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China & Holy Tibet

S-501: 11 Days Private Tour of Beijing - Lhasa - Xian - Shanghai
Tour Type: Private Tour, any parts of the itinerary can be customized
Guide & Driver: English-speaking guide, experienced driver with an air-conditioned vehicle
Meals: 10 western buffet breakfasts, 5 lunches with some being a la carte style
Tour Highlights:
  • Must-see sights in China - Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors
  • Follow us on a Buddhist pilgrimage to Tibet & appreciate the profound culture
  • Have a leisurely walk or an exciting bicycle ride on the time-honored City Wall of Xian
  • View the soaring city skylines and feel the pulse of modern Shanghai
From $2529 per person Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrival in Beijing
Upon your arrival today, our excellent English-speaking guide will be waiting for you outside the arrival hall of the airport after you finish the check-out procedures. A comfortable private transfer will take you to the hotel in downtown area. For the remaining time of the day, we intend to keep it free for you.

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Day 2 Beijing
Toasting on the Great Wall
After breakfast, you will pay a visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest central city square in the world with an area of 440,000 square meters (108 acres), which can hold one million people for meeting at one time. The solemn flag ceremony is performed everyday at sunrise and sunset on the square drawing the attention of people who are passing there. Besides, Tiananmen Gate on the north of Chang'an Street across the square is the entrance to your next stop, the Forbidden City, which is an imperial palace complex of the Ming and the Qing dynasties and also a big museum. It tells people about the changes of the royal courts for about 600 years and the several thousand years' history of Chinese civilization. 

At noon, we will offer an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) for you to sample the pure Chinese delicacies. We will then transfer you to visit the Summer Palace, a fantastic resort for visitors to admire the peaceful landscape and magnificent architecture of the royal garden. Visitors may go to the Front Hill Area where most ancient constructions are located. The first construction you visit may be the Hall of Dispelling Clouds (Paiyundian). It is regarded as the most spectacular architectural complex of the Summer Palace. The Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) used to celebrate her birthday here every year. After strolling around, you will board a boat to sightsee the beautiful Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Day 3 Beijing
Mutianyu Great Wall with a round-trip cable car, Olympic Bird's Nest, Temple of Heaven. (B)
Tiananmen Square
This morning you will journey to visit the famous Mutianyu Great Wall with the round way cable car. Although it is a little tiring to hike on the wall, the magnificent wall and the astonishing views are worth of your visit. The Great Wall, with a length of about 6,300 kilometers (3,915 miles), is one of the greatest miracles in the world. Like a huge dragon, it winds up and down across mountains, grasslands, deserts and plains, stretching from the Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu in the west to the Shanhaiguan Pass near the eastern seaside of our country.

Lunch is not included. On returning to the downtown, we will stop over at the Bird's Nest so that you can take some pictures outside. The next spot you will view is the Temple of Heaven, a delicate ancient architecture complex where the emperors offered sacrifices to the God of Heaven.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
 Friendly Tips

The round-trip cable car fare at Mutianyu Great Wall is included in this tour price. We can also arrange for you to take the chairlift up and toboggan down the wall. Please contact your travel consultant if you are interested.
Day 4 Beijing - Lhasa
Fly to Lhasa. Airport-hotel transfer. (B)
A Tibetan prayer
It's time to say goodbye to our capital and fly to your onward destination - Lhasa this morning. You will be greeted by the local guide at the airport on time. In addition to a brief introduction of the city, the guide will also give you some useful tips on obviating high altitude reaction when the car is driving to the downtown area. Later what you need to do is have a good rest in your hotel to adapt yourself to the environment. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 5 Lhasa
Tibet Museum, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka Park. (B+L)
Being reputed as 'City of Sunlight', this 1300-year-old city has long been the political, economic, cultural and religious centre of Tibet, as well as a heart home for many devout followers of the faith. The first spot you will visit is the Tibet Museum, which well describes the peculiar Tibetan culture and history via plenty of collections, including various artifacts, Buddha figures, handwritten ancient books, artistic Thangka paintings, ethnic handicrafts etc. After having lunch at a fancy local restaurant, you will get to the Sera Monastery, one of the greatest monasteries for Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and then the Norbulingka Park, the once summer house for generations of living Buddha and the nowadays local largest created garden.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Lhasa
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, A Nunnery. (B+L)
Lama's sutra-debating at the Sera Monastery
Another thrilling day starts with a visit to the Potala Palace. Highest in elevation, this palace, the city's landmark, is world-famed for its unique layout, civil engineering, metal smelting, painting, sculptures and so on. Next we will take you to discover the essence of this ancient city by visiting the Jokhang Temple and thriving bazaar of the Barkhor Street. You can learn about the Jokhang Temple's profound position after viewing its characteristic architectural style, as well as the thousands of never - extinguished butter - oil lamps. Afterwards, you will be guided to a Nunnery.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Lhasa - Xian
Fly to Xian. Airport-hotel transfer. (B)
Today you will take a late morning flight to Xian. Our local guide will expect you outside the baggage claim area of the airport and escort you to check in the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 8 Xian
Terracotta Army, Provincial History Museum, City Wall. (B)
Bicycle riding at sunset on Xian City Wall
This morning, you will visit the Terracotta Army, which is the largest underground military museum in the world. The lifelike soldiers and horses were orderly arranged in battle formations with distinct expressions on each face. Besides, the delicate Bronze Chariots and Horses and weapons are very impressive. 

