14-Day Grand China Tour

Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze River Cruise – Yichang – Shanghai

Rich culture, ancient sites, stunning scenery, bustling cities and laid-back villages. All this, plus a Yangtze River cruise, await you in one incredible tour of China.

From $3,989pp

Enquire here 

2018 DATES:

17 March – SOLD OUT
14 April – Available
12 May – Available
9 June – Available
7 July – Available
4 August – Available
8 September – Available
13 Oct – Available

Single Supplement: $1,051

Tour Highlights

Your journey starts in China’s ancient capital of Beijing, home to many of the country’s  famous sites such as the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and so much more.

In Xi’an, visit one of the world’s greatest archaeological finds – the Terracotta Warriors. In Chengdu, you will be mesmerised by the adorable pandas before heading to Chongqing to join your river cruise along the Yangtze River.

Your epic tour of China will finish in Shanghai, where you will explore ancient gardens and wander city streets where the architecture and customs of the past collide with China’s recent emergence on the world stage.

INCLUSIONS

  • Economy Class airfare Xi’an-Chengdu and Yichang-Shanghai 
  • First class train ticket Beijing to Xi’an North and Chengdu East to Chongqing North
  • Accommodation listed in the itinerary (or equivalent)
  • 13 Breakfast (B), 5 Lunch (L) 5 Dinner (D)
  • Victoria Lianna is a 4-Star river vessel and rooms are in a Superior Cabin double occupancy, located on the main deck, with daily shore excursion included and three meals daily (Service charge of CNY150.00 pp, approximately $30AUD, payable to the cruise company on day of embarkation).
  • Tour and transfers as per itinerary to train station, hotels and sightseeing spots
  • Tour and transfers as per itinerary to train station, hotels and sightseeing spots
  • One private English-speaking local guide and one private driver will accompany you on the guided sightseeing tours in each city
  • Entrance fees for mentioned sights
  • Some tours may be part of a larger tour group on the day.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US?

  • SMALL GROUP travel – no giant tourist buses
  • MAXIMUM 16 passengers
  • NO forced stopping at souvenir factories
  • EXCLUSIVE experiences you won’t find elsewhere
  • INCLUDED English speaking tour guide/concierge throughout
  • PRIVATE transportation and transfers
  • FREE TIME to explore on your own.

GRAND CHINA TOUR – FULL ITINERARY


Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

Upon landing, your guide will join you to ensure a comfortable transfer from the airport to your hotel in Beijing.

Hotel: Novotel Beijing Xinqiao – 4 Stars

Day 2: Beijing City Highlights

Your day starts with a tour to Tiananmen Square is one of the oldest and largest city squares in the world, first built in 1651, and large enough to fit 500,000 people into its 100 acres of open space.

Adjacent to the square is the world famous Forbidden City (Closed on Monday, copy of passport required to make reservation), is superbly elegant and in close to pristine condition.

UNESCO declared the Forbidden City as the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world. Go on a journey back in time as you walk down its red-walled alleys, through its magnificent courtyards and intricate interiors, and along the serene moat that rings the city with green.

The dirt dug out to build the moat was turned into an artificial hill, called Jingshan Park. The top of the park provides stunning views over the Forbidden City and Beijing, but also a great look into the lives of locals who go to the park every day to socialise.

In the afternoon, we will take you to the spectacular Summer Palace, which sprouts above the lush forest canopy and sits along the serene Kunming Lake. The colourful palace holds China’s largest royal garden, a beautiful promenade along the lake’s shores, and dragon boats you can rent for a leisurely cruise.

We finish the day with a welcome dinner.

Meals: (B, D)
Hotel: Novotel Beijing Xinqiao

Day 3: A Day Tour to the Great Wall

Visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is among the best-preserved and most scenic sections of the Great Wall. Built more than 2,300 years ago, the Mutianyu Great Wall’s pristine parapets line the ridges of soft, sloping hillsides that are blanketed with verdant forests and lined with deep blue streams.

Take it all in, along with a delicious lunch, during a picnic atop one of the wall’s highest watchtowers. A true highlight for any visitor to China.

