10 Days Private Tour Dunhuang – Jiayuguan – Zhangye – Xining – Tibet Train - Lhasa – Yamdrok – Gyantse – Shigatse – Lhasa
This journey takes us first to an important part of the legendary silk road - from Dunhuang via Jiayuguan and Zhangye to Xining, and we will visit the Mogao Grottos in Dunhuang, the Hanging Great Wall in Jiayuguan, the Jiayuguan Tower and the Danxia National Geographical Park.
Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, at 2275 meters altitude on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. From here, we take a nearly one day train ride to the holy city Lhasa on the roof of the world. Let us enjoy majestic and varied scenery while traveling on the Tibet Railway!
In Lhasa - the capital city of Tibet - you have two days for the attractions: Potala, Jokhang, Norblinka and Sera. And from Parla Lupu Monastery we'll enjoy the magnificent view of Potala Palace. We could circle around the Tibetan holiest Monastery Jokhang with pilgrims, who come from all over Tibet and the Tibetan cultural areas of Kham-Amdo of the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. Many pious Tibetans measure the way on the Barkhor market with their body length.
On the scenic drive to Gyantse and Shigatse we will experience the magnificent scenery, pass by the turquoise Yamdrok Lake and cross over the passes Kamba La (4,794m) and Karo La (5,010m). Then visit the unique Kumbum Pagoda in Gyantse and Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse.
In the morning arrive in Dunhuang, pick up and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon walk through the Singing Sand Dunes (Ming Sha Shan) to the beautiful Crescent Spring Pool (Yue Ya Quan). Time permitting, climb a 200-meter-high sand hill nearby.
Overnight at 4*Legend Hotel
Crescent Spring Pool (Yue Ya Quan)
High-speed train Duhuang – Jiayuguan
Mogao Grottos – the treasure of Buddhism and Grotto Art
In the morning visit Mogao Grottos that is one of the greatest examples of Buddhist art and symbol of East-West cultural exchange. The Mogao Caves, more than many other places, show how important the Silk Road was for the spreading of Buddhism to the west. Throughout history, traveling monks digged hundreds of caves in the mountains to build and worship Buddha statues. In the afternoon take the high-speed train to Jiayuguan (D2747 1543/1822).
Jiyuguan Tower, Hanging Great Wall, Danxia Landform Geographical Park
In the morning visit Jiyuguan Tower and Hanging Great Wall. At the western end of the Great Wall, the mighty desert fort of Jiayuguan guarded the Chinese empire. Drive to Zhangye (224 km, 2 hours 17 minutes). On the way visit the Danxia National Geographical Park. At Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, you’ll understand why this area is called Danxia ("red clouds") by the Chinese. The various metal-containing sediments and layers of the earth have created a mountain range patterned in a variety of shades of red, which shines beautifully especially after a short rainfall. Afterwards transfer to railway station to take the high-speed train to Xining (D2746 1952/2139), the capital of QinghaiQinghai Province.
Overnight at 4*Rezen Jingding Hotel
Danxia Landform Geographical Park
Xining – Lhasa
Grand Dongguan Mosque, Train ride on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and through the human-less areas
Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province. It was an important pivot on a side route along the ancient Silk Road that pilgrims, merchants and armed forces converged for thousands of years, and people and traditions mixed colorfully and harmoniously. Today, more than 30 minorities live in Xining, including Han, Hui, Tu, Tibetans, Mongols and Salar. The Hui is one of the Chinese Muslims. In the morning You will visit their Grand Dongguan Mosque, located directly on Dongguan Street in the old district of Xining. Originally built in the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout history, most recently in the 1910s. The architecture reflects the multicultural character of the city: a temple built in the Han-Chinese tradition combined with Islamic and Tibetan cultural features. The entire building covers a total area of 13,602 square meters. And the main building, the imposing prayer hall with around 1102 sqm offers seats for three thousand believers. Obviously, it cannot satisfy the numerous prayers - for the Friday prayer (Jum'a) almost ten thousand believers gather and transform the huge courtyard and the adjacent Dongguan Street to the prayer area, of course with the help of the local administration. In the afternoon transfer to railway station to take the train (Z6801 1401/1120+1, soft sleeper, 4-bed compartment) to Lhasa. In 21 hours’ drive via Golmud and Naqu to Lhasa. The special feature is the 1,956 km long railway line from Xining to Lhasa, which is considered the highest railway in the world. You can enjoy a grand, seemingly endless landscape gallery with snow-capped mountains, countless rivers and gorges, high mountain lakes and endless steppes along the way. Over and over, you will see flocks of yaks, sheep, horses and wild animals as well as birds, and with some luck, you can watch the herds of Tibetan antelopes that live mainly in the steppes of the Qinghai-Tibet highlands at an altitude of 3,500 to 5,000 m.
Overnight on the train
Sunset of the Tibetan Plateau
Arrive in Lhasa
Welcome to Lhasa - the roof of the world. Visit nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Today arrive in Lhasa (3650 m), the capital of Tibet, and then transfer to hotel. In the afternoon visit the nunnery Ani Sangkhung. "Ani" means nun, and "Sangkhung" is a meditation cave. The nunnery Ani Sangkhung was founded in the 15th century by a disciple of Tsongkapa. It is located in the old city center near Jokhang. Today about 100 nuns live here. The monastery set up prayer hall, dorm, kitchen, etc. The nuns plant many plants, so the monastery looks like a garden.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Potala Palace – landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street
In the morning visit Potala that was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon visit Jokhang Monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Panoramic view over Potala, Norbulingka, Debate in Sera
In the morning visit Parla Lupu Cave Monastery, located on the slopes of Yaowang Mountain, was built in the 7th century. It is 22m high and from here you can have a wonderful panoramic view over Potala palace. Afterwards visit Norbulinka, the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas. In the afternoon visit Sera Monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. It is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelugpa. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You have the opportunity to experience the famous monks' "Buddhism scriptures debates". Public religious debates are part of the education of monks.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Debate in Sera Monastery
Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
Karo La Pass and Glacier, holy lake Yamdrok, Palkhor with Pagoda Kumbum
Drive to Gyantse. On the Kamba La (4796 m) have a fantastic view of the holy lake Yamdrok (4,441 m), one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the largest habitat of waterfowls in south Tibet. On arriving, visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby. Both of them built in the 15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. This typical Tibetan Buddhist monastery is the only one large building complex in Tibet that old monastery and stupas are completely preserved and characterized as a monument. It is recorded that 14,000 kilograms of copper was used to make the 8-meter-high sitting statue of Sakyamuni Buddha housed in the grand hall of the temple. The 8-storey stupa is 42 m high and 62 m in diameters contains a total of 76 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world. Afterwards drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880 m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.
6 hours 41 minutes
Overnight at 4*Mulunlazong Hotel
Shigatse – Lhasa
Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse, traditional manufacture for Tibetan incense
In the morning visit Tashilunpo Monastery of Gelug Sect, the seat of the Panchen Lama built in 1447 and one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in China, and a tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama containing masses of jewels and gold. In Tibet Buddhism, Panchen Lama is just the reincarnation of Maitreya Buddha. In the afternoon drive back to Lhasa. On the way visit a traditional manufacture for Tibetan incense in small town Tunba by the Yarlung Tsangpo River.
4 hours 58 minutes
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Travel to next destination
Today transfer to airport or railway station, leave Tibet.