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A once in a lifetime trip through one of the world’s most remote and dramatic landscapes, journeying through Tibet is unlike anything else. After spending 3 nights in the capital Lhasa, we travel on the Friendship Highway past beautiful lakes, glaciers and remote villages to reach base camp on the north-face of Mount Everest. Stopping overnight in a nearby village we will see the beauty of sunset and sunrise on the world’s highest peak and on a clear night marvel at one of the planet’s best views of the Milky Way! This will be an amazing journey visiting the best places Tibet has to offer, concluding with 2 nights in Chengdu to visit the world famous Giant Panda Research Centre. :) Day 1 – Arrival in China Upon arrival at Xining airport we will be met and transferred by private vehicle to our hotel. We spend a night in Xining to begin our acclimatization to the higher altitude. Day 2 – Skytrain from Xining to Lhasa This morning is free ahead of our train journey to Tibet. The highest train journey in the world, the Skytrain travels through the most remote and scenic part of the world, following the Gobi desert into the high Tibetan plateau. Departing in the afternoon we will have first class “soft-sleeper” cabins (4 beds per cabin). Day 3 – Arrive Lhasa Our Tibetan guide will greet us at the railway station and transfer us to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to wander around the city. Try not to overtax yourself; the first day is crucial to acclimatize to the high altitude. Day 4 Lhasa Sightseeing Our Tibetan adventure truly gets underway today with a trip to Potala Palace, the former winter palace of the Dalai Lama and most iconic building in all Tibet. Built by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century, the palace contains the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd great king. Working our way up the steps to the Potala we will visit the most important of the 1000 rooms in this famous UNESCO building. After lunch, we visit Jokhang Temple, also founded in the 7th century and considered the holiest Buddhist temple in the Himalayas. Each day thousands of Buddhist pilgrims come here to worship; many have travelled well over a thousand kilometres on foot to visit. Outside, we might experience the devotion of Tibetans as pilgrims prostrate in front of the temple. Inside we will see the life size statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at his age of 12, the treasure of Jokhang Temple. Barkhor Street is our final destination today, a famous street with many distinctive shops selling Tibetan wares, such as handicraft, Thangka paintings, etc. Aside from shopping, visitors can also join the Kora with pilgrims and locals, to experience Tibetan religious culture more deeply. Day 5 Lhasa Sightseeing In the morning, we are heading to Drak Yerpa, a complex of ancient meditation caves in the limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley.Built by the first emperor of a united Tibet for his wife, it was inhabited by 300 monks until 1959. After lunch we will visit the 600 year old Sera Monastery complex, one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet. The monks at Sera typically spend the afternoon in vigorous philosophical debate which is a lively and interesting experience even if you do not understand what is being said.We will also see the three sand Mandalas and colourful Rock Painting of Budda inside the monastery. Day 6 Travel to Shigatse via Gyantse Today we leave Lhasa and journey on the Friendship Highway to Shigatse via Gyantse.The scenic route will take us along time-warped villages and mountains studded with ochre stupas. We will travel via the Yamdroktso Lake on the way to Gampala pass (4790m). This sacred lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glows with various colours when the sun is shining. From the roadside we will also have a spectacular view of the Korala Glacier.After hanging a pray flag at Simila Mountain pass, we will arrive in Gyantse, Tibet’s third city. Here we explore the Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the important Gyantse Kumbum stupa. Overnight in Shigatse. Day 7 Travel to Mount Everest Before leaving Shigatse we will visit the famous Tashilunpo Monastery, the home of Panchen Lama.Tashilunpo was one of only a few monasteries to remain largely unscathed following the Cultural Revolution and its huge golden statue of the Future Buddha is the largest gilded statue in the world. Continuing our journey we enter the National Nature Reserve of Mt. Everest and enjoy the panorama of the Himalayas at Gawula Pass (5198m).On reaching our lodgings we hope to see an amazing golden sunset on Everest’s peak. Stay overnight in local tent camp in summer (May- Oct.) Day 8 Trek to Everest Base Camp; return to Shigatse Enjoy the most peaceful and wonderful morning you have ever had as you watch the great sunrise on Everest. From our lodgings we will trek to Everest Base Camp from where we will get an excellent view of the peak for photographs.Before leaving the nature reserve we visit Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world and an important pilgrimage site for Sherpas living in the region. Day 9 Return to Lhasa Today we journey back to Lhasa. On the way we will take a detour off the Friendship Highway to visit Yungdrungling Monastery, one of the few remaining Bon monasteries in Tibet. Arriving in Lhasa late afternoon the rest of the day is free time. Day 10 Lhasa Departure Saying goodbye to our Tibetan hosts we transfer to Lhasa Airport for the mid-day flight to Chengdu. The rest of the day in Chengdu is free. Day 11 Chengdu city tour Today we explore Chengdu with a local guide and private transportation.The morning is spent at the world-famous Giant Panda Research Centre, where giant pandas of different ages can be seen eating and drinking, playing with each other and with various enrichment toys.And of course we will visit the nursery rooms to see the new-born panda cubs with their mothers. In the afternoon we visit Kuanzhai Alley in Chengdu’s historic preserved district and the Wenshu Temple, renowned for its cultural relics, exquisite garden and Tea House. Day 12 Chengdu We transfer mid-morning to the airport for the flight home. The price of this trip tour is £1590 per person based on sharing a twin room (single supplement £235.00) and does not include