Kicking off in Beijing, soak up all the attractions of China’s historic capital before heading south to the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an and the Giant Pandas of Chengdu. Cruise along the mighty Yangtze River, passing through the stunning Three Gorges and then explore Shanghai and ancient Suzhou!
Saturday. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Enjoy an arrival transfer to our hotel.
After a short group meeting we embark on a sightseeing tour of the nation’s capital and home of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing and is a public arena for the people and stage for Chairman Mao mausoleum. Across from the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Perhaps today, he is looking at a different Beijing, one that is quickly entering the 21st century. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors, it was only opened after the last emperor was overthrown in 1911. Encompassing architecturally stunning temples and halls, the complex of the Forbidden city is simply spectacular.
Later, we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys and old back lanes, we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life. 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. This evening we spend the night at our quaint hotel near Juyongguan Pass, which offers views of the Great Wall.
Overnight: Great Wall | Breakfast
Morning at the Great Wall
Juyongguan - Xi’an. 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. We have time to enjoy and explore the wall before visiting a Jade Carving Centre to learn about this ornamental rock and its importance in Chinese culture. After lunch we head back to Beijing. Free time is offered in the cavernous Pearl Market - an Aladdin's Cave of souvenirs, handbags and gadgets, before travelling by express soft sleeper train to Xi’an in Shaanxi Province.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast, Lunch
Upon arrival into Xi'an we transfer to our hotel for breakfast and check in with time to freshen up. Today we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of Xian’s most iconic landmarks, followed by the vibrant Muslim Quarter.
Later we enjoy a leisurely bike ride atop the Xi’an City Wall. Dating back to 1370 the 12m-high walls are some of the few remaining urban fortifications still standing in China today and after extensive restorations the City Walls offer ample opportunities from which to explore Xi'an.
This evening, On Broadway - Chinese style we can attend a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang’an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors. Check out our Tang Dynasty add-on for more details and book with your travel consultant to secure your place.
Overnight: Xi'an | Breakfast, Lunch
Xi’an - Chengdu. Today's highlight is the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site. Standing in battle-ready formation and numbering into the thousands, the Terracotta Army is Xian’s most popular sight and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, 13 years after the army was discovered. Built by local craftsman during the 3rd century BC for emperor Qinshihuang, the life-sized warriors and horses were designed to offer protection in the afterlife. We also visit a clay workshop specialising in making replica figurines of the Terracotta Warriors. Late this afternoon we take a high speed train to Chengdu. Reaching speeds of up to 300km per hour the journey is an experience in itself!
Overnight: Chengdu | Breakfast, Lunch
Giant Buddha of Leshan
Driving to Leshan our morning is spent exploring the UNESCO-listed Great Buddha, which is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. We return to Chengdu and the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Chengdu | Breakfast, Lunch
Wake up with a visit to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. First opened in 1987 with just six pandas, after years of successful breeding projects the population now stands at over 80. Visitors can learn all about a panda's development and see both baby and adults pandas as well as the smaller red pandas. Later we visit the Wenshu Monastery, built during the Qing Dynasty. The temple is a hidden gem with few tourists visiting and a stop must be made at the delightful teahouse located inside the temple grounds. The evening is spent at leisure. On most nights Sichuan Opera is performed at the Shufengyayun Theatre.
Overnight: Chengdu | Breakfast
Chengdu - Chongqing - Yangtze River cruiser. This morning we transfer to Chongqing (approx 2 hours), the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise (if time permits) we can stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
Overnight: Yangtze & Three Gorges | Breakfast, Dinner
Yangtze River cruise. Good morning from 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, which straddles Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers a spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges. During our cruise, we mayalso sail through the new ship locks of the impressive Three Gorges Dam.
Whilst cruising, shore excursions are offered at no additional expense to Shibaozhai and Shennong stream, with its unique scenery and four natural gorges. Drift serenely along the stream in small, open ‘pea pod boats’ (water levels dependant), looking out upon lush greenery, jagged peaks and ancient villages of the Tujia people - one of the local ethnic minorities.
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Yichang - Nanjing. Disembarking from our cruise in Yichang at approx 11:00am. After lunch, we take a high speed train bound for Nanjing (approx 6 hours) reaching speeds of over 310km. Hotel check in and evening free in Nanjing.
Overnight: Nanjing | Breakfast, Lunch
Nanjing. Spend the morning at leisure before we enjoy lunch and embark on our afternoon city sightseeing tour. Former capital of the Ming Dynasty and capital of Republican China, from 1911 - 1949, Nanjing holds a rich history of both ancient and modern China. We visit the Fuzi Miao (Temple of Confucius) and the Mausoleum of Dr Sun Yatsen as part of our guided tour of the city. Lastly today, we will also visit the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre, which is a moving experience that charts the atrocities committed at this very site.
Overnight: Nanjing | Breakfast, Dinner
A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the Lingering Garden.
Overnight: Suzhou | Breakfast
Suzhou - Shanghai. Today we travel by road to bustling Shanghai where the remainder of the day is at leisure. Perhaps visit the Plaza tower, French Quarter, The Bund or the Old City.
Overnight: Shanghai | Breakfast
Sunday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport.
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.
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.
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.
Century Legend, Yangtze & Three Gorges
Cruise in style and comfort on board one of the newest ships on the Yangtze, the Century Legend. As you embark your contemporary, elegant ship, a friendly, English-speaking crew and stunning 7-story atrium lobby welcome you aboard. The ship features a state-of-the-art propulsion system that reduces vibration and decreases emissions to reduce environmental impact. Other innovations include a pillar less multifunction lounge with unobstructed views of evening entertainment, and a large indoor swimming pool, both firsts on the Yangtze.
Nanjing Fangyuan Jinling Plaza, Nanjing
Built in 2005, the Nanjing Fangyuan Jinling is a modern hotel suitable for both business and leisure clients. There are a number of types of room from standard to suites and all designed with calming tones and warm lighting. The hotel has a beautiful indoor pool (open seasonally) and a restaurant, however more restaurants and shops are available a short walk away. The accommodation is well located out of the city and close to the Nanjing Bridge.
Hotel Soul Suzhou, Suzhou
Located within close proximately to the highlights of Suzhou so visitors can appreciate the canals, gardens and much more of this charming city. This contemporary boutique hotel offers Wi-Fi throughout, a Suzhou-Style rooftop garden, gymnasium, café juice bar, dining options and showcases 19 stunning original artworks created by young local artists.
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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Extra Tour Info
Our tour guide, Feng was very good. Navigating our way through China was certainly helped with her translation skills and forward planning, as we were able to see parts of the Great Wall and Terrocottoa sodiers before the mass of other tourists arrive. ”