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Grand Tour of China

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Discover China's highlights on a single tour

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20202021
15 days From £2,995 per person

2021 Tour code: CYG21

About the tour

A dizzying mix of ancient culture, tumultuous history, stunning natural beauty, and dynamic urban landscapes, China is a feast for the senses. Magnificent Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors, captivating pandas, and a cruise through the Three Gorges offer an unforgettable experience.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-3 - London and Beijing

We depart London Heathrow on our overnight flight to Beijing, arriving in the Chinese capital on Day 2.

After transferring to the Novotel Peace Hotel, you are free to settle in. On Day 3, we discover the sights and sounds of China's vibrant capital. We begin by visiting the Tiananmen Square, which, at over 4 million square feet, is the largest city square in the world. Built by Mao Tse Tung to flaunt the power of Communism, the area houses his mausoleum where his embalmed body is kept. Most important state offices, including the Parliament House, are situated around the square. We also take in the neighbouring Forbidden City, a palace complex which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. A visit to a local tea house gives us the chance to experience one of China's oldest traditions in authentic surroundings, before we explore the sprawling Summer Palace.

Heaven Temple, Beijing
Day 4 - The Great Wall of China

We visit the world-famous Great Wall of China today. Listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this masterpiece of Chinese workmanship stretches thousands of miles from the Gobi Desert to the Korean border. We visit the Mutianyu section, a beautifully preserved stretch which offers incredible views over the seemingly endless mountain scenery.After ascending by cable car, we have the opportunity to walk along the wall.

In a guided tour of a cloisonne factory, we learn about the intricate art of Chinese enamel cloisonne made by embedding gold or powdered minerals on ceramics. We also see the 'Water Cube' and the 'Bird's Nest', the main arenas used in the 2008 Olympic Games. We end the day with a traditional Peking duck dinner.

Great Wall of China
Days 5-6 - To Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

We begin our day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a beautiful edifice in central Beijing. In the afternoon we leave Beijing behind, and join the rail service to Xi'an. Our journey on the high-speed service takes us through the beautiful landscapes of rural China. In Xi'an we transfer to our hotel, the Grand Mercure Remnin Square, for two nights. On Day 6 we discover the famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the world's greatest archaeological finds. The 6,000 figures - some with horses or chariots, but all with unique features - were buried in 210 BC, yet only discovered 44 years ago.

The life-sized statues were built as part of an elaborate tomb of the Qin Emperor, believed to protect him in death just as his real army had in life. Built on an incredible scale, the soldiers - all grouped in rank order - are a breathtaking sight. Later we discover more of the walled city of Xi'an, taking in the Great Mosque, the city's lively bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. We enjoy a dumpling making lesson this afternoon.

Dating back to the 8th century, the towering structure is a leading example of Tang Dynasty architecture. Tonight, there is a delicious and traditional dumpling banquet.

Terracotta Warriors
Days 7-8 - Chengdu & Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute

Today, we travel on the new high-speed rail service from Xi'an to Chengdu, where we spend two nights at the Tibet Hotel.

On Day 8 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 enchanting and rare creature, at close quarters in a near-natural habitat setting. We then return to Chengdu. Here we see the Wenshu Monastery, one of China's finest Buddhist structures, as well as the historic teak buildings on Jinli Street.

Panda Chengdu
Days 9-11 - Tea tasting and the Yangtze River cruise

We head to Renmin Park, or the People's Park, this morning. Boasting artful landscaping, bonsais, and 2 tea houses, this park is the venue for various local cultural activities. Afterwards, we enjoy a traditional aspect of China with a tasting in one of the local tea houses. Later, we transfer to the station for the high-speed bullet train service to Chongqing, situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Here, we board the luxurious 5-Star Century Glory river ship for our 3-night cruise along the Yangtze River. On the morning of Day 10, we rejuvenate ourselves with an early morning Tai Chi session onboard. After the ship moors, there's an option to visit the Fengdu ghost town (payable locally), a temple complex dedicated to afterlife. This afternoon we visit the stunning Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising 12 stories up a sheer cliff face. This evening, we attend the Captain's Banquet on board and enjoy cabaret performance by the crew.

On the morning of Day 11 there's an option of visiting the temples of the White Emperor City (payable locally). Our cruise then continues through the scenic locales of Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge, before we make a shore excursion to Shennong Stream. Here, the cliff sides soar steeply away from the near-emerald waters of this beautiful waterway.

People's Park, Chengdu
Days 12-13 - To Wuhan and Shanghai

We disembark at Yichang today to visit the colossal Three Gorges Dam, which is now the world's largest hydropower project. After, we travel by high-speed train to Wuhan for a night at the Marco Polo Hotel.

On Day 13, we visit Wuhan's distinctive Yellow Crane Tower, a stunning example of traditional Chinese architecture and the subject of many local legends, before transferring to the railway station for our journey to Shanghai. On arrival, we head out to explore the Bund, the swanky waterfront bordered by some of the iconic buildings of this futuristic city, before transferring to Pullman Jing'an Hotel for 2 nights.

Wuhan
Days 14-15 - Shanghai and London

A guided tour of Shanghai today takes us to the city's historic Yu Gardens where we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, and the bazaar, full of traditional shops and street performers, and the Jade Buddha Temple. Afterwards, we spend some time at the beautiful French Concession, a former foreign settlement full of leafy boulevards and European-style buildings. This evening we embark on a cruise along the Huangpu River, taking in the brightly-lit cityscape and enjoying dinner onboard.

On Day 15, we transfer to Shanghai airport by coach and high-speed Maglev train for our return flight to London Heathrow.

Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai

Additional information

Please note

Please note that throughout your tour you will need to be able to transfer your own luggage on and off each train we travel on as porterage is not included.

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing

Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing

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Tibet Hotel, Chengdu

Tibet Hotel, Chengdu

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Pullman Shanghai Jing'an, Shanghai

Pullman Shanghai Jing'an, Shanghai

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Marco Polo Hotel, Wuhan

Marco Polo Hotel, Wuhan

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Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian

Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian

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Train

Chinese Railways

Ship

Century river cruise ship

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Hong Kong
Suzhou

Reviews

97% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 37 verified reviews

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Anonymous

Submitted 17/11/2019

Great trip, well thought out, saw all the main sights without being too rushed.

Anonymous

Submitted 16/11/2019

Brilliant well organised tour catering for a group of 38

Anonymous

Submitted 09/11/2019

This was an amazing tour. The hotels were excellent and well situated. The local guides were knowledgeable and helpful. For me the downside was the size of the group. 42 was rather large.

Mr M Robinson

Submitted 12/10/2019

Excellent well organised tour with minimal hassle at terminals as porterage very effective. Excellent tour guide throughout and very informative local guides. Highly recommended. Only disappointing feature was the Yangtse river trip where vessel was a bir dated and shabby and service quality - particularly in restaurant - rather patchy..

Anonymous

Submitted 05/10/2019

A very busy but well managed itinerary with both an excellent Tour Manager and local guides.

Mr C Bell

Submitted 05/10/2019

Great itinerary, fantastic tour manager.

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