The Wonders of China    *alt*

14 days, from £2795
Great Rail Journeys
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A stunning trip visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and Guilin
Take a captivating journey through time as we embark on an enthralling discovery of China's cultural highlights. Boasting ancient, natural and modern wonders, we travel from vibrant Beijing to the iconic Terracotta Warriors, the rural idyll and majestic limestone peaks of Guilin, and the superb architectural legacies of cosmopolitan Shanghai.

Tour Highlights
* Excursion to Beijing's, Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City
* Excursion to Beijing's Temple of Heaven
* Excursion to the Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors
* Visit to the Longmen Grottoes
* Cruise on the River Li to Yuangshuo
* Visit to Hangzhou's Lingyin Temple
* Cruise on West Lake
* Guided tours of Shanghai
* Shanghai Museum

What's Included
* Standard Class Rail
* Breakfast Every Day Selected Evening Meals 12 Nights' Accommodation
* Return Scheduled Flights Upgrades Available


 Days 1-2 To Beijing

We depart from London to Beijing, arriving on Day 2 when we visit one of Beijing's spectacular monuments, the Temple of Heaven, a perfect example of Beijing's rich blend of ancient and modern. As well as having great historical significance, the Temple of Heaven is these days a popular meeting spot for local residents. We then continue to the Novotel Peace Hotel. Includes:In-flight MealDay 2 - DinnerDay 2 - Temple of HeavenScheduled flights

 Day 3 Discovering Beijing

Today's sightseeing tour takes us through Beijing's rich and resonant past, starting at Tiananmen Square, site of the infamous 1989 student led protests. Here we see the Memorial Hall, including Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People - a remarkable symbol of Chinese pride and identity. We then visit the remarkable Forbidden City, the jewel in Beijing's crown. Boasting over 1,000 rooms, the complex is one of the city's most iconic monuments. Includes:Breakfast, LunchTour of Beijing

 Day 4 The Great Wall of China

Today we transfer by coach to Mutianyu, where we visit China's most famous structure - the Great Wall. Stretching from the Gobi Desert to the Korean border, the Great Wall is a masterpiece of ancient craftsmanship. We ascend by cable-car at Mutianyu, to visit an immaculately preserved stretch, admiring the dramatic views. Later we visit the 'Bird's Nest' and 'Water Cube', both prominent arenas in the 2008 Olympics before a dinner of delicious Peking Duck. Includes:Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerExcursion to The Great WallVisits to 2008 Olympic Sites

 Days 5-6 Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

Leaving Beijing, we travel by high-speed train to Xian for two nights at the Grand Mercure Hotel. On Day 6 we visit the world renowned Terracotta Warriors. Uncovered in 1974, the 6,000 life-sized figures were created in about 210BC on the command of the first Emperor of China to guard him in death. The figures show an astonishing level of detail, including individual expressions, and are arranged according to rank. We have time to explore this enthralling site before returning to Xian for a guided tour of its centuries-old landmarks. Among the highlights, we see the huge city walls which date to the Ming Dynasty and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. Tonight we enjoy a traditional dumpling banquet. Includes:Day 5 - Breakfast Day 6 - Breakfast, lunch, dinnerDay 6 - Terracotta WarriorsDay 6 - Tour of Xi'an

 Days 7-8 The Longmen Grottoes and Guilin

We travel by train to Luoyang, an ancient fortress city with a culture spanning centuries. Here we visit the magnificent Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. More than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha have been hewn from the limestone walls in this wonderful series of caves, making them one of China's most prized Buddhist treasure. Later we drive to Zhengzhou, for a night at the Aloft Hotel. On Day 8 we take the high-speed rail service through rural China to Guilin, where we spend two nights at the Park Hotel. Includes:Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerExcursion to Longmen GrottoesDay 7 - Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDay 8 - Breakfast, Dinner

 Day 9 River Li Cruise

This morning we take to the River Li to admire some the spellbinding riverside scenery. In addition to the idyllic rural scenes, the journey takes us through the region's majestic karst rock formations - a unique landscape, covered in tropical greenery, that seems almost otherworldly. The conical rocks and prominent limestone peaks tower well above the trees, providing an unforgettable backdrop to the gentle farmland and bamboo-lined rice fields - a truly breathtaking sight. We follow the azure river to Yuangshuo, a charming town with a core of traditional architecture. The enviable surroundings of this stunning place are ingrained in the Chinese consciousness; not only have they been immortalised by countless poets and artists, but they also feature on much of the currency. After time to explore the town with its selection of craft shops and pretty pavement cafes, we make our way back to Guilin. Includes:Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerRiver Li Cruise

 Days 10-11 Hangzhou and West Lake

Today we leave Guilin and take the short internal flight to Hangzhou. Situated at the head of the broad Hangzhou Bay, the city is celebrated across China for its beautiful natural scenery. We stay for two nights at the Courtyard by Marriott Wulin Hotel, and after settling in, your afternoon is free to relax in this historical city. On Day 11 we discover more of Hangzhou's wonderful attractions on a guided tour. We begin with a visit to Lingyin Temple, also known as the "Temple of the Soul's Retreat" thanks to its delightfully peaceful surroundings in a long, narrow valley. The temple is one of the oldest and most culturally significant Buddhist structures in all of China, and is a delight to explore. Following lunch in a local restaurant, we enjoy a cruise on the stunning West Lake. Surrounded by willow trees, and scattered with bridges, pagodas and tiny islands accessible by causeways, West Lake presents visitors with all the classic trademark views of the Orient. It also enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status, due to the rare examples of architecture on display. Your afternoon is then free for you to continue exploring the lake. Includes:Free DayLingyin TempleDay 10 - Breakfast, DinnerDay 11 - Breakfast, Lunch

 Days 12-13 Shanghai

We make the short journey by train to Shanghai, a dynamic, fast-paced city, and a heady mix of ultra-modernisation and grand colonial architecture. We stay here for two nights at the Grand Mercure Zhongya. Later we enjoy an introductory tour of Shanghai, visiting the Shanghai Museum, a distinctive building that houses a wonderful collection of ancient Chinese art. Then we continue to the Bund, one of Shanghai's most iconic locations. Here the dazzling buildings tower over the broad boulevard alongside the Huangpu River. We have lunch in a local restaurant, and afterwards you are at leisure in this exciting metropolis. Our sightseeing on Day 13 includes the serene Yu Garden, nestled within the bazaar, Shanghai's historic core. We also explore the surrounding tangle of streets before heading to the delightful French Concession this afternoon. Later we visit the traffic free Xintiandi district, where you can relax in one of the charming cafes. Includes:Day 12 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner Day 13 - Breakfast, Lunch

 Day 14 Return to London

Today we transfer to the airport for the flight back to London. Includes:Day 14 - BreakfastScheduled flights