Golden Triangle and Sacred Buddhist Land

CET-06: 12 Days Shanghai - Tibet - Xian - Beijing Tour

China’s acclaimed attractions, rich culture and history, local people’s life style, highland scenery and Buddhist culture, can all be discovered on this selective tour.

CET Advantages:

  • Eat at popular local restaurants
  • Experienced local experts show you the real China
  • Tibetan English-speaking guides in Lhasa
  • Close look at the Terra-cotta Warriors
  • Practice Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven
  • Visit a well-selected, less crowded section of the Great Wall
Price from: USD1676 per person

Full Itinerary

Day 01: Hello Shanghai

Welcome to China’s most developed city, Shanghai. You will be greeted by your personal guide at Pudong International Airport (PVG) and transferred to your hotel.

Good to know: There is a lot to discover near your hotel. Restaurants, bars and shopping malls are all within walking distance.

Day 02: Shanghai City Highlights (B,L)

Follow your guide to explore the beauty of Shanghai, observe the interesting conflicts of old and modern architecture. You will firstly learn the history of Shanghai by visiting Shanghai Museum. It is right at the city center and near People’s Square, which is famous for the “Blind Date Corner” on weekends. Yuyuan Garden represents the great wisdom of ancient Chinese people. It is a small private garden with exquisite design and setting. Yuyuan Market, next to the garden, is an ideal place to have a first taste of local people’s life style. Oriental Pearl Tower, one of the high-rises on the Pudong side of the city, is somewhere for you to enjoy a birds-eye view of the whole city. Looking down through the glass deck is awesome.

Your day trip will be ended at The Bund by strolling along Huangpu River and appreciating the old international buildings on one side and modern buildings on the other. Have a good rest for the early flight the next morning.

Shanghai Museum Oriental Pearl Tower

Day 03: Shanghai- Lhasa (B)

You will have to get up early for the flight to Lhasa. After arriving in Lhasa, your Tibetan guide will take you to your hotel. Check-in and rest. You will need some time to get used to the altitude. You could however explore the neighborhood if you are not feeling bad.

Day 04: Lhasa Monasteries (B,L)

Lhasa, capital city of Tibet, is a mysterious plateau of highland scenery and Buddhist culture. Enjoy an interesting debate at Sera Monastery, tour Norbulingka to see where the Dalai Lama spent his summer time, and admire the hand paintings made by the talented monks at Drepung Monastery. If you happen to be here in August, you will have a chance to enjoy the huge event of Shoton Festival, when they display the Great Buddha along the hill side.

Sera Monaster Sera Monaster

Day 05: The Great Potala Palace (B,L)

Today is a big and exciting day for you. The magnificent Potala Palace is close at hand. Originally built 1300 years ago, Potala Palace is a museum of Buddha statues, valuable murals and antiques. For Tibetan Buddhists, this is a sacred place, and they would gladly give everything they have to be able to visit and be involved in the monks' worship. Take your time to feel the long history, story of Buddhism and great architecture style. Jokhang Monastery, located in the center of the city, surrounded by Barkhor Street, has a mixed architecture style of Tibetan, China’s Tang Dynasty, Nepalese and Indian. On the square outside the Monastery, crowds of worshipers prostrate themselves in prayer, turn their prayer wheels and bow to Buddhist statues.

Potala Palace Potala Palace

Day 06: Lhasa to Xi’an by Train (B)

The train ride on the plateau is the most popular way to appreciate the scenery and wild life. We recommend that you prepare some food and drink for the journey.

Good to know: Passengers need to change trains at Xining Train Station from the oxygen providing train to ordinary trian. 

Qinghai-Tibet Railway Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Day 07: Xi’an Arrival

Arrive at Xi’an train station in the evening and you will meet your guide and driver. Check in at your hotel and have a good rest.

Day 08: Terra-Cotta Warriors Museum and The Ancient City Wall (B,L)

As one of the most important capital cities in China’s long history, Xi’an has a lot for you to discover. The most well-known historical site, the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum is located 50km northeast of Xi’an city. Thousands of life-size clay soldiers, horses and chariots make this the greatest archeological discovery of the 20th century. Return to the city to visit The Ancient City Wall, the best-preserved ancient city wall, firstly built in the Ming Dynasty. A biking tour on the big wall provides you with the chance to see both old and modern Xi’an. Your day will end at The Muslim Quarter. It is a residential area of local Muslims and now a widely known street for souvenirs and a variety of popular local snacks.

