Follow in the footsteps of Jane Daniels with this comprehensive itinerary which takes you off the well-beaten tourist path and to some of the more enigmatic sites of China. This fascinating and ancient country is home to many cultural and natural wonders and many of these are featured across this 15 day itinerary.
Discover ancient cave dwellings resplendent with centuries old Buddhist artworks.
Watch the sun set and rise over the remarkable Rainbow Mountains.
Take a cruise down the achingly beautiful Li River Valley.
Day 1: Shanghai
Upon arrival at Shanghai Pudong Airport, you will be met by a local operator and transferred to your hotel for check in. After freshening up, you will be taken to visit the former French Concession including the affluent Xintiandi area - full of restaurants shopping and entertainment. Your next stop is The Bund Shanghai’s famous waterfront, followed by a fascinating trip to the Propaganda Poster Art Centre before returning to your hotel.
Day 2: Shanghai – Zhangjiajie (BL)
A leisurely morning today featuring a walk around the tranquil Yu Garden before you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Zhangjiajie. Upon arrival you will be met be a local operator and transferred to your hotel for the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 3: Zhangjiajie (BL)
An unforgettable day awaits you today beginning with a trip up the Bailong Elevator. This glass elevator ascends a 330m cliff to a viewing platform, from where you can see the recently renamed Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Part of the Tianzi Mountain Nature Park, this stunning area was the inspiration for the floating mountains of James Cameron’s movie. The final stop before returning to your hotel is the Zhangjiajie National Forest park. This breath-taking natural landscape is home to many beautiful sites, and is famed for its flora and fauna.
Day 4: Zhangjiajie – Xi’an (BL)
This morning will see you visiting a few more of Zhangjiajie’s natural wonders including the Ten-Mile Natural Gallery. This section of the Suoxigu Natural Reserve features stunning natural sculptures including Herb Collecting Old Man Immortals Worshipping Guanyin, and Ferocious Tiger Roaring. Next take a walk along the 5.5km Golden Whip Brook, a beautiful place to escape summer heat.
Later today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Xi’an, where a shuttle bus will transfer you to your hotel.
Day 5: Xi’an – Dunhuang (B)
A shuttle bus will take you to the airport today for your flight to Dunhang, a major stop on the ancient Silk Road trading route. Following a transfer and check in at your hotel, you will be taken to the oasis known as Crescent Moon Spring, where a short camel ride to the Mingsha Sand Dunes will be rewarded with a stunning desert sunset.
Day 6: Dunhuang (BL)
This morning you will visit the incredible Mogao Caves, a system of 492 grottoes famed for their stunning statues and paintings. The first caves were dug out in the year 366, and contain what many say is amongst the finest examples of Buddhist art in the world. During the afternoon, you can choose to continue your exploration of the caves, or visit the Dunhuang Museum. In the evening experience the Shazhou Night market, an excellent place to find a souvenir.
Day 7: Dunhuang – Zhangye (B)
This morning you will be transferred to the train station to board your train to Zhangye. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the stunning Danxia Landform to watch the sun set. This beautiful area known as Rainbow Mountains contains layers of rock that range in colour from deep red to yellow and even green. A transfer to your hotel for check in and a night at leisure follows.
Day 8: Zhangye – Xi’an (B)
Another chance to view the unforgettable Danxia Landforms this morning, as an early start gets you there in time to watch the sun rise. You will then be taken to Dafo Temple, the reputed birthplace of Kublai Khan, built in 1098 and today home to thousands of relics. In the early evening you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Xi’an, where you will be met and taken to your hotel.
Day 9: Xi’an (BL)
This morning begins with a tour of one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century – the Terracotta Warriors. This 2200 year old tomb, discovered by local farmers in 1974, contains over 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 670 horses. Your next stop today will be to a traditional cave dwelling. These earthen structures are still in use today, and as recently as 2006 it was estimated 40 million people in Northern China lived in these houses. The final site visited today before returning to your hotel is the Great Mosque, the largest in China and unique in its Chinese architecture.
Day 10: Xi’an – Guilin (BL)
This morning you will visit the Stele Forest, a fascinating museum housing many stone sculptures and steles collected since the year 1087. Following lunch, you will next visit the Tang Dynasty Art Museum. Set amongst a recreated imperial garden, the six exhibition halls here contain a treasure trove of art from the 7th to 10th centuries, said by some to be the height of Chinese culture. In the early evening you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Guilin, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 11: Guilin – Yangshuo (BL)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up and transferred to your 4 star cruise ship for an unforgettable cruise down the stunning Li River. The beautiful landscape in this area has been created over millennia by the slow erosion of the limestone hills, leaving stunningly tall peaks. A buffet lunch will be served aboard as you admire this unforgettable landscape. Upon completion of the cruise you will be transferred to your hotel for the evening.
Day 12: Yangshuo – Guilin – Longji (BL)
This morning you will be transferred back to Guilin, where you will be taken to the visit the Reed Flute Caves. Known as the Natural Art Gallery, this 240m long cave contains incredible examples of stalactites and other natural rock sculptures. You will then take a two hour private transfer to one of the most quintessentially Chinese landscapes – the Longji (dragon’s back) Rice Terraces. These fields were mostly built approximately 650 years ago, and are still a main source of food today. Following time at two viewing points, you will be taken to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 13: Lonjji – Guilin – Shanghai (BL)
Another chance to visit the rice terraces this morning, followed by an optional 2.5 hour round trip walk to the ancient Zhuang Village. Once your activities in Longji are complete, you will be transferred to Guilin airport for an early evening flight to Shanghai. There you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an evening of free time to explore and find one of the many great restaurants in the area.
Day 14: Shanghai (BL)
Today will spend an entire day visiting two very special and surprising places – the water towns Tongli and Mudu. Known as the Venice of China, a gondola boat ride in Tongli is included – a marvellous way to experience this remarkable 1000 year old town.
Day 15: Shanghai (B)
Following breakfast and check out from your hotel, you will be met and transferred to Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your onward flight.
Private tour escorted by an English speaking guide and private car.
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