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Classic China & Fujian tulou houses

17 days from £4,990pp

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Audley Travel specialist Chris

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Tour highlights

  • See China’s iconic sights including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Terracotta Warriors.

  • Walk along the Great Wall at Jinshanling Pass.

  • Explore Beijing’s Hutongs and Shanghai’s French Concession by bicycle.

  • Trek through the rice terraces and stay overnight in Longji.

  • Explore Gulangyu Island and the Tulou clusters in Fujian Province.

Price includes

  • Scheduled international and domestic flights
  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Beijing.

  • On arrival in Beijing, you will be met at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in.

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  • Start your discovery of Beijing this morning with a visit to the historic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with your private guide. Surrounded by the Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, Tiananmen Square is one of the world’s largest and each day, thousands of locals come and pay respects to Chairman Mao’s statue from all over China. Continue to the imperial Forbidden City, a vast site of ancient buildings that was once off limits to all but the emperor and the imperial family.

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  • Today you will visit the Great Wall at Jinshanling, with its spectacular views and mountain scenery. This is one of the quietest and most attractive parts of the wall and should prove to be one of the highlights of your trip. Take a four-hour walk on the wall with your private guide, looping back through a valley. After the excursion you will be taken back to Beijing.

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  • Spend this morning exploring the Temple of Heaven with your private guide. This Confucian-designed temple is technically an altar and stands in the middle of a leafy park. We can arrange for you to arrive early, so you can see Beijing residents performing the ancient art of Tai chi. Later you will take a tour of the scenic Summer Palace, the largest and most well-preserved royal park in Beijing, taking in its lakes, gardens, walkways and teahouses before taking the high speed train to Xian. On arrival, you're met by a private guide and driver and transferred to your hotel.

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  • In the morning, you’ll take a tour of the farming villages and caves on the plateau surrounding Xian, driving through rural communities barely touched by the pace of modern China. Enjoy lunch at a local family’s home with a chance to chat with them and gain insight into their lives. Take a walk on the Ancient City Wall this afternoon. Originally built during the Ming dynasty, the city wall has been restored to its former glory and you can marvel at the sheer scale of the construction as you stroll along the ramparts that provide magnificent views of the city. To end the day, head out to explore Xian's Muslim Quarter on a private street food tour. You will sample the delicacies from the many food stalls: the barbecued meat dishes are particularly delicious.

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  • This morning explore Xian's star attraction, the Terracotta Army, with your private guide. Even if you have read about these ancient models, nothing can prepare you for their sheer scale and number. Discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers digging a well, it is now one of the main tourist attractions in China and one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. In the afternoon take a private transfer to Xian Airport and fly to Guilin, which takes roughly two hours. On the way to the airport, visit Hanyangling Tombs which contain some intricately carved, though smaller, figurines.

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  • This morning, accompanied by your private guide, you will embark on a boat journey to cruise down the River Li to the town of Yangshuo. You'll sail past bamboo forests and limestone karst mountains. Look out for water buffalo and farmers working in the fields. On arrival in Yangshuo you're met by a private driver and taken to your hotel. You then have an afternoon to explore the town at leisure. We suggest ambling around its markets and cafes.

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  • A day at leisure in Yangshuo. We recommend cycling around the surrounding paddy fields and countryside, or even trying a local cookery lesson. The more energetic can even try bamboo rafting. In the evening, you can enjoy Impression Liu Sanjie show, a riverside lightshow illuminating the karst scenery, designed by Zhang Yimou who directed the 2008 Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony.

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  • This morning leave Yangshuo behind and take a three hour private transfer to the village of Longji. Cosseted among ancient rice terraces, a visit to Longji is a great way of getting a sense of rural China. Your private guide may lead you on walks to rice terraces to nearby villages, or you can simply visit various viewing platforms to admire this agricultural landscape.

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  • An early morning of walking and further exploring the rice terraces with your guide. Later this morning, travel one and a half hours to Guilin's airport for your flight to Xiamen. On arrival, you will be met by your private guide and transferred to Gulangyu Island, a short boat ride from Xiamen.

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  • Spend to day exploring Gulangyu Island with your private guide. With its colonial buildings and winding paths, the island has a Mediterranean feel to it. The highest point on the island is Sunshine Rock at an elevation of about 90 metres and not far from there, adjoining the beach is the beautiful Shu Zhuang Park where flowers bloom all year round.

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  • This morning you'll be driven deep into Fujian province, to visit the Tianluokeng tulou houses en route to Chuxi village. Tulou houses, built by the Hakka minority peoples, usually consist of a circular (although occasionally rectangular) outer building, constructed from rammed earth and a wooden frame, the lower reinforced structure supports housing for up to 80 families, often focused around a central shrine or courtyard. There are over 20,000 to be found, mainly in small clusters all over the mountains of the southern Fujian province although only 3,000 of these, however, are recognised as true 'Fujian tulou'.

  • You have a whole day exploring the beautiful area around Chuxi and its numerous tulou clusters, before being taken back to Xiamen for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival, you're met by a private guide and driver and taken to your hotel. Alternatively, you may wish to take a ride on the super-fast Maglev train into the city with your guide and continue by private transfer to your hotel.

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  • In the morning, you will take a private food and walking tour through the leafy streets of the former French Concession. Stopping off at only-known-to-locals streetside stalls and small eateries, you’ll try different regional foods, including the Shanghainese signature dish, xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). Later, you’ll learn how to make dumplings under the guidance of a local chef before sitting down to enjoy your handiwork. This afternoon is at leisure for a chance to explore Shanghai independently. We suggest visiting the Jade Buddha temple, one of the few working monasteries in the city, and walking along the colonial waterfront of the Bund, where you can look across at the ultra-modern skyscrapers of the Pudong district and take a leisurely cruise on Huangpu river. You may wish to visit Yu Gardens for the chance to explore the gardens, bazaars and maze of narrow lines lined with traditional houses.

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  • In the morning, you will explore the vibrant city of Shanghai by bike. This private cycling tour takes you through the French Concession quarter, with its elegant Art Deco villas, before plunging you into the backstreets and alleyways of off-the-beaten-path residential areas and the maze of narrow streets that make up Shanghai’s old town to see the daily life of local people. You’ll also see the plethora of activities that take place in one of the city’s main public parks and visit a Buddhist temple. There is time at leisure in the afternoon for you to relax and reflect on your journey through China. Alternatively, you may wish to further explore Shanghai and visit the Shanghai Museum, which is rated among the best museums in Asia and boasts a comprehensive collection of Chinese cultural artefacts and art, or visit the interesting Propaganda Poster Art Centre to learn more about contemporary Chinese history.

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  • Today you'll be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport, ready to board your international return flight home. Your return flight will arrive the same day.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
July is one of the best times to visit
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Beijing
 
Xian
 
Guilin
 
Yangshuo
 
Longji
 
Xiamen
 
Shanghai
 
Audley Travel specialist Chris

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