Cultural Basecamp

Journey from China to Tibet and Nepal

Beijing, China

We customize every trip

Prices From: $4,308 per person

This is the ultimate trip for adventure travelers, cultural travelers, and really any kind of traveler. Rendevous in Beijing, the beating heart of a country ready to name the 21st century after itself. There is no other city with its energy and vibrance in the world today. From here you will see the highlights of China, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and in Xian, the mysterious Terracotta Warriors.

Launch across China to Lhasa, Tibet, where ancient holy sites and colorful streets highlight a culture struggling to stay alive, yet thriving at the same time. Drive your way across Tibet and Nepal, brushing by Mt Everest, on your way to Kathmandu, where your journey ends, or continues onto some place else.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Beijing Arrival

Welcome to China! Upon arrival in Beijing, you will be met at the international airport by our local representative, and transferred to your overnight accommodations.

Overnight: Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel

Day 2 - Beijing City Tour

Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning after breakfast, and take you on a full day tour of the city, including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven.

Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.

The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911. This "city within a city" is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest and the best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world, with great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters.

Built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties visited for annual ceremonies of pray for good harvests. Located in the south of Central Beijing, it covers an area of 273 hectares.

Overnight: Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 3 - Beijing: Great Wall Of China

Today your guide will drive you out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. This less-crowded section is a about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift.

Overnight: Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 4 - Beijing - Xian

This morning you will tour the Xicheng District. Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family.

After lunch, you will go to the northwest of Beijing to visit the Summer Palace. Otherwise a simple Imperial garden, the site was completely renovated by Emperor Qianlong during the 18th century to become one the most important sites of the capital. Back in the day, the members of the Imperial Court would flee the summer’s insufferable heat in Forbidden City to lounge on Palace’s immense lawn.

Later in the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in good time to board your flight to Xian. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your local accommodations.

Overnight: Xian Skytel Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 5 - Xian: Terracotta Warriors

This morning, your driver will meet you at the train station and transfer you to your local hotel to check in and freshen up. This morning you will first visit the Terracotta Warriors. Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars.

This afternoon, you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.

Overnight: Xian Skytel Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 6 - Xian City Tour - Xining

This morning, tour the Shaanxi History Museum. The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed. Most of the item labels are in English, although some other information on the exhibitions is not, but your guide can help here.

Next, tour the ancient city wall on bicycle. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, it is a major landmark, and the best preserved, as well as the oldest and largest of the city defense systems in China. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.

This afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in good time to board your short flight to Xining, where you will be met and transferred to your local accommodations for overnight.

Overnight: Xining Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 7 - Xining Lake Cruise - Lhasa

This morning, take a lake cruise on Qinghai Lake. Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland salt water lake is at 3200 meters above sea level and is situated at the east of Qinghai province, around 2 hours drive from Xining. The ellipse-shaped lake looks like a huge poplar leaf sitting on the alpine prairie. Scenery in Qinghai lake varies according to seasons. Summer and autumn are the most comfortable weather conditions and the lake's scenery is most beautiful during these seasons.

This evening, you will board your overnight train departing for Lhasa.

Overnight: ShangBaLa Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 8 - Lhasa Arrival

Today you will arrive in Lhasa. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your local accommodations, where you will have the rest of the day to relax and explore the city at your leisure.

Overnight: ShangBaLa Hotel

Day 9 - Lhasa City Tour

Begin today's tour by visiting Barkhor. Built about 1,300 years ago, The Barkhor (pilgrims' circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. In the past, it was a designated circumambulation circuit, "a saint's road" in the eyes of Tibetans. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits typical Tibetan life. Watch the pilgrims, wearing their local dress from many different parts of Tibet, as they circle clockwise around Jokhang Temple with prayer wheels, or prostrate them near the front gate. Join the locals and visitors to shop for local goods at the colorful stalls, or relax in a coffee shop or tea house to enjoy the passing parade.

Then you will enter Jokhang Temple. Smaller and more manageable than the Potala, this 4-storey, golden-roofed temple is at the heart of a rich and living Tibetan Buddhism. Many locals pray here regularly. Yak butter lamps burn in front of rich statuary that includes the Sakyamuni Buddha brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng in the 7th Century.

