Contact our Travel Experts: (800)356-8504 or

Destinations Offered > China > Yunnan, Tibet and the Pandas of Chengdu

This is mystical China, the area that inspired James Hilton to create Shangri-La in his book “Lost Horizons”. You will tour the Potala Palace former home of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and spend time in unspoiled Lijiang learning about the Naxi way of life and examining the source of the Yangzi River in Zhongdian now renamed as Shangri-La by the Chinese authorities. After visiting Tibet you will spend time with the Pandas in Chengdu before heading to the bustle of Hong Kong to complete your adventure.

19 Days:$13,357 per person based on 2 traveling and inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, airfare within China, all meals, personally guided sightseeing, personal interaction with Pandas, private car and driver. International airfare is additional. Business Class airfare at special rates is available and highly recommended. Friends and family rates: $10,973 per person based on 4 traveling and $9,681 per person based on 6 traveling

Ready to book or customize this travel experience?
Please contact one of the Travel Experts at Traterra, our designated booking agent, to begin the creation of your unique experience:
Trip Dossier

Personal Highlights:

• A picnic lunch on the Great Wall away from the tourist crowds.
• Visiting Dayan and learning about the indigenous Dongba Culture
• A visit to Wenhai Lake on horseback and led by local villagers
• Seeing the Yangzi in its infancy as it passes through The Tiger Leaping Gorge
• A private tour of Lhasa’s Potala Palace
• Interacting with Pandas ay the Bisheng Gorge Panda Sanctuary
• Exploring Hong Kong’s Dried Provisions Market and learning about their medicinal powers

Day 1 Depart USA

You board your trans-pacific flight to Beijing, capital of China and site of the 2008 Olympic Games


Day 2 En Route

You cross the International Date Line and "lose" a day, but gain it back on your return trip.


Day 3 Arrival in Beijing

You arrive in Beijing, capital of the most populous country on Earth. As you step off the plane you are met by our representative and assisted through the immigration and customs process. As you exit the customs area you are met by your guide and driver and taken to your hotel. You have a light dinner before catching up on your sleep and getting ready for the events ahead.


Day 4 The Great Wall at Jinshanling

Today you will spend the day both exploring and walking the Great Wall but away from the hordes of tourists. You will be traveling to Jinshanling which is further from the city and offers a much more authentic wall experience. Since the area is less visited you have ample opportunity to explore this section of the wall and take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. A picnic lunch is enjoyed while sitting on the wall and then, if you are reasonably fit and willing, you can walk along the wall between Jinshanling and Simatai which offers an absolutely incredible wall experience. No trip to Beijing would be complete without a delicious Peking Duck dinner especially as served at one of the city's most renowned restaurants.

B, L, D

Day 5 The Forbidden City and The Imperial Summer Palace

After breakfast you begin a full day of exploration of some of Beijing's main attractions.You will start with a brief walk from the hotel with your guide to reach the vast Tiananmen Square, which is home to China's Parliament also known as The Great Hall of the People. walking through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, from where Mao declared China as the People's Republic in 1949, you will then have a private tour of the Forbidden City, home of China's Imperial Dynasties. You have lunch at " my Humble House" restaurant before continuing your visit to the Imperial Summer Palace where you marvel at the opulence in which the Emperor's lived. This evening, we have secured a table at the exclusive, members' only, China Club. you will dine well!

B, L, D

Day 6 Beijing to Lijiang

this morning you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Lijiang. Upon arrival later this afternoon your local guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel, the stunning Banyon Tree Lijiang where a Garden Villa has been reserved for you.The remainder of the day is at leisure before enjoying dinner at the hotelB, L, D

Day 7 Dayan and the Black Dragon pool

After breakfast you meet your guide ijn the lobby and set off to Dayan, Lijiang's fascinating old town where your guide brings alive the area's history and its indigenous Dongba culture. You visit the Black Dragon Pool and, after lunch, the rest of the afternoon is at leisureB, L, D

Day 8 Yu Hu Village and Wenhai Lake

Today you will spend a full day in the countryside surrounding Lijiang. Your first stop will be to Yu Hu Village the former home of renowned naturalist, Dr. Joseph Rock, an area where the more traditional Naxi way of life continues. A visit to Yongfeng Monastery is next and then you have a choice of going by road or being led on horseback by local people over the mountains to Wenhai Lake which is rarely visited by westerners. The small villages in this area are reminiscent of a China from many years ago and is a perfect way of seeing a more rural China. Lunch is offered at a local lodge before returning to the hotelB, L, D

