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Beijing Tibet Adventure Holiday Package
Visit incredible monuments and palaces, explore the bustle of Beijing and hike the Great Wall, ride the rails on the Trans-Tibetan railway, experience monk debates in Sera Monastery, and set eyes on the Everest Base Camp.
Take part in rituals and haggle for a bargain in the markets. From modern Beijing, travel back in time across scenic countryside to Tibet on this well-packed overland adventure. Witness the splendour of the Potala Palace and the majesty of remote monasteries and then celebrate the journey to Kathmandu. Wake up to views of Everest and enjoy a window into the heart of this remote land. A local guide will show you the region’s hidden gems and make sure your trip burns brightly in your memory long after you have climbed down from the roof of the world on the `Beijing-Tibet’ Adventure Holiday Package!
Travel to the north of the city to visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu, an incredible piece of engineering stretching westwards along the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the Mongolian 'barbarians' of the north. Spend the morning exploring the vast Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City while still leaving free time to shop in the various markets scattered throughout the city, taking a tour of the ancient alleyways (hutongs) in Beijing's Old city or visiting the Tibetan Monastery. The Great Wall of China is a bus ride from the city and there are several sections of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as Badaling, Jinshanling, Simatai and Mutianyu. The Badaling section here is the most famous, but also over-restored and crowded. . Among the best known religious sites in the city are the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the oldest Catholic church in Beijing, and the Nuijie Mosque is the most ancient mosque in the capital, with a history stretching back to over a thousand years. Transfer to the station for the train to Lhasa.
You may take a train trip, which is a long, yet rewarding, journey through the heart of northern China then south across the Tibetan Plateau. Comfortable sleeper compartments contain berths, all bedding provided, and the dining car serves a variety of meals and drinks. Boiling water for tea and coffee is available. Due to popular demand the best of sleeping berths are made available in the cabin but during the summer season such guarantee cannot be given due to the heavy rush although the enchanting scenery makes this a once-in-a-lifetime train journey.
Arrive in Lhasa and check into the hotel. This historic city is situated in a small valley, 3700 metres above sea level. The city rose to take an important role in the administration of the country a few centuries ago. At this time, the grand temples of Ramoche and Jokhang were built to house the Buddha images and religious artifacts brought into Tibet as dowries from China and Nepal. Although little of the 7th-century Lhasa survives, the fifteenth century saw a second stage of renovation and development, which included the building of the Potala Palace. Perched on Red Hill overlooking the town, this massive structure dominates the landscape with grace and dignity, a true architectural wonder. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibet and also the most active. Prostrating pilgrims circle the temple endlessly, day and night, some of them traversing the extremes of the Tibetan landscape by foot to celebrate and express their faith. Nearby, are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera are still active institutions. Begin with a tour of the Jokhang and make a kora (circumambulation) of the Barkhor, the holiest devotional circuit, which surrounds the Jokhang and houses a market bazaar where people bargain for Buddha images, yak skulls with ruby eyes, woodcarvings, carpets, prayer wheels and the odd goat's head. Visit the Potala Palace and either the Sera or Drepung Monastery leaving plenty of time for your own explorations of this wonderful city on the `Beijing-Tibet’ Adventure Holiday Package!
The estimated drive to Gyantse is a spectacular one, crossing three passes over a stretch and skirting the shores of the beautiful turquoise lake, Yamdrok Tso. Once of major importance as a wool trading centre on the routes between India, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and China, Gyantse retains the feel of old Tibet. The imposing hill fortress, Gyantse Dzong, dominates views of the town and is a great place for sunset views. Visit Pelkor Chode Monastery and the unique Gyantse Kumbum (meaning 100,000 images) which forms a three-dimensional mandala containing a seemingly endless series of tiny chapels full of Buddhist images, Buddhas, demons, protectors and saints.
Take a short drive to Shigatse, Tibet's second-largest town, and the seat of the Panchen Lama who ranks second in importance to the Dalai Lama. The huge complex of Tashilhunpo is visited daily by hundreds of devotees, armed with yak butter to feed the lamps, who prostrate themselves around the stupas or walk up to the chapel that houses the 26metre-high, gold-plated statue of the future Buddha. Tour the monastery in the morning and the Shigatse bazaar, also buzzing with life. Stalls, selling everything from slabs of yak butter to yak wool, prayer wheels and rosaries, line the streets and Tibetans vie with each other to win a sale. Be tempted by the antiques, jewellery and fur hats with elaborate gold brocade designs or perhaps visit the carpet factory where hand-woven carpets are made to traditional designs. Then perhaps join the pilgrims on their evening kora (circumambulation) around the perimeter of the monastery.
Next you drive to Sakya, the base of the once politically powerful sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its huge fortified walls are a testament to the turbulent past of the region. There is time in the late afternoon to explore the monastery (optional) and the ruins of north Sakya across the river!
Take an exhilarating drive to Rombuk and go below Everest Base Camp. The view from here is utterly spectacular! Rombuk is certainly the highest monastery in the world and the views that surround it are breathtaking. The monastery here originally housed more than five hundred monks. Today, only about fifty monks and nuns remain, sharing the same prayer hall but with separate residences. You may then take a short hike into Base Camp/Everest National Park, with an optional bus ride for those not adjusted to the altitude. Enjoy the stunning views, make a phone call home and maybe see some mountaineers getting ready to summit!
You could also take the road down to the highway, which is a rough one, but spectacular views adequately compensate, as both Qomolangma (Mt Everest) and Cho Oyo, which are visible for much of the way. Another few hours to Zhangmu and tourists again cross one of the most bewitching passes, topped with prayer flags and wind-driven prayer wheels, you truly feel on top of the world on this `Beijing-Tibet’ Adventure Holiday Package!