flights from the UK. A deposit of £400 will secure you a place. Please book early to avoid disappointment! This trip requires 6 people for it to proceed as a private group. If we do not reach the required number of people the trip will run on a non-exclusive basis. The price includes $412 for the soft sleeper train ticket to Lhasa and the flight from Lhasa to Chengdu (at 2018 prices). Note: should either of these elements increase in price before travel (due to exchange rate changes or supplier price increases) you will be required to pay the supplement. A second payment of £300 (for the internal flight and train tickets) is due by 30th November 2018 and the balance payment is due 60 days before departure. For full details, including a list of the inclusions/exclusions, visa and insurance information and other considerations (such as altitude sickness) please follow this link: https://solosunited.co.uk/tour-item/a-tibetan-adventure/ There are no direct flights from UK to Xining or from Chengdu to UK. Return flights are currently £650-£750 (correct as of 24th June 2018). We recommend the KLM/China Southern flight from London via Amsterdam (currently £683) which, although takes longer than the Air France flight, will avoid any random air traffic strike by French controllers. British passport holders will need to secure a Chinese visa at least 6 weeks ahead of travel, which in turn will be used by the local agent to procure you a Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB), the latter taking +/-3 weeks to process.Please leave plenty of time to avoid paying US$80 for the “TTB fast-track” service. Please ensure your passport has 6 months validity remaining for the duration of the trip before applying for your Chinese visa. If you are a journalist or work in media, are a diplomat or work in the armed forces you will need special permission from the Chinese embassy to visit Tibet. Travel insurance is mandatory for this trip. Please ensure it covers travel at high altitude (base camp is 5,200 metres above sea level). A comprehensive policy is highly recommended, including cover for medical assistance, cancellation or curtailment. Please familiarise yourself with our booking conditions and refund policy before paying your deposit. They can be found here https://solosunited.co.uk/booking-conditions/ I hope you will agree this is a fantastic opportunity! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Best wishes, Julie
I have wanted to visit the Giant’s Causeway since I was 9 years old ….. and now I’m going! A UNESCO World Heritage Site and national nature reserve, the 40,000 interlocking columns of volcanic rock are one of the most impressive things to see in Western Europe. Staying in Belfast (voted the best place to visit in 2018 by the Lonely Planet) I’ll be visiting the shipyard where the Titanic was built, the famous murals and peace walls and dropping in to a few pubs to experience the famous Irish hospitality. Friday 24th May 2019 Arrive Belfast at your leisure. The 3* star hotel is located less than 3 miles from the city centre with good transport connections. Meet in the hotel’s reception at 8 p.m. when we will head out for dinner. DAY 2 EXPLORING BELFAST We have a leisurely day to explore the best of Belfast. The city centre is small enough to be explored by foot. The City Hall is the grand centrepiece of the city and the perfect place to start from and get our bearings. Heading to the Harland and Wolff shipyards (where the Titanic was built) en route we can visit the beautiful Saint Anne’s Cathedral. If there is enough interest we can organise a 2-hour black taxi tour in the afternoon to see the famous murals and peace walls located on Falls Road and Shankill Road. The price will be dependent on the size of our group (and should be booked in advance). No visit to Belfast will be complete without experiencing the Irish pub scene! In the evening we have been recommended some local venues for Real Ale, Real Irish music and the Real Craic. DAY 3 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY Today we take a guided coach tour to Northern Ireland’s most famous landmark. We meet our coach in Great Victoria Street and take the drive through rolling farmland to the North Coast of Ireland - an area of outstanding natural beauty. Along the way we hope to have fine views of Rathlin Island and we may even see the Scottish coast 13 miles away. The views along this coastline are spectacular! During the journey we have a photo-stop at Dark Hedges (“King's Road” from the Game of Thrones) and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. There is an extra charge to cross the bridge and this money goes to the National Trust. Those that do not wish to cross the bridge can enjoy a coastal walk or visit the tea-rooms. NB: the path to the bridge is uneven so may not be practical for everyone. The Giant's Causeway is the highlight of this day! According to legend it was built by the Irish giant Fionn and his Scottish rival Angus and is a real masterpiece formed of perfectly shaped hexagonal columns. Entrance to the Visitor’s Centre is included. On our return journey to Belfast we will take a stop at Dunluce Castle for a photo opportunity of the dramatic castle ruins. DAY 4 is free until our flights home. We will be required to vacate our hotel rooms in accordance with the hotel’s check-out policy. If your flight schedule allows, a trip to Belfast Castle is said to be worth doing just for the views of Belfast city from the top of the hill. Or if you are interested in social history, why not explore the Crumlin Road Gaol or the Parliament buildings at Stormont. The price of this trip is £249 per person based on sharing a twin-room (the single supplement is £150). Please note, there is no contingency in these prices for us to absorb the cost of a single supplement for any traveller. Therefore shared accommodation will be allocated taking into account both booking date and gender. There is no minimum number required for this trip to proceed (my flight ticket is already booked!). Price includes 3 nights B&B in a 3* hotel sharing a twin-room and the coach trip to Giant’s Causeway. The price does not include flight tickets, airport transfers, additional personal expenses, i.e. mini-bars, meals, drinks etc., travel/medical insurance. Update[masked] Please contact me so I can confirm hotel availability BEFORE you book any flights. Thank you.