Road to Tibet with Yangtze River Cruise 21 Days


Beijing, Xi'an, Yangtze River Cruise, Chongqing, Lhasa, Shigatse, Chengdu

Tour Highlights:

  • Beijing: Walk on the incredible Great Wall, visit the Forbidden City, and see the 'Bird’s Nest' and 'Water Cube' Olympic venues
  • Xi’an: Terracotta Warriors of China's first emperor, Dumpling Banquet, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Ancient City Wall, Great Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Yangtze River Cruise: Cruise down the magnificent Yangtze River and experience the record-breaking Three Gorges Dam
  • Lhasa Express: Experience an unforgettable railway journey through breathtaking scenery, from Qinghai to Tibet
  • Qinghai Lake: Marvel at enormous Qinghai Lake (China's largest at over 4000KM2), and admire its natural beauty and wildlife
  • Lhasa: Discover the spiritual capital of Tibet, Lhasa, known as the heart and soul of Tibet and a city of wonders in itself
  • Shigatse: Immerse yourself in the sacred Tibetan culture with visits to intricately-decorated palaces, holy monasteries, and religious temples

Envelop your senses and embrace your spiritual side with this scenic and cultural tour of China, including an incomparable rail trip to Tibet.

For centuries, Tibet – the 'roof of the world' – the once-mysterious Buddhist land locked away in the mountain fastness of the Himalayas, has exercised a unique hold on the imagination of the West. Tibet was once a great empire with a warlike people, who converted to the pacifist and contemplative doctrines of the Buddha, developing a unique take on his teachings of those of his disciples.

Closed to the world for centuries, and surviving cultural near-devastation, Tibet still offers the experience of fabulous monasteries, breathtaking religious artworks, stunning views of the world's highest mountains, and one of the most sincere and enduring peoples you will ever meet.

You will also discover the dramatic gorges, mountain villages, historic relics and breathtaking scenery as you cruise along the mighty Yangtze River. This 21 day tour is a visual delight, full of pleasant surprises and many treasures waiting to be discovered.

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Departure Dates

2019 Package Price Per Person Single Supplement
05 May 01 Sep From
Land Only $4,785
02 Jun 20 Oct

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines or Air China (subject to availability)
  • Tibet entry permit
  • Internal airfares (operated by a local carrier)
  • Hotel accommodation (twin share)
  • 4 nights aboard Yangtze River Cruise (twin share)
  • 3 shore excursions (subject to change and favourable weather conditions)
  • Daily meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Coach transportation
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees to scenic attractions
  • English speaking tour guide(s)
  • Soft sleeper class train from Chongqing to Lhasa

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: $235
  • China visa application fees
  • Optional recommended excursions
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything not stated

Stopovers Optional Extension

Hong Kong Stopover from $489pp

Once a sleepy fishing village, Hong Kong has developed into one of the premier financial powerhouses of the Far East. It is a city which boldly blends modernity with Chinese heritage and British colonial influence. A safe, well organised, fast paced shopping paradise, it also offers up some unmatched cuisine experiences.

For details, tap the image above or click here.

Optional ProgramsOptional Extension

Get to know China better with our list of in-depth excursions recommended to add another dimension to your total experience! They can be prepaid in Australia more than 30 days prior to departure at the discounted AUD prices below, or paid directly in the local currency to your tour guide upon arrival in China. English speaking guide, admissions and round trip transfers are included in the price.

Beijing The Golden Mask Dynasty $75
Beijing Hutong Life Tour $70
Chengdu Face Changing Show $55

