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China - Beijing and Lhasa

China view at dusk

Beijing and Lhasa - 11 Days

Visiting Beijing & Lhasa • Explore the Culture of China

Best time to visit: all year

This cultural tour includes famous and historical sights of Beijing and Lhasa, plus hiking the Great Wall. You will stay about 5 days in Beijing before heading to Tibet.

In central Beijing, visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and Hutong etc., to experience the beauty and majesty of this old city. Some night activities will be arranged for you such as an Opera Show. This tour also features additional hiking on the Simatai Great Wall, the best example of the Ming Dyn asty wall, which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. As well as overnight in Gubei Water Town with an unforgettable landscape together with mountains, rivers and the Great Wall. Then you will go to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and home to the Potala Palace and many magnificent monasteries, of which the Jokhang monastery is the holiest monastery in Tibet. You’ll also go to Gyantse and Shigatse. They are more remote than Lhasa, but because of its remoteness, they can offer the grand scene and nature of the Tibetan Region. How wonderful it is to be on top of most of the world!

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Day 1 - Arrive in Beijing

Meet you at the Capital Airport. Today we will drive to Tian’anmen Square, which is the biggest central square in the world and is located in the centre of the Beijing city. Here you could see the Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Mausoleum and the national flag raising and lowering ceremony. Thousands of people come to the Square every day. It is the must place to visit in Beijing City. And then take you to hotel for rest. (We could also make changes of today’s arrangements according to your flight schedule, as we think you need to adjust to the Jet Lag.)

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing

Day 2 - Beijing Highlights (L)

After breakfast drive to visit the Summer Palace, one of the best preserved summer resort for royal family. After lunch you will visit the Forbidden City, the symbol of China, also cal led Gu Gong. It was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Continue to explore the 798 Art Zone. 798 was a former electronic factory complex of unique architectural styles. Nowadays it’s Beijing’s most famous art zone housing contemporary art galleries and studios. Then back to the hotel for rest, and enjoy your night life is you want.Overnight at 4 star hotel

in Beijing

Day 3 - Beijing Highlights (L)

Today is fantastic. Activities may include visit ing the Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Lotus Market and a fascinating Hutong Tour, as well as Beijing Zoo if time permits. The Lama Temple, also called Yonghe Lamasery, is the best - preserved lamasery in existence in China today. It was first established during the Qing Dynasty as the residenc e of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince, and it was also the birthplace of Emperor Qianlong, the son of Emperor Yongzheng. Confucius temple, it consists of four courtyards. The main structures include Xianshi Gate, Dacheng Gate, Dacheng Hall and Chongshengci. Hutong has a long history in Beijing. We will enjoy our lunch in hutong and have the opportunities to learn how to make Chinese dumplings. As the Forbidden City is the symbol of China's royal family, the Hutongs in Beijing show the real life of the common people, and you will deeply taste this kind of traditional lifestyle by rickshaw. Lotus Market, located in Houhai area, is famous for old hutong and modern bars. In the evening, Peking Opera would be arranged as an option. Peking Opera has a history of about 200 years, now it becomes more and more popular as it is a combination of stylized acting, singing, acrobatics and colorful costumes. Then take you to hotel for rest.

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing

Day 4 - Beijing Highlights - Stay in Gubei Water Town (L)

This morning, we will set out early morning to Temple of Heaven which is the grandest cult architecture complex in the world and a masterpiece of Chinese peo ple created in ancient times. We could see lots of people do morning exercise there, especially old people practicing Tai Chi there. It covers 2,700,000 square meters (667 acres), which is nearly four times the area of the Forbidden City. Then visit Hongqiao Market. Hongqiao Ma rket is established in 1979 and stand opposite to the Temple of Heaven. It is famous for its various goods, reasonable price, satisfactory service, and good reputation, the most important that the pearls and aquatic products are worldwide famous. After lunch, we drive to Olympic Village (Bird Nest & Water Cube included).Then transfer to Gubei Water Town which will take us almost 2.5 hours. Check - in a lovely courtyard folk - style guesthouse with comfort and enjoy a quiet night in the water town. Located in North Beijing's suburban Miyun county, Gubei Watertown lies at the foot of Simatai Great Wall, nearby the Mandarin Duck Lake. With a massive backdrop of the world famous Simatai, i t is a rare combo combining mountains, lakes, ancient - style villages and luxury five - star hotels and the Great Wall.

