This incredible 12 day journey takes you from Beijing to Hong Kong and gives you a glimpse into the rich imperial history of China. After marveling at the Great Wall and Forbidden city, board the luxurious Shangri La Express train and travel to Xian. Here you will visit the world fameous Terracotta Wariors and spend time wandering the streets and getting to know the city and its story.
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Your journey continues to Chengdu on board the Shangri La Express. This town is the capital of Sichuan Province and the centre for traditional Chinese medicine. Take in the sights before heading to your next tour stop, Chongqing. Sitting in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, you will have time to experience the town and its cuisine before continuing on to the Fengdu Ghost City, the Three Gorges, Guilin, and Kowloon.
Hong Kong will be the last city visited on this journey into China's past. You will enjoy a city sight-seeing tour before you are transferred to Hong Kong's international airport for your flight home. With only one departure in 2009, this is certainly a trip not to be missed.
- 2 nights in Beijing
- 1 night in Hong Kong
- 5 nights aboard the Shangri-La Express
- 3 nights onboard the Yangzi Explorer (Three Gorges Cruise)
- Guided off-train excursions
- Freedom of Choice touring options
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All meals
- Services of a professional tour manager
- All gratuities
- Xian - Explore the famous and restored Terracotta Warriors - one of the greatest finds of the 20th Century.
- Luxury River Cruise of the Three Gorges exploring the outstanding natural beauty of the spectacular Three Gorges.
- Fengdu's unique 'Ghost City' - Wander through the haunting charm of Fengdu's 'Ghost City' admiring its many beautiful temples and sculptures.
- Chengdu - Enjoy the rare privilege of encountering giant pandas and visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute.
- Guilin - Immerse yourself in the haunting beauty of Guilin, cruising amongst the outlandish karst rock formations of the Li River and visit the amazing Reed Flute Cave.
Day 1 Beijing
Arrive at Beijing airport where you will be met and transferred to the centrally located five-star Regent Hotel (or similar) for a two-night stay. As you enter a fascinating world steeped in ancient tradition today is spent at leisure as you explore this captivating city or barter for souvenirs in the bustling local markets. (Meals today are at your own arrangements)
Day 2 Beijing - The Great Wall
Today is dedicated to exploring the sights and sounds of Beijing. Your tour includes Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world, and then as you explore the exquisite magnificently restored Forbidden City it is easy to imagine the life of the privileged Emperors that lived here with their numerous concubines. The afternoon sightseeing takes you to The Great Wall of China - one of the few man-made structures visible from outer space and perhaps the most evocative symbol of Chinese skill and precision. Your welcome banquet is hosted in an authentic Peking Duck restaurant, where you can experience the true taste of China.
Day 3 Beijing
This morning you visit the Temple of Heaven, the grandest of the four great temples situated in Beijing. You then board your private train, the Shangri La Express. There is plenty of time to settle into your comfortable cabins before enjoying a sociable drink and dinner with new friends.
Day 4 Xian - Terracotta Warriors
Your fascinating journey of discovery takes you to Xian, the former Imperial Capital of China. Here you will explore the ancient city walls and Great Mosque, one of the oldest and largest in China. Time permitting, you will take a stroll through the historic Muslim quarter with its quaintly winding lanes. You will also visit the world famous Terracotta Warriors, discovered by peasants only 30 years ago. The 6,000 terracotta figures and their horses, buried with the First Emperor of Qin in 210 BC, are one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century.
Day 5 Chengdu
Today you can relax onboard as the Shangri La Express continues its journey to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and the centre for traditional Chinese medicine. This area is also home to the Giant Panda, an incredibly rare creature which you can see at close quarters at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute.
Day 6 Chongqing
Chongqing is situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. You have a full day to explore the labyrinthine streets of this bustling city, perhaps most famous for its hot Sichuan cuisine and world famous hotpot dishes. As you enter the old part of this city you will come across street vendors and restaurants where you can experience these exciting and spicy delicacies. Late afternoon sees you transferring to a five-star Victoria Cruises river boat for your three-night Yangtze River cruise through the dramatic scenery of the Three Gorges.
Day 7 Three Gorges Cruise - Fengdu
This morning you take an off board excursion to the Fengdu Ghost City situated on Ming Mountain. Its 75 temples and numerous sculptures tell the story of 'sinners' who were forced to live out their own personal hell for eternity. Alternatively, you may visit Shibaozhai, perched precariously against a rectangular cliff, where you will see the stunning twelve-storey Quing Dynasty wooden temple. In the afternoon you sail through the Chongqing region enjoying the ever changing river scenery.
Days 8 Three Gorges Cruise
First you enter the shortest but most dramatic of the three gorges, Qutang Gorge with steep, imposing mountains on either side of the 5 mile (8km) stretch. Then you travel through the deep 27 mile (44km) Wu Xia Gorge from where you make a short trip in a smaller boat to the shallow, clear waters of the Shennong Stream. You then continue along the western stretch of the Xiling Gorge. At 43 miles (70km) this is the longest and deepest gorge and perilous peaks tower towards the sky reaching heights of over 4,000 ft (1,500m). In the evening you arrive at the Three Gorges dam and wait your turn to descend through the locks.
Day 9 Three Gorges/Yichang
Today you visit the Three Gorges Dam project and cruise along the eastern stretch of the Xiling Gorge before your lunchtime disembarkation in Yichang. This afternoon you rejoin the waiting Shangri La Express and spend the afternoon on board, where you can learn a few words of Chinese or enjoy drinks with friends.
Day 10 Guilin
The haunting otherworldly beauty of Guilin is legendary. Your entire day is devoted to exploring some of the finest scenery in the world along the Li River. Your unforgettable day features a cruise on the river amongst the outlandish karst rock formations that give this area its distinctive appearance. You also visit the 600,000 year old Yudi Lan (Reed Flute) Cave on the outskirts of the city.
Day 11 Kowloon, Hong Kong
After lunch, you arrive in the city of Guangzhou situated on the Pearl River and bid farewell to the Shangri La Express. You then take your reserved seat on the high speed train to Kowloon. You are then transferred by bus to the five-star Harbour Plaza hotel (or similar) for a one-night stay. The final evening is spent saying your goodbyes to fellow travelling companions at the Farewell Dinner.
Day 12 Hong Kong
This morning you take a sightseeing tour of Hong Kong. In the afternoon you can explore the city at your own pace, perhaps visiting one of Hong Kong's exclusive shopping streets. You will be transferred to Hong Kong airport for your afternoon/evening flight. Meals today are at your own arrangement.