A very short drive brings you to the border. After completing Chinese immigration you drive down to the bridge where you can say goodbye to your Tibetan guide and drivers. Completing Nepal immigration is easy as it is only a few kilometres to Kathmandu, though it can be a slow trip, as the first section of the road is narrow and winding, continuing down the ravine and occasionally blocked by landslides. Arrive, hopefully, in Kathmandu, with free time for some quick sight-seeing such as the old Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and perhaps the giant Buddhist stupa at Boudhnath, indulge in shopping and have a final meal, before you pack your bags for your return journey!
Spread over several levels and places, Beijing has many small stores, each selling almost similar and popular products for shopping such as watches, jewellery, handbags, clothes and DVDs, toys, video games, curios, paintings, art deco, stoneware, statues, chinaware and electronics. You will find food, wine, appliances, branded apparels, accessories and a wonderful selection of everything from Pu'er-teas to tea-ware. The most sought after items are the Chinese silk, kimonos, and handicrafts and there is plenty to buy in jewellery such as earrings, bracelets, hairpins, neckplaces, pendants, boraches, in pure gold, diamonds, silver or perhaps gold-plated and silver-plated to be taken as gifts or for personal use!
Souvenirs, carpets, jewellery, woolens and handicrafts are distributed throughout the main Leh bazaar and the Tibetan market is set up off the Fort Road area with an array of curios, handicrafts and jewellery, besides high-end gems like turquoise, ruby and lapis lazuli.
You will discover there’s plenty of bric-abrac for shoppers on the Tibet-Sichuan walk. There’s a profusion of colourful woollen caps, stoles, and shawls, besides a diverse range of beautiful handicrafts and curios that make a good souvenir buy. Perhaps you could find some Tibetan or Chinese rugs, leather goods, metal-ware products, and artistic thangkas and paintings that attract tourists. There’s plenty of woodcraft, especially walking sticks – ornate and plain, and furniture. Miniature paintings, from Tibet and China, are hot favourites as well as handicrafts, silver jewellery, hand-made footwear, besides excellent honey, jams, and fruit juice, which you would find amongst the mountain tribes craftsmen and women.
There are centres and shops for homeware and furnishings with exquisite carpets from the Nepali origin and plenty of shops supporting the craft of cooperatives and handicapped women, such as handmade paper products, photo albums, paper lamps, batik and woollens. There is a showhouse with treasures of dhaka weavings, ceramics, block prints, pashminas, woodcrafts, jewellery, knitwear, statues, masks, wood carvings, curios and souvenirs, made of brass and copper with a gold polish or gold plated. The outbuildings surrounding the old Rana complex have been redeveloped to house a warren of chic clothes shops, designer galleries, handicrafts shops, including some restaurants and cafes. Sleeping bags, knitwear and carpets are found in abundance at negotiable prices, a variety of Indian and internationally branded gear and other innumerable items to motivate the buyer.
There are a lot of bars and restaurants in Beijing and plenty of eateries such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks to cater to tourists, apart from Chinese and Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunan and Taiwanese food, which is sprawled all around! The best way to eat well and yet be reasonable in Beijing is to enter one of the ubiquitous restaurants where the locals are eating and pick a few different dishes from the menu, with a spread of different cuisines, International, Chinese, Continental, Indian and fast food corners. The Beijing Roast Duck is a famous speciality served at many restaurants and the city’s homebrew is Yanjing beer and has a dominating presence in the city. A restaurant in Dongcheng serves a pure vegetarian buffet, while the Beijing roast duck, mutton hotpot, pancakes, lamb kebabs, and candied haw berries are very popular. Mutton hotpot is placed in a steaming pot and cooked on the dining table, as is the vegetarian hotpot.
Leh’s rooftop restaurants offer Indian, Italian, Kashmiri, pancakes, sizzlers, burgers, pastas, beer, brownies, apple pie, lemon tarts, cinnamon rolls and a profusion of Continental and Mughlai eateries all over the place.
With tourists coming from all over, the Hills in this region are geared to meet the culinary demands of most visitors, cooking food to their taste as well as the regional and local specialities of Tibet and China. The cuisine is delicious enough to meet most international demands. There would be eateries serving Tibetan and Chinese food, and fast food snacks as well. Meat dishes are likely to be yak, goat, or mutton often dried, or cooked into a spicy stew with potatoes and steamed dumplings or momos are very popular. Yak yogurt butter and cheese are frequently eaten, and well-prepared yogurt is considered something of a prestige item. Buttter tea is very popular to drink.
A large number of restaurants in Kathmandu have since opened, catering Nepali, Tibetan, Chinese and Indian cuisine, in particular. Many other outlets have opened to accommodate locals, expatriates, and tourists. Continental cuisine can be found in selected places. International chain restaurants are rare, but some outlets of Pizza Hut and KFC have recently opened. The legally pronounced casinos are there for an exploration and an after-dinner snacks such as momos, sandwiches, burger along with some beverages or perhaps, even an ice-cream! Customised meals can be prepared on request!
Beijing has a continental climate that is humid with cold and dry winters, and hot and humid summers, that is, January is the coldest and July is the warmest. There can be sandstorms in the spring with some rain and may be a little rain during autumn as well.
The extreme variation in elevation brings about differences in the climatic conditions in the mountain ranges of Leh, Tibet and Nepal, where it can stretch from cold and glacial in the snow-covered winters to sunny and pleasant weather in the summers! Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. Recommended for a holiday throughout the year, as there are enough indoor activities to keep you occupied and interestingly involved, even if it is very cold or raining outside! Driving and trekking would be best in the summer-autumn, and winter for the snow-experience!
A treasure trove of history through snow and sunshine, and fun and frolic, awaits you on the `Beijing-Tibet’ Adventure Holiday Package!