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PG-10 Essence of China


13 nights from UK £ 3,260 per person

Price based on 2 people 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.

Start in BEIJING, a city packed full of some of China’s most famous sights including the Great Wall, Forbidden City before a bullet train on to LUOYANG for the martial arts temples of Shaolin and the Grottoes at Longmen.

Another train to XIAN, to see the Terra Cotta warriors and then to CHENGDU for the Giant Pandas. Continue to YANGSHUO its stunning scenery before finishing in wonderfully cosmopolitan and vibrant HONG KONG.

China Trip Guidebook
This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip - an invaluable resource!
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PG10 Essence of China map


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

The Great Wall at Stunning Mutianyu & the Ming Tombs

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. Today’s tour includes the cable car up and down from the Wall.

After, drive to the Ming Tombs, the burial place of 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors between 1368 to 1644AD some of whom oversaw the construction of the wall section you saw earlier. The tombs are approached along the scared way guarded by giant marble figures and animals.

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 3 - Beijing

Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park & the Hutongs by Rickshaw

Start today with vast Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and home to the Mao Mausoleum and Monument to the People’s Heroes. To the north of the square is the equally huge palace complex of the Forbidden City. We will walk up the middle axis from south to north taking in the splendour of the most important central buildings before finishing in 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.

In the afternoon step back in time with a trip by cycle rickshaw through the narrow lanes and alleys of Beijing’s ancient residential Hutongs – the traditional Chinese city homes. There is also luxury in the Hutongs and we will visit Prince Gong’s Mansion, an extravagant residential complex of gardens and pavilions built in 1777.

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 Luoyang

Half Day Tour to the Beautiful Temple of Heaven & Summer Palace Before a Bullet Train to Luoyang

Today’s tour starts with the Temple of Heaven considered by many to be the most beautiful building in China. Perfectly symmetrical, its primary purpose was as a prayer hall the Emperors visited to ask the Gods for good harvests. Set inside a large park popular with Beijingers, you are likely to see cultural activities such as kite flying, Tai Chi classes, singing and ballroom dancing. Continue on to the tranquil Summer Palace west of Beijing built in 1750 by Emperor Qianlong. Dominated by Kunming lake, dotted with peaceful pavilions and gardens, it is as popular an escape from the city for today’s residents as it was for the Imperial court.

After the tour a transfer to the station to catch a bullet train. Reaching speeds of over 300 km/hour the overall trip is on a par with flying with the added bonuses of views from the window and being able to stretch your legs.

Late afternoon arrival in Luoyang, the perfect base for visiting the fabulous Longmen Grottoes and the impressive Shaolin Temple complex up in the Song Mountains. Transfer to your hotel.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 5 - Luoyang

Visit the World Famous Shaolin Temples & Their Martial Art Training Schools

Today leave Luoyang for a full day tour up into the Song Mountains to the Shaolin Monastery Temple complex, famous the world over for the practice and teaching of martial arts. The Monastery was founded in AD 497 to teach the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. Since then it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. We visit the main temples, will see a martial arts display and explore the unusual Forest of Pagodas, a cemetery of 246 pagodas of various sizes containing the ashes of prominent monks.

Return to your hotel in Luoyang with the rest of the day free.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 6 - Luoyang to Xian

The 100,000 Buddhist Carvings at the Longmen Grottoes

This morning visit the important Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO recognised masterpiece of Buddhist rock carving 13 km south of of Luoyang. The carvings date from around AD 500 when Luoyang was the capital of China. Over 100,000 were sculpted from tiny buddhist statues just centimeters high to the 17 meter high statue of Buddha in the Ancestor Worshipping Temple, the face of which was supposedly modelled on that of Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty who happened to pay for this temple!

Continue on to the bullet train station for the 2 hour service to Xian. Late afternoon arrival in China’s Tang Dynasty Capital and terminus of the Silk Road with a transfer to your hotel to overnight.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 7 - Xian

The Terra Cotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Walls & Muslim Quarter

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.

