• Guilin • Li River • Longsheng • Ethnic Minorities • Cooking class • Yangshuo • Xi'an • Terracotta Warriors • Beijing • Great Wall • Shanghai
You'll be entranced by the scenery, history and people on this journey. Travel through the stunning mountain area of Longsheng and meet the friendly local ethnic minorities of Red Yao and Zhuang. Cruise along the Li River famous for its karst mountain scenery and cycle through the enchanting Yangshuo countryside. Towering cone-shaped peaks "sprout" out of the ground and are lushly blanketed with verdant subtropical vegetation. These peaks, along with Yangshou's rivers and rice paddies, are delightfully picturesque. Add this to the bustling cities of Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai and you will find you have been truly captivated by China.
Day 1: Guilin You will be transferred to your hotel upon your arrival in Guilin, one of the most scenic cities in China. After checking in, step out for a little adventure on your own as you explore your surroundings.
Day 2: Guilin A number of excursions have been arranged for today, starting with a visit to Elephant Trunk Hill, the symbol of Guilin. The landmark is so called as it resembles an elephant drinking water from the Li River. The opening under the elephant's 'trunk' is known as Water-Moon Cave, as the reflection of the moon seen through the arch appears to float on the water's surface as well as underneath. Afterwards continue to the Reed Flute Cave, known as the "Palace of Natural Arts". The natural limestone cave is famous for its multi-coloured illumination of the stalactites and stalagmites and other rock formations. The tour continues to Jinjiang Wangcheng City, also known as the Jinjiang Princes' Palace, located in the inner city of Guilin. The palace was originally the official residence of Zhu Shouqian, a great-nephew of the first Ming dynasty emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, when he was declared Prince of Jinjiang. A lesson in the art of ancient Chinese calligraphy is also arranged for today, where you will learn not only how to write, but also about the history and thought behind this famous art.
Day 3: Guilin > Longsheng > Guilin Depart after breakfast on the 88 km drive to the stunning mountain area of Longsheng, where you will see numerous rice terraces. You will visit the well-known Longji, or Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, so-called because the rice terraces resemble a dragon's scales, while the top of the mountain range resembles its backbone. Another stop will be the Longshen Hot Springs and Huaping National Nature Reserve, known for its many waterfalls and sub-tropical evergreen broad-leaf forest. In addition to the beauty of the region, Longsheng is home to several ethnic groups, including the Zhuang and Red Yao people, and all mainly rely on farming and tourism. You will visit a few of the villages where you will notice that each group possesses its own clothing styles, food habits, festivals and customs, and are adept at folk dancing and singing. Return to Guilin in the afternoon.
Day 4: Guilin > Yangshuo After breakfast, you will be transferred to the pier to start your approximately 4 hour river cruise down the picturesque Li River, the highlight of any visit to Guilin, until you reach Yangshuo. As you journey south along the river, take in the breathtaking views of peaks and pinnacles, perhaps catch sight of a cormorant fisherman on the crystal clear waters and enjoy the picturesque, pastoral views of rice paddies and water buffaloes. After disembarking at Yangshuo and checking into your hotel, you will be taken on a short sightseeing tour that includes the famous West Street, a vibrant and exotic street crammed with shops and cafés and with a history that reaches back over 1,400 years, as can be seen in the architecture.
Note: The river cruiser accommodates up to 150 passengers and includes a very simple lunch. If you prefer to have something a little more substantial or of a better quality, we recommend you enjoy a big breakfast at your hotel in the morning and take lunch at a local restaurant in Yangshuo.
Day 5: Yangshuo > Xi'an The countryside of Yangshuo is known for its scenery and farming life, so today's cycling tour will take you through a series of small villages nestled amongst karst hills and rice paddies, enabling you to get close to its nature and people. A hands-on cooking demonstration will be given at a local farmer's house in the village of Yong before your loop back to Yangshuo.
After checking out from your hotel, drive to Guilin for your flight to Xi'an, the ancient imperial capital of Chang'an and eastern departure point of the Silk Road. Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to your hotel located inside the old city walls.
Day 6: Xi'an A full day of sightseeing is arranged for you, starting with a visit to the infamous underground army of Terracotta Warriors. Six thousand intricately-carved, life-size clay statues of terracotta warriors and their horses stand in battle formation, and have been protecting the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor in Chinese history, for over 2,200 years. After lunch, you continue to the Banpo Museum. An architectural village discovered in 1953, it represents the 6,000 year old Neolithic Yangshao culture that is renowned for its colourful ceramics.
