Iconic China: Beijing to Tibet

  • Trip Type: Journeys
  • 15 Days | Beijing to Shanghai
  • Group Size: Max 15

Trip Details


Explore China like an insider on this 15-day adventure across its awe-inspiring interior. Go for a walk on the Great Wall, explore the bustling city of Beijing, and meet pandas at a breeding center in Sichuan. Glimpse daily life in Tibet and cruise the incredible Yangtze River on a riverboat. Cycle atop the city walls of Xi’an, and face its standing army of terracotta warriors before eating lunch with a local family. Venture into the heart of the country and find the pulse of China.

Trip Highlights

    • Get up close to pandas at a breeding center in Chengdu.
    • Explore Lhasa’s palaces and temples, and make Tibetan dumplings with a local chef.
    • Take a tai chi lesson with a local expert at Beijing’s historic Temple of Heaven.
    • Sail through the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River on a three-night cruise.

Itinerary - 15 Days

Day 1 — Beijing

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer to the hotel is included. Kick off your trip with a welcome dinner of Peking duck. (1D)

Day 2 — Beijing

Start the day early with a lesson in tai chi, led by a local expert at the historic Temple of Heaven. After continue exploring the key sites of Beijing including the famed Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. (1B)

Day 3 — Beijing

Take a walk along the Great Wall, exploring its towers and enjoying outstanding views. This evening, board an overnight sleeper train to Xi’an. (1B)

Days 4 & 5 — Xi'an

Take in incredible views of Xi'an during a bike ride along its ancient city walls. Then enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at Gao’s Grand Courtyard, a historic house in the Muslim Quarter. Interact with local artists, enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry, and visit backstage. In the evening, stroll the markets of the Muslim Quarter and sample some of the best street food in China. The next day, visit the famed terra-cotta warriors and then have lunch in the local farming village where these archaeological treasures were discovered. (2B, 1L)

Day 6 — Lhasa

Fly over the Himalaya to Tibet. Set off on an orientation walk with a local guide through Barkhor Square. (1B)

Days 7 & 8 — Lhasa

Enjoy a guided visit to Potala Palace, the sacred Jokhang temple, and the Tibetan Medical Institute. The next day, visit 15th-century Sera Monastery, then take a cooking class with a local chef to make (and eat) Tibetan momo dumplings. Also visit a thangka academy to observe this ancient and intricate art form, considered sacred to Buddhists. (2B, 1L)

Day 9 — Chengdu

Fly to Chengdu and sample the city’s famed (and fiery) Sichuan cuisine for dinner. (1B, 1D)

Day 10 — Chengdu/Chongqing

Visit a panda breeding center to observe these iconic national treasures and learn about their life cycle and habitat. Later, board a riverboat for your first of three nights on the Yangtze. (1B)

Days 11 & 12 — Yangtze River

Cruise the Yangtze River with daily shore excursions that may include: visiting Fengdu, Shibaozhai, or Wanzhou; sailing through Qutang Gorge–Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges, or Shennong Stream; sailing through Three Gorges Dam ship locks; and an optional excursion to White Emperor City (all depending on the season and river conditions). Relax in your well-appointed cabin and enjoy shipboard activities such as tai chi, tea tasting, and calligraphy classes. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 13 & 14 — Shanghai

Take a tour of Three Gorges Dam before flying to Shanghai. The next day, enjoy free time to explore this vibrant city on your own. Opt to visit Yuyuan Gardens, the Shanghai Museum or this evening catch the famed Shanghai acrobats performance. (2B)

Day 15 — Shanghai

Depart at any time. (1B)

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Trip Cost

Price From


Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354

Call to speak with a specialist about this trip.

Cost Details

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

My Own Room Option: From $759

What's Included

Arrival transfer, internal flights, transport between destinations and to/ from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. The optional visits to Yuyuan Garden, the Shanghai Museum, and the Beijing kung fu show are at an additional cost.

Comfortable, mid-range hotels (10 nights), soft sleeper overnight train (1 night), Yangtze riverboat (3 nights)

Meals Included
14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners. Allow an additional $365–475 for meals not included.

Train, minibus, cruise boat, small canal boat, ferry, plane

Optional Experience

You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.