Move to the Provincial History Museum, one of the most renowned history museums with abundant cultural relics. Then you will mount the well-preserved City Wall to explore the city's history from every of its bricks and titles. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 9 Xian - Shanghai
Xian Museum and Small Wild Goose Pagoda, A local family visit and home-cooked lunch. Fly to Shanghai. Airport-hotel transfer. (B+L)
Our guests learning to make dumplings in a Chinese family home
This morning we will show you the most-visited Xian Museum including the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This museum perfectly brings together the Buddhist architecture heritage of the Tang Dynasty, exhibition of various cultural treasures and pleasant scenic garden. 

Our hospitable local people welcome you to their home. It is also a good chance for you to have a nice break. With the guide's help, you can talk with the hosts on local people's life styles and visit their home. In addition, the hosts are very happy to invite you to have lunch (valued at CNY120.00 per person and included in our price) together at their home. They will prepare abundant home cooked dishes for you. If you are interested in cooking Chinese food, you can also go into the kitchen to learn with them step by step. 

Then we will see you off at the airport. You will fly to Shanghai. Our local guide will expect you at the airport and escort you to check in the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Home-cooked a la carte lunch
 Friendly Tips

Small Wild Goose Pagoda cannot be visited before March 31, 2021 due to maintenance. If you happen to be traveling at the period, your travel consultant will make alternate arrangements for you. Thank you.
Day 10 Shanghai
Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden, A la carte lunch, Huangpu River cruise, the Bund and an ancient cultural street. (B+L)
Shanghai Bund
An private elite sightseeing is arranged for you today. In the morning, you will go to see plenty of rare historical collections displayed in Shanghai Museum firstly. Covering an exhibition area of 12,000 square meters, it is one of the four best museums in our country and mainly features the bronze vessels, potteries, handwritings and paintings. The next stop is to the famous and elegant Yuyuan Garden. As one of the masterpieces of the classical gardens in southern region, it is marked by the ingenious design, delicate layout and elegant landscape. 

After that you will enjoy an a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) at a noted local restaurant where you will taste authentic Shanghai cuisine. Traditionally called Benbang cuisine and formed by a complex flavor structure, cooking style and technique norms, the cuisine stresses the use of condiments while retaining the original flavors of the ingredients and has features of being fresh, smooth and crispy. 

In the afternoon, you will take a cruise on the Huangpu River and stroll along the Bund area to appreciate the various European buildings on the west side of Huangpu River and the modern skyscrapers on the opposite Pudong side. Finally our guide will take you to an old street, where you may find fun and relaxation.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Day 11 Departure from Shanghai
Hotel-airport transfer & see you off. A nice journey home! (B)
Today we will see you off on your international flight back home. Hope our dedicated services bring you a memorable, interesting and enjoyable private vacation. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner
DestinationsStandard HotelsEconomy Hotels
BeijingPentahotel Beijing Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel
LhasaTashipozhang Hotel Gang-gyan Lhasa Hotel
XianHoliday Inn Xian Big Goose Pagoda Days Inn City Centre Xi'an
ShanghaiOcean Hotel Shanghai Golden River-view Hotel
Tour Prices
Tour Prices with Standard Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$2909
$2619
$2349
Tour Prices with Economy Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$2819
$2529
$2259
  • Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
  • Any parts of the itinerary e.g. tour length, activities & hotels can be tailored to your individual interests.
Price Includes
  • Domestic airfares
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfasts
  • A la carte lunches as itinerary specifies
  • Private English-speaking guides
  • Private drivers & air-conditioned vehicles
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites
  • Tibet Travel Permit
Price Excludes
  • International airfares
  • Entry Visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips or gratuities for guides and drivers
Why Travel With Us
  • Customer Reviews
  • Questions & Answers
  •  
    4.850 Reviews
    Adrian and Iveta Ouvry
    UK
    Posted on March 23, 2020
    Here are our comments on the private tour of Beijing, Lhasa, Xian and Shanghai:

    Briefly, here are the highlights and disappointments of each place: BEIJING: Forbidden City amazing, also the parks and lakes north of the Forbidden City were very nice. The Great Wall at Mutianyu was not much too full of tourists -possible to appreciate. LHASA: wonderful, the highlight of our China trip, I wish we had had more time to spend there. The only problem was the altitude - we were sick for the first 24 hours - bring paracetemol or other pain killer when you go, otherwise first night is no sleep! XIAN: also very fascinating place, much much better than Beijing, we liked it here. National museum, terracotta army, wild goose pagodas, City walls, all very interesting. SHANGHAI: a big disappointment, we did not like Shanghai at all. Very little character or history left, all modern buildings and construction, extremely boring. We wish we had not come there and spent more time in the other places instead (Tibet and Xian). The Shanghai Acrobats were spectacular, and there were some nice exhibitions at the central Museum and art galleries, but not enough to keep us occupied for three days.

    Meals were in general fine, especially the Beijing Duck and pork dishes and the dumplings in Xian. One criticism was that we do not like to be in the kind of restaurant where you are left on your own in a separate room (some Chinese restaurants are like this) - this is very boring, so the best restaurants were always the ones where we were sitting outside or together with other people.

    There were no complaints about any of the guides, though some were better than others. Carol (in Xian) and Lobsang (in Lhasa) were the best - very outstanding guides, and Rebecca (Shanghai) was also very nice. The best was when they were able to take the initiative to adapt the program slightly to be flexible. This is very important, because like many independent tourists, we wanted to see extra things sometimes, or to take more or less time at different places. For example in Lhasa, there was one extra monastery that we wanted to see which was not on the itinerary, and in Xian we wanted to see some examples of peasant art (also not in the plan). So when Lobsang and Carol were able to accommodate our wishes, this was very nice.

    We had 4 drivers in the different locations we were visiting. They were all friendly enough and the car was clean, however the most friendly and helpful of all was the driver in Xian (sorry, can't remember his name!)

    Carol and Lobsang were both very nice people and excellent guides. They showed real interest in what we wanted to do and in us in general, so we quickly felt we could trust them. It seemed that this was more than just a job for them, they really cared about the places that they were showing us, and also looked after us very carefully. In many ways they were the highlight of our holiday and I would highly recommend them to any other visitors looking for tour guides.

    Thank you for helping arrange such a wonderful China trip for us.
    ... More
    Antoine King
    United States
    Posted on March 04, 2020
    We are very familiar with China, having spent five years in Beijing and having travelled extensively to many areas of China, including many poor areas where we have projects on Poverty Allevation. So we understand the business, social and cultural environment in China very well. I take this opportunity to provide with some feedback:

    What they are doing well: 1. Very fast prompt reply to all queries by email. Excellent email website. Comprehensive information on their tour. 2. Itinerary, hotels, etc. organised carefully. 3. Pricing competitive. 4. They are receptive to feedback.

    Problem: It is unfortunate that the problem with the train happened. How can we be informed suddenly on the day that the train schedule to Lhasa has been changed? Maybe more explanations should have been provided and what alternative arrangements would be made to make our journey smooth. (instead of us asking for it). Certainly, they did not explain clearly what caused the change in schedule and who was responsible. It is important to accept responsibility and then to propose alternatives (e.g. some suggestions: next train, no disruption in programme, extra performance or special dinner to make up for the time having to wait for the next train, provision of bathroom to have a shower as it is very hot during that period).

    The idea is: 1) Advise the guest of the problem asap, 2) explain what caused the problem, 3) accept responsibility, 4) fix the problem asap, 5) offer some token compensation to minimize the disruption/inconvenience caused. That way, the guests will be inconvenienced but will be understanding.

    In the end we were happy with the resolution but only after we got angry and had to request for a few things ourselves.

