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Tibet and Shangri-la

15 days

Shanghai - Lijiang - Zhongdian - Lhasa - Gyantse - Lhasa - Shanghai

Lijiang street scene Songzulin monastery, Shangri-la

Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers

From the hustle and bustle of the streets of dynamic Shanghai, to the peace and tranquillity of the high Tibetan plateau, enjoy a fascinating journey into some of the many facets of China today. Visit the delightful and picturesque towns of Lijiang and Zhongdian (Shangri-La) before travelling to Lhasa and Tibet itself at the "roof of the world".

A comfortable tour itinerary based on mainly 4-star hotels

Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Shanghai. Met on arrival and transfer to 4-star Equatorial Hotel or similar. Rest of the day free.

Day 3  Full day city sightseeing tour of Shanghai, to include the Yu Garden - a traditional house and garden in old China town district; the famous Bund or waterfront with its European-style former banks and trading houses; and the Shanghai Museum with its rich collection of art and antiques. Then take a boat trip on the Huangpu River that flows through Shanghai, giving you the best view of the city's modern striking skyline. (B, L)

Day 4  Transfer to airport for flight to Lijiang, in the south-western province of Yunnan, home of the Naxi ethnic minority group. Transfer to 4-star Zen Garden Hotel or similar. Rest of the day free to explore Lijiang old town with its cobbled streets, wooden houses and shops and running watercourses. (B)

Day 5  One day excursion to Baisha village, once the capital of the Naxi kingdom, with important frescoes in its temple, the Yufeng Lamasery, returning to Lijiang to visit the picturesque Black Dragon Pool. (B, L)

Day 6  Travel by road northwards to the town of Zhongdian, stopping off en route to view the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge where the upper reaches of the Yangtze River force their way through the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range. On arrival at Zhongdian, the centre of Yunnan's ethnic Tibetan region, and now known as Shangri-la after the fictional novel Lost Horizon transfer to your hotel. Explore the old town area, now recovering after a devasting fire in 2014. (B, L)

Day 7  Morning: visit the Songzhulin Monastery - the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan - founded by the Fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century. In the afternoon excursion to Bita Hai, a forest-fringed lake lying some 3,500 metres above sea level that is also a nature reserve for rare and protected species. (B, L)

Day 8  Transfer to airport for flight to Lhasa. Met on arrival and transfer to 4-star Gang Gyan Hotel or similar. Rest of the day free to acclimatise to high altitude. (B)

Day 9  Visit to the famous Potala Palace, the centre of power of Tibet's former Dalai Lama rulers. Also visit the Jokhang Temple, Tibetan Buddhism's most sacred shrine, and the surrounding streets of Barkhor Square thronged with pilgrims and visitors. (B, L)

Day 10  Excursion to two of the greatest monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa: Sera and Drepung. Then visit the Norbulinka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. (B, L)

Day 11  Travel through the sparse yet imposing Tibetan landscape to the town of Gyangtse, once famous as a trading town and stil dominated by the ruins of its imposing fortress. En route stop at the stunning Yamdrok Lake. On arrival at Gyangtse visit the Pelkor Chode monastery and the Kumbum, or Hundred Thousand Buddha Stupa. Stay overnight at the 3-star Gyangtse Hotel. (B, L)

Day 12  Morning free to explore some of Gyangtse's streets before the drive back to Lhasa and overnight at hotel. (B)

Day 13  Free morning in Lhasa before transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai. Transfer to 4-star Equatorial Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 14  Free day in Shanghai to explore on your own or do some last-minute shopping. (B)

Day 15  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day. (B)

EXTENSION TO HONG KONG - please ask for prices

Day 15  Transfer to airport for flight to Hong Kong and transfer to your 4- or 5-star hotel in Kowloon. (B, L)

Day 16   Half day tour of Hong Kong, to include Victoria Peak and Aberdeen Harbour. Afternoon free. (B)

Day 17  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day or early the following morning depending on airline schedules. (B)


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