Potala Palace, Lhasa

Holy Tibet

L-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

  • Must-see sights in China - Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Army.
  • Follow us on a Buddhist pilgrimage to Tibet & visit the sacred Potala Palace.
  • Have a leisurely walk or an exciting bicycle ride on the time-honored City Wall.
  • Cruise on Huangpu River to take in the spectacular skyline of Shanghai.
From USD3069USD2762Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrival in Beijing
Welcome your arrival anytime at the airport and transfer to hotel.
Upon your landing today, our excellent English-speaking guide will be waiting for you outside the arrival hall of the airport. After greeting you warmly, he or she will transfer you to the hotel in downtown area by a comfortable private car. For the remaining time of the day, we intend to leave it for you, so you can have a good rest and restore energy from the long journey.
Day 2 Beijing
Visit Tian’anmen Square and Forbidden City; enjoy a la carte welcome lunch with Peking Roast Duck; explore the Summer Palace. (B+L)
Your private China tour will officially start today. After breakfast, the guide will come to pick you up and go to visit Tian’anmen Square, the largest central city square in the world as big as 62 football fields. It is here that the founding ceremony of People’s Republic of China was held on October 1, 1949. Tian’anmen Tower in the north of the square is a symbol of China. After visiting the square, the guide will lead you to walk through the Tower to reach today’s second stop, Forbidden City. We will book the entry tickets in advance, so as to save you time from waiting in the long queue.

Forbidden City is an imperial palace complex of the Ming and the Qing dynasties (1368 - 1911 AD) and also a big museum. It tells people about the changes of the royal courts for about 600 years. Having the guided visit toward the Inner Court where the royal family lived, you may notice the archaeological site west to Gate of Thriving Imperial Clan. Surprisingly, it has been proved to be a part of the imperial palace in Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 AD), which had been mysteriously lost over 650 years ago. Now, we can catch a glimpse of the lost palace so many years later.

★ Tasty A La Carte Welcome Lunch with Peking Duck
At noon, we will offer an a la carte welcome lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price). For you to sample authentic Chinese delicacies, we have carefully chosen a restaurant popular among locals, rather than a noisy eatery targeting at tourists. Peaking Duck is one of their most popular dishes. If needed, the guide will help you with ordering.

Then, continue to explore the Summer Palace, a fantastic royal garden with scenic landscape and magnificent architecture. Most ancient constructions are located on the Longevity Hill, among which Hall of Dispelling Clouds (Paiyundian) is the most eye-catching and spectacular. The Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) used to celebrate her birthday here every year.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte welcome lunch
Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing
Day 3 Beijing
Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by round-way cable car; drive by Bird’s Nest; then take a rickshaw ride through Hutong alleys and visit a local family in a traditional courtyard house. (B)
This morning the guide will escort you to travel out of downtown to visit the famous Great Wall of China. The Great Wall, with a total length of 21,196 kilometers (13,170 miles), is one of the greatest manmade miracles in the world. Like a huge dragon, it winds up and down across mountains, grasslands, deserts and plains, stretching from east to west in northern China. The Great Wall at Mutianyu we will visit today is one of the best-preserved sections, and dotted with dense beacon towers.

★ Privilege of Our Guests
Our Mutianyu Great Wall tour includes cable car rides for both ways, saving you a lot of time and energy. It will directly send you to the most scenic part up there. If you are more interested in taking chairlift up and toboggan down, we will arrange it accordingly.

Lunch is not included but the guide will give you some recommendations. On returning way to the downtown after lunch, stop over at Bird's Nest to appreciate its unique appearance by roadside. Then, keep driving to Shichahai, where we will arrange a Hutong tour for you to experience old Beijinger’s life by taking a special rickshaw ride through the various Hutong alleys. We will also arrange a family visit there. After talking with the host and having a look at the traditional folk yard, you will have a better understanding of the folk manners and customs of the ancient city.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Our Guests at Mutianyu Great Wall
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Day 4 Beijing to Lhasa by Flight
Visit Temple of Heaven; fly to Lhasa and transfer to hotel. (B)
This day will begin from the Temple of Heaven, a delicate ancient architecture complex where the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to the God of Heaven. Nowadays, it is also used as a park by locals to do exercises and have fun. Then, it’s time to say goodbye to the capital city and fly to your onward destination – Lhasa in Tibet.

★ Privilege of Our Guests
We will apply for the Tibet Travel Permit for you in advance, to ensure that you enter Tibet without any obstacles.

