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The Plaza Grande in Quito is absolutely fabulous, the Royal Palm in the Galapagos is the best hotel we ever stayed in; the chef is outstanding, his meals are some of the best we ever had. Did you know that Prince Charles stayed there when he visited the islands? We are sure that the service we received was just as good as his. We had a marvelous time in the Galapagos and it was living a dream.
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A Voyage through China past and present

This all inclusive voyage through ancient and modern China allows you to see life through the eyes of an Emperor one day and that of a common person the next. You shall retrace your steps back to over 2200 years one day and jump forward to how the future may look in another. You will explore a more remote and unspoiled part of the Great Wall of China, get close up to the Terra Cotta Warriors, practise your Tai Chi and enjoy a cruise down the Yangtze River With excellent hotel selection, internal flights and a private guide, discover China at your own pace.
13 Days/12 NightsBeijing - Xian - Yangtze - Shanghai

ITINERARY
Day 1. Beijing
Arrival in Beijing, reception and transfer to your hotel.
Beijing is a city of contrasts , an ancient capital with some incredible historical sites, and a bustling modern metropolis which hosted the 2008 Olympics.
Free day to rest and recover. We have arranged a body massage to help you relax. Your guide will meet you and take you to a popular local restaurant to sample some of the delights of Beijing's great food culture.

Day 2. Beijing (B, L & D)
After breakfast, your guide will accompany you to visit the Great Wall -Mutianyu Section which has unique characteristics compared to the other sections of the wall. It is situated among beautiful landscapes.
This section is formed by three connected watch towers and has a comfortable cable car ride to the top. You can choose to come down by toboggan if you dare. Lunch is at local restaurant near the Wall.
In the afternoon, you will be taught simple Chinese language and explained the culture in a 2 hour class at a Tea House where local people enjoy meeting their friends. The experienced bilingual teacher will teach you the simple but practical words and phrases and introduce you to local culture. Dinner is at Quanjude Restaurant, which serves possibly the best Peking duck in China.

Day 3. Beijing (B, L & D)
After breakfast, you will experience an ancient Emperor's daily life. First you will visit the Forbidden City, from where the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties governed for over 500 years. The magnificent and solemn palace will feed your imagination with the life of Chinese emperors past. We have arranged a private viewing of the Treasure Houses of the Qing Dynasty royalty and Hall of Clocks and Watches. These areas are off limits to most tour groups. Lunch at the famous local restaurant-Wahaha.
In the afternoon, you continue to Tiananmen Square, the symbol of Beijing.
You will have a fabulous imperial dinner at Beihai Park. All dishes are selected from the favorite foods of the Ming & Qing Royal family and served in a famous old restaurant in the park.

Day 4. Beijing (B, L & D)
After tasting the royal lifestyle yesterday, today will be a wonderful opportunity to experience the lives of Chinese people today. We begin by joining the thousands of old people at the Temple of Heaven as they practice their Tai Chi. Afterwards we head off to take a rickshaw ride to Hutongs where you will visit the local flea market. You may find some interesting things and practice your bargaining skills. After a local lunch, rest in a local house in the Hutong and review the Chinese words and sentences you have learnt previously. Talk with a family if you like. Under the watchful eye of a 70 year old Grandma you can learn the ancient art of Chinese knot tying. Finish the day with a spectacular Kongfu show. Dinner.

Day 5. Beijing - Xian (B, L & D)
After breakfast, a free morning to explore more of the city or to sample some of Beijing's shopping. Transfer to the airport for the early afternoon flight to Xian. Arrival and transfer to your hotel. Dinner.

Day 6. Xian (B & D)
After breakfast, you will set off for on an incredible voyage to see the 2200 year-old Terra cotta warriors which are part of the underground tomb of the Emperor Qin. With over 7000 figures, adorned in full battle array they are all housed in several large pits. Many of the figures, including soldiers, archers, horses and chariots, have been restored. Repairs and excavations continue at the site to this day where you can see both repaired and broken warriors in a truly impressive display.
After the visit, return to the city to taste China's unique food, dumplings. If you are interested, the chef can also show you how they are made. In the afternoon, you will drive to the Grand Mosque which is one of the four grand Islamic mosques in China, over 1,200 years old. One of the highlights of today will be the evening show, which presents the palace dances and songs of the Tang Dynasty when Xi'an was the capital of ancient China. During dinner at the show we include wine with your meal and invite you to sample some of China's famous rice wine.

Day 7. Xian - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise (B, L & D) departing every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday from Mar-Nov
Before setting out for the Yangtze cruise, you have the opportunity to take part in a Tai Chi class. Your guide will supply you with a Tai Chi costume which is yours to keep. Your Tai Chi lesson will be held on the Ancient City Wall, a landmark of Xi'an city. The professional trainer can speak English and he will introduce this martial art to you as a method of relaxation and of enjoying life. For the energetic, we recommend a bike ride along the top of the wall. After lunch at a local restaurant, your guide will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Chongqing. Arrival and transfer to the luxury Victoria Cruise ship. Before boarding we introduce you to the famous Chinese dish"hot pot". Accommodation in a junior suite cabin. The cruise departs at 9PM.
All cruises feature professional, multi-lingual, cruise directors and well-trained local staff; a full range of facilities with excellent cuisine (both Western and Chinese specialties); interesting lectures on history and culture; live entertainment featuring traditional performing arts; and more.
It is equipped with satellite TV (HBO is available), BBC broadcasting, instant fax service and Internet access.

