Marvel at the wonders of the Forbidden City, Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors.
Cruise on the Yangtze river and take in the spectacular scenery.
See the enormous Three Gorges Dam up close
Explore Shanghai’s former French Concession by bike.
Sample Chinese breakfast specialities and enjoy lunch with a local family.
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Day 1 Beijing
Day 2 Beijing
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.
Day 3 Beijing
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 flying to Xian. On arrival, you're met by a private guide and driver and transferred to your hotel.
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
This morning, you will be met by your guide who will introduce you to Beijing by taking you on a private breakfast tour in Beijing’s Hutongs. You will have the opportunity to sample a selection of Chinese breakfast specialities and drinks. This three-hour tour will take you deep into the Hutongs, grids of streets of low-rise buildings with preserved siheyuan (courtyard) housing that speak of Old China. Continue to the Lama Temple for a short visit. The tranquil temple is the most renowned Tibetan temple outside of Tibet itself and is a living, working centre of Tibetan Buddhism. In the afternoon you'll be transfered to the station to take your high speed train to Xian, a journey of around five and a half hours. On arrival you'll be met and transfered to your hotel.
Day 6 Xian
This morning see 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. Enjoy lunch at a local family’s home with a chance to chat with them and gain insight into their lives. Return to the city and take a walk on the Ancient City Wall. 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. End the day with a visit to the Muslim Quarter, walking through the narrow lanes that feature old mud brick houses, butchers’ shops, small sesame oil factories and the Grand Mosque.
Day 7 Chongqing
Today you will be taken by private car with your guide to Xian railways station for the hour and a half high speed railway journey to Chongqing. On arrival, your private guide and driver will meet you and take you on a short Ciqikou Old Town before a dinner of spicy hot pot, one of Chongqing’s specialities. After dinner, you will embark on your Yangtze cruise boat, setting sail this evening.
Day 8 Chongqing
Your first day on the Yangtze River includes a shore excursion to Shibaozhai, with its impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named “The Pearl of the Yangtze”. Depending on river conditions, an alternative excursion may be substituted to Fengdu, visiting the new relocation village built for families who have been moved as a result of the Yangtze’s rising waters brought about by the Three Gorges Dam. The rest of the day is spent on board the boat to relax or you may wish to take an additional optional shore excursion to Fengdu’s “Ghost City” (river conditions permitting), known for its statues of ghosts and devils on Mingshan Hill. .
Day 9 Chongqing
Today, the boat will enter the Three Gorges, one of nature’s most extraordinary sculptures. You will pass through the first two—Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge. Qutang Gorge is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. The 25-mile long Wu Gorge is known for its quiet beauty, forest-covered mountains and sheer cliffs. You will then transfer to smaller boat for a relaxing excursion through the attractive gorges of Goddess Stream. Depending on river conditions, an alternative excursion to the gorges of Shennong Stream may be substituted. Later the boat will sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest (41 miles) and the deepest of the Three Gorges. There is an additional optional shore excursion to White Emperor City (river conditions permitting), an ancient city overlooking the western end of Qutang Gorge, available should you wish to join in.
Day 10 Shanghai
Disembark this morning and take a specially-designed sightseeing boat through the unique ship lock with a ship lift, the world’s largest. The boat will take approximately 40 minutes to an hour for to transit through the lock. You will then visit the Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River at Sandouping; it is the world’s largest power station. Later this morning, you will be taken to Yichang where your private guide and driver will meet you and take you the airport for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival in Shanghai, you will be met at the airport by your guide and taken to your hotel by private car.
Day 11 Shanghai
Today you will explore the vibrant city of Shanghai by bike in the morning. 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. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city independently. We suggest visiting the Shanghai Museum. Rated among the best museums in Asia, the museum boasts a comprehensive collection of Chinese cultural artefacts and art. You may wish to visit Yu Gardens, where you'll have the chance to explore the gardens, bazaars and maze of narrow lines lined with traditional houses or take a walk along the historic Bund to admire its colonial architecture and soak up the views of the famous Pudong skyline on the opposite bank of Huangpu river. We can also arrange a leisurely boat trip along the river for a relaxing way to see old and new Shanghai.
Day 12 Return home
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