Chengdu Qinghai Tibet Highlights Trip
Are you planning a Chengdu Tibet tour but thinking the over 36 hours’ train journey from Chengdu to Lhasa is too long? To ensure you grasp more highlights, better acclimatize the altitude rising and take an awesome Tibet train, China Discovery provides you this 10 days Panda and Qinghai Tibet Railway Tour, covering panda tour & best local experiences in Chengdu, a short stay in Xining with a day trip to Qinghai Lake, followed by the shortest Tibet train journey from Xining. The Tibet itinerary goes to the best highlights for many first-timers, including both cultural and natural splendors in & around Lhasa.
Highlights of this tour:
Welcome to Chengdu, the hometown of the Giant Panda. Your local guide will meet you at the airport/train station and then escort you to your hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of today is yours to relax in the panda city on your own.
Arrival Ideas: Chengdu is only about 2~3 hours flying from the majority of big cities in China, such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shanghai, etc. You can also get to Chengdu by high speed trains from Xian (4hrs), Chongqing (1hrs), Guilin (6hrs), Kunming (6hrs), etc.
This morning you will make a stirring visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which is not only the most important panda scientific research center, but also dwelling home to more than 100 Giant Pandas. Walk at leisure through the bamboo framed paths, and closely observe giant pandas of different ages eating bamboos, playing with each other, tumbling, climbing trees, etc. Don't miss the chance to visit the most adorable panda cubs in the panda kindergartens. If you are lucky, you may be able to see the precious panda babies in the nursery rooms. There is also a very informative Panda Museum where you can learn more scientific facts about Giant Pandas.
Leaving the panda center, you will be taken to a hidden spiritual Buddhist temple in the bustling downtown of Chengdu - Wenshu Temple. Marvel at the exquisite Buddhist architecture, soak in the reverent atmosphere, and wander on the peaceful paths. Adjacent to the monastery is a small bazaar (Wenshufang) where you can enjoy a leisure stroll through to experience local market and living style.
Chengdu is famous for its relaxing and leisure pace throughout China, which will be proved after a stay in Renmin Park. Sit down, order a pot of Chinese tea, make a casual chat with your friends and watching locals indulging themselves in different kinds of folk entertainment - napping in a lively teahouse, playing mahjong, disco dancing, neck massage, ear cleaning... Next is an impressive trip to the famous Jinli Old Street. Time steals away from you quietly while walking on the lively streets which are full of delicious local snacks, delicate artifacts, interesting folk shows, etc.
At the end, your guide will escort you to your hotel.
Recommended Optional Evening Activities: 1) enjoy a delicious dinner of Sichuan cuisine (or hotpot) at a local restaurant; 2) watch a wonderful performance of Sichuan Opera which includes folk opera, face changing, fire spitting, rolling lights, and other delightful entertainment (usually performs during 20:00~21:30).
After breakfast, go to visit the Jinsha Site Museum. Jinsha Ruins was found in the late 20th century with numerous relics of 3000-year-old Shu Kingdom in the western Chengdu. Above the original archaeological dig site, built the Relic Hall of Jinsha Site Museum. In the Exhibition Hall of the museum, the objects that excavated from the site are displayed. The highlight of Jinsha Site Museum is the Gold Band with Sun and Magic Birds, which is the new symbol if Chengdu.
In the afternoon, take a flight to Xining (within 2 hours), the capital city of Qinghai Province. Your tour guide will pick up you at the airport, and then escort you to your hotel. The rest time is free for you to rest and acclimatize yourself to the higher elevation of Xining.
After breakfast, drive around 150 km (2.5 hours) to see the picturesque Qinghai Lake from Xining via Huangyuan, Riyue Mountain, etc. You won't feel bored along the driving since the fascinating scenery of green grassland, blue sky, white clouds and clustered herds unfold like a photo gallery. As the largest inland lake, as well as the largest salt water lake in China, Qinghai Lake (3200 m) stretches 105 km in length, 63 km in width and occupies a water area of over 4,500 square kilometers. It was elected as the Most Beautiful Lake in China by China’s National Geographic, attracting thousands of photographers to take photos every year.
You will spend a wonderful time appreciating the beauty of Qinghai Lake in Erlangjian Scenic Area - the essence of the whole scenic area of Qinghai Lake. It shapes like a long and narrow sword inserting into the lake. Walking on the plank road, you will be delivered a far-reaching panorama of the sea-like lake. Due to the different salt content of different parts of the lake, the water presents different colors in the refraction of sunlight. More than the lake view, the scenic surrounding - endless grassland and rapeseed flower lands, soft sand beaches as well as flocks of grazing sheep, horses and yaks also make you enjoy yourself to the fullest. On a clear day, you will feast your eyes on a charming vista of the snow-capped mountains in the distance as well as the huge sand dunes of Sand Island on the far shore. At the same time, Qinghai Lake is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist site. There are many devoted Buddhist coming from afar to worship to Qinghai Lake each year.