Hotel Accommodation Optional Extension

Beijing Traders Upper East Hotel 5 star local rating or similar
Xi’an Titan Times Hotel 5 star local rating or similar
Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze Gold Cruise or similar 5 star local rating or similar
Chongqing Double Tree by Hilton 5 star local rating or similar
Lhasa Express Soft sleeper class
Lhasa The Tibet Cang-gyan Lhasa Hotel 5 star local rating or similar
Shigatse VanRay International Resort 4 star local rating or similar
Chengdu Chengdu House International Hotel 5 star local rating or similar
Hong Kong Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees 4 star local rating or similar
Board an overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Beijing.
Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China. We will be warmly greeted at the airport by our tour guide and transferred to our hotel. Our welcome banquet includes the local delicacy, Peking Roast Duck.
Beijing has served as the capital of five dynasties over a period of 800 years. Today we start our city tour with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the second largest public square in the world, followed by a visit to the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to Qing dynasty. In the afternoon, we continue to the Temple of Heaven, which was used by emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties to offer sacrifices to heaven and pray for a good harvest. After dinner, you can choose to attend an optional large scale dramatic musical, The Golden Mask Dynasty.
Beijing Forbidden City
Our highlight today is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass, the most famous image of China. After lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a cloisonné Factory. Later, visit the Changling Exhibition Hall of the Ming Tombs where thirteen of the sixteen Ming dynasty emperors are buried. We cap off the day by attending a superb and thrilling Chinese Acrobatic Show in the evening.
Great Wall of China
This morning we tour the exquisite Summer Palace (Imperial Garden), the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors, followed by an outside view of the beautiful Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and Water Cube (National Aquatics Centre), both purpose-built for the 2008 Olympics. Then, go on a tour of Beijing’s ancient Hutong neighbourhoods (at your own expense), and visit a local family where you will learn about tai chi, Chinese calligraphy, and cricket fighting. Alternatively, climb up Bell Tower to enjoy a bird’s eye view of old Beijing.

Note 1: There is only time available for one option (Hutong Life Tour or Bell Tower). Your tour guide will advise which one is available and suitable based on the day’s schedule. Bell Tower requires climbing stairs.

Note 2: Based on government policy, the number of rickshaws have been significantly reduced and adjustments to the Hutong Life Tour optional have been made to accommodate this change.

Afterwards, you may go for a stroll in Wangfujing, one of the Chinese capital’s most famous shopping streets.

Birds Nest
This morning we fly to Xi’an, the first Chinese city to open its doors to the world, during the Tang dynasty, and capital for eleven dynasties over a period of more than 2,000 years. Our highlight here is a visit to the Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum to see the life-sized ‘afterworld army’ of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. This site is among the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. Later, we visit a ceramic art factory, followed by a special Dumpling Banquet, while enjoying a performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty.
Xi'an Terracotta Army
This morning we visit the fascinating Shaanxi Provincial Museum, followed by lunch featuring a special noodle making demonstration. Afterwards we visit the Ancient City Wall, the most complete ancient city wall to survive in China. Then we visit the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, the symbol of the city.
Xi'an City Wall
This morning we fly to Wuhan and transfer by coach (approximately 4-5 hours) to Yichang, the starting point of our Yangtze River Cruise for the next four nights. We board the luxury cruise in the evening and receive an introduction to cruise events and onboard activities.
Yangtze River Cruise
Enjoy a tour to the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest, before cruising on the Yangtze River. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we cross through the Yangtze Three Gorges: Xiling Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Qutang Gorge. Enjoy shore excursions to explore the fascinating history and tranquil landscapes.
We disembark from our cruise in the port city of Chongqing this morning and visit the Panda House at Chongqing Zoo. Tonight you will feast on sumptuous Sichuan cuisine.
Enjoy a short tour of the city’s historic sites, including the Residence of General Joseph W. Stilwell, People’s Assembly Hall, and Hongya Cave. You will be transferred to the train terminal this afternoon for your 3 day 2 night Lhasa Express trip. The line includes the Tanggula Pass, which, at 5,072m above sea level, is the world’s highest railway. Tanggula railway station at 5,068m is the world’s highest railway station. The 44-hour trip is a great opportunity for the group to get to know each other. It is also fun trying to communicate with some of the locals on board.
The passenger carriages used on Lhasa trains are specially built and have an oxygen supply for each passenger. Every passenger train has a doctor.
Hongya Cave
Enjoy views of Qinghai Lake, the largest salt lake in China (at over 4000km in surface area), from the train. ‘Blue Sea Lake’ lies at the crossroads of several important bird migration routes across Asia. The Qinghai region is significant in Chinese history, lying between Tibet, Mongolia, the Hui and Uyghur Muslim regions of China, and the Han Chinese heartland.
The train will pass Golmud, Qaidam Basin, and Tsonag Lake today. Qaidam Basin is bounded on the south by the towering Kunlun Mountains – with many peaks in the western part exceeding 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) above sea level. The northwest portion of the basin is an area of true desert. Tsonag Lake is sacred to Tibetans, especially in the pre-Buddhist Bon religious tradition, and is one of the world’s highest altitude fresh water lakes. It can be observed on the right (west) as the train passes Tsonag Lake Railway Station. Then, after passing through the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve (home to more than 230 species of wild animals), on ‘the largest and highest plateau in the world’, your train arrives in Lhasa, and you will be warmly greeted by our local tour guide.
Kunlun Mountains
Towering over the ancient capital of Tibet (and now of China’s Xizang Autonomous Region) is the red and white Potala Palace, home to Tibet’s spiritual leaders – the Dalai Lamas – since the 17th century. Then visit Tibet’s oldest temple, Jokhang Temple. Tibetan Buddhists all aim to visit Lhasa in their lifetime, drawn by this sacred temple, which forms the heart of the Tibetan quarter of the city. In the afternoon, explore the captivating neighbourhood, the Barkhor Street. It is a traditional shopping street situated in the centre of Lhasa and a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion, and arts meet.
Potala Palace
This morning, travel by coach to Yamdrok Lake, also known as Yamdrok Yumtso, one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin (7191m). The famous Kharola Glacier is below the south ridge of Nojin Kangsang. Then we visit the Palkhor Monastery, a huge temple with a unique history and a wealth of Buddhist art. It is notable for its superb Kumbum, the largest and spectacularly well preserved chorten in Tibet, crowned with a golden dome and still containing thousands of wonderful religious paintings.
Yamdrok Lake
Visit the Tashilunpo Monastery. Tashilunpo means in Tibetan ‘all fortune and happiness gathered here’. The monastery is well known for its large gold-gilded copper sitting Amitabha Buddha. Travel back to Lhasa in the afternoon. On the way back, we will visit the Norbulingka, which was used as a summer palace for successive Dalai Lamas, but has been turned into a public park.
Fly to Chengdu this morning. Upon arrival, explore the dynamic folk custom street Jin-Li, and experience the life style of Old Chengdu. This evening, you can watch a fascinating show featuring Face Changing (at your own expense), a magical type of traditional Chinese dramatic art that is the pride of the Sichuan opera.
Jin-Li Street
After breakfast, transfer to Chengdu airport to board your overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Australia. The trip may be over, but the experiences and memories will certainly last a lifetime.
Arrive home this morning

