Beijing to Lhasa train journey
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BEIJING - LHASA - KATHMANDU TRAIN TOUR

(17 days)

Exploration of the ancient palaces, monasteries and temples, a ride on the world's highest train, a journey to (almost) the top of the world, the Everest Base camp,this tour offers you an experience of a lifetime. This trip takes you on a whirlwind tour to three oriental cities: Beijing, Lhasa and Kathmandu. Exploring these three cities will give you an insight into three ancient cultures, Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese. But the major highlight of this trip is the journey aboard the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest railway. Another highlight of this trip is the trek to the Everest Base Camp.

Your tour commences in Beijing, a city in Northern China. Beijing, an ancient capital and a bustling modern metropolis is a city of amazing contrasts. In Beijing some incredible historical sites awaits you. On a guided tour, you explore the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven.

Leaving Beijing you embark on a train journey to Lhasa, aboard the world's highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet railway. As the train trundles along the high Tibetan plateau, picturesque scenes of Tibetan countryside whiz by. Owing to Tibet's high altitude the train has been equipped with oxygen-supplying equipments. Oxygen masks are available for those who are prone to altitude sickness.

In the old city of Lhasa, you will be taken on a guided tour to all the city's major attractions: Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka etc. Excursions to important Tibetan cities of Shigatse, Gyantse and Shegar are also included in your itinerary. On reaching Rongbuk, you get to view the world's highest mountain Mount Everest. As you leave Zangmu and cross the Friendship Bridge you enter Nepal. There is a refreshing change in scenery, as verdant greenery replaces the dry and arid Tibetan landscape. In Kathmandu you will get to explore the three medieval cities: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Train station in Lhasa

» TRIP FACTS

Trip length: 17 Days
Starts in: Beijing
Ends in: Kathmandu
Accommodation: Hotel and train (soft-sleeper bed)
Transportation: 4WD Land cruiser, train from Beijing to Lhasa
Maximum altitude: 5250m

» HIGHLIGHTS

> 2 full days to explore Beijing including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Tombs.
> Awesome glimpse of the striated rock summit of Mt. Everest from Everest Base Camp [5200m].
> Picturesque tableau of Tibetan countryside, nomadic herdsmen, ancient monasteries, high mountain passes, wide arid plains and awe-inspiring mountain views.
> A memorable 48 hours train journey from Beijing to Lhasa, aboard the world's highest railways.
> 3 amazing nights in Lhasa spent visiting Potala Palace, Norbulingka monastery, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Markets and Drepung monastery.
> Culturally stimulating drive to Lhasa, Lhatse, Shigatse and Gyantse amidst the magnificent mountain vistas of Everest, Makalu, Changtse, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and many other Tibetan peaks.
> Insightful cultural explorations in Kathmandu.

 

Lhasa landscape

Potala Palace

People of Tibet

» OUTLINE ITINERARY

Day 01 - Arrive in Beijing
Day 02/03 - Sightseeing in Beijing (Forbidden city, Imperial Palaces, Summer Palace, and Great Wall of China)
Day 04/05 - Morning visit to Temple of Heaven-Evening Board the train from Beijing to Lhasa (3650m)-Departure 21:30hrs (48 hrs journey)
Day 06 - Arrive in Lhasa at 21:30hrs
Day 07/08 - Sightseeing in Lhasa- (Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Square, Drepung Monastery and Potala Palace)
Day 09 - Free day in Lhasa- (for acclimatization)
Day 10 - Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m) 261km
Day 11 - Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m) 90km (Before leaving Gyantse visit Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum)
Day 12 - Drive from Shigatse to Shegar (4050m) 244km (Before leaving Shigatse visit Tashilhunpo Monastery)
Day 13 - Drive to Rongbuk (5000m) 68km
Day 14 - Drive to Zhangmu (2300m) 181km
Day 15 - Drive to Kathmandu (1400m) 123km
Day 16 - Sightseeing in Kathmandu - (Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath)
Day 17 - Depart Kathmandu

Optional: If you would like to visit other chinese cities such as Chengdu (Panda Farm and Teshan Buddha Statue), Xian (City wall, Terracota Warriors) and Xining, please contact us using the form below.

 

TESTIMONIALS

Article written by San Francisco Chronicle journalist who traveled with us on this trip.

TIBET TRAIN TOUR

“Namaste Kumari and Kisan!
I would like to say thank you for all of the time and effort that you gave to make our recent trip such a wonderful adventure. Gina Lee and I were thrilled with how smoothly everything went. We saw and learned much, and we marveled at the natural beauty of the places we visited. Thanks again and best wishes.”

Name: Andrew K. Sandvik
Country: USA
Area: Beijing to Kathmandu via Lhasa by Train and Jeep
Date: July 2010

TIBET TRAIN TOUR

"The airport and hotel transfer was excellent. Our tour guide was excellent. We had a very good driver, but we would like suggest not to use a bus in Tibet."

