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China Holidays

The Yak Tour

14 Night Itinerary from £ 4,343 4,094 $ 5,080

Private Individual Tour

Buddhist monk debates, prayer flags fluttering below Himalayan peaks and the Dalai Lama's palaces on the Roof of the World.

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MYSTERIES OF TIBET TOUR & EVEREST BASE CAMP

Buddhist monk debates, prayer flags fluttering below Himalayan peaks and the Dalai Lama's palaces on the Roof of the World.

Travel Highlights

  • Our special in-depth cultural Tibet tour
  • Journey through China's dynastic past and understand its modern society in Beijing
  • Explore the mighty Forbidden City and walk on the Great Wall of China
  • Take the epic 22 hour train to Lhasa, passing mountain scenery
  • Visit the former residences of the Dali Lama in the Holy City of Lhasa
  • Venture further into Tibet to Shigatse, via sacred lakes and mountain passes
  • Discover Buddhist monasteries and palaces, full of fascinating tales of the past
  • Enjoy a once in a lifetime encounter with Mount Everest
  • See baby pandas and the 71m high Giant Buddha at close quarters
  • Choose to extend your trip to Shanghai or Hong Kong
  • Includes all flights, trains, transfers, hotels, excursions & meals as shown
  • Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Journey Breakdown

The Yak Tour
Travel Itinerary

Beijing & Great Wall Day 1 - 5

Day 1 - Fly to Beijing

Day 2 - Welcome to Beijing

Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present

Day 4 - Temple of Heaven & Hutong Tour

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall

Itinerary Description

Day 1-2 - Welcome to Beijing - The private tour departs on a direct overnight flight from London, or via an alternative route at one of the major regional airports in the UK if you prefer. Arrive in Beijing in the morning and be welcomed upon arrival for transfer to your hotel. You will receive a walking orientation tour around your hotel with our guide, familiarising you with the surroundings and answering any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, or you may prefer to add an afternoon tour.

Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present - Our special tour gives you an in-depth view of the the city's history, culture and modern life. We start amid the Communist-style buildings of Tiananmen Square and walk into the mythical Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese Emperors. Here you can learn about China's dynastic past, before climbing Coal Hill for an overview of the central Beijing landscape. After lunch in a traditional hutong, enter the Confucius and Buddhist temples to understand China's two most important belief systems and their role in daily life. (B,L)

Day 4 - Temple of Heaven Park & Hutongs - We start at the Temple of Heaven, considered by UNESCO "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design", to learn about Chinese philosophical beliefs, cosmogony, art, dynastic politics and sacrificial rituals. We visit early to gain wonderful insights into local life, as large groups of elderly Beijingers gather to take communal exercises, sing, socialise and play musical instruments. We take lunch at a family hutong home and then survey the traditional streets from the back of a rickshaw and on foot. Enjoy some cultural activities like calligraphy or paper cutting or perhaps attempt to cook the Chinese way by making some local dumplings. (B,L)

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall - We drive two hours north of Beijing to access the iconic Great Wall of China to hike a wild section away from the crowds. Here we can truly appreciate its full majesty and savour stunning views of the surrounding mountains, taking the cable cars down from the restored part at Mutianyu, allowing you a look at the Wall in its original state. (B,L)

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Penta Hotel

Beijing & Great Wall - First Hotel

Described as a "neighbourhood lifestyle hotel", the Penta is a distinctive 4 star contemporary hotel, close to the Temple of Heaven and a short walk from the subway. The laid-back hotel offers 307 ensuite rooms in a minimalist style, including family rooms, as well as the use of bikes and maps to explore the local area. The heart of the hotel is the bustling Pentalounge; an all-encompassing café, deli, noodle bar, library and games area that provides a meeting place where guests and locals come and go.

Hotel Cote Cour

Beijing & Great Wall - First Boutique

The Cote Cour is a renowned boutique hotel spread out around a traditional inner courtyard and nestled in an historic centuries-old hutong. Fully refurbished in 2016, the rooms and communal areas are decorated to a high standard with classic paintings, furnishings and details, evoking a timelessness and a deep connection with the long history of the structures. You will find all the modern amenities that you will need during your stay, as well as an attentive service and free internet access and bicycle hire.

Guests can relax on the rooftop space and perhaps choose to dine in the a la carte restaurant. For families, there is both a standard and deluxe family room.

 

Regent Hotel

Beijing & Great Wall - Deluxe Hotel

A multi-award winning luxury hotel close to Tiananmen Square and shopping streets, providing guests with outstanding service in opulent surrounds. 500 spacious rooms and suites are elegantly finished in traditional Chinese style, whilst floor-to-ceiling windows fill the rooms with natural light and afford panoramic views, including of the Forbidden City from some. Connecting rooms are available for groups and there is a choice of renowned restaurants, as well as an indoor pool and wellness centre.

