Embark on an enthralling discovery of China
Take a captivating journey through time as we embark on an enthralling discovery of China's cultural highlights. Boasting ancient, natural and modern wonders, we travel from vibrant Beijing to the iconic Terracotta Warriors, the rural idyll and majestic limestone peaks of Guilin, and the superb architectural legacies of Shanghai.
Our tour begins with an overnight flight from London to Hong Kong. Arriving on Day 2, we transfer to our hotel, and the rest of your day is at leisure ahead of dinner together this evening.
We begin our exploration of Hong Kong today, with a full day of sightseeing in this incredible city. A former British outpost, Hong Kong is proud of its distinctive personality, and, like much of modern China, seamlessly blends contemporary architecture with historic surroundings. Chic glass-sided villas pop amidst the subtropical forest of the city's outskirts like giant greenhouses, whilst high-end eateries and relics of an ancient past rub shoulders in the central district, a delightful paradox of space and time squeezed into a vibrant destination. Our tour takes in some of the highlights of Hong Kong, starting with a breathtaking tram-ride up to the tip of Victoria Peak, for stunning views across the island - an unforgettable introduction. Next, we take to the waters of Aberdeen Promenade in a traditional sampan boat, before delving into the maze of Stanley Market's colourful stalls.
After free time for lunch, we discover one of Hong Kong's truly antique wonders, with a visit to the Man Mo Temple. Dedicated to the gods of literature and war, this Qing Dynasty monument served as a place of both spiritual and civic guidance in years gone by. After time to soak up the atmosphere of one of Hong Kong's oldest temples, we take a classic Star Ferry cruise, taking in the skyscrapers of the island en-route to Kowloon, where we disembark for the final spectacle of the day: a fabulous performance known as the 'Symphony of Lights.' Set to music, this dazzling light show is played out every evening at 8pm, and celebrates the unique heritage of Hong Kong. We retire to our hotel after the show, where breakfast is included the next morning. Day 4 is free for you to relax, or otherwise explore Hong Kong at your own pace.
Today we leave Hong Kong behind, taking an internal flight to Chengdu, in China's Sichuan province. On arrival, we check into our hotel, before enjoying a dinner of local specialities this evening. On Day 6 we visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute, which is spread out over 200 acres and is now home to more than 100 of these magnificent creatures. The project allows us to see the Giant Panda, an incredibly enchanting and rare creature, at close quarters with almost uninterrupted views. This afternoon, we continue to the Wenshu Monastery, the best-preserved monastery in the region. Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, home to an incredible array of ancient artworks and relics, including paintings, calligraphy, and intricate statues of Buddha. Later, we visit Jinli Street, a historical section of the city bustling with local artisans, craft stalls, sizzling Sichuan cuisine, and delightful tea houses.
Leaving Chengdu, we fly to Xi'an, China's ancient former capital, for two nights at the Grand Mecure Remnin Square. Tonight we enjoy a traditional dumpling banquet, and excellent welcome to the city, and an introduction to its best-known cuisine.
On Day 8 we visit the world renowned Terracotta Warriors. Uncovered in 1974, the 6,000 life-sized figures were created in about 210 BC on the command of the first Emperor of China to guard him in death. The figures show an astonishing level of detail, including individual expressions, and are arranged according to rank.
We have time to explore this enthralling site before returning to Xi'an for a guided tour of its centuries-old landmarks. Among the highlights, we see the huge city walls which date to the Ming Dynasty and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
We make the short journey by air to Shanghai, a dynamic, fast-paced city, and a heady mix of ultra-modernisation and grand colonial architecture. We stay here for two nights at the Regal International East Asia. Our sightseeing on Day 10 includes the serene Yu Garden, nestled within the bazaar, Shanghai's historic core. We also explore the surrounding tangle of streets before heading to the delightful French Concession this afternoon. After free time to arrange lunch, we continue to the Bund, one of Shanghai's most iconic locations. Here the dazzling buildings tower over the broad boulevard alongside the Huangpu River.
Hop on board the high-speed train today, for the journey from futuristic Shanghai to Beijing, China's enthralling capital. Travelling by G-train - the fastest mode of rail travel in China - we enjoy a smooth journey in the best standard aboard our modern bullet train, as we traverse the country en-route to Beijing. On arrival, we transfer to the Novotel Peace Beijing, situated in the heart of the city.
Today's sightseeing tour takes us through Beijing's rich and resonant past, starting at Tiananmen Square, site of the infamous 1989 student led protests. We then visit the remarkable Forbidden City, the jewel in Beijing's crown. Boasting over 1,000 rooms, the complex is one of the city's most iconic monuments. Afterwards, we continue exploring Beijing's highlights with a visit to the Summer Palace, a breathtaking lakeside complex that once served as a cool retreat from the city during the hotter months. The Summer Palace still bears scars from its part in the Opium Wars, when it was ransacked by invading forces, though subsequent restorations over the years have restored most areas to a state of splendour, with some superficial damage retained as a reminder of the site's history. Following our sightseeing, we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant this evening.
This morning we pay a visit to one of Beijing's most spectacular monuments, the Temple of Heaven, a perfect example of Beijing's rich blend of ancient and modern. As well as having great historical significance, the Temple of Heaven is these days a popular meeting spot for local residents. This afternoon, we transfer by coach to Mutianyu, where we visit China's most famous structure - the Great Wall. Stretching from the Gobi Desert to the Korean border, the Great Wall is a masterpiece of ancient craftsmanship. We ascend by chair lift at Mutianyu, to visit an immaculately preserved stretch, admiring the dramatic views. Our farewell dinner this evening is a Beijing classic - Peking duck.
Today we transfer to the airport for the flight back to London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Embark on an enthralling discovery of China