Feel free to arrive Beijing at any time today, as there are no planned activities. The group will meet at 6pm. Please check for a notice from your Tour Leader. Following the meeting, we head out into the city to eat some delicious Beijing delights with your new group. Our dinner tonight is the traditional speciality, as we enjoy a delicious Peking Duck dinner
On Day 2 we set out early for the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Here you can spend the day wandering from tower to tower along this magnificent feat of construction. Possibly bring a picnic and eat it atop the wall. We will make it home for the late afternoon, where it is possible to do an optional activity - a Shaolin Monk Kung Fu Show, the Beijng Opera, or the Beijing Acrobats! Day 3 takes us exploring the Forbidden City and its corridors and buildings. We will also stand in the heart of Tiananmen square, and hear the significance of these places to modern day Chinese. In the afternoon we will visit the Temple of Heaven, which is a refuge for Chinese retirees, where they practice water calligraphy, tai chi, or walk pet crickets! We'll tour the temple itself, and learn the history of this intricate structure, historically only used twice a year! On the evening of Day 4, we board a comfortable overnight sleeper that will ease us into Xi'an early the following morning.(Approx. 9 hrs)
An overnight train in China is a real experience, a great way to get to meet some of the locals in this vast country. Travelling with children is a particularly enriching experience on trains, as everybody wants to talk to or meet the kids, and the children will likely be interested to learn more about different people and cultures. The trains are usually packed with all kinds of people travelling all over the country, so you are assured there will never be a dull moment. We arrive into Xi'an this morning, and after taking time to refresh in the hotel, we rent bikes and head out onto the city walls. Xi'an is surrounded by well-preserved walls, and because these are flat, its easy to cycle around them. After our trip, we walk around the muslim quarter, packed with stalls and shops. In the afternoon we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors, built over 2000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, approximately 1 hour from town. Over 6000 life-size warriors have been discovered. Spend half a day exploring this archaeological wonder, before we return to Xi'an for the evening.
After a free morning in Xi'an, our journey continues as we fly onto Chengdu. On the morning of Day 8, we visit the panda breeding centre. This is the best opportunity to see the giant pandas up close and personal. To do this we have an early start, but this is to fit in with the panda's schedule. The panda eats one type of bamboo, and in large quantities. However, these noble animals get up early to eat, and once they have eaten, then they prefer to sleep for the rest of the day. But, getting here early, we can see them at their best. This afternoon we visit the historic town of Huanglongxi. The Qing dynasty buildings in the town have been preserved in their original style, and it retains the charm and style of years passed. Wandering around Huanglongxi can make you feel that you have gone back in time.
We have the morning free in Chengdu, before we fly to the city of Guilin, and from the airport we transfer two hours to the village town of Yangshou. This will no doubt rate as one of your favorite spots in China. The scenery is spectacular, surrounded by limestone karsts with a river running through the rice fields.
We start our stay here with a cruise along the Li River. The river snakes its way through the region, in the unique landscape here of karst peaks that tower over the river and poke through the mist. Along the way keep a lookout for the local fishermen, who use coromrants to catch the fish. We have left a lot of free time in Yangshuo, as there is a wide variety of activities that you and your family might want to do. There are so many options for your free time, from cooking school in a picturesque setting, to tai chi on the river, calligraphy and painting, shopping in the local markets, walking along the river, swimming, or just spending time soaking up the scenery in one of the many tempting cafes around town. Take a cycle ride through the fields with a local guide, and be rewarded by a delicious local lunch. Try beer fish, garlic fried water spinach, and stuffed aubergine! We have included the services of a 2nd CEO here in Yangshuo to give the parents and kids time to enjoy different activities. Something for you all to talk about at the end of the day. On the evening of day 11, we transfer back to Guilin train station, where we take an overnight train (approx.13 hrs) which arrives in Hong Kong in the late morning.
Once we arrive at the border, we complete the formalities of crossing over to Hong Kong. Once in Hong Kong, we have time for an orientation walk around town. We take the Star Ferry across the water to climb Victoria Peak, with spectacular views over the whole of Hong Kong. In the evening, we head down to the harbour front to watch the incredible lightshow that illuminates the entire skyline of Kowloon.
Today is free in Hong Kong for all the family to enjoy everything this multicultural city has to offer. Take a junk boat out in Aberdeen harbour or wander through the markets and pick up a bargain. If the kids are looking for more excitement, Hong Kong boasts DIsneyworld and the aquatic themed Ocean Park for some more action packed activities. Tonight there is the option of a final group meal, where we can recap on the exhausting adventures of the last two weeks.
This morning we transfer to the airport and say goodbye to our new-found friends. The tour ends here.