Circuit of Charming China

12 Days / 11 Nights

  Beijing - Xi'an - Chengdu - Yangtze - Shanghai

12 Days / 11 Nights

Circuit of Charming China

  Beijing - Xi'an - Chengdu - Yangtze - Shanghai

From great walls and giant armies to marvellous temples, breathtaking gorges and adorable pandas, fall in love with the rich history, natural beauty and sheer grandness of China on this 12-day adventure. Visit the famous sights of Beijing, explore the heritage of Xi’an and end the trip in cosmopolitan Shanghai, travelling aboard planes, high-speed bullet trains and an awe-inspiring cruise along the Yangtze River.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the famous Great Wall of China and marvel at one of mankind’s most incredible constructions
  • Explore the spectacular Terracotta Warriors, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century
  • Get up close to China’s most adorable creatures at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
  • Journey along the winding Yangtze River and witness the awe-inspiring landscape of the Three Gorges
  • See the sights of Shanghai and experience the charm of this modern metropolis

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Hotel accommodation with no single supplement
  • Meals as specified in itinerary
  • English-speaking guides
  • Drivers & air-conditioned transfers
  • Entrance fees as mentioned in itinerary
  • Bullet train (2nd class seat) – Beijing to Xian, Xian to Chengdu, Chengdu to Chongqing
  • Domestic airfare (economy class) – Yichang (or Wuhan) to Shanghai
  • Yangtze River cruise

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Beijing

DAY 1 - Beijing

Welcome to China! Touch down in the country’s massive capital and transfer to the hotel in Beijing.

After check-in, spend the rest of the day relaxing, acclimatising and preparing for an exciting 12-day journey, exploring the ‘Land of the Red Dragon’.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Beijing

After breakfast, spend the first full day in this fascinating country touring some of Beijing’s highlights. First travel to Tiananmen Square and stroll across one of the world’s largest public squares, before exploring the magnificent Forbidden City. Walk along the imposing rooms and stately courtyards, the very place where Chinese emperors ruled for almost half a millennium.  

From the past to the present, sit back on a rickshaw and continue to travel along a cluster of traditional hutongs (narrow lanes) to truly experience the culture of Beijing. Stop by a local family’s home for lunch and a chat, learning about their life in the capital.

In the afternoon, leave behind the bustling metropolis vibe and travel to the serene Temple of Heaven. Set in an expansive park, revel in the peaceful atmosphere and watch locals practice Tai Chi before observing the intricate details of the splendid imperial altars.

Alternatively, choose to visit the lavish Summer Palace, another beautiful oasis on the outskirts of Beijing.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Great Wall

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast and get ready to experience one of the world’s most iconic sights – the Great Wall of China. Travel to Mutianyu, the longest fully-restored section of the wall, and admire the awe-inspiring views of the scenic landscape cut through by one of humanity’s most impressive engineering feats. From blooming spring flowers and green hillsides in summer to multi-coloured trees in autumn and winter snow – the changing landscape makes it a picturesque destination all-year round. For an even more outstanding experience, visitors have the option to travel by cable car and take in the entire scenery from above.

After this unforgettable morning, enjoy a well-deserved lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the famous Ming Tombs. The perfectly-preserved mausoleums serve as the final resting place for 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. The path leading to the tombs is known as the Sacred Way and flanked by intricately-carved stone statues of humans and animals.  

On the way back, stop by the National Stadium. Affectionally known as the Bird's Nest, marvel at the futuristic structure of the massive arena before returning to the hotel.

During the trip, a visit to a jade carving factory and tea house is included, offering visitors the chance to learn about this ornamental mineral and immerse in the local tea culture.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Beijing – Xi’an

After breakfast, leave the capital behind and board the bullet train – China’s high-speed rail – to the ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province. Upon arrival, visit the striking Small Wild Goose Pagoda. As part of the historic Jianfu Temple, the 13-storey Buddhist structure dates back to the Tang Dynasty, 1300 years ago, and was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO. In addition, enjoy a hands-on lesson in the traditional art of ‘Guohua’ – Chinese painting with black ink – and decorate an open fan.

In the evening, dine on an array of delectable Shui Jiao dumplings before heading out on a night tour of the city to discover Xi’an’s vibrant nightlife scene.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Xi’an

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before travelling to one of Xi’an’s most famous attractions – the Terracotta Warrior Museum. Be blown away by the massive army of several thousand life-sized terracotta soldiers and horses, a serendipitous find by local famers in 1974 and one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The statues, each with a different facial expression, were arranged in battle formation to protect the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, in his afterlife. Before heading for lunch, stop by the Xi’an Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition to get insight into the process of making terracotta soldiers and, maybe, take home a personal, miniature warrior statue.

