15 Day: Best of China

    This itinerary is ideal for the first time visitor to China, taking in many of the major highlights of the country.

    • From: £2090pp for 14 nights.
    • Special Offers Available. Call for details.

    The Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, Yangzi River, Guilin, Xian, and Shanghai.

    15 Day: Best of China Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrive Beijing

    Today your flight arrives into Beijing Capital International Airport (please ask us about your flights). After clearing immigration formalities and claiming your baggage, you will be met by a representative of Akorn, Beijing who will be waiting for you. You will then be transferred to hotel.

    • Hotel: Novotel Beijing Peace, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: None

    Day 2: Beijing

    Depart the hotel early this morning, traveling outside the city to the northeast and on to the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall. The Wall has been built up in myth and legend, however, despite the many inaccuracies written about it, it remains one of the great wonders of the world. The wall rides the highest point of the mountaintops and provides some stunning views of the countryside. There are two ways up the wall: a new cable car or the traditional route, 1,156 steps!

    Rest of the day at your leisure.

    • Hotel: Novotel Beijing Peace, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast

    Day 3: Beijing

    This morning you will visit Tiananmen Square, the largest public plaza on earth. The square can hold approximately 500,000 people. The square, in spite of its past implications, remains one of the most popular venues in Beijing.

    Here, on any given day, especially on weekends, thousands of visitors (many from outside Beijing) gather to walk, fly kites, or enjoy the panoramic view of monuments, which surround the square. These include the Great Hall of the People, the Museum of Natural History and the Revolution, the Mausoleum of the late Chairman, Mao Zedong, and in the centre, the Monument commemorating all those revolutionaries who died in the struggle to create modern China.

    Next, pay a visit to the Forbidden City (today the National Palace Museum), once the imperial residence of the emperors and their families from the early 1400’s until 1911 and one of the most frequently visited palaces in China. Walk through the Forbidden City visiting many of the halls and galleries, which make up the palace. During the late 18th century up to 100,000 people – servants, soldiers, and attendants – lived within the walls of the palace.

    • Lunch at local restaurant.

    Next, you will have an architectural tour and visit some modern buildings of Beijing (exterior visit only). First, you will visit Grand National Theatre. It was designed by Paul Andreau and is considered to be the greatest architectural innovation in the city for several decades. This magnificent building includes an opera hall, concert hall and two theatres. Next you will proceed to CCTV Building. Built as CCTV's new headquarters to celebrate the 2008 Olympics, this 550,000 square metre building, will be among the first of 300 new towers to be constructed in Beijing's new central business district. Conclude the visit with Beijing National Stadium, also known as “The Bird’s Nest” and the National Aquatics Center, known as “The Water Cube”. These sites were the main venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
    • Hotel: Novotel Beijing Peace, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 4: Beijing - Xian

    The tour begins to Temple of Heaven with Tai Chi Class, a structure that is amongst the most aesthetically pleasing of all ancient monuments in China and an exquisite example of Chinese wooden buildings (constructed without the use of a single nail). With its unique circular shape, azure blue roof and intricate gold inlay work, the Temple of Heaven has been called the single most outstanding example of ancient Chinese architecture.

    You will continue to visit the lively local markets to learn how the local lives.

    Rest of the day at your leisure.

    • Hotel: Novotel Beijing Peace, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast

    Day 5: Xian

    This afternoon, you will be transferred to Beijing Airport for flight HU#7109 departs at 1.20 p.m. On arrival Yichang Airport at 3:40 p.m.; after claiming of baggage, you will be transferred to the pier and board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.

    PLEASE NOTE: Cruising itineraries are subject to last minute changes due to weather and other unpredictable situations. Your ship director will keep you informed.

    Enjoy dinner in the dining room, followed by an introduction of Ship Safety and then an evening at your leisure.
    • Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, Deluxe Cabin, Main Deck
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Dinner

    Day 6: Xian - Shanghai

    You will have the Xiling Gorge Viewing – (the Three Gorges Dam sits in the first part of the Xiling Gorge) is the longest of the Gorges, measuring some 76 kilometers (47 miles) in length. One of the most memorable passages in the Xiling Gorge is through the Yellow Ox Gorge (Huangniu Xia) where the river widens and sweeps under the Huangling Temple that stands amid groves of orange and pomelo trees (a variety of citrus related to the grapefruit).

    Then you will arrive at the Three Gorges Dam Project site and embark on a tour of the area (this tour will serve as a general introduction to the project site, which, currently, is the world’s largest engineering project).

    The Three Gorges Dam Project was started in 1992 and will be completed and operational in the near future. The dam will be the largest dam on earth, generating 18,200 megawatts of hydroelectricity (almost 50% more than the world’s current largest dam, the Itaipu Dam in Brazil and Paraguay). The dam will be 1.2 miles in length and measure 600 feet (185 meters) in height. The dam will have 26 generators that, once in operation, will generate enough clean energy to reduce China’s reliance of highly polluting coal by up to 50 million tons annually. The dam will submerge 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,352 villages and over 600 industrial factories not to mention the more than 1,200 archeological projects and the 1.2 million people that will be resettled as a result of the flooding.

    After lunch, enjoy activities on the cruise. Followed by Captain’s Welcome Reception – meet with the Captain and other Department head of the ship.

    • Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, Deluxe Cabin, Main Deck
    • Meal Plan: enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner onboard.

    Day 7: Shanghai

    This morning you will disembark from the ship (at Badong) get onboard a ferryboat and then be transfer on to a local longboats (Sampan) poled by Tujia boatmen. The scenery is unrivaled anywhere along the middle course of the River, crystalline waters, rich forest and towering rock formations (the original landscape little altered for thousands of years). The Shennong region is home to several species of endangered flora and fauna including the elusive Golden Hair Monkey and many varieties of medicinal plants.

    The ship will cruise through the unusual mountain landscapes of Wu (“Witches”) Gorge.

    The ship will enter the Qutang Gorge through the majestic Kui Men, two imposing cliffs, which resemble a towering door into some otherworldly destination. Just 8 kilometers (6 miles) in length, the Qutang Gorge is the narrowest stretch of the river on your cruise itinerary, only 150 meters (485 feet) at its widest point. The banks are guarded by sheer cliffs soaring 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) in height while the river water gushes forward channeled along by the great force built up at the Kui Men which marks the western extremity of the gorge.

    Once the ship has cleared the Qutang Gorge it enters the upper course of the river, from here the Yangtze begins its last major phase the journey to its source, high on the icy plateau which dominates Tibet and Qing Hai province.

    • Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, Deluxe Cabin, Main Deck
    • Meal Plan: enjoy Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner onboard.

    Day 8: Shanghai - Zhujiajiao - Shanghai

    Today you will disembark for a shore excursion to Fengdu, a charming river village noted for its elaborate Daoist temple and bustling markets. During the Tang Dynasty, two princely families, the Yin (Hell) and Wang (King) were joined in marriage. They then became the Yinwang (King of Hell). Since that time, local residents of Fengdu have believed that the town is populated by ghosts.

    During your stop here, you will visit a relocated family and a local market.

    Alternatively depending on water levels and weather conditions, you may disembark for a shore excursion in Wanzhou. Located 360 kilometers downstream from Chongqing and spreading out over both banks of the river, this mountain city is known as the gateway to the East Sichuan Basin.

    The city received its name during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and became a Foreign Treaty Port in 1902. A visit to the village is a shore excursion that will provide a unique glimpse into one of China's remote communities. Gain insight in to the ways of the village, mingle with the locals, see how they live and visit a rural family home as well as the local market.

    Following your excursion, you will return to the ship and continue westward to Chongqing, your final port of call on this Yangzi cruise.

    • Accommodation: Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, Deluxe Cabin, Main Deck
    • Meal Plan: enjoy Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner onboard.

    Day 9: Yangzi River

    Enjoy breakfast onboard. You will disembark in Chongqing, the key city of southwest China where they enjoy a brief tour of the city (if time permits).

    Depart for the Stilwell Museum (if time permits) that is dedicated to General Joseph Stilwell for the time he served as commander-in-Chief of the American forces. The Museum is located in the actual house occupied by General Stilwell during the war.

    You will then be transferred to Chongqing Airport for flight MF#8404 departs at 11.45 a.m.

    On arrival Guilin Airport at 12:55 p.m.; after claiming of baggage, you will be transferred to Shangri-la Hotel Guilin. In this afternoon, you are at leisure to stroll around the Guilin city.

    With more than 2,000 years of history, Guilin is one of the most beautiful places in China and is set amidst verdant mountains and elegant waters.

    • Hotel: Guilin Bravo Hotel, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 10: Yangzi River

    This morning you will be driven to the Yangdi pier where they will enjoy bamboo rafting on Li River. The drive to Yangdi pier takes 1 hour and 30 minutes (subject to traffic conditions).

    En route to Yangdi pier, you will visit a village and fields. Then you will have bamboo rafting on Li River from Yangdi pier to Xingping pier. The bamboo rafting lasts for 2 hours and 2 persons per 1 bamboo raft. Kindly note your local guide will wait for you at the pier. You will enjoy the scenic highlights which are considered the most picturesque region around Guilin. There is an old saying in Chinese, “The scenery of Guilin is the finest under heaven, the scenery of Yangshuo surpasses that of Guilin”.

    While generations of Chinese poets and painters have celebrated the natural splendor of the Li River, its beauty continues to charm visitors. The forests of pinnacles are just one part of the region’s appeal - feathery groves of bamboo, hill slopes terraced with orange trees and tea bushes and riverside villages of daub and thatch complete this idyllic scene.

    • Lunch at local restaurant.

    You will transfer to Yangshuo where they can enjoy some time exploring the town’s cobble streets, west street, and the market.

