Visit Classical China

Summary

Visit: Xi’an / Shanghai and water towns / Beijing / Yangshuo / Guilin

One could spend a lifetime exploring China and never see it all. This trip introduces the essential iconic highlights that define this vast country. See iconic sites like the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace and the terracotta warriors. Embark on a trip that explores the religious side of Beijing, the historical remnants of a great empire in Xi'an, and the modern technologies that shape  China in Shanghai.

Tour Includes

  • One soft berth per person on the overnight train Beijing – Xian
  • Accommodation
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • English speaking guide
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

  Duration

12 Days

Price

From £3,649 per person based on two people sharing [Guide Price*]

Best time to go

Generally speaking, the best months to visit China are in the spring or autumn months of April, May, September and October as temperatures are warm and it is fairly dry.

Tour Highlights

  • Explore China’s famed Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, and the Shanghai skyline
  • From Kung Fu to village cooking classes, be immersed in the local culture
  • Travel through history to see how China has evolved from its pre-historic roots & imperial dynasties into the powerhouse today

Day 1: Departure
Overnight flight to Beijing

Day 2: Arrival

On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. En route to the hotel, you will get to visit the iconic “Bird’s Nest” stadium, symbolising modern China, featured during the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games. After checking in at the hotel continue with a visit to Beijing’s famed hutongs (narrow alleys and streets, exclusive to Beijing) near Houhai Lake. From there you will head to the Gulou, or Drum Tower, where during the Ming Dynasty, the city marked the hours of the day with the rumbling of drums. The tower faces the Zhonglou, the Bell Tower, and gives visitors a glimpse of ancient Beijing. 

Enjoy a meet and greet with a bicycle repairman, and earn all about this favoured mode of transport whose popularity rivals the car. Another must-do visit in the city is sitting in on a mahjong party, a social get-together usually based around Chinese Chess (or card games), the guide can explain the rules. Conclude the day with a refreshing change of ambience in the Wangfujing neighbourhood- the most commercial area of the capital.

Overnight: Regent Hotel [Breakfast]

Day 3: Beijing 

Today is all about exploring the religious syncretism of China, with its fusion of popular and oldfashioned beliefs: Confucian doctrines, Chinese-originated Taoism, and the foreign versions of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. 

Begin the day early with a visit to the Temple of Heaven and the White Cloud Temple. Before entering, you can explore the surrounding grounds, which provide unique insight into daily Chinese activities, from Tai Qi, Kung Fu and sabre practice to meditation and tango. Alternatively, some Chinese begin the day practising water calligraphy; writing with giant brushes dipped in water on the park’s flagstones; an aesthetically pleasing act which quickly evaporates. The temple is marked by both simplicity and symbolism. Displaying touches of Buddhism and Taoism, the temple was once used by Emperors to direct authority on earth from the heavens.  For those with enough time to spare, pay a visit to the Niujie Mosque, a place that showcases the expansion of Muslim merchants from Central Asia to China. Lunch will be a vegetarian meal after which you will pay a visit to the Yonghe Temple, famous for its 18-meter high Buddha statue made from only one block of wood. 

End the day with a visit to the Confucius Temple or enjoy an evening of Kung Fu show in the historic Red Theater!

Overnight: Regent Hotel [Half Board]

Day 4: Beijing

Start your day with a visit to The Great Wall of China. Begin the day with an early morning visit to the Mutianyu section of the Wall. Despite an early morning wake up, this is by far the best time of the day for photographs. For those who aren’t keen on a hike back down (after the hike to the top), you can descend via cable car or toboggan. If time allows you can also have a picnic on the Great Wall of China! Head to the Summer Palace, which once stood as a simple Imperial garden, was entirely renovated by Emperor Qianlong during the 18th century to become one the most iconic sites. Harmonious in nature, a variety of traditional Chinese temples, pavilions, lakes and gardens make up this beautiful Palace.

After the palace visits, a transfer will be provided back to the city for an evening at the hotel.

Overnight: Regent Hotel [Half Board]

Day 5:  Beijing - Xi'an

This morning will be set apart for a visit to the Forbidden City. The construction of the City was finished in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty, serving as the Imperial administrative centre until the fall of the Empire in 1911. Restored in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics, the Forbidden City has since regained its youthful, vivid colours. After exploring the interior and exterior parts of the compound, visitors can climb the artificial coal hill behind the Forbidden City for a spectacular view of the entire site. After the Forbidden City explorations, transport will be provided to the Beijing train station for the trip to Xi’an.

Overnight: Train in a soft sleeper cabin to Xi’an [Breakfast]

Day 6: X'ian

Upon arrival, a local guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel.  The capital of the Empire three times, Xi’an played an integral role in the history of the country. Start the day by visiting the Xi’an Terracotta Warriors. Unearthed accidentally in 1974 by local farmers, this grand discovery became one of the greatest archaeological finds in modern history. The most astonishing fact is that every single one has a different face!

