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Shanghai – Xi’an – Beijing – Guilin – Hong Kong
This popular luxury china vacation deal presents a sharp contrast between the old and new, from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai and Hong Kong to the historic sites in Beijing and Xian. Trip highlights include the Terracotta Army, the Great Wall, and a day cruise on picturesque Li River. The tour also features inter-city travel by bullet train and authentic Chinese cuisine of high quality. Optional programs such as Peking opera show in Beijing and half-day Jewish heritage tour in Shanghai can be arranged on request.
- Expert local guides hand-picked by company owners.
- Small group size – 20 maximum.
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
- Inter-city travel mostly by high-speed train.
- No annoying forced shopping stops.
- North American standard luxury accommodations.
- Quality meals at non-tourist restaurants.
- Unlimited supply of bottled water during group activities.
- Visit to chambers in Forbidden City that most tour companies leave out.
- Great Wall visit at Mutianyu including cable car rides.
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner
Day 1/Sun: Departing for Shanghai
Your tour begins with transpacific flight from a city of your choice. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Mon: Arrival in Shanghai
Meet the driver on arrival and transfer to the hotel. You’ll have the balance of the day at leisure. The guide will get in touch with you tonight.
Day 3/Tue: Shanghai (B/L/D)
With a population of 24 million (2015), Shanghai is China’s biggest city. Rapid economic growth in the past 30 years has again turned Shanghai into a leading global city with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. Today’s visitors to Shanghai are delighted by its futuristic skyline that blends so well with its treasured historical landmarks.
Following tour orientation we visit Jade Buddha Temple located in an old neighbourhood, the famous waterfront promenade known as the Bund, the Yu Garden at the old town centre and Shanghai Museum. Tonight we enjoy a delicious welcome dinner.
Day 4/Wed: Shanghai – Xi’an (B)
Free morning to explore on your own. Please feel free to ask your guide for recommendations.
This afternoon we board the bullet train #G1932 (14:15/20:34) for Xi’an.
Day 5/Thu: Xi’an (B/L)
Morning visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Built on the excavation site, the museum is located 30km east of the city. Designed to follow the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) into eternity, the Terracotta Army represents one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century.
Afternoon at Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to Qing dynasty (1644-1912). The extensive galleries and exhibitions offer the visitor an excellent introduction to the area that greatly improves understanding of the numerous historical sites in and around the city.
Day 6/Fri: Xi’an – Beijing (B/D)
Free morning to explore on your own. Travel to Beijing by bullet train in the afternoon. Capital of China, Beijing is a world-class cultural and educational centre. With a population of 21.7 million (2017), it ranks as China’s second largest city behind Shanghai. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates – treasures that make it the most popular tourist city in China by the number of visitors it receives every year.
Day 7/Sat: Beijing (B/L/D)
We begin today with a visit to the Forbidden City. Officially known as the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres. It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1912 but the royal family was allowed to continue to live in the Forbidden City till 1924, when the last emperor, Pu Yi, was driven out of the imperial palace. One year later the Forbidden City was turned into a museum. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
After lunch we proceed to the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.
Today we enjoy a delicious dinner at a popular Peking Roast Duck restaurant. Peking Roast Duck is a famous Beijing dish prized for the thin and crispy skin with authentic versions serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners. The meat is eaten with pancakes, shredded scallion, cucumber, and a sweet and salty sauce made of wheat flour. Condiments may also include pickled garlic and white sugar.
Day 8/Sun: Beijing (B/L)
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall at Mutianyu, 75km northeast of the city.
Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. As history shows, the Wall failed the Chinese rulers miserably, especially in the case of Kublai Khan who and his men swept across China from the Mongolian steppe, thus the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).
Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort.
Day 9/Mon: Beijing (B/L)
We begin our sightseeing today with a visit to a traditional hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ”4-sided courtyard house” on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means “well.” In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be “a place where people live around”.
We then visit historic Jingshan Park. The park to the north of the Forbidden City was part of the imperial palace serving the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 metres above ground, 89 metres above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.
Next up is Tian’anmen Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square measures 880 metres from north to south and 500 metres from east to west. Said to be the largest public plaza in the world, Tian’anmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. The imposing Tian’anmen Tower sits at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People’s Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum (east). Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) are located in the south of the square. One of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people’s great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.
Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China’s largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.
The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest pearl market in the world, is right across the street from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in numerous guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by China. If you are interested, please ask the guide to drop you off there. However, you’ll need to get back to the hotel by taxi, which costs about 50 yuan or US$8.
Day 10/Tue: Beijing – Guilin (B)
Morning flight to Guilin (3 hours). A small city by Chinese standards, Guilin has long been renowned for its unique scenery. The name Guilin literally means “forest of sweet osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees in the city. Visit scenic Fubo Hill (63 metres) after hotel check-in.
Day 11/Wed: Guilin (B/L)
Today we enjoy a five-hour cruise down the Li River. The 83km stretch of the river between Guilin and Yangshuo affords breathtaking scenery as the river snakes through tall karst mountains, gigantic bamboo sprays, and picturesque villages — sights that have inspired countless poets and painters for generations. Disembark in Yangshuo and drive back to Guilin.
Day 12/Thu: Guilin (B)
Free day to explore on your own.
You may check with the local guide to see if a visit to Guilin Tea Science and Research Institute can be arranged for a fee. Founded in 1956, the state-owned institute and its experimental tea farm cover an area of 42 hectares, boasting 250 species of tea plants. The predecessor of the institute was said to be one of the tea suppliers to the imperial court during the Ming Dynasty. The farm sits on fertile soil ideal for tea growing. During harvesting season, the farm employs 150 workers full time to pick tea leaves. Each year the institute produces around 42 tons of organically grown tea of different flavours.
Or, you may consider going on a private full-day hiking excursion to the terraced rice fields in Longji. Located 80km (2 hours drive) to the northwest of Guilin, Longji, meaning dragon back, is famous for its terraced rice fields. Because the villages at Longji are in the jurisdiction of Longsheng County, the tourist attraction is often collectively referred to as Longsheng Terraced Fields. The scenery is arguably at its best in early May during transplanting and in late September right before harvest when the fields turn golden. Built by local farmers of different ethnic groups from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the mountainous fields cover a total area of 66 square kilometres, rising between 300 metres and 1,100 metres above sea level.
Day 13/Fri: Guilin – Hong Kong (B)
We board the high-speed train G2901 (11:05/14:03) for Shenzhen and cross the border into Hong Kong after meeting the guide at the train station.
Our afternoon tour in Hong Kong begins with a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central. The heart of Hong Kong’s business district, Central is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational financial services corporations. Consulates general and consulates of many countries are also located in this area, as is the government of Hong Kong.
We then walk to the tram station to get to the top of Victoria Peak. Also known as Mount Austin or The Peak among locals, Victoria Peak is located in the western half of Hong Kong Island with an altitude of 552 metres (1,811 feet). The peak offers sweeping views over Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands. The Peak Lookout Restaurant is a wonderful place for dinner and offers a wide selection of Chinese, American, Indian, and Southeast Asian dishes.
Later on, the guide will escort you to the hotel for check-in when he will also provide you with some advice on where to eat, where to go for currency exchange and how to navigate Hong Kong’s public transit system.
Day 14/Sat: Hong Kong (B)
Free day to explore on your own. Our recommendations include shopping at Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and Stanley market on the south side of Hong Kong Island. Stanley Market is a typical example of a traditional old open-air market in Hong Kong and a major tourist attraction well known for its bargains.
Day 15/Sun: Returning Home (B)
Transfer to the airport on your own for return home flight. The transfer is easier than you think. Taxi to the airport costs about $30 USD and is highly recommended for couples and families. The alternative is using the hotel’s free shuttle to get to the Airport Express Train Station in Tsim Sha Tsui and ride the dedicated train to the airport for $90 HKD ($12 USD). The train departs every 10 minutes between 6:00 AM and midnight, reaching the airport in 21 minutes.
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|Shanghai||2||Renaissance Yu Garden||luxury|
|Xi’an||2||Sheraton North City||luxury|
|Beijing||4||Sheraton Grand Dongcheng||luxury|
|Hong Kong||2||Harbour Grand Kowloon||luxury|
2018 Dates and Prices
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Additional discount available for parties of four and more.
|Land Only* |
|Single Supplement |
|Apr-08 (2 spots remaining)||Apr-22||$4480/$3499||$1600/$1250|
|Apr-22 (sold out)||May-06||$4480/$3499||$1600/$1250|
|Sep-09 (waiting list)||Sep-23||$4480/$3499||$4480/$3499|
|Oct-28 (waiting list)||Nov-11||$4600/$3599||$1600/$1250|
* Land Only prices exclude international airfare. Please contact us for a competitive fare quote.
|What the tour price includes: ||What the tour price excludes: |
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Updated December 11, 2017