The mysteries of the East
Fascinating and mysterious, vast, sweeping and truly, wholly, a world away from the West, combining an ages-old civilisation and cultural mix with the glass and steel of the 21st Century world into which it is rapidly emerging, China is a wonder to behold, and a joy to experience.
Fly overnight to Shanghai.
Upon arrival, you'll meet your guide and transfer by coach to your overnight hotel, before enjoying a guided introduction to this amazing city. The colonial grandeur of the buildings that line the famous Bund hint at past glories despite the towering skyscrapers that surround them, and the rocket-shaped Pearl TV Tower (a visit to which is included in the tour, and from which the views are simply breathtaking) soars above them all from the opposite bank.
This morning you'll tour the bustling bazaars of Shanghai's historic Old City, at the heart of which is the 16th-century, classical Chinese Yuyuan Garden, with its pools, walkways and bridges. After a fascinating morning, you'll return to the airport to board the internal flight to Beijing for a three-night stay.
Enjoy a fascinating tour of China's astonishing capital. First stop is massive Tiananmen Square, site of Chairman Mao's Mausoleum and the Great Hall of the People, and which faces the best-known image of Imperial China, the huge complex of imperial palaces known as the Forbidden City.
Inside this immense palace you'll see the ceremonial spaces, working areas and private quarters once used by it's privileged occupants before heading to the beautiful Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park, the great Ming Dynasty shrine that was the heart of ceremonial life for five centuries. Later, celebrate the end of your first day in Beijing with a 'Peking Duck' dinner.
See for yourself part of what is famously (though not entirely accurately) the only man-made structure visible from space, the Great Wall. At Badaling, amid steep, forested hills, part of the wall has been lovingly restored, and it's easy to appreciate the immensity of this marvellous feat of engineering.
Your day will also include time to view the famous Olympic stadium and, later, an optional excursion is offered to the world-famous Peking Opera.
Take a trip back in time on our optional rickshaw tour of the ancient hutongs, the labyrinth of narrow alleyways and courtyard houses that epitomises 'Old Peking', before heading outside the city-centre to discover the tranquil lakeside pavilions of the Summer Palace.
In the afternoon we'll travel to Xi'an. (In 2016 this will be an internal flight, but for all tours departing after March 2017 it will be a high-speed rail journey.)
Today you'll visit the now legendary Terracotta Army of the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. An estimated 8,000 lifelike foot-soldiers, horsemen and charioteers were discovered in their vaults in 1974, and now are one of the world's greatest tourist attractions.
Later, head back to the city to spend some time on the fortified city walls of old Xi'an.
Returning to Xi'an, you'll explore the ancient city, centred on its enormous bell-tower, visiting the Muslim Quarter with its Great Mosque, and marvelling at the Tang dynasty monuments.
In the afternoon, fly south to Guangxi province and the historic city of Guilin, picturesquely set on the Li River. Take a guided tour of this medieval city, and see the ancient South Gate, the Farmers' Market and the peak of Fubo Shan, with its caves and carved grottoes.
This morning you'll board a river cruiser for the unforgettable journey through the stunning scenery of peaks, paddy fields and green-tinged waters of the Li. You'll stay overnight in Yangshuo, a thriving resort set amid some spectacular scenery. This evening, there's a stunning, optional Light Show to experience.
After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport and fly back to Shanghai for the last night of your tour. Once back in the city you'll have the chance to enjoy an optional night-time cruise on the Huangpu River - a fitting way to end your visit to this great country.
Transfer back to the airport for your flight home.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Hotel transfer times
British citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for six months beyond the entry date to China. A visa is required for entry to Vietnam and China. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. For British Citizens, current visa charges are, per person, £151 to enter China and £54 for Vietnam.
Passports and visas
All outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
On your flight
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kgs.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels