Tailor-Made Holiday

Highlights of China including Tibet

Combine the iconic sites of Beijing and Xian with the himalayan city of lhasa

15 days

from £2,965pp (excluding flights)

This holiday combines the iconic sites of China with the mystical kingdom of Tibet.

  • Explore the vast Tiananmen Square and Forbidden city complex in Beijing
  • Walk on the Great Wall of China
  • Take a train from Beijing to Xian and see the Terracotta Warriors
  • In Lhasa explore The Jokhang Temple - the spiritual centre attracting pilgrims from all over Tibet
  • See the warrior monks of Sera in lively afternoon debates at the monastery

Begin in the capital city of Beijing with visits to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace before boarding a high speed train to the Silk Road city of Xian, home to the famed Terracotta Warriors. Fly to the Himalayan city of Lhasa and spend 3 days exploring the architectural wonders of this Buddhist kingdom, from the Potala Palace to the Jokhang Temple. End your holiday amidst the skyscrapers of Shanghai with a visit to the nearby water town of Suzhou, famed for its silk and beautiful gardens.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2965 £ 500
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Beijing overnight

Day 2

Visit the Summer Palace
The Summer Palace consists of a park and several inter-connected lakes with willows and hump back bridges so often seen in Chinese paintings. It was for a long time an imperial garden but was expanded by the Empress Dowager Cixi who used money earmarked for a new navy for the building project. Of particular interest is a unique marble boat that sits immobile at the edge of the lake.

Beijing is China's capital, and a city of epic proportions. It is a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise. Offering a feast of elaborate and ambitious architecture, world famous landmarks, and culinary delights.

You will be staying at Novotel Xinqiao Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Visit Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven, recognised by its circular blue glazed tiled roof, is a remarkable building that is the symbol of Beijing and is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to heaven and prayed for good harvests. It is set in an expansive park and famed for its 'whispering wall’.

Explore Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the world. On the north side lies the Tian an Men (Gate of Heavenly Peace) after which the square is named and the entrance to the 800 year old palace of the emperors (The Forbidden city). On the west lies the Great Hall of the People, the venue for government meetings, and on the east side is the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Revolution. The square is also home to Mao’s mausoleum.

You will be staying at Novotel Xinqiao Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Full Day Sightseeing to The Great Wall at Mutianyu
A full day excursion to visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu, Ming Tombs and a chance to see some of rural China at close hand.
The Ming Tombs are located in a valley and number 13 in all. The valley is approached by the Imperial Way that is lined by larger than life stone figures (animals, soldiers and mythical figures). Only one tomb, Ding Ling, has been excavated and now lies empty but you will visit Changling which houses the impressive treasures from Ding Ling. Return to Beijing in the late afternoon.

The Great Wall was begun in the Warring States period (475 - 221) as a series of earthworks erected by individual kingdoms as a defence against each other as well as from invasions from the north. These walls were reconstructed and linked together much later, during the Han, Sui and Ming empires. The familiar, stone clad, crenellated wall dates from the Ming empire. The Wall is actually not one complete wall, but in fact several, and although many of these sections have been linked, many still remain separate to the others. To this end, it is almost impossible to calculate the actual length, and you may well be told a figure anywhere in between 2,400km to 5,000km.
Return to Beijing in the late afternoon.

You will be staying at Novotel Xinqiao Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Visit Bird’s Nest Stadium
The National Stadium in Beijing, the main stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games, is dubbed the ’bird’s nest’ because of its innovative grid formation. The twig-like structural elements and the bowl-shaped roof are the masterpiece of the project, yet they posed great challenges to technicians and workers.

Travel from Beijing to Xian (Rail Journey)

Having existed for more than three millennia and been the capital city of 13 dynasties, Xian, formerly Chang'an, is often considered as being at the heart of Chinese civilisation. Also an ancient trade hub of huge economic importance, it was the eastern terminus of the legendary Silk Road.

Xian remains an important city, packed with sites worth visiting and laid out in a neat arrangement. Among these sites, the world famous Terracotta Army is the highlight, but numerous other historic locations litter the city.

You will be staying at Grand Mercure Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Half Day Tour of the Terracotta Warriors
Visit the Terracotta Warriors, discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well. Displaying 2,000 realistic soldiers, over 100 chariots, and 30,000 weapons, this incredible on-site museum houses one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century. Consisting of three excavation pits thus far, it is thought that there could be up to 8,000 figures in total.

Built by the first emperor to unify China's kingdoms, Qin Shi Huang, the Terracotta Army was created to be buried alongside him. It is said that he originally wanted his entire army and entourage of servants to be entombed with him, and had to be persuaded to use terracotta figures instead.

Afterwards, visit the Large Wild Goose Pagoda, built in the seventh century. Dedicated to the memory of his mother, it was commissioned by Emperor Gao Zong of the Tang Dynasty.

You will be staying at Grand Mercure Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Sightseeing of Xian Old City
Exploring the Old City will bring to life Xian’s association with the mighty Silk Road. Visit the old City Walls and the Islamic Quarter as well as the Great Mosque, which is a beautiful spot in the midst of peaceful gardens. In addition visit the Large Goose Pagoda as well as Gao Family house, a traditional courtyard style home. A Dim Sum lunch is included at De Fa Chang traditional restaurant.

