23 Days Best China Small Group Tour with Yunnan and Tibet Mount Everest Discovery

23 Days Best China Small Group Tour with Yunnan and Tibet Mount Everest Discovery will take you to explore the most beautiful parts of China including the mysterious Yunnan and Tibet, the Panda Center Chengdu, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. Explore the best parts of China with experienced English-speaking guides on our small group tours (with max. 18 travelers) departing from Beijing. We guarantee small group sizes to ensure that you have an excellent holiday experience. While travelling with us you will be with like-minded people and enjoy a relaxing vacation as well as plenty of free time within the itinerary. 

Highlights:

  • Visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La.
  • Have a wonderful tour in Tibet and Mount Everest.
  • Experience the old and modern culture of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.
  • Pay pilgrimage to the Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei.
  • Observe the cute giant pandas at Chengdu Panda Base.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Beijing Arrival
  • Day 2: Beijing
  • Day 3: Beijing
  • Day 4: Beijing – Xian
  • Day 5: Xian
  • Day 6: Xian – Chengdu
  • Day 7: Chengdu – Leshan – Mt.Emei
  • Day 8: Mt. Emei – Chengdu
  • Day 9: Chengdu – Kunming
  • Day 10: Kunming – Dali
  • Day 11: Dali – Lijiang
  • Day 12: Lijiang
  • Day 13: Lijiang – Shagnri-La
  • Day 14: Shangri-La-Lhasa
  • Day 15: Lhasa
  • Day 16: Lhasa
  • Day 17: Lhasa- Shigatse
  • Day 18: Shigatse- Everest Base Camp
  • Day 19: Everest Base Camp – Shigatse
  • Day 20: Shigatse – Lhasa
  • Day 21: Lhasa – Shanghai
  • Day 22: Shanghai
  • Day 23: Shanghai Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Beijing
Accommodation: Beijing
Meals:

Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China, you will transfer to your hotel on your own. Free at leisure for the rest of the day. 

Day 2 Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities:Mutianyu Great Wall
Accommodation: Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Pick up service by your tour guide and driver(7:00am-7:30am).
Great Wall at Mutianyu-Driving Time (50 minutes).
Great Wall at Mutianyu-Sightseeing (2.5 hours). (Optional: Great Wall Cable Car, not included in tour price).
Lunch at the local restaurant (Lunch, 1 hour). 
Drive back to downtown and drop-off at your hotel around 16:00.

Tour Description:

Mutianyu Great Wall, featured “graceful”, enjoy the best quality among all Wall sections, 80km north-east of Beijing. It is is encased by sprightly streams and lush greenery. Mutianyu Great Wall is older than Badaling Great Wall, it has 22 watchtowers, about one every kilometer. Built mainly with granite, it was opened to tourists on May Day in 1986, the second Great Wall site opened to tourists after BaDaLing. MuTianYu Great Wall passes through beautiful forested hills with streams.There is a cable car at MuTianYu to whisk you up onto the Great Wall.

Day 3 Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities:Forbidden City,Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace
Accommodation: Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Pick up service by your tour guide and driver at 7:30-8:00.
Forbidden City-Sightseeing (2.5 hours)
Temple of Heaven –Sightseeing (1 hour)
Local Restaurant-Lunch (1 hour)
Summer Palace -Driving Time (40 minutes)
Summer Palace -Sightseeing (1.5 hours). (Option: Kunming Lake Boat)
Drop-off service at your hotel before 17:00

Tour Description:
The Forbidden City is the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. The splendid architecture of the Forbidden City represents the essence and culmination of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment. The Temple of Heaven is spectacular temple that the Emperors visited during the Ming and Qing dynasties to pray for a good harvest. Because of the Temples beauty, many locals still visit and use the site to exercise. The Summer Palace is another breathtaking area that will be seen. Entering into the gates of the Summer Palace is like stepping into another world. The grandeur and beauty of the Palace is overwhelming and is sure to impress anyone.

