China Essential & Panda

Duration: 10 nights escorted tour

Price from: £2348pp

Beijing 3 nights
Xi’an 2 nights
Chengdu 2 nights
Shanghai 3 nights

Day 1: Fly to Beijing.

Days 2 Beijing: On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If time allows step out to explore the surrounding area before meeting your fellow travellers at dinner.

Day 3 Beijing: This morning visit the Temple of Heaven, where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped, and whilst there observe the tradition of practising Tai Chi in the courtyard. Continue to Tiananmen Square for a stroll before visiting the Forbidden City, then finally stop at the Hutongs for a personal insight into the everyday life of traditional Beijing citizens.

Day 4 Beijing: Begin with a visit to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, one of the best-preserved parts of the wall, which offers all round stunning views and a less crowded atmosphere. On your return to Beijing, stop for photographs at the Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube. This evening, enjoy a sumptuous Peking Duck dinner, a traditional delicacy and a culinary must in Beijing!

Day 5 Beijing/Xi'an: This morning visit the Summer Palace which has a grand collection of lakes, gardens and palaces. Afterwards enjoy a relaxing boat ride on beautiful Kunming Lake before catching the bullet train to Xi'an (approximately 5 hours 30 minutes).

Day 6 Xi'an: Visit the Terracotta Warriors, a stunning collection of 10,000 life size statues of the Chinese army made over 2,000 years ago, yet preserved almost perfectly. This is followed by a visit to the ancient city wall in Xi’an, the most complete city wall surviving in China and can be toured either on foot or by bike. This evening, sample a delicious dumpling dinner while you watch a Tang Dynasty Show, a colourful performance of traditional music and dance.

Day 7 Xi’an/Chengdu: Today’s first stop is the Shaanxi Museum, which has over a quarter of a million artefacts on display. This is followed by a trip to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, to discover China’s unique architectural style, and a visit to the Muslim Quarter for a glimpse of local life. Finally, you will be transferred to the station for the bullet train to Chengdu. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Day 8 Chengdu: At leisure to explore Chengdu independently. Perhaps explore the old town, or relax in People’s Park where you can watch the locals play mahjong or practise Tai Chi.

Day 9 Chengdu/Shanghai: Today’s first stop will be the renowned Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre. Here, natural habitats have been created to provide the best possible environment for rearing and breeding the once endangered pandas. Afterward, you will be transferred to the airport for a flight to the buzzing metropolis of Shanghai.

Day 10 Shanghai: The first attraction of the day is the centuries old Yu Yuan Gardens, first constructed in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty and home to beautiful pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards and flowers. Next stop is the Jade Buddha Temple where you can marvel at impressive temples, both historical and modern, housing large, intricate sculptures of Buddha. Later, spend time at the Shanghai Museum and then visit the waterfront Bund. Finally, get a bird's eye view of the city from the top of Shanghai's World Financial Centre.

Day 11 Zhujiajiao: Travel to the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao, which has a history stretching over 1,700 years. See the Ming and Qing Dynasty bridges and the Ma Family Garden before returning to Shanghai. The afternoon is at leisure for independent sightseeing.

Day 12 Shanghai: Your tour concludes with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

Departures: Tours depart on fixed dates and are operated by Links Travel & Tours. Please ask for details.

Accommodation: 4* hotels

Meals: All meals (excluding beverages) are included except days 5, 7, 9 & 11 when dinner is not included; and day 8 when lunch & dinner are not included.

Group size: Links Travel & Tours offer small group tours (guaranteed departures) up to a maximum of 20 people. Tour still departs even if only two passengers are travelling.

Tour prices: The prices shown include return international flights from the UK, onward internal flights throughout the tours, bullet train travel, transfers and sightseeing by coach, services of an English speaking guide, entrance fees and accommodation in tour hotels. Private tours and upgraded accommodation available at a supplement.

Guides & tipping: Groups of 10 people or more will be provided with the services of a Tour Manager who will accompany the tour throughout in combination with local city guides. For your convenience, a compulsory amount to cover tips for guides, drivers and porterage will be collected from you by your guide at the start of the tour (generally around £4 per person per day).

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