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This longer tour gives you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in China. Experience the bustle of the great cities then relax on the river cruises and in the gardens of Suzhou. A side trip to Lhasa is an added bonus.

Beijing – Xi’an – Lhasa – Chongqing – Yangtze River Cruise – Yichang – Shanghai – Suzhou – Hangzhou – Guilin – Yangshuo – Shenzhen

Mutianyu Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Xi’an City Wall, The Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Barkhor Street, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Yangtze River Cruise, Three Gorges Dam, Yuyuan Gardens, Shanghai World Financial Centre, The Bund, Tongli, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Hangzhou West Lake, Meijiawi Tea Plantation, Six Harmonies Pagoda, Li River Cruise, Yangshuo West Street, Impressions of Liu Sanjie Show, Splendid China

Itinerary Day By Day

Day 1 – Arrival in Beijing

Our guide will meet you outside the baggage claim area at Beijing Airport and transfer you to your hotel.
The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Meals: No meals provided.

Day 2 – Beijing

Attractions – Mutianyu Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Bird’s Nest, Water Cube, Peking Roast Duck Dinner

Today you will have the opportunity to climb the ancient steps at Mutianyu Great Wall which is one of the best preserved sections of the wall and less crowded than Badaling. If you wish you can avoid the steep climb by riding a cable car up. On the way back to Beijing you will visit the Ming Tombs and the magnificent Lingsi Palace. You will also stop by the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube Cube for an outside view of the unique constructions built for the 2008 Olympic Games.

For dinner, you will have a chance to taste the famous Peking Roast Duck.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel
Dinner – Peking Roast Duck

Day 3 – Beijing

Attractions – Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Hutongs, Temple of Heaven, Peking Opera

You will start today’s tour with a visit to Tiananmen Square, which is the largest city-central square in the world. To the north is the magnificent Tiananmen Gate with its five openings. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the passage in the middle leading to the Forbidden City was reserved for the emperor himself.  Now you can walk through it to explore the largest and best-preserved imperial palace in China.

In the afternoon you will have a chance to tour the Beijing ‘hutong’ by rickshaw. These are the narrow back alleyways where you can get a glimpse of how Beijing used to be. Finally visit the Temple of Heaven where the Emperors once worshiped heaven and prayed for good harvests.

In the evening we offer you the opportunity to enjoy some Peking Opera featuring exquisite costumes and the skilled use of body language.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 4 – Beijing to Xi’an

Attractions – Summer Palace

In the morning you will visit the Summer Palace to view the royal gardens and the famous Long Corridor. After lunch you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Xi’an.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 5 – Xi’an

Attractions – Xi’an City Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Dumpling Banquet
Our Xi’an tour begins with a visit to the City Wall which was initially built as a military defense system over 600 years ago. From the wall you can appreciate magnificent ancient constructions and admire the surrounding urban landscape
Next you will head for Xi’an’s most famous attraction, the Terracotta Warriors. Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin’s tomb since 210BC. Prepare to be impressed.
Afterwards you will visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang brought back from his epic journey to India. The pagoda is one of the most distinctive and outstanding landmarks of Xi’an.
This evening you will feast on a traditional Dumpling Banquet, a specialty of the region, afterwards enjoying a performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty.
Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, Dinner – Dumpling Banquet

Day 6 – Xi’an to Lhasa

Attractions – Drive from Lhasa Airport

Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and is located at an altitude of 3,650 metres. Because of its remoteness it has long been a ‘must see’ place for adventurous travellers. It has over 1300 years of cultural and spiritual history and is a centre for Tibetan and Buddhist culture in China.
Upon arrival at Gongkar Airport you will be met by your local guide and driver. The airport is located 70 kilometres from Lhasa so you will have the opportunity to enjoy some magnificent scenery on the way to your hotel. The remainder of the day is for relaxing and acclimatizing to the altitude. Drink plenty of water and don’t overexert yourself.
Overnight in Lhasa. (3658m)
Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 7 – Lhasa

Attractions – Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Barkhor Street

No tour to Lhasa is complete without visiting the Potala Palace and that is where your tour will begin today. The Potala Palace is one of world’s most famous buildings and it is an impressive sight as it towers above Lhasa. The Red Palace contains various chapels and mausoleums for previous Dalai Lamas while the White Palace was the living quarters for successive Dalai Lamas and their tutors. Altogether it is a vast awe inspiring maze of corridors and rooms full of articles pertaining to Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts.