After the Terracotta warrior tour, embark on a bike tour (or cart tour) for about one hour to discover Xi’an without traffic jams and crowds! Visit the impressive Xi’an ramparts, built during the Ming Dynasty, and explore part of Xi’an’s Islamic background. Visit the Chinese-style Mosque and the vibrant neighbourhood around it, housing a number of butcher shops and different sorts of stores. At dinner, take in the unique ambience of the night market while dining on the neighbourhood’s specialities of spiced lamb kebabs, flatbread, and mutton soup with noodles.

Overnight: Sofitel Legend [Breakfast]

Day 7:  Xi'an - Guilin - Yangshuo

Begin your day with a transfer to the to the airport. Along the way, visit the tomb of Emperor Jing nearby to the airport. Opened in 2006,  the tomb houses a multitude of figurines representing eunuchs, servers, and domestic animals, and brings more to mind the normal day life under the Han Dynasty. Glass panels walk over the different pits, revealing the recently uncovered statuettes. After the final Xi’an visit, take the onward flight towards Guilin. A guide will be waiting to provide transport onwards to Yangshuo.

Overnight: Yangshuo Resort [Breakfast]

Day 8:  Yangshuo

Start the morning early for a cycle tour of Yangshuo with a guide. You can choose from two options:

  1. Head to the village of Baisha, view the famous 400-year-old Yulong Bridge, ride past fruit orchards of oranges, mandarin, chestnut and pomelo trees. Stop to take in the Guangxi countryside, famous for its superb karst peaks (commonly called “Sugarloaf” mountains). If you fancy a hike go up the moon hill offering spectacular views of the surrounding area.
  2. Cycle towards 500-year-old Mushan, known for its unique feng shui design, which follows the “Eight Trigrams of Taoism.” From there, follow the general path of the Li River as far as the 800-year-old fishing village of Liugong, known for its ancient houses and “three-coloured pools.” Return to Yangshuo, passing through Yongcun with an optional extension to Moon Hill 

In the afternoon you get to experience some local cuisine at a cooking school in the countryside, with a visit to pick up ingredients at the local market. You can choose which of the two menu courses you would like to cook, and also enjoy once done! After the course, enjoy the day’s work with the delicious meals! 

Overnight: Yangshuo Resort [Breakfast]

Day 9:  Yangshuo - Guilin - Shanghai

In the morning you will transfer to Guilin airport en route to Shanghai. Arrive in Shanghai and transfer on the electromagnetic Maglev train into the city. Reaching speeds of up to 430 kilometres per hour, the ride takes only 8 minutes! Disembark the Maglev and take the subway, ultimately arriving in Pudong district. Your personal luggage will be taken directly to the hotel. You can explore the neighbourhood of Lujiazui, where some of the icons of Shanghai stand: the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and Shanghai Tower. You can take the Shanghai Towers super high-speed elevator to its 118th-floor observation terrace and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Shortly after, take the famous Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (a mini subway line) to cross the Huangpu River to reach Puxi.  Discover the Bund, the city’s famous walkway, and some of Puxi’s historical buildings. The area dates back to the 1930s, reflecting Shanghai’s rich culture and European influence. Continue on to explore the famous Nanjing Road with its colourful signs and crowds of locals and tourists alike.  

Overnight: Fairmont [Breakfast]

Day 10: Shanghai

Start your day at the People’s Square, where you will be met by a guide, explore some of Shanghai’s fantastic museums: Start with the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre, where a model city of Shanghai provides excellent insights into the city’s layout. From here, head to one of the most famous and prestigious museums in the country: The Shanghai Museum. The collection of bronze statues on the first floor is unrivalled and is complemented by a number of jade pieces of artwork, as well as Qing Dynasty furniture, Buddhist sculptures, and other pieces of Chinese artwork. The day will end with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). After the museums, the delightful People’s Park is a great place to relax at, situated at the heart of People’s Square. The park has a small lake, a number of food stands, and countless places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere. To truly get a feel of the city, relax in the park get a bite to eat and then walk from the Square along East Nanjing Road, arriving at the Bund to admire the Shanghai night skyline.

Overnight: Fairmont [Breakfast]

Day 11:  Shanghai

Begin the day by heading towards the French Concession: a symbol of a time when Western powers were accorded many privileges. Particularly of note is Fuxing Park, where the Chinese practice their daily morning exercise rituals. After exploring the park, wander on along the surrounding roads, admiring colonial homes which have been transformed into restaurants, bars, and different boutiques. Wander on towards Xintiandi, an entirely renovated area that is considered one of the liveliest parts of the city. The walk will take you through Tianzifang, a maze of animated alleyways full of restaurants, boutiques, and small, authentic art galleries. Conclude the walk in the Old Town with its few remaining lively lilongs (which are like the hutongs found in Beijing). The Old Town also houses the famous Yu Yuan Gardens, a superb example of the art of Chinese garden landscaping. Before heading back, pay a visit to the local bazaar, where visitors and locals come to haggle. It’s a perfect chance to buy some souvenirs before departure the following day.

Overnight: Fairmont [Breakfast]

Day 12: Departure
Depart on an overnight flight to the UK.

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These itineraries are just samples of what we have already done for our guests. Speak to one of our travel experts to create your perfect holiday based on your travel requirements.

* This is a guide price, based on travel in low season


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