Highlights of China
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Iconic images of China such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Terracotta Warriors are complemented by the futuristic city of Shanghai and the beautiful natural landscapes that surround the city of Guilin on this small group tour.
Day 1: UK to Beijing Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to China.
Day 2: Beijing Upon arrival in China’s capital city transfer to your hotel for a three night stay. The rest of the day is free to relax or sightsee at your own pace. This evening you will have the opportunity to meet the rest of your group and your tour leader at a welcome dinner which includes a traditional Peking duck dish. Stay: Novotel Peace Beijing. D.
Day 3: Beijing Your sightseeing begins with an early morning visit to the beautiful Temple of Heaven, arriving at just as the gates are opening in order to avoid the crowds that head here later in the day. Another advantage of arriving early is that you may be able to watch some of the locals performing tai chi. The temple was originally where emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty held the Heaven Worship Ceremony and the complex is made up of three main collections of buildings surrounded by beautiful parkland. Surely the most iconic of China’s attractions is the Great Wall. This afternoon you will have the chance to visit the Mutianyu section, which is reached by a drive of approximately 1¾ hours from Beijing. Following lunch at a local restaurant take the cable car up on to the wall, which is noted for its meandering chain of Ming Dynasty guard towers. A visit to the Great Wall of China is incredibly rewarding, however it should be noted that walking along the wall requires ascending and descending lots of steep steps and cobbled slopes. Stay: Novotel Peace Beijing. B, L.
Day 4: Beijing Another full day of exploring the capital begins with visit to Beijing’s vast Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace which was once off limits to all but the 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Following lunch at a local restaurant the city tour continues with a visit to the classical Summer Palace, which is home to a vast number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (April to October; subject to weather conditions). The day concludes with a photo stop at the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube Olympic venues. This evening you could choose one of the optional excursions – a tour of Beijing’s ‘Hutong’ area by rickshaw, including a return to Tian’anmen Square which is beautifully illuminated; or watching a Kung Fu performance. Stay: Novotel Peace Beijing. B, L.
Day 5: Beijing to Xi’an Transfer to the station for your high speed train journey to Xi’an. On arrival, you will be met by your local guide who will take you on a tour of Xi’an’s historic city walls, where you can wander the bustling streets of the Muslim Quarter. Tonight’s traditional dumpling dinner is a highlight of your holiday. Dumplings are an essential part of Chinese cuisine and Xi’an is considered to be the home of the dumpling dinner tradition! Following dinner there is the option to catch a Tang Dynasty Show, a performance of Changan music and dance which originated in China’s Tang Dynasty over a thousand years ago. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an. B, L, D.
Day 6: Xi’an An entire day of sightseeing in Xi’an awaits, beginning at the iconic Terracotta Warriors, (approx. 1½ hours from the city). In the mid-1970s a clay warrior was found buried under farmland on the outskirts of Xi’an and through further excavations thousands more warriors were discovered, all lined up in a battle formation. You can witness these incredible pottery figures at the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in a handful of the excavated pits. Later you will return to Xi’an and visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, an important Buddhist site that dates back almost 1300 years. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an. B, L.
Day 7: Xi’an to Guilin Today you will fly south to the picturesque city of Guilin, arriving in the late morning. Your first port of call in the city is one of Guilin’s scenic limestone karsts, Fubo Hill, also known as Wave-Subduing Hill, which sits on the west bank of the Li River. The hill itself contains a couple of caves, and during your visit you can discover some of the legends that are associated with the hill. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Bravo Hotel. B, D.
Day 8: Guilin A charming cruise along the River Li this morning takes you through the stunning scenery of limestone karsts towards the quaint town of Yangshuo. Disembark from the boat and explore the town on foot, witnessing the beautiful natural scenery that surrounds it before returning to Guilin. A packed lunch will be provided. Stay: Bravo Hotel. B, L.
Day 9: Guilin to Shanghai Fly to Shanghai and enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore the city at your own pace. Your Shanghai hotel is located in the beautiful French Concession, a charming place to wander round and find a pleasant spot for dinner. This evening there is an optional acrobat show during which you can watch performers fly, float and balance in seemingly impossible arrangements. Witness unbelievable and astonishing feats of balance, flexibility and athleticism at the Chaoyang Theatre. Stay: Regal International East Asia. B.
Day 10: Shanghai Your last full day in China is spent exploring Shanghai in a little more depth. In the morning, a guided tour takes you to the beautiful Yu Garden, created in the 16th Century by a Ming Dynasty governor. You will then continue on to the Old Town which sits inside the ancient city walls, before enjoying a traditional tea tasting and a stroll along the waterfront Bund that’s lined with colonial era buildings. This afternoon you will explore the French Concession – an area of Shanghai once administered by the French government. Later you can choose to join an optional evening cruise along the Huang Pu for spectacular city skyline views. Stay: Regal International East. B.
Day 11: Shanghai to UK This morning transfer by the high speed Maglev train to the airport for your flight to the UK. Alternatively, choose to extend your stay with a stay in Hong Kong or an exploration of Tibet. B.