Discover China this Christmas to see the Great Wall, Beijing's Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an. Flying to Harbin, New Year's is a 5 star event as we discover the extraordinary, inspiring, enchanting and often incredibly beautiful ice installations of the 35th Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival.
Monday 23 December 2019. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Arrive Beijing Airport and included transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time.
This morning, we explore the centre of Beijing, including 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 rickshaws to the Hutongs areas of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, we gain a fascinating snapshot into the city’s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home, before returning to our hotel. It's Christmas Eve and to get you in the festive mood we'll enjoy a tasty Christmas banquet tonight.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Dinner
Merry Christmas! Today we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Climbing the Great Wall on Xmas day, now that’s something special. The wall is a little steep in sections, but the photo opportunities are worth a million dollars! Afterwards, we visit a Jade Carving Centre, where we learn about its importance in Chinese culture. We celebrate our Christmas in China with a traditional Peking Duck dinner this evening, followed by an astounding acrobatic show.
Overnight: Beijing | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Beijing - Luoyang. Today we start with a sightseeing tour of the Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake. The lake may be frozen solid. This afternoon we visit the famed Pearl Market. Later today we drive past the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium en route to the train station where we take the late afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself! We arrive to Luoyang late this evening.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast
Today we explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Longmen Caves. Carved into the cliffs along the Yi River, the 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Creating temples within the caves they then sculpted and decorated the interior with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples. Experts consider the Longmen Caves to be the artistic triumph of all Buddhist stone carvings. Later this afternoon we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China before having a delicious local dinner.
Overnight: Luoyang | Breakfast, Dinner
Early this morning there is the option to walk to Xiyuan Park and witness or maybe even partake in a little local exercise. Hundreds of local people enjoy their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the early hours of the morning. It's a marvel to watch! After some free time we board a high speed express trains to Xi'an, evening at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast
Today, we visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site where some 7,000 warriors stand in battle ready position and a factory that shows how the terracotta figurines were crafted. Tonight, on offer is an optional Tang Dynasty add-on, which includes dinner and traditional performance.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Xi’an - Harbin. This morning we bike ride (solo or tandem) on top of the amazing old City Wall, offering unique views of the city and residents going about their daily lives. Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, with time to explore. Evening flight to Beijing and onward connecting flight to Harbin.
Overnight: Harbin | Breakfast
Today, we hit Sun Island Park for the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The festival is open to visitors from 20 Dec, (though the official festival opening occurs on 05 Jan). This is a wonderful time to visit as sculptors will still be adding final touches to their somewhat massive icy masterpieces.
Later we visit Harbin Snow and Ice World an otherworldly theme park where the incredibly large displays change from year to year. What will be on offer this year is anyone's guess. Imagine sliding down a 100m ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China. You can pick up some serious speed if wearing a slick winter coat. Climbing to the top of a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers, guard house, moat and seven arched bridge or sail away on Empress Dowager Cixi’s ice marble boat. Living up to its name the ‘Ice World’ is totally beyond imagination, unusual, enchanting, inspiring and a little peculiar.
This evening we include dinner at a hotpot restaurant before returning to our hotel to ring in the new year. With plenty of lights, ice and ‘Maitai firewater', (the local alcoholic spirit) we welcome in the coming year.
Overnight: Harbin | Breakfast, Dinner
Happy New Year!
Harbin - Beijing. Happy New Year! This morning offers free time before an afternoon visit to Zhaolin Park to see the Ice Lantern Show, also known as the Ice Lantern Art Fair. In previous years we've seen ice blocks standing some 8 metres tall, resembling giant ice lollies. Ice is sculpted into the most unusual designs - from roosters to dragon boats and a pair of cupids fluttering in the heavens, or a cavalry about to do battle. Each is lit up with hundreds of traditional Chinese lanterns and a multitude of neon creating the most spectacular photo opportunities. Later this evening we bid farewell to Harbin, boarding our overnight sleeper train to Beijing.
Overnight: Soft Sleeper Train to Beijing | Breakfast
Thursday 02 January 2020. Upon arrival to Beijing we transfer to a local hotel for a hot breakfast. Today offers free time for you to further explore Beijing before your included departure transfer to the airport. We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year tour in China! Note: Onward flights should be booked for departure after 2pm.
Visit the caves of Datong
Datong is an ancient cultural city dating back more than 2,000 years, the region’s biggest attraction is the UNESCO-listed Yungang Caves. Built more than 1,500 years ago, the 53 caves are a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist art comprising a fine collection of carved-sandstone Buddhist figures. See our Datong add-on for more info. Take a look at our other great China add-ons.
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 2 people share a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same gender on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement. We welcome families with teens 12 years of age and over on this tour.
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.
Songbei Shangri-la Hotel, Harbin
Ideally situated on the banks of the Songhua River, is the Songbei Shangri-la Hotel. The five-star property offers ample fine dining options as well as gourmet pub cuisine. Each guest room is fully equipped with LED TV, WiFi, mini bar, iron and ironing board and much more. Guests can enjoy a relaxing massage or dip in the indoor pool before sipping on a cocktail in the onsite bar.
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons
We both loved the tour. Well organised, good hotels, good amount of time at all the sites and Feng was an amazing tour guide. She made it all so easy and fun. Feng was the best tour guide we've had with On the Go so far and we have been on a few tours. The Great Wall was our highlight, but we enjoyed the cultural activities and other sites immensely.”