Day 1: Beijing
Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Overnight - Beijing
Day 2: Forbidden City
Today, we embark on a guided tour of the nation¡¯s capital. Tiananmen Square, a patriotic vision of grandeur and the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors boasting stunning temples, courtyards and reception halls. Afternoon rickshaw ride navigating the old back lanes and courtyards of Beijing¡¯s Hutongs. Tonight, Welcome Dinner at a city restaurant. Overnight - Beijing
Day 3: The Great Wall
Today we walk the famous Great Wall. Said to be seen from space, the enduring symbol of Chinese civilisation and genius is a prize national treasure. The UNESCO protected Great Wall of China was built as a defensive structure to protect China against marauding invaders from the north. Although the present wall dates mainly from the Ming dynasty, some 20 states and dynasties were involved in its immense construction over a period of 2,000 years and followed different routes and building extensions as required. At one time perhaps nearly 9700km long, the wall was garrisoned by nearly 1 million soldiers and featured over 1,000 fortified passes and 10,000 beacon towers. Today, the now partially ruinous Great Wall stretches some 6700 kms across barren hills, deserts, mountains and plateaus. Today¡¯s visit offers a healthy, if steep and vertiginous walk with breathtaking views of the Chinese countryside.
After taking time to catch our breathe we tour a nearby cloisonne workshop demonstrating the ancient Chinese art of combining copper and enamel to make decorative pieces. Tonight, a death defying Chinese acrobatic performance. Overnight - Beijing
Day 4: Summer Palace
Morning market walk and a visit to the Summer Palace. We explore the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902 at the whim of the extravagant Dowager Empress Cixi. Visit to the famed Silk Alley markets and drive by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium en route to the train station. Overnight - Sleeper Train to Luoyang
Days 5 - 6: Luoyang
Luoyang - Xi¡¯an. Today we explore the UNESCO - listed 6th Century Longman Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples, carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Later we tour the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China. Day 6, a visit to Peony Square to watch ballroom dancing, tai chi and sword fighting. Boarding the morning train we travel to Xi¡¯an and have the afternoon at leisure.
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors
Emperor Qin¡¯s Terracotta Warriors are reputed to be the greatest discovery of the 20th century - 7,000 life-sized clay soldiers stand ready for battle. We visit the archaeological site and the workshop where the replica warriors are crafted. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance.
Day 8: Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Xi¡¯an - Shanghai. First up this morning, we tour the lofty Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The complex of temples, pagoda¡¯s and expansive gardens, constructed during the 7th century offered refuge and a store house for Chinese Buddhists to translate the very important Buddhist sutras from India.
The fun starts now as we take a leisurely to bicycle ride (solo or tandem) atop the well-preserved Xi¡¯an city wall. At a minimum of 6 metres in width, 9 miles in length - with no steep inclines the wall offers a great vantage point for peeping down upon the city hubbub below. After we visit the Great Mosque, Muslim Quarter and enjoy some free time in the city centre.
Day 9: Shanghai
Good morning Shanghai! Just the mere mention of ¡®Shanghai¡¯ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre ¨C 1949, cosmopolitan Shanghai was a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. Everything went belly up in 1949, when Mao and the communists took to power and swept the good times and rock and roll away. A legacy of these heady times is Shanghai¡¯s Bund where on and around this waterfront promenade are a vast series of grandiose pre-1949 buildings. Just across the Huangpu River is the new Shanghai, a high-tech development of gravity defying skyscrapers.
Today we tour many of the city¡¯s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar- Shanghai¡¯s finest traditional garden, the Bund, Pudong and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple and take a cruise including a cruise along the Huangpu River. Overnight - Shanghai
Day 10: Water Canals
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai. Today, we journey to an oriental Venice - ancient Suzhou interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. We cruise on the Grand Canal and visit a silk workshop. Overnight - Shanghai
Day 11: Shanghai
Tuesday. Our tour ends after breakfast and onward departure transfer to airport.