Day 4 Beijing-Xian by Speed Train

Sightseeing and Activities:City ride
Accommodation:Xian
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour Duration: 4.5 hours
Morning Group: 07:30-12:00.
Afternoon Group: 13:30-17:30.

“Take a journey to understand what Beijing is all about”
This well-designed Beijing city tour is a different travel experience all together. Instead of a long day tour, we’ve made it 4 hours only for you to get a glimpse of all the interesting places. During the trip, we prepared a unique “Old Beijing” album, for each traveler – a collection of 100 years’ old photos taken by travelers and journalists traveling to China last century. You will be able to spot the same places in the pictures, during our tour. This is a remarkable and unique opportunity to understand first had, the changes Beijing has been through and experiencing “then and now”

Tour concentrate mainly in 3 parts:
City ride – where we will cross the city and you will see from the bus:
1 City central line: Wangfujing street- Wusi street- Jinshan Garden.
2 City north line: Wenjin street- Deshengmen Gate- Drum& Bell Tower- Shichahai – Second ring road- Dongbianmen Gate.
3 City south line: Chongwenmen Gate- Old Concession- Tian’amen Square- Qianmen street.

City history walk:
Imperial outer view (Jingshan Garden – Imperial Palace – Beihai Park).
Ancient city wall ruins at Dongbianmen.
Ancient commercial area (Qianmen)

Hutong Discovery at Sanlihe Hutong Riverside
Where you will have the chance to enjoy the authentic, local neighborhoods also declared UNESCO world heritage site.
Take the speed train from Beijing to Xian (NO.G663 15:45-21:25) ,meet your local guide and driver in Xian and transfer to the hotel.

Day 5 Xian

Sightseeing and Activities:The Museum of Terracotta Warriors, Banpo Museum, The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Cien Temple
Accommodation: Xian
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Be met by your guide and driver at your hotel in the morning——The Museum of Terracotta Warriors Sightseeing (including Pit 1.2.3 of Terracotta Warriors and The Bronze Chariots and Horses) (2 hours) ——Lunch at Local Restaurant(1 hour) ——Banpo Museum(1 hour)–The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Cien Temple Sightseeing(1 hour )–Drop-off service at your hotel and end one day’s trip.

Day 6 Xian-Chengdu by Train

Sightseeing and Activities:Xian-Chengdu by Train
Accommodation: Chengdu
Meals: Breakfast

You will take taxi to Xi’an Train Station to take the train to Chengdu. Train schedule will be T7 6:41-20:36-soft-berth. You will spend one full day on the train, manage the lunch on your own.

Upon Chengdu arrival, you will take taxi to hotel in Chengdu downtown on your own. Check in hotel and take good rest.

Day 7 Chengdu-Panda Base-Leshan-Mt. Emei

Sightseeing and Activities:Panda Base, Leshan,Mt. Emei
Accommodation: Chengdu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

*07:00-08:00 Transfer from hotel to Panda Research Base
*09:00-11:30 Visit rooms of adult pandas, sub-adult pandas and baby pandas, you can see they are happy eating bamboo and playing around in the morning
*13:00-15:00 Driving from Chengdu to Giant Buddha in Leshan city, including the lunch time
*15:00-17:30 Travel the Buddha Mountain, from the head of the gigantic Buddha to his enormous toes. (Alternative: Taking Boat from the ferry to the river in front of Buddha)
*18:00-19:00 Continue to travel to the foot of Mt. Emei, live in Baoguo Temple Area
*19:00-20:00 Sightseeing and Dining in the Gourmet Street (Dinner Cost is not included in tour package)

Day 8 Mt. Emei – Chengdu

Sightseeing and Activities:Golden Submit ,Huazang Temple, Wannian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Moneky Zone
Accommodation: Chengdu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

*07:00-09:00 Going up to Golden Submit by bus and cable car.(Cable Car 120RMB not included in package)
*10:00-11:00 Sightsee at Golden Submit, visit Huazang Temple, enjoy the magnificent view of the clouds, mountains, forest.
*12:00-13:00 Take Sightseeing bus down to Wannian Temple, located in middle of the mountain.
*13:00-17:00 Trekking along the path of essential scenic zone to visit Wannian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Moneky Zone, etc, walk down hill to WuxianGang.
*18:00-20:00 Take Bullet Train back to Chengdu within only 1.5 hours, Tour ends at Chengdu Railway Station.

