China - The Big One
The complete Chinese adventure - this itinerary takes more time to explore the highlights of this beautiful and eclectic country, from busy cities, rural utopias and quirky ancient towns where you are free to absorb the relaxed atmosphere.
- International flights and current taxes
- 3* plus – 4* accommodation
- Visa fees for UK passport holders
- Domestic transportation
- Most meals
- Maximum group size 18 passengers
- Touring with guides and entrance fees
Day 1 - 2: UK - Beijing
On arrival in Beijing Capital International Airport, you will be met in the arrival hall by your local guide and/or National Escort from Wendy Wu Tours. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer approximately 1 hour to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. A tour introduction will be held in the hotel either this evening or the next. Food and drinks will not be served at this meeting, it is simply an opportunity for your group to meet and learn more about travelling in China.
Day 3: Beijing
Walk across Tiananmen Square into the magnificent Forbidden City and the Jingshan Park. Next, visit Yandaixiejie where you will have some free time to explore the Hutongs and then enjoy a local lunch. Sightseeing will be approximately 4 hours. Later, enjoy some free time in the traditional Houhai area. There will be an optional Kung Fu Show this evening. Please note: The Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. If this day of touring falls on a Monday, your touring in Beijing will be switched around so that the Forbidden City is visited on an alternative day.
Day 4: The Great Wall
Rise early this morning and transfer 2 hours to the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall of China, one of the most picturesque sections. You will need to get on and off a boat, taking you across a lake to where you will begin your walk on the wall. First, you will be given a brief history of the area before having a couple of hours free to walk on the fortified wall. On your return to Beijing, visit the Jade Factory. This evening, stroll around Wangfujing, a lively area in central Beijing renowned for its small food stalls.
Day 5: Beijing
Wander around the beautiful grounds of the Summer Palace, former holiday home to the Qing emperors. Whilst here, climb magnificent Longevity Hill for spectacular views over the palace’s Kunming Lake. Make a photo stop this afternoon at the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium, home of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Time at the Olympic Village will not include entry to any of the Olympic venues.
Day 6: Beijing - Xian
Start your day at the Temple of Heaven where you can watch the locals take part in dancing, Tai Chi and Mahjong games. This evening, board your overnight train to Xian. The overnight train takes approximately 12 hours (over 1,300km). The cabins are first class soft sleeper compartments, where each cabin consists of 4 shared berths. Wear comfortable clothes on board to sleep in on the train, and you may wish to take some snacks with you.
Day 7: Xian
On arrival in Xian this morning, transfer 1 hour to view the formidable ranks of terracotta warriors and horses, lined up in ranks to protect the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. From the bus park to the museum entrance there is a 15-minute walk. There are electric carts offered by private vendors which can be organised at your own cost. There are no electric carts available for the return from the museum exit to the bus park. Within the museum area the warriors can be seen in three different ‘pits’, which are active archaeological digs. The site is large and, towards the summer months, can be hot outside. Sightseeing here involves approximately 2 and a half hours on foot. Next, visit the Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Workshop to see smaller models of the warriors being made, before returning to explore the atmospheric alleys of the Muslim Quarter. This evening, there will be an optional Tang Ever-Bright City Night Tour.
Day 8: Xian
Start the day with a gentle cycle ride around the nine miles of the Xian Ancient City Wall. Visit the lovely Little Wild Goose Pagoda before seeing the 130,000 fine cultural relics on display in the Xian Museum. This evening, there will be an optional Tang Dynasty Dancing Show & Dumpling Dinner.
Day 9: Xian – Guilin
Fly 2 hours to Guilin, one of China’s most beautiful spots. This afternoon, you will take a stroll around two of Guilin’s most beautiful lakes, Ronghu and Shanhu, before heading to Zhengyang Pedestrian Street where there are many dining options for your perusal. There is an optional visit to the Sun and Moon Pagodas today.
Day 10: Guilin
Today there is an option to take a full day tour of the stunning Longji Rice Terraces at Ping An or explore the beautiful scenery of Guilin independently. Please note: The optional tour to Longji involves approximately 4 hours of trekking, depending on the capability of the group. The ground here is uneven and the trek will include steep climbs.