Overnight in courtyard folk-style guesthouse in Gubei Water Town

Day 5 - Simatai Great Wall - Gubei Water Town (L) 3hrs hiking

This morning, we could get up early and do a 3 hour hike on the spectacu lar Simatai Great Wall. Starting from the bottom of t he Wall, hike along the east section of the Great Wall from the Tower One. Presently, only the eastern part from No. 1 Tower to No. 10 Tower has been restored and officially opened. Simatai, built on a cliff, displays various patterns of construction. Here, you can not only view the conventiona l appearance of the Great Wall with battlements on each side of the track, but also see on steep cliffs the half - wall style with battlements built only on the outer side. Our hiking on Simatai stops at a tower where we could enjoy a good view of Jinshanling Great Wall with sunrise and overlook the magnificent surroundings including with the most distinctive Fairy Maiden Tower, and Wangjing Tower which occupies the highest point of the whole scenic area. Then back to the Gubei Water Town to have lunch. In the afternoon, we could explore the Watertown and experience unique local customs and p articipate in native activities. Note: we could experience one of the below activities according to our actual time schedule).Activities in Gubei Water Town: [Sima Liquor Work Shop] It displays the traditional process of processing liquor. Tourists can have experience of making dishes with rice wine sauce. [Yongshun Dyeing Shop] It shows the traditional natural dyeing. Tourists can DIY their own products and take them home as gifts for friends. [Kite Cultural Center] It shows the traditional folk crafts of kite making. Tourists can DIY their own products and take them home as gifts for friends. Overnight in courtyard folk-style guesthouse in Gubei Water Town

Day 6 - Return to Beijing - Lhasa (L)

This morning, after a leisurely time in Gubei Water Town, you will drive directly back to Beijing airport. Take flight to Lhasa and you will be met on arrival by your experienced local guide and driver. Transfer to the hotel for a good rest.

Stay incomfortable hotel in the centre of the old town of Lhasa

Day 7 - Lhasa (3,670m) (L)

Since we have just made a sudden ascent from lowland to an altitude of over 3,700 meters (12,139 ft), today’sitinerary is not so tight. Visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Norbulingka. Drepung is about 8km westof central Lhasa, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy breakfrom the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good viewsof the whole Lhasa city and the distant mountains.

Sera Monastery sits at the foot of the mountains. One of the three main Gelupka monasteries in Lhasa, Sera is an important spiritual centre for Buddhist monks. If we are lucky enough, we could watch the Lamas in their traditional theological exercise of lively debating.

Norbulinka is recognized by “the summer palace of dalai lamas”. "Norbu Linka" means beautiful gardens. This garden coversan area of 36 hectares and it is the annual vacation home for the 7th to the 14th Dalai Lama, who would move here from the Potala Palace to this summer palace and spend most of their summer here.

Stay incomfortable hotel in the centre of the oldtown of Lhasa

Day 8 - Lhasa (L)

We will visit the Potala Palace, landmark of Lhasa and spiritual symbol of Tibet - you will join many pilgrims onyour way to the top of a hill where this 13-storey architectural wonder is perched upon. The approach to the Potala is not easy, and requires climbing many steep steps, so we take it slowlyand allow ourselves to leisurely enjoy the Palace and its surroundings. We enjoy strolling through its winding corridors and peaking in some of its thousand rooms, and can only imagine what life here was once like. In the afternoon, we visit theJokhang Temple, the spiritual centre of Lhasa. As we make the inner circuit around the courtyard, spinning numerous prayer wheels as we go, weare swept up in the energy of the devout. From the rooftop, we get stunning views of the Potala, and the snow capped peaks off in the distance. Around theTemple runs the Barkhor, a holy circuit which pilgrims undertake and a bustlingcommercial market. The rest of the time is left freefor you to venturearoundBakhor market, where you will feelyou are right at the heart of Tibet.

Stay incomfortable hotel in the centre of the old town of Lhasa

Day 9 - Lhasa - Gyangtse - Shigatse (L,D)

Drive from Lhasa to Gyangtse (3,950 m or 12,956 feet) and Yamdrok Tso Lake (4408 m), one of Tibet’s three holy lakes and located 110km outside of Lhasa. It takes three and a halfhour to Yamdrok Tso Lake, most of the time we are driving on the mountain road, winding and bumpy. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7,191m). On arrival at Gyantse visit the Pelkor Chode monastery and its associated Kumbum (three dimension mandala) temple. Gyantse is a relaxed town offering a splendid sight of the Kumbum Stupa situated at its Northern edge.Housed within the compound of a rather barren looking Pelkor Chode Monastery, Kumbun consists of 8 levels and a total of 75 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world. Drive back to Shigatse. It would be a long day for about 10 hours.

Stay in Shigatse Hotel or the similar (3*)

Day 10 - Shigatse - Lhasa (L)

Today we will visit Shigatse---the second largest city in Tibet. We will have enough time to explore theTashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lama built in 1447. The monastery houses a giant statue of theMaitreya Buddha and a tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama containing masses of jewels and gold. Then drive back toLhasa. Tibetan dinner with dancing and singing will be arranged.

Stay in comfortable hotel in the centre of the old town of Lhasa

Day 11 - Lhasa - Beijing

In the morning, transfer to the airport, fly to Beijing.

End of theTour.

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