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Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your journey of a life time 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.
This morning, we tour the centre of Beijing, China's magnificent capital, including the massive Tian'anmen 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 to see the more traditional side of this mega city.
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. After taking time to catch our breathe we tour a nearby cloisonne workshop demonstrating the ancient Chinese art of combining copper and enamel to make decorative pieces.
Today we enjoy a 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 ‘Bird's Nest’ and Aquatic Centre before boarding our overnight sleeper train to Xian.
Arriving into Xi’an our local team are on hand to assist with transfer and hotel check in. Later we tour the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and take a bicycle ride or walk along Xi’an medieval City Wall.
Consider independently exploring the Muslim Quarter or see the Grand Mosque before your noon flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival to Tibet you will drive (aprox 1.5 hours) to the fabled city of Lhasa. Once you reach Lhasa the remainder of the day is free for you to relax and acclimatize at ‘the roof of the world’.
We begin our exploration of this mystical city first heading to Lhasa’s most enduring image, the Potala Palace. The Dalai Lama’s Summer palace, Norbulingka, is our next place of pilgrimage. Less daunting and surrounded by gardens, this homely palace reflects the Dalai Lama’s more earthly pleasures and it was from here the present Lama fled in the 1950’s. However, it is the Jokhang Temple which will be the most enlightening stop of the day. The holiest shrine in Tibet, it houses a solid gold shrine of the enlightened Buddha and it is around which, in varying degrees of exertion, all Tibetans prostrate themselves at some point throughout their lifetime.
Our exploration of Lhasa continues today as we take the short journey to the 15th century Drepung Monastery. Formerly one of the central monasteries of Tibet it was torn asunder during the Cultural Revolution and continues to rebuild is walls and status today. Just north of Lhasa is the Sera Monastery, still a working retreat 600 years after its foundation as a main teaching monastery and one of the three great Gelukpa ‘Universities’ once housing more than 5500 monks. Returning to Lhasa we will experience the Barkhor markets which surround the Jokhang temple and sell all things Tibetan.
An early morning start as we drive out toward the Himalayas. From Lhasa, itself at 3500m, we travel over the Kamba-La pass and reach 4794m above sea level. As we journey along the winding road, weaving our way through the rocky mountains and valleys, in the far distance on a very clear day it maybe possible to catch a glimpse of the High Himalayan Peaks of Everest and Lhotse. From the top of the pass we can look down on the deep azure waters of Yamdrok Lake, cradled by snow capped mountains before dropping down to the shores itself. Rising back into these vivid and rugged mountains we head back to Lhasa, looking for hoards of Yak along the way.
Today you head for the airport and board another flight - this time to Chengdu. Arriving here, a driver will take you onto your hotel.
This morning fly to Jiuzhaigou - a region that for centuries has been inhabited by various Tibetan and Qiang people. Tour the Huanglong Monastery - built during the reign of Ming Emperor Hongwu, it is now a place of worship for the local Tibetan, Han, Qiang and Hui people, all of which have different religious beliefs. Afterwards enjoy a relaxing stroll by the region’s famed calcium travertines. Resembling a terraced field, the travertines flow gently into a series of multi-coloured, mineral rich ponds beneath. Onward travel to Jiuzhaigou.
Today is spent exploring the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Reserve. The Jiuzhaigou reserve is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, it’s home to densely growing conifers, broadleaf trees and of rare and endangered animal species. Ancient Chinese legend has it that the goddess Semo accidentally smashed her mirror here and the pieces that fell down the mountain formed beautiful lakes, streams and waterfalls. Afterwards, visits will be made to Pearl Beach Falls, Nuorilong Falls and Long Lake. The ever flowing cascade of Nuorilong spans an impressive 320 metres - making it the widest waterfall in all of China.
Morning flight returning to Chengdu. Today we tour Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding a short drive out of town. China’s Giant Pandas are considered the most endangered mammal on the planet. Due to a loss of habitat in the Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu Provinces it is estimated that there are less than 1500 giant pandas remaining in the wild - 80% of which are located in Sichuan Provence.
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, where you can enjoy some free time to explore.
Today you will be taken to the station for the express train to Chongqing, where on arrival we will transfer you to your hotel.
Spend the morning at leisure in this interesting city, the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise in the evening your guide will take you on a stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. Whilst cruising over today and tomorrow, shore excursions are offered at no additional expense to Shibaozhai and Shennong stream, with its unique scenery and four natural gorges. Drift serenely along the stream in small, open ‘pea pod boats’, looking out upon lush greenery, jagged peaks and ancient villages of the Tujia people - one of the local ethnic minorities.
Disembarking from our cruise in Yichang at 11:30, we drive to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Here, meet our driver who is waiting to take you onto your hotel.
Today you tour many of the city’s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar- Shanghai’s finest traditional garden, the Bund, Pudong and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple and take a cruise along the Huangpu River.
A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the humble administrator’s house and garden. We return in the evening back to the big city.
Today we take to the sky once more on a flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel is on hand.
This morning your Li River cruise departs from downtown Guilin for a full day's excursion. The 90 Km Li River cruise is the centerpiece of any trip to northeastern Guangxi Province. Gorgeous Karst peaks give you surprises at each bend of the limpid river under the blue sky. Bear witness to rural China as peasants reap rice paddies, school kids and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. After passing many world renown sights such as Elephant Trunk Hill, Pagoda Hill and more you arrive in to Yangshuo where you will get to explore the famous west street, before returning to your Guilin hotel.
This morning you pay a visit to The Reed Flute Cave, where there are enchanting stalagmites, stone pillars, stele, stone curtains and stone flowers. Then we continue on to Elephant Trunk Hill Located at the confluence of the Taohua (Peach Blossom) River and the Li River, this Hill is too famous to be missed. Later we head off to the station and assist with your embarkation of the Guanghzou bound sleeper train.
Arriving into Guangzhou you will be take to the international terminal for the train to Hong Kong. Arriving here in Kowloon, walk the short distance to your hotel on your own.
The end of your oriental journey is here, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...