Finally visit Potala Palace. Former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience. Note: you need to be fit for climbing up the long stairways.

Overnight: ShangBaLa Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 10 - Lhasa Monastery Tour

Today's tour begins at Norbulingka. Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". Constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, it later served the whole government administration. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both administrative and religious purposes.

Next visit Sera Monastery. Located in the northern suburbs of Lhasa, The Sera Monastery is a complex of 4 structures; the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. 'Sera' means wild roses and was called this because the monastery was surrounded by wild roses. One of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is here that the monks "famous daily debates" take place.

Finally, take your time visiting Drepung Monastery. Drepung Monastery lies in west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse, clustered round by the black mountain, its white grand buildings shining under the sunlight. Built in 1416, it is considered as one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect in China. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace (after the 5th Dalai Lamas was bestowed by Qing emperor Qianlong).

Overnight: ShangBaLa Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 11 - Lhasa - Shigatse

Before departing for Shigatse today, visit the Pelkhor Choede. Pelkhor Choede (Kumbum), also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. It lies about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.

After your drive to Shigatse, visit Yomdrok Lake. Dotted with a dozen islands and abundant in natural resources, Lake Yamdrok has the highest power station in the world, and is also the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting countless swans and gulls every summer.

Overnight: Shigatse Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 12 - Shigatse - Dingri

Visit Tashilunpo Monastery before driving to Dingri today. Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gyalwa Gendun Drup (1st Dalai Lama) and is a historically and culturally important monastery. Its name means "heap of glory" or "all fortune and happiness gathered here". Painted in red and white, the buildings in the kloster stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. Tashilunpo Kloster represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit.

Later, drive to Dingri, where you will check into your hotel for the night.

Overnight Accommodation: Dingri Zhufeng Hotel Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13 - Dingri: Everest Base Camp

Visit Rongbuk Monastery this morning. Rongbuk Monastery is the highest temple at an altitude of 5,100 meters (16728 feet). Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in the Tibetan Language, is the highest peak on the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers' eyes. A journey to the Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to visitors, but it will definitely reward them with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories. On May 8, 2008, the Olympic Torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was taken to the peak and lit by a group of Chinese mountaineers, making it the first time ever for the Olympic torch to be lit on the "top of the world".

Overnight Accommodation: Dingri Zhufeng Hotel Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14 - Dingri - Zhangmu

Spend the day driving to Zhangmu. Check into your hotel here and settle in for the night.

Overnight: Zhangmu Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 15 - Zhangmu - Kathmandu

After concluding your long drive in Kathmandu, Nepal today and checking into your hotel, visit Durbar Square. The Durbar Square lies in the heart of Kathmandu. Locally also called as Hanuman Dhoka Palace Square-an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty. The Duibar Square Complex consists of a huge Royal Square is imposing with tremendous variety of temples dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddess. Most of the buildings seen here date from 15th to 18th century. Some of the important monuments to be seen here are: Taleju temple-, Jagannath temple, Kal Bhairav, Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap - built from the timber of a single tree.

Day 16 - Kathmandu: Temples & Stupas Tour

This morning, visit Swyambhunath Stupa. Located about 3km west of downtown Kathmandu, Swoyambhu Nath Stupa is one of the most fascinating architectural jewels of the world. This great Stupa is said to have been built around 250 B.C. The Stupa of Swoyambhunath stands on a typically stylized lotus mandala base-a long time ago believed to have originated from a legendary lake of Kathmandu Valley. Get a magnificent view of Kathmandu Valley and the breathtaking panorama of the north eastern Himalayan range.

Next, visit Boudha Nath Stupa. Located on the trade routes between Tibet and Nepal and one of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal, Boudhanath is an imposing structure standing some 36 meters tall. The Stupa stands on the massive three level mandala style Platforms surrounded by colorful private family houses.

Finally, visit Pashupatinath Temple. Pasupatinath with an area of 281 hectares is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. Located on the banks of the Bagmati river, this two tiered magnificent golden temple with four triple silver doorways is unique example of the Nepalese temple architecture.

