Climb the Great Wall at Badaling and Juyonguan Pass and enter the Forbidden City, explore the Longmen grottoes and encounter an army of Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. Then cruise the Yulonghe River in scenic Yangshuo before ending your adventure in Shanghai, the Paris of the East.
Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in.
Today, we embark on a tour of the nation’s capital. The famous portrait of Mao Zedong, China’s communist father still looks out over gargantuan Tiananmen Square from the Gate of Heavenly Peace. On the square you can't miss the mausoleum, an austere behemoth in granite where Mao lies in state in his crystal coffin. We take a stroll in the square all under the watchful eye of the dutiful guards. A vision in grandeur with it’s imperial yellow roofs and vermilion walls, the Forbidden city was forbidden to all those except on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was turfed off his throne. We enjoy a guided walk through the city’s many temples, grand halls and courtyards. The Forbidden city boasts 9999 rooms! Afternoon rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing.
This evening, we 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 followed by a Welcome Dinner of Peking Duck.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Dinner
After a free morning to further explore the city, 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. We also visit a Jade Carving Centre before heading to our quaint hotel near Juyongguan Pass, which offers views of the Great Wall.
Overnight: Juyongguan Pass | Breakfast, Lunch
Morning at the Great Wall
Beijing - Luoyang. We rise early this morning and head (5 min bus drive) to the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass when it opens to beat the crowds. Later we return to Beijing to explore the famous Pearl Market - an Aladdin's Cave of clothing, jewellery and electronic gadgets before taking an afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself! Check in to hotel in Luoyang, late evening.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast
First thing today we drive to the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple (approx 2 hours), set on the foothills of the Songshan Mountain. Here generation after generation of Shaolin monks have devoted themselves to practising Chan Buddhism and a martial art widely recognised as the origins of kung fu. Over the years hundreds, if not thousands, of people have flocked to this very site to learn this ancient discipline and we'll have the opportunity to watch a performance of kung fu during our visit. Returning to Luoyang you’ll have some free time, and the option to walk to Xiyuan Park where ball room dancing, tai chi, aerobics and badminton lessons take place every evening.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast, Dinner
Luoyang - Xi’an. Today we explore the UNESCO-listed 5th and 6th Century Longmen Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 2,300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 110,000 statues and images of Buddha carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. This afternoon we board the high speed train to Xi’an (journey time approx 2hrs). After hotel check-in and some time to fresh up we’ll embark on a casual bike ride around the Xi’an City Wall. Looking down as you peddle offers delightful views of the city hubbub and daily life with the Old City in the centre of the walls and the modern city on the outside.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast
Most famous for the legendary Terracotta Warriors, perhaps the greatest find of the 20th century and only just usurped by the discovery of King Tut’s gold-laden tomb in Egypt. These warriors comprise more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers which stand in military formation in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. Made of local clay, no two faces are alike, each is said to be an individual portrait. We visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site and a workshop where warrior figurines are made. This evening we have the option to attend a Tang Dynasty add-on which includes dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Yangshuo - Guilin. Renowned for the striking scenery of vast areas of karst limestone outcrops that rise up from flat rice paddy fields, Guilin and Yangshuo are often the subject of many Chinese paintings. Today, we take an hour long rafting cruise along the calm clean waters of Yulonghe River. As our captain punts (propels us forward by pushing against the river bed with a long pole) our flat bottom boat along the shallow waters endless photo opportunities arise.
The remainder of our time in Yangshuo is spent at leisure. Choose to hike, hire a bicycle or motorbike and head off on one of the many mountain trails or stop to watch the local fishermen use their trained cormorants to catch fish - a centuries old tradition, though somewhat commercialised these days. Time can also be spent exploring West Street. The ancient alley is laden with quirky shops, tea shops, antiques, calligraphers and art studios. Maybe take a beginners art class with a local painter or enjoy a morning class at the ‘Cloud 9’ cooking school. By nightfall, sit in any of the al fresco cafes, pubs or bars serving cold beer and delicious speciality foods from the region, catch a film at any of the outdoor cinemas or attend the nightly ‘Impression Liu Sanjie’ musical, with a cast of 500 singers and dancers. In the late afternoon of day 10 we return to Guilin.
