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Welcome to China's sprawling, high flying and innovative capital city, Beijing. With one foot in the future and the other in the past, Beijing is nothing if not unique. An impressive six UNESCO World Heritage sites and a splurge of temples make the city a historian's dream, whilst modern masterpieces like the CCTV Building and the Galaxy Soho ensure Beijing is a city taking its place as one of the front runners in contemporary design. Arriving today, you'll transfer to your hotel and meet up with your Travel Director before getting to know the rest of your travel companions over a welcome dinner this evening.
Today's sightseeing tour will see you dive straight into the magic of Beijing, kicked off in the world's largest public square, Tiananmen Square. Claiming an incredible 440,000 square metres of space and flanked by Soviet style buildings, the square was the brainchild of Chairman Mao and flexes some serious Communist design ideals. Next up, you'll head over to the UNESCO listed Forbidden City, the largest palace complex in the world featuring courtyards, palaces, pavilions and gardens all ringed by 3.5km of scarlet coloured citadel walls. Take your time exploring this impeccably preserved complex, imagining what life would have been like for the 24 emperors who ruled here during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This afternoon enjoy some free time at leisure and perhaps explore the enchanting hútòngs or alleyways that crisscross the city. This evening you could opt to join us for the spectacular 'Legend of Kung Fu' show. Mixing traditional martial arts with modern theatre, watch as Kung Fu artists from all over China display an art form that is utterly synonymous with Chinese culture.
Widely considered a Top 10 life experience, today's the day you'll be able to tick off 'visiting the Great Wall of China' at Juyongguan on your lifetime to-do list. China's greatest feat of engineering and one of the most famous sights in the world, the wall stretches some 21,000 km from East to West China, snaking its way like a dragon through deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus. Walking along this impressive piece of history, be sure to take in the views of the wall winding off into the distance and appreciate the sheer will and determination of the millions who helped to create this incredible fortification, the greatest relic of the Ming Dynasty. Lunch today will be in a local restaurant, then this afternoon, and after some much needed downtime, why not see out your time in Beijing with an optional dinner, a sumptuous banquet of local specialities including Beijing Kao Ya, known as Peking Duck to the rest of the world.
Waking up to a free morning in Beijing, make the most of your final hours here by joining our optional trip to the UNESCO listed Temple of Heaven. A vast religious complex in the old outer city and one of the country's most important Imperial temples, this place is widely considered one of the greatest achievements of traditional Chinese architecture, with a layout that displays the belief that the earth is square and heaven round. You could indulge your creative side at 798 Art Zone, an impressive industrial complex blending China's past and present with historic architecture and a quirky modern art scene. With artists' studios, art exhibition spaces, trendy boutiques and cool restaurants and bars, it's a must-visit for culture vultures. This afternoon catch a flight to the historical city of Xi'an. Once home to emperors, warriors and the Chinese elite, Xi'an is the kind of place that keeps historians up at night, imagining what could have been. It's one of the few cities in China that's still managed to hold on to its imposing 12 metre high city walls, and is of course best known as the home of the magnificent Terracotta Army. This evening and with time to yourself, perhaps head out to explore the busy lanes of the Muslim Quarter.
We hope you're prepared as today's visit to the Terracotta Army may just knock you over backwards. One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of recent times, it's incredible to think that this life size army of thousands of warriors, each with a face different to the next, was discovered completely by accident by some fortunate peasants drilling a well. Standing in battle formation and positioned according to rank, the warriors have silently guarded over the body of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, for an astounding 2000 years. You'll learn about the discovery and history of the army from your local travel guide, then take your time exploring here before heading on for a local style lunch. This evening and no doubt hungering for more Chinese history, perhaps opt to join your fellow travellers at our Tang Dynasty dinner and show. Tuck in to a delicious dumpling banquet, then enjoy the vibrant costumes, colourful dances and traditional music of this eight part show that brings to life the culture and lifestyle of the great Tang Dynasty.
Heading for the airport this morning, you'll catch a flight to the next stop on your China tour package, bound for the booming city of Chongqing. As one of the most densely populated cities on earth it's little surprise that Chongqing throbs with life and energy, but the many, many people who live here are welcoming and friendly, and the vision of the city spilling over onto both banks of the Yangtze River is a real sight to behold. Speaking of the Yangtze, catch your first glimpse of the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world as you arrive here, then after dinner get even better acquainted as you board your river cruise ship, your home for the next three nights.
Slowly journeying down the sublimely scenic Yangtze River, otherwise known as the 'Chang Jiang' or 'long river', be sure to make the most of your surroundings. Sit back and relax on deck, cold drink in hand, and simply enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your first port of call today will be Shibaozhai, or 'Precious Stone Fortress', an incredible 12 storey, 56 metre high wooden pagoda built on the top of a cliff and an impressive relic of the Xianfeng Emperor. Reaching the temple via a red pavilion masterfully built into the rock face, take your time exploring before cruising on to the shrines, temples and monasteries of Fengdu's 'Ghost City', a two-thousand-year-old complex located on the Ming Mountain that is dedicated to all things afterlife. Explore the vividly depicted images that reflect the notion of good and evil, then head back to the ship to continue your Yangtze cruise.
The scenery gets even more beautiful today as you cruise through the Three Gorges region. Hold your breath as you squeeze through the steep precipices of the Qutang Gorge, the river swirling and frothing beneath you, then breathe a sigh of wonder as you enter the Wu Gorge, where the famous forest covered peaks of the Wushan Mountains are guaranteed to take your breath away. No doubt keen to get a closer look, it's here you'll board a small motor boat that will take you to Goddess Stream, a place that absolutely lives up to its otherworldly name. Utterly gorgeous, the steep cliffs and deep valleys of this region create a sense of real serenity, and you'll get to soak it all up before hopping back on board to visit the final gorge, Xiling, another beautiful area of tumbling rapids, karst caves and soaring cliff edges.