In the evening you will be taken to the Tang Dynasty Palace, a leading theatre and restaurant, where dinner will be served while you watch the Tang Dynasty Show, featuring cultural music and dance performances from the Tang Dynasty.
Day 7: Xi'an > Beijing Morning walk on the Ancient City Walls, one of the oldest and best preserved walls in China, which are wide enough to carry a golf cart or rickshaw. Afterwards visit the Islamic Quarter, home to a sizeable community of Hui Chinese-Muslims, and visit the Great Mosque, one of the oldest, largest and most famous Islamic mosques in China. Stroll along Muslim Street, a narrow bazaar-style street lined with shops selling local delicacies, snacks and souvenirs. A number of small restaurants are also located on this street, serving typical Muslim food.
Continue to Shaanxi History Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in China, housing over 370,000 items, and onwards to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built to house the sutras brought back from India by Xuanzang, the Chinese Buddhist monk famous for his travels in the early Tang Dynasty. In the late afternoon you will fly to Beijing, where the remainder of the evening is free to spend at leisure.
Note: The Shaanxi History Museum is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival in Xi'an, the order of sightseeing may need to be changed.
Day 8: Beijing Today's full day tour starts with a 1.5 hour drive to the magnificent Great Wall, the longest wall in the world that stretches around 6,700 km and was built over 2,000 years ago. Travel by cable car to the Mutianyu section of the wall, where you can walk along the ramparts and enjoy the gorgeous views as well as be amazed by the incredible construction of the wall itself. Lunch will be provided at a restaurant nearby before returning to Beijing.
Day 9: Beijing > Shanghai First on your tour this morning will be a visit to the Temple of Heaven, where Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used to attend annual ceremonies of prayer for a good harvest. You might also see some of the local people doing their morning exercises in the park outside the complex (weather permitting). Afterwards continue to Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and spiritual heart of China. Here, you'll walk through the Tiananmen Gate into the Forbidden City, which houses the Imperial palace from the Ming and Qing dynasties and is one of the grandest palace complexes that remain today.
Continue afterwards to visit the enchanting Summer Palace, the imperial summer resort of the Qing dynasty, located on the northwestern outskirts of the City. Included in the tour is a 15 minute boat ride on the lake set in the middle of the magnificent gardens. Upon your return to your hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure.
You will return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure, before being taken to Hua Jia's restaurant (or similar) for a dinner of Beijing Roast Duck, a delightful dish for which this city is famous. After dinner, you will transfer to the rail station for the overnight express train to Shanghai.
Note: The Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival in Beijing the order of sightseeing may need to be changed. The Summer Palace boat ride is not available when the lake is frozen, normally from 1 November to 1 April.
Day 10: Shanghai Depart after breakfast on your morning excursion of the Bund, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River. The Bund is where trading houses and banks were headquartered in the 1920s and 1930s, and you will be able to enjoy a bird's eye view of modern Shanghai from the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Afterwards, you will be taken to Yu Garden, located in the Old Town of Shanghai. Created in 1559, Yu Garden occupies an area of five acres, featuring an array of beautiful pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, fountains, ancient trees and flowers. Afterwards, you can walk through to Yuyuan Market, located just outside Yu Garden, where you will find a bustling market selling a variety of souvenirs, arts and crafts. Afterwards, continue to Shanghai Old Street, which connects the Yuyuan Market to Shiliupu dock. The 825 metre street is the ideal place to discover what Shanghai was like in years gone by as it stretches from east to west and features architectural styles from the late Qing dynasty to early republic times.
Note: The Shanghai Museum is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival in Shanghai, the order of sightseeing may need to be changed.
Day 11: Shanghai Today's visits start with a tour of the Children's Palace, originally a private villa of an English merchant in old Shanghai. Construction of the villa started in 1918 and took six years to complete, as most of the building materials was marble from Europe. In the 1950s, the villa was repurposed to being a centre for training young children in a variety of activities, such as dancing, drawing, gymnastics, and was renamed as the Children's Palace. Afterwards, you continue to visit the Jade Buddha Temple, an active temple with 70 resident monks that is mostly known for its sitting Jade Buddha and a reclining Jade Buddha.
Day 12: Shanghai Today is free for you to spend at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
• Tailor-made journey with local English speaking guides • 10 nights' in your selected category of accommodation • 1 night in a 4-berth compartment on the train journey Beijing > Shanghai • Flights Guilin > Xi'an > Shanghai • Li River Cruise • Cycle hire in Yangshuo • Cooking demonstration and calligraphy lesson • Personal meet and greet on arrival • Transfers and transport • Sightseeing and entrance fees • 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Booking conditions • This tour is available in the reverse direction
• This tour is available in the reverse direction