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Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Today, set out to sightsee the nation’s capital. Tiananmen Square is a square for the public and also home of the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the Communist father of the Communist People’s Republic and the striking Monument to the People’s Heroes. Across the way is the Forbidden City. A vision in grandeur with it’s imperial yellow roofs and vermilion walls, the Forbidden City, once forbidden to all those except on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was turfed off his throne. Built between 1406 and 1420, it served as the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing dynasties. Enjoy a guided walk through the city’s many temples, grand halls and courtyards.
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. Also visit a cloisonne workshop, where you’ll see firsthand the production of decorative items utilising the techniques of this practised and ancient craft.
Visit Silk Alley markets and the Summer Palace with its UNESCO-listed imperial gardens, located on Kunming Lake. This vast complex is replete with lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi. Tonight board your overnight sleeper train to Xi'an (4 berth cabin).
Xi’an is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old Terracotta Warriors comprise more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers standing battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. No two faces are alike – each is said to be an individual portrait. Today, we visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors, Huanqing Hot Springs, a scenic spot in the shadow of Li Mountain and a workshop where crafts people make clay warrior replicas.
Today, we visit the city symbol, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, before enjoying a leisurely bike ride on Xi’an’s medieval City Wall, which dates from the Ming dynasty. We then visit the local Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Spend the morning at leisure before flying to Chongqing, the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise.
Spend the next two days on 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! The first gorge we pass, Qutangxia Gorge is the shortest and narrowest yet the most impressive. Here, the dramatic 1200m limestone peaks are often shrouded in mist and the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste. Next comes Wuxia Gorge lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers an spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges.
We disembark from our cruise in Yichang late this morning. Take a high speed train bound for Wuhan, where you will catch a flight to Guilin. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in.
Renown for it’s striking, if bizarre scenery, vast areas of karst limestone outcrops that rise up from flat rice paddy fields, Guilin is often the subject of Chinese painting. We undertake a relaxing cruise down the River Li to Yangshuo passing an endless procession of peaks and simple villages. The local fishermen use trained cormorants to catch fish and local village boys paddle out to the river boats with all manner of souvenirs. We spend some time in charming Yangshuo, with its little shops and cafes. Back in Guilin, we visit the enormous Reed Flute Caves.
Fly from Guilin to scenic Hangzhou this morning. Hangzhou is unusual for a Chinese city, in that it encompasses large tracts of greenery which might normally be classified as countryside. This is thanks to Xi Hu, the large lake that Hangzhou straddles. Hangzhou is also the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and an important centre for silk, tea and paper-making. Today we visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda and Chinese Tea Museum.
We explore West Lake, which is dotted with various islands and causeways, whilst the shoreline offers wonderful vistas of green trees, flowers, pavillions, pagodas and boats. We also visit Lingyin Temple and take a bicycle ride.
Driving through some of China most scenic landscapes, we head to Tunxi which is at the foot of our destination, Mt Huangshan. Tunxi is an ancient town with some amazing well preserved Ming and Qing buildings. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and head out to explore the ancient street on your own.
This morning we enjoy a cable-car journey up the mountain to the scenic area of Huangshan, where you’ll stay for the next two nights. Your guide will take you to see some of the amazing and magical scenic points of interest in the region.
Considered the most beautiful mountain in China, Yellow Mountain or Huangshan is one of a range of 72 peaks in Anhui Province. Set amidst rural landscapes and with its slopes clad in pine, the scenery is breathtaking, some 9,000 steps have been carved into the mountain. Enjoy a free day to explore this stunning area.
What goes up must come down! Heading back down the mountain by cable car, we reach Tunxi once again then take to the highway for the journey to Suzhou, also known as China's Little Venice.
Today we enjoy a tour of ancient Suzhou, a Venetian-like town with its UNESCO-listed gardens and many waterways and traditional bridges. Enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal, which stretches over 1,000 miles from Beijing to Hangzhou and crosses the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. The hubbub of activity comprising boats and people both on and along the Canal offers an amazing sight. Also visit a silk workshop and the Humble Administrator’s Garden.
Enroute to Shanghai we stop off at lovely Zhouzhuang - an ancient town featuring traditional buildings, small bridges and tree-lined waterways astride the Jinghang Canal. Perhaps China’s most modern city, Shanghai's amazing Pudong skyline is breathtaking. Upon arrival enjoy a tour of the Bund area and a cruise on the Huangpu River.
Once known for its decadent magnetism that attracted fortune-seekers and adventurers, Shanghai looks like a European city in a Chinese setting. Enjoy a day out in Shanghai, with a visit to the Oriental Pearl TV tower, Jade Buddha Temple, charming Yuyuan Gardens and the Old City.
Today is free for you to explore the sights of Shanghai. Perhaps have a drink at landmark Peace Hotel on Shanghai’s famous Bund, with its legendary jazz band which play nostalgic rhythms amidst 1930s Art Deco elegance
Sadly your tour with us comes to an end today. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your departure flight.
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