From international Shanghai and the pandas of Chengdu to the imperial highlights of Beijing and all the dramatic landscapes in between, relish the historical, cultural and natural delights of China on this comprehensive trip.
Days 1-2: Fly to Shanghai
Fly overnight to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3-4: Discover Shanghai
Shanghai is China's great metropolis, where east and west collide on streets lined with futuristic skyscrapers and 10th century temples. Visit the peaceful Yu Gardens and atmospheric old town before admiring the colonial architecture with a stroll along the Bund. Round off the day with a delicious meal of traditional Shanghai cuisine. The next day explore ultramodern Pudong and the arts and antiquities of the Shanghai Museum. Later, visit Matchmakers Corner in People's Square where parents search for worthy suitors for their children. This evening view the city from the Huangpu River on a panoramic cruise.
Day 5: Historic Suzhou
Suzhou's centre has managed to retain a sense of quaint charm even as the city has grown up around it. Renowned for its gardens, visit one of the finest, the Humble Administrator's Garden, a typical example of the Chinese appreciation of balance and harmony. There will also be a visit to a local silk mill.
Day 6: Grand Canal & Wuzhen
Cruise on the thousand-year-old Grand Canal. Transfer to the water town of Wuzhen – a charming place of old-world timber buildings, cobbled streets and narrow waterways; it is an easy place to while away the day. Transfer to the city of Hangzhou.
Day 7: Hangzhou
A restful morning is spent wandering around the Temple of Inspired Seclusion, one of China's most renowned Buddhist temples. Visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda before cruising on Hangzhou's West Lake and admiring the gardens, pagodas and old bridges on its shores.
Day 8: Fly to Guilin
Browse the bustling local markets and visit the plantations of Meijiawu to learn the tea-making process, from bush to brew. Enjoy a cup of organic green tea and decide which of the locally produced teas you might like to purchase. Fly to the attractive city of Guilin where the rest of the day will be at leisure.
Days 9-10: Li River Cruise
Take a relaxed cruise along the Li River to the charming village of Yangshuo. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged karst peaks loom over rural scenes of lush greenery, grazing buffalo and local fishermen. Yangshuo sits in an exquisite rural location, surrounded by landscapes of paddy fields and limestone karsts. Spend the morning exploring the countryside before an afternoon at leisure. There are many activities available including cycling, rafting and walking. In the evening see the famous cormorant fishermen.
Day 11: Fly to Chengdu
Return to Guilin visiting the Reed Flute Cave to admire the colourful stalagmites and stalactites. Fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.
Day 12: Grand Buddha of Leshan
Travel to Leshan to visit the Grand Buddha which, at 71 metres, is the world's largest stone-carved Buddhist monument. A short boat trip will give excellent views from the river. Returning to Chengdu, there will be a stop at riverside Huanglongxi, where cobbled streets and rickety buildings retain the charms of the Qing Dynasty. Sample a delicious Sichuan meal this evening.
Day 13: Pandas, fly to Xian
Visit Chengdu's famous reserve to see and learn about China's celebrated bears up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Fly to Xian, the ancient former capital. This evening sit down to a delicious feast of traditional Shui Jiao dumplings and a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
Days 14: Terracotta Warriors
Visit the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shihuang. The warriors have intrigued visitors ever since their fortuitous discovery in the 1970s – spend the morning viewing their enigmatic ranks. Next visit a local kindergarten to see the differences between western and Chinese primary education systems and later stroll on the beautifully preserved 14th century city walls that enclose Xian's old town.
Day 15: Xian, train to Beijing
Take a fascinating morning visit to the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Board a bullet train to Beijing, the capital of China.
Days 16: Temple of Heaven
Soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape, where you can watch, or participate in, a dance class. Heading to Beijing's symbolic hear, cross Tiananmen Square and head into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City - a complex full of imperial treasures. A Chinese acrobatic show rounds off the day.
Day 17: Great Wall of China
This morning is dedicated to China's most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate both the sheer magnificence of the wall itself and the dramatic scenery that it crosses. Later on you'll visit the Jade Museum. Take some time in the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace before dining on Beijing's best known delicacy - Peking Duck.
Day 18: Fly Beijing to UK
Fly to the UK, arriving home the same or following day.
Dates & Prices
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Terms & Conditions
Terms and conditions apply, all offers are subject to availability and operator booking conditions. All prices shown were correct at time of print, but are subject to change. Fares are per person based on 2 people sharing. ^5% Saving is not included in the fares displayed, call the team for more information. The Travel Village ABTA P6710. E&OE.