Shangri-La Luxury Express
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Tibet and China Rail Discovery - Shangri-La Luxury Express
12 days, 11 nights from 8725 £
Bucket list rail journey from Lhasa to Urumqi
Enjoy a rail tour with a difference that offers a magical exploration of Tibet, known affectionately as the Roof of the World and home to more Himalayan peaks than anywhere else, before traversing across the grand wilderness of China through stunning scenery and ancient cities.
- Introduction to your journey
- Your Itinerary
- Journey Departures and Prices
- What's Included
- Booking conditions
LHASA • Qinghai-Tibet Railway • Xining • Jiayuguan • Dunhuang • Turpan • Kashgar • URUMQI
LHASA TO URUMQI
|DAY 1, LHASA, TIBET|
Guests are met upon arrival in Lhasa and are transferred to the centrally located luxurious five-star The St Regis Lhasa Resort for a three-night stay. Located in the eastern part of Lhasa, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort is this unique city’s most coveted address conveniently located in the famed Barkhor area. The sweeping landscapes surrounding this exclusive resort provide a timeless, inviting setting for contemplation as well as exploration. The St. Regis Lhasa Resort faces the World Heritage Site, the Potala Palace, once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. A mere six minutes by car from the resort, the palace has been converted into a museum. Jokhang Temple, another iconic structure and Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s former Summer Palace, are also close by. A Welcome Dinner will be served in the hotel this evening.
|DAY 2, LHASA, TIBET|
Lhasa is located in a small basin surrounded by mountains, and it literally means "place of the gods". At an altitude of around 11,975ft (3,650m) it is one of the highest cities in the world; it is also the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama and the holiest centre of Tibet with over a thousand years of cultural and spiritual history. Today we visit Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s Summer Palace, it was built in the 1740’s as a retreat from which to escape the heat of the summer. Meaning either ‘jewel garden’ or ‘precious garden’ it is still a tranquil haven from the noise of the city and a wonderful place to explore. There will also be free time to wander through Lhasa and soak up the atmosphere of this picturesque city or to take an optional drive 30 minutes outside Lhasa to visit a local village and see the life of farmers there. Lunch will be served in the local restaurant and dinner will be in the hotel.
|DAY 3, LHASA, TIBET|
On our second full day here, we visit the 13th century Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest shrine and the spiritual home for almost all Tibetans. Next we explore the adjacent Barkhor market, the oldest market in the capital and a well-trodden route for the many pilgrims who make their way to the temple. A local lunch is accompanied by traditional folk music. This afternoon we visit the 17th century Potala Palace, former seat of the Tibetan Government and the Dalai Lama’s winter residence before he fled to India in 1959. It contains thousands of rooms, dominates the city skyline. Perched upon Marpo Ri hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 170 meters, is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet and one of the architectural wonders of the world.
|DAY 4, LHASA - GOLMUD, TIBET|
At Lhasa we board the high altitude train (where we have reserved seats) that will take us on an extraordinary and unforgettable 14-hour daylight journey along the 1,142km ‘Roof of the World’ line to Golmud, cresting the 16,640ft (5,072m) Tangula Pass. This is the world’s highest railway pass, reaching an unbelievable 3 miles (5km) above sea level.
Due to the high altitude, supplementary oxygen is pumped in through the ventilation system. Personal oxygen masks are available if required. At Golmud, we transfer to our waiting Chinese private train, the Shangri-La Express. There is plenty of time to settle into your private cabin as we continue our rail journey to Xining.
|DAY 5, XINING, CHINA|
Today we explore this historic and multi-ethnic region which is home to an incredible 37 different nationalities. Located on the eastern edge of Qinghai Province, Xining’s history can be traced back 2,100 years to anquity. Here we will experience some of the distinctive traditions and customs of this region.
