26 days Grand China tour with Yangtze cruise
This 1 month voyage includes the kitchen think around China. Start at Beijing for its Forbidden City and Great Wall. Followed by a remarkable visit to the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, and a soul-stirring exploration in Lhasa, including experience the Tibetan-sect Buddhism and enjoy the imposing scenery of Tibet. Travel through two famous and magnificent mountains in China, Mount Emei and Huangshan, and take a wonderful cruise along Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. Your China await.
Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China and the first city of more than 10 cities as you prepare to traverse vast China. This 4-week journey is designed to offer any traveler a wide sense to discover China. Anything in this tour can be easily adjusted to suit your personal travel needs.
As you settle into ancient Beijing on the first day take time to rest or just walk around the city. Your local guide will be glad to offer some suggestions on where to go the first night in Beijing.
Have an excursion to three remarkable attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace today.
Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world, have a glimpse of the Monument to the People's Heroes in the middle, China National Museum on the east side, and the Gate of Heavenly Peace at the north end of the square. Deep behind the gate lies the magnificent Forbidden City, an imperial palace complex for 24 emperors to live during Ming and Qing Dynasty. Forbidden City is one of the earliest attractions which declared as World Heritage Sites in China, and UNESCO acclaimed it as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
After lunch, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Summer Palace, a royal garden. This beautiful garden is covered with spectacular scenery a manmade lake named Kunming that is best overlooked from Longevity Hill (Wanshou Shan), a place once reserved for the imperial court only. Enjoy the beautiful scene and see the ancient palaces, temples and gardens dating back to the Qing dynasty. The Summer Palace is also well known as one of the four classic gardens in China.
In the evening, you may enjoy a good Roasted Duck dinner at one of the fine restaurants in Beijing or take a Kongfu show (fee is on your own).
Morning head to the Temple of Heaven, a religious place for the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties to pray to God of Heaven for a good harvest, the temple is famous for its unique triple-gabled circular architectures.
Then drives 2.5 hours to get to the Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best sections to enjoy the majestic and picturesque sight of Great Wall. Have 2 to 3 hours to explore the Great Wall by walking or taking cable cars. As a Chinese saying goes, He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man, during your visit, you will definitely be astonished by this masterpiece of Chinese ancient people.
Afterwards enjoy a cultural experience - Hutong tour in Beiluoguoxiang. While visiting, learn about some culture, history, folktales, and layout of ancient Hutong in Beijing from your local guide, and experience the real local life of Beijing citizens.
Take the afternoon high speed train to Xi'an.
Morning head to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses, one of the several must-see history relics in China. It's one part of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor's mausoleum, which was used to help the emperor rule in his afterlife. Because of the massive lively clay warriors, horses and chariots which regarded as an incredible project in ancient time, the site is also called as the eighth wonder in the world.
Afternoon, return to Xi'an downtown and visit Xi'an City Wall, one of the oldest and best-preserved city wall across China. The walls form a rectangle with a perimeter of 14 km. (8 mi.). Then proceed to Shuyuanmen, a cultural street lined with restored ancient architectures of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The street is jammed with numerous stores selling antiques, four treasures of study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab, and paper) and artworks. We believe you can always find one piece to bring home for your family.
Today's last stop is Chinese Muslim culture center in Xi'an - Xi'an Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Take in the unique local feeling and observe as evening prayers approach. It is also a great place to try the local streets snacks
Morning drive to the airport and say farewell to your local guide and Xi'an. Take the flight to Lhasa, the capital city, as well as the sacred city and spiritual center of Tibet. The rest of today is left free for you to acclimatize the high altitude. Your journey in Tibet will start tomorrow.
Start today's tour with a visit to Potala Palace, a famous landmark of Lhasa in the morning. As it rises 13 stories from the Marpo Ri and contains more than a thousand rooms, the palace, which used to be the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, is an architectural wonder even by modern standards, local people call it the one touching the sky.
Afterwards, visit the Jokhang Temple, a 1,300 year-old temple which is considered to be the spiritual center of Tibet. The name Jokhang means the "House of the Buddha" in Tibetan. Then walk along the popular pilgrim circuit - Barkhor that proceeds clockwise around the periphery of the Jokhang Temple. At last, end today's tour by visiting Sera Monastery, one of the "great three" Gelukpa monasteries in Lhasa area. Enjoy a famous Buddhism Scriptures Debating during your visit here.
Morning head to Chushul from where climb up Kamala to Turquoise lake Yamdrok Tso. Yamdrok Tso is one of the three sacred lakes in Tibet, appears like jasper in a dark blue color. It takes about half an hour driving along the lake shore to the nearest town where you will have an early lunch.
