Ancient Kingdoms of China & Tibet Tour

  • $ China & Tibet
  • Beds: Please see itinerary
  • Baths: Active
  • Sq Ft: 2+

Playful Pandas and Ancient Religions

Chengdu • Lhasa • Chengdu


Tour Highlights

  • Sample world-class Sichuan food in Chengdu
  • See the pandas and meet with their caregivers at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center
  • Tour Norbulinka, the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence
  • Visit the beautiful Taoist Qingchengshan Mountain where the monk Zhang Daoling taught
  • Fly deep into the Himalayas to Lhasa and discover the heartland of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Visit Braille Without Borders, providing blind Tibetan children access to education

Trip Details

  • Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrive Chengdu

    Arrive in  Chengdu.  (There is a UA non-stop flight from San Francisco to Chengdu in the U.S. or other routes through international cities.) Chengdu is the hub of classical Chinese culture with a vision towards the future. People still maintain a sense of a balance in life with abundance of teahouses, vibrant markets, idyllic gardens, ancient temples, and traditional opera. As a center of Sichuan’s boom, the city pulses with cutting edge development and modern luxury. Above all Chengdu is known for its unbelievable Sichuan cuisine and the adorable Giant Pandas.

    Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and relax for the rest of evening.

    Accommodations:  Fraser Suites Chengdu
    Meals Included: None

  • Day 2: Chengdu

    In the morning wander People’s Park where throngs of locals gather to practice Taiji, fly kites, or do synchronized dance. Wonder the lovely Bonsai Garden in the park with beautiful tropical and native plants grown for decades in large ceramic pots.

    Enjoy lunch at Baguobuyi Restaurant for your first sample of the world-famous Sichuan cuisineTry some local specialties, like heavenly tender braised beef spiced with chili peppers and cucumber, or the steamed corn muffins.

    Visit Kuanzhaixianzi, a traditional district with restored courtyard houses from Qing dynasty. Lining the old alleyway, beautiful teahouses, art galleries, bookstores, boutique shops, and restaurants make this area a popular destination for locals.

    Head to the nearby Wuhou Shrine dedicated to the Shu Kingdom’s military strategist Zhuge Liang and Emperor Liu Bei, who ruled in the 3rd century during the Three Kingdoms period.

    This evening is free and dinner is on your ownYou may wish to explore Lan Kwai Fong, a popular, modern entertainment district offering an array of Sichuan and international restaurants.

    Accommodations: Fraser Suites Chengdu
    Meals Included: B,L

  • Day 3: Chengdu

    This morning, visit Chengdu Panda Breeding Center beautifully landscaped with lush plants and lakes. Meet with 20 some pandas and their caregivers. The highlight is the see the panda cubs at the kindergarten where they play with each other, climbing up and down trees, rolling and pushing and kicking like Kungfu masters. The Atlanta Zoo’s panda girl was returned to China in 2010 and has lived here since. Also, visit the Small Red Panda Center with 40 small pandas in residence who roam freely.

    Lunch at Kuanxi Restaurant nearby. Afternoon explore the Wenshu Temple and wonder through the maze-like garden, which gives way to the impressive Manjushri Bell Tower enveloped by cherry and bonsai trees.   See monks worshipping or engaging in community activities, like ping pong.  Wander the surrounding area, immersing in traditional shops and local activities.  Drop by a teahouse, enter a traditional Chinese medicine shop, and watch locals playing mahjongg on the streets and eating Sichuan snacks.

    For dinner, enjoy Sichuan hotpot at Tanyutou Hotpot Restaurant on the old market street. Afterwards, watch a most entertaining Sichuan opera performance.

    Accommodations: Fraser Suites Chengdu
    Meals Included: B,L,D

  • Day 4: Qingchengshan–Dujiangyan

    Drive through the countryside for one hour outside Chengdu, we arrive at the beautiful Taoist Qingchengshan Mountain in the suburbs of Chengdu. 2000 years ago, the famous Taoist sage Zhang Daoling taught Taoist teaching here. Taoism has been flourishing ever since. Temples were built on the hillside up to the summit. Lush forests and wild bamboos cover the pathway. Mystic clouds hang over the lush valleys. A cable car ride follows a 30 minutes walk to the summit where the grand Taoist temple Sanqinggong resides. A huge 2000 year old Gingko tree was planted by the old Taoist master near Tianqian Cave.

    In the afternoon, tour the famous ancient irrigation system Dujiangyan 20 minutes away. Dujiangyan is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world, and a wonder in ancient scientific development. The project consists of three important systems designed with great ingenuity. The water flow is automatically controlled from the mountains to the lower plains throughout the year.

    In China, Chengdu is always praised as ‘Nature’s Storehouse’. Over 2,200 years ago, the area was threatened by the frequent floods of the Minjiang River (a tributary of the Yangzi River). Li Bing, a local official and his son, decided to construct an irrigation system on the Minjiang River to prevent flooding. After a lengthy study and a lot of hard work involving hundreds of thousands of locals, the great Dujiangyan Irrigation Project was completed. Since then, the Chengdu Plain has been free of flooding and the people have enjoyed the abundance of nature. Today the project is honored as the ‘Treasure of Sichuan’ and still plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province.