You will be staying at Grand Mercure Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Fly Xian to Lhasa

Acclimatisation Afternoon
Take the afternoon to rest and accimatise to the higher altitude. It is advisable to drink plenty of fluids and abstain from alcohol today.

Lhasa is set at 3,600 metres (or 11,800 feet) whilst Gyantze and Shigatze are located at almost 4,000 metres (13,000 feet). Other higher altitude visits are at Ganden Monastery (4,500 metres or 14,750 feet) and Kamba-La Pass en-route to Gyantze at 4,795 metres (15,700 feet).

Meaning 'Land of the Gods', Lhasa sits at a staggeringly high 3600m. Regarded as a holy city, it is the beating heart of Tibet and Tibetan life.

The home of the Dalai Lama, and a prominent place of pilgrimage, the city is dotted with monasteries, temples and the finest examples of Tibetan architecture. Whilst Chinese construction has boomed in recent years, the old Tibetan quarter remains; offering a fascinating insight into Lhasa's heritage.

You will be staying at Tibet Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Explore Old Lhasa in Half a Day
Discover the heart of Old Lhasa, with both daily life and religious traditions on show. Visit the Muslim quarter, an unusual sight in a Buddhist holy city, and then continue to the nearby Jokhang. Dating back to the 7th century, this is widely considered the spiritual heart of Tibet. Originally built to house two images of Buddha that were brought back to Tibet by two of King Sontsen Gampo's wives, the temple has developed into a major site of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists. Afterwards, visit a local nunnery and then head to the colourful 10,000 Buddha Wall, which was carved by Mani stone people.

You will be staying at Tibet Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Explore the Potala Palace, Norbulinka and Drepung
Visit the Potala Palace, an architectural wonder and a spectacular edifice whose gold roofs soar high above the town and rise more than 300 metres above the valley floor. The present building was mainly constructed during the fifth Dalai Lama’s reign between 1645 and 1693. With over 1,000 rooms, it contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas and their magnificent golden tombs. Hundreds of decorated chapels and shrines, halls and corridors contain thousands of gilded statues.
Also visit Norbulingka, the Summer Palace, which means Jewel Park and Drepung, which means ’Rice Heap’, by virtue of the fact that its white buildings look similar to rice piled up against Mount Gyengbuwudze. This monastery was the biggest and richest in Tibet and housed the Nechung, the State Oracle. At its peak it in fact governed 700 subsidiary monasteries.

You will be staying at Tibet Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Half Day Visit to the Sera Monastery
Travel to the Sera Monastery, founded in the 15th century. Located on the northern periphery of Lhasa, this is one of the 'Great Three' Tibetan university monasteries.

Observe the resident monks engage in their daily debates, a practice for which the monastery is famous. Focussing on Buddhist teachings and philosophy, these discussions are steeped in tradition and predate the buildings they take place in.

Debating in Tibet is often a lively event and meaningful gestures are used to punctuate the verbal exchange. These include clapping, striking one hand with the other, and waving one's arms.

You will be staying at Tibet Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Fly From Lhasa to Shanghai

You will be staying at Astor Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Full Day Sightseeing of Shanghai
In the Old Quarter visit the Yu Garden, originally built in the Song dynasty this is a classic Chinese enclosed garden. Also visit the Shanghai Museum, one of the finest in the country with many fascinating displays covering China's long and varied history.

Arguably one of the highlights of a visit to Shanghai is seeing the Jade Buddha Temple. The temple is always busy with pilgrims and there are many resident monks. In one hall there are three gold Buddhas and in others life-size deities line the walls. The major feature is the Jade Buddha brought from Burma by a monk in 1882. It is a white two-metre high statue inlaid with jewels and said to weigh 1000kgs.

A city of contrasts, Shanghai has two distinctly different faces, one old and one new, and is evolving at a rapid pace. It is a dynamic place with an extremely exhilarating pace and lifestyle where the splendour of merchants' offices, banks and hotels along the famous Bund rub shoulders with glass skyscrapers on the newly reclaimed land of Pudong on the opposite river bank.

Hidden down the many side streets of the old city lie traditional courtyard style gardens and street markets trading fresh produce and handicrafts. A fabulous museum, ancient temples, historic hotels plus boutiques, cafes and bars of an international standard all make Shanghai an exciting and fascinating city to visit.

Explore the Bund waterfront
Shanghai was a city divided up by foreign powers and a centre of eastern trade. It is fascinating to see how the architecture varies between each section of the city. Most people immediately think of the Bund, an area along the waterfront famed for its glitzy hotels, banks and trading houses of the 18th and 19th century. Today, the buildings still stand but the ’glamour’ has gone.

You will be staying at Astor Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 14

Full Day Visit to Suzhou by Train
Transfer to the railway station for your short train journey to Suzhou.

Suzhou is famous for its silk and gardens and you will visit two of the most interesting gardens - the Humble Administrators Garden and the Garden of the Master of the Nets – as well as the Silk Embroidery Institute. If you are interested in purchasing silk then Suzhou is the place to do so.
Also visit Pan Gate, accessed via the single span Wumen bridge, the only original gate remaining in the city, and the North Temple pagoda (Beisi), built in 1582 and still a prominent city landmark today because of its height.

Return to Shanghai by train.

You will be staying at Astor Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Fly Shanghai to London

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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