26 October 2016
On this spectacular 20 day tour around China you will see all the famous sights of this magical country. Beginning in the capital city Beijing, you travel by road, river and plane seeing something new every day. You will visit the Great Wall, see the incredible Terracotta Warriors and the famous giant pandas, walk around Tiananmen Square and into the Forbidden City as well as enjoying a relaxing cruise along the Yangtse River stopping at the Three Gorges Dam and a trip down the beautiful Li River.
On arrival at Beijing International Airport you will be met by one of our experienced tour representatives and taken to your city hotel along with any other members of your tour group. Relax and settle in before attending an introductory talk in the hotel where you can meet other members of your group and learn about all that you will be seeing and doing over the next 20 days. The rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own and get a feel for China's capital city.
Today you begin by walking around Tiananmen Square past the mausoleum where Chairman Mao is buried and into the magnificent and mysterious Forbidden City. Later, take a fun rickshaw ride through the warren-like hutongs and visit a family home to gain an insight into local culture. In the evening you are taken out to dine on delicious Peking duck, a favourite of the Emperor’s court and the upper class elite during the Qing Dynasty. This dish quickly spread throughout Chinese society to become a national symbol of the country.
A special day today when you rise early for the two hour drive northwest of the city to the Juyongguan Pass area of the Great Wall. By getting there early you avoid the crowds of tourists who will arrive later, and the heat of the day. On arrival you will be given an introduction to the Great Wall’s unique history. You then have plenty of free time to walk along the wall at your own pace. After lunch, drive back to the north of the city to see the Summer Palace and stroll around its magnificent grounds.
Today there may be time to go shopping at the copy markets in central Beijing before visiting the Temple of Heaven, which is one of the most perfect examples of Ming architecture set in a huge park. The temple was created as a place of worship for the Emperors, who would ask for prosperity, longevity and good harvest for the people. Walking through the park you see the many groups of local people that gather every day to sing folk songs, practice Tai Chi and sword dancing, play chess or sit and chat. This evening enjoy an incredible Chinese acrobatics show.
You say farewell to Beijing today when, after breakfast at your hotel, you are picked up and driven to the airport to catch a two hour flight north to Xian, the old capital of China and home to the amazing Terracotta Army. At Xian you will be taken to your hotel then it's off for a walking tour seeing the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. This evening dine on the local delicacy delicious Shui Jiao dumplings before watching a Tang Dynasty dance show.
Another treat in store today when you are taken to see the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, which are an hour's drive outside the city. The warriors can be seen in thee different ‘pits’, which are active archaeological digs, and you will also visit the museum to learn the fascinating story about how they were discovered. In the afternoon back in Xian your are taken for a walk or cycle around the impressive ancient city wall before a leisurely walk through the colourful Muslim Quarter.
Another exciting day when you take a morning flight from Xian to Wuhan before being driven through the countryside to the docks near Yichang, located downstream from the Three Gorges Dam. Board your ship and check into your cabin for the next four nights. Details of this Yangtze River cruise section of your itinerary will not be confirmed until after you have begun your tour because of local river conditions and water levels. Your guide will keep you informed about the cruise and all the shore excursions which are also subject to change.
After cruising along the mighty Yangtse River today you reach the Three Gorges Dam, where you disembark. You are then taken by coach through the surrounding countryside before being dropped off at the viewing area above the ship locks. There is a small museum where you can learn about the construction of the controversial dam and a lookout and the sightseeing will involve an hour's walk during which the views are spectacular.
Another day on the Yangtse River. This morning you are taken on a shore excursion to the Goddess Stream before cruising through the beautiful and narrow gorges for around 12 miles. Many protected species make the stunning peaks their home, including monkeys, mountain goats, deer and wild boar. You will then transfer to smaller craft for a trip through some of the narrow gorges where you can admire the beautiful scenery close up.
Your final full day on the river and another memorable one. Today's shore excursion is to the stunning Shibaozhai Temple, which was built at the top of a nine-storey pavilion clinging to the sheer south bank near Qutang Gorge. You leave the ship close to the the pavilion’s entrance and sightseeing here involves climbing the nine storeys inside the building. Back on board enjoy a farewell dinner tonight and try some of the local specialities.
Your Yangtse cruise comes to an end today when you say farewell to your friendly crew and check-out of your cabin early in the morning in Chongqing. Here you are taken to visit the porcelain district of Ciqikou before beginning the five hour drive to Chengdu, home to China's giant pandas, arriving in the late afternoon and checking into your hotel. The rest of the evening is free for you go out and explore.
Today you are driven to Leshan to see the Grand Buddha carving, spending around three hours there before returning to Chengdu in the afternoon. You will be taken by boat to the base of the Buddha before climbing stairs to the top. There are a number of attractions for those who wish to stay at the Grand Buddha Park, which covers 15 square miles, and they include sights like Haishi Cave, Lingyun Temple, Dragon Pond and Tiger Cave.
Yet another highlight of the tour today with a morning visit to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where you should be able to see these lovable creatures feeding their young and playing. You will have plenty of time with the pandas and there will be lots of photo opportunities. Afterwards visit People’s Square for some sightseeing before being driven to the airport for your short afternoon flight to Guilin where you are met on arrival and taken to your hotel.
Today you have a leisurely three hour scenic cruise from Guilin to the small town of Yangshuo on a small boat with an enclosed dining area on the lower deck and an open viewing area on the upper deck. The limestone karst scenery is spectacular on the Li River and as you float along you will see local fishermen with their cormorants - a traditional way of catching fish. On arrival at Yangshuo you will be taken to your hotel and have plenty of time to explore this colourful riverside town.
Spend the morning touring around Yangshuo’s beautiful countryside. The afternoon is at leisure and there are many activities available, arranged locally and at extra cost, including cycling, rafting and walking or you can just to relax in the town and meet the locals at the many markets. In the evening watch the cormorant fishermen using their lamps to entice the fish and then enjoy dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
Today you are driven the one hour back to Guilin and on the way stopping for a walk around the fascinating Reed Flute Caves. At Guilin there may be time for some more sightseeing before you travel to the airport for your two hour flight to Shanghai where you are met and taken to your hotel in the city for a four night stay. Shanghai is China's biggest and most modern city and there is lots to see and do during your stay.
Today you are taken on a two hour drive to the city of Suzhou where you enjoy a four hour walking tour seeing all the sights. Places you visit today include the Humble Administrator’s Garden and later you are taken to a silk mill to see the fascinating production processes. There will also be a cruise on the Grand Canal where you see a section of the ancient waterway before returning to Shanghai to enjoy some of the local cuisine at dinner.
A full day to see lots of the sights of Shanghai. Tour around the centre of the city and walk around the Yu Gardens, the Yuan Bazaar in the Old Town, stop at the Shanghai Museum and take a stroll on the famous Bund and see all the beautiful colonial buildings possibly stopping for a drink at the Peace Hotel. And in the evening take a walk along the Nanjing Road and see the spectacular neon lit shops and buildings.
Today you have another organised three hour tour around the city before enjoying a Huangpu River cruise. Visit Pudong – originally an underdeveloped farming area which, thanks to mass-expansion in the early 1990s, has become the financial hub of China. Characterised by its forest of skyscrapers, Pudong is now a world economic zone with one of the most recognisable skylines in the world.
Today your wonderful 20 day tour around China comes to an end. You can opt to stay on for a few more days in Shanghai and continue your China adventure or you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight home, taking with you so many memories having seen all the iconic sights in this remarkable country.
Standard fr £2394pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated