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Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival you will be met by our local representatives and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy the rest of the day at your 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. The Forbidden City is a city within a city, once forbidden to all except those on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor Puyi was removed from power. Enjoy a guided tour through what was once the innermost sanctum of the city. This evening, you enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out.
The Great Wall of China is a must see experience so this morning you have included a drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, to walk (and almost a climb at times) a section of the Great Wall. Following a ridge of barren hills through northern China, it stretches as far as the eye can see - at least 6,700 km. Continuing a short distance from Badaling, we visit the tombs of the Ming emperors.
Spend the morning touring the famous Emperor's Summer Palace on Kunming Lake. This vast complex is replete with lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi. We visit the famed Silk Alley markets and drive past the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium commonly referred to as the ‘Bird's Nest’ before boarding our overnight sleeper train to Luoyang.
Today we explore the UNESCO 6th Century Longman Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Later we tour White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.
Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Many Chinese get their daily exercise by practicing ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the wee hours of the morning. There is free time before we board the high speed train to Xi'an. Tonight enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors.
Xi’an is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old terracotta warriors comprise of more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers standing battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. Today, we visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors and a workshop where crafts people make clay warrior replicas. Take to the skies this afternoon with a flight to Chengdu, upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.
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 to freely roam. Visiting the Panda nursery is a must, here you can get relatively close to the centre’s infant population. This afternoon drive to Leshan to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Dafo (Great Buddha), which is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill. It is standing at Dafo's huge 8m feet that you can really appreciate the scale of one of the world's largest Buddhas.
Sadly your time with us has come to an end as you are transferred back to the airport in time for your onward flight.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...