Four Corners of the Middle Kingdom

Duration: 18 nights/19 days

We visit: Shanghai, Tongli, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Guilin, Lijiang, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing

This tour commences in the great metropolis Shanghai, China’s dynamic economic powerhouse which projects center stage the burgeoning productive capacity of the nation as it races into the future. You then visit the beautiful sleeping ancient water town Tongli on your way to Suzhou and Hangzhou, two cities renowned for their gardens and beautiful scenery. In Guilin, Lijiang and Chengdu, you will marvel at the countryside and landscape; flora and fauna; architectural wonders; way of life of the minority peoples; and interesting Buddhist sites. Xian and Beijing introduce you to the splendor of the country is historical sites and its archaeological treasures – the great record of imperial China from the period of the first emperor 2200 years ago to the last emperor in 1911. This tour introduces you to the astonishing variety of sights on offer in China.


Highlights:

  • Shanghai - The Bund, Yu Garden and its market, Shanghai World Financial Center, Huangpu River Cruise, acrobatic show
  • Tongli Watertown Excursion
  • Suzhou - Master of the Nets Garden, Canal Cruise, Humble Administrators Garden, Suzhou Museum,Special dinner at Songhelou
  • Hangzhou - Lingyin Temple, West Lake Cruise, Leifeng Pagoda
  • Guilin - Li River Cruise,Reedflute Cave, Diecai Mountain
  • Lijiang - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yufeng Temple, Baisha Mural, Yuhu Village
  • Chengdu - Leshan Excursion, Sichuan Opera, Chengdu Panda Research Institute
  • Xian - Terracotta Warriors & Horses, City Wall, Tang Dynasty Dinner Show
  • Beijing - Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Hutong Tour, Peking Duck Dinner, The Great Wall, Summer Palace

Day
1
Arrive Shanghai

Transfer to your hotel.

Day
2
Shanghai

Dominating the Yangtze Delta, Shanghai is the amazing pulsating commercial heart of China. You will walk along the famous Bund past the facades of the colonial buildings lining the Huangpu River and look across to the soaring TV tower and fantastic skyscrapers of the Pudong district on the opposite side. Following this you will visit the beautifully maintained Yu Garden, an outstanding example of a classical garden dating from the 16th century.  Later you will take a cruise across the Huangpu River to ascend the Shanghai World Financial Centre Observatory, one of the world’s tallest buildings, for an astonishing view over the whole city. Tonight you will be entertained by an Acrobatic Show.  (B/L/D)

Day
3
Shanghai-Tongli-Suzhou

Today you will travel by car to Suzhou and en route visit Tongli, one of the many ancient water towns in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, which are famous for their rivers, ancient bridges and traditional house complexes. You will check in at your hotel in Suzhou. Enjoy a special dinner at Songhelou. (B/L/D)

Day
4
Suzhou

Suzhou is home to China’s most famous gardens. You will visit the Master of the Nets Garden where the main garden space is a lake surrounded by rockwork, halls, covered walkways and pavilions—one of the most charming and tranquil garden scenes in China. In the afternoon you will join a Canal Cruise to enjoy the bustling and unique canal scenery.

Later you will visit another popular garden, the Humble Administrators Garden. This large garden was originally built in the early 16th century.You will complete your day with a visit to Suzhou Museum, designed by well-known architect I M Pei. (B/L)

Day
5
Suzhou-Hangzhou

This morning you travel to Hangzhou by the latest bullet train. This afternoon you will visit the Lingyin Temple, one of the most famous Chan (Zen) temples in China. The temple was founded in 327 AD beside a mountain believed to have arrived miraculously by air from India. Then you will take a cruise on the incomparable West Lake, for centuries one of China’s best known scenic attractions. Later you will ascend Leifeng Pagoda to enjoy a panoramic view of the West Lake. (B/L)

Day
6
Hangzhou-Guilin

You will fly to Guilin, renowned for its fantastic landscape of limestone peaks. Transfer to hotel upon arrival. (B/L)

Day
7
Guilin

This morning you embark upon an enchanting cruise down the Li River to the picturesque river town of Yangshuo. The cruise provides a unique opportunity to view the array of extraordinary peaks which rise side by side along the banks. Here you will also see picturesque villages, chestnut orchards, bamboo plantations and fishermen using cormorants.  Your return to Guilin is by road. (B/L)

Day
8
Guilin-Kunming-Lijiang

This morning visit the magnificent Reed Flute Cave. This is Guilin’s largest and most impressive cave, filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Also visit Diecai Mountain. You will fly to Lijiang via Kunming, an 800-year-old city lying at 7,875ft at the foot of the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. (B)

Day
9
Lijiang

Today we drive north along the eastern flank of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and go on to tour around the small town of Baisha, 4.9 miles north of Lijiang. After lunch you visit the 18th century Yufeng Lamasery on the eastern slope. You will also visit Yuhu Village to see examples of authentic ethnic cultures. (B/L)

Day
10
Lijiang

Day at your leisure. (B)

Day
11
Lijiang-Chengdu

You will fly to Chengdu via Kunming. (B/L)

Day
12
Chengdu

Today you will travel to view the Giant Buddha statue, which is carved into a cliff on the bank of the Min River at Leshan, 103 miles south-west of Chengdu. Carved between 713 and 803 AD in the hope its presence would help subdue flooding, the famed statue is 232ft tall. Tonight enjoy a colorful Sichuan Opera. (B/L/D)

Day
13
Chengdu-Xian

This morning you will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in the northern suburbs of Chengdu. A visit to this institution provides an opportunity to see a large number of the endangered giant pandas, both adults and cubs.  You will fly to Xian this afternoon and tonight enjoy the lavish spectacle of the Tang Dynasty Dinner & Show. (B/L/D)

Day
14
Xian

After breakfast there is a walk along the massive Xian City Wall, which encircles the old central part of the city and one of the best preserved in China.  Next you will travel to the renowned archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors & Horses, buried over 2200 years ago to guard the tomb of China’s great unifier and the first emperor Qinshihuang who died in 210 BC. (B/L)

Day
15
Xian-Beijing

Transfer to the hotel.

You fly to Beijing.  One of the world’s great cities, Beijing has a history dating back some 3000 years. Your orientation tour will be a stroll in Tiananmen Square where you will look across this vast space to the Great Hall of the People. Following this you will visit the beautiful blue tiled Temple of Heaven, where the emperors for the good of the empire, carried out the most important sacrifices and ceremonies of the year. Set in a huge park planted with conifers, the beautiful blue tiled buildings here represent the epitome of Ming architecture.

A Peking Duck dinner completes this special day. (B/L/D)

Day
16
Beijing

Today you will visit the Forbidden City, as the former imperial palace is called, where the magnificent marble courtyards, huge halls, gilded temples and ornate pavilions, the residence of the emperors and their families, are now open to your wonderment.  In the afternoon there will be a rickshaw tour of Beijing’s old Hutong District, dating from Yuan Dynasty times (14th century), a fascinating maze of narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. (B/L)

Day
17
Beijing

Today you will pace the ramparts of China’s famed Great Wall, originally built over 2000 years ago to keep northern invaders at bay. (B/L)

Day
18
Beijing

Today, your visit the Summer Palace, the famed pleasure gardens of the Qing emperors. Beautiful ornamental plantings, languid willows and painted pavilions surround a scenic lake, across which are enchanting views to the pagoda-capped Jade Spring Hill and the mountains beyond. Afternoon is at your leisure. (B/L)

Day
19
Depart Beijing

You will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight home. (B)

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