Day 8. Yangtze Cruise - Fengdu (B, L & D)
Travelling down the Yangtze, today's excursion includes a visit to Fengdu where the devil lives, according to Chinese legend. They say that spirits go to heaven, and evil goes to Fengdu. The town is overlooked by Ming Shan Hill, home of Tianzi, the King of the Dead. The whole place has an eerie feel to it with deserted streets, tower blocks, empty shops and banks. The only people here are those who make a living from visiting cruise boats. This new 'island' formation was a direct result of the building of the new Three Gorges Dam Project, the largest dam construction project on earth.

Day 9. Yangtze Cruise - The Lesser Three Gorges (B, L & D)
Today's activities include a shore excursion to the Lesser Three Gorges, three separate valleys of the Daning River: Dragon Gate Gorge, Misty Gorge and Emerald Gorge. These lie on the lower reaches of the Daning River which flows into the Yangtze. The gorges are truly spectacular with sheer cliffs soaring up to the sky from the brown-green water. Mountain tops hover above the ribbon of mist, disconnected from their roots. Monkeys, mandarin ducks and other water birds can be seen loitering on large boulders in this area. In addition to the wonderful natural scenery there are a number of historical places of interest along the way, such as a suspended coffin, boat coffin, and remains of an ancient plank walkway.

Day 10. Yangtze Cruise - Three Gorge Dam - Yichang - Shanghai (B, L & D)
The Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction will be completed in 2009. It will be 2,335 metres long, 185 metres high; 18 metres wide on the top and 130 metres wide at the bottom. You will have access to reach the top of the dam.
Arrival and disembark in Yichang, transfer to the airport for the flight to Shanghai at 4PM. Arrival at 5.30 PM, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 11. Shanghai (B, L & D)
After breakfast you will visit the lovely old Yuyuan Garden, the Shanghai Museum, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the famous Oriental TV Tower (also known as the Pearl Tower, for its distinctive shape). We take you to the very top where you can have wonderful views over Shanghai and the Huang Pu River. In the afternoon, you can have a relaxing walk through the French Concession Region to enjoy the beautiful old homes and gardens. We have arranged to have lunch served in the original old consulate building.

Day 12 Shanghai - Zhouzhuang (B, L & D)
After breakfast, we head out for Zhouzhuang, a town surrounded by water with many branching streams, stone bridges and old residences with black tiles and white wells. You will walk along the best route to visit Shen Family, Zhang Family Twin Bridge and the ancient town. Return drive back to Shanghai in the later afternoon. Private vehicle, entrance fee, lunch and guide included. Dinner at your hotel.

Day 13. Shanghai (B)
After breakfast, you will finish your China voyage with a return trip to Shanghai airport on the Maglev, the first operational high-speed conventional maglev railway in the world, the Shanghai Maglev Train from downtown Shanghai (Shanghai Metro) to the Pudong International Airport. Inaugurated in 2002, the highest speed achieved on the Shanghai track has been 501 km/h (311 mph), over a track length of 30 km. Return back to your hotel before transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

ITINERARY OVERVIEW
13 Days/12 Nights
Day 1. Beijing
Day 2. Beijing (B, L & D)
Day 3. Beijing (B, L & D)
Day 4. Beijing (B, L & D)
Day 5. Beijing - Xian (B, L & D)
Day 6. Xian (B & D)
Day 7. Xian - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise (B, L & D) departing every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday from Mar-Nov
Day 8. Yangtze Cruise - Fengdu (B, L & D)
Day 9. Yangtze Cruise - The Lesser Three Gorges (B, L & D)
Day 10. Yangtze Cruise - Three Gorge Dam - Yichang - Shanghai (B, L & D)
Day 11. Shanghai (B, L & D)
Day 12 Shanghai - Zhouzhuang (B, L & D)
Day 13. Shanghai (B)
PRICE
WHAT IS INCLUDED / NOT INCLUDED
Our price Includes:
The GBP price includes international return flights from London in economy class, accommodation in 5 star deluxe hotels in superior rooms, a junior suite aboard the Yangtze River Cruise, all private tours with an English speaking guide, all entrances fees, transfers in private in a Luxury Mercedes Benz, all meals as indicated in the itinerary, domestic flights in first class and all taxes.
Our price does not include:
Meals not specified and travel insurance are not included. Business class and First class international air ticket quotes provided upon request. The US$ price does not include the international return flights.
Notes
Accommodation subject to hotel/cruise space availability at the time of booking.
Prices are valid from January 2017 to February 2018 but not valid during major holiday periods in China ( January 25 - January 31, May 1-May 3, September 30 - October 7 2017, February 13 - February 19, 2018).
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