    A charming Bonsai Garden hidden in the park is rarely visited by tourists. For centuries, the locals carry on the tradition of growing trees in the pots. The tender roots are shaped and guided in the most exotic forms over decades of training and care.

    Return to Chengdu in late afternoon. Evening is free with dinner on own. (b,l)

    Accommodations: Fraser Suites Chengdu
    Meals Included: B,L

  • Day 5: Chengdu–Lhasa

    Today fly to Gongga Airport in Tibet. Upon arrival, meet our Tibetan guide and transfer Lhasa.

    After adjusting to the altitude, enjoy an optional walk around Barkhor Street, the marketplace of old Lhasa and still amazingly evocative of old Tibet.  The Barkhor is a pilgrim circuit where hundreds of pilgrims on any given day make their ritual circumambulations.  It is also a thriving market; and traditional stone-block architecture forms the backdrop for the sale of prayer flags, prayer wheels, thanghas paintings, classic sutras, jewelry, & Tibetan knives.

    Accommodations: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
    Included Meals: B,L,D

  • Day 6: Lhasa

    A full day of sightseeing includes the Potala Palace, once the seat of government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lama. It yet remains today the abiding symbol of Tibetan Buddhism. The complex comprises the White and Red Palaces situated in the center of Lhasa Valley at an altitude of 3700m.  It rises over 13th stories and holds thousands of rooms.

    Take a short drive to Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence.  Constructed in the 18th century, it is a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture and contains several palaces and chapels.

    Visit Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest shrine, filled with altars, halls, and galleries.  The finest Tibetan art treasures are found here, though some originals were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

    Accommodations: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
    Meals Included: B,L,D

  • Day 7: Lhasa

    This morning, visit Braille Without Borders, providing blind Tibetan children access to education and integration into local life.  The program has dramatically changed the lives of many, offering an opportunity to engage in the community and even secure jobs.

    Traveling outside Lhasa, we visit Sera Monastery, one of the three great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect and founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa. The great ceremonial hall holds thousands of Tibetan sutras in cubicles along the wall. Witness hundreds of monks debating in the temple ground, a traditional ritual to consolidate the dharma learning for young monks.

    Stop by a traditional Tibetan hospital and observe the treatment of patients with a combination of herbs and Tibetan Buddhist meditative techniques.

    Accommodations: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
    Meals Included: B,L,D

  • Day 8: Yamdrok Lake

    Today tour the holy Yamdrok Lake, about 1.5 hours drive through the countryside of Tibet. As the largest freshwater lake at the south foot of the Himalayas with an area of 246 square miles (81 miles long and 43 miles wide). Its surface is about 14,570 feet above the sea level, with average depth of 100 feet.

    On the lake sits several small islands with fertile grasses and wild birds. Embraced by the snow-capped mountain under the clear blue sky, this is Tibetans’ holy water.

    Return to Lhasa in the late afternoon. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

    Deluxe Accommodations: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
    Upgrade: Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
    Meals Included: B,L,D

  • Day 9: Lhasa-Chengdu

    In the morning fly back to Chengdu. The rest of the day is free on own exploration and last minute shopping.

    Accommodations: Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel
    Meals Included: B

  • Day 10–11: Chengdu-US

    Transfer to the airport for your flight back to San Francisco. (b)

Dates and PricesInclusionsExtension Tours


$XXXX per person , Main Tour, Double Occupancy
$XXXX Single Supplement

Roundtrip International Air is not included. For pricing, please contact Airtreks directly at 415-977-7136 or at


Main Tour Includes:
• Double occupancy accommodations in deluxe centrally located hotels
• All meals listed in itinerary
• Airport transfers and porterage
• All sightseeing, entertainment, and cultural activities listed in itinerary
• Chinese airport taxes
• All air and ground transportation within China
• English-speaking Chinese local tour guides
• Gratuities to local guides and drivers on main tour • Preparatory materials

Not Included: Domestic U.S. and international airfare • Gratuities to national tour director • Gratuities on extensions • Visa processing • Meals not included in the tour • Excess baggage charges • Travel insurance • Liquor, wine, & beer, and other items of a personal nature

Customize Your China Experience

Pre-tour Extensions:

Chengde Imperial Resort Extension – 5 days

Post-Tour Extensions:

Huang Mountains Extension – 5 days
Hong Kong Extension– 4 days
Yangzi River Cruise Extension – 5 days

To sign up for the Ancient Cities of China & Tibet tour, please call (888) 333-2585 or (415) 334-4505
or fill out the inquiry form below to make a reservation or get more details!




Price:$China & Tibet
State:Beijing & Shanghai
Zip Code:Ground, Plane, Train, Cruise
Square Feet:2+
Bedrooms:Please see itinerary
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