Day 9 Chengdu-Kunming by Flight

Sightseeing and Activities:The Stone Forest, Green Lake, Nanping Street
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Take the morning flight to Kunming, meet the local guide and driver, transfer to visit The Stone Forest.

You will drive 1.5 hours to the Stone Forest. An old local saying says that ‘If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.’ Truly, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan. 

After lunch drive back Kunming to relax at the Green Lake and Nanping Street.

You will be dropped to Kunming Railway Station after dinner, to catch up with your overnight train to Dali.

Day 10 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery, Xizhou, Zhoucheng Village
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Our Dali guide and driver will pick you up at Dali Railway Station, then you be transferred to take breakfast at Dali Old Town. After your breakfast, you will visit Dali Old Town, walk around the Foreigner Street and enjoy the relax time with local people. You will have time to climb up to the City Wall of Dali, then you will have panoramic view of the Erhai Lake.

After Dali Old Town, you will drive to visit Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery which has a history of over 1,800 years located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain facing to the Erhai Lake. Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle.

After last, you will head for Xizhou Town to fully appreciate Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, taste their fragrant Three-Course Tea and explore their distinctive culture. Visit Zhoucheng Village and the Bai people’s Tie-dying cloth workshop where you can take some special souvenir with the Bai ethnic style.

Day 11 Dali-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Shibaoshan Mountain, Lijiang Old Town, Mufu Mansion, Lion Hill, Black Dragon Pool Park
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, drive from Dali to Shibaoshan mountain. The most prominent sight at ShibaoShan is the Stone Bell Temple with its 139, well preserved stone carvings. These magnificent stone carvings date as far back as 1300 years to the once powerful Nanzhao Kingdom during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The carvings are testimony for a time when Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet started to spread in the Yunnan area. Another interesting sight is the ‘Suspending Temple’, also called the Baoxiang Temple. The Baoxiang temple was built on a ledge of a nearly vertical cliff and can only be reached by a long flight of stairs. On a clear day the views from the Baoxiang Temple over the Shaxi valley are simply magnificent.

After lunch drive to Lijiang. Upon arrival, you will visit Lijiang Ancient Town-the history dates back to over 800 years ago. Besides its unique architecture and local ethnic culture, it is also known for its orderly arrangement of bridges and waterways. Walk along the winding cobbled paths — it is said that you won’t get lost as long as you follow the water. Appreciate the Naxi people’s brilliant skills in architecture and fine arts at Mufu Mansion, the ‘Forbidden City’ of Lijiang. You can also climb up to Lion Hill to have a bird’s-eye view of the whole town. Then pay a visit to Black Dragon Pool Park, where the view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is one the most famous postcard-perfect sceneries in southwest China.

Day 12 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Jade Dragon Snow Mountain,Yak Meadow,Impression Lijiang Show, Baisha Old Town with Baisha Mural
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Pick-up at 7:30am, drive about 30KM to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, where you will take the sightseeing bus for a short visiting through the Baishuihe River, take the chairlift up to visit Yak Meadow (3700m) of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The cableway will be arranged according to the condition of the mountain. You will hike around 1 hour in the original forest in Yak Meadow (3700M).

