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China and Tibet Explorer - 16 days/15 nights

Beijing – Lhasa - Shangri-La – Lijiang - Shanghai
Explore buzzing cities and vast uninterrupted landscape in this tour that takes you from the China’s most modern cities to Tibet’s most rural landscape. Refine your history in Beijing’s ancient sites and watch the frenetic buzz of the markets. Travel to the mystical cities of Lhasa and Shangri-La, where temples and monasteries quietly reign over unparalleled views of the region’s natural beauty. End your trip in Shanghai, where you can tour bazaars, gardens, and museums as well as enjoy China’s finest cuisine.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, dropoffs, and daily excursions. 
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.
What Our Clients Say - Our clients can't wait to tell us how their trips went: Client Feedback 

Trip Highlights

  • Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
  • A rickshaw ride through Beijing’s hutongs
  • The Great Wall
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • A ride on the highest train in the world
  • City tours of Shanghai and Beijing


Day 1:  Arrive Beijing
Upon arrival in Beijing you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy free time to rest or explore the city on your own. Overnight in Beijing.

Day 2:  Beijing
Your tour of the capital city begins with historical Tiananmen Square. From the square, walk through the gates to explore the endless halls and palaces of the Forbidden City, which took 15 years (1405-1420) for 100,000 artisans and laborers to construct. After a Chinese imperial style lunch at the Family Bai Restaurant, visit the Summer Palace, the most scenic park of the city. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the Red Capital Club. Overnight in Beijing. (All meals)
Day 3:  Beijing
After breakfast embark on a full day excursion to the north suburb, stopping first to walk along the Sacred Way—a path representing the walk to Heaven. Afterward visit the Changling Tomb, the resting place of the third Ming emperor. Enjoy a Chinese lunch and spend your afternoon climbing the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Overnight in Beijing. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 4:  Beijing to Lhasa
After breakfast, explore the narrow alleys of Beijing’s hidden hutong neighborhoods by rickshaw. Witness a different way of life as you pass by ancient local homes.  Learn the art of Chinese food preparation over a traditional Chinese lunch. In the afternoon visit the Temple of Heaven and wander through the Hongqiao Pearl Market and Silk Alley.  In the evening relax over a traditional Beijing duck dinner before transferring to the train station for an overnight train to Lhasa. Overnight in Beijing. (All meals)
Day 5:  On the Train
Experience a ride on the highest train track in the world.  Relax in your pressurized cabin before arriving in Lhasa. Overnight on Train. (All meals)
Day 6:  Arrive Lhasa
Upon arrival at the Lhasa Train Station, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Lhasa. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 7:  Lhasa
Begin your tour of this “Sacred Place of Buddha” with the golden-roofed Jokhang Monastery – a curious mix of somber darkness, wafting incense, and prostrating pilgrims. Visit the Barkor Street, an astonishing Tibetan style stock exchange and hive of market activity. After lunch visit the Potala Palace, once the center of the Tibetan government and winter residence of the Dalai Lama as well as one of the best attractions in Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 8:  Lhasa
Begin another full day tour with a visit to the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama—Norbulingka.  After lunch, wander through Drepung Monastery - the largest monastery in the world, and learn about traditional medicine at the Tibetan hospital. Overnight in Lhasa. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 9:  Lhasa to Shangri-La
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Shangri-La. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel with the rest of the day free to relax or explore on your own. Overnight in Shangri-La. (Breakfast)
Day 10:  Shangri-La
Begin your morning with a visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, nicknamed the Lesser Potala Palace. Holding about 700 monks and one living Buddha, the monastery is a must see in this region. In the afternoon visit the Napa Lake Reserve and take in beautiful vistas of blossoming flowers and lush grassland dotted with sheep and cattle.  Visit a local Tibetan family and explore a local market before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Shangri-La (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 11:  Shangri-La to Lijiang
After breakfast, embark on a 5 hour drive through Tibet’s diverse landscape, passing by forest reserves alongside the extreme upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Stop along the way to admire the scenic First Bend of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge. Overnight in Lijiang. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 12:  Lijiang
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Yak Meadow—a mountain surrounded plateau. Ride a chair-lift for a panoramic view of the snow-clad mountains. In the afternoon, visit the Baisha Fresco, dating back to the Ming Dynasty and stop to explore YuhuVillage. In the evening relax to a Naxi Classical Music Show. Overnight in Lijiang. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 13:  Lijiang to Shanghai
Visit the old city of Lijiang, said to be a “living museum,” and wander through the Black Dragon Pool Park – the best known and most frequently visited park in Lijiang. Transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Shanghai. Overnight in Shanghai. (Breakfast, Lunch).
Day 14:  Shanghai
In the morning venture into Shanghai’s past with a visit to the Historical Display Museum. Stop at the Grand Hyatt for beautiful views of the city. After lunch, enjoy a visit to the old city bazaar and Yu Garden as well as a stroll down the Bund to admire 19th century colonial architecture. In the evening watch an Acrobatic Show. Overnight in Shanghai. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 15:  Shanghai
Spend a full day in Shanghai.  Admire ancient Chinese art at the Shanghai Museum, visit the Jade Buddha Temple, and stop by the former British and French Concessions area. Enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening and stroll the Xintiandi walking street for last minute shopping. Overnight in Shanghai. (All meals)
Day 16:  Departure
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (Breakfast)

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Acrobatic Show in Shanghai
  • Soft sleeper train ticket for Beijing to Lhasa
  • Special permit to visit Tibet
  • Internal flights for Lhasa to Shangri-La and Lijiang to Shanghai

Rates Do not Include

  • International airfare
  • China visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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