We set out from our train this morning stopping first at the Buddhist Kumbum (Ta’er) Monastery. Kumbum was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the Tibetan cultural region of Amdo. In the afternoon we will visit the Shuijingxiang Market. At the entrance of two intersecting alleys, each more than 1,100 metres long are more than 3,000 fixed stalls. The market has everything from food and drink to articles for daily use. You can not only find lotus roots and wild rice stems, which are products of Southern China but also seafood from the coast.
|DAY 6, JIAYUGUAN, CHINA|
Today in Jiayugaun we visit the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China, the Jiayuguan Pass. Along with Shanhaiguan, it is one of the largest and most intact passes of the Great Wall. It was an important military fortress and also a vital traffic fort along the Silk Road, the world's oldest trading route, connecting China, Central Asia and Europe. Standing in the endless desert with rolling mountains as its backdrop, this isolated pass will take you back to the desolation and loneliness of frontier life in ancient times.
After lunch we head for the Overhanging Great Wall, which was constructed in the year of 1539 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The wall was built in order to support the already existing Jiayuguan Fort which held a key role in the defence mechanism of the area around Jiayuguan. Parts of the wall are steep so for those who do make it to the top will enjoy a bird’s eye view of endless Gobi Desert, a couple of oases and snow-capped mountains seen from a great distance.
|DAY 7, DUNHUANG, CHINA|
This morning we will explorer the vast natural beauty of the Sand Dunes by camel, where we will discover Crescent Lake, hidden amongst the towering sand dunes and has sustained life in this region for millennia.
In the small oasis city of Dunhuang we will visit the fascinating Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex. This impressive site contains almost 500 grottoes, carved between 700 and 1,700 years ago. Inside we will see an amazing collection of beautiful sculptures and murals depicting the evolution of Buddhist religious art over 1,000 years.
|DAY 8, TURPAN, CHINA|
Turpan is the location where the Flaming Mountains create a magnificent backdrop. First we visit Jiaohe Ancient City which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China, the ruins of the buildings are divided into temples, civilian dwellings and government offices, workshops and residential houses in the streets are still visible and time there is time spent in a world long disappeared.
In the afternoon, we take a fascinating tour to the world famous ancient underground irrigation system at Karez that has successfully fed the rich orchards and vineyards for centuries; The system is considered as one of the three great projects in China with the other two being the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
Then we will have a Uygur Family Visit where we will enjoy the traditional Uygur ethnic dancing and local snacks, experiencing real life and culture of the local area.
|DAY 9, KASHGAR, CHINA|
|Today we will visit the Old City of Kashgar, with a history of more than 2,000 years. Uygur people have lived here for generations carving out a splendid society in the process. Kashgar old city was the renowned centre at the crossroads of the Southern and Middle Silk Roads in the past. Today, Kashgar Old City is still a cradle of culture, a burning torch to the memories of the past and is without doubt a step-back into the past in which you are a living part. Tonight we stay for one night at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel Kashgar.|
|DAY 10, KASHGAR, CHINA|
Today's special tour arrangements begin with Kashgar Sunday Bazaar. Its very remoteness is what makes the market so extraordinary, partly due to the exoticism of the produce for sale, partly because it is the only real place to shop in an area the size of western Europe.
The population of Kashgar is reputedly swelled by 100,000 every Sunday for this market, but due to the isolated location of the city, only a small fraction of these visitors are foreigners and therefore offers very much a unique experience on our journey.
Back on board our private train we depart late afternoon from Kashgar and travel through fascinating scenery en-route to our final destination of Urumqi.
|DAY 11, URUMQI, CHINA|
Following a lunchtime arrival into our final destination this afternoon we visit the renowned Provincial Museum in Urumqi, famous for having the artefacts and mummies of Caucasians who lived in the region between 1,500 and 4,000 years ago; There is also a fine collection of silk articles and other artefacts from various eras of history, as well as written materials in different languages. What most people come to see are the mummies and their artefacts and they are unusually well preserved. Until two decades ago, this culture was hardly known to historians and archaeologists, and their history and origins remain much of a mystery. The Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Museum houses the mummies and their artefacts that are some of the most significant archaeological discoveries in a hundred years and it is an excellent place to learn the history of this region.