The Jokhang Temple is Tibet’s spiritual centre and the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists. It was originally built in 647AD and has been added to over the years making it a mix of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural styles. You will see many pilgrims prostrating themselves at the entrance.

Finish your day with a lap around the Barkor Street ‘kora’ or pilgrim circuit. It is a photographer’s paradise with marvellous wares for sale to crowds of exotically dressed pilgrims. Spiritual souvenirs and pilgrim accessories line the circuit and you can buy anything Tibetan from yak butter to prayer flags and turquoise jewellery. It is a place you can return to again and again for continually changing experiences. Out of respect for the pilgrims you should always move in a clockwise direction.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 8 – Lhasa

Attractions – Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery

Your day’s tour will begin at Drepung Monastery, the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and at its peak was the largest monastery of any religion in the world with 7,700 monks in attendance. Dating from 1416 it was known for its high standards of academic excellence.

We will continue to Norbulingka which means ‘Jewel Garden’ and is the largest man made garden in Tibet. It was constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama.

Your tour of Lhasa concludes at the magnificent Sera Monastery. The highlight here is watching the debating monks. Every afternoon at 3.00pm (except Mondays) there is a debate about Buddhist doctrines in the shady courtyard behind the main temple. The red robed monks gather in small groups to practice their debating skills in a very dynamic and lively manner. Tourists are welcome to watch quietly from the edges.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 9 – Lhasa to Chongqing

Today you will have free time in the Lhasa before you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Chongqing. Here you will board the boat for your trip down the Yangtze.

Meals: Breakfast in your hotel

Day 10 – Yangtze River Cruise

Attractions – Yangtze River, Fengdu, Mount Mishan

The Yangtze is one of the world’s great rivers and winds its way for 6,300 kilometres across China to empty into the East China Sea near Shanghai. Today you will stop at Fengdu and take a chairlift up to Mount Mishan. Here is the Temple of the Emperor of Hell with its wild demon images.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.

Day 11 – Yangtze River Cruise

Attractions – Yangtze River, Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Xiling Gorge, Shennong Stream

Rise early to view the magnificent river scenery as you cruise through three gorges – Qutang, Wu and Xiling. Between The Wu and Xiling Gorges you will take an excursion in a smaller boat up Shennong Stream for three or four hours. Enjoy the picturesque scenery while listening to the local boatmen singing folk songs. During the night the boat will pass through the locks at the Three Gorges Dam.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.

Day 12 – Yichang to Shanghai

Attractions – Three Gorges Dam, Yichang

Today you will take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest irrigation project. After lunch disembark in Yichang and transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch on board.

Day 13 – Shanghai

Attractions – Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Gardens, Dim-sum Banquet, Shanghai World Financial Centre, The Bund, Evening Cruise

Today will be a busy day as you tour the highlights of Shanghai beginning at the Jade Buddha Temple and the exquisite classic Yuyuan Gardens. Enjoy a dim-sum banquet for lunch before ascending the new Shanghai World Financial Centre for a bird’s eye view of the city. Stroll along the Bund past the colonial buildings before finishing the day with a cruise on the Huangpu River to view Shanghai by night.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, Lunch – Dim-sum Banquet

Day 14 – Shanghai to Suzhou via Tongli

Attractions – Tongli

Today we travel from Shanghai to Suzhou. On the way we will stop at the well preserved water township of Tongli. Over 1,000 years old, it is famous for its “One garden, two halls and three bridges”. If you are celebrating a wedding or your birthday it is good luck to walk across all three bridges. However they are not the only bridges in Tongli. Altogether there are about fifty of them!

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 15 – Suzhou to Hangzhou

Attractions – Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden

There is a saying, “Gardens to the south of the Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them.” At present more than 60 gardens are kept in the city with several of them on the World Heritage List.

We will begin our tour at the Humble Administrator’s Garden which is the largest and the most famous. Dating from the Ming Dynasty it is a perfect representative of a Chinese classical garden focusing on a central pond.

Next you will visit the Lingering Garden which is an elaborate succession of small gardens. It is designed to ‘linger’ through the generations with gardens, pools and a pavilion for each season. It is more than 400 years old.

In the late afternoon you will transfer to Hangzhou by train.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 16 – Hangzhou

Attractions – Hangzhou West Lake, Lingyan Temple, Meijiawi Tea Plantation, Qinghefang Pedestrian Street

We will begin at Hangzhou’s most famous attraction – West Lake. There are actually at least thirty-six West Lakes in China but unless otherwise specified the one in Hangzhou is usually the one that is being referred to. Legend claims that it is a heavenly jewel fallen to earth. A short boat trip to Fairy Island is an essential part of the West Lake experience.

Next we will visit Lingyan Temple which is one of the ten most famous ancient Buddhist monasteries in China. It houses various Buddhist treasures including more 470 stone carvings of Buddhist figures. There is also a most impressive 19.6 metre high statue of Sakyamuni which is carved out of 24 pieces of camphor wood and gilded with 104 ounces of gold.

Next we visit the Meijiawu Tea Plantation and Tea Shop where you can see tea picking and processing and also watch several tea ceremonies. So many kinds – Jasmine tea, Dragon Well tea, Green tea, Black tea and Wulong tea to name a few.

In the Qinghefang Pedestrian Street you can find traditional Chinese businesses. This area has a long history as a trading place in Hangzhou and is a wonderful place for a leisurely stroll.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 17 – Hangzhou to Guilin

Attractions – Six Harmonies Pagoda

We begin the day at the Six Harmonies Pagoda. The name comes from the Buddhist harmonies of heaven, earth, north, south, east and west and there is a good view of the Qiantang River from the top.

You will be met at Guilin Airport by your local guide and driven to your hotel to check in. Then you will visit Guilin city’s symbol, Elephant Trunk hill. Next you go to Reed Flute Cave to see the colourful stalactites, stalagmites and stone pillars. After the tour you will be returned to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 18 – Guilin to Yangshuo

Attractions – Li River Cruise, Yangshuo West Street, Impressions of Liu Sanjie Show

In the morning you will be driven to the pier to board the boat for your cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo. This will be one of the highlights of your China experience as you glide through the karst limestone landscape. You will enjoy lunch on board. Spend the afternoon bargaining for souvenirs in West Street or just relaxing at one of the many cafes. In the evening be amazed by the Impressions of Liu Sanjie sound and light show.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel, Lunch on the boat

Day 19 – Yangshuo to Shenzhen

Attractions – Biking around Yangshuo

Explore the local rural scenery around Yangshuo by bike including Moon Hill and the Big Banyan Tree. Do some final shopping in West Street before being driven back to Guilin Airport for your flight to Shenzhen.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 20 – Shenzhen

Attractions – Splendid China

Today you will visit Splendid China, a theme park in Shenzhen which has all the major tourist attractions in China reproduced in miniature. It is the largest park of its kind in the world. You can review the places you have been to and find inspiration for future trips. The second part of the park is the China Folk Cultural Village where you can watch performances of various folk dances and songs from China’s many minority groups. Don’t miss the amazing Tibetan horse show.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 21 – Depart Shenzhen

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

Meals: Breakfast at your hotel