Day 9 The Road to Shangri-La

In his book, Lost Horizons, the author James Hilton created a mythical place called Shangri-La hidden in the mountains and allowing its inhabitants to elude aging. Based on the book and the movie, many saw Shangri-La as being in the area of Tibet or China. In 2001, the Chinese authorities decided to capitalize on this and renamed Zhongdian Province as Shangri--La County and that is where you are headed today. You will first be driven to Shigu to see the Yangtze River in its infancy and where it changes course to flow through China. You then proceed to The Tiger Leaping Gorge where The Yangtze River, still in its infancy, passes through the Gorge with the cliffs on either side standing 12,000 feet high. You stop for a picnic lunch along the way  before arriving in Shangri-LaB, L, D

Day 10 A Day in Shangri-La

Today will be a precursor for the next part of the journey to Tibet. In Shangri-La you are on the Tibetan Plateau where the majority of people are of Tibetan ethnicity. Today you will visit Sumstenling Monastery and Zhongdian's old town where you have lunch. In the afternoon you visit a traditional pottery making village in Tanwei before returning to your hotelB, L, D

Day 11 Journey to Tibet

After breakfast, your guide will escort you to the airport for your onward flight to Tibet. Upon arrival in Lhasa you will be transferred to your hotel. Since you are now at a high altitude and acclimitization is important, we will have only gentle activity. In the afternoon you will visit the Bharkor district which offers a wonderful introduction to this incredible city. The Bharkor is one Lhasa's three pilgrim circuits and encircles the Jokhang Temple, seen by many to be the home of Tibetan Buddhism. We walk the circuit and after a short exploration of the area and its side streets, you retun to the hotelB, L, D

Day 12 The Yellow Hat Monasteries

Today we explore two of Tibet's major Gelugpa Sect ( Yellow Hat) monsateries. In the morning you visit Drepung Monastery which dates from 1416 and is one of the areas most lively and interesting monasteries. a morning visit allows you to see the Pilgrims making their rounds of the local Pilgrim Circuit. You return to the city for lunch and then visit Pabonka Monastery which, because of its more remote location, has lest tourists wandering around. Later you experience the great Debating Ceremony at Sera Monastery before returning to the hotel.

Day 13 Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple

This morning you explore the famed Potala Palace, the large White and Red building that was the former home of the Dalai Lama. There are numerous steps involved but this is a must on any visit to Lhasa and the views are spectacular. After lunch you tour the Tibetan Traditional Medicine Hospital where you learn about this complex but fascinating set of medical beliefs and cures. Later this afternoon you visit the Jokhang Temple, Tibet's holiest temple and where, in the late afternoon, many pilgrims gather.B, L, D

Day 14 Lhasa to Chengdu

After breakfast you will be escorted to the airport for the flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival you are met by your guide and escorted to your hotel where a Deluxe Room awaits. You have the afternoon to relax and enjoy the hotel's many amenitiesB, L, D

Day 15 The Pandas of Chengdu

Today will be a special day as you drive outside the city to the Bisheng Gorge Panda Sanctuary which provides a more natural setting for observing these wonderful creatures. By special arrangement, you will be allowed to enter the enclosure and assist the keepers in cleaning the area, feeding the Pandas and having a unique interaction. If the manual labor is not to your liking you can take photos, play with or even bottle feed a Panda Cub. This will be a highlight of your trip.

Day 16 Chengdu to Hong Kong

Today your guide will escort you to the airport and facilitate your check-in for the flight to Hong Kong. Upon arrival you are met by your guide and taken to your hotel which is located on Kowloon. Since you have a Superior Harbor View Room you have an excellent vista of the harbor and Victoria Island not to mention the myriad boats plying the harbor

Day 17 An Immersion in the Culture of Hong Kong

Today we offer an exploration of Hong Kong Island. We begin by immersing you in the more traditional side of Hong Kong which is where the city and the residents' roots lie. Your first visit will be to one of the city's Dried Provisions Markets where all types of weird and wonderful dried food is available. Your guide will explain their different uses in cooking preparation of tonic soups and even in traditional medicines. You then visit the atmospheric Man Mo Temple located on Hollywood Road. Next you go to the south side of the island to the active fishing harbor of Aberdeen. Here you board a sampan to observe the fishing " junks". After lunch at the Boatyard Restaurant tou have the option of doing some shiopping at Stanley Market or returning to the hotel. This evening superb seafood on Lamma Island where the seafood farms are located.

