Highlights of China
Day 1 Shanghai
Arrive at any time. As group members will arrive at different times there are no arranged activities on Day 1 until our group meeting at 1800hrs. Please see the notice board in the hotel foyer for details of this meeting. Following the meeting we'll have an optional group dinner and go for a stroll along the Bund, taking in Shanghai's futuristic skyline.
Day 2 Hangzhou
On Day 2, start the day with an orientation walk of the city and finish with free time to explore the mix of the modern and the historic in Shanghai. The Shanghai Museum is one of the best in the country, housing excellent collections of bronzes and artwork. In the afternoon, take a bullet train to Hangzhou, one of China's most historic and dynamic cities.
Days 3-5 Guilin/Yangshuo (1L)
Spend most of Day 3 exploring Hangzhou. Visit West Lake and Longjing village, home of the famous Longjing tea. Enjoy the plantation views while learning about this ancient tea production and having opportunity to taste some fresh brewed tea. In the evening on Day 3, fly to Guilin and travel 1.5 hours south by private bus through stunning limestone karst scenery to the town of Yangshuo on the world famous Li River. Days 4 and 5 are spent enjoying the heaps of activities there are in this scenic region. On Day 5, enjoy a half-day cycling tour through the countryside taking in the charming mix of vibrant rural life and unique stunning scenery from farmers and water buffalo to children swimming in the streams amidst an other-wordly backdrop of surreal topography. There are so many optional activities to do in Yangshuo with some favourites including trying your hand at cooking local fare in a boutique local cooking school, dabbling in tai chi or Chinese calligraphy, walk and cycling through the countryside, climb up to a panoramic view from atop a karst or relax with some people watching from one of the many cafés in town.
Days 6-9 Yangtze River (3B,2L,2D)
On Day 6, we fly from Guilin to bustling Chongqing. Travel by private bus for 1 hour to board the cruise boat taking us down the Yangtze River. We spend two days travelling through stunning scenery along one of the most powerful rivers in all of China, dividing the country into north and south. Pass through the Three Gorge. Opt to leave the boat and take small side trips to villages and/or temples along the river, or to get onto smaller boats and visit tributaries along the way. Cabins are twin share, with ensuite bathrooms. Comfortable, but not glamorous. There are Chinese meals available three times a day on our vessel. After disembarking our vessel on Day 9, you can opt to visit the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam. It's best view is by passing by but if interested we can have a tour of the facility and see the engineering giant for ourselves. We then make our way to the train station and board an overnight train to Xi'an (approx 13 hours).
Days 10-11 Xi'an
Arrive early to Xi'an and transfer to our hotel. The ancient capital of China and terminus of the fabled Silk Road, Xi'an boats a plethora of attractions including the Great Mosque and a downtown core enclosed by an enormous city wall which can be climbed for a small fee. Rent a bike up top and cycle around the walls for a great vantage of the city. Head out to the Muslim Quarter for some of the best street food in China – the spicy beef and lamb kebabs are always a favourite. Xi'an is home base for a half-day exploration of the famous Terracotta Warriors located about an hour out of town. Built over 2000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, there are over 6000 life-size warriors that have been discovered. In the evening of Day 11, board our final overnight train for Beijing (approx 15 hours).
Days 12-13 Beijing
Arrive to Beijing early on Day 12. We'll drop our bags at the hotel before heading off to explore the nearby iconic Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City. With free time in the afternoon you can experience one of Beijing's many markets and world-class shopping malls or visit some of the city’s many sights such as the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, Lama Temple or traditional alleys called hutongs. On Day 13 the trip finishes with a day trip out to the Great Wall, an incredible feat of engineering ranging over 6000km from the Yellow Sea to the desert fort of Jiayuguan. The wall was originally constructed to protect the Chinese empires from the Mongolian 'barbarians' of the north. We return to to Beijing late afternoon for an opportunity to spend your final night with your tourmates at one of the capital's many bars or restaurants.
Day 14 Beijing
Depart at any time.