Day 17 - Kathmandu Departure

Today you will be transferred to the airport in good time to board your departure flights home!

Accommodation Information

Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel

Days Inn Forbidden City Beijing is a courtyard-style establishment, surrounded by thousand-year-old trees. The hotel has retained its old-world charm, but at the same time, merged it with contemporary architecture and designs. The hotel caters to both the business and leisure travelers, focusing on clean and comfortable accommodations while providing high-quality service and amenities at a competitive price.

There are 160 well-equipped rooms, including the family suite, deluxe king/queen - size rooms, deluxe twin rooms, and the budget single rooms. All of the rooms are equipped with workstations, broadband internet, and wide screen LCD televisions with cable channels.

Xian Skytel Hotel

This is a 3-star International hotel located at South Avenue in the heart of Xi'an City. The hotel is adjacent to the Bell Tower and faces the scenic Stele Forest, South Gate and City Wall. It's merely minutes from the railway station and a convenient 40-minute drive from the airport. There is much to explore in this charming city and tourist attractions are easily accessible from the hotel. This eight-storey hotel boasts 170 comfortably furnished guest rooms, equipped with high standard facilities and amenities. Rooms come with a variety of layouts catering to all types of guests.

Xining Hotel

Opened in 1955, the Xining Hotel is located in the heart of the city. The hotel features its Garden-style courtyard and Soviet-style buildings. It is only 4 kilometers away from the railway station and 30 kilometers away from the airport.

The Xining Hotel has a total of 350 guest rooms, including standard room, suite, deluxe suite and so on. There are Chinese restaurants which mainly serve local food, Huaiyang cuisine and Sichuan cuisine.

ShangBaLa Hotel

Located in downtown Lhasa, the ShangBaLa Hotel is near the Barkhore Bazaar, Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace. The property is an ideal place for excursion and sightseeing, with easy access to all great attractions. The hotel is 10km away from the Railway Station and 70km away from the Lhasa Airport.

The ShangBaLa Hotel has 70 comfortable and well-furnished guestrooms, all of which are equipped with modern amenities. Guests can enjoy a drink at the bar and dine at the Chinese and western restaurants, which serves a variety of delicacies.

Shigatse Hotel

Built in 1985, Shigatse Hotel is a 3 star hotel with unique Tibetan traditional style and quality service. It has been recently renovated. The hotel rooms are decorated in Chinese and Tibetan style, fully equipped and with attached bathroom. It has been the best hotel in Shigatse. You will surely enjoy your stay here.

Zhangmu Hotel

The Zhangmu Hotel is located beside the customs of Zhangmu Town, a Chinese near Nepal. It is one of the most luxury hotels in this town.

The Zhangmu Hotel offers well-appoimted and well-furnished guest rooms. As for dining service, the Chinese restaurant and cafe in the hotel provide guests with a variety of dishes such as local food and western food.


Region: Asia - North and East



Day Tours Day Tours

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Wildlife Wildlife

Archeology Indigenous Archeology Indigenous

GBC Staffpick GBC Staffpick

General Information

Price Includes

  • Accommodation as shown
  • Meals as shown
  • Domestic Flights
  • Cell phone for use in China**
  • Private Transfers between hotels scenic spots while sightseeing by private air conditioned vehicle with a driver and Englishspeaking guide (as listed above).
  • Tours/activities as shown (Private Basis)
  • Private Local Englishspeaking guide and driver will be provided in each city. Our full day private tour packages provide a guide and van for a maximum of 8 hours.
  • Entrance fees to scenic spots as listed in the itinerary
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Full telephone support from Englishspeaking staff in China, including 24/7 emergency line
  • **Our free cell phone package includes one cell phone and SIM card (with prepaid value of CNY 50), delivery and collection in China. Return the phone to your guide when you depart.

Price Excludes

  • International Airfare or Train Tickets to enter or leave China
  • China Entry Visa Fees: All travelers to mainland China require a valid China visa.
  • Travel insurance (ask us for a quote)
  • Meals other than those detailed
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities, Tips to Guides or Drivers
  • Optional activities
  • Other services not mentioned