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.
Arrive Hong Kong
Your Chinese adventure begins when you fly in to Hong Kong. Here 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 of this colourful former British colony. In the evening you 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.
Today after breakfast at your hotel you are taken on a half day tour exploring Hong Kong Island. Visit famous Victoria Peak for spectacular views of Victoria Harbour before continuing to Repulse Bay to take in the relaxed atmosphere of Kwun Yam Temple. Then discover the floating villages of Aberdeen during a ride in a traditional sampan. Return to your hotel then the rest of the day is free for you to go out and do more exploring on your own.
Hong Kong to Longsheng
This morning there may be time for some more sightseeing or souvenir shopping in Hong Kong before you are taken to the station to catch a high-speed train from the city to Guilin. Here you are met and driven on to Ping An in Longsheng where you stay tonight in a lovely 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.
Longsheng to Guilin
In Longsheng you will see some of China’s most stunning scenery with row upon row of rice terraces. Enjoy a simple lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant before driving to Guilin, which is home to some of the best landscapes in the entire country. The city abounds in scenic spots such as Elephant Trunk Hill and Reed Flute Cave containing stalagmites with striking shapes and colours. Go out tonight and explore on your own or with other members of your group.
Guilin to Yangshuo
A special day today as you are taken for a cruise along the Li River with limestone karsts towering above both banks. This popular cruise down the river to Yangshuo is the centrepiece of any visit to 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 watch the men in their traditional boats using cormorants to catch fish. On arrival at Yangshuo the rest of the day is at leisure.
Today after breakfast you can wander around the town and shop for souvenirs before venturing into the farmlands surrounding Yangshuo for a fascinating village experience. Help the farmers pick fresh vegetables to be used to make your lunch and eat with a local family in their home. Then in the afternoon, ride a tranquil bamboo raft along the Yulong River. This evening, you have the option of joining a cooking class.
Yangshuo to Chengdu
Say farewell to the stunning limestone karst scenery of the Li River today when you are picked up from your hotel sand taken to the local airport for your short flight to Chengdu. Immediately after you arrive you can immerse yourself in the social scene of bustling People’s Park by joining the locals for a cup of tea at a teahouse as you watch a game of mahjong. Then experience the atmospheric night market before enjoying a traditional Sichuan hotpot.
After breakfast at your hotel you have a busy day as you drive south to Leshan to see the World Heritage Listed Giant Buddha. Cruise past this marvellous structure for some great views and enjoy lunch. Then drive to an ancient village before visiting a tea plantation. Return to Chengdu for an evening at leisure. There are lots of good restaurants in the city serving all the local dishes and your tour guide will be on hand to give you directions and advice on what to eat.
Chengdu to Xian
One of the undoubted highlights of any visit to Chengdu is meeting the famous giant pandas and today is the day. You are taken to the world-renown Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base where you can see these lovable creatures eating, playing and looking after their babies. After a memorable day here you are taken to the station to catch the high-speed train to Xian. This evening, join an optional dumpling banquet.
Another of the highlights of the tour today when you are taken on a full day tour of Xian which includes being driven out to meet the amazing Army of Terracotta Warriors. Visit the two great pits housing these lifelike statues and visit the museum to hear about how they were discovered by chance. Have lunch at the site then return to Xian and walk around the huge walls before continuing to the Great Mosque. Wander through the Muslim Quarter to Yongxingfang as you take in the lively streets.
Xian to Beijing
Leave Xian this morning and travel by high-speed train to the capital Beijing enjoying lunch onboard on the way. On arrival, before checking in to your hotel, visit the ornate Summer Palace in the north west of the city. The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces and was an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers a vast area and you have plenty of time to explore.
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.
Today you are taken to visit the iconic Temple of Heaven which stands 38 metres high and is one of the must-see buildings in the city. Then continue to Panjiayuan Antique Market, Beijing’s largest market, and watch as the locals bargain for items. After lunch the afternoon is free for you to explore parts of the city on your own possibly visiting some of the parks to watch men playing chess and people of all ages taking part in Tai Chi classes.
It's been saved to last, and it's probably the highlight of any visit to China . . . a visit to the Great Wall. You are picked up from your hotel and driven to Mutianyu, a less crowded section of the wall, where you can travel up by cable car to enjoy walking along it independently. You will have plenty of time to explore a long section of the wall and take lots of pictures. This evening, enjoy a farewell group dinner of world famous Peking duck.
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 China 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.