Beijing to Kathmandu

tours / Adventure

Beijing to Kathmandu information and booking

from
$3890
  • Duration
    19 days
    Days
  • Group size
    6-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 19 day trip
  • 14 nights hotel
  • 2 nights train
  • 2 nights lodge
Equipment Required
There is no specialist equipment required for this trip.

Highlights

  • Visit to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing
  • Walk a remote section of the Great Wall
  • Discover Xian the traditional starting point of the Silk Road
  • View the Terracotta Warriors of Qin Shihuangs tomb
  • Explore Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama
  • Journey overland through Tibet to sacred Buddhist monasteries and stunning valley scenery
  • Be immersed in Kathmandu's bustling market places

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

We begin our journey in Beijing - a contrasting metropolis of the imperial capital and 21st century architecture. In Xian the Terracotta Warriors are a highlight, and we also visit the Muslim quarter with its hidden mosque and food stalls. After visiting the Xian’s lively Muslim quarter we stroll along the magnificent city walls before a flight to Xining where we board our overnight train to Lhasa which links us with the Tibetan Plateau. In Lhasa our Tibetan speaking guides immerse us into the culture and the highlights including the Potala Palace, Norbulingka and Jokhang. To complete our journey we travel by vehicle to vibrant and chaotic Kathmandu, diverting enroute to the famous Rongpu Valley to view the immense north face of Mount Everest.

What's included

  • 17 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 13 dinners
  • Expert bilingual guides
  • Medical kit
  • Comfortable accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles and 4wd
  • Soft sleeper train between beijing/xian/lhasa

