Day 1: Arrival/Chengdu
Transfer via: International flight (please arrange these individually yourself)
Upon arriving in Chengdu, your personal guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel for a rest before you are taken for a delicious dinner of Sichuan cuisine at a local restaurant.
Chengdu: Centrally located in the western Sichuan Plain, the capital of Sichuan Province, Chengdu has a history of over 2300 years. It is renowned for its fertile land and agricultural wealth, which have earned the city the nickname “Storehouse of Heaven”.
Day 2: Chengdu
On this day, you will visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, followed by a trip to the Wenshu Temple where you can spend some time sitting in its tea house enjoying a cup of traditional Chinese tea and absorbing the special atmosphere of Chengdu and Jili Old Street.
Giant Panda Breeding Research Base: 18km from the city center, the base is home to 12 pandas. It is the best place to see Chengdu’s most famous residents and to get to know more about this precious species.
Wenshu Temple: Chengdu’s oldest and largest Buddhist temple was originally built during the Tang Dynasty. It was rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty and features exquisite relief carvings. You can absorb the very atmosphere of Chengdu here; the temple is full of local worshippers burning incense, and the tea house at the back of the complex is a great place to relax and do some people watching, while the streets outside are filled with blind fortune-tellers and hawkers selling incense, paper money and statues.
Jinli Old Street: Located in Chengdu, Jinli Old Street combines the ambience of both ancient and modern China. It was constructed in 2004 in the traditional architectural style of Sichuan Province during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Jinli Old Street is not only a wonderful reminder of China’s past, but is also a great place for people to fully appreciate Sichuan’s customs, culture and folk arts.
Day 3: Chengdu/Lhasa
Transfer via: Flight (in economy class per our arrangement)
You will be free at leisure until your local guide escorts you to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination. Upon your arrival at Gonggar airport, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the hotel in Lhasa city (2-hour drive). You will have the opportunity to view the Stone Giant Buddha engraved in the mountain face en route. After checking in the hotel, have some rest in the afternoon in order to adapt to the high altitude.
Lhasa: The capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region with an elevation of 3650 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level, is nicknamed the Sunlight City. It is the highest city in the world. This ancient sprawling city, settled about 1,300 years ago, is the region’s political, economic and cultural center as well as a sacred place of Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 4: Lhasa
Your sightseeing today will include Lhasa’s cardinal landmarks, the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and the flourishing Barkhor Street.
The Potala Palace: The symbol of Lhasa, perched upon Marpo Ri Hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa Valley, is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet and one of the most famous architectural works of the world. Its construction was started in 641 AD and was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in three years, while the Thirteenth Dalai Lama extended and repaired it to its current state. As the religious and political centre of old Tibet and the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, the palace witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important political and religious activities over the past centuries. Potala Palace also houses great amounts of rare cultural relics, including gold hand-written Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from the Chinese emperors and many priceless antiques.
The Jokhang Temple: Located in the center of the old section of Lhasa, built in 647 AD by Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign wives, and later extended by successive rulers, it has now become a gigantic architectural complex and is the spiritual center of Tibet.
Barkhor Street: A circular street around the Jokhang Temple in the center of the old section of Lhasa, it is the oldest street with a very traditional Tibetan feel and style, where you can enjoy bargaining with the local Tibetan vendors for the beautiful and rare handicrafts hardly seen elsewhere in the world. Barkhor Street is also one of the most important religious paths along which pilgrims have walked around Jokhang Temple while turning prayer wheels in their hands throughout the centuries. Today, Buddhist pilgrims continue to walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day and deep into the night.
Day 5: Lhasa
Today we will bring you to the Norbulingka Park, the Drepung Monastery and the Sera Monastery.
Norbulingka Park: Norbulingka means “Jeweled Garden”, and was built in 1751 AD as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama where they handled political affairs and practiced religious activities. Now a large-scale palace complex and garden in Tibetan style covering an area of 40 hectares, the whole park has 370 rooms of different sizes and lawns shaded by green trees and enclosed by many different types of flowers. Before 1959, commoners had no access to this park. Nowadays, on festivals and holidays, the local people in their colorful costumes come here with food and tents to sing and dance overnight.