Overnight: Yangshuo (1), Guilin (1) | Breakfast x 2
Guilin – Longsheng – Shanghai. A 90 minute drive leads us to Longsheng, to walk the rice terraces of the Dragon’s Backbone. Beginning at the base of Mt Longji the verdant green rice fields coil up the steep mountain, layer upon layer, climbing to its summit. Taking a walk along the stone paths no more than a metre wide, we’ll pass many of the Yao and Red Yao minority women, baskets on their backs, who are also climbing skyward. Reaching the ‘Seven Stars accompanying Moon’ lookout, soak up the spectacular views. The full panorama offers thousands of ribbon like terraces cascading to the meandering streams and valley floor beneath. Returning to Guilin, transfer to the airport and board an evening flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Focus your eyes on Shanghai! Today is free day for you to independently explore the city. Perhaps visit The Bund, Jade Buddha Temple or the Old City where you can shop on Nanjing Road. Head for the Shanghai Plaza Tower at sunset, Shanghai dazzles at dusk!
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Thursday. After breakfast and hotel check out, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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 when there are 2 people sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person 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.
Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven, Beijing
The Beijing Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven is an elegant and comfortable hotel with well-furnished and spacious rooms. Practical in design, the guestrooms feature internet access and the hotel also boasts a range of restaurants and bars, as well as an indoor swimming pool. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Temple of Heaven, the hotel is the perfect base from which to explore this fascinating city.
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Minzuyuan, Beijing
Located just a stones throw from the Beitucheng Subway station, with access to Line 10 & Line 8, the Holiday Inn Express Beijing Minzuyuan is a perfect base to explore the many amazing highlights of Beijing. Within walking distance of the hotel you'll find the famous Birds Nest Olympic Stadium. The hotel boasts a stylish restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Peony Plaza, Luoyang
The Peony Plaza Hotel is ideally located in Luoyang city centre, making it easily accessible from all parts of the city. The hotel benefits from a stylish, contemporary design and the guest rooms are tastefully furnished. All rooms feature minibars, free WiFi and LCD TVs with cable channels. The hotel also boasts a sauna and massage centre as well as a rotating restaurant for excellent views of the city.
Wan Nian Grand Hotel, Xi'an
The Wan Nian Grand is a comfortable, friendly hotel with light and spacious guest rooms. Elegantly decorated, the rooms also boast modern amenities and the hotel has a wealth of facilities including an indoor pool and sauna house, a cafe and bar, and well-equipped business centre. The hotel is located 4 kilometres from the railway station and 30 kilometres from the airport.
New West Street International Hotel, Yangshuo
Boasting a stunning setting surrounded by mountains, this modern-style hotel offers an array of facilities spread over a 60-acre area. Alongside the fantastic outdoor swimming pool, guests can enjoy tennis and badminton courts, a golf driving range, sauna and fitness centre. When it comes to dining, there is a choice between Chinese and Western cuisine, as well as a coffee shop. Guestrooms are spacious and well-equipped, with extra amenities including a small refrigerator and complimentary Wi-Fi, with some offering mountain views.
New West Street Hotel, Yangshuo
Offering a fantastic location in the very centre of Yangshuo, the New West Street Hotel is set just opposite Yansghuo Park. Its guestrooms are well-equipped with modern amenities including air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle, with some providing views over the surrounding mountains. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and for an additional fee, guests are able to enjoy the rejuvenating spa and massage treatments in the wellness centre.
Hotel Universal, Guilin
As well as a great location with views of the Li River, the hotel offers a full range of facilities to ensure a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are smart and tastefully furnished, and the hotel's restaurant provides tasty dishes with spectacular views.
Ramada Encore Shanghai Hotel , Shanghai
Ideally located close to several plazas and shopping centres, this modern hotel offers you a comfortable stay in one of China’s fastest growing cities. Guestrooms are equipped with all the essential amenities, with free WiFi and access to the breakfast buffet included. The onsite Dakang Restaurant also serves lunch and dinner, and you can expect a tasty menu featuring both Western and Chinese cuisine. Other amenities include a fitness centre, coffee shop and small convenience store.
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Excellent tour, everything went seamlessly. Lisa was very helpful and personable.
Only thing that could have been improved was more information/advice on what to do during free time. The recommendation was usually the hotel restaurant or restaurant across the road; whereas, I preferred the idea of going into the city centre and exploring a bit more. ”