Day 1 | Highlights:
Ni Hao and welcome to China. On arrival you will be welcomed by your Scenic Tours Representative and transferred to the Fairmont Peace Hotel located on the famous Bund, for a luxurious three night Special Stay. Relax and settle in until you meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers this evening for your tour briefing, followed by your Welcome Shanghainese Dinner.
Day 2 | Shanghai Highlights:
Stroll along the famous Bund and its lively waterfront, admiring the 1930s European colonial architecture. Compare its heritage buildings to those in Yu Gardens before enjoying a delicious lunch of dim sum, a Shanghai speciality. Afterwards cross the Huangpu River to the modern side of Shanghai, Pudong and admire the view of Shanghai from Shanghai Tower, the recently completed and second tallest building in the world. From here experience the speed of the Maglev train before returning to your hotel.
Day 3 | Shanghai Highlights:
Encounter amazing treasures, including bronzes, ceramic and calligraphy on your visit to the Shanghai Museum, one of the largest museums in China with a collection of more than 120,000 treasures. Then wander through People’s Square, the large public square adjacent to the museum, which was part of the horse racing course of Shanghai, before exploring the French Concession district. Finish at Xintiandi, an area characterised by 1920s style shikumen buildings transformed into trendy clubs, restaurants and boutiques. Alternatively, visit Zhujiajiao - the ‘Venice of Shanghai’, a water town with a rich canal life and a wealth of traditional buildings and bridges dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911).
Day 4 | Shanghai > Yichang > Yangtze River Cruise Highlights:
Rise early for your flight to Yichang. Today you will enjoy a tour of the less visited Chexi Town to view the well preserved Tujia Minority community and experience their local customs. Later savour afternoon tea at Yichang Crowne Plaza, before transferring to your cruise ship, the Yangzi Explorer for your four-night Yangtze River Cruise. Upon boarding enjoy your first à la carte dinner including wine and beer, as you can with every lunch and dinner whilst on board your cruise.
Day 5 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights:
Inspect the Three Gorges Dam project site and experience the ship locks in operation. Later, sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the Three Gorges while sampling afternoon tea delights. Tonight enjoy the Captain’s reception.
Day 6 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights:
Explore the dramatic gorges of Shennong Stream by longboat (sampan). Later, traverse Wu Gorge, known for its quiet beauty, forest covered mountains and sheer rock walls, and Qutang Gorge the shortest, narrowest and most dramatic of the gorges.
Day 7 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights:
Enjoy an insightful excursion to Fengdu and the relocated village. Tonight, mingle at the Taste of China gala dinner. Be sure to dress in your finest Chinese outfit.
Day 8 | Chongqing > Xi’an Highlights:
Disembark in Chongqing, the largest municipality in southwest China and visit Chongqing Zoo where you’ll get to see the rare and treasured giant panda. Afterwards fly to Xi’an, the ancient capital for eleven dynasties and east end of the Silk Road. Delve into Xi’an’s historical past and enjoy the panoramic views as you navigate either by walking, by push bike or electric buggy, the city’s walls originally built in the 14th century. Later, check into your hotel or a two night stay. Tonight enjoy the Tang Dynasty Cultural Show with dinner. Witness a grand performance of traditional songs, dances and colourful costumes from the Tang Dynasty. This spectacular cultural show features more than 145 performers on stage together with a classical Chinese orchestra.
Day 9 | Xi’an:e Highlights:
Gaze at Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s amazing Terracotta Warriors in the company of a museum curator. More than 2,000 years old, these terracotta warriors and horses were created to protect the tomb of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang and were only discovered by a local farmer late in the 20th century. (VIP viewing platform closed indefinitely for major repairs)
Day 10 | Xi’an > Beijing:ef Highlights:
Visit a local painter’s home in nearby Hu Xi’an County, famous for its rural peasant paintings, and learn about his art before you enjoy lunch with his family.
Day 11 | Beijing Highlights:
Today visit China’s most iconic attraction – the Great Wall at Mutianyu, one of the lesser visited sections of the Great Wall. The dramatic scenery provides a picture-perfect backdrop to the Great Wall as it snakes through the mountains and countryside. Standing on the ancient ramparts is the only way to fully appreciate this magnificent structure, built more than 2,500 years ago.
Day 12 | Beijing Highlights:
Explore the landscaped beauty of the Summer Palace which dates back to 1750 in its use as a royal garden for the royal families to relax and entertain in. Explore its beautiful gardens and pavilions and enjoy cruise on Kunming Lake. Later, visit the incredible 15th century Temple of Heaven, a great example of Ming architecture. In its surrounding parklands, witness the local people socialising, exercising and enjoying their relaxation time.
Day 13 | Beijing Highlights:
Wander through Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public squares and home to the Great Hall of the People and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum before entering the mysterious Forbidden City. Home to the Imperial families during the Ming era, the Forbidden City, with the towering portrait of Chairman Mao looming above, will astound you with its size and the beauty of the many Imperial Palaces, elegant gardens and pavilions within. Afterwards enjoy lunch with a local family in a traditional home in the hutongs before taking a rickshaw ride through these atmospheric old, narrow, winding alleyways to witness traditional Chinese life in a city. Later you have free time for that last minute visit to the Silk Markets.
Day 14 | Beijing Highlights:
It’s time to bid farewell and transfer to Beijing Airport.