Day 1: Beijing
Saturday. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Enjoy an arrival transfer to our hotel. Overnight - Beijing Overnight - Beijing
Day 2: Forbidden City
After a short group meeting we embark on a sightseeing tour of the nation¡¯s capital and home of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing and is a public arena for the people and stage for Chairman Mao mausoleum. Across from the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Perhaps today, he is looking at a different Beijing, one that is quickly entering the 21st century. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors, it was only opened after the last emperor was overthrown in 1911. Encompassing architecturally stunning temples and halls, the complex of the Forbidden city is an assault on the eyes.
Later, we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys and old back lanes, we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city¡¯s traditional way of life. Overnight - Beijing
Day 3: The Great Wall
Today, drive to Badaling, where we can walk on a section of the famous Great Wall. A symbol of total Chinese genius, the Great Wall is a cultural icon. At least 20 dynasties were involved in its construction. Stretching some 6700 kilometres, we walk along just a small chunk of this massive masterpiece of human endeavour. Later we visit a cloisonne workshop, viewing the step-by-step process of this curious, yet quite beautiful art form. Tonight we attend a Chinese Acrobatic performance. Overnight - Beijing
Day 4: Summer Palace
Beijing - Xi¡¯an. At the Summer Palace on Kunming Lake, we view the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902. The Long Corridor, a hand painted 730m covered walkway, offers gentle respite from the elements. This afternoon, even the most hardened non-shoppers can¡¯t help coming away with a few goodies at the Silk Alley markets. Name-brand attire, bling-bling jewellery, knock-off handbags and shoes are popular acquisitions. Later we travel by train to Xi¡¯an viewing en route the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium and aquatic centre. Overnight - Sleeper Train
Day 5: Terracotta Warriors
Xi¡¯an is Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for Emperor Qin¡¯s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 7,000 life-sized soldiers, some 2,200 years old, stand battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. We tour the archaeological site and Terracotta warrior replica workshop. Tonight, we offer our Tang Dynasty dinner and show. Check out our Tang Dynasty bolton for more details. Overnight - Xi'an
Day 6: Giant Pandas
Early this morning opt for our Panda excursion to the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Centre a 2hour drive from Xi¡¯an. The centre offers care to a small number of injured Giant Pandas in the region. There are also many other rare animals to be seen including golden monkeys, black bears, leopards, white lipped deer, musk deer and vulture, see page 29. Alternatively spend the morning at leisure. Later in the day we¡¯ll visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and take a bike ride along the great old City Wall that offers unique views of the city and residence below. Overnight - Xi'an
Day 7: Xi'an
Xi¡¯an - Chongqing - Yangtze River cruiser. Spend the morning at leisure before flying to Chongqing, the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise the we can stroll along Chongqing¡¯s People¡¯s Square, in the city centre. Overnight - Yangtze River Cruiser
Days 8 - 9: Yangtze River Cruise
Yangtze River cruise. Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. The Gorges are a breathtaking sight! The first gorge we pass, Qutangxia Gorge is the shortest and narrowest yet the most impressive. Here, the dramatic 1200m limestone peaks are often shrouded in mist and the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste.
Next comes Wuxia Gorge, which straddles Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers an spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges. During our cruise, we¡¯ll also sail through the new ship locks of the impressive Three Gorges Dam construction.
Whilst cruising, shore excursions are offered at no additional expense to mythical Fengdu - ¡®Ghost City¡¯ and Shennong stream, with its unique scenery and four natural gorges. Drift serenely along the stream in small, open ¡®pea pod boats¡¯, looking out upon lush greenery, jagged peaks and ancient villages of the Tujia people - one of the local ethnic minorities. Overnight - Yangtze River Cruiser
Day 10: Yichang
Yichang - Wuhan. Disembarking from our cruise after lunch we have a long afternoon of travel ahead of us. After driving to Wuhan (approx 4 hours) we¡¯ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, hotel check in and overnight. Overnight - Wuhan
Day 11: Nanjing
Wuhan - Nanjing. This morning we take a high speed D3008 (Hankou - Shanghai) train bound for Nanjing. Departing at 8am and reaching speeds of over 250km we arrive to Nanjing in just a little more than 3 hours.
Upon arrival to Nanjing our city sightseeing tour will commence. Former capital of the Ming Dynasty and capital of Republican China, from 1911 - 1949, Nanjing holds a rich history of both ancient and modern China. This afternoon we visit the Fuzi Miao (Temple of Confucius) and the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre. A moving experience that charts the atrocities committed at this very site. Overnight - Nanjing
Day 12: Suzhou
A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou¡¯s beauty, as does our exploration of the humble administrator¡¯s house and garden. Overnight - Suzhou
Days 13 - 14: Shanghai
An hour¡¯s journey brings us to bustling Shanghai. Days 13 and 14 are free for you to explore the city your own way. Perhaps visit the Oriental Pearl TV tower, the Jade Buddha Temple, French Quarter, The Bund or the Old City. Overnight - Shanghai
Day 15: Shanghai
Saturday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport.