• Beijing • Great Wall • Zhouzhuang • Suzhou • Hangzhou • Tunxi • Hongcun Village • Huangshan • Shanghai
This is a wonderful coverage of the most important Chinese mega-cities along with beautiful smaller centres.
Your journey through China’s scenic landscapes starts in Beijing where you will visit the best of the sites there including the amazing Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and of course, the Great Wall of China. From there onto Suzhou, known for its classical Chinese gardens, a number of which are included in your tour. You will also visit a silk factory where you will see the entire process from silkworm to beautiful silk textiles. Explore the charming 2,000 year old city of Hangzhou with a boat ride on scenic West Lake. Long famous for its beauty, there is a Chinese saying: “In heaven there is paradise and on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou”. Visit Hongcun Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site with more than 140 well-preserved ancient houses. Continue to Huangshan with spectacular rocky peaks, oddly shaped pines, crystal clear mountain streams and oceans of cloud.
Day 1 : Beijing
Upon your arrival at Beijing airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
Day 2 : Beijing
Today’s visits will start with Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world and spiritual heart of China, where the national flag is raised exactly at sunrise every day. 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. Afterwards you will be taken on a rickshaw tour of the Hutongs, a maze of narrow alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, or traditional courtyard homes, and learn about the daily lives of the local people.
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.
Day 3 : Beijing
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 the Lama Temple (Yonghe Lamsery), which is the largest preserved lamasery in Beijing. A Buddhist lamasery of the Yellow Hat sect, the Lama Temple houses a 26 metre tall statue of Tathagagata (Maitreya) Buddha, made from a single Tibetan sandalwood tree, in the Hall of Infinite Happiness. In the afternoon, continue to the enchanting Summer Palace on the northwestern outskirts of the city. This was the imperial summer resort of the Qing dynasty, and boasts some of the most incredible classical gardens in China. Included in the tour will be a 15 minute boat ride on the lake, which is set in the middle of the magnificent gardens.
Note: The Summer Palace boat ride is not available when the lake is frozen, normally from 1 November to 1 April.
Day 4 : Beijing
Today’s full day tour starts with a 1.5 hour drive to the magnificent Great Wall, the longest wall in the world, stretching around 6,700 km and 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 you continue to the Chang Tomb, the largest and best preserved of the 13 tombs near Beijing. The layout is identical to the tomb of the first Ming emperor in Nanjing and similar to a miniature version of the Forbidden City. Afterwards visit the Ding Tomb, the burial site of Emperor Wanli, the 13th emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who ruled for 48 years until his death in 1620.
Day 5 : Beijing > Suzhou
You will be transferred to the train station in the morning to catch the 5.5 hour high-speed train to Suzhou, dubbed the “Venice of the East” for its canals and water towns. Upon your arrival, you will be taken to your hotel and the remainder of the day is free for you to spend at leisure.
Day 6 : Suzhou
As part of today’s full day of sightseeing, you will first visit some of the city’s famous and elaborate residential gardens, such as the Lingering Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site known for the beauty of its magnificent halls, followed by the Master of the Nets Garden, the smallest of the gardens and yet the most impressive, due both to its use of space and the architectural elements that embody tranquility and harmony. At some point during the day you will board a rowing boat for a relaxed tour along the ancient Grand Canal, where you can soak up the atmosphere of the people living a tranquil, slow-paced life. This is followed by a drive to the No. 1 Silk Factory, where you can watch the entire process of silk being produced from the silk worm to the final woven cloth. Rounding off the tour will be a visit to perhaps one of the most famous sights in Suzhou – Tiger Hill, so called as the hill resembles a crouching tiger. The hill is home to a number of historic sites that can be traced back over 2,500 years to the founding of Suzhou.
Day 7 : Suzhou > Hangzhou
You will be transferred to the train station for a mid-morning high-speed train to Hangzhou. An old Chinese saying sums up the city you are leaving and the city you are travelling to: “Above, there is heaven; below, there is Suzhou and Hangzhou”.
Upon your arrival in Hangzhou, you will be taken to one of the best representations of Hangzhou’s beauty – a boat trip on West Lake, a freshwater lake that contains numerous temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands, which has been an inspiration to many poets, painters and garden designers throughout China’s history. The lake was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2011 and is described as reflecting “an idealized fusion between human and nature”.
