South China Discovery - 12 days
Visit Giant Pandas in Chengdu and see Leshan's incredible Giant Buddha; admire spectacular views from the summit of Mount Emei and go trekking at Tiger Leaping Gorge; discover the stunning scenery of Yangshuo, meet minority tribes and more on this exciting 12 day tour which starts and ends in cosmopolitan Shanghai.
Saturday. Upon arrival at Shanghai airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you to independently explore this cosmopolitan metropolis where east really does meet west. If time permits perhaps head to Shanghai's Bund, explore the Old City or go up the iconic Oriental Pearl TV tower to admire the spectacular views.
Shanghai - Chengdu. This morning you will be transferred back to Shanghai airport for a flight to Chengdu where you'll meet your guide. Touring begins today with a visit to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where we get to see China's beloved mascots. At the centre the pandas' natural habitat is imitated to create the best possible environment for rearing and breeding.
Leaving the pandas behind we head to Wenshu Monastery which is a hidden gem built during the Qing Dynasty. The delightful teahouse inside the temple grounds serves a great cup of green tea and some of the best vegetarian food in the city. Spend the evening at leisure. On most nights Sichuan Opera is performed at the Shufengyayun Theatre and tickets can be booked locally or in advance.
Overnight: Chengdu | Breakfast, Lunch
Chengdu - Emei. We travel on to Leshan this morning to see the UNESCO-listed Dafo (Great Buddha). Leshan's spectacular Giant Buddha is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, carved into the face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. Dafo has huge 8m feet, his ears droop 7m, his shoulders span 28m and his nose measures 5.6m. This afternoon we continue our journey to Mt Emei. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure exploring the local area.
Overnight: Emei Shan | Breakfast, Lunch
Emei - Chengdu - Lijiang. We begin our day with a trip to lofty UNESCO-listed Mt Emei. Taking a cable car half way up the mountain we then continue on foot to the summit to take in the breathtaking views. As one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, Mt Emei is a site of pilgrimage for many and is dotted with temples and pavillions. Later we’ll take the cable car back down the mountain and return to Chengdu airport for our flight to Lijiang.
Overnight: Lijiang | Breakfast, Lunch
Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge. Today we take a scenic two hour hike to Baisha and Wenhai villages, both nestled at the foot of Yulong Snow Mountain. Here we’ll enjoy a cultural experience, meeting Naxi and Yi people, learning about their way of life, traditions and culture. Bidding the villages farewell we’ll drive out to Tiger Leaping Gorge and check in to our guest house for the night. Spend the evening enjoying views of the gorge itself, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and endless fields.
Overnight: Tiger Leaping Gorge | Breakfast
Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang. This morning we explore our spectacular surroundings, with a two hour hike in the upper reaches of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Later we drive to Shigu Town, located on the first bend in the Yangtze River where we have some free time to explore before travelling to beautiful Lashi Lake where we’ll enjoy dinner with a local family. We head back to Lijiang for the night.
Overnight: Lijiang | Breakfast, Dinner
Lijiang - Yangshuo. This morning we fly to Guilin and travel on to scenic Yangshuo which is renowned for its striking scenery, where karst limestone peaks rise up from flat rice paddy fields. This afternoon we enjoy a rafting excursion on the scenic Yu Long River.
The following day we take a bike ride through the beautiful countryside to a local village. Later we’ll spend some time exploring West Street, an ancient alley laden with quirky shops tea shops, antiques, calligraphers and art studios. By nightfall, visit any of the cafes, pubs or bars or attend the nightly ‘Impression Liu Sanjie’ musical.
Spend day 9 at leisure further exploring Yangshuo at your own pace. Maybe enjoy a morning class at the ‘Cloud 9’ cooking school.
Overnight: Yangshuo | Breakfast x 3
Dragon's Backbone - rice paddy terraces
Yangshuo - Longsheng - Guilin. Early today we drive out 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. Reaching the ‘Seven Stars accompanying Moon’ lookout, soak up the spectacular views. The full panorama reveals thousands of ribbon like terraces cascading to the valley floor beneath. Leaving the Dragon’s Backbone we continue to
Overnight: Guilin | Breakfast
Guilin - Shanghai. Today we return to Shanghai by flight. The late afternoon and evening offers free time, you may wish to consider taking a sunset cruise along the Haungpu River, exploring the Bund on foot or heading to the top of the Shanghai Plaza Tower for spectacular 360 degree views of the city.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Wednesday. Today our holiday concludes. Included departure transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Start And End Your Trip In Chengdu
If you like this holiday but are not interested in visiting the sizzling city of Shanghai, opt for our Southern China Explorer Tour with holiday arrangements starting in Chengdu.
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.
Ramada Wujiaochang Shanghai , Shanghai
Located within the Wujiaochang business district, this modern high-rise hotel boasts comfortable living. Guests can grab a drink at the lobby bar and dine in the on-site restaurant, or alternatively venture out into the city to find somewhere to local to eat. Guest rooms benefit from high-speed internet access and LCD TVs. There's also a gym, sauna, spa, shop and concierge for additional convenience. The Bund and People's Square, in the heart of Shanghai are less than 10km away as is the shopping haven of Nanjing Road.
Holiday Inn Express West Gate, Chengdu
The newly opened Holiday Inn Express West Gate is a bright and modern hotel in downtown Chengdu. Guest rooms are clean and stylish with excellent amenities. Wi-Fi is available and complimentary wired internet is available in all rooms. Breakfast is served buffet style in the restaurant with a delicious array of Western and Chinese dishes. There is also an onsite bar available for refreshing beveradges. Located in the north of Chengdu and a 20 minute walk from Baiguolin Subway Station.
Huasheng Hotel , Emei Shan
The magnificent Huasheng Hotel is a practical and popular accommodation choice encompassing contemporary Chinese design and warm hospitality. The spacious guest rooms are stylish and comfortable and come with air conditioning and ensuite facilities. During their leisure time, guests can take a dip in the outdoor pool or head to the wellness centre for a touch of pampering. A number of sightseeing tours can be arranged at the hotel's reception and there is free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel is located just 5 minutes on foot from Dafo Temple.
Zen Garden Hotel (Wuyi Yard), Lijiang
Set in a beautiful and tranquil courtyard of flowers with a water feature, the Zen Garden Hotel Wuyi Yard is a traditional Naxi style property. The authentically designed guest rooms are equipped with modern bathrooms and many of the rooms have marvellous panoramic views over Lijiang and the surrounding mountains. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout and breakfast and snacks can be purchase at the on site Tea House. Perfectly located in the centre of Lijiang and great for exploring the city.
Naxi Yage Guesthouse, Tiger Leaping Gorge
While many people simply stop at the Naxi Yage Guesthouse for lunch on their way along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek, there is a lot to be said for spending the night in this simple but comfortable accommodation. Rooms are neat and well-decorated and the restaurant prepares delicious home cooked food that has been freshly prepared from scratch each time. The property is the perfect place to stock up on energy before tackling the 28 bends that lie ahead of you. In addition to this, the view of the sunset from the guesthouse is spectacular and alone makes a stay here worthwhile.
Days Hotel Frontier Yangshuo, Yangshuo
The Days Inn Frontier Yangshuo is conveniently located beside the picturesque Li River, with easy access to all the attractions of Yangshuo, including historic West Street with its plethora of shops and cafes. The friendly hotel staff are always on hand to provide assistance and guests can be assured of a comfortable stay in the spacious guest rooms, where they can enjoy 24 hour room service and complimentary wifi.
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