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Golden Eagle China Tibet Rail Discovery

Urumqi ● Kashgar ● Turpan ● Dunhuang ● Jiayuguan ● Xining ● Qinghai-Tibet Railway ● Lhasa

12 nights from UK £ 8,695 per person

Price based on 2 people sharing a Silver Class cabin. These prices are based on 2020 rates. See below for full pricing.
Please note that this is group tour with fixed date departures (see full pricing and dates further down this page). We can also book your international flights if required.

Enjoy a rail tour with a difference traversing across the grand wilderness of China through stunning scenery and ancient cities before offering a magical exploration of Tibet, known affectionately as the Roof of the World, and home to more Himalayan peaks than anywhere else.


Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Urumqi

Arrival in Urumqi & a Welcome Reception & Dinner

Guests are met upon arrival at the airport in Urumqi and are transferred to the centrally located Hilton Urumqi for a one-night stay.

Meals Included: Dinner.

Day 2 - Urumqi

Tour the Highlights of Urumqi Before Boarding the Train

This morning 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, which are unusually well preserved. Until two decades ago, this culture was hardly known to historians and archaeologists; their history and origins remain much of a mystery. The Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Museum houses the mummies and their artefacts, which are some of the most significant archaeological discoveries in a hundred years. It is an excellent place to learn the history of this region.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 3 - Kashgar

Start Exploring This Remote Trading City

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. 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 4 - Kashgar

Continue to Explore This Gateway to Central Asia

During our extended stay we spend time at Kashgar Sunday Bazaar which, despite its name, is typically open daily. Its very remoteness is what makes the market so extraordinary, partly due to the exoticism of the produce for sale and partly because it is the only real place to shop in an area the size of western Europe. Due to the isolated location of the city, only a small fraction of these visitors are foreigners, therefore offering a very unique experience on our journey.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 5 - Turpan

A Highlight of China’s Silk Road Full of History and Sights

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 there is time spent in a world long disappeared.

In the afternoon, we take a fascinating tour of 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. We will then have a Uygur Family Visit where we will enjoy the traditional Uygur ethnic dancing and local snacks, experiencing real life and culture.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 6 - Dunhuang

Visit the Impressive Dunes & Mogao Caves

Today we will explore the vast natural beauty of the Sand Dunes by camel, where we will discover Crescent Lake. Hidden amongst the towering sand dunes, this body of water has sustained life in the region for millennia.

In the small oasis city of Dunhuang we will visit the fascination 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 7 - Jiayuguan

The Spectacular Fort & the Western End of the Great Wall

Today in Jiayuguan 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 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 defense 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 8 - Xining

Your First Experiences of Tibetan Buddhist Culture

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 antiquity. 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 9 - Golmud

Rest day in Golmud

On arrival to Golmud, we will say farewell to the Shangri-La Express train and check-in to the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel for a one-night stay. Spend today at your leisure, with the option of exploring the local city area or perhaps enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool and fitness area.

*Please note, subject to timings we may obtain high-altitude train tickets to Lhasa for departure today, therefore we will forego the overnight stay in Golmud and have an additional acclimatisation day in Lhasa.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 10 - Arrival Lhasa

Beautiful Train Ride to This Most Amazing of Cities

At Golmud 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 Lhasa, 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.

Upon arrival in Lhasa we are transferred to the centrally located luxurious five-star 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 11 - Lhasa

Tour Lhasa & Its Historical and Cultural Sights

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.

We will 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 12 - Lhasa

Continue to Tour Lhasa

During our stay in Lhasa, we will also visit the 13th century Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest shrine and the spiritual home for almost all Tibetans. We’ll also 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.

Also on the schedule will be a visit to 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, dominating the city skyline. Perched upon Marpo Ri hill, 130 metres above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 170 metres. It is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet and one of the architectural wonders of the world.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 13 - Depart Lhasa

Depart Tibet or Extend to Other Parts of China or Nepal

Breakfast in the hotel before onward departures.

Meals Included: Breakfast.

PLEASE NOTE: An altitude of over 5,072 meters (16,640 feet) is reached on this trip although this is when you are on the oxygen pressurized train. Whilst the vast majority of people experience little more than shortness of breath there is a small risk of more severe complications such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). Note that level of fitness and age are no indication as to whether you are more susceptible or not to AMS.

2020 Dates & Prices

Starts Urumqi 26th September and finishes Lhasa 8th October 2020


£ 11,495 per person or £ 16,595 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels


£ 8,695 per person or £ 12,595 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

2021 Dates & Prices

Starts Urumqi 7th April and finishes Lhasa 18th April 2021


£ 11,495 per person or £ 16,595 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels


£ 8,695 per person or £ 12,595 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

Inclusions & Exclusions For This Trip

What is included?

Accommodation in high quality hotels for nights not spent on the train.

Full board the train including drinks with meals.

Other meals as indicated in the itinerary including welcome and farewell dinners.

Visa support documents required.

Airport transfers and all transportation according to the itinerary.

 Route Guide and Information Pack.

Informative sightseeing tours as per the itinerary with professional guides and your own personal headsets.

 Experienced tour managers and 24 hour service attendants.

Entertainment program on board, including lectures on regional geography, culture, and history of the countries you pass through along the route.

Onboard doctor and medical facilities.

Porter services at all railway stations.

 All tips and gratuities.

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The visas – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend ABTASure

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment

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