Starting in Beijing, a local guide will introduce you to the capital’s historical and cultural splendours, from the iconic Great Wall to the vast Tiananmen Square. You’ll also get to explore the charming lanes and quaint alleyways of the old hutongs, before catching a flight to the beautiful Yunnan province. Here, away from the busy streets of Beijing, you’ll find dramatic rural landscapes, serene temples and minority villages where life is reminiscent of the China of old. You’ll explore the UNESCO-listed city of Lijiang, and venture north to find unforgettable scenery featuring the mighty Yangtze River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Next you will move on to the ancient Kingdom of Tibet, stopping first at Shangri-la where quaint villages will give you a taste of traditional Tibetan living. Your luxurious hotel is nestled in the mountains and offers many excursions in the surrounding area. You’ll finish up in the characterful city of Lhasa, with visits to the Jokhang Temple and the stunning Potala Palace.
London – Beijing
Your flight to Beijing arrives in the morning. You will stay at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing which enjoys a central location in downtown Beijing. The hotel’s contemporary deluxe rooms are the perfect place to relax, complete with rain showers, deep bathtubs, iPod docking stations and a 42-inch television. Spend a full day taking in the highlights of the city, from the vast Tiananmen Square to the 15th century Forbidden City. After exploring the historically-protected hutong area by rickshaw, you will visit the colourful Temple of Heaven.
Next, visit The Great Wall at Mutianyu where you will enjoy breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside. On the way back to Beijing you will make a photo stop at the 2008 Olympic Stadium.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe room at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing – breakfast included
You’ll have one last morning in Beijing before hopping on a flight to China’s Yunnan province, staying at The Banyan Tree in Lijiang. A luxury property nestled amongst private gardens, and sitting 2,400 metres above sea level, the stunning views from the villas look out over the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. In Lijiang you will visit the fascinating Old Town of Dayan where a guide will bring to life the area’s intriguing history and its indigenous Dongba culture. Lijiang’s surrounding countryside can be explored by road, foot or even horseback, and hosts mountains, the remote Wenhai Lake, and small traditional villages reminiscent of ‘old’ China.
Stay: Three nights in a garden suite at Banyan Tree Lijiang – breakfast included
Lijiang – Shangri La
Today you will journey into the north of Lijiang where the scenery is exceptionally stunning. Here you can see the Yangtze River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge which is set amongst cliffs of almost 4,000 metres on either side. Next you will head to the hills of Shangri-la. From your hotel, which boasts a spectacular setting amongst the carpeted mountains, you can enjoy day and overnight excursions taking you into divine mountain peaks, awe inspiring ridges, deep canyons and tranquil lakes.
Whilst in Shangri-la a visit to the Sumtsenling Monastery, Shangri-la’s Old Town and the small village of Tanwei will introduce you to the Tibetan way of life.
Stay: Two nights in a Tibetan suite at Banyan Tree Ringah – breakfast included
After a flight to Lhasa you will be transferred to the St Regis Lhasa. Standing on the “Roof of the World,” the St. Regis Lhasa Resort offers refined luxury and superlative service in a storied city. Potala Palace and Norbulingka, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Jokhang Temple, are all minutes from the resort.
In the atmospheric city of Lhasa you will enjoy a visit to the Bharkhor District, one of Lhasa’s three pilgrim circuits which encircles the Jokhang Temple, considered by many to be the home of Tibetan Buddhism. The Potala Palace, with its striking white and red buildings, was the former residence of the Dalai Lama is an absolute must on any visit to the city. On your last day in Lhasa you will drive out of the city to the visit the Ganden Monastery – the spiritual home of the Gelupga Sect situated high in the mountains.
Stay: Four nights in a deluxe room at the St Regis Lhasa Resort – breakfast included
Lhasa – Beijing
Today you will say goodbye to Tibet, and board an afternoon flight back to Beijing. You will spend at night at the Langham Palace – conveniently located just a minute from Beijing Capital Airport.
Stay: One night in an essential place room at Langham Palace Hotel – breakfast included
Beijing – London
Your journey will end with a direct flight back to London from Beijing.