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Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! You shall be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure.
This morning explore the heart of Beijing including the vast Tiananmen Square where Chairman Mao’s tomb and various monuments to the people are located. Dominating the city’s heart is the Forbidden City, a centre of power for five centuries and seat of the emperors. Entering through the Gate of Heavenly Peace(replete with Chairman Mao’s portrait), we enjoy a guided walk of this old city within a city. This afternoon we take a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing to see how a traditional way of life is maintained in a fast modernizing city.
Today you take a journey outside of the city to the most famous wall in the world - the Great Wall of China. Take a walk or maybe even a climb on some of the lesser visited parts of the wall - a much more fulfilling and intimate experience of the wall! This evening we take an overnight train to Datong.
Arriving into Datong, we transfer you to your hotel. After breakfast we head out to visit the peculiar wood-structured Hanging Monastery, built on the cliff at the foot of Mt. Hengshan - it gives a breath-taking view of Chinese architecture. We also visit Yungang Grottoes, Huayan Temple, The Nine Dragon Wall and The Shanhua Temple.
Spend the day at leisure exploring Datong. When ready we drive to your hotel in Pingyao.
Spend the day with our expert guide exploring Pingyao. Today's site-seeing in Pingyao willbe to Shuangling Temple and Zhengguo Temple. Later we are off to the station to catch the sleeper train to Xian. Possibly the best-preserved ancient walled city in China, charming Pingyao is a city of beauty where red lanterns sway against grey brick walls and cobbled streets lead you to imperial residences and ancient temples. Mostly off-limits to cars, the city resembles a movie-set with its buildings almost entirely from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Arriving into the station, meet our guide for hotel transfer. Before visiting the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site, we visit a workshop where we see the process used to create the terracotta figurines. In battle formation, the Terracotta Warriors are one of China’s most awesome sights.
Today we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and take a bicycle ride along Xi’an's 9 mile in length, medieval City Wall before heading down into the Muslim Markets and visiting the Great Mosque.
Today you shall take a flight at noon 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 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, its (exiled) government and people. 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. You will see young novices learning scriptures in the Debating Garden and being rewarded for a correct answer with a resounding hand-clap from their master. 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. One of Tibet’s 3 holy lakes, nomadic tents, pilgrims prostrating and children hunting with sling shots on the stony beaches make this something you are likely to have never experienced before. Rising back into these vivid and rugged mountains we head back to Lhasa, looking for hoards of Yak along the way.
Hotel check out and included onward transfer to airport for flight to Chengdu. Upon arriving in Chengdu you shall be transferred to the hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Capital of Sichuan province, laid-back Chengdu is situated at the western edge of the Sichuan Basin and sheltered from the harsh Siberian winter winds by the Qing Ling mountain range to the north. Thanks to the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project constructed in 256 BC, Chengdu is surrounded by chequer-board fields and well-irrigated plains.
A short drive out of town takes you to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Covering an area of over 92 acres, there is plenty of space for the Giant Pandas and for you to explore. Here, several species of rare and endangered animals to freely roam. Visiting the Panda nursery is a must, here you can get relatively close to the centre’s infant population. Afterwards you we drive back to the city where you have some free time to explore for the latter part of the day.
Driving to Leshan our morning is spent exploring the 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. Driving onward take in the views from Emei Shan (Mt Emei) designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its incredible natural beauty and historical Buddhist sites. Arriving at Baoguo, located at the foot of the Mountain, we visit the Temple of Baoguo. Spend the remainder of the day exploring this delightful village, easily navigated by foot.
This morning we travel by cable car to the top of Mt Emei to tour the magnificent Wannian temple. The oldest structure on the mountain, its contents are stunning: three thousand tiny iron Buddhas surround a life sized enamelled bronze sculpture of Bodhisattva Puxian (the protector of the mountain) riding a gilt lotus flower astride his great six tusked white elephant. Weighing over 62 tonnes and standing over 7 metres in height the masterpiece had to be bought to the mountain top in pieces. Returning to Chengdu we catch the evening flight to Guilin.
This morning we pay a visit to The Reed Flute Cave Within the cave there are enchanting stalagmites, stone pillars, 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. The afternoon is free for you to explore at leisure.
This morning we will venture to Longsheng for a full days touring of the highlights of this area which will include, The Hot Springs and National Forest Park, Dragons Backbone rice terraces, Longsheng town and surrounding villages. You will trek in the Ping'an area, before returning late to Guilin.
Today we take Li River Cruise to Yangshuo, explore the West Street in the afternoon before returning to Guilin for evening flight to Shanghai.
This morning with our guide we explore the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, Old City area, Oriental Pearl TV tower and Shanghai Museum. We conclude the day with a walk in the Bund area and a cruise on the Huangpu River to see the city lights.
Today, you journey to an oriental Venice – ancient ZhuJiaJIao interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. Enjoy the day with your guide taking in the scenic town and having a wander along it’s many pretty streets. Return for an evening at leisure in Shanghai. Tonight you can have a booking made at one of the many cities revolving rooftop restaurants and enjoy a dinner overlooking the stunning city lights - a great way to spend your last night here.
Today we bid you farewell and transfer you to the airport for your onward flight home.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...