Itinerary & Map
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Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. After your over night flight you will arrive in Beijing in the early afternoon. Your tiume is free until the welcome meeting that evening at 6pm. After arriving in Beijing, there will be plenty of time for relaxing and meeting the other members of your group, before perhaps heading out to enjoy the first of many superb Chinese meals. Although the original terminus of the Silk Route was Xi'an, the infamous Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan made Beijing his capital and extended the route. During the Ming dynasty two of the city's great monuments were built – The Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven - which we will visit on Day 3 of our tour.
Dong Fang Hotel
Today we set off for the drive to perhaps China’s best-known attraction, the Great Wall (approx 2 hours). Stretching over 5000km from the coast in the east, the wall was built as a defence against invasion from the horsemen of the far north, and has survived since then. Surrounded by woodland and countryside and around 90km from Beijing, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is considered by many to be one of the best preserved and restored parts of the wall. Renowned for its Ming Dynasty guard towers (there are 22 of them over this 2,250 metre-long stretch) and built mainly of granite, the wall is an impressive sight at over 7 metres high and more than 4 metres wide. We'll walk along a section of the wall, taking in the surrounding scenery and getting a feel for the sheer size of this amazing construction. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for lots of steps! For those wanting a more relaxing way to get to the top of the wall there is the option of taking a cable car.
Dong Fang Hotel - Breakfast included
This morning after breakfast we will head out for a discovery of the Chinese capital.The maze of buildings within the City became the symbolic and literal heart of the capital and the kingdom. Symbolism abounds here; dragon and phoenix represent emperor and empress, and construction was in accordance with the principles of Yin and Yang - the balance of negative and positive forces.In the afternoon we'll stop at a local hotel, where we have the chance to freshen up before we transfer to the station (approx. 3 hours) and board our overnight sleeper train to Xi'an (approx. 12 hours). Why not use your free time on the train for an informal language lesson from your leader or a local and learn a few simple words to use in your travels?Overnight sleeper train - Breakfast included
Arrive in the imperial city of Xi'an. Human activity in this area dates back 6,000 years, but it was the Zhou dynasty which established Xi'an as its capital. Then under the Tang dynasty, a magnificent city was built which was used thereafter as a model for other Chinese cities and also for the Japanese capital at Nara. As terminus of the Silk Road, Xi'an was the world’s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city and capital of a powerful kingdom. We'll be taken by our Group Leader on a walk around the city centre, including spending some time wandering through the back streets of the Muslim quarter, which is home to one of the largest mosques in China.
Xi'an is, of course, famous for the Terracotta Warriors, guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Although this vast army was buried some 22 centuries ago, it was only discovered as recently as 1974.
Union Alliance Atravis Executive Hotel – Breakfast included
Today we transfer to the airport and fly to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. Chengdu is famous throughout China for many things including spicy Sichuan food and the endless chatter of the city’s tea houses.On day 7 we have a day trip to Leshan (approx. 90 mins) to see the world's biggest Buddha - Da Fo. He is over 71m tall and carved into the cliff side. An amazing sight! There are 2 ways of visiting this "Buddha" , either by walking around the mountain or taking the boat for its complete view. Our tour leader will advise us the best way to visit depending on the time and the season of our visit.
Garden City Hotel - Breakfast included
Globally Chengdu it is renowned for the panda research centre, which we will visit this morning. China’s national pride, the giant panda is a rare and increasingly threatened creature. It’s an early start as pandas are only active for a few hours of the day to eat and exercise, but the opportunity to get close to these remarkable beings is an experience not to be missed.
After the pandas we take a flight to Guilin, from where we head into the picturesque countryside to Yangshuo. The inspiration for many paintings and literary works, Yangshuo lies on the western bank of the Li River, which meanders languidly through a remarkable landscape of dramatic limestone sugarloaf peaks, one of the most memorable classical images of China.
Yangshou New Li River Hotel – Breaskfast included
Located deep within karst peaks of Guangxi province, Yangshuo is a haven for many visitors from the hustle and bustle of ever-developing China. We start our day with an easy pace , the same as the locals. We take a short walking tour with our leader to familiarize with this laid back town then we test out our moves with a local Kungfu or Tai Chi teacher and pick up a few tricks or two. In the afternoon we will visit a local farmer's market before we take a short drive to Chalong, where we are able to learn the art of Chinese cooking.
The next morning, we have a great chance to explore the countryside this morning as we head out of town on bikes to cycle the farm tracks, meandering through paddy fields and with spectacular limestone karst scenery on all sides. The rest of the time is free to explore Yangshuo. There are many activities available here including calligraphy classes and boat trips on the river or many shops and cafes to browse and relax in.
Yangshou New Li River Hotel – Breakfast and one dinner included
This morning we head to the train station and board the Bullet train enroute to Hong Kong. The train journey takes 4-5 hours to travel from Guilin to Shenzhen and then we take the intercity bus from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. Crossing the border from China into Hong Kong is a busy and time consuming task. It can take up to 2 hours on each side to clear immigration and customs, and our bags will be with us during this time. Patience is essential.
We arrive into the city between 5-6 pm and our leader will take us on an orientation walk to get us settled and if there is time (and energy) the group can head to the harbour to see the light show.
Metropark Hotel Kowloon - Breakfast included
Hong Kong has been back under Chinese rule since 1997 and it is a truly unique place where east and west meet. The vibrant and fast paced city is only minutes away from quiet islands and beaches. We have left the day free for you to explore the city. Youer leader will help with some great ideas and suggestions. Ride on the Star Ferry, see the nightly light show on the Harbour, travel on the double decker buses and trams or take a day trip to Macau if you have extra time in Hong Kong. Travel to the city's highest point - Victoria Peak on the unique Peak Tram and hope that the weather will be clear for spectacular views!
Metropark Hotel Kowloon - Breakfast included
There are no activities planned for the final day and you will be transferred to the aiprort for your flight home.