    • Hotel: Guilin Bravo Hotel, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 11: Yangzi River,br />

    This morning, you will then be transferred to Guilin Airport for flight CZ#6375 departs at 8.05 a.m. On arrival Xian Airport at 09:50 p.m.; after claiming of baggage, you will be transferred for lunch.

    Enjoy lunch at local restaurant or airport restaurant.

    After lunch, take a walk through Xian’s Muslim Quarter en route to the mosque. The Great Mosque, one of the most interesting sites in a city known for its rich history. While the Buddhist traditions of Chinese culture are well known to most visitors, the influence exerted by Islam is not. Yet, of the religious beliefs within China today, no one can claim the strength of belief that Islam does.

    Then, you will continue to visit the Ancient gate of city walls for some picturesque views of the old city with cycling. Xian is one of the few cities in China today to preserve its wall. The present walls were constructed during the Ming dynasty (actual construction is believed to have occurred between 1374-1378) and have provided Xian with an effective means of defense against attack including a lengthy siege of the city in the 1920’s by hostile warlord armies. Afterwards, you will be transferred to hotel.

    • Jianguo Hotel, Xian, Standard Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 12: Yangzi River

    In this early morning, you will visit to what is rightfully called the greatest of all archeological sites in China; the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Dig located in Ling tong County. The drive from the hotel takes 45 minutes (subject to traffic conditions).

    The Terra-Cotta site is made up of three distinct dig “pits”; the Bronze Chariot Hall; and a theatre in the round showing a short film on the history of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (220 BC - 209 BC) and the construction of his mausoleum. The site represents just a portion of a greater funerary site that would include the tomb and satellite tombs of the emperor and his retinue.

    Enjoy lunch at local restaurant

    After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport with enroute visit to Yangling Musuem. The museum opened in 1999 and features recent archeological discoveries from Han dynasty tombs. This small museum represents the culmination of nearby 10 years of excavation work on the area around the tomb of the Han emperor, Jindgi (died 141 B.C.). While the actual imperial tomb of the emperor and chief consort has yet to be opened archeologists have excavated more than 20 “satellite tombs” which have yielded a treasure throve of exquisite funerary pieces.

    Afterwards, you will be transferred to Xian Airport for flight MU#2167 departs at 5.00 p.m. On arrival Shanghai Airport at 7:05 p.m.; after claiming of baggage, you will be transferred to hotel.

    • Central Hotel Shanghai, Superior Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 13: Yangzi River - Chongqing - Guilin

    After breakfast, start a tour to the Water Village of Zhujiajiao. Located in west Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is a well-preserved ancient town on the lower reaches of the Yangzi River. Little stone bridges span small rivers with willow trees planted on both sides. The ‘Setting-fish-free Bridge’ in Zhujiajiao Town is the best among all stone bridges in the Shanghai area. On the bridge there is a stone tablet carved with 8 coiling dragons encircling a shining pearl that looks very much alive.

    This afternoon, you are at leisure to explore Shanghai at your own pace.

    This evening you will enjoy the Acrobatic show for a thrilling and colorful spectacle put on by one of the troupes associated with the Shanghai Acrobatic Circus.

    • Central Hotel Shanghai, Superior Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast

    Day 14: Guilin

    Begin the morning with a visit to Yu Garden, a 16th century Ming period private garden / residence built by a high official to honor his mother. Further on, you can enjoy a walk in the old city of Shanghai.

    From here, you will proceed to the Old Town of Shanghai. This Chinese city is the oldest inhabited part of Shanghai. Here the streets are narrow and crowded with street hawkers and shops. The current restoration of the city area has focused on the Ming period cityscape (16th century). The first city wall was erected during the Ming dynasty (1553) to defend the growing settlement from the frequent raids made by marauding fleets of Japanese pirates (which harassed the coastal cities of China and Korea during this period). The centre of the old city is a large pond surrounded by traditional Ming style structures (with swallow tail roof eaves curving in a distinctive manner) including the Wu Teahouse and several popular Shanghainese restaurants and snack shops.

    Next, they will visit the Bund, which parallels the course of the Huangpu River. The term “bund” is an Anglo-Indian term meaning quay or embankment. During the early years of Shanghai’s growth in the late 19th century, English engineers built up the Huangpu Rivers banks to receive cargo shops and freighters, which became known as “bunding”.

    Enjoy lunch at local restaurant

    After lunch, they will visit M-50 Contemporary Art District. The district was originally an area of derelict warehouses located along the banks of the Suzhou Creek but over the past three years it has attracted the attention of leading painters, gallerists and designers and also the Shanghai City Government which has invested in developing and adding some aesthetic touches to the rougher edges – the area has some fine galleries (Shang Art and Art Scene China) as well as shops (Shanghai Biz) and cafes.

    • Central Hotel Shanghai, Superior Room
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 15: Guilin - Hong Kong

    You will be transferred to airport, and will be assisted with your check-in for your departure on your flight back to Russia (client’s own ticket).

    • * Hotel’s official check out time is at 12.00 noon
    • Meal Plan: Breakfast


    To book or customise this itinerary call: 01227 671 154

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