    Improvement: Meals in general were good. However, the quantity was too much. I think this will vary from guests to guests, groups to groups. Maybe it is advisable to ask the guests/groups, as the tour progresses, on whether there should be a change in menu or quantity. For us, 2 adults and 2 children, 12 dishes per meal were just too much! I know this is the standard but maybe it is time to change the standard! Most days we would be happy with 3 or 4 dishes or even 1 sandwich for lunch, for a change. The idea is to be flexible, if possible, to the requirement of the guests. Maybe it is too difficult to change the standard meals but if they manage to tailor it more to the guests taste (especially for foreign guests), it will be a major improvement in service (for all tours actually!).
    ... More
    Perrine Bellosta
    United States
    Posted on February 07, 2020
    In a global way, we appreciate the meals. I would recommend the first restaurant we made on our arrival in Lhasa... We could have been there for another meal... In another type, we appreciate a lot the two restaurants we had near the Jokhang temple and that had some Indian, Nepali and Tibetan dishes.
    We really appreciated Tatsumo, she was always very dynamic and patient with us. I am happy she was our guide. I think Tatsumo spoke a good English and knew a lot of vocabulary... Sometimes pronunciation was not that great but we enjoyed trying to understand as a game with us. We leave in China so we have seen a lot worth.
    The driver was always very kind, smiling and clean (which is not always the case) the car was always clean everyday. Nothing else to say.
    We had a very nice relationship with the guide and the driver which makes the trip even more pleasant...
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    Rose
    Switzerland
    Posted on January 25, 2020
    We really have come away from China with only good memories and admiration for how everyone else who we met helped us. Thanks for that.
    George & Kathleen B.
    Canada
    Posted on January 07, 2020
    Full evaluation follows.

    1. Maggie (tour guide) in Beijing was better than excellent. She was knowledgeable about nearly every topic and her attitude was a perfect 10. We loved her and would like to bring her to Canada to work at our business. She is everything you could hope for in a tour guide (or any other job). She always looked out for us whether we were in the car, in a crowd, at a site, or dining. Great English. Attractive and fashionably dressed. Always on time. Great attitude and always positive. She is simply the best. The car and driver were also very good. In Tibet we were very happy with Bamba as he was almost as good as Maggie although that would be next to impossible. Bamba would be given a 9.9 rating as we reserve a perfect 10 for Maggie. Bamba was also everything we could hope for in a guide. He had excellent knowledge of every topic, was always courteous and helpful, and made us feel very safe and at home in Lhasa. Our tour of the Potala Palace was fantastic and he did an exceptional job of pacing us on the many stairs so we were never winded, and he worked us through the crowds so we always felt like we had time to see everything. The hotel was excellent. The hallways are full of museum pieces, the lobby has beautiful works of art and locals playing musical instruments, the staff is first class, the room was very good although they need to put in 100 watt bulbs instead of 40 watt bulbs so you could actually see at night, and the food was very good. We really liked the hotel (especially the great attitude of the staff) and would highly recommend it although it is not as close to the city center as other hotels. The first night both my wife and I got ill from the altitude change and used the hotel Dr. to help us. He did a fine job of assisting us and personally brought us an oxygen tank to our room and helped us get it hooked up. We believe it did help us get over our severe headaches and by the next morning we were nearly back to normal although we did continue to have a slight headache the 2nd day.

    2. Meals were fine although the one in Xi’an was just OK. The meals with Sophie in Shanghai were very good, but it may have been because we enjoyed being with Sophie which made the food seem better;

