Day 1: Australia –– Beijing
Fly to Beijing, the capital city of China, via a connecting city. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel. Please note: Some flights may depart the night before.
Day 2: Beijing (B,L,D)
Beijing served as the capital of five dynasties over a period of 800 years. Today, visit Tiananmen Square, the second largest public square in the world, and the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to Qing dynasty. Continue on to the Temple of Heaven, one of the best examples of Ming Dynasty architecture and also an ornate sanctuary where Chinese emperors offered sacrifices to heaven and prayed for a good harvest. Your welcome banquet includes the local delicacy, Peking Roast Duck.
Day 3: Beijing (B,L)
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass, the most famous image of China, and a chance to climb a portion of this 3,700-mile marvel. You will also visit one of the largest jade exhibitions in Asia enroute. After lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a Cloisonné Factory.
Optional Tour: Enjoy a large scale dramatic musical, The Golden Mask Dynasty (at your own expense).
Day 4: Beijing (B,L)
Today tour the exquisite Summer Palace, the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for emperors, followed by the Beijing Zoo to see China’s adorable national treasure – the Giant Panda. Then visit a Chinese herbal institute to learn about traditional Chinese medicine which has existed for thousands of years, as you enjoy a rejuvenating foot massage. Later, you can join an optional Hutong Life Tour (at your own expense), a special journey which explores Beijing’s ancient alleyways or ‘hutongs’ by pedicab, or take a stroll in Wangfujing, one of the Chinese capital’s most famous shopping streets.
Day 5: Beijing – – Shanghai – Wuxi (B,D)
Fly to Shanghai and travel to Wuxi, an ancient city richly endowed with natural attractions due to its pleasantly warm and moist climate. Wuxi boasts a reputation of being the ‘Land of Fish and Rice’. Enjoy the scenery as we pass by Lake Tai, the third-largest freshwater lake in China. This evening, we have the option of visiting Nanchang Street and take a cruise along the Grand Canal to view life along what was known as ‘China’s golden waterway’ in its heyday, then stroll along the trendy pedestrian streets composed of both ancient and modern architecture (at your own expense).
Day 6: Wuxi – Suzhou (B,L)
This morning visit one of the largest fresh water pearl exhibitions in the country. After lunch, travel by coach to Suzhou, an extraordinarily elegant city with its canals, stone bridges, and meticulously designed gardens. Suzhou has often been referred to as ‘Paradise on Earth’ by Chinese poets and writers since ancient times. As a large area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, Suzhou is also known as ‘Venice of the East’. It is also known as the ‘Garden City’ due to its many classical gardens, renowned for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. Visit the Lingering Garden, which is among the finest gardens in China.
Day 7: Suzhou – Hangzhou (B,L,D)
This morning visit a silk spinning mill, and learn how silk is created from mulberry-munching silkworms to produce the finest thread and cloth. After lunch, travel by coach to Hangzhou, described by Marco Polo as “the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”. Upon arrival, take a boat ride on the serene West Lake, the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, and noted for its scenic beauty which blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. This evening, you can enjoy an optional open-air performance, Impression West Lake, a masterpiece created by Zhang Yimou, the director of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games Opening Ceremony (at your own expense).
Day 8: Hangzhou – Shanghai (B,L)
Experience tea-tasting at the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Then travel by coach to Shanghai, a vibrant metropolis and the commercial centre of China. Upon arrival, walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. Lined with colonial architecture of European design, it is the best place to capture the Western influences of the old days. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure strolling along the bustling shopping district, Nanjing Road.
Optional Tour: Watch a superb and thrilling Chinese acrobatic show ERA: The Intersection of Time (at your own expense).
Day 9: Shanghai (B,D)
After breakfast, visit Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck (88th floor) for a panoramic view of the Huangpu River and the Bund. Then taste the famous Xiao Long Bao at a Shanghai dumpling restaurant for lunch (at your own expense). After lunch, head to the City God Temple of Shanghai, symbol of the large temple complex and surrounding traditional commerce district in the city. After tonight’s farewell celebration dinner, you can cap off the celebrations by joining an optional Huangpu River Night Cruise for a glimpse of the dazzling and charming night view of Shanghai (at your own expense).
Day 10: Shanghai – Japan (B)
After breakfast, transfer to Shanghai’s Baoshan Cruise Terminal to board your cruise to Japan aboard Quantum Of The Seas℠
Day 11: At sea
Lie back, relax, and enjoy the sea views, or take the chance to learn Italian, salsa dancing or the recipe for a perfect martini. Conquer the rock climbing wall or ice skate the day away. Maybe slow things down with a hot stone massage or do some duty-free designer shopping. See, do, and learn more at sea than you ever thought possible.
Day 12: Port of call, Japan
Arrive in your Japanese port of call; Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Sasebo, Shimonoseki, or Nagasaki
Day 13: At sea
Enjoy your time at sea as you cruise back to Shanghai
Day 14: Shanghai –– Australia
Arrive in Shanghai, and enjoy the morning at leisure before and transferring to Shanghai International Airport for your flight home.
Day 15: Arrive home.
Arrive in Australia.