China is undoubtedly one of the world's most fascinating and rewarding tourist destinations and on this wonderful action-packed 12 day tour you will see so many of the highlights. First explore the capital Beijing, visiting the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, then travel to Xian to see the famous Terracotta Warriors and on to Guilin to cruise along the beautiful Li River. Your journey ends in Shanghai with plenty of time to see all the sights in this pulsating modern city.
On arrival at Beijing International Airport you will be greeted by one of our tour representatives and driven to your luxurious hotel in the heart of the the city. Relax after the journey then the rest of the day and evening is free for you to explore China's capital city on your own seeing some of the sights and trying the local food. Beijing is separated from the Gobi Desert by a chain of mountains, and the modern city lies on the site of countless human settlements dating back half a million years.
Today you visit the Temple of Heaven, which stands in a tranquil park and is a favorite stop for visitors. Here you see locals practicing Tai Chi, playing traditional instruments, or singing Peking Opera. The grounds consist of a sequence of buildings and altars set in beautiful groves of cypress trees. Then after lunch head to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world, and enter the Forbidden City to walk in the steps of emperors. Tonight dinner awaits at at famous Quanjude Restaurant.
One of the highlights of your stay in Beijing this morning when you visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the spectacular man-made wonders of the world. You take a cable car up and can walk along this finely restored part of the wall. Later return to the city and stop at the iconic “Bird’s Nest” – the Beijing National Stadium –and “Water cube” – the National Aquatics Centre, which were host to many spectacular events during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Beijing to Xian
This morning visit one of the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in the world. The grounds of the Summer Palace are stunning, as is the lovely Kunming Lake, which occupies more than three quarters of the area. Enjoy a boat ride before walking the Long Corridor, a huge hall featuring 8,000 paintings collected by the Emperor during his travels around the country. After lunch you are taken to the railway station to catch the high-speed train to Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors.
Another highlight of the tour today when you are taken to meet the famous Terracotta Warriors. One of the world’s greatest archaeological finds, these lifelike warriors were discovered by chance in 1974 by a group of peasants who were digging a well. The sculptures of soldiers, chariots and horses were funerary statues made to accompany China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, to the afterlife. After lunch take a walk around Xian's impressive city wall and visit the Great Mosque.
Xian to Guilin
Today visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, a striking Tang Dynasty style pavilion that houses a collection of 113,000 historical and cultural artefacts unearthed in Shaanxi province. Featuring exhibits of cultural relics from most of China’s imperial dynasties, the museum also houses a collection of priceless jade imperial seals. Enjoy a Dim Sum (dumpling) lunch at De Fa Chang before heading to the airport for your flight to Guilin where you are met and taken to your hotel.
Guilin to Yangshuo
A treat for the senses today when you take a Li River cruise to Yangshuo. This is an unforgettable experience and every bend in the river brings new and more beautiful views of the limestone karst mountains. Pass groves of bamboo, farmers tending their rice paddies, and water buffalo cooling off in the river. You have lunch on board and disembark at a small village to visit a local family’s home. At Yangshuo you take a bike ride around the area seeing all the sights.
Today you go on a full day tour to Dazhai Village. Located around 100 miles north of Guilin in a remote mountainous region, Dazhai is inhabited by an ethnic minority group called the Red Yao. Spend the morning touring the village and meeting the locals, who may invite you into their homes to have a look around and taste their homemade rice wine. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beautiful wooden homes and colourful attire of the locals. Overnight in Yangshuo
Yangshuo to Shanghai
Enjoy the morning at leisure before being taken to Guilin airport for your flight to Shanghai, which stands on the estuary of the mighty Yangtze River. Originally a small seaside fishing village settled since before the Song Dynasty, it wasn’t until 1927 that Shanghai was officially declared a city. On arrival you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon and night is free on you to explore this exciting neon-lit city, possibly taking a walk along the famous Nanjing Road.
In the morning meet your guide and visit Shanghai’s Old Town and famous Yuyuan Garden, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the bustling city. After lunch at a restaurant visit the tallest building in China, the Shanghai Tower, a mega-tall skyscraper which stands at the heart of Pudong’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Area. Then in the evening enjoy an amazing acrobatic show at Shanghai Era Acrobatics theatre before being dropped back at your hotel.
This morning you are taken to the beautiful water town Zhujiajiao. Stroll along centuries-old streets and explore the many ancient bridges criss-crossing its canals, or take a boat trip to discover the town’s unique character and charm. Enjoy a restaurant lunch then visit the Shanghai Museum, one of the best in the country, which has one of the finest collections of ancient Chinese art and antiques in the world. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore this exciting city on your own.
Today your wonderful tour taking in four of China's great cities comes to an end. After having breakfast at your hotel there may be time for some more sightseeing or last minute shopping before you are picked up and taken to the international airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey back home. This 12 day tour makes a perfect introduction to China and offers a great opportunity to see so many of the country's famous sights.