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SG-06 China Adventure

BEIJING ► PINGYAO ► XIAN ► LHASA ► GYANTSE ► SHIGATSE ► CHENGDU ► EMEISHAN ► YANGSHUO ► GUANGZHOU ► HONG KONG

21 nights from UK £ 3,910 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 from 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 5,000 meters (16,400 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.

A real China adventure from BEIJING to HONG KONG following the classic route of PINGYAO, XIAN, CHENGDU, YANGSHUO and GUANGZHOU before arrival in Hong Kong by boat.

Along the way you take 2 side trips exploring LHASA, GYANTSE & SHIGATSE in Tibet and the Giant Buddha at LESHAN & EMEISHAN mountain, one of China sacred peaks. A favourite trip for those looking for adventure.

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China Trip Guidebook
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TRIP MAP & DESTINATIONS VISITED

SG06 China Adventure 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 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 9 - 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 10 - 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 11 - Lhasa to Gyantse

Kambala Pass, Beautiful Yamdrok Lake & the Norjing Gangsang Glacier

Today we journey to Gyantse, 230 km south of Lhasa. The city is soon left behind as the road winds up the 4,780 meter (15,680 foot) Kambala pass colorfully strewn with prayer flags fluttering in the wind. See spectacular views in all directions before the road descends to the beautiful, 72 km long Yamdrok lake with its dramatic backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Follow the lake shore before heading back into the hills passing the Norjing Gangsang Glacier, where we can stop for photos.

Continue along the road stopping at villages and scenic spots before reaching Gyantse (3,977 meters / 13,050 feet), Tibet’s third largest city. Free time to explore the city and if you have the energy the walk up the Dzong (fortress) that dominates the skyline is well recommended for both views and acclimatization.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 12 - Gyantse to Shigatse

Palcho Monastery & Kumbum & Vast Tashilhunpo Monastery & Market

This morning visit Gyantse’s main monastery, the Palcho or Pelkhor Choede in Tibetan. The sprawling monastery complex dates back to the 9th century. It is most famous for the Kumbum, a 32 meter high 9 floored shrine which contains 108 unique chapels and is the largest of its kind in Tibet.

It is a 100 km drive to Shigatse at (3,840 meters / 12,600 feet) where we visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama and has since been the traditional seat of the “Tashi” or Panchen Lama. The monastery is fascinating as is the walk around the Kora which stretches up the hillside behind the monastery offering superb views of the complex and Shigatse itself. We also visit the local market.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 13 - Shigatse to Lhasa

Leisurely Drive Back to Lhasa With Time to Stop Along the Way

Today there is plenty of time to drive back to Lhasa stopping for photos and short walks as and when you wish. Free time to walk around the old town, souvenir shop, visit more temples or just relax!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 14 - 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 15 - Leshan & Emeishan

The Superb Giant Buddha at Leshan & Ascent to the Summit of Emeishan

We start our 2 day trip out of Chengdu by driving 100 miles 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.

After lunch we continue on to Emeishan. At the park entrance we take a 2 hour park bus ride after which there is a 30 minute walk up steps to the cable car station for the final leg of the ascent to the summit area where we overnight. Emeishan is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The summit is over 3,000 meters high so warm clothing is needed year round. It is studded with temples and criss-crossed with tracks and if you have clear weather the views from the summit temple is enchanting.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch & Dinner.

Day 16 - Emeishan to Chengdu

Fingers Crossed for Emeishan’s Often Sublime Sunrise & Exploring the Temples

You should be up early this morning to catch Emeishan’s famed sunrise – subject to the ever changing mountain weather of course. The best place to view the sunrise is only a few minutes walk from your hotel. Return to the hotel for breakfast before exploring some of the mountain’s temples and scenery with your guide as you make your way back down the mountain to the park entrance where your driver will be waiting for you for the return trip to Chengdu.

Check back in to your hotel with the rest of the evening free.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 17 - 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 & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 18 - Chengdu 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. Late 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 19 - 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 20 - Yangshuo to Guangzhou

Bullet Train on to Guangzhou & Capital of Cantonese China

A free morning in Yangshuo before making your own way to the bullet train station in Guilin 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 tot he station.

Late afternoon arrival in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province and one of China’s most prosperous cities with more in common with Hong Kong than Beijing. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

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

Day 21 - Guangzhou

Six Banyan Tree Temple, Sun Yat-sen & Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family

Today’s tour covers the Six Banyan Tree Temple (also known as Liurong Temple) whose centre piece is the impressive 17 story Flowering Pagoda dating back to the 3rd Century AD. A more modern construction is the Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China who was from Guangzhou. Perhaps the architectural highlight of Guangzhou is the beautifully ornate Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family built in the 19th century and quite unlike other temples you will have seen on your China travels.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening, perhaps to take a Pearl River Cruise or wander the newly restored Shamian Island, the former British and French concession which still has much of its colonial architecture preserved.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 22 - Guangzhou to Hong Kong

The Hydrofoil to Bustling & Cosmopolitan Hong Kong Where This Trip Ends

After an early breakfast take a taxi to the port at Nansha, about 1 hour outside of the city, for the Jetfoil ferry to Hong Kong. At the port you pass through immigration and exit China before boarding the ferry to Hong Kong. The trip takes about two hours through the Pearl River Delta arriving in Hong Kong at the China Ferry Terminal in the heart of Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district instantly throwing you into the buzz and bustle of this fabulous city and surely the best way to arrive in Hong Kong!

End of services on arrival in Hong Kong or we can book you nights at the Salisbury YMCA Hotel 4* in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui.

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

Back up oxygen cylinder outside of Lhasa in case of altitude issues (extremely rare this ever needs to be used!)

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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