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FT-03 Introducing China

BEIJING ► PINGYAO ► XIAN ► CHENGDU ► HANGZHOU ► SHANGHAI

11 nights from UK £ 8,930

Price based on 2 Adults and 2 Children under 11 travelling. This price is to give guidance and final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability. Trip runs year round.
Please note that this is a private tour (not a group tour). It can be tailored to your requirements and we can also book your international flights if required.

✔︎  The chance to Toboggan down the Great Wall!
✔︎  Beijing’s Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven!
✔︎  Kite flying or martial arts at the Temple of Heaven!
✔︎  Pingyao’s amazing city walls & Xian’s Warriors!
✔︎  Giant Pandas & exciting Sichuan Opera in Chengdu!
✔︎  A boat ride on Hangzhou’s famous West Lake!
✔︎  Skyscrapers, Acrobats & the Maglev train in Shanghai!

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China Trip Guidebook
This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip - an invaluable resource!
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TRIP MAP & DESTINATIONS VISITED

FT03 Introducing China map

DAY BY DAY TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 - Arrival Beijing

Arrival Beijing With Time to Relax at the Hotel

Welcome to Beijing, China’s cultural and political capital and a real highlight with it’s extraordinary blend of ancient and modern sights. Your guide will greet you at the airport with a transfer by private car to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax from the long flight or start to explore the city with the help of your personalised and exclusive Trip Guidebook we send you before the trip. The area around your centrally located hotel is perfect for an introductory walk.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 2 - Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park & Lao She Teahouse

Today see some of the highlights of Beijing starting with the Temple of Heaven, considered by many to be the most beautiful building in China. What makes the Temple of Heaven really special is that it is set inside a vast park which is a centre for a wide range of cultural activities. Here you will see – and be able to participate in if you wish – kite flying, Tai Chi, various styles of dancing, all manner of martial arts, water calligraphy and a range of sports peculiar to China. In short, there is something for everyone.

On to the vast Tiananmen Square, home to the Mao Mausoleum (it may be possible to visit if open) and Monument to the People’s Heroes before walking to the huge palace complex of the Forbidden City with its 980 buildings with 8,707 rooms (you can keep the kids busy by asking them to check this figure!) We walk up the middle axis from South to North taking in the splendour of the most important buildings before finishing the ancient garden by the north gate. Directly north of the Forbidden city is Jingshan park where we climb beautifully landscaped “Coal Hill” for one of Beijing’s best views.

A fun evening of entertainment awaits you at the Lao She Teahouse to experience a variety of traditional performances including Peking Opera, Acrobatics, Martial Arts, Cross Talk, Music and Shadow Puppetry. Transfers from and back to your hotel are included.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 3 - Beijing

The Great Wall at Stunning Mutianyu & the 2008 Olympic Venues

Today we will be showing you one of China’s most famous sights – the Great Wall. We visit the dramatic and less crowded Mutianyu section 70 km from Beijing set amongst spectacular mountain scenery. Dating back to the 6th Century and largely rebuilt in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty, it is one of the best preserved sections of the wall largely due to the high standard of construction. You can also opt to descend from the Wall the exhilarating way by toboggan (small local payment required).

On the way back to the city we stop at the 2008 Olympic sites of the spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium and the aquatics centre known as the Water Cube – external viewing only.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 4 - Beijing to Pingyao

Explore Old Beijing by Cycle Rickshaw Stopping at Prince Gong’s Mansion Before a Bullet Train to Pingyao

Step back in time with a trip by cycle rickshaw through some of Beijing’s ancient residential Hutongs – the heart and soul of the city. The Hutongs surround the Forbidden city and the closer you lived to the Emperor the more important you were socially. Today the Hutongs are preserved in the centre of Beijing and provide a fascinating insight into traditional Chinese city life. There is also luxury in the Hutongs and we visit Prince Gong’s Mansion, an extravagant residential complex of gardens and pavilions built in 1777.

Transfer on to the station to catch a bullet train that reaches speeds of over 300 km/hour. Arrival in Pingyao, an intact Ming Dynasty city and once a centre of banking in China with the only complete city wall of that era left in China. Pingyao also holds an International Photography Festival every September which draws in entries from all over the world providing stark contrast to the ancient architecture. Transfer to your hotel.

The rest of today is free to start exploring this ancient and easily navigated city with the help of your trip Guidebook. Alternatively, this characterful traditional style courtyard hotel is an ideal place to relax.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 5 - Pingyao to Xian

Walking Tour of the Old City Including Merchants Houses & the City Walls

Today you have a private walking tour of Pingyao’s old city within the walls. Visit a selection of the merchant and banking houses which have been converted into museums. You also have the opportunity to see the Confucius Temple and spend time walking up on the city’s most impressive structure, the Ming Dynasty Walls which completely enclose the old city.

After the tour a transfer to the station for a bullet train to Xian, the once golden city of Emperors, soldiers, arts, culture and the capital of the prosperous Tang Dynasty. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel to overnight.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 6 - Xian

The Terra Cotta Army, Calligraphy Lesson, City Walls, Muslim Quarter & Tang Dynasty Show

Today visit one of China’s most extraordinary sights, the Terra Cotta Army built by China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 246 BC. Several thousand of the life-sized soldiers are on display and, with no two soldiers looking alike, make for a truly impressive spectacle.