Scenic train to Xining Day 6 - 7

Day 6 - Summer Palace, Art District & Fly to Xining

Day 7 - Overnight scenic train to Lhasa

Itinerary Description

Day 6 - Summer Palace, Art District & Fly to Xining- Today you will fly west from Beijing to Xining, capital of the Qinghai province. A late afternoon flight allows for more exploration of Beijing, and so we will visit the Summer Palace and the 798 Art District in the northern parts, en-route to the airport. Upon arrival in Xining you will be met by your guide and taken to your hotel for the night. (B)

Day 7 - Overnight scenic train to Lhasa - The 22 hour scenic train to Lhasa departs at around 2pm, leaving this morning free to buy some supplies in the local area. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the train station in plenty of time. During the epic journey you will enjoy a soft sleeper berth, the most comfortable available and which gives you a great vantage from which to watch the mountain scenery roll-by. Not long after departure you will pass the glistening Qinghai Lake, the largest inland lake in China.

Please note that the train is not considered to be luxurious and cabins are arranged in groups of four. Hot food and drink is available on board, though it is a good idea to come prepared with your own snacks.

You will have a soft sleeper bed reserved, offering a higher level of comfort and privacy, though cabins are arranged in groups of four beds, so you may have to share with other travellers unless you prefer to book the whole cabin. Hot food and drink is available from the on-board restaurant. (B)

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Lhasa Day 8 - 9

Day 8 - Transfer to Tibet & Summer Palace tour

Day 9 - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple & Sera Monastery

Itinerary Description

Day 8 - Welcome to Tibet & Summer Palace - This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lhasa in Tibet. Here you will be met on arrival by your local guide and driver who will welcome you to the city and get you settled in to your hotel. You will now be at high altitude so it is best to take it easy and drink plenty of water to help your body acclimatise. As a gentle introduction to Lhasa, we will visit the Norbulingka, the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama, set within relaxing landscaped parkland on the outskirts of Lhasa. Following lunch at a local restaurant you will have the afternoon free to relax and wander around the charming old town. (B,L)

holidays to Tibet - Lhasa

Day 9 - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple & Sera Monastery - We start the following day with a tour of the Potala Palace, the defining symbol of Lhasa and Tibet. The winter home to ten Dalai Lama's, the huge 17th century structure is one of the most poignant on the planet, telling the story of life here before the Dali Lama was forced to flee to India. The roof terraces house the former residences of the Dalai Lama and afford sweeping views of the city.

We then drive into the very heart of the old town and the centre of the Tibetan religious universe. The colourful Jokhang Temple is the most sacred place in Tibet, a destination for pilgrims from across the Buddhist world. It is encircled by the lively Barkor Street, around which pilgrims walk in a clockwise directions, spinning prayer wheels as they go or prostrating themselves fully along the ground. Watching their incredible devotion is a privileged experience for any visitor.

Tibet holiday - Lhasa old town

After lunch we will conclude the day at the Sera Monastery, arriving in time for a guided tour, before the monks take to the courtyard for their afternoon debating sessions. Watching them express themselves so spectacularly, even without understanding the language, is a memorable experience. (B,L)

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holidays to tibet - sera monastery monks

House of Shambhala

Lhasa - First Hotel

Full of endearing Tibetan charm and located in the very heart of the charming Lhasa old town, this 4* courtyard hotel is a wonderfully authentic base from which to explore the city. The 13 rooms are decorated in traditional Tibetan style, creating a warm and welcoming environment, with a good range of facilities and room sizes.

A simple breakfast, including eggs made to order, is served in the restaurant, which itself is rated as one of the best local eateries in Lhasa.

Head up to the rooftop area and find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the view across the rooftops of the old town, adorned with prayer flags in every direction.

St Regis

Lhasa - Deluxe Hotel

Starwood hotels follow their legacy of luxury accommodation with this fabulous 5 star hotel in Lhasa. 162 large sumptuous rooms and suites provide exquisite spaces in which to relax and unwind after a day exploring the high altitude city. These feature welcoming sofas, walk-in closets, powder room, study area and balconies, affording views over the city or landscaped gardens. Spacious bathrooms include a traditional Victorian bathtub, twin vanity counter and separate walk-in shower.

The hotels gold energy pool is the perfect place to refresh yourself, whilst guests can also join regular yoga classes.