We also visit a relic of the Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, home to some of the most famous Buddhist scriptures in China. It is possible to climb the pagoda – you will need to buy a ticket locally if you wish to do this – for views over Xian. Continue to the 14 km Ming Dynasty City Walls which are up to 18 meters thick at the base and 12 meters in height. It is possible to hire bicycles and ride some sections of the wall – local rental payment required.

Finish the day with a 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.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 8 - Xian to Chengdu

The Underground Hanyangling Mausoleum & Onward Bullet Train to Chengdu

On the way to the bullet train station we visit the unique Hanyangling Mausoleum, the burial place of the Emperor Jing of Han who ruled from 188 BC to 141 BC. The Mausoleum is China’s first underground museum where you can actually walk over the burial pits along glass paths. Much less crowded and more intimate than the Terra Cotta Army, the experience allows you to get up closer to the ancient artefacts which are well presented.

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.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - Chengdu

The Research Base for Giant Pandas & Leshan’s Giant Buddha

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.

Continue on 100 miles out of Chengdu to the astonishing Giant Buddha at Leshan. Although the 71 meter Buddha is the chief draw it is located at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in a lush park of temples and sculptures that is a pleasure to explore. It is also possible to see the Buddha from the river by boat although we don’t recommend that as the best and most varied views are in the park itself. If you do wish to take the boat ask your guide to arrange this – local payment for the boat trip required.

Drive back to your hotel in Chengdu 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 10 - Chengdu to Guilin & Yangshuo

Flight on to Guilin Transferring Directly to Yangshuo

Early morning flight on to Guilin in Southern China’s Guangxi province. Arrival in Guilin with a transfer direct to your hotel in Yangshuo, a relaxed town about 1 hour from Guilin and surrounded by some of China’s best scenery.

Free time to start exploring the area, a firm favourite of many for it’s blend of stunning countryside, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of superb activities to do all of which are easy to arrange locally through your hotel as the whim takes you.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 11 - Yangshuo

Free Day to Explore the Town & Beautiful Surrounding Countryside

A free day in Yangshuo to continue to explore the town and it’s beautiful surrounding countryside. A wide range of local tours and activities can easily be booked locally through the hotel. Such activities include cycle tours, rafting trips, cookery, Tai Chi or calligraphy classes or you can do as so many do here – just relax and take in all the scenery from the terrace of your hotel or the many cafes and restaurants in the town itself.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Yangshuo to Hong Kong

Visit the Spectacular Reed Flute Cave Before Departing Guilin

Free time today before a transfer back to Guilin for your onward transport. On the way we stop at Guilin’s beautiful Reed Flute Cave, an extensive and colourful subterranean experience over 180 million years old and full of stalactites, stalagmites and 70 inscriptions which can be dated back as far as 792 AD in the Tang Dynasty and has been a tourist attraction for nearly 1,200 years!

Continue to the airport for your flight on to Hong Kong. Arrival in Hong Kong. This former British colony is still very distinct from Mainland China with one of the world’s most impressive skylines, superb food, world class shopping and tranquil islands dotted with timeless temples and fishing harbours. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 13 - Hong Kong

Free Day to Explore Hong Kong’s Many & Varied Attractions

A full day in Hong Kong to explore this fabulous city, famous Victoria harbour, the Peak, outlying islands such as Lamma and Lantau, vibrant markets and fantastic entertainment scene.

Shopping and food are world class and if you still have any energy left by the end of the day the nightlife is some of the most varied and vibrant in Asia. In short you will have plenty to keep you occupied!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 14 - Depart Hong Kong

Free Time Before Departing China With a Wealth of Memories of This Unique Destination

Free time to today to further explore the city (most flights back to Europe depart late at night). If you are looking for something a bit quieter and you didn’t make it to one of the outlying islands yesterday this could be an ideal way to spend today. All of them have good hiking options and delicious seafood with frequent ferry services departing from the piers on Hong Kong Island’s Central district.

Make your own way from your hotel to the airport for your flight out of the city. The easiest way to get to the airport is by taxi which your hotel can arrange. There is also an efficient airport bus service or you can use the Airport Express trains.

See our Trip guidebook or ask your hotel for full details. 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.


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.


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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