ULTIMATE CHINA


BEIJING | XI'AN | CHENGDU | YANGTZE RIVER
SHANGHAI

DAY 1 Outbound international flight to Beijing.

Stay: Aman at Summer Palace (3 nights)
​DAYS 2-3 ​Beijing

Beijing is the seat of communist power in China, where a bizarre mix of architecture – think underground bomb shelters (a remnant of the paranoid 1970s) to temples shaded by sky-high glass towers, via Soviet-style monuments – makes for a mercurial experience. The 2008 Olympics gave the city a lick of shiny new paint with a legacy that includes wonderful stadia as well as pumped-up global interest, but there is still oodles of historical and local charm. Residents will still sit and play chess on street corners, apparently unaffected by the colossal grandeur of everything that surrounds them
​DAYS 4-6 Beijing to Xi'an
Journey Time: 3 hours

Xi'an's best sights are within the old city walls – including the huge walls themselves. The four great fortified gates open each morning to the ringing of a great bell and close each night to the sound of a huge drum; the 14th-century Bell and Drum towers are especially impressive. 

But by far the biggest reason to visit Xi'an lies about 24 miles outside the city – the Terracotta Army, the thousands of life-size clay warriors in a huge underground vault. Each figure is different, and the level of detail will send shivers down your spine!

Stay: Shangri-la Xi'an (3 nights)
​DAYS 7-8 Xi'an to Chengdu
Journey Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province (famous for its spicy cuisine) is a lovely city of tree-lined avenues, half-timbered houses, pagodas and teahouses… as well as the excellent Giant Panda Research Centre.

Stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu (2 nights)
​DAYS 9-11 ​Chengdu to Chongqing
Journey Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Chongqing is called "mountain city" by the local and is the departure city for many of the Yangtze Rivers cruise ships but it also has much to offer. This tour combines some of China's most spectacular scenery, cultural treasures and historical sites with the spectacular Yangtze Cruise in four days.

Stay: M.S. Yangzi Explorer (​3 nights)
DAY 12​ ​Yichang to Shanghai
Journey Time: 3 hours

Shanghai, is all big and bold and shiny and arguably China's most dynamic, cosmopolitan city – helped in part by its history as a playground of the Orient. Capitalism is the name of the game here, and no more evident than when taking in the fantasy-turned-reality skyline of Pudong. But this being China, history still lingers – a 10th-century Buddhist monastery turning up down a little alley tucked between the skyscrapers. 

Stay: Park Hyatt Shanghai (3 nights)
​DAY 15 Depart Shanghai on your international flight back to London Heathrow.
​PRICES 14 nights from ​£7,250 per person

DISCOVER CHINA


BEIJING | LIJIANG | HANGZHOU | SHANGHAI
HONG KONG

DAY 1 Outbound international flight to Beijing.

Stay: The Opposite House (3 nights)
​DAYS 2-3 ​Beijing

Beijing is the seat of communist power in China, where a bizarre mix of architecture – think underground bomb shelters (a remnant of the paranoid 1970s) to temples shaded by sky-high glass towers, via Soviet-style monuments – makes for a mercurial experience. The 2008 Olympics gave the city a lick of shiny new paint with a legacy that includes wonderful stadia as well as pumped-up global interest, but there is still oodles of historical and local charm. Residents will still sit and play chess on street corners, apparently unaffected by the colossal grandeur of everything that surrounds them
​DAYS 4-6 ​Beijing to Lijiang
Journey Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Charming Lijiang, a World Heritage Site in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with traffic-free cobbled streets and Naxi flute music drifting through the air. Its main street is bisected by a stream spanned by stone bridges; at night floating candles drift past red lanterns outside restaurants, where staff sing in good-natured rivalry. Head into the mountains and you pass through fabled 'Shangri-La', eventually reaching Lhasa at a heady 12,000 ft above sea level. It's dominated by the famous Potala Palace, home to successive Dalai Lamas from the 7th century. The heart of old Tibet is the Barkhor, its streets teeming with pilgrims surrounding the Jokhang Temple, the region's holiest shrine.