Tibetan Heartland Day 10 - 11

Day 10 - Sacred lake, glacier & Pelkhor Monastery

Day 11 - Tashilhunpo Monastery & Everest Base Camp

Itinerary Description

Day 10 - Sacred lake, glacier & Dzong architecture - To truly appreciate the beauty and rural culture of Tibet, we will head out of the city and take the scenic route through the mountains towards Shigatse. On the way we will stop at the beautiful and sacred Yamdrock Lake, stopping for photos at a lookout point and by the shore. We continue through high altitude mountain passes, giving us a spectacular view of the Karola Glacier, a brilliant white mass which tumbles down the mountainside.

holidays to Tibet - Karola Glacier

We will then drive to the ancient town of Gyanste, paying a visit to the striking Pelkhor Monastery, climbing the unique circular stupa (Kumbum) for magnificent views across to the Gyantse Dzong fortress and old town. We arrive in Shigatse in early evening for our overnight stay. (B,L)

Day 11 - Tashilhunpo Monastery & Everest Base Camp - Shigatse is Tibet's second biggest city, sitting in a fertile plain at the confluence of two rivers. It is home to a broad mix of ethnic minority groups and some wonderful Tibetan architecture. The most famous monument is the 15th century Tashilhunpo Monastery, a large gathering of chapels, halls and courtyards that together represent the largest religious site in Tibet. It is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, the second most important after the Dalai Lama and is home to a rich collection of important relics, as well as the largest gilded Buddha statue in the world.

Holidays to Tibet - Tashilhunpo Monastery

After our visit to the monastery, we begin the drive south, eventually turning off of the Friendship Highway that runs to Nepal to enter the Mount Everest National Park and follow a winding newly pave road up towards the world's highest mountain pass. From here you might catch you first glimpse of Everest and the other towering Himalayan peaks in the distance. We then will drive onwards to reach the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest in the world at 4,980 metres above sea level, in time for dinner. You will stay overnight in either the basic monastery guest house or the large tents of the nearby campsite to give you the chance to see Everest at its best in the morning. (B,L,D)

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Mount Everest Base Camp Day 12

Day 12 - Everest Base Camp & Sakya Monastery

Itinerary Description

Day 12 - Everest Base Camp & Sakya Monastery - Today we rise early to hopefully see the peak of the great mountain bathed in golden sunlight. We will need to undertake the final 2 mile journey by shuttle bus down to the Base Camp, where your guide will give you a tour of the area and lead a short walk. A small hill affords a mesmerising view of Everest, with hundreds of colourful prayer flags fluttering at your side.

Will then head back to Shigatse for an overnight stay and on the way will visit the impressive Sakya Monastery. Sakya differs to those already visited in Lhasa and Shigatse in that it is built in a fortress style, earning it the nickname of the 'Great Wall of Tibet'. It also hosts an astonishing collection of Tibetan prayer books, piled high they make for a spectacular sight. We will then return to Shigatse, before flying to Chengdu. It is also possible to stay at Sakya overnight at a simple guest house, affording more time to visit and hike around the hills here, before returning to Shigatse. (B,L)

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holidays to Tibet - Sakya Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery Guest House

Everest Base Camp - Basic Hostel

The guest house offers both communal and a few private rooms, some of which enjoy clear views out to the world's highest peak. Rooms are decidedly basic, though they have electric blankets to keep you warm, sockets to charge your batteries and a supply of hot water. A traditionally-decorated communal area serves surprisingly good food and warming drinks, both at dinner and breakfast.

From here it is a short drive to the campsite and then a 10-15 minute shuttle bus ride to Everest Base Camp.

Outside of the winter months, visitors to the remote Everest Base Camp have two options to spend the night, before rising early to see Everest at its best. One option is this guesthouse, the other being the communal tents of the Everest campsite.

Everest Tents

Everest Base Camp - Basic Hostel

As an alternative to staying in the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House, you might choose to spend the night in one of the communal tents at the Everest campsite. These are surprisingly warm and spacious and are traditionally-decorated. A yak and sheep dung fire keeps the temperature up (you get used to the smell) and hot food and drinks are available.

The views of Everest from the campsite are glorious, as are those enjoyed from the Base Camp site, just a short shuttle bus ride from here.

Chengdu & Leshan Buddha Day 13 - 16

Day 13 - Bullet Train to Chengdu

Day 14 - Pandas & Dujiangyan Irrigation System

Day 15 - Come face-to-face with the 71m Giant Buddha

Day 16 - Return flight to the UK

Itinerary Description

Day 13 - Fly to Chengdu & time at leisure - This morning you will fly from Shigatse to Chengdu, where you will be met upon arrival by your guide for the next few days and transferred to your hotel. You'll have today at leisure, perhaps to relax in the large People's Square, taking tea at one of the large outside teahouses and observing local life here. South of the river is the lively Jinli Street, lined with traditional buildings and shops and stalls selling locally created artwork, handicrafts, paper cuts and calligraphy. This is a great place to spend the afternoon shopping for gifts and souvenirs. (B)

Day 14 - Pandas & Dujiangyan Irrigation System - No visit to Chengdu would be complete without going to the nearby Panda Research Base - there is simply no better place to see these charming and highly endangered animals up close. Designed to replicate the natural bamboo habitat of the panda to encourage breeding, the centre is respected the world over for its ongoing research and conservation efforts, not just for the giant pandas, but also for red pandas and black swans. We visit early in the morning to see the baby pandas at their most active, returning to the city for midday.

