Your guide will be at the arrivals waiting for you, and a private car will whisk you to the hotel.
The first of the great sights is on the Tiananmen Square; the Great Hall of the People continues the legacy of impressive buildings on the west side, whilst The Heavenly Gate on the south represents the old imperial style.
The Forbidden City extends northward in a magnificent succession of gates, courtyards and halls. It is not possible to see everything in a half day, ask your guide for suggestions. Some of the side halls have fascinating exhibitions of the daily items used by the Emperors.
After lunch, a ride on a rickshaw in the hutongs awaits. These courtyard houses along narrow alleys are being modernized at a fast pace, but there are still areas where the old Beijing is alive. A visit to a local family gives a face to the life here, and an understanding of what living in the hutongs is like today.
Great Wall interestingly is not on any of the banknotes, but nevertheless is a truly magnificent sight. At Mutianyu section there are fewer tourists, and the views are especially impressive of the wall snaking into the distance. On the way up the mountain side a cable car will make the climb easy; on the way down you might like to choose to try tobogganing.
Changling Tomb was built during the Ming Dynasty for Emperor Yongle, and his empress. The ceiling is beautifully painted and the floor is made of golden bricks, the symbol of the emperors. The Sacred Way is the avenue leading to the tomb, lined with trees and statues.
The Temple of Heaven is an unusual circular building, built round because the shape represented Heaven. Emperors made annual sacrifices here to plead for a good harvest. The surrounding vast park is a gathering place for local people, to practice taichi and dancing among other things.
The Summer Palace is sure to amaze with the stunning garden around a glistening lake, all enjoyed by the imperial family from the pavilions and towers on Longevity Hill.
Guozijian, also called the Imperial Academy, was the center where all state officials received their education from the 3rd century AD, and was integral to Confucian system.
Today is dedicated to transferring to Lhasa. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.
Potala Palace, the Dalai Lamas’ former winter palace, is the most recognized Tibetan building, with a claim to fame for its 1,000 rooms. Visitors are limited to one hour per visit, as the pilgrims are so many.
In Jokhang Temple you have time to savor the atmosphere of incents and kneeling devotees. The golden roofed temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street, a bustling mixture of a pilgrim path and bazaar. Join the bartering masses, or relax in a coffee shop for some serious people watching; the sight does not get much more interesting this, your private “window to Tibet’. Enjoy a local lunch of classic Tibetan fare in a lovely garden.
Norbulinka was a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, and has charming gardens. A great contrast is a visit to a local family, enjoying a small taste of yak butter tea and sharing a chat about the hard life in rural Lhasa.
Sera Monastery is the venue of the famous daily debates at 3pm, mention to your guide if you would like to be present, and we make sure the itinerary is adjusted. It is worth a visit, the debates can get very heated.
In the morning you leave the land of lamas to fly to Chongqing, home of the Pandas. The local zoo has a Panda Room where cubs may at times be also seen. Ciqikou Old Town still has authentic parts, and is known for centuries’ tradition in porcelain making. Three Gorges Museum houses a model of the dam and tells the story of how it was built.
In the late afternoon you guide will take you for your cruise on the Yangtze and se you settled in your cabin.
Shibaozhai is a beloved fortress of the Chinese, now protected from the surging waters by a small dam. An optional tour to Fengdu Ghost City is available; there is a cable car to the top of the hill with nice views. Qutang Pass, depicted on the 10 yuan note, is passed through today.
The boat will pass through Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge on the course of the day. In the afternoon an excursion to a tributary, Shennong Stream, gives an opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy the sight of the sparkling water rushing through ravines and waterfalls. Baidicheng or White Emperor City is an optional sight, but it has become an island since the building of the Dam.
In the evening the crew entertains with their performance.
The Three Gorges Dam is the biggest dam in the world, and it is possible to visit the top viewing platforms for some spectacular views.
An express bus is the best way to get to Wuhan for the next leg of the journey; you will be escorted to the station and met at the other end.
Your own vehicle and guide will help you get the most of your day in Wuhan. Hubei Provincial Museum has many fine artifacts from the Marquis Yi of Zheng’s tomb, including musical instruments. A group of girls in traditional costumes play replicas at certain times of the day, an experience we make sure you don’t miss. Be sure to ask your guide about this and the timings.
The Yellow Crane Tower is a replica of the original, but still a magnificent sight and a great place to see over the city.
An evening flight will take you to Guilin.
Reed Flute Cave has fine examples of stalagmites and stalactites, and the Elephant Trunk Hill is the symbol of Guilin, formed by Li River eroding the karst mountains.
800 year old Jiangtou Village is said to be one of seven most valuable ancient villages in China. 90% of residents have the same surname – Zhou. Many are descendants of a famous scholar in Song Dynasty. There are many houses from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and lovely wooden carvings.
The mysterious scenery on the Li River has been the subject of many paintings and poetry throughout centuries. On board the cruise boat your camera will fill with photos as each view is better than the last. When you get to a certain bend in the river, get ready, as this is where the 20 yuan note takes its picture.
If you would like to try Taichi, there is chance in Yangshuo to have a go at the form of martial art in a park with mountains as a backdrop. We can also arrange many activities for you from Kayaking, Rock Climbing and Hiking, this truly is an outdoor lover’s playground.
Get closer to the beautiful landscape in Yangshuo with a bike ride along the lanes beside paddy fields. A family visit to a farmer makes the experience even more memorable.
After lunch in a popular cafe serving a delicious mixture of local fare and western dishes, your guide will take you for your flight to Hangzhou.
The Three Pools Reflecting the Moon on the West Lake is depicted on the 1 yuan note, and this is considered one of the best views on the most beautiful lake. Lingyin Temple is another experience not to miss with an outstanding grotto, and the Six Harmonies Pagoda with over 1000-year history is a landmark in Hangzhou.
Lunch in a famous local place serves delicious food mage with simple ingredients.
Your guide and driver will take you to Shanghai today. Along the way there is an excursion to Wuzhen Ancient Village, by the Grand Canal and between two rivers. A short boat cruise gives the best vantage point to life in this “water town”.
Shanghai has been called the Paris of the East, and has always has a metropolitan feel due to it being an important sea port. Yuyuan Garden is the best example of a classic Chinese garden, and surrounded by a lively market, whereas in Shikumen area you get to see how the locals lived 100 years ago.
Shanghai Urban Planning Centre lets you peek into the future to see what it holds for this thriving megalopolis. It has been very popular with our previous customers.
The Bund is an epitome of the Old Shanghai, and still retains 52 of the European style facades. We recommend you return here at night for a lovely walk, you could quite easily pretend you are in Paris. Former French Concession Precinct is a lovely place to walk and admire the beautiful villas and residences.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower is perhaps one of the best known structures on the skyline, very recognizable with the double sphere. The view is quite spectacular on a clear day, and on the first floor the Shanghai History Museum gives a good insight into history.
Sadly your time in China has come to an end, but you return home rich with memories. Your guide and driver will escort you to the airport to make sure you go through check-in smoothly.