Make an early start this morning and ascend to the top deck of the Yangtze cruise ship to enjoy the views of the vast Three Gorges Dam - the largest dam in the world and a serious labour of love with a production timeline that spanned decades. After disembarkation at Maoping Port there is another great photo opportunity to get shots of the Dam before transferring to Yichang Airport to catch your flight to the stunning city of Shanghai.
Diving into all that Shanghai has to offer, this morning's sightseeing tour will start off at The Bund, the city's famous waterfront hub. Once a place of fast paced trading akin to New York's Wall Street, today The Bund is the place to be in Shanghai. All the top restaurants, hotels and shops can be found on this exclusive patch of real estate, where art deco and neoclassical buildings rub shoulders with monolithic skyscrapers. Continuing on to a Silk Factory Outlet where vibrant colours are the aim of the game, you'll then stop off at Shanghai's premium shopping destination, Nanjing Road. Stretching out over three miles and housing over 600 businesses, it won't be hard to see why shopping is serious business in Shanghai. Go wild in the stores selling high end couture and vintage finds alike, then this evening perhaps opt to join your fellow travellers on our visit to a daring acrobatics show.
With a full day to explore your way and the last day of your China value tour, be sure to make the most of it! If it's culture you're after, you're in the right place; Shanghai has one of the most revered cultural scenes of any city in the world with a wealth of museums and galleries showcasing contemporary and historical treasures alike. You may choose to take our optional trip to the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao with its 36 bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. If it's modern Shanghai you want to see, you can join our optional trip to the 492m high World Financial Centre to marvel at the sweeping views of the city from the 100th floor, before heading to the trendy Tianzifang district to soak up the artsy vibes and shop to your heart's content. Or if you prefer to discover the city on your own, you could head to the Old Town for a glimpse of Shanghai of old or visit Yuyuan Garden, a true delight with its shady alcoves and fish filled pools. Eating is a hugely important social activity in China and undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience the culture, so be sure to sample all the wonderful delights that cross your path on your adventures.
With memories of ancient kingdoms, serene landscapes, tasty local delicacies and feats of engineering wizardry still fresh in your mind's eye, your incredible adventure through the vast and beautiful land of China will come to an end today. After saying goodbye to your fellow travellers and transferring on to Shanghai International Airport, you'll catch your onward flight to your next destination.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
The Legend of Kung Fu Show is a mix of traditional martial arts and modern theatre. It is presented by a group of marvelous Kung Fu artists from all over China whose average age is only 17 but they have studied Chinese Kung Fu for many years. The story tells of a young boy who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master and attaining enlightenment. He takes the path of a monk in which he must face many obstacles both from this world and his own mind to overcome his fears and to become a true master of Kung Fu. During the 80-minute show, the artists do not speak but perform daring acrobatics and Kung Fu dance but there are English subtitles above the stage explaining the storyline. Transfers to and from the Red Theatre are included. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥350
This evening, enjoy a sumptuous Peking Duck Banquet. ‘Beijing kao ya,’ the most well-known dish in China, has been prepared since the imperial era and is known merely as ‘Peking Duck’ in the western world. This famous gourmet cuisine of Beijing consists of roasted duck in a tempting shining color covered with crispy skin and tender meat inside accompanied by pancakes and vegetables. A range of other dishes will also be served including soup, various stir-fries, rice, salad and several vegetarian options. One glass of local wine plus two soft drinks or beer is also included. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥340
The UNESCO listed Temple of Heaven is a large religious complex in the old outer city of Beijing and was the most important of Beijing's imperial temples. It was where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1420 to 1900) worshiped the god of heaven and prayed for good harvests. It is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture and its layout symbolizes the belief that heaven is round and the earth is square. The temple buildings are rich in symbolic detail and its grand architectural style gives an insight into the practices of the ancient civilization. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥300
Enjoy a sumptuous Tang dumpling banquet followed by a wonderful performance of ancient music and dance which has graced the region for centuries. The show consists of 8 parts filled with vibrant costumes, colorful dances and traditional music. Under the ruling of the Tang Emperors from 618 to 907, China became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. During this time the economy, politics and military strength reached an unprecedented level which influenced the culture of its neighboring countries. It was during this flourishing and peaceful period that exquisite Tang imperial feasts with music and dance emerged and developed. Step back in time and enjoy the delightful hospitality and performances of the Tang Dynasty. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥400
Enjoy a performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe which traditional folk art to tell historical tales of Shanghai. Marvel at the strength, skill, and suppleness of China’s famous acrobats as they blend circus skills, martial arts, magic and more into a mesmerizing evening. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥410
In the morning, drive to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town in the suburbs of Shanghai. With a history that goes back more than 1,700 years, the town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns of Shanghai. Today, historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found. The town is also blessed with small rivers shaded by willow trees, bubbling streams and traditional houses with ancient courtyards. The town has 36 bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, differing in shape, style and structure; from wooden to stone and marble. Take a paddleboat ride along the water to admire the distinct bridges, and then enjoy some free time to stroll through the narrow alleys and small food shops. The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soybeans and Zarou (lotus roots) as well as homemade candy and braised pork leg. There will be an opportunity to try some local food during the included lunch, before returning to Shanghai. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Adult Price: ¥450
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