forfeit of 25% of the land costs and the deposit.
A cancelation received from 44 to 30 days before the group departure will result in the forfeit of 90% of the land costs and the deposit.
A cancelation received within 30 days before the group departure (including "no shows") will result in the forfeit of 100% of the land costs and the deposit.
After the trip has commenced, we are unable to refund any amount for unused services due to your unwillingness/inability to participate, early departure, late arrival, or missed days on tours.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Tibet - culture and nature
This time I decided to go on a small group trip to Tibet. All formalities were completed in due time, and the proposed route met my expectations. Immersing yourself in the Tibetan culture with local guide Phurbu was a real pleasure. The views of Mount Everest and Tibetan nature were breathtaking.more
May 2023, Joanna i Piotr Kuzebscy
No matter where we wish do go…
No matter where we wish do go, my lovley Alisa from China Global Highlights helps every type of travel. Not only find the trip that’s right for us, but also gets the best value every time. I appriciate so much your pofessional service. Looking forward our next trip to Tibet.more
Apr 2023, Lina
Lhasa Tibet Adventure
Coco helped us plan our ideal trip to recent trip Tibet. She was informative, patient, and helped us tailor the trip to our own needs. She made excellent suggestions and supported us with the permits, travel itinerary, and even flights. She is an incredible asset to the China Highlights Team! Our local guide Tenzin was also excellent and flexible with us each day. I was hit with some altitude sickness and Tenzin helped me get oxygen and medicine needed. He worked with us each day to help us eat local foods and recommended ideal times to visit sites to minimize wait times. We were able to see everything on our list and eat excellent food. Thank you Coco and Tenzin!more
Oct 2021, Samantha Jane
Spiritual connection brought me back to Potala
Potala Palace mesmerizes me with its charm since 1997 when I first laid eyes on a photograph hung onto a wall at a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. From then on, I dreamt of visiting this place before I leave this world. The only thing that held me back choosing from my other favorite travel destinations that I travelled to in the past, is the fear of high altitude sickness and breathing difficulty. Once I step foot onto it, I felt a spiritual connection to this place. I climbed up to the top at the peak without any issue and gazed at Lhasa city from the top. It was a rare and wonderful experience.more
Jul 2020, paulinelyepohlinl
Lhasa - what a special place
Lhasa welcomed us with sunshine, but Sonem with an even brighter smile. It was a great pleasure to have him as guide - an exceedingly kind person. With his profound knowledge and experience, he gave us deep insights in the daily life of a Tibetan. The highlight of our stay was, of course, the visit of the Potala Palace, but we also wouldn’t have missed the discussion of the monks or the Yoghurt Festival. Thank you, Sonem, for the perfect organization.more
Sep 2019, S-T-Travelling
Top of the World!
From our welcome at the airport with the traditional Tibetan scarves to our departure 3 days later, out time in Lhasa was nothing short of fabulous! Our guide, Tenzin was exceptionally energetic, knowledgeable and friendly. He made sure our time was spent experiencing the many wonderful sites as well as learning about the history and culture of this exciting place. Potala palace is magnificent inside and out. Be sure to return to the nightly fountain show... the icing on the cake! The monasteries were very interesting and the location of many is breathtaking. We enjoyed Barkhor Street, especially at night when the lights create a serene atmosphere, a great contrast to the hustle and bustle during daylight. Outside the city, the drive to Yomdrok Lake is beautiful and the lake itself amazing. Stopping along the way to see the prayer flags flying in the wind left no doubt that you are in a special place. Thank you to China Highlights and their local partners, in particular our fabulous guide Tenzin for organizing and executing a most wonderful trip!more
Aug 2019, anaI39VU
Great time with the Best Guide Norbu
I can’t say enough good things about China Highlights as they organized everything for us - the visa, guide and itinerary. When I asked for changes to make sure we saw the debates (none on sundays) they made the change. When my daughter was suffering from altitude sickness itinerary was adjusted to give her more time to recover. We had a fantastic guide - Norbu. His background was as interesting as Lhasa. While all of the guides we have had so far have had good English command, some are harder to understand than others making it hard work at times. Norbu’s English is embarrassingly good (as I have no capability in any other languages and am dependent on others learning English). He was very kind to my daughter while she was struggling. I highly recommend you ask for him as he will add to the enjoyment of your tripmore
Jul 2019, 913WorldTraveler
LHASA - TIBET WITH KELSANG FROM CHINA HIGHLIGHTS
KELSANG was our Guide Tour in LHASA - TIBET. His English was great and he was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Since he picked us up from the airport till we left LHASA, KELSANG had always a smile, showed us his heart and soul and accommodate all our needs. We had a great time with KELSANG! All places mentioned above are unique and very special! Our experience in Tibet was stunning and we will not forget it for the rest of our lives! We will highly recommend KELSANG as your local guide tour in TIBET and ask for ALISA when contacting China Highlights as she will organize your tours as no one else will! Believe me!more
Jun 2019, Fabian D
china highlights is well organized(Tibet and Beijing)
I could say so many wonderful things about China Highlights; they have great qualified, knowledgeable guides and drivers, they understand the flight in and out and work around it beautifully, the prices are good, and the correspondence is top notch. Bit tops I would say, is they are efficient and organized. It can be a little worrisome planning a trip to the other side of the world. My agent through the whole process was Coco and she couldn't have done better. She answered every question, before and during the trip.more
May 2019, Tim S
Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.