Everything in China seems just a little bit grander, and even in the midst of frantic modernization it is easy to find evidence of China’s glorious traditions. Not even the dour and rather unstylish Communists could squelch the country’s past glories. Time, however, can be a cruel opponent, reshaping the landscape or whittling away at the monuments of human civilization. With such an ancient history, change is inevitable.
The tour begins in Beijing, visiting the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the beautiful Temple of Heaven. Walk upon the Great Wall of China, see the Ming Tombs and the amazing Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an. In the lovely town of Guilin, marvel at the picturesque scenery that has inspired painters and poets for centuries. The tour comes to a dramatic conclusion in ultra-modern Shanghai, completing an overview of a Dynasty unlike any in history.
Your adventure begins today with an international flight to Beijing, China. When searching the internet for the best airfare, use the airport code PEK for Beijing. You will be returning from Shanghai, whose airport code is PVG. Try to time your arrival in Beijing by no later than 4pm tomorrow so that you will be able to attend our welcome festivities. If you prefer to arrive a day early in order to have more time to adjust from jet lag, we will be happy to arrange an additional hotel night tonight. Tour services in Beijing do not begin until tomorrow. (Meals Aloft)
The price of this tour includes airport transfers, no matter what day or time you arrive. After checking in at our hotel, you have the opportunity to relax until our first group meeting at the cocktail hour for introductions. Afterwards, we head to the hotel’s restaurant for our Welcome Dinner. Overnight in Beijing. (Welcome Dinner)
Your China tour starts with a morning strolling across the world’s grandest city central square, Tiananmen Square. Then you will enter from its south gate to the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex where the emperors and his family had once worked and lived. Finally, enjoy a rickshaw ride through the ancient lanes and alleyways of Beijing’s Hutongs to see how local residents have been living for centuries. You have the option of attending a Chinese Acrobatic Show at an additional cost. Overnight in Beijing. (All Meals)
After breakfast at our hotel, our driver meets us and takes us to visit the majestic Temple of Heaven, where the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties worshipped, praying for peace and bountiful harvests. The huge complex is famous throughout the world for stunning architecture and beautiful park-like atmosphere. After lunch, we drive some 40 miles to the northeast of Beijing to visit the world’s greatest man-made projects, the Great Wall. The more remote section at Mutianyu is considered the best-preserved part of the wall, with three prominent watchtowers and crenelated parapets set amid dense woodlands. This evening enjoy the famous Peking Roast Duck for your dinner tonight. (All Meals)
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and then our day of sightseeing begins visiting Bird Nest and the Water Cube(Olympic National Stadium), where the 29th Beijing Olympic Games were held in 2012. After lunch, we drive to the exquisite Summer Palace to marvel at the opulence of this imperial summer getaway. Enjoy a boat ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery of this charming place from the water and see the famous dragon boat. In the evening, visit the Place, one of the most modernist places in Beijing, The LED screen on the roof is the biggest highlight and you can send messages, which will appear on the screen. (All Meals)
Take the morning flight to Xian. Upon arrival, our tour guide meets us at the airport and transfers us to our hotel for a short rest. In the late afternoon, you will want to get out of your hotel and turn left to walk to the South Street, where you will find the South Gate of City Wall. Climbing up the wall, you can either walk or ride a bicycle on it. Then walk back to the city center area. The attractive Bell Tower and Drum Tower a few steps away can be your next stops. We also suggest you pay a visit to the Muslim Street, a residential zone of Hui people in the city, and the Bell & Drum Tower. Overnight in Xi’an. (All Meals)
After having breakfast in your hotel, your guide will meet our group and drive us to the incredible Terracotta Warriors. These 8,000 life-size figures were buried in three giant pits as a form of funerary art at the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor. Discovered in 1974, this important historical sites is one of the most important in all of China, if not the world. Afterwards, visit the Daqin terra-cotta making factory to see all kinds of models of Terracotta Warriors. In the afternoon, you will visit Shaanxi History Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In the evening enjoy an amazing Tang Dynasty Dancing Show, which bring the pageantry and music of the ancient Tang Dynasty to life. (All Meals)
After breakfast at your hotel, take morning flight to Guilin. Many visitors consider Guilin to be the most scenic area in all of China. Water scarred limestone peaks rise dramatically out of green plains marked by meandering rivers and rice paddy fields. This setting has served as inspiration for painters and poets for centuries. When your flight lands on Guilin airport, our guide will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel. After lunch you will visit the classic attractions of Guilin downtown including the Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave, Two Rivers, and Four Lakes. (All Meals)
Today we enjoy one of the country’s finest excursions—a leisurely boat trip down the Li River, including lunch. At the conclusion of our cruise we arrive in Yangshuo, a town with cobblestone streets, great shopping and a quaint, almost European feel. Enjoy a walking tour of the town, and the local market. In the evening we attend the spectacle of Impressions of Liusanjie (Third Sister Liu). The performance, created by Zhang Yimou, China’s premiere movie director and director of the Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, is made up of hundreds of people and is performed on the Li River with the mountains as the backdrop. It is an unforgettable experience. (All Meals)
This morning enjoy an excursion aboard bamboo rafts on the Yu Long River among the beautiful limestone peaks. Return to Yangshuo to check out of the hotel and enjoy free time for lunch. After lunch, you will drive to visit Shangri-la, a nature park built on a small island inside a lake. We then head to Guilin Liangjiang International Airport for our flight to Shanghai. On arrival, guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel. The evening is at leisure. (All Meals)
Our sightseeing tour begins with a visit to of Shanghai Museum, a huge complex featuring both historical artifacts and more recent modern artwork. We will also stop at Yuyuan Garden, and the Jade Buddha Temple, before taking a walk along the Bund and Nanjing Road, built during colonial times and an important remnant of the city’s past. The evening is free to enjoy the amenities of our hotel or do some exploration on your own in the vicinity of our hotel. (All Meals)
You will have a full day to visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai City-planning Museum, Xintiandi. In the evening, you will have Huangpu River cruise at the Bund wharf to appreciate the two representative profiles of the city along two sides of the river. It helps you understand the past, see the present and look into the future of this modern city. Our farewell Dinner will occur during this cruise. (All Meals)
The tour officially ends after breakfast this morning. We will organize small group transfers to the airport by public taxis (included). If you wish to extend your stay in Shanghai, please let us know on your reservation form so that we can keep your room available for another night. (Breakfast)