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Cities, Himalaya Mountains & Yangtze River
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Set off on this classic itinerary through China’s world-class sights, including the bustling capital Beijing, the imposing Terracotta Warriors of Xian, and the adorable pandas of Chengdu. On top of this, you’ll cruise the dramatic gorges of the Yangtze River and spend three nights in spiritual Lhasa, exploring the monasteries and mountains of Tibet.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Beijing.
Explore the bustling streets of Beijing with your guide. Start with Tiananmen Square, one of the largest city plazas in the world and home to Chairman Mao’s mausoleum. Tour the Forbidden City and the picturesque Summer Palace, walking along the shores of tranquil Kunming Lake. The next day you’ll travel two hours out of the city to visit the Juyonggan section of the Great Wall of China, and join the locals for a dance class at the peaceful Temple of Heaven.
Fly on to Xi’an and admire the 7,000 Terracotta Warriors, made up of soldiers, horses and chariots, all sculpted at life size. It makes for quite an imposing sight, so imagine the shock for the farmer who innocently stumbled across the site while digging in the 1970s. Back in town, explore the labyrinth of streets and market stalls in Xian’s atmospheric Muslim Quarter, taste the delicious local foods and smell the spices.
Get in touch with your spiritual side in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, nestled among the Himalayan Mountains, and explore evocative monasteries, temples and palaces. Admire the stalls of religious trinkets and the traditionally dressed locals on the Barkhor Circuit, a cluster of narrow streets encircling the Jokhang Temple. The next day you will explore the iconic Potala Palace, the largest monastery in the world.
Fly to Chengdu and get up close to the giant panda at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which is also home to the inquisitive (and much smaller) red panda. You’ll learn about the centre’s conservation and breeding programme and see these loveable creatures, including the little ones, in their natural habitat. Later, visit the Embroidery Museum and learn about the creation of these rich fabrics and perhaps buy some to take home.
After taking the bullet train to Chongqing, you’ll board your Yangtze River cruise and sail past the dramatic scenery of the Three Gorges, including the pretty Wu and Qutang Gorges. If water levels permit, you’ll have the opportunity to disembark to check out various temples as well as Fengdu Ghost City. At the end of your cruise, you will pass through the five stage ship lock of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.
Fly on to Shanghai and take a stroll along the Bund. Visit the Old town with your guide and discover the traditional Yu Garden and Matchmaker’s Corner, where parents come to find a partner for their children. Cruise the Huangpu River and admire the neo-classical and Art Deco buildings dotted among the skyscrapers of modern Pudong, and take a look around the Silk Museum to learn about the production of this traditional material.
Depart Shanghai and return to the UK.
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