Peaceful pagoda gardens, colourful folklore evenings and dramatic acrobat shows line up alongside China’s star sights on this fascinating 15-day tour.
You’ll depart on your scheduled flight to Beijing today, arriving on day 2.
Upon arrival in Beijing, you will be met by your Local Guide and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon and evening are free for you to spend at leisure.
Beijing is an extraordinary city where ancient temples and ornate palaces stand beside the vast 20th century civic buildings created by Chairman Mao and his people. Daily life in Beijing is a truly spellbinding sight. It is a city of bustling street markets, crowded buses and, above all, friendly people who are eager to welcome visitors.
On today’s included city tour you will see Chang An Avenue and the strikingly beautiful Temple of Heaven. You then visit the heart of Beijing - Tiananmen Square. It is the largest public square in the world, bordered by the Qianmen Gate, the Great Hall of the People and the Gate of Heavenly Peace. You will go through the gate, which forms the entrance to the incredible Forbidden City, where you’ll see the buildings that house the Imperial Palace from which China was ruled by the imperial dynasties for hundreds of years.
This morning you will visit the Great Wall on our included excursion. This man-made wonder is some 3,800 miles long and at least 2,600 years old. It winds through the hills of northern China and passes within 40 miles of Beijing at Badaling, where it is wide enough to allow five horsemen to ride abreast. Here you will have plenty of time to walk along the historic ramparts. Lunch today is followed by a visit to the Sacred Way (Avenue of Statues) - also known as the Divine Road. The path, which is slightly curved to fool evil spirits, is lined on either side with willows and remarkable carved stone statues.
Today you’ll transfer to the airport for your early-morning flight to Xian, once the flourishing capital of China. On arrival you’ll experience the city wall welcoming ceremony before transferring to your hotel, where you’ll stay for two nights.
Quite simply one of the world’s most remarkable sights, you’ll see the Terracotta Army at Li Shan Mountain on today’s included excursion. Discovered in the 1970s by farmers digging a well, this staggering collection of at least 6,000 life-size terracotta figures representing the individuals of the Imperial Guard were interred in 200BC with the first Qin emperor. They are grouped in battle order, some mounted on horse-drawn chariots and others armed with spears, swords and crossbows. You will also visit the nearby Small Wild Goose Pagoda before returning to your hotel. Later this evening there will be the opportunity to attend a Tang Dynasty folklore show.
En route to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, you will visit the Han Tombs. You’ll stay in Shanghai for two nights.
Today’s included tour shows you the best of Shanghai - a vibrant and exciting seaport. Highlights include the thronging shopping thoroughfare of Nanjing Road, the traditional Old Town, with its ancient Wu Xing Ting Teahouse, and the Yu Yuan Gardens, a classic Chinese garden. You will also visit the beautiful Jade Buddha Temple and have time to stroll along the Bund, the city’s famous boulevard which winds along the west bank of the Huangpu River. This evening there is an included visit to an Acrobatic Show.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before this afternoon’s train journey to Suzhou, which is situated on China’s 6th century Grand Canal and famous for its landscaped gardens, narrow canals and traditional Chinese architecture. You stay in Suzhou for two nights.
You’ll get to know beautiful Suzhou on today’s included tour. You’ll visit the Lingering Garden and the Humble Administrator’s Garden as well as a silk and embroidery factory. There will also be time to view the local markets and stroll through the quaint, narrow streets. Peek into the whitewashed cottages as you walk by and you’ll probably catch a glimpse of family life Suzhou style.
Spend your morning at leisure, or why not join our optional excursion to a Tongli Water Village. This afternoon you’ll transfer to Nanjing for a two-night stay.
Nanjing, which has been the national capital several times during the history of China, is situated on the River Yangtze. It is a delightful city of tree-lined boulevards, lively markets and ancient fortifications. A full-day sightseeing tour is included today, during which you will see the magnificent Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum with its remarkable stairway, the Confucius Temple area and the Yangtze River Bridge.
Transfer to the airport today for your return flight to Beijing, where you will stay for two nights. You might like to take an optional rickshaw ride along Beijing’s iconic Hutongs (ancient alleys lined with siheyuan, or traditional courtyard residences) to catch a fascinating glimpse of traditional life here.
A short visit will be made today to the world-famous Beijing Zoo, where you will see one of China’s most famous and endearing inhabitants, the panda. Continue to the outskirts of Beijing where you’ll visit the Summer Palace, the largest and best preserved of all imperial palace gardens. Here you can admire the famous Marble Boat, the ornately painted ‘long corridor’ and take a last, lingering look at the traditional Chinese landscape which surrounds the various towers, gardens and pavilions. Your final afternoon in Beijing is free for you to shop or sightsee at your own pace.
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. As you will be flying westwards, arrival is later the same day.
We want you to get the most from your holiday with us so please be advised that this tour is not suitable for anyone with limited mobility.
To introduce you to China’s many extraordinary sights, our itineraries are very busy with some early starts and long days, but they are also extremely rewarding.