Name: Peter Glinvad
Country: Denmark
Area: Beijing - Lhasa-Kathmandu
Date: March, 2010

"I came to know about Explore Himalaya from a newspaper article on “San Francisco Chronicle”. Overall it was a great trip.I was well taken care of in Beijing both in arrival and departure. My dealings with the representatives in Kathmandu was absolutely excellent. The tour guide in Tibet should have known and talked more about Tibet today not politics of course, but how they live, what they grow and life in general."

Name: Tore Liahjell
Country: California, USA
Area: Beijing Kathmandu Train Travel

 

Fixed Departures 2014
20 Mar-05 Apr// 03Apr -19 Apr// 10 Apr -26 Apr// 24 Apr - 10 May// 08 May- 24 May// 22 May-07 Jun//05 Jun-21 Jun//12 Jun-28Jun// 26 Jun-12 Jul//03Jul-19 Jul//17 Jul-02 Aug//31 Jul-16 Aug// 14 Aug-30 Aug// 28 Aug-13 Sept// 11 Sept-27 Sept// 18 Sept-04 Oct//02 Oct- 18 Oct// 09 Oct-25 Oct// 23 Oct - 08 Nov//

PRICE
USD 2895 per person on twin sharing,
Single room supplement: US 395,
Hotel / Lodge, Local leader

Cost Includes:

  • Accommodation at 3 star Hotel in Beijing with breakfast,
  • guided sightseeing tour including a visit to the Great Wall in Beijing,
  • Lhasa/Beijing train fare (soft sleeper; if unavailable would opt for hard sleeper and refund the difference),
  • Hotel Kailash or similar hotel in Lhasa (3 star) & best available en route with breakfast,
  • transportation by 4WD land cruiser (Toyota 4500, the best available in Tibet),
  • sightseeing tours with English speaking local TIBETAN guide,
  • all entry fees,
  • Tibet travel permit, airport transfers,
  • 2 nights’ accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu with breakfast,
  • guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with an English speaking guide, entry fees,
  • border transfer and train station transfers.

Cost Excludes:

  • Any airfare,
  • Lunch and dinner (7-10 USD per meal), airport tax,
  • personal clothing & equipments,
  • any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/road block due any reason,
  • your insurance.

FLIGHT / TRAIN FARE
Flight: rates and taxes are subject to change without prior notice
Kathmandu - Lhasa: USD 439 (Tue & Sat in high seasons)
Chengdu - Lhasa: USD 250
Beijing - Lhasa: USD 490
Shanghai - Lhasa: USD 512
Kathmandu - Beijing: 790
* Train to Lhasa from Beijing USD 295 on soft sleeper bed (subject to availability, please read conditions/other available options)
* Tibet (Chinese) visa: USD 114 for all nationality (For those having American passport, additional USD 85 would be applicable as levied by Chinese Govt.)
If you are traveling in Nepal before going to Tibet, you MUST apply for your Chinese visa in Kathmandu. We can get it within two working days with your original passport.

 

» DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive in Beijing
Soon after landing at Beijing airport, you will be escorted to your hotel. At the hotel, you shall be briefed about your travel arrangements and travel destinations. Thereon, you can enjoy the lively ambience and excellent facilities of the hotel.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Beijing
Today you will first visit the historic Tiananmen Square, and then the magnificent Forbidden City. In the afternoon, you will visit the fine Summer Palace. You will also visit the Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and the spiritual heart of China, where the national flag is raised exactly at sunrise everyday, the Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, which used to be the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties with a history of around 600 years ( it is the grandest integral palace complex still remaining in China). You will also be taken to visit the Summer Palace, located on the northwestern outskirts of the city. It was an imperial summer resort of the Qing Dynasty. With its perfect layout, magnificent buildings and enchanting landscape, it is the most splendid classical garden in China.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Beijing Today you will visit the majestic Great Wall (Badaling section) and the Chang Tomb of Ming Tombs. You will be taken on a tour to the Great Wall, the most famous symbol of China and one of the world’s most remarkable architectural wonders. It was built over 2,000 years ago and stretches a long distance for about 6,700km.You will visit the Great wall at Badaling, the most outstanding representation of China’s Great Wall, located 70km north-west of Beijing, at an elevation of 1000m. This section was first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). It stands at a strategic highest point from north-west of Beijing and gives access to every direction. Badaling section is composed of Guan City, with city platforms, wall platforms and watch towers along the Wall. The surrounding scenery is magnificent and impressive. You will be taken on a visit to the Ming Tomb the burial site of the emperor Wanli, the 13th emperor of the Ming Dynasty who ruled for 48 years until his death in 1620.

Day 4: Visit to Temple of Heaven & Evening- Board the Train from Beijing to Lhasa [3650m]
 Early in the morning you will be taken for a visit to the Temple of Heaven which spreads across a 267 hectare park. This temple serves as the best example of the fine Ming architecture. To the Chinese this is a sacred site where prayers for good harvests, prosperity and harmonious life are offered. In the evening you board the ‘Sky train’ to Lhasa and experience the world’s highest railway journey.

