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Hello China! Arrive Beijing and included airport transfer to our hotel.
This morning, we 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 tour of this old city within a city. Later we take a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing, weaving through old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, gaining a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life.
Today, travel beyond Beijing to Badaling, where you can walk (almost climb on some sections) on 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 kms! Continuing on, a visit is made to the tombs of the Ming emperors, where some 13 emperors were interred. The tombs are approached via a sacred gateway and gate houses.
Visit Silk Alley markets and the Summer Palace with its UNESCO-listed imperial gardens, located on Kunming Lake. Tonight catch an overnight sleeper train to Datong.
You arrive into Datong early giving you a whole day to explore the area. Take a guided sightseeing walk around the Yungang Grottoes (some of the first and grandest of Buddhist grottoes containing intricately carved buddhas of all shapes and sizes), Huayan Temple, Nine Dragon Wall and Shanua Temple. The Nine Dragon Wall is a 600-year-old Nine-Dragon Screen made up of glazed tiles, the 50-m ceramic wall depicts a fire breathing dragon.
Today, you head over to the Hanging Temple and the Wood Pagoda for more sightseeing. The Hanging Temple is a sight to behold and is a structure that seriously defies gravity. Constructed on an impossibly precipitous rockface, it literally hugs the cliff. Later today, we drive to Pingyao.
Today, we visit Pingyao ancient town built almost a thousand years ago. Enjoy a bird's-eye view of the Old City from the top of the grand City Wall. Experience the town's former glory while exploring the rows of residences and shops all constructed in the original architectural style in the Ancient Ming and Qing Streets.
Take a train to Zhengzhou after visiting something which is rare in China. Jinci Temple is world-famous because it is an ancient ancestral temple. Jinci Temple is a combination of beautiful landscapes and historical cultural relics. Arriving in Zhengzhou, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Zhengzhou Fengleyuan Hotel.
Today, we take a day trip out to Xinxiang Guoliang village before returning back to Zhengzhou.
Driving to Dengfeng, we visit the Shaolin Temple, reputed to be 'the Number One Temple under Heaven' before driving onto Luoyang.
Today, we explore the UNESCO - listed 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 on we tour the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China before catching the express train to Xi'an.
First up this morning, we tour the lofty Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The complex of temples, pagoda’s and expansive gardens, constructed during the 7th century offered refuge and a store house for Chinese Buddhists to translate the very important Buddhist sutras from India. The fun starts now as we take a leisurely bicycle ride (solo or tandem) atop the well-preserved Xi’an city wall. At a minimum of 6 metres in width, 9 miles in length - with no steep inclines the wall offers a great vantage point for peeping down upon the city hubbub below. After we visit the Muslim Quarter to enjoy some free time in the city centre.
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.
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Guilin, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Today, we visit the Reed Flute Caves, Elephant Trunk Hill, Jingjiang Prince Palace with a cruise on the 4 lakes.
This morning we drive to Longsheng. Here, we explore the rice terraces of the Dragon’s Backbone! Beginning at the base of Mt Longji the verdant green rice fields coil the steep mountain layer upon layer climbing to its summit. Where there is soil a terrace has been made! Taking a walk along the stone paths no more than a metre wide, we climb skyward to enjoy panoramic views of the ribbon like terraces with picturesque valleys and meandering streams below.
This morning, we enjoy a Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. Yangshuo offers a world of opportunity for exploring the great outdoors. With breath-taking beauty, striking limestone mountain scenery and pure clean rivers, this afternoon in Yangshou we bike ride around the beautiful village.
Spend the morning at leisure before flying to Chongqing, the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise the we can stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
Yangtze River cruise. Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. The Gorges are a breathtaking sight!
Yangtze River cruising.
After a morning shore excursion to visit the Three Gorges Dam we disembark from our cruise heading for the airport for our flight to Shanghai. You will be met at the airport in Shanghai and transferred to your hotel. Tonight, an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out.
A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province for a day trip. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the humble administrator’s house and garden.
Transfer to airport and fly to Hong Kong. END OF SERVICES.
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