Day 8 : Hangzhou
Today’s full day of excursions starts with a tour of Lingyin Temple, a celebrated Zen Buddhist temple founded in 326 AD. Its highlights are the Great Hall with its 20 metre camphor-wood statue of the Buddha and Feilai Peak, opposite the temple. Afterwards you continue to the luxurious and private residence of Hu Xueyan, built in 1872 and possibly the best Qing dynasty building that remains in the city today. The Former Residence of Hu Xueyan features both western and traditional Chinese styles in its intriguing and exquisite gardens and buildings. Moving on, you will visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda, built in 970 AD in the Northern Song Dynasty to dispel the tidal bores of the Qiantang River. The pagoda stands at 59.89 m high and looks from the outside as though it has 13 stories, although there are, in fact, only seven stories. The six harmonies come from the six Buddhist ordinances, meaning “harmonies of the heaven, earth, east, west, south and north”. The day’s tour ends with a visit to the Dragon Well Tea Plantation, whose green tea is one of the most famous brands in China. You’ll have the opportunity to pick some tea leaves, learn how tea is processed and its history, as well as be given a cup of delicious tea to sample.
Day 9 : Hangzhou > Huangshan
In the morning you will be transferred to the train station for a mid-morning high-speed train to Huangshan, a sub-tropical city previously known as Huizhou and famous for its ancient Hiu culture of arts, medicine, architecture, cuisine and opera. Upon your arrival in Huangshan, you will be transferred to your hotel before being taken on a relaxed tour of Tunxi Ancient Street, which dates back to the Song dynasty. Today, it is a pedestrian street paved with flagstones and lined on both sides with old shops built in the unmistakable Huizhou architectural style. While you’re wandering along the street, try some of the salty and spicy Hui snacks, the most popular of which is the Huangshan Fritters, a baked sesame seed fritter filled with meat and vegetables.
Day 10 : Huangshan > Mt Huangshan
After breakfast, you will drive 80 kilometres to Mount Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), famed for its stunning and unusual rock formations as well as the scenery from the varying heights of its numerous peaks. You will take a cable car from Yungu Station to the top of the mountain where, after checking into your hotel and having lunch, you will tour the North Sea Scenic Area, which is the hub of Mount Huangshan. This is where the most famous scenic viewing spots meet, such as Lion Peak, Shixin Peak, Stalagmite Peak, the Refreshing Terrace, the Monkey Gazing at the Sea, the Flying Stone and many more. The Refreshing Terrace on Lion Peak is perhaps the best location for viewing the sea of clouds, whereas you will best see sunset from the Cloud Dispelling Pavilion.
Note: You will need to walk from the cable car station to the hotel, which will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes on a paved road, so we recommend that you leave your main luggage at your hotel in Huangshan city and only take a small bag with your daily essentials to Mount Huangshan. Getting to the various viewing platforms and sites at the top of the mountain also requires a fair amount of hiking, so please ensure you have comfortable hiking boots with you.
Day 11 : Mt Huangshan > Shanghai
If you get up early, you will be able to catch the magical sunrise before breakfast. Afterwards, you will take in some more of the gorgeous scenery at the West Sea area and then take the cable car back down to the foot of the mountain. You will then drive to Hongcun Village in Shexian County, a World Cultural Heritage site known for its long history, country scenery and the beautifully preserved courtyards, gardens and buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties, which have been described as “gems of ancient Chinese architecture”. After the tour you will continue to the airport for your flight to Shanghai where, on arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel near the Bund.
Day 12 : Shanghai
Today’s visits will include a stroll through Yu Garden to enjoy its beautiful landscape of pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, fountains, ancient trees and precious flowers. Outside Yu Garden, you can get a taste of Shanghai’s local life in the Yuyuan Market. You will also 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. In the late afternoon, walk down the Bund along the Huangpu River, where trading houses and banks were headquartered in the 1920s and 1930s, and then enjoy a bird’s eye view of modern Shanghai from the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
Day 13 : Shanghai
This morning you will be taken to the Shanghai Museum for an audio-guided tour. The museum is located near the People’s Square in the centre of Shanghai and is often ranked as China’s best museum, with a fine collection of over 120,000 pieces of Chinese artifacts.
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 14 : Shanghai
The day is free to spend at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Pricing (per person), NZD
|Jan – Dec
|Jan – Dec
|Jan – Dec
|Jan – Dec
|Daily, year round
• Tailor-made journey with local English-speaking tour guides
• 13 nights’ accommodation in your selected category
• Train Beijing > Suzhou > Hangzhou > Huangshan
• Flight Huangshan > Shanghai
• Cable car
• Transfers and transportation
• Sightseeing and entrance fees
• 13 breakfasts and 2 lunches
• This tour is also available in the reverse direction
Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions