Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in.
Today, we embark on a tour of the nation’s capital. The famous portrait of Mao Zedong, China’s communist father still looks out over gargantuan Tiananmen Square from the Gate of Heavenly Peace. On the square you can not miss the mausoleum, an austere behemoth in granite where Mao lies in state in his crystal coffin. We take a stroll on the square all under the watchful eye of the dutiful guards. A vision in grandeur with it’s imperial yellow roofs and vermilion walls, the Forbidden city was forbidden to all those except on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was turfed off his throne. We enjoy a guided walk through the city’s many temples, grand halls and courtyards. The Forbidden city boasts 9999 rooms! Afternoon rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing.
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 travel beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we take a walk along the famed Great Wall. No matter how many pictures you’ve seen, the Great Wall of China is very impressive. Following a ridge of barren hills through northern China, it stretches as far as the eye can see - at least 6,700 kilometres. Continuing, we visit a cloisonne workshop of decorative metal and enamel sculpture.
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 - Luoyang. Spend the morning touring the famous Summer Palace on Kunming Lake. This vast complex is replete with lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi. We visit the famed Silk Alley markets and drive past the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium en route to the train station where we take the late afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself!
If travelling in 2013 please see Go Guide for alternative arrangements.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast
Today we explore the UNESCO world heritage listed 6th Century Longman Caves, etched into the cliffs along the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) were carved out by hand during the Northern Wei Dynasty and are adorned with more than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples. Later we tour the first Buddhist temple in China - White Horse Temple before having a delicious local dinner.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast, Dinner
Luoyang - Xi’an. Early this morning we visit Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Many Chinese exercise in the square daily, practising ballroom dancing and tai chi, sword fighting or playing sports like badminton and hacky sack in the wee hours of the morning. The square’s name originates from the long history of peonies in Luoyang. In April the flower comes into full bloom and the city is full of colour and fragrance. Afterwards we board the new high speed train to Xi'an (journey time approximately 3 hours). Once in Xi'an we visit the Wild Goose Pagoda, Grand Mosque and Muslim quarter. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast
Most famous for the legendary Terracotta Warriors, perhaps the greatest find of the 20th century and only just usurped by the discovery of King Tut’s gold-laden tomb in Egypt. These warriors comprise more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers which stand in military formation in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. Made of local clay, no two faces are alike, each is said to be an individual portrait. We visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site and a workshop where warrior figurines are made. This evening we can attend a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Xi’an - Guilin - Yangshou. Early this morning opt for our Panda excursion to the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre a 2 hour drive from Xi’an. Later, we tour take a casual bicycle ride on top of the 9 mile Xi’an City Wall (no need to go the entire way around) perimeter peeking down upon the lively city beneath us. Later we fly south to Guilin. Onward transfer to Yangshuo (approx 1.5hrs drive). Hot pot lunch, late evening hotel check in.
Overnight: Yangshuo | Breakfast, Lunch
Yangshuo - Guilin. Renowned for the striking scenery of vast areas of karst limestone outcrops that rise up from flat rice paddy fields, Guilin and Yangshuo are often the subject of many Chinese paintings. Today, we take a 2 hour rafting cruise along the calm clean waters of Yu Long River. As our captain punts (propels us forward by pushing against the river bed with a long pole) our flat bottom boat along the shallow waters endless photo opportunities arise.
The remainder of our time in Yangshuo is spent at leisure. Choose to hike, hire a bicycle or motorbike and head off on one of the many mountain trails or stop to watch the local fishermen use their trained cormorants to catch fish - a centuries old tradition, though somewhat commercialised these days. Time can also be spent exploring West Street. The ancient alley is laden with quirky shops, tea shops, antiques, calligraphers and art studios. Maybe take a beginners art class with a local painter or enjoy a morning class at the ‘Cloud 9’ cooking school. By nightfall, sit in any of the al fresco cafes, pubs or bars serving cold beer and delicious speciality foods from the region, catch a film at any of the outdoor cinemas or attend the nightly ‘Impression Liu Sanjie’ musical, with a cast of 500 singers and dancers. In the late afternoon of day 10 we return to Guilin.
Overnight: Yangshuo (1), Guilin (1) | Breakfast x 2
Guilin - Longsheng - Guangzhou. A 90 minute drive leads us to Longsheng, to walk the rice terraces of the Dragon’s Backbone. Beginning at the base of Mt Longji the verdant green rice fields coil up the steep mountain, layer upon layer, climbing to its summit. Taking a walk along the stone paths no more than a metre wide, we’ll pass many of the Yao and Red Yao minority women, baskets on their backs, who are also climbing skyward. Reaching the ‘Seven Stars accompanying Moon’ lookout, soak up the spectacular views. The full panorama offers thousands of ribbon like terraces cascading to the meandering streams and valley floor beneath. Returning to Guilin, we travel onward to Hong Kong OR fly to Shanghai (see ‘Onward to Shanghai’ itinerary below). If heading for Hong Kong, later tonight we board the express sleeper train to Guangzhou.
Overnight: Sleeper Train to Guangzhou | Breakfast
Guangzhou - Kowloon/Hong Kong. Arrive Guangzhou and transfer by train to Hong Kong and onward to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore, maybe head over to Victoria Peak, Stanley Markets or Aberdeen Harbour.
Note: Touring arrangements from here forward exclude the services of a tour guide, although local representatives will be on hand to assist with your arrival into Kowloon.
Overnight: Hong Kong
Thursday. Tour ends after breakfast and hotel check out at 12noon. Hong Kong International airport is a quick 24min journey on the Airport Express train running at 12 minute intervals. The train ride is not included as part of your itinerary.
Day 11 - Dragon's backbone
Yangshuo - Longsheng - Shanghai - breakfast. Evening flight to Shanghai and hotel check in. Overnight - Shanghai
Day 12: Shanghai
Shanghai - breakfast. Focus your eyes on Shanghai! The day is free day for you to explore. Perhaps visit The Bund, Jade Buddha Temple or the Old City where you can shop on Nanjing Road. Head for the Oriental Pearl TV Tower at sunset, Shanghai dazzles at dusk! Overnight - Shanghai
Day 13: Shanghai
Shanghai - breakfast. Hotel check-out and included onward transfer to airport
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.
The Peony Hotel is an impressive, modern sky-scraper with stylishly decorated rooms. The functional rooms are well facilitated with modern amenities and the hotel also has a restaurant and business centre.
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.
The Yangshuo Tangrenjie is a modern hotel with a unique architectural style in beautiful surroundings. The tastefully furnished rooms are well-equipped with modern amenities and the hotel has an excellent range of facilities including a sauna, business centre and a number of restaurants.
Featuring lush green gardens and enjoying an enviable position on the scenic riverside of downtown Guilin, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with excellent facilities including restaurants known for delicate and delicious food.
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.
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.
We've enjoyed our holiday and appreciate the efforts of the guide. ”
Friendly and professional, good tour group, great tour guides. Thank you for such a good holiday. ”
This is our second "On the Go' tour and it has been another excellent experience. Stefanie has been excellent and would be highly commended as a tour guide. She has been professional and informative throughout the tours. This would not be the last tour that we go on with On the Go and I can not wait to recommend it to others. ”
Our guide - Feng is brilliant! Efficient, organized and fun. Overall exceptional tour and value for money. Fine China gives excellent contrast between city and rural cultures. We would definitely recommend this tour to friends and relatives! ”
Stephanie did an amazing job as our tour leader, she cared, was happy all the time, she is definitely an asset to On The Go! It has been an amazing trip - beautiful country and people! Thank you. ”
We've enjoyed our holiday and appreciate the efforts of the guide. ”