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Giant Panda, Chengdu, China

Highlights of China including pandas and Tibet



14 Days

Prices Start from

£3,950pp (ex. flights)

This holiday to China includes many of the classic highlights as well as the chance to see one of the country’s most iconic residents, the giant panda, before flying to the Buddhist world of Tibet.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Stone Lion Sculptures, Beijing, China 1


Explore Beijing, from the hutongs to the ancient Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Lines of terracotta warriors stood in tomb trenches. 2

Terracotta Warriors

Take a train from Beijing to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors.

Giant Panda, China 3

Buddhas and Pandas

See the the world’s largest Buddha statue and the giant panda in Sichuan province.

Monk with Prayer Beads, Tibet 4

Lhasa - Tibet

Witness the warrior monks of Sera Monastery during lively afternoon debates.

Why we like it

As well as the bucket list sites for which China is so well known, this trip includes the chance to see one of the world’s most iconic creatures, the endangered giant panda. It will also take you on a spiritual journey, from the Buddhist sites around Chengdu to the soaring mountains and sacred temples of the Himalayan city of Lhasa.

Explore the itinerary

Train Journey
Internal Flight
  • Day 1
  • Day 2 - 3
  • Day 4
    Beijing - Xian
  • Day 5 - 6
  • Day 7
    Xian - Chengdu
  • Day 8 - 9
  • Day 10
    Chengdu - Lhasa
  • Day 11 - 13
  • Day 14

Now for the details

Close up of black and white young panda bear.
Young panda, China

The Giant Panda

Chengdu and the surrounding area is the best place in the world to see China’s most famous resident, the giant panda. There is a choice of panda reserves in the area, all of which are set over many acres and are doing their bit to save this endangered animal. Spend a day at any of these centres with time to view and photograph the pandas. It is even possible to volunteer for the day, spending time helping with feeding, planting bamboo trees and learning more about the panda bear.

Dry Teas, China
Dried tea, China

Beijing Hutong Food Tour

Venture into Beijing’s hutong alleys by tuk tuk for an evening of culinary explorations. Visit several local family run courtyard restaurants to sample a range of delicious local dishes. Get hands on with the food preparation, helping to fill Beijing pancakes and season food while learning about the history of the hutongs and the dishes you will be eating. Wash down your food with a craft beer, brewed at a local brewery or a traditional tea.

Giant Buddha, Leshan, Chengdu, China
Giant Buddha, Leshan, Chengdu, China

Buddhist Leshan

From Chengdu visit the Leshan Statue of Buddha, the biggest stone carving in the world. Cut in the Tang dynasty the project was so huge that construction lasted 90 years. The project was initiated by a monk called Hai Tong who was concerned for the safety of the people who lived around the confluence of the three river and their tempestuous waters. Close by are the 1,000 Buddha cliff-side statues, chiselled during the Tang Dynasty when Buddhism was flourishing in China. On the left bank of the Qingyi River, the stone cliff face is lined with more than 2,400 carved stone Buddhist statues in more than 200 caves.

Young Tibetan Monk, Tibet
Young Tibetan Monk, Tibet

The Roof of the World

Time needs to be taken to acclimatise on arrival in Lhasa. Sitting at 3,600 metres the word Lhasa means ‘Land of the Gods’ and is regarded as a holy city – it is the beating heart of Tibet and Tibetan life. 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.

Lhasa, Tibet
Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Home of the Dalai Lama

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.

Let’s chat

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Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

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The design and operation of this holiday was excellent and took us to places that we had hardly heard of. A great experience and opportunity to sample " Old China" before it becomes overcrowded. We were very happy with the whole procedure.


A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £3,950 Per person

When to travel

China in January

Around Beijing and the mountainous areas such as Tibet, winter can get very cold, with some snow. However, there are also many crisp days with clear skies across the country.

China in February

Chinese New Year takes place in late January or Early February, and is the biggest event in the calendar. Fireworks and lanterns light up the night sky, but be aware that public transport and accommodation may be hard to come by.

China in March

The start of spring see temperatures rise across the country and fruit trees start to blossom. Although not as widespread as Japan, the blossoms in rural China can still be stunning.

China in April

The spring blossoms are in full swing, and the countryside is lush. The north and mountainous areas may still be chilly, but generally, spring is a good time to visit most places.

China in May

A very good time to visit many places in China. Southern regions are getting very warm, but there is an increased chance of rain. The northern and mountainous regions are pleasantly warm but lack the humidity of the summer.

China in June

A very good time to visit many places in China. Southern regions are getting very warm, but there is an increased chance of rain. The northern and mountainous regions are pleasantly warm but lack the humidity of the summer.

China in July

The ideal time to get out into the mountains of Tibet and Yunnan province. The alpine landscape is verdant and enjoys long hours of sunshine. Temperatures can be sweltering, especially in the south.

China in August

The hot weather prevails throughout the country as it is the peak of summer. Many places, especially in the south are unpleasantly hot and humid to travel. The mountains are the perfect place to escape the heat.

China in September

Temperatures decline gradually, but it is less humid and wet than summer in many regions. The mountains are still a good place to hike in, especially as snow has receded as far as possible. This makes it an excellent time for journeying along the Silk Road.

China in October

The majority of October is perfect for travelling, with widespread mild temperatures and little rain. However, it is worth avoiding the first week of October, as it is a national holiday.

China in November

This is the time to take in the beautiful autumn colours, especially in the northern and central regions. Snow may begin to fall in the north, but the tourist hotspots are much less busy as locals don’t tend to travel at this time.

China in December

It is cold in most of China at this time, but it is a great time to visit Beijing and surrounding areas. There are many cold and crisp days, and the tourist hotspots will be much quieter. Western China is bitterly cold though and Southern China is milder but damp.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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