Beijing, one of the ancient cities and capital of China, has been the heart and soul of Chinese politics and society throughout its long history. Take this tour and explore Beijing’s ancient glory (the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs). 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.
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..
You will 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..
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. .
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..
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..
Finally after a 2-day adventurous journey, you finally arrive in Lhasa. Your Tibetan escort will met you right at the station and escort you to your hotel in Lhasa and brief you about your further tour arrangement..
The highlight of this tour is the visit to two ancient capitals: Beijing & Lhasa. You take a journey on board the world's highest train to reach Lhasa from Beijing.
You can arrive in Beijing from any Chinese city via flight, vehicle, bus or train from any hub. Once you arrive in Beijing, your guide will meet you and drive you to your hotel. Air China operates flights between Kathmandu and Beijing via Lhasa (Tue, Thu & Sat - 2008). This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. Please visit our website (www.explorehimalaya.com) for information on flight connections from Kathmandu and other cities of China.
From Beijing to Lhasa you will be traveling in a train. We try to reserve you "Soft sleeper" class. Usually we can but if we can only get hard sleeper, we refund the difference in price. In such a scenario you may have to make do with a hard sleeper berth. There is no big difference between hard and soft sleeper cabins. Our research staff traveled on both soft and hard sleeper cabins on this train, a few differences we found were... there are 6 beds in hard sleeper and 4 in soft sleeper cabin, soft sleeper has a door and hard sleeper is without, there is LCD television on soft sleeper that plays only Chinese movie (mostly military & martial art movies); the hard sleeper compartment is a little far from dining car. Cushion used in soft sleeper is softer than the "hard" sleeper but the "hard" is comfortable enough for a good sleep.
We bring together a small group of like minded people. During the trip, not only do they gain a memorable and insightful travel experience but also get an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other. On our fixed scheduled departures, group comprises of maximum12 & minimum 2 persons. You are likely to join a group from different countries. Average age ranges from early 20s to mid 50s.For private trips, no minimum and maximum apply. If you would like to travel independently or with your friends, families and colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient time frame for any number of people (min 1 max 100 at a time).
In Beijing and Lhasa accommodation will be at 3 star hotel. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case. During the train trip, accommodation will be on soft sleeper bed.
Throughout your time in Beijing & Lhasa you will be accompanied by our professionally trained and experienced local guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide valuable insights into the Chinese& Tibetan way of life.
All breakfasts are included in our package, except during the train journey, where you may have to pay on your own. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. Expect to spend around 15-20 US$ per day for meals.
All the hotels we use in Beijing & Lhasa have international IDD phone and fax services. Internet cafes are also available. Check with your guide for the best cyber cafes .
Beijing has four definite seasons. Summer and winter are the two longest seasons with fall and spring being the shortest. The climate varies according to the season with autumn being the most pleasant time to visit. Autumn is usually clear with cool temperatures, while winter is dry and, at times, bitterly cold with temperatures dropping below 5 degrees F (-15 C). Spring is usually dry but very windy (protect eyes to keep out blowing debris), while the summer is rainy and hot with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees F (38 C). In Lhasa, the climate remains pleasant, especially from March to November, the best time for traveling. The rainy season starts from May to September. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa. The best time of year to take the Beijing-Lhasa tour is from March to November. During these months the average temperature ranges from 15C to 25C, with blue skies and clear weather. Though from July to August there can be odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degree Celsius.
During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings.
Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet and Beijing. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China and Nepal also accepts credit cards. ATM facilities are available in Beijing and Kathmandu. But in Tibet it's not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency and Nepali currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China and Bank of Nepal. While changing money at the local money exchange centers, please make sure that you are accompanied by your guide and do consult him as you may easily be duped with counterfeit notes. Tips are appreciated by your support team, after completion of the trip. The amount you give depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. For this you can allocate around 5% of your total tour cost.
Vaccination requirements change frequently, so we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to your trip. The main health consideration in high altitude Tibet is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen, you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses and emergency repatriation.
One should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip that takes you into one of the remotest corner of the Tibetan plateau, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. Sometimes during peak season it gets difficult even to get a train ticket. In such cases we arrange a flight ticket for you, from Beijing to Lhasa. There may be a difference in the price of train and flight tickets. If it costs more, you may have to pay the additional charge.
In addition to this tour, we can organize trip extensions in China [Chengdu (Panda Farm and Teshan Buddha Statue), Xian (City wall, Terracota Warriors) and Xining], Tibet(Gyantse, Shigatse, Namtso Lake, Everest Base Camp etc.),Nepal and other neighboring countries. In Nepal you may want to try white water rafting or go on a jungle safari in the deep jungles of Chitwan or take a cultural tour. You may as well take a trip to India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you. Please contact us for details or check our website www.explorehimalaya.com.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.