Upon landing, you will be greeted by our 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 on the way to the hotel by a private car. Later what you need to do is to have a good rest in the room to adapt yourself to the environment. It’s not advised to go out for sightseeing on the first day of arrival.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 5 Lhasa
Visit Norbulingka, Tibet Museum, and Sera Monastery. (B+L)
Being reputed as 'City of Sunlight', the 1,300-year-old Lhasa has long been the political, economic, cultural and religious center of Tibet, so rich in historical relics. Today, the guide will firstly accompany you to visit the Norbulingka, the once summer resort for Dalai Lamas initially built in 18th century. It is the largest garden in Tibet with many traditional Tibetan style architectures. It is also the most beautiful of its kind surrounded by various trees and flowers, which is rarely seen in Tibetan Plateau, the roof of the world. Then, move on to Tibet Museum, which well interprets the peculiar Tibetan culture and history via plenty of collections, including various artifacts, Buddha figures, handwritten ancient books, artistic Thangka paintings, and ethnic handicrafts.

★ Watch Monks Debating over Buddhist Doctrines in Sera Monastery
After having lunch at a fancy restaurant, you will be guided to the Sera Monastery, one of the greatest monasteries for Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The biggest draw of this monastery is monks debating over Buddhist doctrines, which is going on from 15:00-17:00 every day except Sundays. They, either standing or sitting on the ground, clap theirs hands to urge the other side to answer the question as soon as possible, or turn the Buddha beads to get the power from the Buddha to defeat the opponent. The debating is fierce, helping monks learn more about Buddhism.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Lhasa
Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, and a Nunnery. (B+L)
Another exciting day will start with a visit to the Potala Palace. It is world-famed for its unique layout, civil engineering, metal smelting, painting, sculptures and so on. It is a wonder indeed that the palace has stood for millennium but been preserved well. Every year in the eighth and ninth months of the Tibetan calendar, the local workers hang down from the roof and spray a special paint on the wall of Potala Palace. This paint is mixed with milk, honey, rock sugar, white granulated sugar, brown sugar, saffron and more materials. In addition, white lime is added to keep insects away, making the Potala Palace have a great corrosion resistance. On the hill, the wall of Potala Palace on the bottom is 5 meters (about 197 inches) thick, placed with melted iron. The upper walls become thinner and thinner, but the thinnest thickness reaches 1 meter (39.4 inches). The upper walls were not filled with iron, instead of a special straw in Tibet. The compacted neat straws gave the walls a wonderful toughness. Thanks to all these, you can see in person the Potala Palace standing firmly.

Travel Tip: Potala Palace is built on a hillside with many stairs. It is advised you wear a pair of comfortable hiking shoes and slow down to prevent altitude sickness.

After lunch, the guide will escort you to Jokhang Temple. This temple is the spiritual center of Tibetans because the rare statue of the 12-year-old Sakyamuni is worshipped inside. Around the Jokhang Temple, is the ancient Barkhor Street where many traditional Tibetan style buildings are well preserved. It also abounds in souvenirs full of Tibetan characteristics.

The last stop of the day will be a Nunnery, the only nunnery in Lhasa. Every day from 08:00 to 18:00, the nuns chant and learn Buddhism. Followers often give alms and ask the nuns to chant per their requests for themselves or their families. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Potala Palace, Lahsa
Potala Palace, Lhasa
Monks Debating over Buddhist Doctrines
Day 7 Lhasa to Xi’an by Flight
Fly to Xi’an and transfer to hotel. (B)
Your guided sightseeing in Tibet will come to an end here. According to the fight schedule, the guide will offer you a private transfer to the airport and assist you to board the onward flight to Xi’an. Upon landing, our local guide will meet you at the airport and then transfer you to the hotel.

During the rest time of the day, we recommend you to have a rest in the hotel room, to recover from high altitude sickness. If you feel all right, you may stroll around nearby on your own.

Meals: Western style breakfast
Day 8 Xian
Visit Terracotta Army and the discoverer's home; try your hand to make a mini terracotta figure; admire Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and get immersed in Tang Dynasty culture at Great Tang All Day Mall. (B)
It will be a breathtaking trip today because you will see the grand Terracotta Army at close quarters. It is the largest underground military museum in the world. The lifelike soldiers and horses were orderly arranged in battle formations with different facial expressions with each other. 

Lunch is not included. But the guide will be kind enough to give you some advice and assistance.

★ Privileges of Our Guests
► The Terracotta Army was accidentally discovered by peasant Yang Zhifa. If it was not Mr. Yang, the grand underground military army may still keep as a secret. After lunch, the guide will accompany you to Mr. Yang’s home to learn some interesting stories behind the great discovery. You may also take a photo with Mr. Yang.

► Then, follow the guide to a local workshop, where you will enjoy the fun of shaping clay into a vivid mini terracotta figure under the instruction of an artisan. You may carve a special logo or simply your name on it, like the Qin artisans did 2,200 years ago. It takes about 40 minutes or so and after being finished, you can bring it home as a memorable souvenir for this Terracotta Army tour.

