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A leisurely voyage through China

By Malcolm Holcroft
Product advisor for Alfred&

While ticking off the famous landmarks such as The Forbidden City, The Terracotta Warriors and The Great Wall during this iconic voyage through China, you’ll also get the opportunity to delve a little deeper. Navigate rural villages, eat breakfast with the locals and watch Panda’s in their natural habitat.

Places

Length
16 days
Best months to go
April to October
Guide price range
On request

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Beijing

A quiet spot along the Great Wall

No visit to China would be complete without visiting the Great Wall and this section at Mutianyu is one of the most beautiful...

Chongqing

Exploring the Yangtze River in style

There really is no better way to explore the Yangtze River than from a boat, surrounded by the magnificent gorges above...

Shanghai

Discovering Shanghai by bicycle

Discovering Shanghai on one of our vintage bicycles is a really special experience...

Day by day
Itinerary in details

1

Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to China! Upon arrival, your English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport to ensure a seamless transfer to your hotel where you can take a power nap, jump in a hot shower or simply unwind after your flight. The rest of the day is yours to spend at leisure and I highly recommend taking this time to acclimatise and soak up your new surroundings.

2

Beijing

No visit to Beijing would be complete without visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It’s impossible to comprehend the size of these sites before visiting, but your knowledgeable guide will help you navigate them talking you through the many famous events that have happened here. After lunch make your way to the Temple of Heaven, one of the most holy places in China, and finish off with a rickshaw tour through one of the oldest Hutongs in Houhai. As much as I love the historical sites, the Hutongs are my favourite place to explore authentic daily life in Beijing.

Things to do:

3

Beijing & The Great Wall

This morning, wave goodbye to busy Beijing and head out to the Great Wall at Mutianya. As one of the most iconic landmarks in China, it’s an absolute must-see. Surrounded by green pines, cypresses and rich vegetation this section of the wall is one of the most tranquil and you’re sure to capture a camera full of memories here. When it’s time to descend you can pick between the cable car, walking or the fun-filled taboggan slide! For me, it’s always got to be the latter.

Things to do:

4

Beijing

Today, venture to another of the capital’s historical landmarks, the Summer Palace, where you’ll discover one of China’s largest imperial gardens. The UNESCO World Heritage site dates back as far back as the Jin Dynasty in 1153 and is home to a vast collection of lakes, halls, pavilions, temples and quaint bridges. It’s a serene place to while away the morning.

Things to do:

5

Beijing & Xi'an

Head south by train to Xi’an where you’ll pack in plenty more adventures. Travelling by train is not only friendlier to the environment, the Chinese trains are an experience in and of themselves. Soak up the spectacular views from your window seat, people watch as you commute amid the locals or sample some goods from the food trolley, although most Chinese passengers opt to bring their own food with them.

6

Xi'an

Begin your day with a visit to the acclaimed Terracotta Army Museum. Home to one of the most significant archaeological finds in the world you’ll be met with over 7,000 life size warrior and horse figures, all arranged in battle formation. After lunch, head over to the ancient city wall where you can either enjoy a gentle stroll or hire bicycles and cycle its perimeter. I love watching the locals convene in the parks as you pass by.

Things to do:

7

Xi'an & Chengdu

Your whistle stop tour of Xi’an has come to an end and this morning you’ll head further south-west to the wonderful city of Chengdu which is sure to capture a piece of your heart. Chengdu is home to an abundance of cosy teahouses and quaint restaurants and due to the number of universities in the area, you’ll find plenty of locals looking to practice their English with you.

8

Chengdu

This morning you have the truly special experience of visiting the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre which is based just a short drive from the city. Imitating their natural habitat, the centre provides the best possible environment for these endangered bears to breed and rear their young. This is a day I can promise that will stay with you forever.

Things to do:

9

Chengdu & Leshan

Today you’ll drive southwest of Chengdu to visit the formidable Leshan Giant Buddha. Carved out of the red cliff face, this impressive statue is the largest Buddha in the world and dates back to the 8th Century. Continue your journey by boat, cruising from Leshan port along the Minjiang to admire another incredible Buddha statue - this time the highest in the world!

10

Chongqing & Yangtze River

This morning’s activities are yours to decide, be that enjoying your hotel’s facilities or grabbing those last trinkets to take home from the charming markets. After lunch we transfer from Chengdu through to Chongqing where we will board our luxury, eco-friendly boat and begin our intimate cruise along the Yangtze River.

Things to do:

11

Cruising Yangtze River

You can choose between visiting The 816 Underground Project, the world’s largest artificial military cave, or the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum and a local market tour this morning. This evening you have the opportunity to disembark at Zhongxian County for the Three Kingdoms Open Air Show which includes epic battles on horseback, special effects and fireworks.

12

Cruising Yangtze River

Today is all about the spectacular Three Gorges as you cruise through Qutang, Wu and Xiling. Ride on a sampan, a traditional longboat rowed by Tujia boatmen, along the Shennong Stream and visit a traditional trackers village filled with mud huts. Their rural community is every bit as fascinating as it sounds.

13

Cruising Yangtze River

It’s your last day on board today with one final stop in Maoping to visit the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Centre. Of course, it’s the largest in the world, but it’s also really interesting to learn how China is working to reduce its reliance on coal and the controversy the dam has caused among local communities.

14

Shanghai

Behind the expansive metropolis of Shanghai, you’ll find a much quieter and more traditional way of life. Hop on a vintage Chinese bicycle and explore the narrow hidden lanes in the Former French Concession before going deeper into the tranquil Old Town where you get acquainted with local life.

Things to do:

15

Shanghai

Also known as Shanghai’s Venice, The Zhujiajiao Water Town is a beautiful area to explore providing some great photo opportunities. As you explore the old water canals by boat, admiring the ancient buildings you’ll get a real sense of what life was like here in the past. The area is filled with quaint bridges, landscaped gardens and small shopping streets for further exploring.

Things to do:

16

Shanghai & Departure

Your time in China has come to an end and this morning you’ll transfer to Shanghai airport for your final departure home where you can share your experiences with your loved ones.

Alfred & Malcolm Holcroft

Malcolm has always been fascinated with the far east, especially China and has visited five times so far. While he loves exploring the big cities, he also loves getting off the beaten track immersing himself in the local culture. He admits there can be challenges when it comes to things like language but relishes in how beautiful and untouched China still is, in our modern globalised world. One of his favourite activities is people watching in the public parks and he can quickly become absorbed as he observes how differently the people go about their day to day lives. This is a country that will at times throw you out of your comfort zone but will also teach you so much if you let it.

Alfred & our China holiday experts

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