Guilin – Yangshuo
Take a relaxed 4-hour cruise along the Li River to the charming village of Yangshuo where you will spend 2 nights. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged peaks loom over rural scenes of lush greenery, grazing buffalos and local fishermen. These are small cruise boats usually holding approximately 100 passengers; with an enclosed dining area on the lower deck and an open viewing area on the upper deck. As it is so popular, there are generally many boats at the docks – please be reassured that the cruise itself will be scenic and relaxing as the boats cruise past unspoilt countryside. Usually the boats depart at 9am from the dock located a 1-hour drive from your hotel. However, when the river level is low they depart from further downstream which would mean a longer drive and an earlier check-out from your hotel. Disembarking from the cruise, your Local Guide will walk with you to your hotel, approximately a 15-minute walk from the river. There are electric carts offered by private vendors which can be organised at your own cost. Take a walk in the idyllic countryside this afternoon. There will also be an option to walk up Moon Hill for spectacular views of Yangshuo. Please note, climbing Moon Hill involves a significant number of steep steps.
Day 12: Yangshuo
This morning, take part in a traditional Tai Chi class to learn the skills behind this ancient and spiritual exercise. The rest of the day is at leisure. Explore independently or take part in optional morning countryside cycling trip and/or an afternoon bamboo rafting trip.
Day 13: Yangshuo - Kunming
Return to Guilin by road, visiting the Reed Flute Caves en route, to admire the stunning colours of the stalagmites and stalactites. You will take a short walk through the caves, sometimes along damp paths and stairs. It usually takes about 1 hour to complete the route and it is very cool inside. Visit the South China Pearl Factory before taking your 1-and-a-half-hour flight to Kunming.
Day 14: Kunming
Spend the morning exploring the unusual limestone rock formations of the Kunming Stone Forest. Visit Green Lake Park before an evening at leisure in the Wenhua Alley district. Today, there will be an optional Yunnan Impression Show.
Day 15: Kunming – Dali
Drive approximately 4 hours to Dali, a great destination to get a peek of a China of times gone by. View the Three Pagodas and wander around Dali’s charming Old Town before heading to lively Foreigners’ Street.
Day 16: Dali
Enjoy a day at leisure in peaceful Dali. There will be an optional visit to Weibaoshan, one of the fourteen sacred Taoist mountains, for meditation with a Taoist Master.
Day 17: Dali – Lijiang
Drive 2 hours to Shaxi, a former ancient market town on the famous Tea and Horse Route, and enjoy some easy sightseeing around the old town. Continue a further 2 hours to the quaint town of Lijiang. Spend the evening in the historic old town.
Day 18: Lijiang
A magnificent mountain, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain comprise several peaks, the tallest of which is 5,500m. Today, you will explore one of the beautiful high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas. To avoid the large crowds of people queuing at the same time, the local government’s tourist authority allocates a time to each group. The bus will drive to the base of the mountain, from where you will take a 10-minute chairlift to Yunshaping (Cloud Fir Meadow) at an altitude of approximately 3,200m. From the chairlift, there is a wooden pathway to the meadow, which takes approximately 1 hour to walk. Descend by chairlift and re-board the bus. Later, visit Baisha Old Town to view the fascinating Baisha Frescoes, painted during the early Ming Dynasty, and visit the Mu Family Embroidery School. Sightseeing at Baisha Old Town is leisurely. There are ruthless souvenir sellers near the bus park so be firm to avoid any hassle. Please note, this section of the itinerary is subject to change at late notice. Your local guide will keep you informed of any changes as they are made aware of them. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is at an altitude of 3,200M. All passengers should stay well hydrated to acclimatise to the higher altitude.
Day 19: Lijiang
Today, there is an option to visit the impressive Tiger Leaping Gorge and take a mini-trek. Alternatively, you can spend the day at leisure in Lijiang.
