Your vacation couldn’t have a better start than your own guide and driver meeting you at the airport and take you to your hotel.
We take you to the less visited section of the Great Wall, Mutianyu, which is a less touristy part. A cable car takes you up to make sure you make the most of trekking where the views are best over the watchtowers in the distance. An option for coming down is the toboggan run, although sometimes it is so popular that the waiting time cab be too long.
The Temple of Heaven has a collection of buildings used by the Emperor once a year to make a sacrifice for good harvest. The structures form a line on a South to North axis, which was considered very lucky. The surrounding park has become the place where locals come to exercise and practice their hobbies, be it singing, kungfu or flying a kite.
In the evening your guide will take you to experience that famous delicacy of Beijing: Roast Peking Duck.
Tiananmen Square is a symbol of China’s national pride, where a flag raise each morning gathers asizablecrowd; at times you have to arrive by 4am for the 7am event. Our day startslater than that, visiting Tiananmen Square, from which you can see Chairman Mao’s mausoleum and National Museum as well as the Great Hall of the People, each standing imposingly around the square.
Directly from the square you will access the Forbidden City or Palace Museum as it is now also called. The size makes it more of a small town instead of a palace; one visit is never enough to see everything. Many buildings have been renovated, and even more wings opened to the public. The architecture is steeped in symbolism; your guide will tell you more.
Hutongs are an essential part of Beijing life, and the best way to tour the winding alleyways is by a rickshaw. Your guide will also take you to meet a local family, who has for generations lived in the same house. Afterwards you can walk along the charming Silver Ingot Bridge and find out all the information you can get just from a closed gate to a hutong dwelling.
The area is near some great shopping streets, so you may wish to stay there on your own, just tell your guide.
Good to Know
There is a famous acrobatic Kongfu show in Beijing, ask for more details.
There is perhaps no better way to explore Yangshuo’s countryside, than by bike or eCart. After experiencing the bustle of local traffic you will soon be in Yangshuo’s rural countryside roads and lanes. It is not only the scenery that captivates but people and culture all around you.
This morning is dedicated to visiting the Summer Palace, a haven of the emperors and now a popular place for locals to relax. The extensive gardens and the lake are just as much part of the allure as are the pavilions and towers; make sure you spend some time meandering among the willows.
On the way back to the hotel a stop at the Olympic Park area allows you to see up close the impressive Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, although time does not allow for an internal visit.
After lunch you are taken to your hotel to prepare for your flight to Xi’an. Your guide will take you to take care of everything.
One of the most memorable experiences in China is to see the Terracotta Army. Still standing in place of their original discovery, standing firm after over 2000 years underground. Discoveries are still made; some new soldiers which still show the painted effects have recently been put on display. Don’t miss the film about the discovery process.
The elegant Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a landmark in Xi’an, and stands on the grounds of Da Cien Temple, located in a large garden.
Good to Know:
Qujiangchi Park near the pagoda is a great place for a stroll after dinner; the buildings around the lake are lit charmingly.
Shaanxi History Museum has beautiful displays which tell the story of Chinese history, as this is where the center of events was in ancient times. Your guide will help you get the most out of the experience, as many of the guide boards are not in English.
The ancient city wall of Xi’an is a wonderful place to get some fresh air and see the city from a vantage point. It is one of the best preserved city fortifications in the world, and so level on top that you can rent a bike and cycle the whole 14km circuit.
After lunch you take a short train ride to Luoyang, where you will be met at the station and taken to your hotel.
Luoyang Grottoes have more than 100 000 carvings and statues of Buddha, all carved along a river bank, a truly magnificent art display in a natural environment.
White Horse Temple on the other side of Luoyang is considered to be the cradle of Buddhism in China; many renowned monks from abroad have visited in times past to gain wisdom and knowledge.
Your guide and driver will take you to Dengfeng, and the place all Kungfu aficionados know: Shaolin. Even the name sounds mysterious and legendary. Wushu martial arts were developed here by the Shaolin monks, and they display their skills in a fantastic show.
The Pagoda Forest on the foot of the Shaoshi Mountain consists of over 200 brick pagodas, all built in memory of a particular Kungfu master.
You will spend the night in Shaolin, and enjoy the vegetarian delights in the Yongtai Nunnery canteen.
The morning is spent in transfers from Dengfeng to Shanghai, and at lunch time you will arrive in Shanghai, and enjoy the culinary delights in true Shanghai style.
The past and present of Shanghai contrast in the afternoon: you will stroll on the Bund, said to be an architectural museum of European buildings, and explore the Nanjing Road, which is a gleaming new shopping paradise.
Shanghai Museum is by far the biggest, and very possibly the best museum in China. Well laid out exhibitions are further clarified by an excellent audio guide.
Yuyuan Garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the busy city, and a wonderful example of ancient garden design. From it you emerge on a busy Yuyuan Market area, where you can buy those all important little mementoes and souvenirs.
The Shanghai World Financial Center has a thrilling observation deck: the floor is made of glass, and at 474 m (1,555ft) it is quite vertigo inducing.
Time for goodbyes has come; your guide will take you all the way to the airport to make sure your check-in goes smoothly.