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The ultimate tour of China

By Malcolm Holcroft
Product advisor for Alfred&

While still making time for China’s most popular landmarks and soaking up the country’s vast ancient history, this itinerary takes you behind the scenes and off the beaten track to get a real understanding of Chinese culture and all this incredible country has to offer.

Places

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

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Beijing

The Great Wall retreat at Mutianyu

We like to think of The Brickyard as offering the ‘luxury of simplicity’, something we all seem to forget in our hectic lives...

Xi'an

An evening of traditional Chinese dance in Xi’an

The Tang Dynasty Show is one of the most popular in Xi’an and is a wonderful and vibrant introduction to this ancient city....

Lijiang

A sustainable stay in an ancient village near Lijiang

Created from two farmyards that have stood for over 100 years, The Bivou is a boutique hotel located in the ancient village of Shuhe...

Day by day
Itinerary in details

1

Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to the capital of China! A sprawling city sure to stimulate all your senses. I highly advise just taking this day to acclimatise to your new environment. Settle into your hotel, get some rest, explore the local area and get a good night’s sleep ready for tomorrows adventures.

2

Beijing

After breakfast your English-speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel for a full day’s exploring of some of Beijing’s most iconic sites. Explore the maze of courtyards and halls at the Forbidden city, visit the Temple of Heaven, one of China’s most holy places and finish off with a serene walk through the gardens at the Summer Palace.

Things to do:

3

Beijing & The Great Wall

Leave the energetic city behind as you head out to explore the Great Wall of China this morning. You’ll visit some of the more remote and less developed sections of the wall before transferring to your tranquil retreat for the night. The Brickyard offers panoramic vistas of the Great Wall and is surrounding by glorious fruit orchards. My favourite spot here is the outdoor hot tub overlooking the wall!

Things to do:

4

The Great Wall & Beijing

After a relaxing morning in Mutianyu, breathing in all that wonderful \mountain air and taking some last minute snaps, you’ll head back to the capital. Tonight you’ll have the opportunity to try Beijing’s famed Peking Duck at dinner and you’ll soon understand why it has such a good reputation here.

5

Beijing & Xi'an

All aboard the high-speed train to Xi’an this morning for the next section of your epic Chinese adventure. After settling into your hotel, you can enjoy a leisurely late afternoon bike tour along the Ancient City Wall. As you cycle past the city parks, look out for locals practicing all sorts of hobbies as the sun begins to set.

6

Xi'an

Begin your day with a visit to the acclaimed Terracotta Army Museum, one of the most important attractions in Xi’an and home to one of the most significant archaeological finds in the world. This evening put your glad-rags on and head to the theatre for an evening of traditional Chinese dance and a delicious dumpling dinner.

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

Today is a very special day as you get to volunteer at the Chengdu Panda Base and learn all about the fantastic work they do here. As a research centre and breeding program, focus is placed on education and observing the bears in their natural habitat. There’s nothing like watching a pile of cute panda babies wrestling in the grass.

Things to do:

9

Chengdu & Shangri-La

Each region in China has its own particular cuisine and here in Chengdu, it’s all about the Sichuan food. Extremely fiery and full of flavour enjoy a personal cooking class this afternoon learning all the tricks of the trade before transferring to Shangri-La tonight.

10

Shangri-La

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, rainforests, deep valleys and plateau lakes, Shangri-La is absolutely stunning. Today you’ll get the chance to explore Pudacuo National Park, one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world and the spectacular Shika Snow Mountains.

11

Shangri-La & Lijiang

This morning as you leave Shangri-La you’ll make your way to the first bend of the Yangtze River and visit the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. Enjoy the rugged scenery of the Tibetan Plateau as you make your way to the ancient village of Shuhe, just outside Lijiang, for a delightful stay at The Bivou.

Things to do:

13

Lijiang & Yangshuo

Say goodbye to your new friends at The Bivou this morning as you fly across to Guilin to transfer to Yangshuo where you’ll pack in a few more adventures in the idyllic Chinese countryside.

14

Yangshuo

The dramatic limestone, karst hill landscapes in Yangshuo are truly spectacular. Take a scenic boat trip down the Li River and explore the ancient, traditional cultures, enjoy a simple lunch in a local restaurant and spend the afternoon gently cycling through rural villages and rice fields. This evening take up a VIP seat at the Impressions Liu Sanjie Theatre for some traditional entertainment.

15

Yangshuo

After a busy day yesterday, take your time to explore this fascinating town at your own leisure. You’ll find plenty of local shops, restaurants and bars along West Street where you can sample local dishes such as beer fish and various sticky cakes and pick up those last minute trinkets.

16

Yangshuo & Longsheng

It’s an early start today as you head to Longsheng for a gentle hike across the rice terraces towards a village to meet the women of the Red Yao tribe. With some of the longest hair in the world, these playful women only cut their hair once at the age of 16. Learn about local village life and what qualities make for the perfect partner!

17

Longsheng

The quaint traditional village of Pingan is another really special place which exudes a sense of peace and tranquillity. A warren of lanes lined with food stalls and souvenir sellers, you’ll find women wearing colourful hats with woven baskets on their backs, food vendors selling rice dishes stuffed into smoking hot bamboo poles, all surrounded by rolling hills and rice terraces.

18

Longsheng, Guilin & Hong Kong

Enjoy one last journey through the scenic countryside as you make your way back to Guilin airport for your flight to Hong Kong where you’ll spend the night before tomorrow’s departure home.

19

Hong Kong & Departure

Your epic adventure through China has come to an end and it’s time to head home and share your lifelong memories and 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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