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18 days from £4,525pp
Visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall at Jinshanling Pass and Terracotta Warriors.
Explore China stunning countryside in Yangshuo, Longji and Zhongdian.
Learn about Naxi faith and Tibetan culture in Yunnan.
See the giant pandas at Chengdu Panda Research Base.
Sample delicious street foods of Xian’s Muslim Quarter.
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Day 1 International outbound flight
International outbound flight
Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Beijing.
Day 2 Beijing
Day 3 Beijing
Start your discovery of Beijing this morning with a visit to the historic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with your private guide. 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.
Day 4 Beijing
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.
Day 5 Xian
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.
Day 6 Xian
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.
Day 7 Guilin
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.
Today you will explore the stunning rice terraces of Longji with your private guide and driver. Leave Guilin early and drive to a Yao village at the foot of the 'Dragon's Backbone' mountains. You will have the opportunity to explore the village before hiking to Pingan, a Zhuang village nestled among the rice terraces. Numerous paths exist, snaking through the terraced hillsides offering some fantastic views across the valley. At the end of the excursion, you will be taken back to Guilin, and if time permits you may break your return journey at the town of Longsheng, which has an interesting market.
Day 9 Yangshuo
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.
Day 10 Yangshuo
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.
Day 11 Lijiang
You will be taken to Guilin airport by private transfer with your guide for your flight to Lijiang this morning. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by your private guide and driver. Lijiang has a very well-preserved old town where many Naxi minority people live. Later in the afternoon, you will join your guide for a tour of its ancient streets tightly packed with slate-tiled houses and latticed with mountain streams and waterways.
Day 12 Lijiang
This morning, you will travel out of Lijiang to visit Zhiyun Monastery, one of five most important lamaseries in the region with a 300-year history, where you may be able to witness the monks doing daily tasks and prayers. Afterwards, continue to Shuhe village to meet a Naxi Shaman and his family. The Shaman will show you around the village and give you an introduction to his faith and ceremonial practices before you join his family for lunch. In the afternoon, return to Lijiang and visit Black Dragon Pond Park. Sitting in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which towers in the background, the picturesque park is built around a large pond formed by numerous freshwater springs that rise here.
Day 13 Zhongdian
Today take a private transfer to Zhongdian. Also known as ‘Shangri-La’, it is two hours' drive away from Lijiang. En route you stop at the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest gorge where you'll admire the gorge from a viewing platform. If you wish, you can take a steep walk down steps to the Jinsha River at the bottom. You then continue to Zhongdian, driving through more gorges and valleys before reaching the relatively flat Tibetan plain.
Day 14 Zhongdian
Your private guide will meet you in the morning and take you on today’s excursions. You’ll discover Shangri-La’s Tibetan culture with a visit Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in China which has great views over a valley, to give you an insight into the day-to-day life of its monks, and by exploring some of the fascinating surrounding Tibetan villages. Later, take in the beautiful scenery of Napa Lake, where there may be opportunities to spot some wildlife and birds.
Day 15 Chengdu
You will have time at leisure to relax at your hotel this morning and enjoy the facilities. You may wish to further explore the region with a visit to Xiage Tibetan village or Nixi pottery village. Later you will be taken to Shangri-La Diqing airport for your late afternoon flight to Chengdu, where you will be met by a private guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Day 16 Chengdu
Today you'll visit the Chengdu Panda Research Base, which provides an excellent opportunity to get as close as possible to China's 'ambassador’ animal and see some less endangered species, such as the smaller red panda. Later, visit the Wangjiang Bamboo Park, a riverside park that has over a hundred different kinds of bamboo from all over Asia. Here, you can stroll through the thick bamboo groves then sit and enjoy traditional tea and snacks at one of the many local teahouses in the middle of the park. In the evening, you may wish to take a private street food tour and enjoy some of Chengdu’s famous snacks and spicy specialities.
Day 17 International return flight
Chengdu , International return flight
Day 18 International return flight
International return flight
Arrive home today to complete your journey.
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