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Arrive in Beijing, China’s sprawling capital, where you’ll be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel in the historic hutong area of ‘Old Beijing’. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax at your leisure.
The following day you’ll visit the famous Tiananmen Square where stands the Monument to the People’s Heroes, Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, the Museum of Revolution and the Great Hall of the People. You’ll continue to Beijing’s Forbidden City, an extensive palace complex and former residence of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Explore the grand halls, courtyards and rooms before taking a rickshaw tour of the Hutong area. On day four you’ll visit the Temple of Heaven, an exquisite example of Ming architecture, where emperors would perform prayer ceremonies for a good harvest. Later you’ll visit the Yonghe Temple, before concluding the evening with a food tour of the Hutongs by tuk-tuk.
On your final day in Beijing, you’ll visit what is China’s most celebrated attraction – the Great Wall of China. Originally built to defend against various nomadic groups, some sections of the wall date back over 2,000 years. Your tour includes the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall which is generally less crowded. Finish at Beijing’s Summer Palace with its beautiful lakes and gardens.
Stay: Four nights in a Deluxe Room at Hotel Cote Cour Beijing – bed and breakfast
From Beijing, you’ll catch a bullet train to Xi’an where you will be staying in a luxury hotel located on the historic Renmin Square. As the heart of the Chinese Empire for numerous centuries, Xi’an boasts an incredible collection of historical sites. You’ll start with a visit to the famous Terracotta Army, home to thousands of life-like warrior figures – and their horses and chariots – carved from terra cotta and depicting the armies of the emperor Qin Shi Huang. The site was accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974. In the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a bike tour around the city, taking in the atmospheric Muslim Quarter with its spectacular mosque and tranquil gardens.
Stay: Two nights in a Deluxe Room at Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square – bed and breakfast
This morning you will pay a visit to Han Yang Ling, the mausoleum of Emperor Jing, before flying to Shanghai. Your hotel is located in the People’s Square, within walking distance of the city’s metro lines and many of its most important sights. The next morning you’ll have the chance to tour the Bund, a waterfront area full of beautiful colonial-era buildings that were the city’s great trading houses and banks in the early 1900s. Dedicated shoppers will love Nanjing Road, China’s premier shopping street stretching for over five kilometres.
The remainder of your time in Shanghai will include a cycling tour of the French Quarter with its distinctive, European-style architecture, Fuxing Park and characterful lilongs (narrow lanes). In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of the fashionable Xintiandi and Tianzifang areas, finishing at the beautiful Yu Garden. On day ten, you’ll take a day trip to the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao on the outskirts of Shanghai, known for its beautiful old buildings and bridges.
Stay: Three nights in an Art Deco Room at The Yangtze Boutique Shanghai – bed and breakfast
Today you will fly out of Shanghai on your international flight back to London.
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