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Tibet and Classic China

Beijing - Xi'an - Lhasa - Chengdu - Yangtze River cruise - Shanghai

Jokhang temple, Lhasa

Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers

A trip to the Tibetan city of Lhasa, on the "roof of the world' is the highlight of this tour that also includes a Yangtze River cruise plus the Great Wall, Terracotta Army and the exciting modern city of Shanghai.

A select group tour based on 4- and 5-star hotels and 5-star Yangtze cruise boat, with most meals included and with cultural evening shows. All cabins aboard the boat have private balconies.

Hotels awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.

Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Beijing. Met on arrival and transfer to the Holiday Inn Express Dongzhimen, popular with westerners, or similar. Rest of the day free.

Day 3  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 4  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 5  Visit to the beautiful gardens and pavilions of the Summer Palace on the outskirts of Beijing, where emperors relaxed away from the summer heat of the capital, before transfer to railway station for high-speed 'bullet train' to Xi'an, capital of China for many centuries. Transfer to the 4-star Somerset Xindicheng Hotel or Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel or similar. (B, L)

Day 6  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 7  Transfer to airport for flight to Lhasa. Met on arrival and transfer to 4-star Thangka Hotel. Rest of the day free to acclimatise to high altitude. (B)

Day 8  Visit to the famous Potala Palace, the centre of power of Tibet's former Dalai Lama rulers. Also visit the Jokhang Temple, Tibetan Buddhism's most sacred shrine, and the surrounding streets of Barkhor Square thronged with pilgrims and visitors. (B, L)

Day 9  Excursion to two of the greatest monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa: Sera and Drepung. Then visit the Norbulinka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. (B, L)

Day 10  Transfer to airport for flight to Chengdu. Transfer to 4-star Yinhe Dynasty Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 11  Morning visit to the Panda Research Base on the outskirts of Chengdu, where many giant pandas are kept and which runs a breeding programme. Then travel by high-speed train to Chongqing to join your 5-star Yangtze cruise boat from American Victoria Cruises for departure later that evening. (B, L)

Day 12 to 13  Yangtze River cruise downstream through the dramatic Three Gorges, including shore excursion to the pagoda at Shibaozhai and a trip in small boats through the lesser gorges of the Goddess Stream, one of the Yangtze's tributaries. (B, L, D)

Day 14  Shore excursion to the impressive ship elevator at the Three Gorges Dam. Arrive Maoping dock and transfer to Yichang around lunchtime. Transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai. Transfer to 5-star Ocean Hotel or similar (B)

Day 15  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 shop selling fine silks. (B, L)

Day 16  Transfer to airport for flights back to London Heathrow arriving later the same day (B)

EXTENSION TO HONG KONG - please ask for prices

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

Day 17 Half day tour of Hong Kong Island, 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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