Golden China    *alt*

19 days, from £3680
CTS Horizons
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With our expertise of tours in China, we seek to show our guests not just the main sites but aspects of the country that are beyond the reach of more conventional itineraries. The splendours of The Imperial Beijing, the astonishing Terracotta Army in Xian, the sophistication of cosmopolitan Shanghai, the renowned Mandarin gardens of Suzhou and the elegant and serene beauty of Hangzhou are naturally included. Added to this is a splendid excursion to the provincial market town of Chengde, the summer resort favoured by the Manchu Emperors.

* Chairlift ride to Bangchui Peak
* 2-night stay in stunning Yangshuo
* Grand Canal and Li River cruises
* Overnight stay at heritage scholars Hotel Suzhou Pingjiangfu


 Day 1 London - Beijing

Depart Heathrow at around 1630 on the non-stop British Airways flight to Beijing.

 Day 2 Beijing 3 nights

Arrive Beijing and transfer to the 4-star Jianguo Hotel or similar described as 'an Englishman's club' by a frequent visitor. Visit the quaint hutong quarter by Lake Houhai. Enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)

 Day 3 Beijing

Visit the Summer Palace where the Emperors went to escape the heat of the city. Set around the beautiful Kunming Lake, the flowering arbours and delightful pavilions create a tranquil setting. Back in the city visit the ornate Lama and the serene Confucius Temples. Evening optional Beijing Opera performance. (BLD)

 Day 4 Beijing

Morning stroll in Tiananmen Square follwed by a visit to the Forbidden City, the complex of imperial palaces which were home to the Emperors for over 500 years. Grand halls and courtyards gradually give way to more intimate domestic quarters, giving a glimpse into the pampered isolation of the Emperors. Visit the Temple of Heaven, an exquisite example of Ming architecture. Tonight we are guests at a traditional Peking Duck dinner. (BLD)

 Day 5 Beijing - Chengde 2 nights

Morning drive to the Jinshanling area of the Great Wall, one of the most spectacular and least visited sections. The fortified towers stand majestically amidst the surrounding undulating mountains. We admire this stunning scenery, an experience that can rarely be enjoyed by visiting other parts of the Great Wall. On arrival in Chengde transfer to the 4-star Jiahe International Hotel or similar. (BLD)

 Day 6 Chengde

Visit the magnificent temples of Puning and Putuozongcheng, built in imitation of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Visit the 'Mountain Resort', the summer residence of the Qing Emperors. After lunch enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Bangcui Peak from a relaxing chair-lift ride as we pass over the roof-tops of the Pule Temple. (BLD)

 Day 7 Beijing - Xian 2 nights

Drive to Beijing and fly to Xian and the 4-star (officially 5-star) Grand New World Hotel or similar. (BL)

 Day 8 Xian

The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century. Guarding the burial place is a vast Terracotta Army of 7000 life-sized figures, individually-crafted and complete with chariots and horses. Also visit the Grand Mosque, the lively Muslim quarter and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Optional evening Tang-era music and dance dinner show. (BL)

 Day 9 Xian - Guilin 1 night

Visit the Ming City Wall and Hanyanling Museum where the Han 'Lady Warriors' are displayed before flying to Guilin and the 4-star Bravo Hotel. (BL)

 Day 10 Guilin - Yangshuo 2 nights

Take the scenic Li River cruise to Yangshuo and drift gently through magical landscapes which have inspired some of the most famous Chinese poetry and paintings. Browse through Yangshuo's colourful shops and stay at the superb Yangshuo Resort. Admire impressive scenery at the sunset view point. Optional spectacular son et lumiere show performed on the river by a cast of 600. (BLD)

 Day 11 Yangshuo

Walk along the lovely Yulong River. Visit a local farmer's house and continue to Jiuxian village. After lunch visit the extraordinary Silver Cave. (BL)

 Day 12 Guilin - Hangzhou 1 night

Return to Guilin and fly to Hangzhou and stay at the Zhejiang Grand hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. Optional 'Impressions of Hangshou' show. (B)

 Day 13 Hangzhou - Suzhou 2 nights

Take a boat trip on West Lake surrounded by idyllic gardens. Visit the delightful garden and manor of a former Qing nobleman, and explore the colourful shops along Cultural Street. Drive to Suzhou for an exclusive stay at the charming heritage hotel, Scholars Hotel Suzhou Pingjiangfu. (BD)

 Day 14 Suzhou

Visit the ancient city gate at Panmen and the Garden of the Master of the Nets. Explore the bustling old town and continue to a silk mill to see the ancient technique involved in producing the region's silks. Enjoy an evening cruise on the Grand Canal to Marco Polo Bridge to admire the prettily illuminated waterways. (BL)

 Day 15 Suzhou - Shanghai 2 nights

Drive to Shanghai stopping en route at the pretty canal town of Zhujiajiao. Enjoy lunch by the waterside. Arrive Shanghai and the 4-star Central Hotel, a stone's throw from Nanjing Road. Optional evening cruise on the Huangpu River. (BL)

 Day 16 Shanghai

Visit the elegant Yuyuan Garden. Opposite is the Huxing Teahouse and old Chinese quarter of Shanghai where cobbled streets are lined with traditional shops selling herbal medicines, handicrafts, Chinese tea and a variety of tantalising snacks. We sample a Shanghai 'dim sum' lunch at the quarter's most famous restaurant and spend the afternoon exploring the colourful bazaar. Admire bird's eye views from the Oriental Pearl Tower (weather permitting). (BLD)

 Day 17 Shanghai - Hong Kong 2 nights

Visit the excellent Shanghai Museum. Fly to Hong Kong and CTS's own superior Metropark Causeway Bay Hotel or similar. (BL)

 Day 18 Hong Kong

Enjoy the many attractions of this city at your own pace. (Optional full-day sightseeing bookable locally).

 Day 19 Hong Kong - London

Board the late evening non-stop British Airways flight back to London and arrive London Heathrow following day at 0455. ( Day 20)