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Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your journey of a lifetime through the Orient! When you arrive at Beijing airport our local guide and driver await to transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of today is at your leisure.
Today you will set out to sightsee the nation's capital, starting with Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square - home to the Monument of the People's Heroes and many important events in Chinese history. The Forbidden CIty - so called as it was only visited by people on Imperial business up until 1911 - is a vision in grandeur with yellow roofs, vermilion walls. This afternoon we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, it gives us a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life.
Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty. Here, the 6m wide pathway with regular watchtowers makes a formidable defence. Though never directly attacked, the wall was taken over by aggressors sweeping around from the side. Later we visit a cloisonne workshop demonstrating the ancient Chinese art of combining copper and enamel to make decorative pieces. Tonight, an evening of choreographed acrobatic performance.
Morning enjoy an intriguing market walk and a visit to the Summer Palace. We explore the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi. Visit to the famed Silk Alley markets and drive by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium en route to the train station where we assist with your embarking the overnight train to Luoyang.
Arrive Luoyang and meet our rep who will assist with transfer to the hotel. Later we explore the UNESCO world heritage listed Longman Caves etched into the cliffs along the River Yi. The 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out to create temples inside the mountain. Carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty and adorned with more than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples, experts consider them an artistic triumph of Buddhist stone carving. Later this afternoon, we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.
Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Many Chinese get their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the early hours of the morning. After some free time we board the new high speed express train to Xi'an, evening at leisure.
Renowned for its noodles, Xi’an in Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Made of local clay, each is said to be an individual portrait of the soldier who made it. Today we tour the Terracotta Warrior site and a workshop where replicas are crafted. This evening, On Broadway - Chinese style we can attend a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors.
Exploring the city, we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, enjoy a bike ride on top of the City Wall and check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Later, we board our overnight express train bound for Chengdu.
Awaken this morning in Chengdu - capital of Sichuan province - famed for its outstanding natural beauty, fiery cuisine and China’s first, largest and best known Panda research and breeding centre. On arrival into the station you'll be transferred to your hotel. Afterwards, visit the Wuhou Memorial Temple, the Tomb of Wang Jian and Jinli Lu street - part of the old city where an open air theatre and Sichuan Opera are performed in the evening you can opt to book and attend a performance locally if you like.
A short drive out of town takes you to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. China’s Giant Pandas are considered the most endangered mammal on the planet, and you will learn all about this and get up close and personal with the cuddly bears this morning. Afterwards you head to Renmin park to drink some tea as the locals love to do. The evening is spent at leisure.
Driving to Leshan your morning is spent exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Dafo (Great Buddha), which is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the treacherous confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. It is standing at Dafo's huge 8m feet that you can really appreciate the scale of one of the world's largest Buddhas. Talking numbers, his ears droop 7m, his shoulders span 28m and his nose measures a whopping 5.6m! Later you return to the city and to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Arriving there our friendly local rep awaits for you in arrivals and transfers you to your hotel.
Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps China’s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is stunning. We enjoy a tour of the many city sights including Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple and The Bund, with a cruise on the Huangpu River.
Today, it's a short train journey to ancient Suzhou by high speed express train. The Venice like city is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. We take time to explore the little streets and gardens and enjoy cruise on the Grand Canal and visit a silk workshop before returning by high speed train to Shanghai City.
A free day to explore Shanghai. Tonight (approx 6:30pm) we board the sleeper train bound for Hong Kong. Overnight train – Kowloon/Hong Kong.
Welcome to Hong Kong! Arriving into Kowloon at approx 1pm - please make your own way to your hotel.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...