Hutongs to Hong Kong - 13 days

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: Tiananmen Square

     This morning, we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the nation¡¯s capital - host of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing. A patriotic vision of grandeur, Tiananmen Square is a square for the public and also home to the mausoleum of Chairman Mao and the striking Monument to the People¡¯s Heroes. Probably one of Beijing¡¯s most famous sights is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors. Entry was forbidden to all but those on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was overthrown.

     This afternoon we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, it gives us a fascinating snapshot of the city¡¯s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home, before returning to our hotel. Tonight, we enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a city restaurant. Overnight - Beijing

Day 3: The Great Wall

     Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty. Here, the 6m wide pathway with regular watchtowers makes a formidable defence. Though never directly attacked, the wall was taken over by aggressors sweeping around from the side. Later we visit a cloisonne workshop demonstrating the ancient Chinese art of combining copper and enamel to make decorative pieces. Tonight, an evening of choreographed 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

Day 5: Luoyang

     Arrive Luoyang and transfer to hotel. Later we explore the UNESCO world heritage listed Longman Caves etched into the cliffs along the River Yi. The 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out to create temples inside the mountain. Carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty and adorned with more than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples, experts consider them an artistic triumph of Buddhist stone carving. Later this afternoon, we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China. Overnight - Luoyang

Day 6: Xi'an

     Luoyang ¨C X¡¯ian. Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Many Chinese get their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the early hours of the morning. Boarding the morning train, we travel onward to Xi¡¯an. Arrival into Xi¡¯an, hotel check in and afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight - Xi'an

Day 7: Terracotta Warriors

     Renowned for its noodles, Xi¡¯an in Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin¡¯s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old terracotta warriors comprise more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers which stand battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. Made of local clay, each is said to be an individual portrait. We tour the Terracotta Warrior site and a workshop where replicas are crafted.

     This evening, On Broadway - Chinese style we can attend a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang¡¯an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors. Overnight - Xi'an

Day 8: Big Wild Goose Pagoda

     Xi¡¯an - Beijing. Exploring the city, we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, enjoy a bike ride on top of the City Wall and check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Later, we board our overnight express train bound for Shanghai. Overnight - Sleeper Train to Shanghai

Day 9: Shanghai city tour

     Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps China¡¯s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is stunning. We enjoy a tour of the many city sights including Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple and The Bund, with a cruise on the Huangpu River. Overnight - Shanghai

Day 10: Shanghai - your own way

     A free day to explore your own way. Opt to shop along Nanjing Road, discover the French Quarter and the old city or dine at the top of one of the city's towering skyscapers. Many of the sky high revolving restaurants offer a well priced evening buffet service whilst providing spectacular views of the city beneath. Overnight - Shanghai

Day 11: Shanghai to Hong Kong

     Shanghai ¨C Kowloon/Hong Kong. Tonight (approx 6pm) we board the sleeper train bound for Hong Kong. Train ¨C Kowloon/Hong Kong. Overnight - Sleeper train

Day 12: Arrive Hong Kong

     Welcome to Hong Kong! Arriving into Kowloon at approx 1pm, the remainder of today and tomorrow morning offer free time. Perhaps head up Victoria Peak to look down over the islands and the new territories, or why not end your Chinese adventures with a sampan (junk) boat ride around Aberdeen¡¯s harbour and a seafood dish in one of the famed restaurants by the water front. Overnight - Kowloon

Day 13: Hong Kong

     Thursday. Enjoy breakfast and the morning sightseeing if you wish. Our tour concludes upon hotel check out at approximately 12 noon. Hong Kong International airport is a quick 24min journey on the Airport Express train, running at 12 minute intervals.

     It is possible to extend your stay in Hong Kong by purchasing extra nights accommodation, please contact us for more info.

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