Ancient Culture, Iconic Sights & Magnificent Scenery

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Run by: Veloso Tours

Reference number: dynasty

From: £3806.00

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in China's imperial and communist past in Beijing
  • Hike an atmospheric section of the Great Wall of China, away from the crowds
  • Admire the intricate detail of the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army in Xi'an.
  • See baby pandas up close and visit the bustling parks of Chengdu
  • Come face-to-face with the 71 metre high Leshan Giant Buddha
  • Marvel at the majestic Longji Rice Terraces
  • Cruise down the Li River through the extraordinary karst landscape of Guilin
  • Ride the Bullet train and finish in exotic Hong Kong
  • Explore local markets, enjoy stunning views and visit tranquil islands
  • Includes all flights, trains, transfers, hotels, excursions & meals as shown
  • Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Beijing & Great Wall - Day 1 - 5

Day 1-2 - Welcome to Beijing - The private tour departs on a direct overnight flight from London, or via an alternative route at one of the major regional airports in the UK if you prefer. Arrive in Beijing in the morning and be welcomed upon arrival for transfer to your hotel. You will receive a walking orientation tour around your hotel with our guide, familiarising you with the surroundings and answering any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, or you may prefer to add an afternoon tour.

Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present - Our special tour gives you an in-depth view of the the city's history, culture and modern life. We start amid the Communist-style buildings of Tiananmen Square and walk into the mythical Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese Emperors. Here you can learn about China's dynastic past, before climbing Coal Hill for an overview of the central Beijing landscape. After lunch in a traditional hutong, enter the Confucius and Buddhist temples to understand China's two most important belief systems and their role in daily life. (B,L)

Day 4 - Temple of Heaven Park & Hutongs - We start at the Temple of Heaven, considered by UNESCO "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design", to learn about Chinese philosophical beliefs, cosmogony, art, dynastic politics and sacrificial rituals. We visit early to gain wonderful insights into local life, as large groups of elderly Beijingers gather to take communal exercises, sing, socialise and play musical instruments. We take lunch at a family hutong home and then survey the traditional streets from the back of a rickshaw and on foot. Enjoy some cultural activities like calligraphy or paper cutting or perhaps attempt to cook the Chinese way by making some local dumplings. (B,L)

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall - We drive two hours north of Beijing to access the iconic Great Wall of China to hike a wild section away from the crowds. Here we can truly appreciate its full majesty and savour stunning views of the surrounding mountains, taking the cable cars down from the restored part at Mutianyu, allowing you a look at the Wall in its original state. (B,L)

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Xi'an & Terracotta Army - Day 6 - 7

Day 6 - Bullet Train to Xi'an - Today you will be transported to Beijing West station for your high speed Bullet Train to the ancient city of Xi'an, a journey of around four and a half hours. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, with time at leisure in the afternoon. Once the starting point of the legendary Silk Road and a capital for eleven dynasties, Xi'an has retained a great deal of its mystique and boasts an impressive array of sights, which we will explore over the next two days. (B)

Day 7 - See the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army - We begin today with a visit to the famous Terracotta Army, just outside Xi'an. 8,000 individually sculptured clay warriors, horses and archers proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder in three large excavated pits, protecting the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang. At first it is the sheer number that overwhelms, but on closer inspection you begin to notice the extraordinary level of detail that went in to them, with each figure seemingly sporting a different expression and hairstyle. It's not hard to imagine this as a real army in waiting, awakening at the slightest hint of danger. Afterwards we can visit the home of the farmer who accidentally discovered the Terracotta Army.

In the afternoon we return to the city and explore the Muslim Quarter. We will visit a traditional courtyard mansion, owned by a former official during the Ming Dynasty. Dating back 400 years, the property shows the wonderful architectural style of the time and offers cultural activities and demonstrations including shadow puppetry and paper cutting. Following this there will be time to explore the temple and the lively food market. (B,L)

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Chengdu & Leshan Buddha - Day 8 - 10

Day 8 - Bullet Train to Chengdu & time at leisure - Today you take the high speed Bullet Train to Chengdu, where you will be met upon arrival by your guide for the next few days and transferred to your hotel. You'll have today at leisure, perhaps to relax in the large People's Square, taking tea at one of the large outside teahouses and observing local life here. South of the river is the lively Jinli Street, lined with traditional buildings and shops and stalls selling locally created artwork, handicrafts, paper cuts and calligraphy. This is a great place to spend the afternoon shopping for gifts and souvenirs. (B)

Day 9 - Pandas & Dujiangyan Irrigation System -No visit to Chengdu would be complete without going to the nearby Panda Research Base - there is simply no better place to see these charming and highly endangered animals up close. Designed to replicate the natural bamboo habitat of the panda to encourage breeding, the centre is respected the world over for its ongoing research and conservation efforts, not just for the giant pandas, but also for red pandas and black swans. We visit early in the morning to see the baby pandas at their most active, returning to the city for midday.

From here we continue on to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. This extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage site was originally constructed back in 256BC, during the Qin Dynasty. It is the oldest irrigation system in the world and is thought to be the only major system of its kind not to feature a dam.  Another major feat of engineering is the magnificent Anlan Suspension Bridge which crosses the river. Surrounding the irrigation system are a number of impressive temples, halls, towers, statues and gardens. (B,L)

Day 10 - Come face-to-face with the 71m Giant Buddha - Today we will drive around 2 hours south of Chengdu to visit the magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha. Measuring in at 71 metres high, the 1,200 year old Buddha watches over the confluence of three rivers and looks out onto the sacred Mount Emei. We will take a boat ride to enjoy panoramic views of the Buddha and then climb up the steps to come face-to-face with it, for a close up view. We will then return to Chengdu by road. (B,L)

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Guilin & Longji Rice Terraces - Day 11-12

Day 11 - Spectacular caves & drive to Rice Terraces - Take an AM flight to Guilin, where you stay for two nights. Today we will drive two hours through the mountains to explore the incredible Longji Rice Terrace landscape, enjoying the best panoramic vistas of the area and learning about local life here. The landscape changes throughout the year, depending...

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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