Day 5: Onboard the Sky Train
The 4,064 km journey lasts for 48 hrs. Looking through UV blocked train window, you remain captivated by the flashing glimpse of Chinese countryside, flat cultivated lands, brown hills, and riverside valleys. The train passes across 5200m high Tanggula Mountain pass, amidst surreal mountain vistas, as you near the Tibetan plateau. The train continues to pass through mesmerizing views of the turquoise Qinghai Lake and uniquely shaped vast Tibetan Plateau right below huge mountain range with 7000+ meter peaks, dominating the entire landscape.
Equipments for oxygen supply and an oxygen mask are also available in the train for those who are prone to altitude sickness. The train is fitted with soft sleepers, vacuum flush toilets, flat-screen TVs and the finest dining service.

Day 6: Arrive in Lhasa (3650 meter)
After traveling for approximately 48 hrs, across the ‘roof of the world’, you finally arrive in Lhasa. At the Lhasa train station you will be met by your Tibetan tour guide who will escort you to your hotel.

Day 7: Sightseeing in Lhasa  
 After breakfast, you will be briefed on the day’s program. An experienced guide will take you on a tour to Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and the Barkhor Square. At the famous Sera Monastery, you will get an insight into the important aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. You pay a visit to Norbulingka, the summer retreat of the Dalai Lama. Completed in 1956, the handsome building is ornately decorated with Tibetan carvings and paintings. Jokhang temple provides yet another glimpse of the rich Tibetan cultural heritage. You will also get the chance to stroll around the busy Barkhor Square, the nerve centre of Lhasa.

Day 8: Sightseeing in Lhasa
After an early breakfast, you will be escorted by your guide to the majestic Potala Palace. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues. You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas. Later in the day you will visit the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery where you can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses. After the day’s tour is over, you are escorted back to your hotel for a well- earned rest. Note: Since only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the Potala Palace every day, the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your Tibetan guide.

Day 9: Free day in Lhasa
A final day in Lhasa for acclimatization. This day is for you to spend it as you wish. Explore and soak in the sights and sounds of the old city, revisit a favorite monastery, go for souvenir hunting in the busy local market at Barkhor Square, or simply sit in a café and watch pilgrims as they circumambulate the Jokhang. There is also the option of an additional tour to places such as the Tibetan Medical Centre, Ganden Monastery and Tsurphu Monastery. But this additional tour will incur an extra cost.

Day 10: Drive to Gyantse (3950m) 261 km
Driving along the Friendship Highway, you drive past Khamba La, at 4794m with a brief halt to savor majestic views of Yamdrok-tso Lake and Nazin Kang Sa, standing at 7252m. On turning westwards, you come across another Karo La pass at 5045m. From the roadside, you can see huge glaciers tumbling down. After driving for 261 km, beautifully landscaped Tibetan villages come into view as you enter the town of Gyantse.

Day 11: Sightseeing & drive to Shigatse (3900m) 90km
Gyantse prides on Gyantse Dzong and Kumbum. Gyantse Dzong, a 14th century historical fort, overlooks the entire Gyantse and the surrounding Nyang Chu Valley. Kumbum has a large gold-domed stupa and houses several chapels and Tibetan Buddhist murals. After exploring Gyantse, you take a 90 km drive and arrive at Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet that lies at an altitude of 3900m.  Tashilhunpo Monastery, being one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet, is the major attraction of Shigatse.

Day 12: Sightseeing & drive to Shegar (4050m) 244km.
Today you will traverse along the Friendship Highway amidst picturesque landscape driving past small town of Lhatse and Gyamtso La pass at 5220m. As the route opens into plains, you pass many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders en route to Shegar.

Day 13: Drive to Rongbuk (5000m) 68km
Leaving Shegar, you will drive towards the south crossing Pang La pass at 5150m. Along the way, you delight in the amazing views of snow-capped peaks from Makalu to Shishapangma. After driving for 68 km, you eventually reach Rongbuk at 5000m. You can view the spectacular Mount Everest from here. You will have overnight accommodation in a guest house.

Day 14: Drive to Zhangmu (2300m) 181km
You will drive past Tingri crossing Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shung La pass at 5200m. You can delight in the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar. As you drive along, you descend from the arid Tibetan Plateau to verdant Zhangmu on the Nepalese border. After driving for 181 km, you find yourself amidst the lush and verdant Zhangmu at 2300m.

Day 15: Drive to Kathmandu (1400m) 123km
Drive few kilometers away from Zhangmu to Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi River which brings you closer to the Immigration Control in Kodari. Here you will part with your Tibetan guide and driver, and walk across the river to meet your Nepalese escort who will drive you to Kathmandu. After driving for around 5 hours, and covering 123 km, you finally arrive at Kathmandu.

Day 16: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. There will be a half day guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Site kathmandu Durbar Square, the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath & the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath.

Day 17: Depart Kathmandu
Our driver and airport representative will drive you to the airport in time for your flight back home. We ensure you that you will leave Kathmandu with cherishing memories and an experience of a lifetime.

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