Saturday 13th June 2015. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in.
This morning, we tour the centre of Beijing, China's magnificent capital, including the massive Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City. Boasting some 9999 rooms, the city within a city was once the sole preserve of the Chinese emperors. This afternoon we take a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing and this evening, we enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out followed by a Welcome Dinner of Peking Duck at a city restaurant.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Dinner
Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, to walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Built in the Ming Dynasty, a 6m wide pathway makes a formidable defence, following the highest contours of a steep range of hills. This evening take an optional Beijing by Night city tour and see some of the capital's monuments illuminated against the night sky (payable locally).
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Lunch
Beijing - Xiâ€™an. Free morning, opt for a walk in the local street market located near our hotel. There are a few unusual breakfast delicacies on offer! Later we visit the Emperor's Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake and the Silk Alley Markets. After we drive past the 2008 Olympic Stadium commonly referred to as the â€˜Bird's Nestâ€™ and Aquatic Centre before boarding our overnight sleeper train (4 berth soft sleeper cabins) to Xi'an
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Arrive Xiâ€™an and hotel check in. Later we tour the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site where some 7,000 warriors stand in battle ready position and a factory demonstrating how the warriors are crafted. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Xiâ€™an - Shanghai. Spend the morning at leisure or opt for our early morning excursion to see Pandas at the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre. After we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and take a bicycle ride along Xiâ€™an medieval City Wall. Dinner is served early this evening prior to boarding the overnight express train bound for Shanghai.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast, Dinner
Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps, Chinaâ€™s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is stunning. After breakfast at our hotel, we take a tour of the many city sights including Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple and The Bund, with a cruise on the Huangpu River.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai. Today we take a high speed train journey to ancient Suzhou. A sort of oriental Venice, ancient Suzhou is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways which feed a series of classical gardens, laid out here since the Song dynasty, a thousand years ago. They are justly famous across China. Suzhou sits very close to the Grand Canal. We transfer to Lake Jinji for the annual Dragon Boat Festival. This festival is one of China's most important and dragon boat races will be happening right across the country today. Boats are very brightly decorated in the style of a dragon and are raced by competing teams to the rhythm of drums. Depending on the size of the boat, there may be up to 80 rowers in one boat!
This afternoon we head to the Humble Administrator's Garden and a Silk Factory. This charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise along the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou's beauty, at 1800km in length it's the longest canal on earth and ranks alongside the Great Wall as Chinaâ€™s greatest engineering achievement. Evening train back to Shanghai
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast, Lunch
Sunday 21st June 2015. Shanghai. Our tour ends after breakfast and onward departure transfer to airport.
Join us on a fascinating 5 day tour of North Korea. Isolated, controversial and almost untouched by tourism, North Korea is a mysterious place with a bumpy recent history yet offers the inquisitive traveller stunning mountain scenery, halls of treasure, ancient temples historic monuments and a warm welcome.
Highlight of our tour include a visit to Pyongyang Schoolchildren's Palace, a centre of extra-curricular activities for gifted children, the DMZ (demilitarised zone) border crossing with South Korea, various landmarks and projects relating to Presidents Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and ride the Pyongyang metro - the deepest underground system in the world. See our Uncover North Korea Bolt-on for more info.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The Rainbow is a contemporary hotel accented by the colours of traditional Chinese folk art culture. The spacious guestrooms display character of the Ming and Qing dynasties with beautiful wooden furniture whilst providing modern amenities fit for international travellers. The hotel also has a restaurant, cafe and bar.
Soft sleeper cabins are private compartments which have four bunks - two upper and two lower. A door separates the compartment from the aisle and bedding and pillows are provided. Each bunk is equipped with a small reading lamp. Temperature controls are installed alongside the door. Generally, the facilities include a clothes rack, slippers, clothes brush, stainless steel thermos, fine porcelain teacup, a waste bin and wall socket.
The Wan Nian Grand is a comfortable, friendly hotel with light, good sized rooms. Elegantly decorated, the rooms also boast modern amenities and the hotel has a wealth of facilities including an indoor pool and sauna house, a cafe and bar, and well-equipped business centre.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in China, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.