Optional Qinghai Lake Cruise: Taking a cruise allows you to admire Qinghai Lake from a different perspective. There are two kinds of cruises available in Erlangjian Scenic Area: High Speed Cruise and catamaran. The former offers a 25 minutes’ single trip from Erlangjian Wharf to Erlangjian Peninsula at the cost of CNY140. The latter offers a 50 minutes’ round trip at the cost of CNY180. This price doesn't include your personal expense on the ship, such as drinking, food, etc. This cruise is only available during the period from May to October.
After sightseeing, drive back to Xining for accommodation.
Warm Tips: 1) It is available to visit Qinghai Lake all the year around, but May to October is the best time because of the most comfortable weather. If you want to savor the sea of rape flowers, remember to visit in July and August. 2) The sunlight is very strong in Qinghai Lake, and it is necessary to bring hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. to protect your skin from sun burn especially in summer. 3) Few people get serious high altitude sickness in Qinghai Lake, but it is important to be wary of high altitude sickness if it's your first time to enter the high plateau. Avoiding strenuous exercise and drinking more water will be helpful.
After breakfast, go to visit the Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum. It is a theme museum highlighting the profound Tibetan medicine and folk culture. Through visits of different exhibition halls, you can look many ancient surgical instruments, medical books, specially processed specimens and calculation methods of astronomical calendar. It’s an interesting and rewarding journey to catch a glimpse of the mysterious traditional medical system and diverse Tibetan culture. Don’t miss the Guinness World recorded 618-meter-long gallery displaying over 700 exquisite Thangka paintings.
Continue on to Dongguan Mosque, the largest mosque in Qinghai. The mosque is a sacred sanctuary for Muslims, one of the four greatest mosques in Northwest China and the highest-level institute of Islamic study. Originally built in the early Ming Dynasty, it is a large building group occupying 13,602 square meters which combines traditional Chinese architectural art and Islamic features. The Worship Hall can accommodate 3,000 Muslims at one time. The pale mint-green exterior is very pretty and chic. You may see lots of Muslim disciples worshiping and attending Muslim event here.
After the half-day Xining city tour, take a train to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Enjoy the stunning landscape of Qinghai-Tibet plateau along the train journey.
As the train moves on the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, you will run across the majestic Kunlun Mountains and Tanggula Mountains, the Tuotuo River - one of the head streams of the Yangtze River and agile Tibetan antelopes in Hoh Xil Nature Reserve where also protects many precious wildlife like Tibetan donkeys, yaks, plants and the natural habitats. This morning, you will enter Tibet and stop for several minutes in Amdo. Continue the amazing train sightseeing journey, capture the lure azure blue Cuo’na Lake with distant snow-capped mountains and see groups of nomads and Tibetan yaks in the vast grassland of Northern Tibet.
Upon arrival at Lhasa Railway Station, your local tour guide will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in Lhasa downtown by a comfortable non-smoking vehicle. The rest of today is for you to acclimatize yourself to this high altitude city at the roof of the world.
Tips: 1.) There are special oxygen supply facilities you can use to ease the symptoms of altitude sickness. Ask help from the train staff if you feel uncomfortable. 2.) Go for some walking to acclimate the high altitude but avoid strenuous activity after arrival. 3.) You’d better not have bath on the first 2 days on arrival; 4.) Drinking more water, having some fresh fruit and having a good rest helps you adapt to the altitude.
After breakfast, start an incredible day of exploration in Lhasa city. The grandiose Potala Palace will be the first site to discover. After more than 1300 years of historical changes, this colossal palace still dominates the skyline of Lhasa city. The Palace is the political and religious center of Tibet and has served as the governance and preaching site for the Dalai Lama. Climbing up the sacred steps to the Red Palace and White Palace you will explore their marvelous interiors full of exquisite Thangkas, numerous Buddha statues, vivid wall paintings, and other works of Buddhist art.
In the afternoon, first visit the holiest Buddhist temple in Tibet, Jokhang Temple, where the 12-year-old-like Shakyamuni statue is consecrated. With a history stretching over 1,300 years, this temple combines the architectural styles of Tibet, China, Nepal and India. As a spiritual center of Tibet, Jokhang Temple attracts hundreds of devoted pilgrims to worship there every day. Outside the door of Jokhang Temple is the famous pilgrimage circle, Barkhor Street, where you can join faithful Tibetans in colorful attires walking the circle around Jokhang Temple.
