Itinerary Highlights
    • Visit the great spiritual sites of Tibet: Lhasa, Tsetang, Shigatse and Gyantse
    • Delve into regional history as you discover monasteries, temples and palaces with private guides
    • Round off your adventure with a journey through the mountains to Everest Base Camp

Contact one of our specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120

Tibet is a region that enchants with its scenic and cultural charm. Think garlands of colourful prayer flags flying every which way, robed monks on the path to spiritual enlightenment and majestic monasteries perched in the peaks of the Himalayas. Your adventure, however, begins in the heart of China, with a day spent admiring the iconic giant pandas of Chengdu. Then it’s on to Tibet, where you’ll have 12 days to soak in the best cultural offerings of this ancient region. Discover temples that date back to the birth of Tibetan Buddhism, stroll through the summer and winter palaces of Dalai Lamas, sip tea in charmingly traditional tea houses, step into mountain caves frequented by monks and pilgrims,
feast on Tibetan specialities with a local family, learn about Buddhist values in timeless monasteries and soak in the buzzing atmosphere of Everest Base Camp. Let the adventure begin…


Everything is 100% tailored to you

Travel to China

Your epic adventure to the breathtaking landscapes of Tibet begins today with a 14-hour flight to Chengdu via Beijing. Head to the airport, whizz through security and kick back in the airport lounge as you prepare to board. Catch a morning flight, spend a day and night on board and touchdown in Chengdu tomorrow.


Admire Chengdu's Giant Pandas

Rise and shine, your adventure truly gets underway today as you touchdown in the exciting ancient city of Chengdu. Our Concierge on the ground will be waiting to meet you before whisking you off to your first hotel: a small and charming property nestled in the lively heart of town. Take some time to settle in and freshen up before heading out to discover the historic and cultural heritage of old Chengdu with a private guide. Founded in the 3rd century BC, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Shu is now a vast and vibrant city with a Western feel. Tucked away among glitzy skyscrapers are a host of well-preserved gardens, temples and monasteries that reveal the splendour of the past. Our favourite spots include the cottage of Du Fu, a famous poet of the Tang dynasty, and Wangjiang Park, which features more than 150 varieties of bamboo. Later this afternoon, continue on to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a renowned conservation centre that protects the world’s largest concentration of wild pandas on the planet. The centre covers a whopping 136 acres and works hard to care for its hundreds of injured or sick wild pandas, most of which are found in the surrounding mountains. This is a great opportunity to not only admire this adorable creature, but also to learn about the workings of the centre as you discover its areas of quarantine, research, disease control, care and breeding. The rest of this afternoon and evening is then your to spend further discovering Chengdu at your own pace. You can drink tea in the tea house of the Daci temple, learn the 4,000-year-old game of weiqi (go) or attend a Chuanju show (a traditional Sichuan opera).


Touchdown in Tibet

Wave goodbye to the bright city lights of Chengdu as you travel to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. After a delicious breakfast this morning, you’ll be collected and privately transferred to the airport, where you’ll board a scenic two-and-a-half-hour flight west. A private driver will be waiting for you on arrival to whisk you off to your next hotel: a traditional Tibetan property located just southwest of Potala, where you’ll be staying for the next three nights. Spend the rest of today relaxing and recharging your batteries in your beautiful new environment. We recommend taking advantage of the on-site spa facilities before tucking into a delicious meal this evening based on Sichuanese cuisine and the Himalayan tapas of Shambala.


Discover Tibet's First Buddhist Temple

Your first full day in Tibet calls for some serious cultural immersion, so we’ve arranged visits to both a temple and a monastery. First up: Jokhang, the first Buddhist temple founded in Tibet and a major pilgrimage site. It is renowned for housing the Jowo Sakyamuni, a gilded bronze statue of the adolescent Buddha, brought from China by Princess Wencheng. After touring the site with a private guide, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Buddhist nuns who run the convent part of the temple. They also run a small restaurant, where you can tuck into a hearty dish of momo (Tibetan dumplings) alongside some traditional tea. Continue on to the 16th-century Sera Monastery, a renowned monastic university that teaches traditional dance, music, astrology, medicine, metaphysics, philosophy, logic and dialectics.


