Explore China’s highlights on this 14 day journey. You’ll begin in Beijing and be mesmerised by the Great Wall, ancient temples and palaces, as well as seeing the locals in the backstreet hutongs by rickshaw. Move on to Xi’an to marvel at the archaeological discovery of the century, the Terracotta Warriors – more than 2,000 years old, interred with the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Also visit the Banpo Museum, with its extraordinary 6,000 year old village remains. At Guilin, enjoy a spectacular cruise down the meandering and picturesque Li River. Here the breathtaking scenery of jagged mist-covered mountains, quaint villages that dot the riverbanks, fishermen aboard bamboo rafts and grazing water buffalo make for some classic photographs. Try Longjing green tea at a tea plantation in beautiful Hangzhou and visit Suzhou, famous for its classic gardens and often called ‘Oriental Venice.’ Complete the journey with a stay in the wonderfully vibrant city of Shanghai – where ancient meets modern.
Duration14 Days / 13 Nights from NZD $8,549*
Type of Journey
• Beijing • Great Wall • Xi’an • Terracotta Warriors • Guilin • Li River • Hangzhou • Cruise on West Lake • Suzhou • Canal Cruise • Shanghai
Departure DatesDaily, year round
• Tailor-made journey with private English-speaking guides
• 13 nights’ accommodation in selected category
• Transfers and transport
• Flights Xi’an > Guilin > Hangzhou
• Fast train Beijing > Xi’an and Hangzhou > Suzhou > Shanghai (3 & 4 star hotel category in 2nd Class seat; 5 star hotel category in 1st Class seat)
• Sightseeing and entrance fees, rickshaw ride in Beijing
• 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
Sep – Oct
Nov – Dec
Sep – Oct
Nov – Dec
Jan – Mar
Apr – Jun
Jul – Oct
Nov – Dec
Jan – Mar
Apr – Jun
Jul – Oct
Nov – Dec
17400Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Beijing
You will be met upon your arrival in Beijing and escorted to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: 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 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.
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.
Note: The Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival the order of sightseeing in Beijing may need to be changed.
Day 3: 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, where you will take 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.
Day 4: Beijing
This morning, you will be taken to Beijing Zoo, home to a number of rare animals that are endemic to China, including the giant pandas. You’ll visit the Panda house and stop to see the golden monkeys, another rare species, as well as amble through the classical Chinese gardens that make up the zoo. 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 is at leisure.
Note: The Summer Palace boat ride is not available when the lake is frozen, normally from 1 November to 1 April.
Day 5: Beijing > Xi’an
Transfer to the rail station and board a mid-morning fast train 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. 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 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 return to the city of Xi’an to 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 Chinese-Muslims, and 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.
Day 7: Xi’an > Guilin
After breakfast, you will visit the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in China, housing over 370,000 items. Continue 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. Continue afterwards to the airport for your flight to Guilin where, on arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in this most scenic of cities. The rest of the day is 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: Guilin > Yangshou
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, the afternoon is free to explore the city and its famous West Street on your own. This vibrant and exotic street is crammed with shops and cafés, with a history of over 1,400 years.
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 9: Yangshou
In the morning transfer by road to Fuli, where you will be taken on a walking tour through the old streets, with an opportunity to watch the process for making local Songhua Sugar, a traditional snack that dates back to over 200 years. You’ll also be shown the art of traditional paper fan making for which this town is famous, and then continue to Xingping, a mere 30 minute drive from Fuli. Here, a walking tour will take you to Xingping Ancient Street and the viewing platform at Mount Laozhai to enjoy a scenic view of the Li River before returning to Yangshou in the early afternoon.
Day 10: Yangshou > Guilin > Hangzhou
Today you return by road to Guilin, where you visit the Reed Flute Cave – famous for its stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by lights of different colours, Elephant Trunk Hill and the Pearl Shop before transferring to the airport for your flight to Hangzhou. On arrival at Hangzhou, you will be transferred to your hotel, after which you will be taken to visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda. First built in 970 AD in the Northern Song Dynasty to dispel the tidal bores of the Qiantang River, the pagoda stands at 59.89 metres high and looks from the outside as though it has 13 stories, although it has only seven stories inside. The six harmonies come from the six Buddhis ordinances, meaning “harmonies of the heaven, earth, east, west, south and north”.
Day 11: Hangzhou
Today you will enjoy a boat trip on West Lake, a freshwater lake that contains numerous temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands and has been an inspiration to many poets, painters and garden designers throughout China’s history. The lake was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. Continue after the boat trip to 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. The day’s tour also includes 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 12: Hangzhou > Suzhou > Shanghai
You will be transferred to the train station in the morning to catch the high-speed train to Suzhou. Upon your arrival, 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. You will then board a rowing boat for a tour along the canals where people live a tranquil, slow-paced life. After disembarking, explore Pingjiang Old Street that runs parallet to the canal, before transferring to the train station for a late afternoon high-speed train to Shanghai. Upon your arrival in Shanghai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 13: Shanghai
After breakfast, you will visit the Shanghai Museum, often ranked as China’s best museum, with a fine collection of over 120,000 pieces of Chinese artifacts, followed by a stroll through Yu Garden to enjoy a beautiful landscape of pagodas, pavilions, rockeries, fountains, ancient trees and precious flowers. Outside Yu Garden, get a taste of Shanghai’s local life in the Yuyuan Market. 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.
Note: The Shanghai Museum is closed on Mondays. Depending on your day of arrival, the order of sightseeing in Shanghai may need to be changed.
Day 14: Shanghai
Today is free for you to spend at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Note: This itinerary is also available in the reverse direction.
• This tour is also available in the reverse direction