The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the fascinating city of Xi’an. A true melting pot of cultures and religions, boasting more than three millennia of history, the ancient imperial city served as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Depending on interests, choose from a number of tours introducing Xi’an’s most popular attractions, including the ancient City Wall, one of the most complete fortifications in China, the vibrant Muslim Quarter and its heavenly food scene, and the Shaanxi History Museum, featuring a fascinating collection of ancient relics displaying thousands of years of Chinese history and culture.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Xi’an – Chengdu

Spend the morning aboard the bullet train travelling to Chengdu. After a three-and-a-half-hour journey, be welcomed to the capital of China’s Sichuan province with a delicious Sichuanese lunch.  

In the afternoon, explore the city and stroll along the iconic Kuangzhai Alleys. Comprising three historic parallel alleys, get a glimpse of life in old Chengdu, taking in the traditional-style buildings and attractive courtyards, and tasting some local snacks along the way. Continue the walk through the picturesque People’s Park and visit the intriguing ‘Matchmaking Corner’ where parents try to find suitable partners for their children.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Chengdu – Yangtze River Cruise

In the morning, get ready to see China’s most adorable creatures at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Learn more about the loveable bears and observe the rare giant pandas roam, relax and rest in a spacious environment resembling their natural habitat.

Continue this journey of charming China with a bullet train ride to Chongqing before boarding the Yangtze River cruise. Home for the following three nights, set off in the evening and travel east along the impressive waterway.

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Yangtze River Cruise

Also known as the Yellow River, the Yangtze is Asia’s longest river and winds through some of the country’s most spectacular natural scenery.

Disembark at Shibaozhai, a 220-metre protruding hill on the north bank of the river, to visit the stunning Shibaozhai Temple at its top. Built against the cliff face, marvel at the exceptional design of the red pagoda, which was constructed without using a single nail, and climb atop the 12-storey temple, discovering historical and cultural relics along the way.  

Continue the cruise along the river and choose an optional shore excursion to the Ghost City of Fengdu. Steeped in history, be captivated by the local legend that donned the town its moniker and explore the many temples and shrines dedicated to ghosts and the underworld.

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Yangtze River Cruise

Enjoy breakfast on the cruise and get ready witness one of the China’s most spectacular natural attractions – the Three Gorges! Be blown away by the majestic sight of towering mountains and dramatic rock formations whilst journeying through the narrow Qutang Gorge. Continue along the deep canyons of the mysterious Wu Gorge and look out for the twelve peaks along the north and south banks.
 
Transfer to another vessel and travel along the picturesque ‘Goddess Stream’, a 15-kilometre-long stretch at the south bank of the Yangtze River. Called ‘Beauty Stream’ among locals, explore the serene natural landscape, hidden valleys and steep mountains along the stream.  

Continue travelling along the Yangtze River and enter Xiling, the last and longest of the Three Gorges. About half-way into the valley, reach the famous Three Gorges Dam Ship Lock in the evening.

Depending on the weather, travellers have the option to visit the White Emperor City along the way. Also known as Baidi Temple, it’s an impressive ancient temple complex, overlooking the Qutang Gorge.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Yangtze River Cruise – Shanghai

After breakfast onboard, disembark the cruise and join a morning tour at the Three Gorges Dam Project. One of the most extensive water conservancy projects undertaken by man and the world’s largest power station, the project has taken 17 years to complete. Climb atop the Viewing Platform to enjoy panoramic vistas of the massive dam and browse through the Memorial Garden museum to learn more about the complex construction.

Swapping cruises for planes, travel to Yichang Airport and take to the skies to Shanghai. Upon arrival in the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, transfer to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this giant cosmopolitan metropolis.

DAY 11

DAY 11 - Shanghai

Spend the last full day in this charming country touring the highlights of Shanghai. Start the city exploration at the tranquil Yu Garden before visiting a silk factory and wandering along quaint Tianzifang, a picturesque alley lined with arts and crafts shops. Continue the walking tour with a stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s waterfront, and take in the magnificent historical buildings along the promenade.

When dusk sets in, head to the top of Jin Mao Tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings, and end this incredible adventure through the ‘Middle Kingdom’ with a well-deserved drink and panoramic views of the sunset.

DAY 12

DAY 12 - Shanghai

Enjoy a delicious last breakfast in China before transferring to Shanghai airport to catch an onward flight.

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