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SG-02 China Explored

BEIJING ► PINGYAO ► XIAN ► CHENGDU ► LIJIANG ► DALI ► KUNMING ► YANGSHUO ► SHANGHAI

19 nights from UK £ 2,785 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.

A thorough exploration of China covering the Middle Kingdom’s main sights including BEIJING, XIAN, CHENGDU, YANGSHUO & SHANGHAI.

In addition you visit less visited destinations that we think are the highlights of the future including PINGYAO, LIJIANG, DALI and KUNMING making for an unforgettable and worthwhile adventure.

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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

SG02 China explored 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

Trekking Along a Wild & Spectacular Section of the Great Wall

For the active and energetic, one of the best ways to see the Great Wall is to walk it and with nearly 4,000 miles of actual wall we need to be selective! The most scenic section to trek within reach of Beijing is at Jinshanling. The trek involves about 6km of walking along the wall itself which averages 4 hours. This is the best way to see and absorb yourself in China’s best known sight, get some superb photos and avoid the tourist crowds.

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

Explore More of Beijing’s Sights Independently

A free day to explore the wealth of sights Beijing offers. Besides the must sees the city offers ample opportunity to shop in markets such as Hongqiao, the Silk Market or our favourite, the vast Panjiayuan antique market.

For something a bit more sedate we recommend Ho Hai lake and its ancient residential Hutongs which offer a great opportunity to absorb local culture combined with many small cafes, bars and restaurants. For a more contemporary experience the 798 district to the east of the city offers an impressive array of galleries, cafes and restaurants.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 4 - Beijing to Pingyao

Free Time Before a Bullet Train on to Pingyao

Free time this morning before making your own way to the station to catch a bullet train on to Pingyao. 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.

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. 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 with 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

Free Day to Explore Fascinating Pingyao City

A free day to explore the ancient streets of the city which are easy to navigate. If you wish to enter any of the old banking houses or temples you will need to buy a ticket which covers most of the sights within the city walls as well as the walls themselves.

Your hotel will be able to assist with the purchase of this. A free evening to continue to explore the city, the centre of which is beautifully lit by traditional Chinese lanterns.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 6 - Pingyao to Xian

A Bullet Train on Xian & a Visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors

After breakfast make your own way to the station for the bullet train to Xian, the once golden city of Emperors, soldiers, arts, culture and the capital of the prosperous Tang Dynasty.

On arrival your guide and driver will meet you for a visit to 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.

Return to Xian city to check-in to your hotel with the rest of today is free to start exploring this giant of Chinese history with the help of your trip Guidebook.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 7 - Xian

Free Day to Explore More of Xian’s Many Sights Independently

Free time today, perhaps to explore 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 and the top of the Wall is perhaps the safest place in China to ride a bicycle!

We also recommend 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 and eat.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 8 - Xian to Chengdu

Bullet Train on to Chengdu in Sichuan Province

This morning make your own way to the station for a bullet train to Chengdu. Early afternoon arrival 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 World Famous Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding Before & Free Afternoon

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 10 - Chengdu to Lijiang

Very Early Flight to Lijiang & Half Day Orientation Tour

A very early start today making your own way to the airport for a flight to Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage city of cobbled streets and tiled roofs set against the magnificent backdrop of the 5,596 meter high, 13 peaked Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Transfer to your hotel in the residential district of Shuhe to the north of the old town, a lovely spot reminiscent of a Lijiang before the the current level of tourism.

This morning you have an half day tour of the Lijiang’s Old City including the fabulous palace of the Mu Clan who ruled over this area for 400 years. This large complex is a superb example of local Naxi architecture. You also visit the Black Dragon Pool, a beautiful park containing traditional architecture and one of the most famous views in China of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – stunning if the weather cooperates!

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

Meals Included: None Today.

Day 11 - Lijiang

Free Day to Explore Lijiang & the Surrounding Villages & Landscape

Today is free to continue to explore the labyrinth of the Old City which throws up surprises at almost every turn. It can also be an opportunity to get into the countryside, perhaps to visit the looming Jade Dragon snow Mountain 15 km from the city or make a day trip to stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge 60 km outside of Lijiang.

