Days 1-2 Fly to Beijing
Fly overnight to Beijing, China’s historical capital. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3 Imperial Beijing
Heading to Beijing’s symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Visit Yandaixiejie, where you’ll have some free time to wander the hutongs. These narrow alleys offer an authentic glimpse of the old Beijing. Sit down for lunch with one of the families who call the hutongs home. This evening enjoy some free time in the vibrant Houhai district. (B,L)
Day 4 Huanghuacheng Great Wall and Wangfujing
This particularly scenic section of the Great Wall is reached by boat, and boasts spectacular views from the top. Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring colourful Wangfujing market, or enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner. (B,L)
Day 5 Summer Palace
Explore the beautifully designed grounds of the Summer Palace including the Long Corridor and the Marble Boat. Spend time strolling around pretty Kunming Lake and walk up wooded Longevity Hill. Enjoy a photo stop at the Olympic Park. (B)
Day 6 Temple of Heaven
Visit the Temple of Heaven and mingle with the locals as they start their day with tai chi, dancing and cards in a flurry of sociable activity. Take the overnight train to Xian. (B,L)
Day 7 Terracotta Warriors
Housed in three immense hangars, the ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China’s first Emperor. Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, while you are introduced to these lifelike soldiers’ fascinating story. Take a walking tour of the Muslim Quarter and maybe sample some of the freshly cooked snacks. With the evening free, why not enjoy a cold beer in Defu Lane or take an optional tour of the city by night? (B,L)
Day 8 Cycle the Xian City Walls
Today is a day at leisure to explore Xian. There is the option to take a gentle cycle ride that will take you the nine miles around Xian’s beautifully preserved city wall, past many smiling locals. (B)
Day 9 Fly to Guilin
Fly to Guilin. On arrival explore the magnificent formations of the Reed Flute Cave and browse the displays of the South China Pearl Museum. Later, take a late afternoon stroll around the picturesque Ronghu and Shanhu lakes, mingling with the local people as you go, then head to the vibrant Zhengyang Pedestrian Street where you are free to enjoy dinner and drinks. (B)
Day 10 Hiking in Longji
Today there is an option to take a three-hour hike in the stunning rice terraces of Longji. Walk past small hamlets and picture-postcard views of the terraces which cover the landscape in intricate patterns. Otherwise, spend more time in Guilin. (B)
Day 11 Li River Cruise
Take a gentle cruise along the Li River to Yangshuo. Lined with dramatic, sci-fi style limestone cliffs, the serenity of life on the riverbanks is a wonderful sight. Take a walk through this idyllic wonderland and get an insight into life here and visit the magnificent Moon Hill. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B,L)
Day 12 Yangshuo Tai Chi
Start the day with a relaxing yet invigorating session of tai chi, taking time with a master to learn this ancient martial art. You may wish to join an optional bamboo rafting trip along the Yulong River or cycle through Yangshuo’s countryside for one last, tranquil jaunt in Yangshuo. (B,L)
Day 13 Chengdu like a local
Return to Guilin and fly to Chengdu. Walk around People’s Park, a hive of activity. See beautiful golden koi, locals dancing and practicing tai chi, visit a local teahouse and most interesting of all, Matchmaker’s Corner. The rest of the day is at leisure where you can enjoy an optional hot pot dinner and face changing show. (B,L)
Day 14 Pingle Ancient Town
Today is a day at leisure in Chengdu, with the option of visiting the old town of Pingle. Dating back to the Han Dynasty, Pingle was a stopping point on the Tea Horse Road. Take time to walk through its maze of teahouse-lined streets before seeing the forest from above on Jinjigu Suspended Rope Bridge.
Day 15 Giant Pandas
Spend the morning visiting with the Giant Pandas of Chengdu Panda Base. Here you can observe these gorgeous creatures lounging, playing and chomping through piles of bamboo in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Drive to Chongqing and board your Yangtze cruise vessel.
Days 16-17 Yangtze Cruise
As you cruise downstream nature takes over, revealing some of the world’s most dramatic scenery including the Three Gorges themselves. A two-day voyage along China’s riverine treasure is a chance to relax and enjoy a slower pace, whilst absorbing one breathtaking panorama after another. (B,L,D)
Day 18 Fly to Shanghai
A man-made marvel, the Three Gorges Dam showcases this massive feat of engineering. Visit the mammoth dam before disembarking your cruise vessel. Fly to Shanghai. (B,L)
Day 19 Shanghai
Enjoy a day at leisure in Shanghai, beginning your explorations of this action-packed city. Alternatively, take an optional tour to Zhujiajiao, one of Shanghai’s sleepy water towns, built on an old canal system once used to transport goods all over imperial China. The town’s narrow alleyways exude old-world charm, whilst the waterways are lined with ancient buildings and crossed by stone bridges.
Day 20 Shanghainese Shanghai
Wake up to the buzz of Shanghai, and take a breakfast walking tour. Stroll through the city’s most fascinating districts and enjoy breakfast as the locals do – sample pancakes, fried bread sticks and tofu. Visit the Yu Yuan Garden and the Old Town and the Silk Museum before taking an evening stroll along the Bund and a farewell dinner of authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Your final farewell to China will be a cruise down the Huangpu River. (B,L,D)
Day 21 Depart Shanghai
Fly home, arriving there the same or following day.