Essence of China - 9 Days
SEMI INDEPENDENT: Take an exhilarating 9 day journey of discovery through China’s most iconic cities. Explore the historic Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, marvel at the breath-taking views from the Great Wall, travel through Xi’an’s Muslim quarter, gaze upon the Terracotta Warrior army and the iconic Big Wild Goose Pagoda before finishing in spectacular Shanghai.
Welcome to China! Arrive into Beijing International airport where you will be met and transferred to the start hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to wander through the city at your own leisure. For dinner, we recommend feasting on the capitals signature dish – Peking duck!
This morning we take a tour of the city’s most iconic sites. We begin walking through Tiananmen Square, the gateway to the Forbidden City, first built in 1651 and large enough to fit 500,00 people. Continue through the Gate of Heavenly Peace to the Forbidden City, which once served as an imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Stroll down the red-walled alleys and marvel at the intricate interiors.
This afternoon, we continue exploring the city with a pedicab ride through the city’s hutong, former courtyard houses of Old Beijing, where we get a glimpse of traditional life and visit some residents for a spot of lunch. Our afternoon concludes with a visit to the Drum Tower.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Lunch
The Great Wall
No trip to Beijing would be complete without visiting one of China’s most famous landmarks – the Great Wall. We travel to Mutianyu, the best-preserved section of the wall where we have the chance to admire the pristine condition of the parapets and watch towers.
We make our way back into the city, stopping at a Jade Factory on the way where we have a chance to watch artists bring this traditional culture to life. Later, we enjoy lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant before visiting the 798 art zone, once a state owned factory is now a vibrant art space featuring galleries and studios. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Lunch
Beijing to Xi'an
Beijing – Xi’an. Spend the final morning in Beijing exploring the colourful Summer Palace, a pristine imperial garden used by emperors to escape the heat of the summer. Walk through the landscape which appears to have been taken from a traditional Chinese painting, along the man-made Kumming Lake admiring the temples, gardens, pavilions and bridges. Entry to the complex of Summer Palace is included, for those that would like to further discover the area, why not opt to explore longevity hill and hall of dispelling clouds or enjoy a short leisurely cruise along Kunming Lake (book/payable locally).
Later, we board the bullet train with our lunch box, to Xi’an where we will be met by a local guide and transferred to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast, we visit the famous Terracotta Warrior archaeological site. The 2,200 year old army of life sized clay warriors and horses were designed to offer protection to Emperor Qin in the afterlife, and stand tall in military formation in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. We then learn about the complex production of making these warriors, a method which has remained unchanged since the Qin dynasty.
After indulging in an included lunch we return to the city to walk along the ancient city wall, marvelling at the spectacular views of the city from the wide stone parapets (a bike ride along the wall can be arranged for an additional fee). Continue to the Great Mosque, a combination of Chinese and Middle Eastern aesthetics used to design a series of serene gardens and courtyards. Our afternoon concludes with a walk from the Muslim quarter to Yongxingfang, sampling local delicacies along the way. Be sure to see the famous bowl breaking ceremony.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
After a free morning to further explore the city, we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The complex of temples, pagodas and expansive gardens, constructed during the 7th century offered refuge and a store house for Chinese Buddhists translating the very important Buddhist sutras from India. This evening we learn how to make Chinese dumplings, a delicacy famous in Xi’an, and enjoy the fruits of our labour for dinner.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Dinner
Xi'an to Shanghai
Xi’an – Shanghai. We bid farewell to Xi’an after breakfast to make our way to the airport for our onward flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival we will be transferred to our hotel where we have the rest of the day at leisure to relax.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Good morning Shanghai! Just the mere mention of ‘Shanghai’ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre – 1949, cosmopolitan Shanghai was once a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. Everything changed when Mao and the communists took to power and swept the good times and rock and roll away in 1949. A legacy of these heady times is Shanghai’s Bund where on and around this waterfront promenade are a vast series of grandiose pre-1949 buildings. Just across the Huangpu River is the new Shanghai, a high-tech development of gravity defying skyscrapers. Today we tour many of the city’s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar- Shanghai’s finest traditional garden, the Bund, a silk factory, and the Xintiandi district. This evening we enjoy a spectacular acrobatic performance.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast, Lunch
Our China adventure comes to an end after hotel check out and some free time today. An airport departure transfer is not included but can be booked upon request. Additional night’s stay in Shanghai can be arranged if you’re not quite ready to go home.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
5L Beijing Hotel , Beijing
Well located in the Chaoyang district, the Beijing 5L Hotel enjoys access to the China World Trade Centre and 30 minutes from Beijing International Airport. Each modern guestroom features complimentary WiFi and a flat screen TV. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served daily in the onsite restaurant as well as Chinese dishes. The hotel also features a spa, wellness centre and garden so guests can unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel, Xi'an
Located a stone’s throw away from the Ancient City Wall and Islamic Mosque, is Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel offers modern comforts in the heart of the city. Each air-conditioned guestroom features WiFi, minibar, and satellite TV. There is an onsite restaurant which serves a daily buffet or a la carte breakfast as well as a variety of Asian and Western dishes. During their free time, guests can enjoy a relaxing massage or work up a sweat in the fitness centre.
SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund, Shanghai
Located a stones throw from the Bund and Yu Gardens, the SSAW Boutique hotel is the perfect hotel for those looking to explore Shanghai. Each air-conditioned guest room features a minibar, safe and flat screen TV. Guests can borrow books from the hotel library or work up a sweat in the fitness centre. The hotel offers complimentary Italian tea and coffee which can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio which boasts stunning skyline views.