Meals: (B, L)
Hotel: Novotel Beijing Xinqiao – 4 Stars

Day 4: Train Beijing to Xi’an

The Temple of Heaven, constructed in the early 15th Century, is a masterfully landscaped and designed structure that combines imperial Chinese décor with spiritual grandiosity. Spend the morning exploring its opulent, bright and colourful Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, where emperors would pray for healthy harvests.

Then, take an easygoing jaunt through Beijing’s historical hutongs. In these old neighbourhoods, traditional courtyard houses connected by narrow stone-paved alleyways have been transformed from residences, to hubs of culture for visitors and locals alike. Enjoy traditional gourmet snacks, people watch from a cafe, relax on stone benches under willow trees, or search for handicrafts to take home as keepsakes.

After lunch in an authentic hutong family home, ride in a traditional rickshaw to Houhai Lake.

Later in the afternoon, catch your high speed train to Xi’an. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your selected hotel.

Train: G663 Beijing West 15:45-21:25 Xi’an North in First Class. There are basic Chinese dinner options onboard the train, or you can take your own food onboard.
Meals: (B, L)
Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel 4-Stars

Day 5: Xi’an Clay Legion & Walled City

After an early pickup from your hotel, we drive 60-minutes for a guided tour through one of the world’s greatest archaeological finds – the Terracotta Warriors.

An entire army, from foot soldiers to cavalry and generals, were entombed here 2,200 years ago to protect emperor Qin Shi Huangas in the afterlife.

The Terracotta Warriors were once destroyed by a rival emperor, but today 8,000 lifelike and life-sized clay statues have been painstakingly restored to their original formation and on display in four different pits.

Lunch will be at Daqinxiaoyan (included), a restaurant specialising in cuisine from the Qin dynasty period.

After lunch, we return to Xi’an city centre to walk atop Xi’an’s ancient city wall, with its stone parapets providing wide views over the city and above the wall’s lush park and moat. Instead of walking, you can rent a single or tandem bicycle and ride the circumference around the top of the city wall. Your guide can assist with renting a bike (at own expense on the day or pre-book with your tour).

Next, we visit the Great Mosque, China’s oldest and largest mosque which combines Chinese and Middle Eastern aesthetics into a series of serene gardens, scenic courtyards and elegant structures.

Finish your packed day of touring by exploring the city’s Muslim Quarter, a grid of tree-shaded walking streets lined with aromatic street food booths and unique souvenir markets. Try some haggling with the local vendors to purchase authentic local cuisine made to order (dinner at own expense), or dine in one of the many restaurants in the walled city centre.

Meals: (B, L)
Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel 4-Stars

Day 6: Xi’an Clay Legion & Walled City

The morning is free to rest or explore the local neighborhood around your hotel.

In the afternoon, we will be visiting the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China and an architectural marvel of cement-less brick construction that soars to 64 meters, and a holy place for Buddhists. Dating back to year-652, it holds a great number of religious artifacts originally taken from India.

This evenings included dinner is a fun lesson in the art of Chinese dumplings, a delicacy that is famous in the Xi’an region. After mastering the skills required of dough making and rolling, filling preparation and then the assembly, enjoy the fruits of your labour with a traditional dumpling feast for dinner.

Meals: (B, D)
Hotel: Grand Noble Hotel 4-Stars

Day 7: Xi’an to Chengdu

In the morning, visit the Han Yang Ling Mausoleum, where Emperor Jing and Empress Wang were buried around 2,000 years ago. Their underground tomb has naturally preserved the ancient cultural riches they were buried with. Archaeologists have even found tea leaves dating back to the 2nd Century BC, reserved for Han Dynasty emperors at the time.

Enjoy free time for lunch (own expense) before flying to Chengdu in the afternoon, where you will be transferred to your hotel.

In the evening experience the best local food in Chengdu. We travel by Tuk-Tuk and enjoy traditional dumplings, noodles, Sichuan dishes, and a few more surprises sum up this delicious off-the-beaten-path experience. This great meal out includes unlimited beers and soft drink.

Day 8: Chengdu Panda Power

In Chengdu, we visit the region’s most famous inhabitants at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This non-profit organisation is a world leader in the research, breeding and conservation of endangered pandas.

