The Wonders of China

Overview

See into an off-limits ceremonial hall in Beijing’s Forbidden City and Meet Xian’s 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors on this escorted tour of the wonders of China.

What's Included:
  • Return flights from London with Cathy Pacific
  • Five-star luxury accommodation
  • Resident tour director & English-speaking expert local guides
  • Airport meet & greet & return private transfers
  • Entrance fees, taxes & tips, & excursions as stated
  • Domestic flights included
  • Welcome & farewell dinners
  • 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 2 dinners
  • Wifi in accommodation
  • Scenic sundowner
  • Design your Day on Days 3, 8 & 11

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Beijing

Land in Beijing and you will be driven straight to Tiananmen Square, the beating heart of the city. It’s one of the largest city squares on Earth, pulsing with kite-flyers and commuters. Take a slower pace at the Forbidden City, given its name because no riff-raff were allowed to enter during the emperors’ reigns. Today you can peruse its collection of Chinese artwork (the largest in the world), and take a peek at an opulent reception hall, usually closed to the public.

Day 2: Beijing

Travel an hour and a half outside the city to the Great Wall. Having served as an enemy lookout over 2,000 years ago, today you’ll walk along the lesser-trodden Mutianyu section viewing Ming Dynasty watchtowers, merlons, and fortresses. Take the cable car up and down to cast your gaze over the Yan Mountains’ loftiest peaks. Refuel on dumplings, then head to the Old Summer Palace, built in the 18th century for the Qianlong Emperor. Stroll around weeping willows, pavilions, and lakes bobbing with dragon boats. The former Imperial Gardens are a horticultural heaven.

Day 3: Beijing

Today, Design your Day® – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you. Select from the following options:

  • Option 1: Visit Beijing’s edgiest art community – 798 Art District.

  • Option 2: Take a pedicab through Beijing’s winding alleyways, known as hutongs.

  • Option 3: Get cultural at the Capital Museum.

Day 4: Beijing – Xian

You’ll be driven to the train station in the morning for your journey to Xian. There’s no dawdling on this high-speed train which will zip you to the one-time imperial capital in just over four hours –and you’ll have more legroom than if you flew. From the station, you’ll be taken to your hotel. You may be tempted to spend the rest of the afternoon in the spa.

Day 5: Xian

It’s time to explore Xian’s star attraction: the Terracotta Warriors. See the Subterranean army built to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the third century BC. Visit pits one, two, and three, where from balconies you can peer over legions of life-size sculptures, each created with a unique face. You’ll also get to view bronze chariots – the largest in Chinese archaeology. Leave in time for lunch, after which you can weave through the city’s Muslim quarter. A visit to the Great Mosque is a must for its blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture.

Day 6: Xian – Guilin

Fly to rural Guilin, famed for its enigmatic karst mountains. Straight after landing you’ll be driven to the fairytale setting of Elephant Trunk Hill, where the curved rock resembles a snout dipping into the Li River. Then steer towards the limestone Reed Flute Cave, formed over 600,000 years ago. The cave was named after the reeds growing outside, which can be made into musical intruments. Inside is a heady vision of stalactites, stalagmites, and Tang-era calligraphy, all the more dramatic when colourfully lit. Then head to your hotel to check in.

Day 7: Guilin – Yangshuo

This morning, board a boat and sail down the Li River to Yangshuo, taking in the splendid bucolic views of rice paddies, grazing buffalo, and cormorant fishermen on the calm water – classic Chinese landscapes. Your hotel sits just outside the small river town of Yangshuo framed by surreal karst peaks. Order a rum cocktail (your hotel has its own distillery) and watch the sun set over mountainous farmland. The afternoon is yours to enjoy.

Day 8: Yangshuo

Today, Design your Day® – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you. Select from the following options:

  • Option 1: Partake in some painting at the Peony Xuan Art Gallery.

  • Option 2: Browse the food markets with a local connoisseur.

  • Option 3: Visit Fuli, a traditional village where paper fans are the main commodities, and make a fan.

Option 4: Ride a bike through Yangshuo’s picturesque countryside.

Day 9: Yangshuo – Shanghai

Today you’ll be taken to Guilin airport where you’ll board a flight to Shanghai. China’s futuristic city is a sharp contrast to peaceful Yangshuo, and after dropping your bags at your hotel, you may want to hit the streets and scout out the fashionable shops and eateries which lie within walking distance.

Day 10: Shanghai

It’s possible to find the spirit of the old city, you just need to know where to look. This morning, you’ll travel to the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao, where you can take a boat ride down the canals. Drift between its narrow alleyways and under arched stone bridges. After spending time here, sample xiao long bao back in Shanghai before scouting out the Chinese old quarter. Visit the 16th-century Yuyuan Gardens, quieter in the afternoons, and view rockeries, vermilion pagodas, and a maze of bridges.

Day 11: Shanghai

Today, Design your Day® – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you. Select from the following options:

  • Option 1: Take a tour of the Bund.

  • Option 2: Seek out some street food.

  • Option 3: Enjoy the Shanghai Museum.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before gathering for a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 12: Depart Shanghai

Say goodbye to Shanghai and head to the airport in good time for your flight home.

Hand Picked By

Clare Griffiths

Escorted tours are often surrounded by concerns of stuffy coaches and large groups, but these can be outdated and misplaced. If you're looking for exciting bespoke experiences, A&K's Immersive Journeys offer some exciting new elements that offer traveller the security and added touches of a tour but also the freedom to explore at your own pace. With a Design your Day element – you can choose your activities. They have extended the length of time in each destination to make these tours more insightful, in-depth and informative You also won't be traveling around in a big group. All of A&K's tours are limited to a maximum of 18 guests and offer accommodation in the best luxury hotels available.

Clare Griffiths

Additional Information

  • Date: Various departure dates from June 2020 - April 2021
  • Board Basis: Mixed Meal Plan
  • Duration: 11 nights
  • Departure Airport: London
  • Guide Price: From £5,120pp
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