From here we continue on to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. This extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage site was originally constructed back in 256BC, during the Qin Dynasty. It is the oldest irrigation system in the world and is thought to be the only major system of its kind not to feature a dam.  Another major feat of engineering is the magnificent Anlan Suspension Bridge which crosses the river. Surrounding the irrigation system are a number of impressive temples, halls, towers, statues and gardens. (B,L)

Day 15 - Come face-to-face with the 71m Giant Buddha - Today we will drive around 2 hours south of Chengdu to visit the magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha. Measuring in at 71 metres high, the 1,200 year old Buddha watches over the confluence of three rivers and looks out onto the sacred Mount Emei. We will take a boat ride to enjoy panoramic views of the Buddha and then climb up the steps to come face-to-face with it, for a close up view. We will then return to Chengdu by road. (B,L)

Day 16 - Return flight to the UK - Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to London with Air France-KLM, via Amsterdam. (B)

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Buddha Zen

Chengdu & Pandas - First Hotel

Located close to the Wenshu Yuan Monastery, this spiritually themed 4 star hotel aims to give visitors an insight into traditional Buddhist life. It offers 35 tranquil rooms and well-equipped rooms, all thoughtfully and elegantly decorated in a style true to the spirit of the hotel. The courtyard-style building is filled with ancient paintings and statues and small details that are full of hidden meaning.

The Buddha Zen also invites guests to take a traditional 'Zen' afternoon tea in the  Jian Cha Teahouse and unwind in the harmonious Zi Zai spa, havens of peace and tranquillity in one of China's biggest cities.

The Ritz-Carlton

Chengdu & Pandas - Deluxe Hotel

As you might expect from a Ritz-Carlton, this hotel delivers luxury and service on an unparalleled level in Chengdu. Its collection of spacious and stylish rooms all offer fine city views of Chengdu's skyscrapers and offer a host of facilities and features including:

  • Twice-daily housekeeping attention
  • LCD TVs (at least 42 inches)
  • Exclusive Asprey bath amenities
  • Blu-ray disc/DVD player
  • iPod/iPhone/iPad docking station
  • In-bathroom TV
  • Bathtub and separate shower
  • Illuminated cosmetic mirror, hair dryer and scale
  • TOTO intelligent toilet
  • Ritz-Carlton signature linens and feather bedding
  • Plush terry robes
  • Walk-in closet
  • Complimentary overnight shoeshine
  • Fully stocked mini refreshment bar
  • Complimentary high-speed wired- and wireless Internet access
  • Multi-line telephone with voicemail
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • In-room safe

Guests can enjoy a choice of glamorous bars and four award-winning restaurants, including the renowned Li Xuan, which serves outstanding Cantonese & Sichuan-style cuisine. The large Ritz-Carlton Spa and Fitness Center complex includes an indoor swimming pool with underwater music and offers their signature tea-themed treatments.

Travel Details
Yak

Price Breakdown

Prices are per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Chinese New Year.

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Feb, Apr-May Jun-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - £4,342 £4,805 - £4,797 £5,368
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + £421 + £763 - + £552 + £949
Single Traveller - Own Room - + £1,730 + £2,444 - + £1,864 + £2,671
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Feb, Apr-May Jun-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - €4,093 €4,625 - €5,715 €6,515
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + €484 + €878 - + €-464 + €-151
Single Traveller - Own Room - + €1,989 + €2,811 - + €1,045 + €1,830
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Feb, Apr-May Jun-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - $5,078 $5,727 - $5,715 $5,368
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + $590 + $1,068 - + $774 + $2,476
Single Traveller - Own Room - + $2,422 + $3,421 - + $2,611 + $4,887

Booking Terms & Conditions

What's Included

  • International return flights
  • 2 internal flights as shown
  • Soft sleeper beds on Xining to Lhasa train
  • 14 nights accommodation as shown on the itinerary
  • Meals as described on the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from airport
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides and private vehicle
  • Prices are per person based on two sharing a room
  • Guideline price only - please request a bespoke itinerary for an accurate quote

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