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Essential China – Luxury

The futuristic city of Shanghai is complemented by iconic images of China such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Terracotta Warriors of ancient Xi’an. This is the perfect introductory tour for first time visitors to China.

Departure Date: Low Season, Departs: London Manchester
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20nts from £2499

Tour Highlights

  • Visit Shanghais Old Town
  • See the land of terracotta Warriors and Horses in a handful of excavated pits
  • Visit the petite Wild Goose Gardens Paganda which is a landmark temple set in picturesque garden
  • Take a mysterious Wander around the Forbidden City of Beijing
  • Take a peaceful hike up into the Temple of Heaven
  • Visit the iconic Great Wall of China

Our Opinion

Itinerary in Brief

  • Shanghai – 2 Nights
  • Xi’an – 2 Nights
  • Beijing – 3 Nights

Full Itinerary

Day 1: UK to Shanghai
Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai
Transfer to your hotel where a guaranteed early check-in means you’ll be able to head to your room as soon as you arrive. Freshen up and spend the rest of the day relaxing or sightseeing at your own pace. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the rest of your group and tour leader at a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). D

Day 3: Shanghai
Your Shanghai sightseeing begins this morning with a guided tour around the city. You’ll begin in the Old Town, which sits inside the ancient city walls, before continuing to the beautiful 16th Century Yu Garden, and the leafy tree-lined streets of the French Concession – an area of Shanghai once administered by the French government. This afternoon take a stroll along the Bund, the famous waterfront on the west bank of the Huangpu River, before embarking on a private cruise along the river. Stay: Central Hotel Shanghai (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Shanghai to Xi’an
Following a relaxed breakfast, spend your morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight to China’s ancient capital city of Xi’an. On arrival, spend some time exploring the busy Muslim Quarter, a historic neighbourhood and foodie heaven famed for its market stalls, buzzing local atmosphere, and unusual culinary treasures like deep fried octopus and flatbread in mutton soup. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 5: Xi’an
An entire day of sightseeing awaits, beginning with an early morning visit to the iconic Terracotta Warriors (approx. 1½ hours from the city). You’ll arrive just as the doors open, thus avoiding the crowds that can overwhelm the site later in the day. In the mid-1970s a clay warrior was found buried under farmland on the outskirts of Xi’an and through further excavations thousands more warriors were discovered, all lined up in a battle formation. You can see these incredible pottery figures at the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in a handful of excavated pits. If an archaeologist is in residence during your visit, then a meet and greet will be scheduled for you to chat about the work they’re doing.

This afternoon, you’ll visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a landmark temple set in beautiful gardens, before you get creative with a traditional dumpling making class. In the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a Tang Dynasty Show – a dramatic performance of Changan music and dance which originated in China’s Tang Dynasty. Stay: Grand Mercure Xi’an on Renmin Square (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Xi’an to Beijing
This morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before you transfer to the station for your high-speed train journey to Beijing. Travelling in first class, this is a great opportunity for you to catch your breath, and to take some time to enjoy the beautiful Chinese countryside. On arrival in Beijing, you’ll transfer to the hotel where you’ll be able to refresh before you head out for a classic Peking duck dinner. Approx. journey time: 6 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Beijing
Your tour of the capital begins with an early morning visit to Tian’anmen Square, followed by a wander around the Forbidden City. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, the tour will continue at the classical Summer Palace, which is home to a vast number of lakes, gardens and palaces. A boat ride on one of the lakes is included here (subject to weather conditions). The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L.

Day 8: Beijing
Today begins with an early morning visit to the beautiful Temple of Heaven; you’ll arrive at the temple just as the gates are opening, thus avoiding the crowds that head here later in the day. Though an early start, it will be a relaxing morning, finishing with the opportunity to take part in a t’ai chi lesson. Following lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have the chance to visit the iconic Great Wall (approx. 1¾ hours from Beijing). Visiting in the afternoon means that you’ll arrive at the wall after the busy morning crowds have left. You’ll take the cable car up onto the Mutianyu section, a quieter area visited by fewer tourists that is noted for its meandering chain of Ming Dynasty guard towers. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Beijing
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

 

Extensions

Stay longer
These are some of the most popular extensions for our Essential China tour.

Chengdu 2 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Chengdu

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Chengdu. On arrival, a local guide will accompany you to the hotel. This afternoon, explore the Wenshu Monastery and take a walk down the city’s historic Jinli Street. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 2: Chengdu

This morning, take a tour of the famous Chengdu Panda Base, a research centre that specialises in the breeding and conservation of baby pandas. The rest of the day is free for some independent exploration. Stay: Tibet Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 3: Chengdu

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Tibet 4 nights

Day 1: Beijing to Lhasa

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight to Lhasa. On arrival, a local guide will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B.

Day 2: Lhasa

After breakfast, spend the morning at the Sera Monastery; one of three famous university monasteries in Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before spending the afternoon with a local family where you’ll learn all about life in Tibet. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Lhasa

Start the day with a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the magnificent winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Following lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the Jokhang Monastery – the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism – and take a stroll along historic Bakhor Street. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Lhasa to Beijing

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return flight to Beijing. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Beijing at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 4 hours. Stay: Park Plaza Wangfujing (or similar). B.

Day 5: Beijing

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Need to Know

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour
Private tour
Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice at a supplement from £1065 per person.• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour
Private tour
Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice at a supplement from £1065 per person.

For more information or to book, please contact the reservations team.

Call 01928 246 243

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