After, drive back to downtown to visit the well-known Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, which was built in the Tang Dynasty to collect the valuable Buddhist sutras taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang. This square brick pagoda has been a landmark of the ancient city. This day will conclude at Great Tang All Day Mall, a prosperous Tang style quarter. In addition to the amazing architectures, there are many statues and performances themed on historical stories. Later, the guide will send you back to the hotel. If you want to appreciate the colorful night views of the quarter, the guide will inform you the returning way before leaving.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Terracotta Army Museum, Xi'an
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an
Day 9 Xian to Shanghai by Flight
Connect with local people at City Wall Park; visit City Wall, Great Mosque, and Muslim Quarter; then fly to Shanghai and transfer to hotel. (B)
This morning, join the locals to do some morning exercises at the City Wall Park, like Tai Chi. You may also watch them playing Ping Pong, singing Shaanxi opera, practicing sword dancing, or others. Then ascend the City Wall, which was constructed 600 years ago to protect people living inside. Have a walk on the wall and explore the city's history from every of its bricks and titles. If you want to experience the interesting cycling up there, the guide will help you rent a bike.

Coming down from the City Wall, proceed to the Great Mosque, one of the largest and oldest Islamic mosques in China. On the way to the mosque, we will pass by Bell Tower and Drum Tower, also the ancient landmarks of this city. After visiting the Mosque, explore the nearby Muslim Quarter. It is best-known for various Halal dishes and snacks. Don't leave yourself with any regrets and taste some based on your preference.

In the afternoon, fly to Shanghai, where our local guide will expect you at the airport and escort you to check in at the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Featured Xi'an snacks for lunch
Cycling on the Xi'an City Wall
Cycling on Xi'an City Wall
Great Mosque, Xi'an
Day 10 Shanghai
Visit Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden and adjacent Yuyuan Bazaar; enjoy a la carte farewell lunch; cruise on Huangpu River and have a leisurely stroll on the Bund; then explore old cultural block of Tianzifang. (B+L)
In the morning, the guide will firstly accompany you to see plenty of rare historical collections displayed in Shanghai Museum. It is one of the four best museums in China and mainly features bronze vessels, potteries, calligraphies and paintings. The next stop will be the famous and scenic Yu Garden. As one of the masterpieces of the classical gardens in southern China, it is marked by ingenious design, delicate layout and elegant landscape.

At noon, we will invite you to a farewell a la carte lunch (valued at CNY150.00 per person and included in our price) at a fancy and famous local restaurant, where you will taste authentic Shanghai cuisine, which stresses the use of condiments while retaining the original flavors of the ingredients, tasting fresh and yummy.

★ A Fun and Leisurely Cruise on Huangpu River
After lunch, we will arrange for you a cruise on Huangpu River to view this city from different angles. The cruise will pass by the city's landmarks including Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, Jinmao Tower and more on the east bank and the Bund on the west bank. It’s time and energy saving to take in the different cityscapes at the same time.

Debarking on the Bund, the guide will escort you to walk around to appreciate the various European buildings more closely. It was reputed as “Wall Street in the Middle East” and contributed a lot to world’s economy back to 1930s to 1940s.

Finally the guide will show you around in Tianzifang. It is an aged block with many local traditional residences- Shikumen, but full of lively shops selling creative and artistic items. It is a good place to learn both the traditional culture and the modern art of the city.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, A la carte lunch
Shanghai Pudong Seen from the Bund
A larte carte lunch
Enjoy A La Carte Lunch
Day 11 Departure from Shanghai
Transfer to airport and see you off there; a pleasant trip home! (B)
At the agreed time, the guide and driver will transfer you to the airport and see you off. Hope our dedicated services ensure you a memorable, interesting and enjoyable private vacation!

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
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This trip can be customized to meet your individual needs!
Destinations4 Stars Hotels5 Stars Hotels
BeijingBeijing New World Centre Tongpai Hotel Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town
LhasaTaehf Phodrag Tibet Culture Theme Hotel Shangri-La Hotel
XianHoliday Inn Xian Big Goose Pagoda Crowne Plaza Xi'an
ShanghaiSunrise On The Bund Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World
Tour Prices
2024 & 2025 Special: 10% off - Book before Apr 30, 2024
Prices with 4 Stars Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers
USD3419 USD3077USD3069 USD2762
Prices with 5 Stars Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers
USD3909 USD3518USD3569 USD3212
  • Prices are per person on twin sharing basis.
  • The prices in red reflect 10% discount.
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
Other levels available for this itinerary: