Day 1: Australia –– Beijing
Fly to Beijing via connecting cities and transfer to the hotel. Note: Some flights may depart the night before.
Beijing, China’s massive capital, has a history stretching back three millennia. Yet since the 2008 Olympic Games, it’s known for its modern architecture as well as ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Day 2: Beijing (B)
After breakfast, visit Tiananmen Square, the second-largest public square in the world! Tiananmen Square is named after the Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) located to the north of the square, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong, and holds great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Forbidden City Tour – Continue on to the incredible Forbidden City, a true architectural masterpiece, which was the imperial palace from the Ming to the Qing dynasty (1420 to 1912). The complex is home to the National Palace Museum and consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (over 180 acres). The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world!
Optional Tour (at own expense): Peking Duck Dinner – Tonight, head out for one of the most famous Chinese dishes and a Beijing speciality, Peking Duck.
Day 3: Beijing (B)
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass. This is one of the three most famous passes along the Great Wall of China, together with Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan. 60 km from downtown Beijing, Juyong Pass was the northern route to Beijing in ancient times. Once here, there is plenty of time to learn about the wall’s construction and you’ll have the chance to climb a portion of this 6,000 km marvel.
On the way back to Beijing, we stop at one of the largest jade exhibitions in Asia. Then, after lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a Cloisonne Factory. Cloisonne is a famous traditional enamel ware, known as the ‘Blue of Jingtai’ in China, with a history of over 500 years. It was so called because blue was the colour typically used for enamelling, and Jingtai was the reign title of the 7th Ming Emperor.
Optional Tour (at own expense): The Golden Mask Dynasty – This show incorporates dancing, acrobatics, magnificent costumes and lot of surprises. Seen by an estimated of 1.1 million people, it is one of Beijing’s must see shows.
Day 4: Beijing (B)
Enjoy a tour to the Summer Palace, the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors followed by a visit to the Chinese Herbal Institute to learn about traditional Chinese medicine as you enjoy a rejuvenating foot massage which has existed for thousands of years.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Hutong Life & Panda House Tour w/Lunch – A rickshaw will take you around the intricate winding hutongs to admire the old courtyards. They are maze-like and deep and exactly as they were a long time ago. Even today, there are many residents reluctant to move from their beloved hutongs. You are invited to visit a local family’s house to experience authentic Beijing life. Next, visit the Panda House in Beijing Zoo to see China’s adorable national treasure – the Giant Panda.
Day 5: Beijing – – Wuxi (B)
Take a high speed train 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 will stroll along the trendy yet traditional Nanchang Street composed of both ancient and modern architecture juxtaposed with the peacefulness of the waterside town and fashionable life of Wuxi.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Jiangnan Dumpling Lunch – Enjoy a traditional lunch that includes the famous Xiao Long Bao, a Chinese steamed bun filled with minced pork and tasty soup, prepared in a small bamboo steaming basket.
Day 6: Wuxi – Suzhou (B)
This morning visit one of the largest freshwater 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 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 in China.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Grand Canal Cruise – Take a cruise along the UNESCO World Heritage listed Grand Canal of over a thousand years to view life along what was known as ‘China’s golden waterway’ in its heyday.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Western Buffet Dinner – Enjoy a sumptuous western style buffet dinner with at your hotel, a relaxing way to wind down the day.
Day 7: Suzhou – Hangzhou (B)
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.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Impression West Lake – This evening, enjoy an open-air performance, a masterpiece created by Zhang Yimou, the director of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games Opening Ceremony.
Day 8: Hangzhou – Shanghai (B)
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 (at own expense): Huangpu River Cruise. Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai.
Day 9: Shanghai (B)
This morning, visit the Shanghai Museum to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade. The rest of the afternoon is at your own leisure, or you may join our optional programs.
Optional Tour (at own expense): Jin Mao Tower, Xintiandi & Maglev Train Tour – Visit the Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck (88th floor) for a panoramic view of the Huangpu River and the Bund. Then explore the affluent Xintiandi area which holds the historical and cultural legacies of the city, before experiencing the world’s fastest commercially operating train, with a top speed of 431km/h.
Optional Tour (at own expense): ERA: The Intersection of Time or SPIRAL– Tonight you can watch a stunning Chinese acrobatic show combining Chinese arts and modern technology, comparable to the tradition of the Broadway Musical.
Day 10: Australia –– Shanghai
Conclude your memorable tour with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight via connecting cities.
Day 11: Australia
Arrive home today