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Welcome to China! On Arrival in Beijing you will me met by our Guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours free to explore.
This morning, we tour the centre of Beijing, China's magnificent capital, including the 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 a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing.
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. Later we visit the Emperor's Summer Palace, set on the beautiful Kunming Lake.
This morning we visit the Silk Alley Markets where you can pick up a bargain before an afternoon visit to the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was visited by the Emperors in both the Ming and Qing Dynasty's for an annual ceremony to pray for a good harvest. This evening we board an overnight train to Louyang.
This morning on arrival you will be met at the train station and transferred to your hotel. ( Early check in not included) We then venture out to tour the Later we explore the UNESCO world heritage listed 6th Century Longman Caves, etched into the cliffs along the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out by humans to create temples inside the mountain. Adorned with more than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty.
Today we enjoy a tour to the Shaolin Temple. Situated on Song Shan mountain in the Henan province, the Shaolin Temple is said to be the “Number One Temple under Heaven”. The temple symbolizes the beginning of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts. Surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation, the temple is in a picturesque spot. The Shaolin Temple offers a range of cultural sites, such as the Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwangdian), the Pagoda Forest, the Dharma Cave and the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian) and the Shaolin Temple Martial Art Training Centre. We enjoy a KungFu Show before late in the afternoon catching a high speed train to Xian. On arrival in Xian you will be transferred to your hotel.
Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi province. Known as Chang’an in ancient times, Xi’an’s often illustrious history spans more than 3,000 years. Regarded as one of the most important cities in Chinese history, Xi'an is listed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China because it has been the capital of 13 dynasties, including the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang. Xi'an is also the eastern end of the famed Silk Road. Unknown really to the modern West, Xi’an was placed firmly on the tourist trail after the discovery of Emperor Qin’s army of 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors in 1974. Today we take a full day tour of the terracotta warriors.
Xi’an itself is surrounded by a well-preserved city wall, which was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty (14th century). Since Xi’an is relatively flat, there are no steep inclines on the impressive walls, making it plenty wide enough for an elevated and enjoyable stroll or bike ride without risk of getting mown over. Today we tour the city wall as well as the spectacularly lofty Wild Goose Pagoda - constructed around the 7th century to store translations of Buddhist sutras from India, and the Muslim Quarter. This evening we catch the overnight train to Suzhou.
On arrival in Suzhou you will be transferred to you hotel (early check in not included) Suzhou, a 2,500-year-old cultural city that hugs the coast south of Shandong province. A sort of oriental Venice, boats bob along waterways interwoven with small yet handsome bridges that run parallel to the streets and traditional houses built along them. Suzhou’s waterways link with the Grand Canal, located to the west of the city. Originally constructed to carry cereals such as rice from the fertile Yangtze plains to the more heavily populated yet barren northern reaches including the capital Beijing, at 1800km it is the longest canal on earth. Today we tour the Administrators Garden, the Silk Factory and a boat ride on the Canal.
Today is free day to explore Suzhou at your own leisure.
Today we catch the high speed train to Shanghai. Just the mere mention of ‘Shanghai’ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre–1949 cosmopolitan Shanghai was a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. The city’s oddities were due to the unusual circumstances of the city’s existence. Written into the Treaty of Nanjing was the notion of extraterritoriality, which translated as foreign nationals not being bound by Chinese law, but rather by the laws of their own consuls. Basically anything went. Until 1949 foreigners dominated commerce, banking and industry, amassing huge fortunes and transforming the landscape of foreign concessionary sections of Shanghai. We tour the TV Tower, the Bund and the Old City.
Today we have a day to enjoy the French concession and enjoy some retail therapy on Nanjing Road.
Today marks the end of our journey through China. Our arrangements will end with a departure transfer to the airport for your homeward bound flight.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...