Delight in the romance of China’s breathtaking natural wonders and historical attractions on this 15-day whirlwind. See the majestic Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the mysterious Terracotta Warriors. Explore the multi-coloured lakes of the Nine Village Valley in Sichuan, walk along the centuries old layers of rice terraces carved along the mountain side in Longsheng and indulge in a cruise along the tranquil Li River.
Beijing – Chengdu – E’meishan – Guilin – Longsheng - Shanghai
ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Beijing
Arrive in Beijing and meet your local guide before making your way to your hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, take the afternoon to experience the bustling streets of downtown Beijing, China’s second largest city and the political capital for the past eight centuries.
Day 2: Beijing
In the morning, take a stroll around Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world and among the most well-known historical sites in China. Continue on to the Forbidden City, once the seat of Chinese political power for almost 500 years and home to China’s last rul-ing dynasties. Explore its serene courtyards and its stately rooms before climbing the artificial coal hill behind it for spectacular views of Beijing’s sprawling skyline.
Later, get behind the wheels of an authentic Chinese rickshaw as you wind your way through the ancient hutong alleyways, dating back to the 13th century. Get a peek inside the traditional courtyard houses and bustling local markets tucked away in these ancient backstreets.
In the evening, enjoy a Kung fu show at the Beijing Red Theatre which tells the story of a young boy who finds refuge in an ancient temple and as a novice, overcomes many temptations be-fore reaching enlightenment. The performers demonstrate Kung Fu styles from the Shaolin Temple, considered to be the birthplace of Kung Fu in China. Also, lesser-known Kung Fu styles such as ‘Contortion’ and ‘Drunken Boxing’ are showcased in a spectacularly choreographed per-formance.
Day 3: Beijing
After breakfast, journey to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China to experience one of the world’s most spectacular sights. Enjoy amazing views of the surrounding landscape as you scale the iconic walls spanning more than 6000km across China. Hike along the wall’s high ridges and explore its ancient watchtowers, dating back more than 2000 years. After your hike, settle down for a picnic lunch on the Great Wall, while savouring superb views of the country-side. If you’re feeling adventurous, glide down the wall on a toboggan or see more of this sec-tion by cable car.
In the afternoon, visit the Summer Palace, built by Emperor Qianlong as a gift to his mother in the 18th century. Wander through the tranquil grounds where imperial staff would flee from the stifling rooms of the Forbidden City during summer. Grab a refreshing beverage in the shady grounds before wandering through its famous pavilions and scenic lakes, including Kun-ming Lake and the Seventeen-Arch Bridge. Head over to the intricately carved Marble Boat be-fore hiking to the top of Longevity Hill for panoramic views of the complex.
Day 4: Beijing – Xi’an
In the morning, head to the Temple of Heaven, a 15th century architectural masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Study its intricate design and stately prayer rooms before heading over to the magnificent imperial altar, once reserved for emperors to pray and make offerings for good harvests. Outside, witness a fascinating spectacle of locals greeting the sun with their daily Qigong and kung fu exercises.
In the afternoon, head to the airport for your flight to Xi’an. Upon arrival, meet with your local guide at the airport before making your way to your hotel.
Day 5: Xi’an
Begin your day amongst the famous Terracotta Warriors buried with the First Qin Emperor over 2,000 years ago. Hear about its accidental discovery by a local farmer before wandering around its earthen pits. Grab a souvenir from the museum before scaling China’s oldest wall, the Xi’an City Wall, erected in the 7th century. Listen to historic tales of the Silk Road and the brutal inva-sions that led to the wall’s construction. In the afternoon, head to the Giant Wild Goose Pago-da, one of the most significant Buddhism sites in China and one of the oldest structures in the country.
In the evening, delve into the rich history of Xi’an, once the imperial capital for 13 dynasties. After feasting on a delicious banquet of freshly made dumplings, attend the Tang Dynasty Mu-sic and Dance Show.
Day 6: Xi’an - Jiuzhaigou
In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to the otherworldly region of Jiuzhaigou, known as the “Nine Village Valley,” tucked away in the north of Sichuan province. Located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, this gorgeous nature reserve plays host to a spectacular sight of cascading waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and multi-coloured lakes. Previously one of China’s best kept secrets, this vibrant national park welcomes more and more visitors each year.
Day 7: Jiuzhaigou
Start exploring the park on a full day tour at its northern tip of Sichuan province. Venture down this hilly peak to the turquoise-coloured waters of the Nuorilang Lakes, a series of 19 ribbon lakes forged by the passage of ancient glaciers. Later, journey through lush forest gullies down to the catchment of the Sleeping Dragon Lake. Head over to the south western corner of the park, and gaze upon the towering pine trees of the Primeval Forest and the tranquil waters of Swan and Mirror lakes.
In the afternoon, journey to the south eastern quadrant of the reserve, Ze Cha Wa, before climbing the peaks of the rolling hills of the Ri Ze valley. After reaching the peak of the highest summit, finish your visit with a stunning drive down to the ethereal waters of the Five-Colour Pond and the Seasonal Lakes. Take one last photo of this magical landscape before journeying back to the hotel.
