China . . . the name alone makes you want to pack your bags and head East. The modern face of this fascinating country is dazzling, but the world's oldest continuous civilisation has rich seams of antiquity and tradition just waiting to be discovered and explored. And on this 15 day panorama tour you will see so many of the highlights including the sights of Hong Kong and the capital Beijing, where you visit the Great Wall, the stunning limestone cast scenery on the Li River, giant pandas at Chengdu and the amazing Terracotta Warriors.
Your Chinese adventure begins when you fly in to Beijing. You will be met at the airport by one of our tour representatives who will drive you to your hotel in the city. Relax after the journey then enjoy some free time when you can go out and see some of the sights and sounds in China's capital city. In the evening your tour leader will meet you at your hotel to give you a briefing about all that you will be seeing and doing over the next 15 days. Overnight Novotel Xingiao, or similar.
Today is dedicated to seeing some of the many famous sights in the city. Begin with a walk around vast Tiananmen Square past the mausoleum where Chairman Mao is buried. Then cross over into the Forbidden City and learn all the fascinating facts about this incredible place. Later, after lunch, visit the gardens of Jinshan Park and venture deep into the alleyways of Beijing known as ‘hutongs’ to observe the traditional way of life.
After breakfast this morning you are taken to visit the iconic Temple of Heaven which stands 38 metres high and 30 metres in diameter then continue to Panjiayuan Antique Market, Beijing's largest market. After an included lunch, visit the ornate World Heritage Listed Summer Palace, where the Imperial Family once spent the warmer months, and discover its temples, pavilions and decorated corridors that were home to China's ruling families.
Probably the highlight of your stay in Beijing today when you are driven out to see one of the world's most famous man-made sites, the Great Wall of China. At Mutianyu, a less crowded section of the wall, you travel by cable car up to the wall and then you can go for a walk along this historic structure and find out how and why it was built. This evening, back in the city, enjoy a farewell to Beijing group dinner of local favourite Peking duck.
Beijing to Xian
Today there may be time for some more sightseeing or shopping before you head to the railway station to catch the high-speed train to your next destination, the historic city of Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors. On arrival you will be met at the station and taken to your hotel and in the evening, join an optional dumpling banquet to sample the different flavours these little bundles of food joy come in. Overnight at the Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel, or similar.
On a full day tour of Xian, discover the city's highlights. First you are driven out to see the Army of Terracotta Warriors where you can marvel at the spectacular scenes of countless life-size warriors. Return to Xian and walk or cycle around the city walls before continuing to the Great Mosque, an interesting fusion of Middle Eastern and traditional architectural styles. Wander through the Muslim Quarter to Yongxingfang as you take in the lively street markets and exotic local foods.
Xian to Chengdu
This morning you can see the locals in the parks practicing Tai Chi, playing chess or performing Peking Opera before heading to the station to catch another high-speed train to Chengdu where you visit the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base to see the countries cutest residents before immersing yourself in town life with a visit to the bustling People's Park where you can join the locals for a cup of tea in a teahouse as you watch a game of mahjong. Overnight at the Dorsett Hotel, or similar.
From Chengdu, drive south today to Leshan to see the World Heritage Listed Giant Buddha, also known as Da Fo - the largest Buddha statue in the world. Cruise past this amazing structure for some great views then drive to an ancient village before visiting a tea plantation to see China's best known export being picked high in the mountains. Experience the atmospheric night market before enjoying the spicy flavours of a traditional Sichuan hotpot feast.
Chengdu to Longsheng
Possibly time for some more sightseeing in Chengdu this morning before you are picked up from your hotel and driven to the local airport to catch a short flight to Guilin.On arrival you are met and driven to Ping An in Longsheng, where you stay overnight in a lodge overlooking the famous Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. The rest of the day is free so you can relax at the lodge or go out and explore on your own seeing some of the sights and meeting the locals..
Longsheng to Guilin
This morning after breakfast in Longsheng, admire some of China's most stunning scenery seeing the row upon row of cultivated rices terraces clinging precariously to the slopes of neighbouring mountain peaks and valleys. Then enjoy a simple lunch at a farmer's restaurant, trying some of the local foods, before beginning the drive through stunning scenery to Guilin, where you stay tonight at the Guilin Bravo Hotel, or similar. .
Guilin to Yangshuo
Another special day today as you are taken for a cruise along the Li River with limestone karsts towering above both banks. This cruise to Yangshuo is a must while staying in Guilin and you should have your cameras ready to capture the reflections of the mountains in the emerald green waters. Enjoy lunch on board and see men in traditional boats using cormorants to catch fish. On arrival at Yangshuo enjoy the colourful atmosphere of this enchanting town. Overnight at Days Inn Frontier, or similar.
Today you venture out to the farmlands surrounding Yangshuo for a fascinating village experience and help the farmers pick fresh vegetables to be used in your lunch. In the afternoon, ride a tranquil bamboo raft along the Yulong River taking in the beautiful scenery. This evening, you have the option of joining a cooking class and preparing traditional dishes using local ingredients for dinner. Or you can go out on your own and find a local restaurant.
Yangshuo to Hong Kong
Possibly time this morning for more sightseeing in Yangshuo before you are driven to the local railway station to catch the high speed train to your final destination on the tour - the colourful former British Colony of Hong Kong. On arrival you are met and taken to your hotel and for the rest of the evening you are free to experience this vibrant city's sights, sounds and tastes. Overnight at the Metropolos Hotel, or similar.
This morning you have a half day tour exploring Hong Kong Island. Visit famous Victoria Peak for breathtaking panoramas over Victoria Harbour before continuing to sun-drenched Repulse Bay to take in the relaxed beach-side atmosphere of Kwun Yum Temple. Discover the floating villages of Aberdeen during a sampan ride to see locals living on the fishing junks. This afternoon enjoy free time, possibly criss-crossing the harbour on one of the famous green Star Ferries. .
Today your wonderful panorama tour around China comes to an end. Enjoy breakfast before saying farewell to new found friends and heading to the airport to continue your Far East adventure or catch your flight back home. This comprehensive tour is a great way to see so many of the famous sights and is perfect for a first-time visitor to the country as it is guaranteed to leave you with so many enduring memories.