Renting bicycles and exploring the surrounding countryside is another option perhaps making the ride to Baisha Village about 40 minutes away. There is plenty to do around Lijiang including settling in one of the numerous cafes and watching the world go by!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Lijiang to Dali

Private Vehicle the Scenic Journey to Dali With an Half Day Orientation Tour on Arrival

After breakfast depart Lijiang by car or minibus for the picturesque 3 to 4 hour journey to Dali with opportunities to stop for photos along the way. Dali is the ancient capital of both the Bai Kingdom during the 8th and 9th centuries, and the Kingdom of Dali, which reigned from 937-1253.

This relaxed town has a backdrop of the beautiful Cangshan Mountains that peak 4,200 meters and is situated close to the shores of lovely Erhai Lake.

After checking in to your hotel begin an half day tour of Dali including the Old City and Three Pagodas. The relaxed Old City is well preserved and known for its architecture and being the cultural centre of the local Bai people. The Tang Dynasty Three Pagodas are some of the best preserved Buddhist structures in China and are set in a beautiful location reflecting in a lake with a mountain backdrop.

Free time for the rest of the day to relax at your hotel or in the restaurants or cafes of the Old City.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 13 - Dali

Free Day to Explore the Sights of Dali or Relax

A free day to further explore the Old City and countryside and lake side villages that surround Dali. We recommend heading up into the Cangshan mountains, an area of stunning beauty.

The most common way to visit the mountains is to take the chairlift up and then walk the 3 to 5 hours to a different chairlift to return to Dali. The walk between lifts is easy to follow on a good path wonderfully named the “Cloud Traveller’s Path.”

Alternatively one of our favourite ways to spend time here is to hire a bicycle and head to nearby Erhai Lake and visit some of the 17 villages along the western shore. This is one of the best and most relaxed and friendly areas to see village life and architecture in China.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 14 - Dali to Kunming

Bullet Train on to Kunming With & Tour to the West Mountain Golden Palace on Arrival

After breakfast make your own way to the station for a bullet train on to Kunming. Late morning arrival in Yunnan Province’s capital with its pleasant year round climate and a gateway to the highlights of popular south west China. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

This afternoon’s tour visits the West Mountain Golden Palace located in a vibrant and lush forest 8 km from Kunming city centre. The palace gets its name from the brass roof which, in the sunlight, looks golden. Note that some of the paths are steep here and a head for heights is necessary.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 15 - Kunming to Yangshuo

Bullet Train to Guilin & Transfer Direct to the Picturesque Town of Yangshuo

After an early breakfast make your own way to the station for a bullet train to Guilin. Much of today is spent on the train to Guilin passing through the traditional scenery of south central China, a lush land of villages and farms. Mid-afternoon 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.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 16 - Yangshuo

Continue to Explore the Delights of This Special Part of China

Today is free to discover more of Yangshuo and enjoy this very special part of China or just relax and recharge the your battery before your continuing on your China travels.

Meals Included: None Today – this hotel does not offer breakfast.

Day 17 - Yangshuo to Shanghai

Bullet Train on to Guangzhou & Capital of Cantonese China

A free morning in Yangshuo before making your own way to Guilin North train station leaving plenty of time to catch your onward train. Your hotel will be able to arrange a taxi and in almost all cases the guide who initially met you on arrival in Guilin will have given you the tickets and guidance on getting to the station.

Enjoy one of the classic overnight sleeper routes in China as you settle in for the night.

Meals Included: None Today – this hotel does not offer breakfast.

Day 18 - Shanghai

Arrival in Shanghai With a Free Day to Explore the Dynamic City

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.

Please note that the check-in time is 12 noon but if a room is available or you have pre-booked early check-in you can go straight to your room.

The rest of today is free to start exploring the sights and vibe of Shanghai with the help of your trip Guidebook. Alternatively, this well located and comfortable hotel is an ideal place to relax.

Meals Included: None Today.

Day 19 - 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, Hangzhou or Zhouzhuang all offering a more traditional experience from China’s past.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 20 - Shanghai

Depart China With a Wealth of Memories of This Unique Destination

Free time for any final sightseeing or last minute shopping for souvenirs if time. Make your own way to the airport in good time for your flight out of China. 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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