    3. Cars: Cars in Beijing & Shanghai were very good; car in Tibet was OK but a little worn out; car in Xi’an made us feel unsafe as it appeared the shock absorbers were worn out and we were a little concerned for our safety and we would not use that car again.
    ... More
    SOPHIE TANG
    Australia
    Posted on January 02, 2020
    Had a marvelous time in China and enjoyed our time in Lhasa mostly as we have dreamed of being there for a long time. At Lhasa, we had the chance to meet Mr. LABA CIREN and Mr. NYI MA. Mr. Laba Ciren drove us safely to everywhere, even when it was already late, always with his friendly smile and his care. His car is always clean and neat! It is Mr. NYI MA, our Tibetan tour guide, who is the highlight of our trip, not any palace nor grand temple. Mr. NYI MA is the most patient and caring tour guide I've ever known. He never rushed us, knowing that we had trouble of catching our breath due to the high altitude sickness. He took great care to every single meal of us, bringing food to our room (we were too sick to go down for breakfast!), helping us reminding restaurants that we can NOT eat chicken nor egg! (Thanks to TravelChina's restaurant selection, we can enjoy many different cuisine, all are amazing, from Sichuan, Nepalese, to Chinese and Tibetan!!!) Most of all, Mr. NYI MA is the most clever and sage person that we've ever had the chance to talk with. His knowledge in Buddhism and Tibetan culture is vast and deep. His years of staying and studying at monastery made him a living encyclopedia of Tibetan culture. And he never lost his patience to us who were always late, sick, slow and forgetful (high altitude sickness)! His calmness and his great care to guests surely touched us. We learned a lot from Mr. NYI MA, and he just humbly said that it was TIBETAN HOSPITALITY. We would like to send our most sincere thanks to the two gentlemen Mr. Laba Ciren and Mr. Nyi Ma. Without their generous help, our dream China trip will not ever come true! We'll strongly recommend TravelChina to all traveler fellows who desire to take their dream trip to the mysterious and amazing plateau of Tibet. ... More
    Jolymar Arias
    Canada
    Posted on January 01, 2020
    I had the best time of my life! My guide Droga and my driver Tserin in Lhasa were extremely kind, friendly and extremely helpful. I have never felt so welcomed than with them. I consider them as wonderful friends. I would also like to say that the travel company and Travel Agents Kelly/ Cindy were extremely kind, helpful and they helped me plan the perfect holiday. Many many thanks to TravelChinaGuide, they are by far the best travel company I have ever dealt with.
    Patricia Service
    USA
    Posted on December 26, 2019
    I greatly enjoyed my vacation. The meals were all very good and my hotel was adequate and fine. My Tibetan guide, Tashi, was excellent. His knowledge of his native Tibetan culture was outstanding, and greatly added to my Tibetan experience. His English was excellent and made the tours of the monastaries so fascinating. Also, he was able to explain to me the various religious figures and traditions of each monastary we visted. In addition, he explained the traditions and regions of the Tibetan native styles of clothes which I was very curious about. My driver (also a Tibetan) was wonderful and a careful and conscientious driver. The vehicle (Land Cruiser) was clean at all times and very comfortable. It was indeed a pleasure to be in such capable care as with my Tibetan guide Tashi and my driver. They made my Tibetan experience complete. Thank you for arranging my tour. ... More
    Daniel R. K. & Christiane U. H.
    USA
    Posted on December 23, 2019
    We enjoyed our trip very much and the service was good. Our guide in Beijing (Kevin) was excellent and went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. Our guide Dorgee Tse Ring and driver Bemba in Tibet were excellent too. They took really good care of us and made sure we were comfortable and well fed. They gave us the understanding that only a native can give (Dorgee knew of an out-of-the-way place that makes incense from wood, using diverted river water -- even the driver with his 20 years of experience had never been there). We were given a Chinese guide initially, and although he was nice enough, we requested a Tibetan guide for his cultural understanding. By his own admission, the Chinese guide spoke better English than Tibetan and we really felt we needed someone who had grown up in the Tibetan culture and language. We thank the Chinese guide and his travel agencys manager for being flexible and getting us a Tibetan guide. Both Kevin and Dorgee spoke good English and were very accommodating, allowing us to spend time doing what we enjoyed (spending several hours climbing the Great Wall in the snow; spending an unscheduled afternoon in a tea-house, tasting teas we plan to import for our tea business, taking countless pictures, watching 1000 year old monastic scriptures being brought out for the first time in 300 years, dusted off and re-bound, take a cruise along Huangpu River). One note regarding food: the Peking Duck dinner in Beijing was outstanding. We found the Tibetan restaurants to be much better than the "scheduled" Chinese restaurants in Tibet. Maybe some Tibetan meals should be incorporated into a trip to Tibet. All the guides gave us recommendations for excellent restaurants for dinners on our own. Again overall our stay was pleasant and this company's ability to accommodate and make changes is much appreciated. Also we like to thank Angela for her working with us to make this an unforgettable experience. Thank you again and we are looking forward to further trips. ... More
    Aswin
    Jakarta
    Posted on December 18, 2019
    I and my friends wish to thank you all for having arranged such wonderful program for us to visit China. Not with standing the high attitude problem, we enjoy so much our stay in Lhasa where can experience the Tibetian culture and receive the kind hospitality of the Tibetian people. In Beijing we have the opportunity to climb the Great Wall. And of course not to forget the “Hot Pot” Sichuan food. I hope can be able to come back once again.
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