B, L, D

Day 18 The Heritage of Hong Kong

Today you will explore Hong Kong's ancient heritage with some of it dating back to the Song Dynasty. You have a chance to see the Punti, indigenuous Hong Kong people, along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail through the villages built by the Tang clan. They are one of the 5 most powerful clans in the New Territories and trace their ancestry to the Southern Song Imperial family. Your visit will include the Ancestral Halls and Stady Halls with feng-shui influenced architecture. You will also visit the elegant Tai Fu Mansion, an example of traditional Chinese scholar-gentry way of life. You then stroll the Tai Po market popular with the local villagers before stopping for some Dim Sum for lunch. After lunch you have some time free for shopping. This evening enjoy spectacular harbor views from your restaurant table in Tsim Tsa Tsui

B, L, D

Day 19 Return to the USA

After breakfast your driver is ready to transport you to the airport for your return flight to the US where you arrive later the same day.

Days 3 - 5

The Peninsula Palace
Select a different image from the previews below
The Peninsula Beijing is now unquestionably the premier hotel in Beijing for business and leisure travelers, as well as the venue of choice for important events and celebrations. Having opened in 1989, The Peninsula Palace Beijing has an imposing, traditional Chinese architectural-style exterior, integrated with the ultimate in luxurious, modern hotel amenities and facilities. Ideally located in the center of Beijing, The Peninsula Beijing is just a short stroll from Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and is within easy access of Beijing Railway Station. The hotel offers 525 superbly appointed and spacious guest rooms and suites, based on The Peninsula's tradition of comfort, subtly blended with Chinese influences. Each one of the hotel's guest rooms is equipped with advanced technology for the convenience of hotel guests.
Days 6 - 8

Banyan tree
Select a different image from the previews below
Bordered from the North by the spectacular Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Banyan Tree Lijiang is located in Kunming, China. This property rests near the Old Town of Lijiang, regarded as the Venice of the Orient because of its many bridges and canals that lace through the maze of cobbled streets. An indoor and outdoor café serves multi-national cuisine. Hundreds of varieties of teas from various Chinese provinces are served at the Tea Lounge, and live music, finger foods and nightcaps are offered at The Bar. When it is time to relax, the Banyan Tree Spa offers a range of options from ancient Asian healing arts to European rejuvenation therapies. The spa houses an activity room, tea house, beauty salon and a fitness facility. The hotel offers 55 villas, including one- and two-bedroom accommodations that reflect traces of the Naxi culture, noticeably in the roof and courtyard architecture. Villas contain private gardens and plunge pools, and offer views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Guestroom interiors are dressed in rich russet, gold and red tones.
Days 9 - 10

Banyan Tree
Select a different image from the previews below
Banyan Tree Ringha offers 31 guestrooms in a 1-story property. Furnishings include sofa beds and desks. Business-friendly rooms are equipped with multi-line phones and direct-dial phones. Guestrooms have coffee/tea makers. Bathrooms include separate bathtubs and showers, bathrobes, and hair dryers. Complimentary bottled water is provided in room. Guestrooms provide minibars and slippers. Other amenities include DVD players and air conditioning. Services include a turndown service and wake-up calls. Guestrooms at Banyan Tree Ringha are accessible via exterior corridors. Amenities available on request include irons/ironing boards.
Days 11 - 13

Four Points by Sheraton
Select a different image from the previews below
Discover Something New. Situated in eastern Lhasa city, Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa is on the Lhasa River and faces Jiangsu Avenue. Its great location is a 10-minute walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkhorn Street and only an eight-minute drive from the Potala Palace. The 72 guest rooms, including three suites, are warm and inviting with a contemporary design. Enjoy the comforts of home like a 32-inch flat screen LCD TV, free High Speed Internet Access, Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, and more. Three dining venues provide everything you need to make your stay complete.
Days 14 - 15

Select a different image from the previews below
The Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu is the pre-eminent international Chengdu luxury hotel situated in the cosmopolitan city centre, offering modern grandeur and legendary Shangri-La hospitality in the prosperous capital of Sichuan. Indulge in the lavish accommodation and dining options at this Chengdu hotel and enjoy the tranquility that only Shangri-La can offer
Days 16 - 18
Hong Kong

Select a different image from the previews below
One of the world's top hotels, InterContinental Hong Kong is renowned for its dramatic location on the Kowloon waterfront, with spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Located in the Tsim Sha Tsui area, the hotel is convenient to Kowloon’s business, entertainment and shopping districts. A wide range of excursions and activities are within a short distance and getting around every part of the city is easy.