Day 1 UK - Chengdu
We'll fly to Chengdu today, arriving on day 2.
Day 2 Chengdu
Jinli Street is one of Chengdu's main streets – as you explore you'll see traditional tea houses and silk workshops. You can also shop for handicrafts and sample local delicacies such as wontons and dumplings. This evening we'll gather to enjoy a welcome dinner.Meals included: L,D
Day 3 Chengdu
Our explorations of Chengdu continue today with a visit to the old town of Huanglongxi, where traditional customs still prevail. Explore well-preserved streets from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, ancient temples and historic houses, before enjoying a refreshing cup of jasmine tea at a traditional tea house.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 4 Chengdu - at Leisure
You can spend this morning at leisure, exploring further in the company of your travelling companions. Alternatively, join our optional excursion to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre. Here you can enjoy watching these endearing creatures which are becoming increasingly endangered.
In the afternoon, why not head to Wide and Narrow Lanes, ancient alleyways running parallel to each other, whose traditional buildings house shops, bars and restaurants.
Day 5 Chengdu - Lhasa
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa this morning. This ancient and remote city lies at an altitude of 3,650 metres in a mountain-fringed valley, making it inaccessible to most travellers. You'll probably want to spend the rest of the day acclimatising to the high altitude, but there is an option for those who are keen to explore. Why not head out to the historic Barkhor Street, which appears just as it would have centuries ago. You can also visit Potala Square, to view the monument to the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 6 Lhasa
The Johkang Temple is the ultimate destination for Tibetan pilgrims, and it's where we head this morning. We also call at the Sera Monastery, a magnificent building which covers an area of 28 acres. The red-robed lamas (Buddhist monks) who reside here must participate in debates on Buddhist doctrines to further their studies and we'll be lucky enough to see such an event while we are here. This evening we'll enjoy a special Tibetan dinner.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 7 Lhasa
Today we'll visit the UNESCO-listed Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, which symbolises Tibetan Buddhism. We'll also head to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Norbulingka Summer Palace, set in beautiful parkland.
Later, there will be plenty of free time for a spot of souvenir shopping in Lhasa's old town and we include a visit to a tea house, to indulge in the Tibetans' favourite drink.
Day 8 Lhasa - Gyantse
Our journey by road today takes us to Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet's largest sacred lakes. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it is a truly spectacular sight and believed by the Tibetan people to have spiritual powers. We'll continue to the ancient town of Gyantse via the Kambala Pass, pausing en route to view the impressive Karola Glacier. Finally we'll see the Palkhor Chöde Monastery, in the Nyangchu river valley. It's a fascinating complex, featuring Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture and is home to the famous Kumbum Stupa, believed to be the largest structure of its kind in Tibet.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 9 Gyantse - Shigatse
Our journey continues to the modern sprawling city of Shigatse, and en route we'll pay a visit to a local family for a fascinating insight into traditional daily life. The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is one of the most important in Central Tibet, and the seat of the Panchen Lama – the highest ranking Tibetan spiritual leader after the Dalai Lama. Admire its gleaming golden roof, before arriving in Shigatse for an overnight stay.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 10 Shigatse - Zhendang
Today we travel to Zhendang, the first capital of Tibet. Our highlight is a visit to Yumbulakang Palace, built by the first Tibetan king in the 2nd century BC. Perched on the summit of a mountain, the palace towers 3,600 metres above sea level, offering fantastic views of the valley below. We will also visit the Samye Monastery today, a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, many of whom walk for weeks to reach it.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 11 Zhendang - Guilin
Today we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Guilin via Chengdu. We will arrive at our hotel this evening.Meals included: B,D
Day 12 Guilin
Guilin is said to be China's most picturesque region, and today you can discover its beauty, firstly with a visit to the remarkable Reed Flute Cave, a natural limestone cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites and stone pillars in weird and wonderful shapes and colours. The cave got its name from the type of reed growing outside, which can be made into flutes.
Later you could join an optional excursion to see more. We'll head to the Longshen Rice Terraces, where huge numbers of verdant terraced fields create incredible vistas, and visit a traditional village where we're invited into a family home.
Alternatively, why not join a walking tour around Banyan Lake. This is a great way to enjoy the scenery and see the locals going about their everyday business, including their daily Tai Chi exercises.
Day 13 Guilin - Yangshuo
We'll begin our day with an included boat trip on the Li River, to soak up wonderful views of the surrounding Karst Mountains and thick bamboo forests which line the banks. We'll then continue to Yangshuo, one of the prettiest towns in Guilin. Explore West Street, an ancient road completely paved with marble, where you'll find plenty of souvenir shops and cafés.
After dinner this evening, perhaps join our optional excursion to see a performance of Impression Liu Sanjie – a spectacular show staged on the waters of the Li River with a stunning backdrop of mist-shrouded hills.
Day 14 Yangshuo - at Leisure
Enjoy a day at leisure. You could head to West Street and explore the town's shops, cafés and bars, take a leisurely stroll through Yangshuo Park or simply stay put and enjoy the facilities at your hotel. It's entirely up to you!
Day 15 Yangshuo
We've a busy morning, which begins early with a visit to a vegetable market. After perusing the colourful stalls, we'll head to a farmer's house to sample the rural way of life. Our final stop is at a cookery school, where we will learn how to cook some local dishes using fresh produce.
In the afternoon, you might choose to join our optional bicycle ride into the surrounding countryside.
Day 16 Yangshuo - Chengdu
Today we'll fly back to Chengdu.
Day 17 Chengdu - UK
We'll fly back home to the UK today.Meals included: B
Altitude: During this tour you will travel to altitudes of over 12,000ft where altitude sickness can occur. This should not be a problem, although everyone should take it easy at first. Our tour has been designed to allow a more gradual increase in altitude, giving you more time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. Other simple measures, such as eating light meals and drinking lots of fluids can also help to alleviate the symptoms. If you suffer from heart or respiratory conditions or have any other concerns please consult your doctor.