Afternoon further to the southern Friendship highway along the sprawling lakes and bloom glaciers to Gyantse. Gyantse is a small town in Tibet, this typical Tibetan town still keeps its own feature, you will visit the famous Kumbum Stupa here, it is about 35m high containing countless Buddha images, it is truly awe-inspiring and one of the most spectacular monuments in Tibet. Afterwards, have a look at Phelkor Monastery with its fine paintings and statues, wander through some narrow lanes of old Gyantse town. Late afternoon drives about 1.5 hours to Shigatse.
Shigatse is the 2nd largest city in Tibet, one of the highlights in this city is Tashilhunpo monastery which is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the 2nd most important spiritual leader of Tibet. Walk along the monastery kora where you will have the stunning view of the whole Shigatse city. The living local market should also not be missed in Shigatse.
In the afternoon, drive back to Lhasa along the Yarlung Tsangpo River (about 5 hours), check into your hotel and have a good rest. Overnight at Lhasa.
Morning free explore Lhasa on your own, then Lhasa airport see off and take a flight to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, the flight journey will take about 2 hours over the vast snow-capped mountain ranges in the Tibetan Kham high plateaus. Upon arrival, be greeted and assisted to the hotel by your local guide. Chengdu is a famous casual city in China, the rest of today you will explore this city on your own.
Today drive about 2 hours to Mount Emei. The mountain is well-known for its lush mountain scenery and Buddhist relics. Along with Putuoshan, Wutai Shan and Jiuhua Shan, Mount Emei is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China.
Upon arrival at Emeishan, you will be arranged to visit Baoguo Temple. After that, take the local sightseeing bus to Leidongping (Lunch will be arranged at Leidongping), afterward, walk about 15 minutes to Jieyin Hall, where you will take the cable car to Golden summit (or you can choose to hike up - around 2 hours). Visit the Huazang temple, Golden summit Buddha Statue. If you are lucky enough, you may see the clouds sea and Buddhist Halo in the late afternoon. Overnight at Golden Summit Hotel.
Early Morning watches the sunrise at Golden Summit, in a clear day you will also see the Mount Gongga which is the highest peak in Sichuan. Afterward take the cable car and sightseeing bus down to Baoguo Si bus park, where you will meet your driver and drive to Leshan.
In Leshan visit the biggest sitting Buddha sculpture in the Lingyun Temple. The grand Buddha was completed in 803 of Tang Dynasty after 90 year's construction and enjoys the fame of the biggest sitting stone sculpture in the world with a 71-meter height. Carved on the cliff face, the sculpture is well designed with perfect balance and effective water drainage system. You can also choose to have a boat tour to see Leshan Grand Buddha (fee is on your own). Late afternoon transfer back to Chengdu, check into your hotel and rest.
Today you will get close with the pandas by visiting Chengdu Panda Base. Depart in the early morning so that you can observe the morning feeding of adorable pandas. Then spend some time to learn about this rare animal through the Panda Story Cinema. Stroll around the panda center and see other precious animals such as the Red pandas, wild goose, etc.
In the afternoon, see off at Chengdu Eastern Train station and take the bullet train to Chongqing (about 2 hours). Board the Yangtze River cruise in the late afternoon, the cruise starts sailing around 9 pm. Yangtze River is China's mightiest and the world's third-longest river. The next three days, enjoy a wonderful cruise along the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Yichang and have a glimpse of the breathtaking panoramas.
This morning the ship will stop at Fengdu, where you will visit the Ghost City, which is famous for its temple dedicated to the King of the Underworld, an association dating back to the Han Dynasty. Afternoon the cruise will sail through Qutang Gorge.
Morning sail through Wu Gorge, stop at Badong, where you will take a small junk for a close-up view of the breath-taking natural splendors along the Shennong Stream. we are sure you will be impressed by the dexterity the team of trackers as they push and haul the wooden sampans over the rapids. Back to the cruise to continue your cruise into the western section of the Xiling Gorge and pass through the five-step ship lock.
Visit the site of Three Gorges Dam Project in the morning, then sail the eastern part of Xiling Gorge, disembark at Yichang around 12:00. To be met at Yichang pier and drive you to Yichang for the flight to Huangshan. Upon arrival, to be met and assisted to your hotel in Tunxi, an old town located 70km. (43 mi.) southeast of Huangshan. In Tunxi you will be arranged to visit the Tunxi old streets.
Mount Huangshan, literally means Yellow Mountain in Chinese, is named after Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor who is considered the progenitor of the Chinese people. According to legend, he once lived on the mountain in search of enlightenment and immortality. Huangshan is famous for four its four wonders: the wind-carved pines, spectacular granite peaks, the sea of clouds and hot springs.
Morning drive about 1 hour to the foot of the mountain where you will take the Yuping Cable-car up the Mountain from the western side. A three-and-half-hour hike will take you to sight-see the fantastic and unforgettable views, including the Jade Screen Peak, Welcoming-guest Pine Tree, Lotus Peak, Turtle Peak, Heavenly Sea Pavilion, Bright Top Peak, the Flying-over Rock, the Cloud-dispelling Pavilion and Grand Canyon of the West Sea. Overnight up mountain Beihai Hotel.
