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China Highlights

Shanghai - Tongli - Yangtze River cruise - Xi'an - Guilin - Beijing

Li River, Guilin

Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers

A concise shorter group tour of the highlights of any visit to China, starting in Shanghai and finishing in Beijing, including the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Yangtze River cruise, modern Shanghai and the beautiful landscapes of Guilin. Optional extension to Hong Kong.

A select group tour based on mostly 5-star hotels and a top 5-star Yangtze cruise boat, with most meals included and with cultural evening shows. All cabins on the boat have private balconies.

Hotels awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.

Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Shanghai. Transfer to 5-star Sunrise on the Bund Hotel or similar.

Day 3  Full day city sightseeing tour of Shanghai, to include the Yu Garden - a traditional house and garden in old China town district; the famous Bund or waterfront with its European-style former banks and trading houses; and the Shanghai Museum with its rich collection of art and antiques. Then take a boat trip on the Huangpu River that flows through Shanghai, giving you the best view of the city's modern striking skyline. Also visit a silk shop to sample some of the products created by this traditional industry. Welcome dinner in the evening. (B, L, D)

Day 4  Travel by coach out of the city to the small 'water town' of Tongli, in the countryside of the Yangtze River basin. Explore this beautiful town, with its old buildings, canals and elegant bridges. Visit the Tuisi Garden, a classic Chinese garden created by a retired official in the 19th century. Return to Shanghai. (B, L)

Day 5  Travel by air to the central town of Yichang to board your 5-star Yangtze River cruise boat from American Victoria Cruises for departure later that evening (B)

Day 6 to 8  Yangtze River cruise upstream through the Three Gorges (Xiling, Wu and Qutang), with stunning scenery and vistas of daily riverside life. Take a trip in small boats through the smaller gorges of the Goddess Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze, and enjoy shore excursions to the Three Gorges Dam and Shibaozhai. (B, L, D)

Day 9  Arrive Chongqing in the morning. Disembark and transfer to airport to fly on to historic Xi'an, capital of China for many dynasties. Transfer to the 4- to 5-star Holiday Inn Big Wild Goose Pagoda Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 10  Full day excursion to the Terracotta Army, created by China's first emperor over 2,000 years ago to guard his tomb for eternity. Return to Xi'an city to see the Grand Mosque and the atmospheric streets of the surrounding Muslim Quarter, originally settled by Arab and Persian traders over 1,000 years ago. Also visit a workshop creating replica warriors using traditional techniques. Enjoy a 'Tang Dynasty' music and dance show in the evening evoking the sights and sounds of old China, together with a delicious speciality dumpling dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 11  In the morning visit the Shaanxi Historical Museum, one of the most modern and best laid out in China, documenting the early history of this important part of ancient China, plus the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an's medieval city wall. Then travel by air to Guilin, in the south-east of the country. Stay at the Grand Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (4 star plus). (B, L)

Day 12  Cruise on the Li River, past exotically shaped limestone hills and flat rice paddy fields, to the small riverside town of Yangshuo. Lunch service on board boat. On arrival at Yangshuo stay at the New Century Hotel (3.5 star, simple accommodation). (B, L)

Day 13  Day to sample the beautiful countryside around Yangshuo with an accompanied bicycle ride to Moon Hill, local villages and a former village landlord's house. Lunch cooked and served at a local farmer's house. Also visit the Guilin Tea Research Institute for an insight into the cultivation, processing and consumption of this quintessentially Chinese product. Transfer to Guilin airport for evening flight to Beijing. Met on arrival and transfer to Holiday Inn Express Dongzhimen, or similar. (B, L)

Day 14  Start the day with a visit to Tiananmen Square, followed by the Forbidden City - the complex of buildings in the heart of Beijing that was the centre of power for China's rulers for over 400 years. Explore both the grand halls and some of the smaller rooms and courtyards that housed the imperial family. Then visit the imposing Temple of Heaven where emperors prayed for good harvests. Also visit a shop selling freshwater pearls. In the evening enjoy the warm atmosphere of a welcome dinner featuring that delicious local delicacy Peking duck. (B, L, D)

Day 15  Full day excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, about 1.5 hours drive north of Beijing. The wall here is not so busy at some other sections and is very scenic as its winds its way down the mountainside. Includes cable car up to the wall. Walk along part of the wall and explore the many fascinating aspects of this iconic symbol of China's past. En route to the wall pass the 2008 Olympic stadium, known as the 'Bird's Nest' and the 'Water Cube' - the national aquatic centre. Also visit a workshop carving items from jade, a stone of special significance to the Chinese. After dinner enjoy a colourful and energetic kung fu show displaying martial arts. (B, L, D)

Day 16  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day. (B)

Day 16  Transfer to airport for flight to Hong Kong and transfer to your 4- or 5-star hotel in Kowloon. (B)

Day 17  Half day tour of Hong Kong, to include Victoria Peak and Aberdeen Harbour. Afternoon free. (B)

Day 18  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day or early the following morning depending on airline schedules. (B)


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