Terracotta Warriors Museum The Terracotta Warriors Museum

Day 9: Xi’an City Tour and Speed Train to Beijing (B,L)

This morning you will explore more about China’s history by visiting the Shaanxi History Museum and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Then take a speed train to China’s Capital City, Beijing, the economic, political and culture center.

Shaanxi History Museum Shaanxi History Museum

Day 10: The Great Wall of China (B,L)

Amble around the Temple of Heaven to admire the buildings in this historical park. It is open for locals to do their morning exercise. Follow a Tai Chi master to practice Tai Chi, an old Taoism philosophy to balance Yin and Yang in your body. The Great Wall of China, a series of fortifications to protect ancient China from northern nomads, is one of the seven wonders in the world. Mutianyu Section of the Wall is popular for its less crowds and magnificent view. Return to your hotel and a photo stop at the Olympic Green is applicable.

Mutianyu section of the  Great Wall Mutianyu section of the Great Wall

Day 11: Imperial Life Style of Ancient China (B,L)

The flag raising ceremony at the world’s largest city square, Tian’anmen Square, should not be missed. Enter the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace) from the south gate across Tian’anmen Square. Follow the axes to visit all the important buildings. The historical stories and architecture styles are worth 3-4 hours’ exploration. Get out of the Palace through Shenwu Gate and you will find that Jingshan Park is on the other side of the moat. The park is an ideal place to overview the whole Forbidden City. The afternoon is peace at leisure for you to visit the Hutong Alleys with a rickshaw ride. The trip is fun and allows for interaction with local residents. A farewell dinner at famed Peking Roast Duck Restaurant is a reward for the long trip.

the Forbidden  City A Bird's Eye View of the Forbidden City

Day 12: Goodbye, China! (B)

The morning is free for you to do some shopping and packing before being transferred to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) for your flight home.

Hotel Options:

  Standard Accommodation Comfortable Accommodation Deluxe Accommodation
Shanghai Kingtown Hotel Plaza Shanghai The Bund Hotel Shanghai Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World
Lhasa Heritage Hotel Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa InterContinental Lhasa Paradise 
Beijing King Parkview Hotel Beijing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
Xi'an Grand New World Hotel  Grand Noble Hotel Xi'an  Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square 

What's Included:

  • Tibet Permit
  • Overnight night high plateau train from Lhasa to Xi’an and bullet train from Xi’an to Beijing.
  • 10 nights centrally located hotel accommodation.
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Entrance to the attractions
  • Overland transfer with experienced driver
  • Knowledgeable English speaking tour guides


1. Is this trip recommended for seniors?

It depends on your physical condition. Seniors over 65 years old should consult your doctors before planning a trip to Tibet. The high altitude in major tourist destinations in Tibet is about 12000ft.

2. What’s Tibet Permit? How can I get it?

Tibet Permit is an essential document to travel to Tibet as well as a China visa. Passport, China visa and your confirmed travel plan is required to apply for Tibet Permit, which is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. It is suggested to apply at least 15 working days prior your arrival. If your China visa is not an L visa, some other documents may be required, such as working certificates. Please consult your travel advisor for more details.

3. Can you tell me more details about train travel to Tibet?

Taking a train to Tibet is a joyful experience as you will pass some breathtaking views, such as a desert area, Qinghai Lake, snowy mountains, Kekexili Depopulated Area and etc. The trains are modern and advanced with an Oxygen supply, but without a private toilet or shower. So be ready for that. A short journey like Lasha to Xining or Xi’an requires one night on the train, other destinations like Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou will take 2 nights on the train.

4. What should I know about the overnight train?

Taking an overnight train is a very popular way to save cost as well as enjoying the picturesque landscape. Due to the limited room and infrastructure, there is no private toilet or shower on board. Hence, in order to have an easier and more enjoyable journey, it is suggested that you have these items prepared: toiletries, pillow case, sleeping mask, toilet tissues, wet wipes and hand sanitizer, food and bottled water.