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Huan Ying welcome to China and the start of your holiday!Your guide will meet you at Shanghai airport where you will catch the Maglev train into the city. This afternoon enjoy a tour of the city’s top spots - the Bund, Pudong and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple and take a cruise along the Huangpu River.
The next 2 days are spent at your leisure to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps enjoy a spot of shopping at Nanjing Road.
Today you will be transferred to the train station for your highspeed train to ancient Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. One of China’s most charming cities, Suzhou’s fame rests on its waterways and canals that are dotted with traditional bridges, houses and UNESCO-listed gardens. Enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal which exposes Suzhou’s beauty and visit a silk workshop.
Travel to Hangzhou today by highspeed train. Hangzhou is unusual for a Chinese city, in that it encompasses large tracts of greenery which might normally be classified as countryside. This is thanks to Xi Hu, the large lake that Hangzhou straddles. The lake is dotted with various islands and causeways, whilst the shoreline offers wonderful vistas of green trees, hills, flowers, pavillions, pagodas and boats. Hangzhou is also the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and an important centre for silk, tea and paper-making. Visit the West Lake, Lingyin Temple and take a bicycle ride.
This morning we visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda and Chinese Tea Museum before flying to Guilin. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Renowned for its striking, if bizarre scenery - vast areas of karst limestone outcrops that rise up from flat rice paddy fields, Guilin is often the subject of Chinese painting. Today you will visit Elephant Trunk Hill and the gargantuan Reed Flute Cave, which offers the chance to walk inside a gargantuan and deep limestone cave that features innumerable stalactites, stalagmites and rocky outcrops.
This morning you take a river cruise along the River Li including a delicious lunch. In the afternoon take a visit to West Street, the oldest street in Yangshuo and home to a vast array of craft and calligraphy shops, cafes, restaurants and Kung Fu academies.
Today you are transferred back to Guilin for your flight to Lijiang via Kunming. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Lijiang sits at 2,500m in a fantastic mountain setting bordered to the northwest by Tibet. The Old Town (Dayan) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which possesses a network of ancient and narrow streets lined with small restaurants and eating houses in unique architectural styles. These are intersected by canals and a lively marketplace at Sifang, where one can buy locally produced handicrafts including embroidery, hand-beaten copper pots and wood carvings.
Enjoy a day excursion to the stunning Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, its landscape includes one of the southernmost glaciers in the modern world. Shanzidou, the main peak of the mountain at 18,000 feet above sea level, looks like a gigantic dragon clad in white snow all year round.
Today you discover Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia). Some 16km long and up to 3000m deep, it is the worlds deepest canyon. The gorge is so narrow at various points that legend has it a tiger once escaped pursuit by leaping across. visiting the gorge, you’ll have a chance to hike along a section of the stunning gorge and take in the dramatic, yet stark scenery.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
A short drive out of town takes us to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Opened in 1993 it is fast becoming one of China's must see places. The centre has been created to help and imitate the pandas' natural habitat in order that they might have the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. 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.
Take to the skies with a flight to Lhasa. Once you reach Lhasa the remainder of the day is free for you to relax and acclimatise 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 winter home of the Dalai Lamas and a masterpiece in design, 13 stories high, containing thousands of rooms, this is the heart of Tibet. Next we visit The Dalai Lama’s Summer palace, Norbulingka. Less daunting and surrounded by gardens, this homely palace reflects the Dalai Lama’s more earthly pleasures. 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.
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.
After breakfast drive out toward the Himalayas. From Lhasa travel over the Kamba-La pass and reach 4794m above sea level. Journey along the winding road, weaving our way through the rocky mountains and valleys. 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. One of Tibet’s 3 holy lakes, nomadic tents, pilgrims prostrating and children hunting with sling shots make this something you are likely to have never experienced before. Rising back into these vivid and rugged mountains we head back to Lhasa.
Fly to Xi'an today. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors are reputed to be the greatest discovery of the 20th century - 7,000 life-sized clay soldiers stand ready for battle. We visit the archaeological site and the workshop where the replica warriors are crafted. This evening attend a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors.
Today we head to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and later on take an exciting bicycle ride along Xi’an medieval City Wall. The 9 mile Xi’an City Wall perimeter looks down on the lively city beneath below. Tonight we board our overnight private sleeper train to Beijing.
Upon arrival into Beijing this morning your arrangements with us come to an end. We truly hope you have had a great time, collecting many wonderful memories of this amazing country.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...