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Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Arrive Beijing Airport and included transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time.
This morning, we explore the centre of Beijing, including massive Tiananmen 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 rickshaws to the Hutongs areas 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 into the city’s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home, before returning to our hotel. Tonight, we enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a city restaurant
Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Climbing the Great Wall on Xmas day, now that’s something special. The wall is a little steep in sections, but the photo opportunities are worth a million dollars! Afterwards we visit a cloisonne workshop. Tonight, dinner (Chinese banquet style) and choreographed acrobatic show.
Today we start with a sightseeing tour of the Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake. The lake may be frozen solid but there is no chance of ice skating on it. This afternoon we visit the famed Silk Alley markets, boasting more than 1000 stores and every souvenir imaginable. Later this evening we travel by overnight train to Luoyang. En route we’ll get an opportunity to view the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium – commonly referred to as the ‘birds nest’ and aquatic centre.
Arrive Luoyang and transfer to our hotel. Later we explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Longman Caves. Carved into the cliffs along the Yi River, the 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Creating temples within the caves they then sculpted and decorated the interior with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples. Experts consider the Longman Caves to be the artistic triumph of all Buddhist stone carvings. Later this afternoon we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China. Overnight @ Yaxiangjinling hotel.
Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Hundreds of local people enjoy 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 epress train to Xi'an, evening at leisure.
Today, we visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site where some 7,000 warriors stand in battle ready position and a factory that shows how the terracotta figurines were crafted. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance.
This morning we bike ride (solo or tandem) on top of the amazing old City Wall, offering unique views of the city and residents going about their daily lives. Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, with time to explore. Evening flight to beijing and onward connecting flight to Harbin.
Today, we hit Sun Island Park for the Harbin Ice Festival. The festival is open to visitors from 20 Dec, (though the official festival opening occurs on 05 Jan). This evening we head out to Zhaolin Park for the enchanting Ice Lantern Garden Party. Ice blocks standing some 8 metres tall, resembling giant ice lollies are sculpted into the most unusual designs.
We spend the day at leisure enjoying the festivities at the Harbin Snow and Ice World. Imagine sliding down a 100m ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China. You can pick up some serious speed if wearing a slick winter coat. Climbing to the top of a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers. Living up to its name the ‘Ice World’ is totally beyond imagination, unusual, enchanting, inspiring and down right bizarre. What will be on offer this year is anyone's guess. Later this evening we bid farewell to Harbin boarding our overnight sleeper train to Beijing.
Arrival into Beijing, hotel breakfast and onward departure transfer to the airport. We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year tour in China! Note: Onward flights should be booked for departure after 2pm.
The discovery of despotic Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s army of 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors occurred in 1974 when local farmers digging...