From ZAR47 480 for 24 Days, Fully Inclusive From South Africa
WENDY WU TOURS PROUDLY TOOK THE FIRST TOUR GROUP IN THE WORLD TO REACH LHASA BY THIS MOST SCENIC OVERLAND ROUTE INCLUDING THE TEA HORSE ROAD IN 2000
Our Tibetan Dreams overland journey travels through a part of China that very few westerners have the privilege to see, a world largely untouched by civilisation. The scenic route follows the Yunnan Tibet Highway from the rich cultural tapestry of Yunnan Province, through the untamed “lands of Kham” in the east to Lhasa. From Kunming we start our journey to the beautifully preserved town of Dali, then onto Lijiang, where the Ancient Quarter’s cobblestone streets, traditional market square and unique Naxi culture recreate the China of yesteryear. Starting our ascent into the Hengduan Mountains, we visit the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge on our way to Zhongdian. From Deqing we travel by 4WD for five days through deep and lush river gorges, tracing the ancient Tea Horse Road and ascending some of the highest mountain passes in the world. We will reach Central Tibet and explore the extraordinary sights of Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse before descending into Sichuan Province. The journey will finish in Chengdu, where we can experience the famous, tasty Sichuan cuisine and meet some of the adorable Pandas at the nearby Panda Reserve.
DAYS 1-2: SOUTH AFRICA TO KUNMING
Fly overnight with Cathay Pacific to Kunming for a two-night stay. Enjoy a sample of the delicious local specialty ‘Across the Bridge Noodles’ for our welcome dinner this evening.
DAY 3: KUNMING
Today we enjoy a full day tour of the picturesque Stone Forest, where massive limestone columns form a vast forest of surreal shapes and images.
DAY 4: KUNMING TO DALI
Enjoy a visit to the Western Hills which wrap around Dianchi Lake, often called the ‘Sleeping Beauty Hills’. Later we will be transferred to the airport to board our flight to Dali for a two night stay.
DAY 5: DALI
Today we visit the picturesque Song Dynasty’s Three Pagodas. Explore the fascinating wonders of Dali’s ancient quarter and enjoy an afternoon cruise on the stunning Erhai Lake.
DAY 6: DALI TO LIJIANG
This morning we travel to Lijiang where we visit the Black Dragon Pool before wandering through Lijiang’s ancient quarter admiring the colourful costumes of the Naxi people.
DAY 7: LIJIANG
Our explorations take us to the picturesque Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We catch a chairlift to explore one of the high meadows from where we enjoy the amazing scenery. This afternoon we visit the Baisha Frescoes. As our evening entertainment, we enjoy the acclaimed Naxi ancient music show.
DAY 8: LIJIANG TO ZHONGDIAN
Drive to Zhongdian, also known as ‘Little Tibet’, for a three night stay. This afternoon enjoy a visit to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world.
DAY 9: ZHONGDIAN
Visit the Baishui Terrace, where spring water cascades over layers of white limestone pools.
DAY 10: ZHONGDIAN
Today we enjoy a visit to Napa Hai Lake and the Songshanlin Monastery, built by the 5th Dali Lama over 300 years ago.
DAY 11: ZHONGDIAN TO DEQING
We travel to Deqing today, ascending into the Hengduan Mountains and the mighty Himalaya.
DAY 12: DEQING TO MANGKANG
Today we start our ascent to the Tibetan Plateau following the ancient Tea Horse Road. For centuries, the Chinese traded westward along this route carrying tea and spices on tough mountain horses. From here to Lhasa we will travel by 4WD vehicles and accommodation will be in simple, local guesthouses.
DAYS 13-15: MANGKANG TO BASU TO ZHAMMU TO LINZHI
Over the next three days our overland adventure will take us through a region of unrivalled landscapes, crossing rivers and following deep gorges to ascend to some of the highest roads in the world. Upon arrival in Linzhi (on Day 15) we visit a Tibetan carpet factory.
DAY 16: LINZHI TO LHASA
We leave Linzhi this morning and continue our journey to Lhasa. En route we visit Pasum Tso Lake, with jade green water surrounding Tsodzong Island near the southern shore.
DAY 17: LHASA
This morning we enjoy a visit to the 7th Century Jokhang Temple which is the most sacred in Tibet. This afternoon we wander amongst the pilgrims at the colourful, mediaeval Barkhor Markets.
DAY 18: LHASA
Today we explore the ‘Crown Jewel of Tibet’ - the Potala Palace. The palace is an architectural wonder that towers over an entire city with thousands of rooms filled with treasures such as intricate shrines and beautiful frescoes. We also visit Norbulingka, the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama and a local Tibetan Primary School (if time permits). Tonight we enjoy a performance of traditional Tibetan dance.
DAY 19: LHASA TO SHIGATSE
We continue our journey by coach to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. Upon arrival in Shigatse we visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional residence of the Panchen Lama.
DAY 20: SHIGATSE TO GYANTSE
Today we leave Shigatse and travel to the smaller town of Gyantse where we visit the unique Pelkor Monastery. Later we visit the famous Gyantse Kumbum, the largest shrine in Tibet, and the magnificent ruins of the Old Fort.
DAY 21: GYANTSE TO LHASA
This morning we leave Gyantse and travel back to Lhasa for our final night in Tibet.
DAY 22: LHASA TO CHENGDU
Today we fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Upon arrival we visit the famous Panda Research Centre to see these delightful animals being reared in surroundings reminiscent of their natural habitat. As our farewell dinner celebration this evening we will enjoy a banquet of Sichuan cuisine.
DAY 23: DEPART CHENGDU
The morning is at leisure before we transfer to Chengdu airport to board our overnight flight to South Africa.
DAY 24: ARRIVE SOUTH AFRICA
Arrive home this morning.