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PG-14 Cultural China

BEIJING ► PINGYAO ► XIAN ► HANGZHOU ► SHANGHAI

11 nights from UK £ 2,500 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, long one of China’s most important cultural and political centers.

Continue by bullet train to the Ming Dynasty city of PINGYAO before another train to XIAN, Tang Dynasty capital with impressive City Walls and the Terra Cotta Warriors.

HANGZHOU is the centre of Chinese culture with the beautiful West Lake’s temples, tea houses and gardens celebrated by poets and artists. In contrast the last stop of SHANGHAI offers up a modern vision of China.

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China Trip Guidebook
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TRIP MAP & DESTINATIONS VISITED

PG14 Cultural 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

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 Pingyao

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

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 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. Transfer to your hotel with free time for the rest of the day.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 5 - Pingyao

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.

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 6 - Pingyao to Xian

The Beautiful Qiao Family Courtyard & Distinctive Shuanglin Temple & Bullet Train to Xian

Today we concentrate on sights outside of the city first heading 7 km south west to the 1,500 year old, Buddhist, Shuanglin Temple. The distinctive architecture here is beautiful but the highlight are the 2,000 vivid terra cotta and wooden sculptures some of which date back more than 1,000 years. Drive on 30 km north to the Qiao Family Compound constructed in 1756 by the wealthy merchant Qiao Guifa, who made his fortune in tea and bean curd! The buildings are impressive not just for their number but also the quality of the craftsmanship and variety of the architecture. Some of the film “Raise the Red Lantern” was shot here.

After the tour a transfer to the station for a bullet train to Xian. Evening arrival in Xian, China’s Tang Dynasty Capital and terminus of the Silk Road with a transfer to your hotel to overnight.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

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 Hangzhou

The Underground Hanyangling Mausoleum & Onward Flight to Hangzhou

On the way to the airport 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.

Fly on to Hangzhou, famed throughout China for its culture and the beauty of its West Lake, praised and written about for centuries. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

The rest of today is free to start exploring the West Lake area with the help of your Trip Guidebook. Alternatively, your hotel is an ideal place to relax.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - 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 & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 10 - Hangzhou to Shanghai

Bullet Train Onto Shanghai & the Bund, Huang Pu River & Pudong Skyscraper

After a leisurely breakfast a transfer to the station to catch the new bullet train service which will whisk you at up to 300 km / hour to your next destination of Shanghai in roughly one hour. 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.

After checking in we will be visiting the two very different banks of the Huangpu river. We start with a walk down the Bund along which the Huangpu River runs and where some of Asia’s finest colonial European architecture is located. From here we cross the busy Huangpu River by boat 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 that now dominate the skyline.

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 11 - Shanghai & Suzhou & Zhouzhuang

Visit the Ancient Gardens of Suzhou & Water Town of Zhouzhuang by Car

Today travel out of the city by car north 100 km to the city of Suzhou famous for its silk production, canals and classical Chinese gardens. Growing rich on the silk trade it became a flourishing cultural centre particularly famous for its gardens and we see today the Humble Administrators Garden and the Master of Nets Garden. Continue 30 km to Zhouzhuang, an ancient water town dating back 2,500 years. The architecture is well preserved and there are several famous bridges and scenes celebrated in traditional Chinese paintings and poetry. We take a boat trip on the canals, the best way to appreciate the architecture of this town. Return to Shanghai by early evening.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

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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