Watch the sunrise in the early morning. Sightseeing the Lion's Peak where the "Stone Monkey" is just perched on a peak. You will also visit the Beginning-to-believe Peak before descending the Mountain by Yungu Cable-car on the eastern steps. A short drive to Yixian County - a place praised as the Eden's Garden on earth. You will visit two fantastic villages of Hongcun and Xidi there. They are regarded by many western scholars and experts as a living museum of Chinese traditional residential houses. The Oscar-awarded movie "Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon" was just filmed in Hongcun Village. Back to Tunxi (downtown) in the afternoon where you will catch the high-speed train to your next travel city - Hangzhou (about 2 hours train ride).
This morning, you will take a boat ride in the West Lake, a fantastic sight which has influenced poets and painters throughout the ages for its natural beauty and historical relics and inspired many Chinese garden designers for its unique layout of the landscape. Then head to Lingyin Temple, a famous monastery in the Jiangnan region which was founded 1,700 years ago.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Six Harmonies Pagoda, which is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, facing the Qiantang River. The tower was used to calm the tidal bore of Qiantang River. Behind the pagoda, you will take a charming walk, through terraces dotted with sculptures, bells, shrines, and inscriptions.
In the late afternoon or evening, drive to the train station for the high-speed train to Shanghai.
Today you will have a full day sightseeing in Shanghai. After breakfast, drive to visit Yu Garden, an iconic site which is located in the old town of Shanghai city. The garden is famous for its 500-year history and picturesque landscape. Next to Yu Garden is a market where you can see many shops for selling antiques and souvenirs.
Afterward head to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, where you can learn some scale plans of future Shanghai, you will also witness many photographs to show an old Shanghai. Then continue to Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the tallest buildings in the world, stroll along the Bund and shopping at the Nanjing road.
After breakfast, visit Tongli water town, an ancient town which has over 1,000 years' history. The town is famous for a system of canals and featured by water, bridges and ancient architectures. Taking a cruise on the canals for witnessing the breathtaking scenery of Tongli will be arranged. Walking on the small alleys to discover this ancient town.
In the late afternoon or evening, drive back to Shanghai airport to take the flight to Guilin.
After breakfast in the morning, drive to Zhujiang pier and take a cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo. The cruise journey lasts for 4 hours, which will give you an opportunity to see the most beautiful landscape in China, have lunch on board.
Afternoon in Yangshuo, you may choose to have a short bicycle trip to the countryside of Yangshuo. While in the countryside, pay a visit to a local farmer's house to feel the real local life of Chinese peasants.
Morning hotel pick up and drive about 40 minutes to visit Xianggong hill(Husband Mountain), it takes about 15 minutes to the top of the hill where you will be amazed by the breathtaking view of Li River and the surrounded Karst mountain peaks. Then head to Longji Rice Terraces for the splendid rice terraces and local ethnic minority villages, the drive takes roughly 3 hours, on the way enjoy the nice mountain range views. Spend whole afternoon to hike around at the Ping’an village to enjoy the rice terraces views and visit local minority villages. There are several hiking trails that you can choose depending on your physical condition, it could last from 1 hour up to 3 hours. So just tell your guide what you want, then he can recommend you the options. Overnight at Ping’an village.
Morning drive to Guilin train station and take the afternoon high speed train station to Hong Kong (about 3.5 hours train ride). Upon arrival, Check into your hotel with the help of your local guide. then spend the rest of today to explore and go shopping on your own.
Today you will have a half day tour to see the highlights of Hongkong. First head to the Victoria Peak located in the western half of Hong Kong island. Atop the mountain, you will witness a spectacular view of the city and its harbors. Then take a visit to Repulse Bay in the south of Hong Kong island to look across this busy waterway at Kowloon Island and more.
Afterward, you will go to Stanley Market, an open-air market in Hong Kong which already has a long history, here you will see many shops for selling souvenirs. Then drive across to Deep Water Bay to visit the Aberdeen Area. This place is famous to tourists for its fish village, which is located within the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelters.
The afternoon is open and flexible for you to explore Hong Kong on your own. As a shopping Mecca where you can find just about anything your heart desires.
As your Hong Kong guide says farewell in the morning you will be driven to the airport for your departure. Hong Kong airport is an important place for international flights, Wish you have a pleasant journey home.
Good afternon, I am planning a trip like this one with my wife. I am 66 years old, fit and healthy and so is my wife she is 51 years old. Important for us is clear weather for photography. When is the best time of the year to do this tour then in 2015?? Perhaps two seasons would be recommendable to us. Please advise price. Do you handle all visas and permits for the entire tour. We can obtain visa for china here in australia. How big is the group??? Do we visit the base camp of Mt. Everest and stay there overnight??? Thank you for your reply. Regards Rudi