Mandarin Sunrise - 15 days

FROM USD $3,349

Ultimate China! Travelling a full circle that begins and ends in Beijing, you will discover temples, tombs, palaces and ancient cities, uncovering culture, tradition, religion and local communities along the way. This is China at its very best - it’s the full monty!

Day 1: Beijing
Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Overnight - Beijing
Today we tour of the nation’s capital and host of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square is essentially the heart of Beijing. A patriotic vision of grandeur, Tiananmen Square is a square for the public and also home of the mausoleum of Chairman Mao and the striking Monument to the People’s Heroes. Perhaps one of Beijing’s most famous sights is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao.

Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors. Entry was Forbidden to all but those on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was overthrown. Comprising of 9999 rooms, temples and hallways the complex is an architectural feat and stunningly beautiful. This afternoon we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home. 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 (B, D)
Mandarin Sunrise - 15 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
The magnificent Great Wall of China
Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Parts of the wall have been renovated, a little steep in sections though not too challenging. Continuing, we visit a cloisonne workshop. 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 (B, L)
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! Overnight - Luoyang (B)
A stone carving at the UNESCO-Listed Longman Caves in Luoyang seen on a number of our China Tours.
Today we explore the UNESCO 6th Century Longman Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Later we tour White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China before having a delicious local dinner. Overnight - Luoyang (B, D)
Day 6: Xi'an
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 evening is at leisure. Overnight - Xi'an (B)
The World Famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an
Xi’an is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old terracotta warriors comprise of more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers standing battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. No two faces are alike – each is said to be an individual portrait. Today, we visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors and a workshop where crafts people make clay warrior replicas. This evening we offer a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors. Overnight - Xi'an (B, L)
Xi’an - Shanghai. 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. Afterwards we enjoy some free time in the city centre and a delicious Hot Pot lunch before boarding our train destined for sizzling Shanghai. Overnight - Sleeper Train to Shanghai (B, L)
Shanghai's famous buildings on the Bund
Day 9: City tour
Arrive Shanghai and hotel check in. Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps China’s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is breathtaking. After time to freshen up we enjoy a tour of the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, old Shanghai, the Bund and take a Huangpu River cruise. Overnight - Shanghai (B)
A pretty building in the Humble Administrators Garden, Suzhou
Days 10 - 11: Waterways
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai - Qufu. Today, we journey to Suzhou by high speed train. A sort of oriental Venice, ancient Suzhou is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. We enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal and visit a silk workshop. There’s plenty to see and do in Shanghai, Day 11 is free for you to venture to the Old City, French Quarter or opt to shop along the famous Nanjing road. This evening we bunk down in our soft sleeper train cabins en route to Qufu. Overnight - Shanghai (1) Sleeper Train to Qufu (1) (B:2, L:1)
Day 12: Qufu
Qufu, birthplace of Confucius and home to the Confucius Temple, ranks with Beijing’s Forbidden city as a great classic Chinese architectural complex. With 466 rooms and over a kilometre long, the complex was built and dedicated to the descendants of the great sage, who lived here continuously for more than 2,500 years, spanning 77 generations. The grandeur and opulence of the mansion conveys the power and wealth of the mighty Kong clan and their head Yansheng Duke (Confucius’ direct male descendant). The clan rose throughout imperial history as the family head was granted increased privileges. With the decline of imperial rule, the end was nigh and in 1940, the last of the family line - Kong Dechend - fled to Taiwan during the Japanese invasion. Not surprisingly, half of Qufu now claims descent from the Kongs.

After visits to the mansion and temple we take a rickshaw ride around the city wall with a visit to the eerie Confucius forest. The forest is studded with tombs and graves of Kong family members dating back some centuries. Anyone with the surname Kong can still be buried here today. Evening stroll through the colourful night market. Overnight - Qufu (B)
Our China Tours take you off the beaten track to the rural areas of China and the famous cities
Qufu – Bu Yang village - Mt Tai Shan – Jinan. A short drive leads us to Bu Yang Village. The principles of Communism and communal work and land ownership are somewhat still in place here. We stop for a light lunch at Mr Peng’s (one of the party officials) home. Seated around the family’s low to the ground lazy Susan, Mrs Peng serves up local dishes and copious bottles of beer. This is real village life! A short stroll leads us to the village prep-school, (our Change 4 Children project) we step into the class room to be swarmed by the mass of 5yr olds all vying for our attention. Later we drive to Mt Tai Shan, perhaps the holiest of the five Chinese holy mountains devoted to Taoism. There are more than 6000 steps to the summit, streams of pilgrims take the challenge, we take the cable car. With stunning scenery and many ancient temples dotting the slopes we visit Heaven Street, Cloud Bridge and the Jade Emperor’s temple. A short drive to Jinan. Overnight - Jinan (B, L)
Boatmen on the Yi River at sunrise
Day 14: Jinan
Jinan - Beijing. Today, we embark on a short city sightseeing tour and enjoy a fabulous Hotpot lunch. Afternoon express train journey to Beijing. Overnight - Beijing (B, L)
Day 15: Beijing
Saturday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport. (B)

Uncover North Korea

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.
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Beijing / Ends in: Beijing
  • Departs: Saturdays - March to November
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:14, Lunch: 6, Dinner: 2
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star (basic 2/3 star in Qufu)
  • Tour Guide: Yes (for groups of 6 or more)
The On The Go Theatre
Discover the highlights of China on one of our group tours