Visit Palaces of the Dalai Lama

On today’s agenda: visits to the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s winter retreat; the beautiful Mount Chakpori; and Norbulingka, a complex of gardens, palaces and temples. Your first stop is the Potala Palace, an unmissable Buddhist landmark nestled in the centre of Lhasa. The site features two palaces: the White Palace, where the Dalai Lamas lived, and the Red Palace, which housed the civilian organs of government, as well as chapels and libraries. Tour this masterpiece of Himalayan architecture with a knowledgeable local guide to learn all about its significance to politics, religion and the arts.

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims, continue on to Mount Chakpori (where an important monastic school of traditional medicine was established) to admire ancient polychrome sculptures. Round off your day of sightseeing with a trip to the park and palace of Norbulingka to discover gardens, temples and grand feats of architecture that date back to 1751. The estate served as a summer residence for the Dalai Lamas until the departure of Tenzin Gyatso in 1959 and still breathes an enchanting regal atmosphere.


Delve into the Region's Roots

Continue your journey across Tibet today with a two-hour private transfer to Tsetang, the former capital of the Yarlung dynasty (between the seventh and ninth centuries) and cradle of Tibetan civilisation. On arrival, settle in for two nights in a simple yet elegant hotel and spend the rest of today discovering the fascinating origins of the state. The star of the show is certainly the impressive Yumbulagang Palace, a royal residence and later an important Gelugpa monastery (Gelugpa being the youngest yet largest school of thought in Tibetan Buddhism). Heavily damaged and reduced to just a single story during the Cultural Revolution, the palace was meticulously restored to its former glory in the early 1980s. There is also the venerable Tradruk monastery, which is a treasure chest of historical relics. One of the most important treasures here is a tanka (Tibetan Buddhist silk painting) embroidered with pearls by Princess Wencheng, the Chinese wife of Songtsen Gampo, who was the first emperor of Tibet and founder of Lhasa in the seventh century.


Walk Through Ancient Caves

Follow in the footsteps of the great Buddhist master, Gulug Rinpoche, as you discover a network of meditation retreats nestled in a warren of caves called the Chim-puk Hermitage with a private guide. Tucked away in an arid landscape and totally disconnected from the modern world, the caves are still inhabited by 200 Buddhists, mostly nuns, who lead a simple life centred around spiritual practices and mediation. Continue on to the Samyé monastery, which, dating back to 779, is undoubtably the first Buddhist monastery founded in Tibet. The architecture is truly remarkable, with its mandala shape representing the tantric cosmos and the main temple depicting Mount Meru, the axis of the universe. Inside, the interiors reflect a mixture of Tibetan, Chinese and Indian influences. At the entrance, take a moment to take in the stele of Emperor Yarlung Trisong Detsen proclaiming Buddhism as the state religion in the year the temple was completed. Interestingly, it was here that it was decided that Tibet would follow the Indian gradualist path, rather than that of Chan illuminism. Round off your visit with a hike up to the summit of Hepori hill, from where you can enjoy beautiful views over the Samyé monastery and the surrounding valley.


Scenic Drive to Gyantse

After a hearty breakfast this morning, hop back into your privately chauffeured car and embark on a six-hour scenic journey to Gyantse, a beautiful town steeped in historic and cultural heritage. Along the way you’ll travel along two breathtaking mountain passes: Gampa-La (15,700ft), which overlooks the blue waters of Lake Yamdrok-Tso, and Karo-La (16,400ft), from which you can admire the mountains of the Noijin Kangsang massif. Break up the journey with a sop at the 12th-century drukpa Ralung monastery, whose 18th abbot (ruler) was Ngawang Namgyal, who laid the foundations of the State of Bhutan in the 17th century. On arrival in Gyantse, settle in for the night in a delightful little guesthouse and spend the rest of today soaking in the old-world spirit of this beautiful historic citadel. We recommend taking the afternoon to visit the Palcho Monastery, which features the largest stupa (Buddhist monument) in the country. Constructed in a traditional Nepalese style, the stupa contains 77 chapels decorated with splendid mural paintings.


Admire Sacred Art

Wave goodbye to the old town of Gyantse as you are privately transferred two hours to your next destination: the bustling city of Shigatse. Your home for the night here is a delightful hotel that skilfully blends traditional interiors with contemporary comforts. After settling in and freshening up, head out in the company of a knowledgeable private guide to discover the fabulous Tashilhunpo monastery. Founded by the first Dalai Lama back in 1447, the works of sacred art preserved here often rival those that can be seen at the Potala Palace. Discover the monastery with a private guide as you walk along the lingkhor, the devotional path. You’ll also have the opportunity to browse through Tibetan crafts, beer pots and copper teapots at a local artisanal market.

