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China Highlights

15 days

Shanghai - Yangtze River cruise - Chongqing - Guilin - Xi'an - Beijing

passing through the Three Gorges Shanghai Bund by night

Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers

The cruise through the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River forms the centrepiece of this group tour which also includes the historical sights of the famous Great Wall and Terracotta Army plus the exciting modern city of Shanghai and the beautiful scenery of Guilin.

A select group tour based on mostly 5-star hotels and a 5-star Yangtze cruise boat, with most meals included. All Yangtze cruise boat cabins have private balconies.

Price includes cost of single entry group visa (minimum 2 persons) - a saving of up to £320 for a family of four

Hotels awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.

Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Shanghai. Met on arrival and transfer to 4- or 5-star hotel. Rest of the day free.

Day 3  Full day city sightseeing tour of Shanghai, to include the Yu Garden - a traditional house and garden in old China town district; the famous Bund or waterfront with its European-style former banks and trading houses; and the Shanghai Museum with its rich collection of art and antiques. Then take a boat trip on the Huangpu River that flows through Shanghai, giving you the best view of the city's modern striking skyline. (B, L)

Day 4  Transfer to airport for flight to the central city of Yichang. Transfer to board your 5-star Yangtze cruise boat from American Victoria Cruises at Maoping dock, just upstream from the Three Gorges Dam.(B)

Day 5 to 7  Yangtze River cruise upstream through the dramatic Three Gorges, including shore excursions to the Three Gorges Dam and the pagoda at Shibaozhai and a trip in small boats through the smaller gorges of the Goddess Stream, one of the Yangtze's tributaries. (B, L, D)

Day 8  Arrive Chongqing in the morning. Disembark and transfer to airport for flight to Guilin famed for its beautiful scenery. Met on arrival and transfer to 4-/5-star Grand Lijiang Waterfall Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 9  Boat trip on the scenic Li River, passing high limestone peaks and flat rice paddy fields. Arrive at the small riverside town of Yangshuo. Explore the colourful local market before transfer back to Guilin by road. (B, L)

Day 10  Visit the Reed Flute Cave, a huge underground cavern full of strange formations, before transfer to airport for flight to Xi'an, one of the ancient capitals of China. Stay at 4-star Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an Hotel or Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel or similar. (B, L)

Day 11  Full day excursion, travelling firstly to the Terracotta Army, created by China's first emperor over 2,000 years ago to guard his tomb for eternity. Return to Xi'an city to see the Grand Mosque and the atmospheric streets of the surrounding Muslim Quarter, originally settled by Arab and Persian traders over 1,000 years ago. Also visit a workshop creating replica warriors using traditional techniques. Enjoy a 'Tang Dynasty' music and dance show in the evening evoking the sights and sounds of old China, together with a delicious speciality dumpling dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 12  Visit Xi'an's impressive medieval city wall, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, and the rich archaeological collections of the Shaanxi Historical Museum before transfer to railway station for high-speed 'bullet' train to Beijing, the country's capital. Transfer to Holiday Inn Express Dongzhimen Hotel or similar. (B, L)

Day 13  Start the day with a visit to Tiananmen Square, followed by the Forbidden City - the complex of buildings in the heart of Beijing that was the centre of power for China's rulers for over 400 years. Explore both the grand halls and some of the smaller rooms and courtyards that housed the imperial family. Then visit the imposing Temple of Heaven where emperors prayed for good harvests. Also visit a shop selling freshwater pearls. In the evening enjoy the warm atmosphere of a dinner featuring that delicious local delicacy Peking duck. (B, L, D)

Day 14  Full day excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, about 1.5 hours drive north of Beijing. The wall here is not so busy at some other sections and is very scenic as its winds its way down the mountainside. Includes cable car up to the wall. Walk along part of the wall and explore the many fascinating aspects of this iconic symbol of China's past. En route to the wall pass the 2008 Olympic stadium, known as the 'Bird's Nest' and the 'Water Cube' - the national aquatic centre. Also visit a workshop carving items from jade, a stone of special significance to the Chinese. (B, L)

Day 15  Transfer to airport for flights back to London Heathrow arriving later the same day (B)

EXTENSION TO HONG KONG - please ask for prices

Day 15  Transfer to airport for flight to Hong Kong and transfer to your 4- or 5-star hotel in Kowloon. (B)

Day 16  Half day tour of Hong Kong Island, to include Victoria Peak and Aberdeen Harbour. Afternoon free. (B)

Day 17  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day or early the following morning depending on airline schedules. (B)


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