China Highlights + Pandas & Yangtze

Unforgettable experiences with China’s most renowned and adorable animal, the Giant Panda as well as a relaxing cruise as it meanders along the Yangtze River, stopping at traditional settlements and landmarks for day excursions. The illustrious capital, Beijing and the historical city of Xian, gives you China’s rich and unique history. Finally, the vibrant  city of Shanghai will bring you to China’s present.

Day 1  London Heathrow to Beijing
Fly with British Airways from London Heathrow to Beijing. Alternatively, we can arrange departures from your local airport.

Day 2  Arrive Beijing (D)
Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for a 3 night stay. In the afternoon you will have time to relax or take a walk in the surrounding area. Your guide will be pleased to advise on what you can do at your leisure. In the early evening your guide will escort you for dinner where you will meet your fellow group members.

Day 3  Beijing city tour (BLD)
This morning you will visit the Temple of Heaven – this was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped the god of heaven and prayed for good harvest for the year. You can observe the tradition of practicing Tai Chi in the courtyard. This will be followed by a stroll through Tiananmen Square, one of the largest city squares in the world. Finally, a visit to the Forbidden City which served as the grand imperial palace for centuries.

Day 4  The Great Wall (BLD)
Your day starts with a visit to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a post along the wall which offers all round stunning views and a less crowded atmosphere. Mutianyu was built mid-6th century and its rich history can be observed in its unique construction. In the evening you can attend a sumptuous Peking Duck Dinner, a traditional delicacy in Beijing.

Day 5  Beijing city tour and to Xian (BLD)
After breakfast, you will visit The Summer Palace, which includes a grand collection of lakes, gardens and palaces. Afterwards, there is a relaxing boat ride on the beautiful Kunming Lake, followed by a stop at the Birds Nest Stadium and Water Cube, which hosted the memorable 2008 Olympics. The final stop will be at the Hutongs, this offers a personal insight into the everyday life of traditional Beijing citizens. You will then catch your flight to Xian.

Day 6  Terracotta Warriors (BLD)
Today your guide will take you to visit the world famous Terracotta Warriors, a stunning collection of ten thousand life size statues of the Chinese army made over two thousand years ago, yet preserved almost perfectly. In the afternoon you will then visit  the ancient city wall in Xian,which can be enjoyed through either a peaceful stroll or a bike ride. It is the most complete city wall that has survived in China and is one of the largest military defensive systems in the world. This evening you will try a dumpling dinner while enjoying the Tang Dynasty Show, a colourful performance of traditional music and dance.

Day 7  To Chengdu (BLD)
Today, you will visit to the Shaanxi museum which houses over a quarter of a million artefacts on display, including treasures from many periods of China’s history. The next stop, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, will explore China’s unique architecture style. You will then visit the Muslim Quarter to see local life in the community.  Finally, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Chengdu.

Day 8  Chengdu
Day at leisure to explore Chengdu independently. Alternatively you can take an optional day tour with lunch to the Leshan Giant Buddha, a 233-foot tall stone statue, built during the Tang Dynasty. The Buddha is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers near the city of Leshan, and it is the largest stone Buddha in the world. (You will return to your hotel in Chengdu at around 6.30pm – 7pm.  Tour cost £99 per person, minimum 4 passengers required to operate. Bookable in advance, request at time of booking.)

Day 9  Giant Pandas and Transfer to Yangtze River Cruise (BLD)
After breakfast, your first stop will be at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre. Here naturalistic habitats have been created to provide the best possible environment for rearing and breeding pandas. Afterwards you will transfer to the train station for the 2 hours bullet train to Chongqing. Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to 5 star Victoria Cruise.

Days 10 – 11  Yangtze River Cruise (BLD)
On the first day of the cruise, you can relax while the ship meanders through the Yangtze, enjoying its scenic views. Today’s excursion will be Shibaozhai, with its impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named “The Pearl of the Yangtze”. On the last day will be able to enjoy a journey on a small motorboat through the tranquil Goddess Stream while marvelling at the soaring limestone cliffs rising sheer from the water.

Day 12  To Shanghai (BLD)
You have nearly arrived at the end of your cruise. Before arriving at Yichang you will visit The Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest power station site. Disembark at Yichang at noon and your guide will escort you to the airport for a flight to Shanghai.

Day 13  Shanghai city tour (BLD)
Your first stop  will be the Yu Yuan Gardens followed by the Jade Buddha Temple. The centuries old Yu Yuan Gardens is home to beautiful pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards and flowers. At the Jade Buddha Temple you will experience both the historical and the modern, sporting large, intricate sculptures of Buddha. After viewing the Shanghai museum, the next visit is to the waterfront attraction of the Bund to admire Shanghai as a modern metropolis. Later, on top of the Shanghai world financial centre, you can enjoy a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the whole city.

Day 14  Zhujiajiao (BL)
Visit Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town with a history of over 1,700 years known as the “Pearl Stream.” We will see Ming and Qing Dynasty bridges, ancient buildings and the Ma Family Garden before heading back to Shanghai.

Day 15  Fly back to London (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to London Heathrow.

This group tour will typically use 4 Star Hotels or properties of a similar standard if those listed are not available. All rooms are equipped with a double or twin beds, private bathroom facilities, air-conditioning, heating, TV’s, telephones and WiFi as standard.

Example 4* hotels used on this tour
Beijing: Guangxi Hotel
Xian: Grand Dynasty Culture
Chengdu: Yinhe Dynasty Hotel
Yangtze River Cruise: Victoria
Shanghai: Northern Hotel

This group tour can also be taken on a private basis, ask for details.

Departure Dates and Costs per Person

26/07 – 09/08/18 from £3,298
09/08 – 23/08/18 from £3,298
06/09 – 20/09/18 from £3,098
13/09 – 27/09/18 from £3,098
20/09 – 04/10/18 from £3,098
11/10 – 25/10/18 from £3,198  
18/10 – 01/11/18 from £3,198
25/10 – 08/11/18 from £3,198
21/03 – 04/04/19 from £2,898
04/04 – 18/04/19 from £2,998
11/04 – 25/04/19 from £2,998
09/05 – 23/05/19 from £2,998
16/05 – 30/05/19 from £2,998
06/06 – 20/06/19 from £2,898

A single person supplement is offered from £548