Day 8: Jiuzhaigou - Chengdu
Begin the day with a trip to the Huanglong in northeast Sichuan and at the southern base of the spectacular Minshan mountain range. Take a stroll around its colourful ponds before hiking through some of its dense forests, home to some of China’s endangered animal species. That afternoon, depart to Jiuzhaigou airport for your flight to Chengdu.
Upon arriving in Chengdu, meet with your guide before making your way to your hotel. Kick back with some free time before heading to the Jin Li Old Town. Experience China’s oldest commercial district, home to an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars housed in ancient Chinese buildings.
Day 9: Chengdu - E’meishan
Start the day at the Panda Conservation Centre in Chengdu and observe China’s cuddly national icon lazing about in custom made enclosures. A world-class research facility and conservation centre, the Panda Centre is also a primary destination to get a closer look at these endangered bears. After your visit, continue to Leshan and board a river cruise to the famous Giant Buddha – the largest stone Buddha in the world. An extraordinary 71m statue carved out of the stone cliff face, it’s positioned at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Quingyi rivers. Grab a photo with the backdrop of Mount Emei before moving on to E’meishan.
Day 10: E’meishan - Guilin
After breakfast, head to the entrance of Mount E’mei, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China, and ride a cable car up to Wannian, a Buddhist temple midway up to the peak. The highest peak is over 3,000 meters above sea level, and has spectacular views, including the occasional phenomena of a sea of clouds. Take in the view on the stops up to the Golden Summit. Then, stroll down through the natural monkey reserve, located half way down the mountain and meet some Tibetan Macaques. Afterwards, return to Chengdu before flying to Guilin.
Day 11: Guilin - Longsheng -Guilin
From Guilin, embark on a full day tour to Longsheng. Hike the centuries old layers of rice terrac-es carved along the mountain side. Take in the spectacular views before reaching the summit referred to as the “Dragon’s Backbone”.
Head back to Guilin, and indulge in a relaxing night cruise that evening. Sail along the Four Lakes and enjoy incredible views of the city’s attractions lit up at night.
Day 12: Guilin – Yangshuo -Guilin
In the morning, travel to Yangshuo before where you’ll kick back on a cruise along the Li River. Breathe in the fresh air whilst you take in spectacular karst landscapes, then get up close and personal with local fishermen who used trained birds to bring in their catches.
In the evening, witness a spectacular display of lights and theatre as hundreds of local farmers, fishermen and dancers perform the famous “Impression Liu Sanjie” show against the stunning-ly lit backdrop of the Li River.
Day 13: Guilin - Shanghai
In the morning, fly from Guilin to Shanghai where you’ll be greeted by your local guide before boarding the Maglev, Shanghai’s flagship, high-speed train. Watch as the speed dial climb as high as 430km per hour as you hurtle towards the heart of China’s commercial centre.
After a short subway connection arrive at Lujiazui station in the heart of Pudong district, home to some of Shanghai’s most impressive skyscrapers. Once an empty marsh inhabited by water buffalo, the area is now one of the most important business districts in Asia, with new sky-scrapers sprouting along the Huangpu River every year.
Venture over to the neighbouring district of Lujiazui, home to the tallest building in Shanghai – the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Step inside and climb to the to the world’s highest panoramic terrace. There, admire the best views of the Shanghai skyline before heading over to the famous Bund Sightseeing Tunnel.
Take a stroll along the west bank of the Huangpu River and marvel at the sprawling European architecture of the Bund which dates back to the 1930’s, before hitting the shops on Nanjing Road, one of the world’s busiest shopping strips. Savour the aromatic smells wafting from nearby restaurants and food stalls as you weave your way through the back streets. Later, arrive at the People’s Square before returning to your hotel.
Day 14: Shanghai
Start the day with a visit to the ritzy French Concession enclave, a former French colonial settlement that was signed over to China in 1946. Despite redevelopment over recent decades, the area has retained its distinct character as a premier residential and retail district in Shanghai.
Stroll through Fuxing Park and watch locals partake in morning exercise classes before ventur-ing through the charming backstreets teeming with refurbished colonial buildings. Grab a coffee at one of the chic cafes before browsing the trendy boutiques. Immerse yourself in the history behind one of the worlds “vice capitals”; previously a red light district frequented by the local mafia and the city’s opium traffickers in the 1930’s.
Continue on to Xintiandi, an affluent, car-free, shopping, eating and entertainment precinct that has been entirely renovated in recent years. Later, wind your way through the maze of alleyways in Tianzifang, buzzing with busy restaurants, boutiques and small art galleries. End your walk in Shanghai’s charming Old Town, the largest example of traditional Chinese architec-ture in the city. Dine like a local at one of the street stalls while watching hoards of people walk home from work.
On your way back to the hotel, stop by the picturesque Yu Yuan Gardens and learn about the art of traditional Chinese garden landscaping. Understand the delicate balance of creating harmony with penjing, or small bonsai trees. Later, grab some souvenirs at the local bazaar before relaxing at the refined Huxington Tea House overlooking the grounds of Yu Yuan Park. Unwind with a traditional Chi-nese massage, or “acupressure”, used to stimulate the body’s natural healing powers.
Day 15: Shanghai
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. If you are going to continue travelling, please con-sult with us about your plans.
Days : 15 | Nights : 14