After lunch, you will enjoy the Impression Lijang Ethnic Show (Regular seat )  directed in Ganhaizi Meadow(3100M). A cultural show demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area. The show takes place inside Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park at 3500m in an outdoor theater specifically designed to showcase the mountain which is used as a backdrop. The production itself was designed by Zhang Yimou, Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge, a cast of over 500 people, and a number of horses.

Later, move to Baisha Old Town for the tour of the Baisha Mural about 600 years old, which is one part of the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997.

Day 13 Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:the First Bend of the Yangtze River, Shigu Old Town, Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge
Accommodation: Shangri-La
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

From Lijiang, you’ll drive about 60KM to the First Bend of the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery, visit the Iron Chain Bridge,the Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument in the Shigu Old Town. The town of Stone Drum got its name from a large, cylindrical, marble tablet shaped like a drum. The scenery is magnificent as the road running through the Lijiang valley which is filled with wheat fields and drying haystacks. 

Visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Shangri-La section ), the deepest gorge in the world. With 34 rapids of the Yangtze River, it is called the Jinsha in this area because you can find gold in the river. Afternoon, you’ll head for Shangri-La, the former Zhongdian which is well-known as the paradise destination for every tourist. 

Upon arrival in Shangri-La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys.

Day 14 Shangri-La-Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Shangri-La-Lhasa
Accommodation: Lhasa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Fly to Lhasa, your guide will greet you and take you to your hotel. Tourists may view the Yarlung Tsangpo River/ Bhamaputra river (the Longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa river on their way to Lhasa.

After arriving in Lhasa, you can take a rest and get acclimatized to high altitude. If you feel to go out, then you can go to the Potala Square, where you will enjoy the fountain with different colors and get amazing photos of the Potala and around.

Insider Tips:
For the new-comers of Tibet, to get acclimatized to the high altitude in Tibet. Having a good sleep in your hotel is a good option. Don not rush to visit attractions inside Lhasa city.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 15 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
Accommodation: Lhasa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai lama. It was put to use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.

Then after lunch, tourists head to Jokhang temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve. Outside, you can see pilgrims making prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple. Around the temple is Barkhor street, where you can do Kora (a religious circle of a building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals, and explore the old market.

Optional:
With time permitting, you may go with tour guide to visit Tibetan handicraft art or Tibetan Traditional Medicine center. You can upgrade your service to enjoy Tibetan Culture Show in the evening (fr. 60USD).

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 16 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Drepung monastery, Sera monastery
Accommodation: Lhasa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, you are going to visit Drepung monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. You can visit biggest monastery kitchen inside the monastery and enjoy Buddhist Sculpture Carving workshop near Drepung.

In the Afternoon, visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet. The hot attraction is the Monks debate at around 3 – 5 in the afternoon. In addition, you can tour the Tibetan religious scripture printing house; inside the monastery, you can see three sand Mandalas and colorful Rock Painting of Buddha.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 17 Lhasa- Shigatse via Gyantse

Sightseeing and Activities:Yamdrok-tso, Korola Glacier, Pelkor Monastery, Gyantse Kumbum, Far view of Gyangtse Fortress
Accommodation: Shigatse
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, drive from Lhasa to Shigatse. On the way, drive over the Gampala pass (4790 m), and you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso (4400m). The Lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and in the distance you can have spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar, (7191m) the highest mountain near Lhasa.

Later, we will pass and enjoy the Korola Glacier on the roadside. At Manak Dam Lake, you can hang pray flag at Simila Mountain Pass; Then, we will arrive in Gyantse, historically Tibet’s third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse). In Gyantse, we will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum and enjoy the Far view of Gyangtse Fortress.

After one and a half driving, we arrive in Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet. In Shigatse, we may visit traditional Barley Mill and view the landscape of Barley Field (in summer).

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

Day 18 Shigatse (3900m) – Everest Base Camp(5200)

Sightseeing and Activities:Tashilunpo Monastery, Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve
Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchan Lama – Tashilunpo Monastery. Then, we’ll leave Shigatse after getting your Alien’s travel permit, and then drive to Lhatse, which is a small town where you can have lunch.

