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China in Depth
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See the sights of China in detail with this comprehensive guided tour, taking in the modern cities of Beijing and Shanghai, the spectacular karst scenery of the Li and Yangtze Rivers and the history of the Terracotta Warriors and Forbidden City. To top it off, you’ll get to see the rare giant pandas of Chengdu and learn about their behaviour.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Beijing.
Uncover the history of Beijing’s Forbidden City with your guide, take a look around Tiananmen Square and tour the historic Hutong District by cyclo-rickshaw. Take a walk along the Great Wall of China at Huanghuacheng, a less visited section, cruise a nearby lake and admire the beautiful mountain scenery, made even more impressive by the views of the wall snaking into the distance. Later, return to the city and explore the peaceful Summer Palace before a tasty Peking duck dinner.
Fly to Xi'an and learn all about the Terracotta Warriors, an imposing army of soldiers standing guard at the tomb of Qin Shu Huang. There are over 7,000 figures, consisting of warriors, horses and chariots, and it makes for an impressive sight. Later, take a look around the city’s fascinating Muslim Quarter, browse the markets and bargain for souvenirs. You’ll also have the opportunity to walk on the top of the ancient city walls, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city below.
Fly on to Guilin and take a stroll to the Sun and Moon twin pagodas, which tower serenely over Shan Lake. They are especially impressive at night, when they are illuminated and their light reflects poetically in the lake. The next day, visit the beautiful Longji Rice Terraces, a cluster of peaks covered in emerald green fields carved like steps into the hillside. Here, you’ll take a three-hour hike through the gorgeous landscape and see the local villagers at work. .
Board your boat and cruise past the dramatic karst scenery of the Li River to Yangshuo, a relaxed town with a spectacular riverside location. Here you’ll cycle the karst-dotted landscape, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the bucolic landscapes of rural Guangxi. You also have the option to attend the Sanjie Liu night show, a fantastic display of colour and light played out by the side of the Li River.
Visit the intriguing Reed Flute Cave and the South China Pearl Museum on your way back to Guilin, then catch your flight to Kunming. Here you’ll explore the unusual Stone Forest, a collection of thousands of bizarre rock pillars, some over 30 metres tall, spread over 80 hectares. Follow the walkway through the park, past lakes and pounds, and take in the lush landscape. While in Kunming, you’ll have the chance to try the local speciality of crossing-the-bridge noodles, a rice noodle soup with fresh vegetables and meat.
Fly to Lijiang, a picturesque town of cobbled streets and old-fashioned architecture, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. After exploring the lanes and alleyways, take a chairlift up the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, popular with mountaineers and skiers. On the way back down, call in at Baisha Naxi Village and meet the Donga Shaman Master, who will show you how to write ancient Dongba characters. The next day, get your hiking boots on and explore the cliffs, waterfalls and streams of the magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest in the world.
Catch your onward flight to Chengdu, China’s ‘panda capital’ and also an up-and-coming modern city, filled with glossy hotels and modern skyscrapers. Take a relaxing walk around the People’s Park or visit a local teahouse. Tea is a big deal in Sichuan, so be sure to try a cup of the green or jasmine variety while you’re in town. The next day, view the giant pandas at the Chengdu Panda Research Base and learn about efforts to increase their numbers.
Yangtze River Cruise
Ride the bullet train to Chongqing then sit back and take in the scenery as you take a relaxing two-day cruise down the Yangtze River. Stay overnight on board your boat, as you drift gently through the dramatic Three Gorges, including the impressive Wu and Qutang Gorges, and pay a visit to Fengdu Ghost City. At the end of the cruise, you’ll pass through the gargantuan and highly controversial Three Gorges Dam.
Continue to Shanghai and tour Zhujiajiao Water Town, a charming olde-worlde settlement crossed by stone bridges. In Shanghai, tour the Old Town and visit the Silk Museum, where you can learn about production of this traditional material and perhaps by a sample to take home. There’s no better way to appreciate Shanghai’s Pudong skyline than by boat, so set sail on the Huangpu River and take in the Art Deco sights of the Bund.
Depart Shanghai and return to the UK.
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