Optional Post-Tour Stopover Package

Hong Kong & Macau 4 Day 3 Night Stopover

From $599

Once a sleepy fishing Village, Hong Kong has developed into one of the premiere financial powerhouses of the Far East. It is a city which boldly blends the modern with Chinese heritage and British colonial influence. A safe, well organised, fast paced shopping paradise, it also offers up some unmatched cuisine experiences. Dine on some of the best yum cha and wonton noodle soup in the world, or a taste of more unusual culinary delights such grass jelly or shredded jellyfish.

Macau is a small peninsula in mainland China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese overseas territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences. Its giant casinos and extravagant malls have earned it the nickname, the “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of its more striking landmarks is 338m-high Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.


  • 3 nights hotel accommodation (twin/double share)
  • Hotel buffet breakfast
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Half day Hong Kong Island sightseeing tour
  • Macau day tour, lunch and round trip ferry tickets


  • Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees Hotel 4 star or similar

Price Guide:

  • Single Supplement: $280
  • Alternative hotel upgrade options are available upon request
  • Note: To book this stopover, the airline must first be upgraded to Cathay Pacific at additional cost, please refer to the Price Guide
Fly to Hong Kong, the gourmet and shopping paradise of Asia. Check into your hotel upon arrival, and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure (flight time permitting).
Hong Kong at night
Enjoy a half day tour of Hong Kong Island visiting Victoria Peak, Stanley Market and Aberdeen Fishing Village. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
Hong Kong Night Market
Today, take a high speed ferry (Turbojet) to Macau for a tour of Asia’s equivalent to Las Vegas, visiting the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, A Ma Temple, Barrier Gate, Serado Square, Casinos and souvenir stores. In the evening, return to Hong Kong by ferry.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
After breakfast, transfer to Hong Kong international airport to board our overnight flight to Australia.
Arrive home this morning.