This evening we stay at the Hilton Urumqi hotel and we enjoy a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant on our final evening in China.
|DAY 12, URUMQI, CHINA|
After breakfast in the hotel our tour comes to a close.
Modern comfort in an ancient country...unquestionably the best private train available in China today, the Shangri-La Express guarantees you good living even in the remotest places.
The Shangri-La Express is the best available private train in China, operating on the Silk Road route between Beijing and the Chinese border.
The Shangri-La Express offers comfortable living with a choice of en-suite, double bed accommodation or traditional-style cabins, with a shared toilet and shower facility in each carriage and a twin bed arrangement.
Heritage Class cabins are more compact, at 36 sq ft (3.45 sq metres), featuring two lower berth single beds, a large picture window and luggage storage above the door. Towels, robes and slippers are provided with our compliments, in addition to tea, coffee and mineral water, available from your cabin attendant throughout the day.
Toilet and showering facilities are available at each end of the sleeping carriage. The shower room features a separate shower cubicle, hairdryer and separate changing area.
- Sleeps 2 in twin beds (length 2.03m)
- Toilet/wash facilities are available at each end of each sleeping carriage
- Separate shower cubicle
- Towels, robes and slippers provided
- Towels and linens changed regularly
- Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water in cabin
- Cabin Area: 36sqft (3.45sqm)
At 75 sq ft (7 sq metres) Diamond Class cabins are the most spacious compartments available on the Shangri-La Express, featuring a large double bed, individual desk with freestanding chair, a large picture window and a double wardrobe.
Diamond Class cabins have a private en-suite wet room with washbasin, toilet and shower.
- Sleeps two in large double bed (length 2.03m)
- En-suite facilities
- Towels, robes and slippers provided
- Towels and linens changed regularly
- Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water in cabin
- Cabin Area: 75sqft (7sqm)
All Tours Include:
As far as possible tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you will need to budget for include personal expenses such as international and internal flights, visa costs, travel insurance, drinks from the Bar Lounge Car and laundry.
Experienced Tour Managers
Experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and their linguistic and organisational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise. Golden Eagle receive exceptional passenger comments about their Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.
Arrival and Departure Transfers
Arrival and departure transfers are included.
Hotel and Onboard Accommodation
Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find you hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. All hotels are of 5 star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.
Welcome and Farewell Dinners
Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers; for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip; and introduce you to the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.
Route Guide, Itinerary and Information Pack
When you board the train there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Tour Manager will organise a programme of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a programme for the next day’s touring schedule.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily
All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour you will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.
Drinks with Meals and from the Bar Lounge Car
A generous drinks allowance is included with lunch and dinner. For passengers travelling in Gold Class onboard the Golden Eagle, drinks from the Standard Drinks List in the Bar Lounge Car are also included. For Imperial Suite guests, drinks from both the Standard and Premium Bar Lists in the Bar Lounge Car are included.
You can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unintrusive. Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turndown services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottle drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.
Guided Off-Train Excursions
The history and culture of the places we visit on our rail cruises will come alive through our expert local guides. All tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. We believe it is the special little touches that help create magical memories.
Imperial Suite guests will benefit from the option of a private car and guide in the majority of places we visit along the route.
Freedom of Choice Touring
Customise your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring.
Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day’s tour.
On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.
Onboard Doctor and Medical Facilities
To give you peace of mind our tours are accompanied by a doctor who travels with us for the entire journey; so you can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.
As you only have to unpack once, your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout the journey but, wherever necessary, porterage is included between the hotel and stations.
You will not have to worry about tipping on and off the train on your rail journey with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains as all gratuities are included in the tour price.
Please note the following deposit is payable on this tour:
|HERITAGE CLASS CABIN||DIAMOND CLASS CABIN|