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Essential China

Walk the Great Wall at the less visited and scenic Mutianyu section
Includes return economy airfares

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Escorted Journey
Visiting all that is China: the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City on this introductory exploration of one of the world's most diverse countries.

Highlights

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Tour Tianamen Square and the Forbidden city
  • Walk the Great Wall at the less visited and scenic Mutianyu section
  • Explore rural Yangshuo amidst stunning karst scenery
  • Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors standing shoulder to shoulder

Holiday Type

Culture
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
Wildlife & Nature
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N

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What's included
  • 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches
  • All accomodation
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers
Need to know
  • Minimum age 16
  • The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size.
  • Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure.
  • Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.
  • The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.
Your route
Exodus: Essential China Map Great Wall of China Beijing

Itinerary

Day 1
Start Beijing

Start Beijing

Welcome to the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. China's political centre for most of the past eight centuries, Beijing is famous for its resplendent palaces, tranquil temples and picturesque parks. The city is perhaps equally well known as a centre of culture and art in China, thanks to its collection of art treasures and universities. There will be a welcome briefing this evening. 

Day 2
Full day at the Great Wall

Full day at the Great Wall

We leave the capital and head into the countryside to the Great Wall, an approx 2 hour journey to the north of the city. We go to one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall at Mutianyu which is an impressive sight, snaking off across mountains and valleys into the distance. This section of Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. The wall here is upto 8.5 metres high and 5 metres wide, and has 22 watchtowers on its 2,250-metre-long stretch. There are some steep steps to navigate and clients who suffer from vertigo may find it difficult, (there is an optional cable car). There is the option of seeing an acrobatic or Kung Fu show or a trip to the opera this evening in Beijing.

Day 3
Sightseeing in Beijing, visiting Tiananmen Square, Hutongs and the Forbidden City; evening sleeper train to Xi'an

Sightseeing in Beijing, visiting Tiananmen Square, Hutongs and the Forbidden City; evening sleeper train to Xi'an

We take a morning walking tour of the city's hutongs (narrow alleys) to see what is left of old Beijing and its traditions. We also visit Tianamen square, the largest square in the world and able to hold over a million people. Later in the day we visit the Forbidden City with its innumerable courtyards and temples. This afternoon if free for personal exploration, just outside the city centre is the Summer Palace, a huge park dotted with impressive pavilions and temples which, like the Forbidden City, was once the exclusive playground of China's Emperors and their concubines. In the evening we board an overnight train to the ancient city of Xi'an. It is recommended to try and get food before the train as there is a limited selection provided on the train. The train itself is of a good standard, although please note that all facilities such as washrooms and toilets are shared with other passengers. Sleepers are four berth and bedding is provided.

Day 4
Arrive Xi'an; visit local markets, Grand Mosque and Muslim area

Arrive Xi'an; visit local markets, Grand Mosque and Muslim area

Xi'an is one of China's former capitals, and one of the few cities in China to have retained its city walls, probably because they are so massive that no revolutionary was willing to tackle the huge task of removing them. Today we will visit the city and the Bell and Drum Plaza at its heart, along with the Great Mosque. The Muslim quarter is a fascinating place to visit, especially in the evening as it comes alive with the bustle of the bazaars and food stalls. It is possible to hire bikes (optional) and cycle on the city walls to appreciate the sheer scale of these constructions.

Day 5
Morning visit Terracotta Warriors; afternoon fly to Guilin and transfer to Yangshuo

Morning visit Terracotta Warriors; afternoon fly to Guilin and transfer to Yangshuo

Today we visit the famous mausoleum of Emperor Qin with its staggering display of Terracotta Warriors. His tomb lies covered by a grassy mound amidst green fields. Originally four armies were planned, at each point of the compass, life-size and lifelike. Three have been found and it is assumed the emperor's successors decided enough was enough before the fourth was begun. The first pit excavated had an estimated 6,000 figures in its one army. The third pit has been opened to the public, which contains the 'command post' for the entire operation. This is one of China's great - and extremely popular - tourist attractions. In the afternoon we fly to Guilin and transfer by road for 2 hours through the stunning towering limestone scenery to Yangshuo. The surrounding region is famous for the steep-sided Karst Mountains that pierce the otherwise flat landscape of paddy fields, a rural landscape that has changed little in centuries. 

Day 6
Free day for optional activities

Free day for optional activities

Today is free to relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and stunning scenery around Yangshuo. There are many optional activities to choose from: a cruise on the Li River, hire a bike and cycle around the countryside, partake in a cooking course, visit the Black Buddha caves, enjoy a Chinese massage or even a kung fu class. If you would like, you can spend the evening watching the Liu Sanjie Show, an outdoor performance set on a natural stage formed by the Li River and 12 peaks. Even if you choose just to relax this is an ideal place; you can take a stroll around the market and examine the local produce or enjoy one of the cafes and watch the world go by.

Day 7
Free morning; afternoon drive to Guilin for sleeper train to Shenzhen

Free morning; afternoon drive to Guilin for sleeper train to Shenzhen

This morning is free in Yangshuo. In the late afternoon we transfer to Guilin and catch our overnight train to Shenzhen.

Day 8
Cross border to Hong Kong; free time on arrival

Cross border to Hong Kong; free time on arrival

At Shenzhen we cross the border and take a metro to Hong Kong our final destination. The train station, border crossing and metro are all in the same building but you will need to walk with your bags a short distance as porters are not available. Free afternoon on arrival in Hong Kong. Each evening there is a Sound and Light show with the cities high-rise buildings lit up in all their glory to round off the day.

Day 9
Morning orientation tour of Hong Kong including Victoria Peak; free afternoon

Morning orientation tour of Hong Kong including Victoria Peak; free afternoon

Day 10
End Hong Kong

End Hong Kong

For those on the group flight to London, the day is free day for further sightseeing or shopping, with an evening departure.

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