The base currently houses more than 80 residents, and one of their panda keepers will teach you all about panda health, behaviour, and the breeding program at the centre.

After a dose of cuteness overload, you’re free to enjoy lunch (at your own expense), visit People’s Park, a traditional tea house, and then stroll through Jinli Street to see local food, musicians and crafts.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: For a unique and quintessentially Chinese experience, you have the option of attending dinner while enjoying an evening of traditional Sichuan opera at a Jingli Face Changing performance.

Meals: (B, L)
Hotel: Xin Liang Hotel – 4 Stars

Day 9: Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze River Cruise

Today is a free morning to explore Chengdu on your own.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 1: In the morning, visit Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage, a park and museum that honours the Tang Dynasty Poet Du Fu, who died in the year 770.

During his life, he was known as the “poet saint” who wrote emotional yet political poems that commented on the times and the state of the nation. He built the original thatched hut in 759 and wrote 240 poems while he lived there.

Now, it’s a peaceful cottage in the woods, surrounded by gardens, chirping birds, and gurgling brooks.

Take a walking tour of Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley, the last remaining part of Shaocheng City before it was absorbed into Chengdu.

Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley dates back to the Qing Dynasty, when it was used to quarter troops. Now, it’s a cultural hub that reminds visitors of Chengdu’s long past.

Have some free time for lunch and shopping before heading to the train station for your fast train to Chongqing.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 2: Take your morning to the next level with a Bamboo Bike tour through Chengdu, cruising through the city gardens, Da Fu’s cottage, local markets and Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley.

Enjoy lunch (at own expense) before heading to the train station for a fast train to Chongqing.

The above two tour options are an additional cost and need to be reserved at the time of booking the tour.

After arriving in Chongqing, board Victoria Lianna and begin your journey down the epic Yangtze River. Dinner will be a la carte (at own expense for tonight only) after check-in on the cruise boat. Your cruise departs at 9 pm.

Meals: (B)
Hotel: Victoria Cruise

Day 10: Pearl of the Yangtze River Cruise

Take a shore excursion to Shibaozhai, a hill that juts out from the river bank, with an impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named “The Pearl of the Yangtze”.

Depending on river conditions, an alternate excursion can be made to Fengdu (subject to availability, and surcharges apply), the new village built for families who have moved as a result of the Yangtze’s rising waters brought about by the Three Gorges Dam.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Day 11: Yangtze River Cruise

The Three Gorges are one of nature’s most extraordinary natural sculptures. Today you will pass through the first two—Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge.

Qutang Gorge is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. The 25-mile long Wu Gorge is known for its quiet beauty, forest-covered mountains, and cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices.

Enter Xiling Gorge, the longest (41 miles/66 kilometres), and the deepest of the Three Gorges.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Day 12: Fly Yichang to Shanghai

In the late morning, you will disembark from the cruise. After a late lunch, you will be transferred to Yichang Airport for your flight to Shanghai (included).

Upon arrival in Shanghai, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Meals: (B, L)

Day 13: Shanghai

In the morning, walk along the Bund to Yu Garden and the Old Town area around it. Yu Garden, dating back to 1559, is one of the restored features of Shanghai’s Old Town.

The Garden, heavily influenced by classical Suzhou garden design, holds more than 40 traditional halls, towers, pagodas, and pavilions. Many are surrounded by jade ponds and lush trees, all connected by stone walkways that stray through rock gardens and rise above koi ponds.

Afterwards, enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Take a walk through the cobblestone alleys of Xintiandi, where the old architecture and culture from Shanghai’s past meets modern, fashionable lifestyle trends and taste.

In the evening, you can enjoy the wonder of the Shanghai Circus, a spectacular show of acrobatics that will amaze you. The bus will return you to your hotel after the show.

Meals: (B)

Day 14: Depart Shanghai

Enjoy a free day for last minute shopping and departure preparation, or choose one of the following optional activities that can be booked before your departure.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 1: China Art Palace
Explore the China Art Palace, a unique structure built for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, now repurposed as an art museum. The inverted pyramid structure houses more than 1,400 art works, including the show piece of the expo – an electronic rendering of the Qingming Scroll.