Stay: Amandayan (3 nights)
​DAYS 7-9 ​​Lijiang to Hangzhou
Journey Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Hangzhou, on the Yangtze River Delta, is another urban jungle, where ancient and new collide with fascinating results, illustrating a cultural and financial prosperity spanning 1000 years. West Lake, in its historic centre, is its adored star attraction. And taking the pace down a notch or three, Yunnan is China’s most south-western province and is remote and mountainous: a treasure trove of beauty, and home to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the jaw-dropping limestone columns of the Stone Forest.

Stay: Amanfayun (3 nights)
​DAYS 10-11 ​Hangzhou to Shanghai
Journey time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Shanghai, is all big and bold and shiny and arguably China's most dynamic, cosmopolitan city – helped in part by its history as a playground of the Orient. Capitalism is the name of the game here, and no more evident than when taking in the fantasy-turned-reality skyline of Pudong. But this being China, history still lingers – a 10th-century Buddhist monastery turning up down a little alley tucked between the skyscrapers. 

Stay: The Peninsula Shanghai (2 nights)
​DAYS 12-14 ​Shanghai to Hong Kong
Journey Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

It's known as an overwhelming mile-a-minute metropolis where high-end shopping and fine dining are almost national sports, but Hong Kong also has a quieter side.

South Hong Kong Island has Aberdeen: home to the local fishing fleet; Stanley: a busy resort well-known for its beach, restaurants and market; and HK's most famous beach: Repulse Bay. Nearby Ocean Park: an award-winning marine mammal, oceanarium and animal theme park, is great for families too.

The north is the 'real' Hong Kong, though: the iconic high-rise cityscape surrounding Victoria Harbour. At its heart are the impressive Statue Square, Man Mo Temple, and beautiful Hong Kong Park. The city's soaring towers are best seen from Victoria Peak: easily reached by the funicular railway and with dancing fountains, shopping gallery and waxworks at the top. The vista's always spectacular, especially at night.

Stay: The Peninsula Hong Kong (3 nights)
​DAY 15 ​​Depart Hong Kong on your international flight back to London Heathrow.
​PRICES ​14 nights from £6,815 per person

 
​​TOP TIPS​

 
Brilliant Beijing The capital has some of China's grandest attractions: the Forbidden City, a vast complex of courtyards, halls and pavilions with 9999 rooms; the Imperial Summer Palace, with its beautiful gardens; and Tiananmen Square, surrounded by the Great Hall, National Museum and Mao's Memorial Hall.

 

 

 
Hit the Wall You can't visit China without seeing the Great Wall – and from Beijing most head for the stretch at Badaling (the Mutianyu section is a little further but less crowded!). Dating from 221BC, it's almost 4000 miles long

 

 

 
Panda Party Chengdu is a laid-back city of tree-lined avenues and traditional tea-house culture. But its biggest draw is the giant pandas at the nearby research centre. Morning and late afternoon are when they're most active, and autumn is best for seeing cubs – and possibly even handling one!

 

 

 
Dream River Don't miss the visually breathtaking limestone peaks and spires of the journey down the Li River from Guilin. It's a dream-like, fairytale landscape, complete with fishermen clicking signals to their tame cormorants to bring in their daily catch.

 

 

 
Where Time Stands Still Lijiang is a delight – a time capsule town with cobbled streets and traditional life in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Dayan (in the old town) is particularly charming, with narrow streets bisected by streams spanned by stone bridges.

 

 

 
Sizzling Shanghai Shanghai has always had a reputation for glamour built around The Bund. The grand colonial waterfront was once home to banks, newspapers and consulates and now buzzes with galleries, boutiques and the most amazing restaurants.

 

 

 
Secret Army The city of Xi'an is the epicentre of early China, and a fantastic destination. But most visitors now come for the incredible Terracotta Army. Found in the 1970s, the original chamber has 6000 warriors, each one different and with spine-tingling detail.

 

 

 
What a View! Hong Kong's soaring skyline is best seen from its most popular attraction, Victoria Peak: easily reached by the Peak Tram and with dancing fountains, shopping gallery and waxworks at the top. The vista's always spectacular – especially at night.

 

Request a call back

Or get in touch 01244 567000