After that, we will pass Tsola Pass(4600M), and Gyatsola Pass(5248M). Shortly after we enter Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve, tourists can enjoy the panorama of Himalaya at Gawula Pass(5198m). Then we drive along the New zigzag road to Everest Base Camp(5200m). You can get closer to gaze at the sunset of golden Everest peak if time and weather permits at the lodging area.

Stay overnight at Rongbuk monastery guest house.

Day 19 EBC (5200m) – Shigatse (3900m)

Sightseeing and Activities:the sunrise of Everest Peak, Rongbu Monastery
Accommodation: Shigatse
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, you can see the sunrise of Everest Peak if weather permits at the lodging area. Then we will visit the Rongbu Monastery – the unique highest monastery with nuns and monks living together and later trek from lodging place to EBC (4kms, or take Eco bus). You can visit the Everest Base Camp and take the close-up shot of Mt. Everest. Finally, we will drive back to Shigatse.

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

Day 20 Shigatse (3900m) – Lhasa (3650m)350km

Sightseeing and Activities: Yalong River bed
Accommodation: Lhasa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, we will drive back to Lhasa by following Yalong Valley. You can stand on the viewing platform and view the vast Yalong River bed. Finally the guide will transfer you back to your hotels in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 21 Lhasa-Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Lhasa-Shanghai
Accommodation: Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

You will take the morning flight from Lhasa to Shanghai. After arriving in Shanghai airport, you will manage the transportation from Shanghai airport to your hotel by yourself. You will free yourself after arriving on your own.

Day 22 Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Yu Garden, the Bund, Shanghai Old Wax Figure Museum, Old French Concession
Accommodation: Shanghai
Meals:

During the tour, you will taste the feature of Shanghai both “Classic and Modern”. Yu Garden, best preserved ancient Chinese private official garden style in Shanghai. The Bund, one mile stroll affords many spectacular views. The Bund, with more than 50 individual architectural styles, is reminiscent of the time when Shanghai was the center of Chinese economy and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Shanghai Old Wax Figure Museum will immerses you in the sights of Shanghai throughout history of showing everyday scenes of people living in Shanghai. Old French Concession, a lovely chance to take a trip back in time to what the old colonial French quarter was like. This whole site has been renovated and is calm, beautiful and has many shops and eating / drinking opportunities.

Tour Itinerary:

Pick up service by your tour guide and driver at 7:30

Shanghai Old Street- Sightseeing (30 minutes)

Yu Garden – Sightseeing (1 hour)

Yu Garden Typical Shanghai Tea House (30 minutes)

The Bund Stroll – Sightseeing (40 minutes)

Local Restaurant-Lunch (1 hour)

Shanghai Old Wax Figure Museum- Sightseeing (1.5 hour)

Featured Shopping at Pearl City or silk Museum (30 minutes)

Shanghai typical alley at Tianzifang- Sightseeing (30 minutes)

Old French Concession stroll-Sightseeing (30 minutes)

Drop-off service at your hotel before 18:00.

Day 23 Departure from Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Shanghai
Accommodation:
Meals: Breakfas

You will manage the transporation from Shanghai hotel to airport. End the wonderful tour to China.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostel
Kunming Softel Hotel Wenhui Hotel Jinhua Hotel T&T Story Hotel
Dali Hilton Dali Resort & Spa Shouyi Boutique Hotel Dali Taihe Boutique Inn Dali Fengxue Gucheng
Lijiang Pullman Hotel Wangfu Hotel Liwang Hotel Baisha Holiday Resort
Shangri-La Shangrila Hotel Shangrila Old Town Hotel Moon City Hotel Wu Fu South Yunnan Boutique Inn

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Sharing English-speaking tour guide;
  • Sharing vehicle for transfers & sightseeing with skilled driver;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Domestic train tickets of soft sleeper.

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.