Day 20: Lijiang – Chengdu
Fly 1 and a half hours to Chengdu, capital of fascinating Sichuan Province. Take a stroll around People’s Park and visit a teahouse for a cup of delicious Chinese tea (tea at your own expense), as well as Matchmaker’s Corner, where parents search for suitable suitors for their children. This evening, stroll around Wide and Narrow Alleys.
Day 21: Chengdu
See China’s most famous resident, the Giant Panda. Visit the Panda Conservation Centre where you can learn about China’s celebrated bear. See these lovable creatures in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. There is an optional Sichuan Hot Pot meal this evening with a Face Changing Show.
Day 22: Chengdu – Yangtze River Cruise
Take the bullet train for 2 and a half hours to Chongqing, one of the most important cities on the Yangtze River, where you will visit the porcelain district of Ciqikou. Tonight, board your Yangtze River Cruise ship for a 3-night stay. Please note: The Yangtze River cruise section of your itinerary will not be confirmed by the cruise operators until after you commence your tour as it is subject to local river conditions and water levels. Your Local Guide will do their utmost to keep you informed of any changes but cannot guarantee against delays or – in rare cases – cancellations of sections of your itinerary. Shore excursions are subject to change depending on local conditions. A detailed itinerary will be handed out on the vessel each day. If you do not wish to take part in a shore excursion but you still wish to disembark the cruise ship, there is a mandatory port tax which must be paid by each customer. The port tax amount is approx. USD20-USD30 per person; however, this amount can vary and for security reasons, it is not always possible to disembark at all ports of call. You may be offered cabin upgrades locally which may include some of the amenity package services. Please note that the amenity package benefits start on the second day of the cruise.
Day 23: Yangtze River Cruise
Today, visit the Jade Emperor Scenic Area, which has the largest image of the Jade Emperor in the world. Disembark from the ship to the dock and take a short bus transfer to the area. Sightseeing here involves climbing some steps. You will be off the ship for around 3 hours. Depending on river conditions, you may visit the Shibaozhai Temple instead of the Jade Emperor Scenic Area near Fengdu.
Day 24: Yangtze River Cruise
Prepare for breathtaking vistas as the ship passes through Wu and Qutang gorges. Switching to smaller vessels, take a relaxing trip on the Goddess Stream, cruising through the beautiful and narrow gorges. Many protected species make the stunning peaks their home, including monkeys, mountain goats, deer and wild boar. Depending on river conditions, you may travel along the Shennong Stream instead of the Goddess Stream.
Day 25: Yangtze River Cruise - Shanghai
Visit the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. Disembark the ship and drive approximately 20 minutes through the surrounding areas (the coach is not permitted to stop for photos) to the viewing area above the ship locks where you can truly appreciate the scale of this hydroelectric project. There is a small museum and a lookout point here. The sightseeing will involve around 1 hour on foot. Later, transfer 6 hours (including breaks) by coach to Wuhan Airport and board a 1-and-a-half-hour flight to cosmopolitan Shanghai. Please note that the flight schedule can be unreliable, so last-minute changes to the flight routing and itinerary may occur. Your National Escort/Local Guide will advise of any changes.
Day 26: Shanghai
This morning, take a breakfast tour around some of Shanghai’s most exciting districts, tasting local delicacies, including pancakes and fried bread sticks. Afterwards, wander the pleasant Yu Gardens and the bustling Old Town before visiting the informative Silk Factory. This evening, take a cruise down the Huangpu River to see the neon lights of Pudong.
Day 27: Shanghai
Today is free to explore the vibrant city of Shanghai independently or you can take an optional day trip to the laidback water town of Zhujiajiao. There will be no other sightseeing or activities arranged in Shanghai, however, your National Escort will be happy to recommend things for you to do (at your own expense) such as heading up the Jinmao Tower, exploring the impressive Shanghai Museum or taking a ride on the futuristic Maglev Train. This evening, watch a performance of the ERA acrobatic show and enjoy a farewell dinner of Shanghainese cuisine.
Day 28: Depart Shanghai
Any time before your flight is at leisure. You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight.
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