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SG-05 Epic China

HONG KONG ► YANGSHUO ► KUNMING ► DALI ► LIJIANG ► LHASA ► CHENGDU ► XIAN ► LUOYANG ► BEIJING

20 nights from UK £ 4,480 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 April to December.
Please note: 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. An altitude of over 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) is reached on this trip. Whilst the vast majority of people experience little more than shortness of breath there is a very small risk of more severe complications such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). Note that level of fitness and age are no indication as to whether you are more susceptible or not to AMS

An Epic China trip from HONG KONG to BEIJING with plenty of fascinating destinations along the way.

Experience the beauty of YANGSHUO before heading to Yunnan province and the highlights of KUNMING, DALI & LIJIANG.

Fly on to otherworldly LHASA in Tibet before CHENGDU & XIAN. On to the final destination of Beijing via LUOYANG famed for the grottoes at Longmen and the Shaolin Monastery.

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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

SG05 Epic China map

DAY BY DAY TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 - Hong Kong to Yangshuo

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

Make your own way to West Kowloon station for a bullet train to Guilin – the train tickets will have been delivered to your accommodation in Hong Kong. Pass through the traditional scenery of south central China, a lush land of villages and farms once north if industrial Guangzhou. 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. Free time to relax for the rest of today.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 2 - 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: None Today – this hotel does not offer breakfast.

Day 3 - 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 4 - Yangshuo to Kunming

Bullet Train on to Kunming in Yunnan Province

This morning make your own way to the station for a bullet train to Kunming leaving plenty of time to catch your 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.

The journey takes you across lush and mountainous Southern China with a late afternoon arrival in Yunnan’s capital city. Kunming, at 1,890m, is one of those rare Chinese cities that is good to visit all year round. Renown for its greenery and a degree of prosperity it is also more relaxed than many Chinese cities. Transfer to your hotel to overnight.

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

Day 5 - Kunming to Dali

Bullet Train on to Relaxed Dali & Orientation Tour

After breakfast make your own way to the station for a bullet train to Dali. Late morning arrival in Dali, an 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. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

This afternoon a 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.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 6 - 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 7 - Dali to Lijiang & Shuhe

Explore the Old City & the Magnificent, Tang Dynasty Three Pagodas Before Driving to Lijiang & Shuhe

This morning a 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.

This afternoon depart Dali by car and driver for the picturesque 3 to 4 hour journey to Lijiang with opportunities to stop for photos along the route. Lijiang is 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.

Arrival in 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. For your accommodation we have selected the Shuhe area about 3km from Old Lijiang. This areas has some lovely traditional style hotels and is reminiscent of a less touristed Lijiang yet still has easy access.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 8 - Lijiang

Free Day to Explore Lijiang & the Surrounding Villages & Landscape

Today is free to either relax in lovely Shuhe or continue to explore the labyrinth of the Old City which throws up surprises at almost every turn. Renting bicycles and exploring the surrounding countryside is another option perhaps making the ride to Baisha Village about 40 minutes away.

Either way 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 9 - Lijiang to Lhasa

Flight on to Lhasa and Your First Taste of This Extraordinary City

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa (note most flights are very early in the morning). Your guide will have your Tibet Travel Permit and plane ticket. Arrival at Lhasa’s Gonggar airport after what has, cloud cover permitting, been a spectacular flight. Your guide will be meeting you at the airport for the 1 hour drive to Lhasa. Tibet’s capital, at a quite manageable altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 feet) is a unique city and a real highlight or any trip. The setting, history, architecture, people and contrasts all make for a very special travel experience.

Free time to relax and adjust to the altitude or start exploring the city.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast if time & Snack on the Plane.

