Your guide will be waiting for you at the airport, ready to take you directly to your hotel in a private car. You will receive a complimentary cell phone with credit, so you can stay in touch with your guide. A pocket size Wi-Fi keeps you connected with home.
Yuyuan Garden’s name can be translated as Garden of Contentment, and a wise choice as it is a tranquil haven in a very busy city. It was built originally in Ming Dynasty and is a fine example of classic Chinese architecture. The City God Temple next to the gardens is still the centre for religious life of the Taoists, and many festivals. The whole area is enveloped by the Yuyuan Market, where you can barter to your heart’s content.
For lunch we’re take you to enjoy some Shanghai specialties in one of the best known restaurants in China.
In the modern parts of Shanghai new developments change the face of the city constantly. The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall has an enormous model of the future city designs, we’ll take a look but also visit the Shanghai World Financial Center observation deck, for an amazing bird’s eye view. The deck has a glass floor and at 474 meters (1,555 feet) it requires a little bit of courage to walk on.
Finally the charming Bund, where old European building facades combine with ultra modern developments, and where you can walk along the river bank and be seemly transported to Paris or Vienna. Come back after sunset, it is truly a magical sight.
In the morning your guide will take you to the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao, where the lakes and canals are crossed by beautiful bridges, the most famous one is the Fangsheng Bridge. There are still many old buildings to see, including an old Post Office and the Chenghuang Temple, and the charming Keshi Garden. A cruise along the river lets you see the waterfront ancient part in comfort.
After lunch back in Shanghai you will be taken to the airport for your flight to Chengdu.
Your first experience today, the lovely pandas, a symbol of China. Your guide will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the Panda Breeding Reserve. You may be able to hold a baby one, but that entails making a substantial donation to the center and booking in advance. Please let us know if you are interest in this experience.
In the afternoon history discoveries continue: the Wu Hou Temple was a home of a famous military strategist, and is surrounded by lovely gardens, whereas Jinli Old Street was once a commercial center of the city, and still has bustling market feel.
Today is dedicated to flying to Lhasa and getting acclimatized to the higher altitude. You will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
The Sera Monastery is where the monks have their daily debates in the afternoons. If you would like to see this, tell your guide so your itinerary can be adjusted.
Norbulingka was a summer palace for the Dalai Lamas but has since served as a government building as well. The gardens are very delightful with a lake and varied plants.
The Drepung Monastery was the original home of the Lamas before Potala Palace was built, and is nearly as majestic. A festival called Shonton is celebrated here every August, with several Tibetan opera performances and yak races in Lhasa, it is an amazing time to visit but very busy.
The majestic Potala Palace consisting of the White and Red Palace is the best known structure in Tibet and it is the height of a 13 story building. Visitors are only allowed an hour each, as there are so many pilgrims and limited space. Your guide will make sure you get the most out of your experience.
Jokhang Temple is considered to be the most important temple for Tibetan Buddhism, and therefore a wonderful place to observe pilgrims in the act of worship.
The Barkhor Street encircling the temple is a place where incense and other offerings can be bought as well as the souvenirs. It has been called the window of Tibet as the different tribes and cultures all join in the pilgrimage.
Yomdrok Lake is one of the three largest holy lakes in Tibet, amazingly turquoise and surrounded by grazing yaks, and in winter snowcapped mountains. The view from the hillside is particularly breathtaking; as your guide to stop on route, so you can take it all in.
The monastery called Palgor Chorten or Pelkhor Choede has a very different design to other similar structures in Tibet. Kumbum Stupa is also impressive, many layered design is unusual for this type of spiritual monument.
Tashilunpo Monastery is built on a small hill within the city, and the golden roofs and red walls give it a strong presence. Inside a beautifully decorated stupas house the remains of some of the previous Panchen Lamas. The statue of Buddha here is the largest gilded copper Buddha in the world. The monks wear beautiful robes and golden head pieces, adding to the colorful scene.
A pilgrimage path encircles the outside walls, and is an interesting addition to a visit.
The reconstructed Shigatse Castle towers over the town, but is actually a concrete copy of the original, which was thought to have been the model for the Potala Palace. At present it is empty, but there are plans for a museum.
In the afternoon you will be taken back to Lhasa.
Today is dedicated for a transfer to Xi’an and acclimatizing back to lower altitude.
The magnificent Terracotta Army is for many the highlight of their China visit, the eight thousand soldiers still standing to attention, guarding the first Emperor. Don’t miss the excellent movie about the continuing discovery process, as each year more artifacts are found.
The Big Goose Pagoda is a land mark of Xian, standing on the grounds of the Da Cien Temple.
The Shaanxi History Museum is considered to be one of the best in China, and gives a great timeline for the development of Chinese history. Make most of the help of your guide, as some of the explanations are not in English.
In the morning you’ll fly to Beijing for the last part of your journey. After lunch your guide will take you to the Summer Palace.
Summer Palace was a much-loved retreat of the Imperial families, the lake and rivers creating a relaxing atmosphere and the pavilions and halls giving shade from sun. You can almost still hear the sparkling laughter of brightly dressed fine ladies.
Tiananmen Square with its imposing size and the Forbidden City truly are at the center of Beijing; the design of the ancient capital made sure all the buildings were in perfect south to north axis. The imperial structures form a delightful repeating pattern, where the large scale ceremonial halls in the south change to more human friendly personal spaces in the north.
There are many changing exhibitions from the vast collections of artifacts, ask your guide for more details. The palace is so large that you must choose what to see; even a whole day would not be enough to see everything.
After lunch in a beautifully decorated Chinese style restaurant, you can lose yourself in Beijing’s more recent past on the rickshaw ride to the Hutong area. You get to visit a local family in a traditional courtyard house, and hear their stories of life here. At the end of your tour take a stroll across the Silver Ingot Bridge and hearing more about the traditions of old.
Good to Know: There are many shopping opportunities in the area, and you may wish to stay longer on your own. Just tell your guide and you can continue exploring.
We choose to take you to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, because it is less crowded and the journey is across countryside instead of the expressway. Enjoy the comfort of your own vehicle and hear stories of the history before arrival, so you can really concentrate on soaking in the experience. A cable car or a chairlift will take you to the top and the return journey can be by cable car, walking or even be aboard a toboggan.
Temple of Heaven is a Taoist complex of sacrificial buildings, where the Emperors would pray for good harvest once a year, after completing complex purifying ceremonies. The surrounding park is now an outside space for all Beijingers, where they come to sing, dance and exercise. On weekends the place is packed, and great photo opportunities abound.
Your journey across China has come to an end, and you must say goodbye to your guide at the airport. You will be once again transferred by private car and we’re make sure you are at the right terminal and gate. We hope to serve you again.