Day 1: Beijing
Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. The remainder of the day offers free time. Overnight - Beijing
Day 2: Forbidden City
Today, we embark on a guided tour of the nation’s capital. Tiananmen Square, a patriotic vision of grandeur and the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors boasting stunning temples, courtyards and reception halls. We take an afternoon rickshaw ride navigating the old back lanes and courtyards of Beijing’s Hutongs. 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 at a city restaurant. Overnight - Beijing
Day 3: The Great Wall
Today we walk the famous Great Wall of China. Said to be seen from space, the enduring symbol of Chinese civilisation and genius is a prize national treasure. The UNESCO protected Great Wall of China was built as a defensive structure to protect China against marauding invaders from the north. Although the present wall dates mainly from the Ming dynasty, some 20 states and dynasties were involved in its immense construction over a period of 2,000 years and followed different routes and building extensions as required. At one time perhaps nearly 9700km long, the wall was garrisoned by nearly 1 million soldiers and featured over 1,000 fortified passes and 10,000 beacon towers. Today, the now partially ruinous Great Wall stretches some 6700 kms across barren hills, deserts, mountains and plateaus. Today’s visit offers a healthy, if steep and vertiginous walk with breathtaking views of the Chinese countryside.
After taking time to catch our breath we tour a nearby cloisonne workshop demonstrating the ancient Chinese art of combining copper and enamel to make decorative pieces. This evening take an optional Beijing by Night city tour and see some of the capital's monuments illuminated against the night sky (payable locally). Overnight - Beijing
Day 4: Summer Palace
Beijing - Luoyang. Spend the morning touring the famous Summer Palace 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. We visit the famed Silk Alley markets and 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! Overnight - Luoyang
Days 5 - 6: Longman Caves
Luoyang - Longman Caves - Xi’an. Today we explore the UNESCO - listed 6th Century Longman Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples, carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Later on we tour the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China. On day 6, we visit the Peony Square to watch ballroom dancing, tai chi and sword fighting. Afterwards we board the new high speed train to Xi'an (journey time approximately 3 hours). Once in Xi'an we visit the Wild Goose Pagoda, Grand Mosque and Muslim quarter and this evening have a delicious local dinner. The evening is at leisure. Overnight - Luoyang (1), Xi'an (1)
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors
Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors are reputed to be the greatest discovery of the 20th century - 7,000 life-sized clay soldiers stand ready for battle. We visit the archaeological site and the workshop where the replica warriors are crafted. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance. Overnight - Xi'an
Day 8: Xi'an City Wall
Xi’an - Shanghai. Early this morning opt for our panda excursion to the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre a 2 hour drive from Xi’an. Later, we tour take a casual bicycle ride on top of the 9 mile Xi’an City Wall (no need to go the entire way around) perimeter peeking down upon the lively city beneath us. Afterwards we enjoy some free time in the city centre and a delicious hot pot lunch before boarding our train destined for sizzling Shanghai. Overnight - Sleeper Train
Day 9: Shanghai
Good morning Shanghai! Just the mere mention of ‘Shanghai’ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre – 1949, cosmopolitan Shanghai was a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. Everything went belly up in 1949, when Mao and the communists took to power and swept the good times and rock and roll away. A legacy of these heady times is Shanghai’s Bund where on and around this waterfront promenade are a vast series of grandiose pre-1949 buildings. Just across the Huangpu River is the new Shanghai, a high-tech development of gravity defying skyscrapers.
Today we tour many of the city’s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar- Shanghai’s finest traditional garden, the Bund, Pudong and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple and take a cruise along the Huangpu River. Overnight - Shanghai
Day 10: Suzhou, Grand Canal Cruise
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai. Today, we journey to an oriental Venice via high speed train - ancient Suzhou interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. We cruise on the Grand Canal at 1800km in length it's the longest canal on earth and ranks alongside the Great Wall as China’s greatest engineering achievement, and visit a silk workshop Overnight - Shanghai
Day 11: Shanghai
Tuesday. Our tour ends after breakfast and onward departure transfer to airport.
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