Day 10 - Lhasa

Drepung Monastery, Nechung Residence, Sacred Jokhang Temple & Kora

Today first head 5 km out of Lhasa to Drepung Monastery, the largest in Tibet located on Gambo Utse mountain. Founded in 1416, it was the principal seat of learning for the Gelugpa school and at its height was thought to contain up to 10,000 monks (now there are 300). About 10 minutes walk from Drepung is Nechung Chok which was the residence of the State Oracle of Tibet. This small monastery was also evocatively known as the ”Demon Fortress of the Oracle King.”

After lunch (own arrangement) visit the Jokhang Temple constructed in 642 AD and considered the most sacred and important temple in all Tibet. It is located at one end of Barkhor Square, a fascinating meeting point for pilgrims from all over the region making for an intense atmosphere infused with incense and devotion. Surrounding the temple is the Barkhor Kora, a 1 km circular walk for pilgrims and locals as well as a fascinating market selling all the goods a pilgrim might need on their travels.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 11 - Lhasa

The Truly Spectacular Potala Palace & Ancient Sera Monastery

Today you visit one of the architectural highlights of China – if not the world – the vast Potala Palace, former residence of Dalai Lamas. Building started in 1645 and has been added to over the centuries. It is 13 stories high and contains over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. You will see some of the meeting rooms as well as the extraordinary chapels with their vast gold and jewel encrusted shrines to previous Dalai Lamas – the chapel of the 5th Dalai Lama has a stupa coated in 3,727kg of gold and 18,680 precious stones. The Potala dominates Lhasa and the views from the palace stretch out across the city to the surrounding mountains.

Continue to Sera Monastery, spread over 28 acres at the base of Pubuchok mountain and built in 1419. The highlights are the great assembly hall and some of the colleges located within the complex with their wealth of architectural features and shrines.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Lhasa

Day Trip to Ganden Monastery With Time to Walk in the Hills

Today you leave the city into the often dramatic countryside to the huge Ganden Monastery approached by a spectacular winding road. Ganden is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located at the top of Wangbur Mountain 36 km from Lhasa at an altitude of 4,300m. Founded in 1409 it used to be home to up to 6,000 monks. After touring the monastery you will have time to hike in the surrounding hills with their amazing views across the valleys and mountain ranges returning to Lhasa with a free evening.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Picnic Lunch.

Day 13 - Lhasa to Chengdu

Flight Out of Lhasa to Chengdu

Free time until a transfer to the airport for your flight out of Lhasa to Chengdu. We believe, like so many, you will have come under Tibet’s magical spell!

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 14 - Chengdu to Xian

The World Famous Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding & Bullet Train to Xian

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.

On arrival your guide and driver will meet you to transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is to explore the wealth of sights this ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty has to offer. The Drum and Bell Towers located in the centre of the city are particularly easy to visit independently as is wandering the nearby Muslim Quarter.

Your exclusive personalised Trip guidebook has plenty of ideas to make the most of your time.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 15 - Xian

Visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors & Free Afternoon

After breakfast 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.

Return to Xian 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 16 - Xian to Luoyang

Bullet Train on to Luoyang & Visit the 100,000 Buddhist Carvings at the Longmen Grottoes

After breakfast make your own way to the station to catch a bullet train on to Luoyang, the perfect base for visiting the fabulous Longmen Grottoes and the impressive Shaolin Temple complex up in the Song Mountains.

This afternoon 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 modeled on that of Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty who happened to pay for this temple! After the tour transfer on to your hotel to overnight.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 17 - 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 18 - Luoyang to Beijing

Bullet Train on to China’s Capital of Beijing

This morning make your own way to the station to catch a bullet train on to your final destination of Beijing.

Welcome to 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 station 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 19 - 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 20 - 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 21 - Depart Beijing & China

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 leaving good time for your flight out of China. We sincerely hope that you have had a fantastic China experience 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

Tibet Travel Permit needed to travel in this province

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

Laundry and bar bills, photographic charges in some monasteries, additional costs due to unforeseen expenses that may arise due to the factors beyond our control like personal illness, weather, landslides, etc…

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