Classic China

China

Culture

Dramatic karsts, Giant pandas, Great Wall & Terracotta Warriors

14 days £2,395 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Experience the best of China as you tour some of its most famed historical and natural sights. Surround yourself with spectacular examples of China's sacred and turbulent history in Beijing as you visit the wonders of The Great Wall and The Forbidden City. Marvel at the magnitude of the Terracotta Army in Xian, observing the contrastingly personal detail of each life-size soldier. Travel through the picturesque city of Guilin where the iconic River Li winds before dramatic, sheer sided mountains. Take a river cruise through the otherworldly karst landscape of Yanshuo. Observe the infamous skyline of Shanghai, where you will see striking sky scrapers alongside an array of Chinese architectural heritage.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fusion of historic & contemporary architecture in Beijing
  • Imperial Palace in The Forbidden City
  • Mountainous Jinshaling section of The Great Wall of China
  • Ancient Temple of Heaven Park
  • Starting point of the Silk Road at Xi'an
  • The famous Terracotta Army
  • UNESCO-listed Little Wild Goose Pagoda
  • See the work of Chengdu's Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
  • Otherworldly karst landscapes of Guilin
  • Panoramic views of the Longji rice terraces

Places Visited

Beijing - Simatai - Jinshanling - Xi'an - Terracotta Army - Chengdu - Guilin - Longji Rice Terraces - Yangshuo - Shanghai

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights
Train tickets
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
Image 3

Day 1 : Arrival into Beijing

Arrive at Beijing airport, where you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. There will be a welcome dinner in the evening where you will receive an overview of your tour. Overnight stay in Beijing. 

Meal plan: Dinner

Image 3

Day 2 : Beijing

Spend the day exploring the city of Beijing. Visit Tian'anmen Square, where you will see Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Monument to the People's Heroes and the Great Hall of the People. Continue on to the Forbidden City before enjoying a rickshaw ride through the hutongs. Later, spend the evening in the Houhai district. Overnight stay in Beijing. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The city of Beijing lies in northern China and is one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. As one of the country’s six ancient cities, it is thought to be the point where historic and modern China meet. This vibrant capital is home to world-famous ancient sites, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, as well as some of the world’s most innovative modern architecture, including the 2008 Olympic Park.

The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum or Gu Gong, lies at the heart of Beijing. Built under the rule of the Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty, the Forbidden City holds the best-preserved and largest imperial palace in China - serving 24 emperors over five centuries. The essence of traditional Chinese architecture can be seen in the yellow roofing of the city, considered to be the symbol of royalty. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the palace is now a museum and has become one of China’s most popular tourist attractions. 

Tian'anmen Square, in central Beijing, is named after the Tian'anmen - or ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’ - located to its north. This large square is of great cultural and historical significance, containing the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. In more recent history, the square has been the site of many political protests, including the student-led demonstration known as the ‘June Fourth Incident’ of 1989. 

The lakes of Houhai, Qianhai and Xihai are together known as Shichahi. Houhai is the largest of the three lakes and was exclusively for the royal family during the Yuan Dynasty. The area surrounding these lakes, known as the Houhai District, has become well known in recent years for its restaurants, bars and cafes. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 3 : Beijing - Great Wall (Simatai)

Morning free in Beijing at your leisure. Later, travel to the Simatai section of the Great Wall of China where you will stay overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The Simatai section of the Great Wall is UNESCO-listed. It is thought to be one of the most scenic and well preserved parts of the wall. This section of the wall is 5.4km, it runs through valleys and cliffs, its many watchtowers providing spectacular views across the surrounding landscape. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 4 : Great Wall (Jinshaling) - Beijing

Rise early to see the sunrise over the Great Wall before hiking across the Jinshanling section. Later, make the return journey to Beijing, where you will stay overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Jinshaling, translated as 'Gold Mountain Ridge', due to its location on the Jinshaling Mountains, is one of the best preserved sections of the Great Wall. Many of its original features still remain intact, including battlement walls, watchtowers, shooting holes and blocking walls. This part of the Great Wall has become popular for both hiking and photography, providing magnificent views across the mountains.

Read more
Image 3

Day 5 : Beijing

Start the day early with a visit to the Temple of Heavan Park where you will take a Tai Chi lesson amongst locals. Later, continue on to the train station where you will get an overnight train to Xi'an.  

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Temple of Heaven Park was built in 1420, and was originally where the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty held the 'Heaven Worship Ceremony'. In recent history, this site has been opened as a public park, providing an example of ancient philosophy, cultural history and religion for the region.

Read more
Image 3

Day 6 : Xi'an

Arrive in Xi'an and transfer to your hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the city, including walking on the parameters of the Xi'an Ancient City Wall. Spend the evening sampling local cuisine and watching a Tang Dynasty dance and music show. Overnight in Xi'an. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Xi’an, formerly known as Chang’an, was the ancient imperial capital of China. Today it is the capital city of Shaanxi Province in northwest China. It is one of the oldest cities in China and marks the starting point of the famous Silk Road, where countless momentous journeys started or finished. Key sights in Xi'an include the Xi'an Ancient City Wall, which dates back to the 14th Century, the Little Wild Goose Pagoda and the nearby Terracotta Army.