DAY 10

Explore a 1000-Year-Old Monastery

Your Tibetan adventure continues today with a four-hour drive to Shelkar, a traditional mountain town located near the Nepalese border. Along the way, make a stop at Skya, a monastery founded in 1073. Skya was the seat of the Skayapa school, one of the four currents of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as an ancient seat of government in the 13th century. On arrival in Shelkar, settle in for two nights in a traditional guesthouse and spend the rest of today resting and recharging your batteries ready for a big adventure tomorrow.

DAY 11

Everest Base Camp

Wake up bright and early and get ready for an epic adventure to Everest Base Camp. Leave your hotel at dawn and enjoy spectacular sunrise views across the Himalayas as you travel three hours to the Rongpuk monastery. Perched at a height of 16,300ft, this is the highest monastery in Tibet and, most likely, in the world. At this height you can also appreciate magnificent views of the frosty summit of Everest, which is locally referred to by its Tibetan name, Jomolangma. Continue on to Everest Base Camp (weather permitting) and spend the day soaking in the iconic setting from where mountaineers' expeditions begin on the north face of Everest. Journey back to your hotel in the early evening and settle in for a good night’s rest after a big day in the great outdoors.

DAY 12

Visit a Small Mountain Monastery

Begin a two-stage return journey to Lhasa with a four-hour private transfer back to Shigatse. Along the way, make a stop at the small monastery of Nartang, which is named the ‘monastery in the elephant’s trunk’ in reference to the mountain curves that surround the building. Founded in 1153, Nartang is renowned for housing one of the main traditional printing houses for sacred books (sutras). On arrival in Shigatse, settle in for the night in the same hotel you previously stayed in and spend the rest of today further soaking in the cultural and architectural charms of this traditional Tibetan city.

DAY 13

Scenic Journey to Lhasa

Sit back, relax and enjoy the changing views across the Tibetan plateau as you travel five hours back to Lhasa with your private driver. Once again, settle back into the hotel you first stayed in here: a traditional Tibetan property located near the Potala Palace, where you’ll be hanging up your hat for the next two nights. The rest of today is then yours to spend as you please. You can head out to discover more of the city’s lesser-known monasteries and Buddhist sites, or simply kick back and enjoy the facilities at your hotel, which includes a lovely spa.

DAY 14

Lunch with a Local Family

Rise and shine, it’s your final full-day in Tibet and there’s not a moment to waste. Head out this morning with a private guide to the Ganden monastery, which is reached via a beautiful road that winds along the banks of the Kyichu River, in the heart of Taktse Valley. The monastery is one of the ‘great three’ Gelupa university monasteries of Tibet, as well as prime example of traditional red, white and gold architecture. On the way back, make a stop at the lovely village of Lamo and settle in for a delicious regional lunch (most likely yak meat and soup) with a local family. As an alternative for your final day, we could arrange a visit to the Drepung monastery followed by a beginners calligraphy class.

DAYS 15 & 16

Journey Home

Sadly the time has come to bid the enchanting landscapes of Tibet a warm farewell and embark on the journey home. After one last relaxing morning at your hotel, you’ll be collected and privately transferred to the airport, ready for a four-hour flight to Beijing. From here it’s a further 11 hours back to the UK, so make sure to bring all your comforts on board with you. Spend tonight in the air and touch down on home turf tomorrow.

A la carte

Visit Lake Namtso

From Lhasa, our team can arrange an excursion to one of the great sacred natural sites of Tibet: Namtso Lake. The landscapes are very emblematic of the region – we’re talking dusty brown plateaus, snow-capped peaks in the distance and nomadic herders grazing their yaks. Discover this beautiful natural wonder in the company of a knowledgeable local guide who can point out the fabulous regional flora and fauna.

Discover the Cliffs of Drak Yerpa

Located about 25 miles northeast of Lhasa are the exceptional cliffs of Drak Yerpa, which sheltered meditating monks from the earliest days of Tibetan Buddhism. Caves, hermitages and monasteries eloquently bear witness to this spiritual concentration. Marvel at a collection of mesmerising mountainside buildings and admire pilgrims coming and going before settling in for a delicious picnic with a view.

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The cost for this trip starts from £5,850 to £7,600 per person.

The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote.

The average starting price for this trip is £6,900 per person.
A few of the benefits of travelling with us
Get in touch
Our experts have the inside track on the destinations they sell and will tailor-make a holiday to your unique requirements.
Contact one of our China specialists