The Qingming Scroll is a stunningly detailed panoramic painting that captures the daily lives of hundreds of people living in an old imperial city. The scroll dates back to 1085, so it is quite delicate, but his digital rendition at the China Palace of Art allows you to step in for a close look at a moment in the life of someone living about a thousand years ago.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 2: French Concession Cycling Tour
The French Concession is a historical, trendy, and cultural neighbourhood. Its easygoing streets are lined with trees imported from France 100 years ago and dotted with boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, historic European villas and art deco buildings from Shanghai’s jazz age.

Old China still resides in the neighbourhood’s classic lane houses, like Tianzifang, a cluster of lane houses which have been restored and turned into an arts and culture hub. The best way to see it all is from the seat of a bike. (Tour is approximately 3.5 hours)

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 3: Wet Market Tours & La Mian Cooking Class
Meet with a local chef for a tour through one of Shanghai’s quintessentially Chinese wet markets. After, the chef will lead a cooking class on how to prepare a staple: hand-pulled noodles.

As the chef leads you through the market, they will introduce you to all the trademark ingredients and flavours of Chinese cuisine, show you how to pick out the spices and produce you need, and then teach you to combine them with the traditional technique of hand-pulling noodles. (Tour is approximately 2.5 hours)

The above optional activities need to be booked before your departure.


GRAND CHINA TOUR HOTELS

Novotel Beijing Xinqiao (Beijing)

Novotel Beijing Xinqiao is a 5-minute walk from Beijing Train Station and a 10-minute walk from New World Shopping Mall.

There are a variety of amenities at Novotel Beijing Xinqiao including free Wi-Fi and a spa and wellness centre. The air-conditioned rooms at the hotel are modern and each have a mini bar and bath robes.

Grand Noble Hotel (Xi’an)

Located in the central business area of Xi’an, Grand Noble Hotel is only a 10-minute walk from the Bell and Drum Tower, as well as the famed Muslim Food Street. It features a spa and wellness centre, and guest rooms offer iPod and MP3 stations and free WiFi access in all areas.

All guest rooms have a minibar and a safety deposit box. Guests can work out at the well-equipped fitness centre, or make use of the bicycle rental facilities

Xin Liang Hotel (Chengdu)

All of the hotel’s 274 guest rooms and suites feature international and domestic direct-dial telephone, individual climate-control systems, satellite television, mini-bar and 24-hour room service. The hotel boasts two Chinese restaurants, including the enormous Flowers Banquet Hall, that serve Sichuan and Cantonese dishes. There is also a lobby bar and tea house.

Victoria Lianna – River Cruise Chongqing to Yichang

Formally known as the Victoria Queen, the newly rebuilt Victoria Lianna offers graceful public areas, with high ceilings carved with delicate craft and detail. Well-appointed, cozy standard cabins and beautifully furnished suites boast authentic Shanghainese cotton bed spreads and pillow cases, and private balconies for viewing the scenery of the gorges. The elegant ambiance and signature Victoria hospitality aboard the Victoria Lianna is Yangtze River cruising at its finest. (ask us about a cabin upgrade)

SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund (Shanghai)

Rooms at SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund come with modern interiors and a seating area by the large window. Each is equipped with a minibar with free drinks and private bathroom with shower facilities. A 24-hour front desk with laundry and ironing services are also available upon request. There is a fridge in the lobby where guests can enjoy free mineral water and soft drinks.


TERMS & CONDITIONS

If you cancel some or all portions of your booking, cancellation fees apply. For a cancellation notice to be effective it must be received in writing. Unless otherwise indicated to you by your respective travel consultant, after confirmation, if you cancel a portion or all of your travel, the terms and conditions in the confirmation documents will apply. Some general aspects that apply to all confirmed bookings include if you leave a trip for any reason after it has commenced, the supplier is not obliged to make any refunds for unused services. If you fail to join a tour, join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, no refund i part or whole can be made. We strongly recommend that you take out appropriate travel insurances at the time of booking. The cancellation fees, in addition to any supplier fees, may also be levied by accommodation providers, or third party tour, transport operator fees or other service providers. Your consultant will confirm the terms at time of booking.


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