Iconic China: Beijing to Tibet
Explore China like an insider on this 15-day adventure across its awe-inspiring interior. Go for a walk on the Great Wall, explore the bustling city of Beijing, and meet pandas at a breeding centre in Sichuan. Glimpse daily life in Tibet and cruise the incredible Yangtze River on a riverboat. Cycle atop the city walls of Xi'an, and face its standing army of terracotta warriors before eating lunch with a local family. Venture into the heart of the country, and find the pulse of China.
Hotels (10 nts), soft-sleeper overnight train (1 nt), Yangtze riverboat (3 nts).
Train, minibus, cruise boat, small canal boat, ferry, bicycle, plane, walking.
Enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry, learn how to make Tibetan momos (beef dumplings), get up close and personal with pandas at a Sichuan breeding centre, take in Thangka art at a Tibetan academy in Lhasa, cruise the mighty Yangtze River on a luxury riverboat
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Temple of Heaven Tai Chi, Beijing National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Chinese Shadow Puppetry, Xi'an National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Tangka Painting demonstration, Lhasa National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Dumpling-Making Lesson, Lhasa. Arrival transfer. Tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Bike ride along the Xi'an city walls. Orientation walk through Xi'an's Muslim Quarter and street markets. Tour the museum of the terracotta warriors. Orientation walk in Barkhor square. Tour of Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, and the Tibetan Medicine Institute. Sera Monastery visit. Visit a panda breeding centre. Yangtze River cruise. Three Gorges Dam tour. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Day 1 Beijing (1D)
Arrive at any time and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a first taste of Chinese cuisine with a Peking Duck welcome dinner.
Day 2 Beijing (1B)
Start the day early with a lesson in tai chi, led by a local expert at the historic Temple of Heaven. After, continue exploring the key sites of Beijing including the famed Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.
Day 7 Lhasa (1B)
Enjoy a guided visit to the Potala Palace and the Tibetan Medicine Institute to learn more about Tibetan spirituality and culture. Also visit a tangka academy to observe this ancient and intricate art form, considered sacred to Buddhists. The works usually depict a deity, scene, or mandala and are tied directly into Buddhist teaching and meditation.
Day 8 Lhasa (1B, 1L)
Visit sacred Jokhang Temple and the historic Sera Monastery, one of the great Tibetan Universities famed for its open debates among monks on the Buddhist doctrines. Later take a cooking class with a local chef and make (and eat) Tibetan momo beef dumplings.
Day 9 Lhasa/Chengdu (1B, 1D)
Fly to Chengdu and sample the famed and fiery Sichuan cuisine for dinner in the evening.
Day 10 Chengdu/Chongqing (1B)
Visit the Panda Breeding Centre to learn about and observe these gentle animals. Later, catch a train to Chongqing and board a luxury riverboat for the first night on the Yangtze.
Day 11 Yangtze River (1B, 1L, 1D)
Cruise the Yangtze River with daily shore excursions that can include Fengdu, Shibaozhai, or Wanzhou; sailing through Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges, or Shennong Stream, and sailing through Three Gorges dam ship locks. Relax in comfortable cabins and enjoy onboard activities such as tai chi, tea tasting, and Chinese calligraphy classes.
Day 12 Yangtze River (1B, 1L, 1D)
Cruise the Yangtze River with daily shore excursions that can include Fengdu, Shibaozhai, or Wanzhou; sailing through Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges, or Shennong Stream, and sailing through Three Gorges dam shiplocks. Relax in comfortable cabins and enjoy shipboard activities such as tai chi, tea tasting, and Chinese calligraphy classes.
Day 13 Yangtze River/Shanghai (1B)
Enjoy a tour of Three Gorges Dam (dependent on river conditions) before flying to Shanghai.
Day 14 Shanghai (1B)
Enjoy free time to explore this vibrant city on your own. Opt to visit Yuyuan Gardens, the Shanghai Museum, or catch the famed Shanghai acrobats in performance this evening.
Day 15 Shanghai (1B)
Depart at any time.