Create a soul connection with a Giant Panda. Seek solitude at the Dalai Llama’s summer palace. Soak up the spirituality of Tibet’s holiest sites with a visit to the Tibetan city perched at 12,000 feet that literally means “place of the gods.” The mysteries of one of the world’s most isolated cultures will be on full display next spring when ultra-luxurious Crystal Cruises, offers cruisers the rare opportunity to add a five-night Extended Land Program to Tibet onto their Asia cruise.CC_Beijing_Panda.1

Highlights of the journey include:

  • Chengdu’s Giant Panda Research Base, where guests can safely snuggle with baby pandas, while learning about the hugely successful conservation and breeding efforts.
  • Potala Palace, a 7th century UNESCO World Heritage Site, that served as the Dalai Lama’s main residence until the 1959 uprising.
  • Drepung Monastery, once the world’s largest monastery and home to more than 10,000 monks.
  • Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet, enshrining the country’s most precious treasure, the original gold Sakyamuni Buddha statue dating back 1,300 years.
  • Barkhor Marketplace, the site of many Tibetan protests, as well as a busy commerce center, striking an intriguing contrast between deeply rooted spirituality and the bustling nature of market economics.
  • Tibetan-style dinner, showcasing traditional song and dance while sampling a variety of Tibetan-based dietary staples, from meat to tea.
  • Sera Monastery, where guests can watch monks prepare for their monastic exams with renowned mock debates in the picturesque courtyard.
  • Norbulingka, another UNESCO site that boasts distinctly Tibetan architecture and has served as the administrative and spiritual centers, as well as the summer palace, for past Dalai Lamas.
  • Jinli Street in Chengdu, an ancient market dating back to the Qing Dynasty, filled with everything from the aroma of spicy barbeque and authentic Sichuan favorites to local artists’ works and traditional lantern performances.

As with all of Crystal’s Extended Land Programs, luxury accommodations, meals, and transportation for the “Timeless Tibet” program are included in the £4,775 per person, double occupancy fare. Cruise fare additional. Accommodations include one night at the Sofitel Hotel Chengdu, three nights at the St. Regis Lhasa Resort, and one night at the China World Hotel Beijing.

Posted on: 20/09/2013