Welcome to Xining (altitude: 2,261 m), the capital city of Qinghai Province in northwestern China. Upon arriving at Xining Caojiabao Airport (or Xining Railway Station), your tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel in the downtown by a private vehicle. After checking in, the rest of today is on your own to acclimate to the elevation and explore this historical city of China.
Arrival Ideas: You can take a flight to Xining from Beijing (about 2hrs), Shanghai (about 3hrs), Xian (about 1.5hrs), Chengdu (about 2hrs), Guangzhou (about 3.5hrs), Dunhuang (about 1.5hrs), etc., or get to Xining by high speed bullet train from Xian (about 4hrs), Lanzhou (about 1.5hrs), Zhangye (about 2hrs), Jiayuguan (about 3~3.5hrs) and other connected cities in China.
Nightlife idea: go to enjoy a great dinner and stunning night view of Xining city on Pearl of Puning which is a 188 meters tall TV & Sightseeing tower alike Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.
After breakfast, drive around 150 km (2.5 hours) to see the picturesque Qinghai Lake from Xining via Huangyuan, Riyue Mountain, etc. You won't feel bored along the driving since the fascinating scenery of green grassland, blue sky, white clouds and clustered herds unfold like a photo gallery. As the largest inland lake, as well as the largest salt water lake in China, Qinghai Lake (3200 m) stretches 105 km in length, 63 km in width and occupies a water area of over 4,500 square kilometers. It was elected as the Most Beautiful Lake in China by China’s National Geographic, attracting thousands of photographers to take photos every year.
You will spend a wonderful time appreciating the beauty of Qinghai Lake in Erlangjian Scenic Area - the essence of the whole scenic area of Qinghai Lake. It shapes like a long and narrow sword inserting into the lake. Walking on the plank road, you will be delivered a far-reaching panorama of the sea-like lake. Due to the different salt content of different parts of the lake, the water presents different colors in the refraction of sunlight. More than the lake view, the scenic surrounding - endless grassland and rapeseed flower lands, soft sand beaches as well as flocks of grazing sheep, horses and yaks also make you enjoy yourself to the fullest. On a clear day, you will feast your eyes on a charming vista of the snow-capped mountains in the distance as well as the huge sand dunes of Sand Island on the far shore. At the same time, Qinghai Lake is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist site. There are many devoted Buddhist coming from afar to worship to Qinghai Lake each year.
Optional Qinghai Lake Cruise: Taking a cruise allows you to admire Qinghai Lake from a different perspective. There are two kinds of cruises available in Erlangjian Scenic Area: High Speed Cruise and catamaran. The former offers a 25 minutes’ single trip from Erlangjian Wharf to Erlangjian Peninsula at the cost of CNY140. The latter offers a 50 minutes’ round trip at the cost of CNY180. This price doesn't include your personal expense on the ship, such as drinking, food, etc. This cruise is only available during the period from May to October.
After the sightseeing, drive back to Xining and take an overnight train to Lhasa.
Warm Tips: 1. It is available to visit Qinghai Lake all the year around, but May to October is the best time because of the most comfortable weather. If you want to savor the sea of rape flowers, remember to visit in July and August. 2. The sunlight is very strong in Qinghai Lake, and it is necessary to bring hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. to protect your skin from sun burn especially in summer. 3. Few people get serious high altitude sickness in Qinghai Lake, but it is important to be wary of high altitude sickness if it's your first time to enter the high plateau. Avoiding strenuous exercise and drinking more water will be helpful.
You will pass Qinghai’s Delingha and Golumd before dawn. As the train moves on the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, you can perfectly witness spectacular plateau scenery along the rail in the daytime. Firstly, across over the majestic Kunlun Mountains and Tanggula Mountains, see the Tuotuo River - one of the head streams of the Yangtze River, watch agile Tibetan antelopes in Hoh Xil Nature Reserve where also protects much precious wildlife like Tibetan donkeys, yaks, plants and the natural habitats. Afterwards, you will enter Tibet and stop for several minutes in Amdo. Continue the amazing train sightseeing journey, capture the azure blue Cuo’na Lake with distant snow-capped mountains and see groups of nomads and Tibetan yaks in the vast grassland of Northern Tibet.
You will arrive at Lhasa Railway Station in the early afternoon. Your local tour guide will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in Lhasa downtown by a comfortable non-smoking vehicle. The rest of today is for you to acclimatize yourself to this high altitude city at the roof of the world.
Tips: 1.. There are special oxygen supply facilities you can use to ease the symptoms of altitude sickness. Ask help from the train staff if you feel uncomfortable. 2. Go for some walking to acclimate to the high altitude but avoid strenuous activity after arrival. 3. You’d better not have bath on the first 2 days on arrival; 4. Drinking more water, having some fresh fruit and having a good rest helps you adapt to the altitude.
After breakfast, start an incredible day of exploration in Lhasa city. The grandiose Potala Palace will be the first site to discover. After more than 1300 years of historical changes, this colossal palace still dominates the skyline of Lhasa city. The Palace is the political and religious center of Tibet and has served as the governance and preaching site for the Dalai Lama. Climbing up the sacred steps to the Red Palace and White Palace you will explore their marvelous interiors full of exquisite Thangkas, numerous Buddha statues, vivid wall paintings, and other works of Buddhist art.
In the afternoon, first visit the holiest Buddhist temple in Tibet, Jokhang Temple, where the 12-year-old-like Shakyamuni statue is consecrated. With a history stretching over 1,300 years, this temple combines the architectural styles of Tibet, China, Nepal and India. As a spiritual center of Tibet, Jokhang Temple attracts hundreds of devoted pilgrims to worship there every day. Outside the door of Jokhang Temple is the famous pilgrimage circle, Barkhor Street, where you can join faithful Tibetans in colorful attires walking the circle around Jokhang Temple.
Tips for today: 1. wear suitable headgear and glasses to protect you from strong sunlight, but do not wear any hat while visiting inside the Tibetan monasteries; 2. photography is not allowed inside the chapels of monasteries; 3. have your passport with you all the time.
Today features visits to 2 of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism – the Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Drepung Monastery is located on the hillside west of Lhasa – at one time the world’s largest monastery with about 10,000 monks living there. A pleasant walk up the hill leads to the solemn ambience inside the monastery’s many halls and chapels.
After Drepung, we will move on to the Sera Monastery. The main highlight of the Sera Monastery is watching the crowd of monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. Every day except Sunday, hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups and practice their debating skills – a very impressive sight to behold, as the monks are very animated in their debates about the various attributes of Buddhist scriptures.
Meals: Breakfast Provided by the hotel
Accommodation: Lhasa Economic/Comfortable Standard Hotel (Twin sharing)
Today is free for you until your driver transfer you to catch your flight (or train) leaving Tibet. Please check your luggage and make sure everything is packed, and then check out from your hotel before 12pm.
The quotation for this trip is from Request P/P
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
Domestic flights (economy class) and high-speed trains (second class) as listed in the itinerary;
Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
All meals as listed(“B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
Single Room Supplement;
Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
Recommended optional activities;
Flights or trains not listed in the itinerary;
Excess Baggage Charges;
Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.
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