As group members will arrive at different times there are no arranged activities on Day 1 until our group meeting at 18:00hrs followed by dinner. Please see the notice board in the hotel foyer for details of this meeting.
Travel to the north of the city to visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu. An incredible piece of engineering stretching 6000km westwards along the mountain ridges north of Beijing, it was originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the Mongolian 'barbarians' of the north.
Spend the morning of Day 3 exploring the vast Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City while still leaving free time to shop in the various markets scattered throughout the city, take a tour of the ancient alleyways (hutongs) in Beijing's Old city or visit the Tibetan Monastery.
Transfer to the station for our train to Lhasa in the evening (the train departs Beijing around 8pm and the journey is approx. 46 hours).
The train trip is a long, yet rewarding, journey through the heart of northern China then south across the Tibetan Plateau.
Comfortable sleeper compartments contain 6 berths, all bedding provided, and the dining car serves a variety of meals and drinks. Boiling water for tea and coffee is available. Due to popular demand we try to get the best sleeping berths in the cabin but during the summer season we can not guarantee which beds will be available. But the spectacular scenery make this a once-in-a-lifetime train journey.
Arrive in Lhasa in the evening of Day 5 and transfer to the hotel. This historic city is situated in a small valley, 3700m above sea level. Lhasa rose to take an important role in the administration of the country over 1300 years ago. At this time, the grand temples of Ramoche and Jokhang were built to house the Buddha images and religious artifacts brought into Tibet as dowries from China and Nepal.
Although little of the 7th-Century Lhasa survives, the 1600s saw a second stage of renovation and development, which included the building of the Potala Palace. Perched on Red Hill overlooking the town, this massive structure dominates the landscape with grace and dignity - a true architectural wonder. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibet and also the most active. Prostrating pilgrims circle the temple endlessly, day and night, some of them traversing the extremes of the Tibetan landscape by foot to celebrate and express their faith. Nearby are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera are still active institutions.
Begin with a tour of the Jokhang and make a kora (circumambulation) of the Barkhor, the holiest devotional circuit, which surrounds the Jokhang and houses a market bazaar where people bargain for Buddha images, yak skulls with ruby eyes, woodcarvings, carpets, prayer wheels and the odd goat's head.
Visit the Potala Palace and either the Sera or Drepung Monastery leaving plenty of time for your own explorations of this wonderful city.
This is one of the 'great three' Gelukpa teaching monasteries of Tibet. There is a beautiful kora where you can circulambulate the the mountain ridge, it is a trek that will never be forgotten. Return to Lhasa for the overnight.
Staying in basic guesthouses, the full kora takes two and half days to complete.
Today enjoy the Sagadawa festival.
Visit Pelkhor Chode in the morning before continuing to Shigatse. Enjoy a visit to Tashilumpo monastery and hike the kora.
Visit the Sakya Gompa.
Hike to Everest Base Camp and visit the world's highest monastery.
Cross one of the most spectacular mountain passes, topped with prayer flags and wind-driven prayer wheels to the border town of Zhangmu. Cross the border and continue to Kathmandu.
Depart at any time.