Day 1: Australia –– Beijing
Fly to Beijing via a connecting city. Please note: Some flights may depart the next day.
Day 2: Beijing (D)
Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China. You will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to the hotel.
Day 3:Beijing (B,L,D)
Beijing has served as the capital of five dynasties over a period of 800 years. Today we start our city tour with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the second largest public square in the world, followed by a visit to the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to the Qing dynasty. In the afternoon, we continue to the Temple of Heaven, which was used by emperors in ancient times to offer sacrifices to heaven and pray for good harvest. Tonight, enjoy a special Peking Duck welcome banquet.
Optional Tour (at own expense): The Golden Mask Dynasty – After dinner, you can choose to attend an optional large scale dramatic musical, The Golden Mask Dynasty.
Day 4: Beijing (B,L,D)
Our highlight today is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass, the most famous image of China. After lunch, visit a Fresh Water Pearl Exhibition and then see skilled artisans at work at a Cloisonné Factory. Later, visit the Changling Exhibition Hall of the Ming Tombs where thirteen out of the sixteen Ming dynasty emperors are buried. We cap off the day by attending a superb and thrilling Chinese acrobatic show in the evening.
Day 5: Beijing (B,L)
This morning we tour the exquisite Summer Palace (Imperial Garden), the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors, followed by an outside view of the beautiful Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and Water Cube (National Aquatics Centre), both purposely built for the 2008 Olympics. Then visit a Chinese Herbal Institute to learn about traditional Chinese medicine as you enjoy a rejuvenating foot massage which has existed for thousands of years. In the afternoon, we explore Beijing’s ancient Hutong alleyways by pedicab, followed by a stroll in Wangfujing, one of Beijing’s most famous shopping streets.
Optional tour (at own expense): Cap off the day by attending a thrilling Chinese Kung Fu show
Day 6: Beijing –– Xi’an (B,L,D)
This morning we fly to Xi’an, the first Chinese city to open its doors to the world, during the Tang dynasty, and capital for eleven dynasties over a period of more than 2,000 year. Our highlight today is a visit to the Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum to see the life-sized defending army to the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. This site is among the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. Later, visit a ceramic arts factory, followed by a special Dumpling Banquet, while enjoying a performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).
Day 7: Xi’an (B,L,D)
This morning we visit the fascinating Shaanxi Provincial Museum, followed by lunch featuring a noodle making demonstration. After lunch we visit the Ancient City Wall, the most complete ancient city wall to survive in China. Then we visit the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, the symbol of the city.
Day 8: Xian –– Wuhan – Yichang – Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
This morning we fly to Wuhan and transfer by coach (approx 4-5 hours) to Yichang, the starting point of our Yangtze River Cruise for the next four nights.
Day 9 -11: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Embark on an extraordinary journey as you weave your way through the heart of China along the Yangtze River. Over the next few days, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we cross through the Three Gorges, Xiling, Wu and Qutang. Enjoy the shore excursions to explore the fascinating history and tranquil landscapes.
Day 12: Yangtze River Cruise – Chongqing – Chengdu (B,L,D)
We disembark from our cruise in the port city of Chongqing this morning and transfer (approximately 5 hours drive) to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. This evening we will feast on sumptuous Sichuan cuisine.
Day 13: Chengdu – Leshan – Chengdu (B,L,D)
Today we will travel to Leshan to marvel at the Grand Buddha, an enormous statue carved into the side of Lingyun Mountain. The Buddha is over 71m tall and is wide enough for over 100 people to sit between its feet. Later, return to Chengdu and explore the dynamic folk custom street, Jin Li, and experience the lifestyle of Old Chengdu.
Optional tour (at own expense): This evening, you can watch a fascinating show featuring ‘face changing’, a kind of magic traditional Chinese dramatic art that is the pride of Sichuan opera.
Day 14: Chengdu – Guilin (B,L,D)
Today’s highlight is a visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This is the best place to see Chengdu’s most famous residents being reared in surroundings resembling their natural habitat. This evening we will be transferred to the airport to board our flight to Guilin, one of China’s most picturesque cities.
Day 15: Guilin – Yangshuo (B,L,D)
Today we enjoy a relaxing Xingping River Cruise along the Li River. The journey offers 30 miles of breathtaking scenery. We arrive in Yangshuo Village in the afternoon and walk along the 1,400 year old West Street and explore the beautiful Yangshuo local village.
Optional Tour (at own expense): You may enjoy an optional show tonight – Impression Liu San Jie, a large scale ethnic performance over the Li River.
Day 16: Yangshuo – Guilin (B,L,D)
With its name translating to ‘Forest of Sweet Osmanthus’, Guilin has long been renowned for its unique scenery, amazing karst landscapes and rich ethnic cultures. This morning we tour Elephant Trunk Hill and the Reed Flute Caves and will be amazed by the extraordinary karst limestone formations.
Day 17: Guilin –– Shanghai – Suzhou (B,L,D)
This morning we fly to Shanghai, the modern metropolis and commercial centre of China. Upon arrival, we travel by coach to Suzhou, known as the ‘Venice of the East’ or ‘Garden City’ due to its many classical gardens known for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. Take a Grand Canal Cruise and visit the Lingering Garden, one of the four greatest Chinese gardens and a UNESCO world heritage site. We then visit a silk spinning mill and learn how silk is created from mulberry munching silkworms to produce the finest thread and cloth.
Day 18: Suzhou – Wuzhen (B,L,D)
Today, we explore the beautiful water town of Wuzhen built on stilts over a system of canals, with traditional wooden homes and stone bridges. Ride a boat along the ancient canal to the scenic waterfront area, where you will experience traditional culture and stay in a traditional lodge.
Day 19: Wuzhen – Shanghai (B,L,D)
This morning we travel by coach back to Shanghai and walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. Lined by colonial architecture of European design, this area is the best place to capture the western influences of the old days. We then continue to the Old Town which is a perfect combination of gardens, temples, old architecture, civil culture, business, souvenirs and food. After dinner, you may join an optional Huangpu River Cruise (at your own expense) and get a glimpse of the dazzling and charming view of Shanghai.
Day 20: Shanghai (B,L,D)
This morning we visit the Shanghai Museum to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade followed by a Jade Exhibition. Then we explore the Xintiandi Area, an affluent and fashionable pedestrian street composed of unique shikumen (stone gate) and modern architecture style. Our farewell dinner this evening will be a banquet of delicious Shanghai cuisine.
Optional Tour (at own expense): You can cap off the celebrations by attending a thrilling optional Chinese acrobatic show – ERA: The Intersection of Time or SPIRAL
Day 21: Shanghai –– Australia (B)
Enjoy the morning at leisure before we transfer to Shanghai airport to board your flight to Australia via an intermediate city. The trip may be over, but the experiences and memories will certainly last a lifetime.
Day 22: Australia
Arrive home this morning.