Drepung Monastery: The largest monastery of the Gelug Sect in Tibet, standing on the slope of the majestic Mount Gambo Utse, it was built in 1416 AD and is the place where each reincarnation of the Dalai Lama received his training. In its heyday, it had more than 10,000 monks; now it is home to about 700 monks.
Sera Monastery: Sera means “Wild Rose Garden” in Tibetan because lush wild rose woods once grew around it. The monastery is one of the three largest monasteries in Tibet. Located on the northern outskirts of Lhasa, it was built in 1419 AD by Jamchen Choje (or Sakyayeshe), one of the eight disciples of Tsong Khapa who was the founder of Gelugpa Sect. Sera Monastery houses three colleges built in the 15th and 16th centuries respectively, and it is famous for its “Buddhist Scripture Debating”.
Day 6: Lhasa/Gyantse
Today’s drive is from Lhasa to Gyantse (about 256 km, approximately a 5.5-hour drive), and along the way you will visit Yamdrok Lake and a Tibetan family. After arrival in Gyantse, you will tour the Palcho Monastery.
Yamdrok Lake: One of the three largest lakes of Tibet and one of the three holy lakes, it covers an area of 638 square kilometers with a coastal line of 250 kilometers. The deepest point in the lake is 60 meters. The coast of the lake is an ideal pasture, where you can enjoy the intoxicating picturesque natural scenery.
Tibetan Family: You will be greeted and warmly welcomed by this wonderful Tibetan family in their traditional way and entertained with their typical local food. – – Gyantse: Was an important wool trading post between Tibet and India in mediaeval times.
Palcho Monastery: Built in 1414 AD, it is unique because three sects of Buddhism—Sakya, Gedan and Gelug—are living harmoniously under one roof. The Palcho Pagoda beside the Monastery has 9 stories, 108 doors and 77 rooms housing some 100,000 statues of Buddha, and so it is famed as the “100,000-Buddha Pagoda.” The frescoes, statues and sculptures in the monastery are exquisite, succinct and life-like.
Day 7: Gyantse/Shigatse
After breakfast, we will drive from Gyantse to Shigatse (about a 90 km, 1.5-hour drive). In Shigatse, you will visit the Tashilumpo Monastery and the free market.
Tashilumpo Monastery: Built in 1447 AD, this is the oldest and largest Gelugpa monastery in Tibet and the seat of Banchen Lama. Painted in red and white, the buildings in the monastery stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. The most amazing image in this monastery is the statue of giant Maitreya (Future Buddha)—the largest one in the world, erected by the 9th Panchen Lama in 1914. It stands 26 meters in height and is 275 kg in weight with solid gold and great quantity of precious gems such as pearls, turquoise, coral and amber. The image of the Buddha is kind, generous and vivid.
Day 8: Shigatse/Lhasa
Today, we will drive back to Lhasa (280 km, about a 6-hour drive) along the Yaluzangbu River. You can enjoy the beautiful view of the valley en route. After a rest in Lhasa, a farewell dinner will be arranged at a typical Tibetan restaurant and you will the opportunity to enjoy the local food with Tibetan dances and songs.
－The Yaluzangbu River: 2,051 km long, the Yaluzangbu River turns and twists like a silver dragon from the west to the east into the valleys of South Tibet. It runs through Muotuo County, and after a 90-degree turn, empties into the Indian Ocean. Overnight in Lahsa.
Day 9: Lhasa / Chengdu
Transfer via: Flight (in economy class per our arrangement)
You will have the day free at leisure until our local guide escorts you to the airport for your flight back to Chengdu. Upon your arriving in Chengdu, you will be escorted to your hotel. You are free for the rest of the day.
Accommodations: Tianfu Sunshine Hotel
Day 10: Chengdu / Leshan / Chengdu
On this day you will be driven about 2 hours to Leshan and there you will visit the Giant Buddha. The Giant Buddha was carved out of the cliffs at the confluence of the Dadu, Minjiang and Qingyi Rivers. You will be escorted back to Chengdu city after the tour.
Leshan Giant Buddha: The largest stone Buddha statue in the world at 71 meters in height. Its head is 14.7 meters high and 10 meters wide with a total of 1021 buns of hair on it. The statue’s 8.5-meter-wide instep can accommodate over 100 people.
Day 11: Chengdu / International Departures
Transfer via: International flights (please arrange these yourself)
The day is free at your leisure until our local guide escorts you to the airport for your onward flights.