After lunch it is time for a calligraphy lesson. There is more to the Chinese script than just writing as characters often have stories and deeper meaning attached to them. You will have an opportunity to learn the brush technique and keep the results of your efforts. After this we finish on Xian’s largest construction, the 13.7 km City Walls which are up to 18 meters thick at the base and 12 meters in height. The walls were constructed during the Ming Dynasty from 1370 AD and replaced an even larger wall. It is possible to hire bicycles and ride some sections of the wall (a decision that can be made and paid for locally) and the top of the Wall is perhaps the safest place in China to ride a bicycle!

Wander through Xian’s vibrant Muslim quarter, including a visit to the Great Mosque, unusually built entirely in the Chinese architectural style. This area is an excellent place to souvenir shop and eat. This evening a trip to the lavish Tang Dynasty show performed in a beautiful theatre. The show itself highlights Chinese culture from this Dynasty, considered a golden age in China’s long history. Music, singing and dance with a traditional orchestra and colourful costumes makes this a visual feast for all ages! Tickets include return transfers.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 7 - Xian to to Chengdu

Flight on to Chengdu, Home of the Giant Panda

After breakfast a transfer to the airport for your flight. Arrival in Chengdu, capital of mountainous and spicy Sichuan province and the place to come and see Giant Pandas. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of today is free to start exploring Chengdu with the area around your hotel being full of interest. Alternatively, this characterful hotel’s courtyard is an ideal place to relax.

In the evening trip to the colourful, loud and exciting Sichuan Opera. Not sure if opera is for you? Well this opera is like no other including it’s cousin – Peking opera. In spicy Sichuan the show combines stunts such as face-changing, sword play and fire spitting with the plot. The tickets include transfers from and back to your hotel.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 8 - Chengdu

The World Famous Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding

This morning we visit Chengdu’s famous Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding which has over 60 pandas and is considered the best place in the world to see these endangered icons of China. In addition to the many pandas you can see here (including Red Pandas) there is an opportunity to hold a panda cub although note that this is not guaranteed and requires a local payment direct to the the Research base of RMB 2,000 per person in the photo (not per photo) and must be booked in advance which we can do for you.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the day free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - Chengdu to Hangzhou

Enjoy a Boat Ride on the West Lake & the Stunning Residence of Hu Xueyan

Hangzhou is famed throughout the country for its beautiful West Lake, one of China’s most important cultural centers for the last 1,000 years and represents the Chinese ideal of man in perfect harmony with nature. The many temples and gardens surrounding the West lake are designed to personify this relationship and this style has been exported to Japan and Korea. Today’s half day tour includes a boat ride on the lake itself as well as visiting the architecturally important residence of Hu Xueyan.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 10 - Hangzhou to Shanghai

Yuyuan Gardens, Old Shanghai, Antique Market, the Bund, Skyscraper & Acrobats

After breakfast a transfer to the station for the bullet train to Shanghai. Arrival in Shanghai, China’s exciting and futuristic financial capital and living testament to China’s phenomenal growth. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

Today you have a private tour of some of Shanghai’s highlights starting with the classical Yuyuan Garden that dates back to 1577. The garden was established in 1559 and which was built over 20 years by the son of a Ming Dynasty official in an effort to please his father! Surrounding the garden is Old Shanghai, an area that has been a vibrant commercial centre for over a century. Here we visit Fuyou Road antique market, one of the best places for souvenir hunting and a fascinating experience even if not shopping. The tour finishes with a walk down the Bund along which the Huangpu River runs and where some of Asia’s finest colonial architecture is located. From here we cross the River by ferry to Shanghai’s ultra modern Pudong Financial district for a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of one of the stunning skyscrapers.

There is no better way to round off this Shanghai experience than with a visit to the world famous Chinese Acrobats for a show filled with colour and excitement.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 11 - Shanghai

Soak Up the City & Explore More of Shanghai’s Sights Independently

Today is free to explore Shanghai. The city is China’s shopping capital and a good place to stock up on souvenirs. Another option is to wander the French Concession, Xintiandi or Tianzifang stopping at cafes and restaurants – perhaps our favourite activity! Alternatively we can arrange a trip out to one of the nearby water towns such as Suzhou or Zhouzhuang all offering a more traditional experience from China’s past.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Depart Shanghai

Take the Ultra Fast Maglev to the Airport for Your Flight Out of China

Free time until a transfer to the Maglev station for the world’s fastest train to Pudong Airport to catch your flight out of China. Your transfer guide will buy a standard class Maglev ticket for you and make sure you get on the train which takes just 8 minutes to cover the 30km to the airport reaching a top speed of 430 km / hour (300 km / hour before 9am).

We sincerely hope that you have had a fantastic China experience with us full of all the memories which make this country such a fascinating destination that continues to inspire us!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

HAND-PICKED ACCOMMODATION FOR THIS TRIP

The hotels & accommodation used for this trip are from our hand picked selection and all are excellent for their class. We also offer upgraded hotels in most locations. Click here to explore additional hotel options and let us know of any changes you wish to make.

TOUR INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

What is included?

Transport between destinations as described.

All accommodation as specified under the accommodation tab

All private transfers and any other transportation as described

All meals as specified in the itinerary

All tours as specified in the itinerary

All entrance fees to sights toured in the itinerary

24 hour emergency assistance

Visa Paperwork required in order to obtain the visas

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The Chinese visa – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend Citybond Suretravel (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

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