Read more
Image 3

Day 7 : Terracotta Warriors

Begin the day with a visit to the famous site of the Terracotta Army. Continue on to visit a Jade Museum, where you will learn more about the precious stone. Later, tour the Muslim Quarter and sample Islamic dishes. Overnight in Xi'an. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Discovered in 1974, the breathtaking Terracotta Army sculpture collection contains nearly 8,000 life-size and highly-detailed terracotta warriors as well as horses that guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huang - the first Emperor of China. Each warrior is unique and is believed to have been modelled on an actual soldier of the time. They have been in place for over 2,200 years, protecting the emperor in his afterlife, and are now considered to be the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World.

The Muslim Quarter of Xi'an, the hub of the Muslim community in the city lies around Beiyuanmen Muslim Street. This narrow street houses market stalls and stores with authentic souvenirs, clothing and Islamic cuisine. Visitors and locals alike enjoy sampling the many unique dishes on offer along this winding street.

Read more
Image 3

Day 8 : Xi'an - Chengdu

Spend the morning visiting the Little Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an. Travel to the airport where you will fly on to Chengdu. Later, visit Chengdu's Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding before transferring to your hotel. Overnight stay in Chengdu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The Little Wild Goose Pagoda is a UNESCO-listed Buddhist tower that lies in the centre of the Jianfu Temple. Built during the Tang Dynasty, it stands at 45 meters high, and is an example of ancient Buddhist architecture. A morning bell would chime from the pagoda throughout the Qing dynasty as a call to prayer for happiness. This bell chime is a prominent feature of Xi'an history and has become a popular attraction. Today, the original bell is preserved in the Bell Tower, whilst there is also a copy of the bell that can be rung by visitors.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was established in 1987 in the aim of continuing the research and conservation efforts of Chengdu Zoo - promoting Chengdu as the home land of the Giant Panda. Their work is currently focused in artificial reproduction procedures to increase the numbers of the engendered Giant Panda, who now have a population of less than 2,000. Their future aims are in helping these animals adapt to their natural habitat with the view that they can then be released into their natural habitat. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 9 : Chengdu - Guilin

Take a trip to Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding where you will see Giant Pandas and learn about the challenges they face. Later, travel to the airport and take a flight to Guilin. On arrival, transfer to your hotel before visiting the Pearl Museum to learn more about South China's pearling industry. Overnight in Guilin. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province. It is one of China’s six central cities and a primary transport hub. The city is famous for its teahouse culture, where they have been serving the same brews for generations. Chengdu is also China’s ‘Panda Central’, both where panda’s originate from and also home to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. An important historical sight in Chengdu is the Jinsha Museum, which houses the remains of a settlement dating back to 2700 BC.

The city of Guilin is located on the banks of the River Li. The region is famed for its karst, mountainous scenery, which has seen it become one of China's main draws. Key points of interest in the city include the Pearl Museum, Reed Flute Cave and the Pagodas of Fir Lake.

Read more
Image 3

Day 10 : Guilin

Spend the day taking a tour of the Longji Rice Terraces, learning about the rural way of life and meeting locals. Later, return to Guilin, where you will stay overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Longji Rice Terraces were first built in the Yuan Dynasty (13th-14th century) and completed in the Qing Dynasty (17th-20th century). Longji, means 'dragon backed mountain', as when the paddies are full of water during spring, they are said to resemble the scales on the back of the dragon. The stunning rice fields are an ideal setting for hiking and provide famous panoramic views across the layered terraces.

Read more
Image 3

Day 11 : Karst cruise

Spend the morning on a cruise among a stunning karst landscape along the River Li. Arrive in Yangshuo where you can spend the afternoon at your leisure. Overnight stay in Yangshuo.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The River Li stretches 437 kilometres and is famous for Cormorant fishing. Its most famous stretch is from Guilin to Yangshuo, winding its way through famous Karst peaks and terraced rice paddies. A trip along the river will allow you an insight into rural Chinese life, where water buffalo walk through fields whilst fishermen float by on their bamboo rafts. Highlights along the river include the Elephant Trunk Hill, Daxu Ancient Town and Mural Hill. 

Yangshuo is a small city set amongst the otherworldly karst landscape of northeast China. It has become a popular destination for visitors for its caves, temples and mountains. Visitors can hike, rock climb and travel by bamboo rafts through the unique surroundings of Yuangshuo.

Read more
Image 3

Day 12 : Guilin - Shanghai

Transfer back to Guilin for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. The rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight in Shanghai.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Image 3

Day 13 : Shanghai

Spend the day exploring Shanghai's highlights. Take a breakfast walking tour of the French Concession and sample local dishes. Continue on to visit Yu Gardens and the old town. Later, visit a silk factory before enjoying an evening cruise along the river Huangpu. Farewell dinner. Overnight in Shanghai. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The global financial centre of Shanghai is located in the Yangtze River Delta on the eastern Chinese coast. The largest and most populated city in the country is home to the famous Pudong skyline, which is punctured with skyscrapers. Each city district within Shanghai tells its own story. Evidence of its colonial history can be found in the architecture and cuisine found on The Bund and in the French Concession district. Whereas in the Old City, Nanshi, you can find sights such as Yu Garden and the Huxingting Tea House. 

The Yu Garden lies beside the City God Temple in the old city of Shanghai. Built during the Ming dynasty for the Pan En minister and stood as the largest, most prestigious garden of its era. It includes features such as the Wanhua Chamber and Sansui Hall that are each seperated by grey tiled ridges, or 'dragon walls'. 

The Huangpu River is a main tributary of the Yangtze River that flows through Shanghai. Shanghai Port, one of the most famous and important ports throughout China, can be found on the Huangpu River. 

Read more
Image 3

Day 14 : Depart from Shanghai

Transfer to the airport for your departure.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation Title

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

Image 3

Grand Gonda Jiangui Hotel

The Grand Gongda Jianguo Hotel is located inside Beijing University of Technology, not far from the city's central business district and some of Beijing's 2008 Olympic venues. The interior of the hotel and its bedrooms are spacious, with a modern decor and basic fixtures and fittings. A variety of cuisines are available at Grand Gonda Jianguo Hotel, including Chinese, Western and Japanese. Guests can also make use of the hotel's spa, fitness suite and games room. 

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Beijing Gubei Water Town Hotel

Beijing Gubei Water Town hotel is set amongst the scenic Gubei landscape, just outside of the quaint Water Town. The contemporary décor of the hotel follows through from the communal spaces to the bedrooms. Guests can relax, after exploring the ancient town of Guilin, in comfortable, clean and spacious en-suite rooms. Also having access to many facilities within the complex, including swimming pools, a spa and games rooms.

Image 3

Xi'an Train

The overnight train will provide travellers with 1st class, soft-sleeper accommodation. Although each train may be slightly different, the soft-sleeper accommodation is generally made up of 4 bunks within a private room. These rooms will have luggage racks and closets for guests to use - whilst the train will also have both Western and Chinese-style toilets.

Image 3

Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel

The Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel is a 4* hotel in central Xi'an. The hotel offers guests modern facilities, whilst the city’s ancient Chinese heritage influences its decor and furnishings. Guests are invited to make use of the indoor swimming pool, fitness suite and theatre. This hotel is unique in its aim to promote the culture of the region, and is host to Shaanxi Silk Road Culture and Arts Exchange Centre. The decor of the bedroom suites complements the traditional Chinese influence throughout the rest of the hotel, providing guests with air-conditioning and satellite television.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel

Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel lies at the heart of the city of Chengdu and nearby to many of the cities key sights. The interior of the hotel is modern and spacious, whilst the decor hints towards both Western and Chinese influences. It hosts a variety of different eateries that offer a choice of cuisine, including a traditional Chinese cafe and a Korean restaurant. The bedrooms in the Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel provide a comfortable stay to guests, who can also access wifi, satellite and cable television.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Lijiang Grand Waterfall Hotel

The 5* Lijang Grand Waterfall Hotel is situated next to Fir Lake in Guilin, and is surrounded by the picturesque scenery of Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbi Shan) and Solitary Beauty Peak (Duxiu Feng). The hotel is named after its impressive water feature, where cascades of water flow down the entire north face of the building. This grand complex lies close to many of Guilin's most famous sights. Guests can enjoy views of the city and these sights from the hotel's lounges and many restaurants - which serve both Chinese and Western food options. It also has many facilities for guests, including a sauna, swimming pool, gym and games room.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

New Century Hotel

The New Century Hotel can be found in downtown Yangshuo, not far from the scenic Yangshuo Park. This 4* hotel has an interesting mix of Western and traditionally Chinese decor. The en-suite bedrooms are furnished with modern fixtures and fittings, providing guests with access to the internet. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s games rooms, along with a choice of restaurants and cafes.

Visit hotel's site
Image 3

Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel

The Regal Shanghai East Asia Hotel is located just outside of the centre of Shanghai. The hotel has a modern décor – which can also be seen in the spacious bedrooms, that are equipped with air conditioning and satellite television. Its restaurant and cafeteria offer traditional and international cuisine. Guests are also welcome to enjoy the indoor swimming pool and spa facilities.

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

Xinjiang Odyssey (14 days)

Uncover the mysteries of remote Xinjiang

Hidden Treasures of Central China (17 days)

Discover little visited Ningxia, Gansu & Shaanxi provinces

Classic China (14 days)

Dramatic karsts, Giant pandas, Great Wall & Terracotta Warriors

Silk Road through China (16 days)

Trace ancient paths of merchants, scholars & smugglers