Tips for today: 1) wear suitable headgear and glasses to protect you from strong sunlight, but do not wear any hat while visiting inside the Tibetan monasteries; 2) photography is not allowed inside the chapels of monasteries; 3) have your passport with you all the time.
After breakfast, we start our day with a visit to the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas and also the largest Tibetan garden - Norbulingka Park. The luxuriant trees and flowers, cool ponds and comfortable palaces make Norbulingka the best place for a summer retreat. Then drive about 5 km westward to Drepung Monastery. This monastery has played a crucial role in Tibet Buddhism as the school of the Dalai Lamas. As you walk along, immense temples and chapels leap to your eyes one after another. In its heyday, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Various Buddhist rituals are performed in the monastery during festivals, most famous being the ceremony of Buddha Display in the annual Shoton Festival.
We will then visit the featured six hundred year-old Sera Monastery, famous for its grand ceremony of Buddhist debating and its beautiful temples with sensational icons, murals and history.
Tips for today: 1) please follow the Buddhist manners - talk in a low voice, always be respectful of others, reflect on the Buddha's teachings in these holy sites, and remain quiet and respectful when visiting temples 2) be sure to carry some water with you.
Only exploring the exotic culture of Tibet is not enough, you also have to enjoy its natural beauty. So today, you are going to visit the picturesque Namtso Lake which is about 180 km (3.5 hours' drive) from Lhasa city.
Namtso Lake, in Tibetan, means the Heaven Lake. It covers more than 1,920 square kilometers shaping lake a rectangle, and locates about 4,718 meters above the sea level, which makes Namtso the highest lake in the world. The pure water waves slightly under the blue sky. Along the shore are enormous well-proportioned Mani stones. The colorful prayer flags hanged on the hills and monasteries make Namtso Lake holy and mysterious. A lot of huge stones have existed along the Namtso for thousands years, and are related to some beautiful Tibetan stories Namtso Lake is also the heaven for animals. It is natural pasture for nomads of northern Tibet. You have chance to see the sheep and yaks grazing leisurely on the grassland. Famous as one of three holy lakes in Tibet, Namtso lake is also a popular place for pilgrimage and meditation. It is honored as the holy lake both for Tibetan Buddhism and Bon.
After the sightseeing, drive back to Lhasa. (Optional: if you want, you can spend a night there to watch amazing sunset and sunrise. But this arrangement needs you add one extra day to your tour.)
Tips of today: 1) Get well-prepared for the high altitude(nearly 5,000m); 2) The weather is changeable. Rains, hail and snow usually come unexpectedly. So bring both thick and portable clothes with you. Also bring sunglasses and sun cream to prevent from strong sunlight and ultraviolet ray.
Today is free for you until your driver transfer you to catch your flight (or train) leaving Tibet. Please check your luggage and make sure everything is packed, and then check out from your hotel before 12pm.
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1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2023.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1=RMB 6.85. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.
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There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.
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Chengdu East Railway Station
Customer's family trip in Chengdu Panda Base
Wenshu Temple with Flourishing Incense
Experience Chengdu local living style in People's Park
Mysterious Gold Mark in Jinsha Site Museum
Qinghai Lake walking
Herd of Tibetan nomads around Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake Cruise
Traditional Tibetan Costume and Ornaments Exhibited in Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum
Dongguan Great Mosque is the Biggest Islamic Sanctum in Qinghai
Train Running to Tibet through Grassland and Snowy Mountains
Plateau Elf - Tibetan Antelopes in Hoh Xil Nature Reserve
Yaks Follow Behind the Tibetan by the Namtso Lake
Prayer Flags around the Sacred Namtso Lake
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"Just back from our 9-day trip to Yunnan, long planned and waited for. It was our second time with China Discovery Tours. Once again they tailored the tour according to our ideas and interests - and succeeded in surprising us! Thanks to the local guides we learned a lot about history, traditions and customs, and, of course, food. We always felt in safe hands and the organization was just perfect with enough on spot flexibility. Big thanks to Jack who figured it all out so well and to the next time with China Discovery! Johannes (GER) & Elizabeth (GRC)"
Thanks again for an excellent trip, best regards, Johannes&Elizabeth
It's was great, we loved it! Our tour guide Frank was very kind, informative, and funny :) We loved how easy it was and how much we got to see in a day, I will definitely recommend to our friends!
we will be happy to when we get back to Shanghai It was a great trip and Kevin was a wonderful guide!
Absolutely fantastic trip. We enjoyed every moment and the guides were all really good.
I might only have one more year in China and I would like to see more. I believe that the best way for me is smaller trips leaving Thursday evening and returning Sunday.
Thank for our trip. Well organised. Driver & guide were super ! We have been lucky to have a sunny weather and the lantern festival! And not toooooo cold, only if you compare to the week before !
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