Days 1-4 – London, Beijing, and the Great Wall
We depart London Heathrow on our overnight flight to Beijing,
arriving on Day 2. We transfer to our base for the
next 3 nights, the Novotel Xinqiao Hotel.
On Day 3 we visit Tiananmen Square, the city’s
political heart and home to Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. This public
area was famously the site of various demonstrations in 1989, and
is immortalised by the iconic Tank Man picture. Beijing is home to
a number of palaces and we explore the palace complex of the
Forbidden City before continuing to the Summer Palace with its
sprawling gardens and the man-made Kunming Lake.
On Day 4, we visit one of the country’s most
famous attractions and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World,
the Great Wall of China. Stretching an astonishing 5,500 miles from
Shanhai Pass in the east to Jiayu Pass in the west, the Great Wall
and its original foundations are over 2,300 years old and enjoy
UNESCO World Heritage status. After ascending by cable cars that
offer panoramic views, we enjoy the chance to walk along this
architectural masterpiece. Back in Beijing, we visit the
distinctive Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, both venues used during the
2008 Olympic Games. Tonight we sample Beijing’s signature dish,
Days 5-6 – Xian and the Terracotta Warriors
We travel by coach today to the impressive Temple of Heaven in
the bustling centre of China’s capital, a local and cultural hub
that is a popular meeting spot for residents. Then, we take the
high-speed rail service to Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province
and located at the eastern end of the famous Silk Road. We check
into the Grand Mercure hotel for 2 nights.
On Day 6, we enjoy a visit to the Terracotta
Warriors. One of the greatest archaeological finds of the modern
era, this army is made up of over 8,000 terracotta soldiers, as
well as horses and chariots which were buried alongside the tomb of
the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. We then return to Xi’an
for a tour of its attractions, including the Bazaar and the Grand
Mosque. In the evening, we participate in a dumpling making class
and enjoy a traditional dumpling banquet afterwards.
Authentic dumplings are pivotal to Chinese cuisine and are
pieces of dough stuffed with vegetables, fish, meat, fruits or even
sweets. We join a dumpling making class in Xi’an, learning the art
of preparing the dough and deftly wrapping them around our chosen
fillings. An every-day activity in many Chinese households, we get
a unique window into life amongst families in this part of the
Days 7-8 – Xian to Tibet across the Roof of the World
We fly from Xi’an to Xining today, from where we embark on an
epic overnight journey on the highest railway on earth, ascending
to Tibet past glaciers, frosted peaks, and quaint Himalayan
We cross the Tangula Pass early on Day 8, home
to long-haired yaks. Villages here are adorned with multicoloured
Buddhist prayer flags that flutter against the backdrop of the blue
sky and white mountains. On reaching Lhasa, we check into our hotel
for 3 nights.
The Roof of the World
Travelling Across the Roof of the World describes our journey
across the Tibet Plateau, where some of the highest mountain ranges
of the world, including the Himalayas, the Pamirs, the Tian Shan,
and the Altai meet. We traverse this region by rail, experiencing a
route that is among the highest in the world and which reveals the
majestic beauty of the lofty mountains.
Days 9-10 – Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, and Lhasa
We visit the ancient Jokhang monastery today, possibly the
country’s most revered structure, and made up of an array of
chapels decorated in glorious colours and ornate motifs. Around
this structure runs Barkhor Circuit, a circuit of ancient streets.
We follow the tracks of pilgrims who travel from all over the world
just to walk along these streets circumnavigating the monastery.
This afternoon we head towards Sera Monastery. As an educational
institute, this monastery is responsible for teaching around 3,000
would-be monks from the age of 7 onwards.
We explore some of Lhasa’s most famous sights on Day
10, beginning at the dazzling Potala Palace, former
residence of the Dalai Lama. Norbulingka Palace, a summer palace
featuring the largest gardens in Tibet, is our next destination,
where we take in the majestic golden pagodas.
Days 11-13 – Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, and Chengdu
Today we leave Lhasa and travel through the mountains to
Gyantse. During our trip we stop to visit Yamdrok Lake, one of the
6 sacred lakes of the country, where Buddhism has animistic traits.
The tranquil water is a brilliant shade of turquoise and is fringed
by snow-capped mountains. We also visit the Karola Glacier before
checking into the Gyantse Hotel.
On Day 12, we visit a highlight of the region,
the striking Palkhor Chode Monastery. This famous gold-domed
complex has 108 chapels and one of the largest Kumbum Stupas, or
multi-storeyed Buddhist chapels, in Tibet. From Palkhor Chode we
continue to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, stopping at
Tashi Lhunpo monastery on the way, which was founded by the 1st
Dalai Lama in 1447.
We take a sightseeing tour of Shigatse on Day
13, visiting the Old Town, before transferring to the
airport for our flight to Chengdu, back in China.
Days 14-15 – Giant pandas, and London
We visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute on the
morning of Day 14, which is home to more than 100
of these magnificent creatures, allowing us to see giant pandas at
close range as they enjoy their natural habitats. After lunch at a
local restaurant we take a guided tour of Chengdu, visiting the
Wenshu Monastery and Jinli Street. We enjoy a farewell dinner at a
local restaurant this evening.
On Day 15, we transfer to the airport for our
flight back to London Heathrow.
The national animal of China is considered one of the most
adorable creatures. Lazy, shy, and lonesome, they like spending
most of their time either eating or sleeping. We meet them at the
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where more than 120
cubs have been born since 1987. Giant Pandas can eat up to 30kg of
bamboo leaves and shoots in just one day and we see them in a
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature
the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown