Beijing To Kathmandu

China

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A unique journey through China and Tibet exploring stark contrasts from the metropolis of Beijing to the vast landscapes of the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau

Details

Duration: 18 Days
Starts in: China
Group Size: 5-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive Beijing

On arrival you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. This is usually the Beijing Dong Fang Hotel, but please check your documentation. 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.Overnight: Dong Fang Hotel Beijing or similar

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.Overnight: Dong Fang Hotel Beijing or similar

The Great Wall of China

He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man -Mao ZedongWe will make an early morning start today to explore the Great Wall at the Mutianyu section. This is approximately a 1.5 hour drive outside of Beijing, slightly further than the popular and very busy Badaling Gate section. On arrival we will have the option to complete a 2 -3 hour walk along this beautiful section of the wall. Mutianyu is renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers and superb views. The scene here is as one would expect of one of the world’s great man made wonders, with huge steep ramparts criss crossing this mountainous area. Those deciding not to undertake the walk will be able to enjoy this section of the wall by cable car. 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, 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 return to Beijing in the evening. Tonight you have the option to try one of Beijing's restaurants or perhaps you may wish to have a traditional Peking Duck dinner.Hike: 2-3hrsDrive: ~3hrsOvernight: Dong Fang Hotel Beijing or similar

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. Whilst high speed trains are quickly connecting China with more urgency, a classic night-train journey is a must-do for travellers. This is the way locals have travelled for decades and is a great opportunity to take some time out to relax, and do as the locals do. Train: ~12hrsOvernight: Train Sleeper Cabin

Xian & The Terracotta Warriors

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.Overnight: Xi'an Skytel Hotel or similar

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.Overnight: Xi'an Skytel Hotel or similar

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 you say farewell to your Chinese guide when boarding the train and 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.Overnight: Train Sleeper Cabin

Arrive Lhasa

The train will arrive in Lhasa at approximately 14.35 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.Altitude: 3,670mOvernight: Gangjian Hotel or similar

In Lhasa

The following two days are scheduled to appreciate the long and rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The Jokhang The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet. Altitude: 3,670mOvernight: Gangjian Hotel or similar

Drive to Gyangtse via the Khamba Pass (4,900m) and Karo La (5,200m).

From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba Pass (4,900m). 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 (5,200m) to reach Gyantse. The town is strategically located in the Nyang Chu valley on the ancient trade routes from the Chumbi Valley, Yatung and Sikkim, which met here.Note: while we endevour to stick to the projected itinerary, travel in Tibet is by nature unpredictable and a flexible approach is always needed. Drive: 7-8hrsAltitude: 3,977mOvernight: Gyantse Hotel or similar

In Gyangtse, drive to Shigatse (3,845m)

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. Drive: 2hrsAltitude: 3,845mOvernight: Manasarova Hotel or similar

Drive to Shegar (4,330m)

The drive to Shegar can be completed in half a day, which allows time this afternoon to visit the Shegar Fort and Monastery. Shelkar is famous for the Shelkar Chode Monastery, founded in 1266 by a Kagyu lama, but it has been a Gelugpa monastery since the 17th century, and formerly had over 400 monks. Although, destroyed by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, the assembly hall has since been rebuilt and there is an active branch monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal. The ruins of the old dzong are located on the hill behind the monasteryDrive: 5-6hrsAltitude: 4,330mOvernight: Qomolangma Hotel or similar

Drive to Rongbuk (5,000m) via the Pang La (5,150m)

The drive over the Pang La (5,150m) affords our first views of the north face of Everest (8,848m). From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi, before driving up the Rongbuk Valley to Rongbuk Monastery and unrivalled views of the mountain's north face. At Rongbuk 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. Drive: 7-8hrsAltitude: 5,000mOvernight: Rongbuk Guesthouse or similar

Rongbuk Monastery then drive to Tingri (4,300m)

Access to Everest Base Camp used by the famous interwar British expeditions is currently restricted to mountaineers with the necessary permits. That said the view of Everest from the monastery is definitely worth the trip as it dominates the valley carved by the glacier originating from the mountains northern flank. In the afternoon we will commence our drive to Kathmandu, stopping to overnight in the small remote town of Tingri.Drive: 5-6hrsAltitude: 4,300mOvernight: Snow Leopard Guest House or similar

Drive to Kyirong (4,130m)

Continue our drive to Kathmandu. Today we are heading for the border town of Kyirong. Following the 2015 earthquake the former friendship highway was badly damaged resulting in its continued closure. This new route was opened initially to ensure that trade between Nepal and China could continue. In 2017 the border post was opened to tourists allowing for travel along this legendary overland route to recommence. This road is sure to add to the sense of adventure as it traverses parts of both Tibet and Nepal new to tourism. Road conditions along this route are changeable as improvements to the road continue to ensure that it can accommodate the traffic using it. Drive: 4-5hrsAltitude: 4,130mOvernight: Pingcuo Raoxi Hotel or similar

Drive to Kathmandu (1,400m)

Today we cross the border into Nepal and complete the final stage of our journey from Lhasa via the earthquake ravaged Langtang region. It is a fitting conclusion to an epic overland journey and the comfort of the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. Drive: 160km, ~6hrsAltitude: 1,400mOvernight: Radisson Hotel

In Kathmandu, trip concludes

After breakfast, your trip concludes.

Additional Information

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.

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  • Starting From

    $4,499/person

    Book Now

    Add your business today to reach The Outbound's audience of adventurous travelers.