China is a vast country with untold treasures at every turn. From the well known highlights of the Great Wall or the Terracotta Warriors to the hidden gems along the Silk Road it is a country that will leave you wanting to come back for more. Its also rapidly modernising whilst struggling to hold on to its unique character. There is no time like the present to visit China and we have provided a mere surface scratching of programs that you can enjoy whilst there.
Day 1: Shanghai
On arrival this morning transfer to your hotel in Shanghai with your guide. The rest of the day is free for you to begin your exploration of this fascinating country.
In the morning visit old Shanghai, including the Yu Yuan Garden and experience a tea ceremony. Set in the beautiful Yu Yuan Gardens, the famous Mid Lake Pavilion teahouse dates back to the Qing Dynasty. Finally there is the chance to stroll along the famous ‘Bund’, Shanghai’s renowned waterfront, before enjoying lunch.
In the evening, take in a performance by the fantastic Shanghai Acrobats before enjoying a stroll along the Bund to enjoy the stunning nighttime vista.
Day 3: Zhouzhang and Suzhou
This morning we set out to explore the charming fishing village of Zhouzhang with its small canals and arch bridges. We then drive on to Suzhou and enjoy the beautiful and well thought out gardens, your guide taking time to explain the design and implication of the plants and layouts chosen.
Day 4: Beijing
This morning travel by the high speed bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing (4 hours 48 minutes). On arrival in Beijing you will proceed to visit the glorious Temple of Heaven, a true masterpiece of 15th century design and for many the high point of Ming architecture, which for over half a millennia was the centre of the ceremonial and cultural workings of the court of the Chinese emperors.
Day 5: Beijing
In the morning, visit Tiananmen Square before taking in the incomparable grandeur of the Forbidden City, the once beating heart of the city whose expansive halls and pavilions were home to the all-powerful Ming and Qing dynasties. Covering an area of some 720,000 square metres, in imperial days this fabulous enclave was strictly off-limits to the Emperor’s subjects under pain of death. Today it presents us with one of the most remarkable collections of Chinese imperial majesty anywhere, with some 800 buildings spread across the city, that are filled with a vast array of artefacts from the Ming and Manchu eras. In the afternoon visit the Imperial Summer Palace, an UNESCO site where successive dynasties created a haven of Chinese gardens and ornate pavilions. Take a short boat ride across the tranquil waters of Kunming Lake.
Day 6: Beijing
There are few structures on earth that can evoke the same sense of wonder and awe than the imposing presence of the Great Wall of China. Begun over 2,000 years ago it stretches for some 5,000 kilometres, across a timeless landscape. Today we travel to Mu Tian Yu, where the remarkable sight of the wall snakes across a landscape of lush blanketed mountains above a plunging ravine. Tonight enjoy a special Peking Duck dinner.
Day 7: Xian
An early morning flight to Xi’an (1 hour 55 minutes) and in the afternoon take a tour of the old part of the city, the capital of 11 imperial dynasties and enclosed within its well-preserved Ming dynasty walls. You will take a short walk on the city walls and visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.
The astonishing Army of Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi are considered to be the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World and a visit to the tombs today is one of the cultural high points of any trip to China. Returning to central Xi’an this afternoon, visit the Bell Tower and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
Day 9: Guilin
Take a late morning flight to Guilin (1 hour 45 minutes). In the afternoon take a trip out to the extraordinary geological formations of the Reed Flute Caves and the summit of Fubo Hill, for a panoramic view across Guilin’s unique vistas.
Day 10: Guilin
A morning cruise along the picturesque Li River through some of Guilin’s most majestic scenery, passing an ever changing landscape of limestone outcrops and enchanting fishing villages as you journey to the bustling market town of Yangshuo. After visiting the town return to Guilin for the evening. In the evening there will be a short drive around to see Guilin by night followed by a visit to the Li River to observe the famed cormorant fishermen at work.
Day 11: Hong Kong
The morning is at leisure until your afternoon transfer to Guilin airport for the flight to Hong Kong. You may wish to use the free time to do some last minute shopping or
perhaps visit the Seven Stars Park where the playful pandas can usually be seen in their enclosure. Early risers may like to watch the locals practicing tai chi and dancing on the street about 5 minute walk from the hotel. In the afternoon fly to Hong Kong (1 hour 25 minutes) and transfer to your hotel.
Day 12: Hong Kong
This morning you begin your exploration of this tiny island state. Renowned for its shopping, it also boasts fine examples of both modern and colonial architecture whilst having the feel of a place where east meets west. Today you take in the major highlights of the area, including Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Harbour and the Botanical Gardens.
Day 13: Program Ends
Your program ends this morning following breakfast.