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Beijing
On arrival you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Beijing. There will be a group meeting this evening in the hotel foyer before we head out to a local restaurant for our first taste of Chinese cuisine. Our hotel will be our base as we explore this fascinating city for the next four days. Beijing has been the dynastic capital since the 13th century and visiting the iconic sights located in this orderly city is like meandering through the pages of a history book.
Day 2 In Beijing
After breakfast we visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the world's largest public square and is located only a short distance from our hotel. People flying kites, a popular pastime all over China, stand next to guards under the ever-watchful eye of Chairman Mao's portrait. Which ever way you turn there is another photo opportunity to be found in this huge open space. From here we enter The Forbidden City through the Gate of Heavenly Peace. The Forbidden City is a masterpiece of 5000 years of Chinese civilization and still vividly displays the power and prestige of the former dynasties. Sprawling over acres, the City is a magnificent group of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and deep terracotta walls. Ornately furnished palace rooms, priceless artworks and treasures are all now open to the public after 500 years of seclusion. After lunch we visit the Temple of Heaven (time permitting).The Temple itself is an architectural highlight however it's the crowds of people that makes this spot so interesting and memorable. Thousands of people gather here to practice ballroom dancing, Tai chi and calligraphy. After relaxing in the late afternoon we will make our way to the famous Chinese Acrobat show. Set in an old theatre, the Acrobat show is something to see as very talented young men and women enthrall the crowd with daring feats involving bicycles, dragons, swords and double-jointed body parts!
Day 3 Beijing, Great Wall day trip
He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man -Mao Zedong Today is a real treat as we travel to a remote and spectacular section of the Great Wall of China. The Huang Ya Guan section is approximately a 3-hour drive outside of Beijing, slightly further than the popular and very busy Badaling Gate section. The Chinese say you must do your hair before visiting the Badaling section of the wall as you will no doubt meet someone you know. The Huang Ya Guan section is a stunning section of this amazing feat of engineering that is away from the normal tourist routes. The Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is one of the world's most unusual and awesome sites. Commenced 2000 years ago, around 221 B.C, it was built as a defence line to keep out invaders, along the course of several thousand kilometres. The Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the various northern walls into the Great Wall we see today. We have the opportunity to walk along this section, quite often with no one else in sight, and appreciate the many watchtowers as well as the surrounding rolling hills. This evening we are treated to delicious Beijing duck dinner!
Day 4 Beijing, overnight train to Xian
For those who are keen, we rise early this morning and travel to the Summer Palace. This huge area is punctuated by the picturesque Kunming Lake. Once a secluded resting place for the imperial court this collection of temples, gardens, pavilions and lakes is now one of the most visited places in all of Beijing. This afternoon we transfer to the train station for our overnight train journey to Xian in comfortable air-conditioned sleeper cabins.
Day 5 Arrive Xian
This morning we arrive in Xian, the traditional starting point of the Silk Road. The old walled city of Xian, the capital of Shaanxi Province, is a vivid example of old and new China. The modernised new city bustles around the quaint, winding lanes of the Old Quarter, where old men can be seen smoking pipes and watching the world go by, as butchers pull their carcass-laden carts and hawkers sell their wares. Following breakfast we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors. These warriors stand in their thousands outside the tomb of Qin Shihuang where they were uncovered in 1974 by peasants digging a well. Each warrior stands over 6 feet tall and has different features and characteristics. Some stand in a vanguard with crossbow and longbow bearers; others hold spears, daggers and axes at the ready. They are accompanied by dozens of horse-drawn carriages and enormous terracotta horses. The sight of the warriors arising from their muddy grave, some intact, others still submerged in the ground, is an extraordinary one.
Day 6 In Xian
Following breakfast we will embark on a leisurely walking tour the old City Wall and Muslim Quarter. The City wall of Xian is one of the few cities in China where the old city walls are still standing. These walls were erected during the Ming Dynasty in 1370. We explore this historic structure before venturing amongst the the small lane ways and exotic smells of the Old Muslim Quarter. This area has been home to the cities Hui Community (Chinese Muslims)for centuries. To get to know this alternate side of Chinese culture we immersed ourselves in the butcher shops, sesame seed oil factories and hidden mosques that make this area so fascinating.
Day 7 Fly to Xining, overnight train to Lhasa
This morning we fly to Xining, the major gateway to the Tibetan Plateau. It is an ancient highland city on the Yellow River which offers many scenic spots and historical sites. The city itself has a strong Islamic flavour, as it is home to many Hui people. Dongguan Mosque is the biggest mosque in Qinghai Province. It was built in 1380, boasting a history of more than 600 years. Following a city tour of Xining we travel independently on a comfortable, air-conditioned overnight train to Lhasa. The train departs at 3.04pm from Xining and arrives the following day in Lhasa.
Day 8 Arrive Lhasa
The train will arrive in Lhasa at approximately 2.35pm where you will be met at the station by our local Tibetan guide and driver. We are then transferred to our comfortable well located hotel for a hot shower and freshen up before heading out for a delicious local Tibetan dinner.
Day 9 In Lhasa
In the morning we drive up to see the ancient cave residence and meditation center of King Songtsen Gampo and a small temple where the first written letters in Tibetan are housed. Take a leisurely walk to Sera Monastery. Sera once housed nearly 5000 monks. We also visit the famous Polata Palace, for centuries the official residence of the Dalai Lama, and the greatest achievement of Tibetan architecture. Time permitting we visit Drepung Monastery which once housed over 10000 monks. This was a great monastic university which had quarters for monks from Sichuan, Qinghai, Chamdo,Siberia, Ladakh and Mongolia. Four colleges taught different aspects of Buddhism. Ganden Potang, built by the 2nd Dalai Lama was used as residence for the subsequent Dalai Lamas.
Day 10 In Lhasa
In the morning we wander around Barkhor and see Jokhang temple. We visit Jokhang and the jewelled Jowo. Later in the day we can visit the Lukhang, set in the middle of a lake. The temple is one of the gems of Lhasa, and contains artwork related to Tibetan medical practices (3950m).
Day 11 Drive to Gyangtse
From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding, in the foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snow-capped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse.
Day 12 In Gyangtse, drive to Shigatse (2hrs.)
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) – built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels. In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse.
Day 13 In Shigatse
In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar'). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the 'Buddha to Be'); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use.
Day 14 Drive to Shegar (5-6 hrs.)
The drive to Shegar can be completed in half a day, which allows time this afternoon to visit the Shegar Fort and Monastery.
Day 15 Drive to Rongphu Monastery (7-8 hrs.)
The drive over the Pang La (5150m) affords our first views of the north face of Everest (8848m). From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi, before driving up the Rongphu Valley to Rongphu Monastery and unrivalled views of the mountain’s north face. At Rongphu we stay in the small lodge attached to the monastery, which has recently been reconstructed following the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Nowadays there are about twenty monks in attendance. *Please note facilities at both the lodge and the nearby campsite are basic. While the meals cooked by our guides here may be lacking in gastronomic delights, they are nutritious. Any discomfort is fully compensated for by the views in this spectacular location!
Day 16 At Rongphu Monastery
We have the opportunity to trek towards the famous 1922 Base Camp, where interwar British expeditions camped before making their attempts to climb Everest. (Note: that if the weather is fine and the views clear we have the option of travelling the same day back to the main highway and spending the night at Tingri. From the Tingri plains we see the tip of Everest and many other snow capped peaks of the Himalaya. Overnight in a simply appointed, lodge).
Day 17 Drive to Zangmu (9-10hrs.)
An early start is necessary to complete the drive back to the highway and the Chinese/Nepal border at Zhangmu. After rejoining the highway, we drive across the rolling plains of the Tibetan Plateau to reach the Lalong La (5042m). From here we head down the spectacular Sun Kosi Gorge to the border town at Zhangmu, where we spend the night. Please note that the facilities at the government-run hotel here are basic.
Day 18 Drive to Kathmandu (5-6hrs.)
After completing Chinese immigration and customs formalities we transfer our gear by truck down the eight-kilometre stretch that leads to the Friendship Bridge and Nepal. You will require a visa at this border, so please have your documentation ready. After clearing Nepal’s customs and immigration, our chartered bus will complete the drive to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 19 Trip concludes in Kathmandu
Trip concludes after breakfast with a transfer to the airport.