The Grand Tour of China

This 14-day voyage will take you on an unforgettable journey through China. From the urban sprawl of Beijing and Shanghai to the rural charm of Yangshuo and the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army. Join us!

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“The best travel experience I've had so far! The guide was very knowledgeable about the destinations and provided us with the best service we could have hoped for. We're already considering our next trip to the South of China!”
C. Hansen

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If you only have two weeks of holidays and it's your first time to China, this is the trip for you. This two-week voyage will give you the very best of China.

Starting in Beijing, we will visit all the classic highlights and have a chance to soak up the special atmosphere of this former imperial capital. No trip to the Middle Kingdom would be complete without climbing the Great Wall of China. We take you to a part of the wall that is also the site of the annual Great Wall Marathon. Here replete with breathtaking panoramic views, we will spend some time exploring this incredible fortification. 

After Beijing and the Great Wall, we travel to another imperial capital, Xi'an, home to the magnificent Terracotta Army. Calling in at the Grand Mosque, we'll have ample opportunity to stroll through the Muslim Quarter of the old city and do a bit of shopping and sampling of local delicacies.

From Xi'an, we travel to the idyllic Yangshuo town where we'll spend a couple of days soaking up its rural charm before heading to Hangzhou and the iconic West Lake, the subject of many ancient Chinese poems and writings. 

We end our journey in Shanghai where we spend two days exploring this sprawling metropolis and become acquainted with its fascinating past as we visit the Old City and the Bund

Perfectly combining history, culture and nature, these two weeks will be an unforgettable holiday. Join us!

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Beijing and dinner.Meals: D

Upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, our guide and driver will pick you up and take you on the 1hr drive to your hotel in downtown Beijing. After check-in we will enjoy dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.


Accommodation: Qianmen Hotel ****
Day 2: Explore Beijing: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Mao Zedong hall.Meals: B L D

The morning begins at the Beijing Urban Planning Museum where a great model of the inner city of Beijing is on display. A visit here shows visitors the changes that China and Beijing have undergone in the last 30 years. Across from the museum is one the greatest symbols of new China: Tiananmen Square. The 440,000m² square is home to the Memorial Hall of Mao Zedong. Entry requires a valid ID, so please bring your passport if you wish to see Mao Zedong. To the north of the square, lies the Forbidden City of the Ming and Qing dynasties. We cross over the five famous bridges and Mao Zedong’s picture to enter through the city’s south gate. There is a short walk before having lunch just next to the city walls.

Entering the Forbidden City and seeing the largest courtyard (Siheyuan) in all of Beijing, is a stunning sight that instantly transports you back to Beijing before 1910. Leaving the Forbidden City, we climb the Coal Hill or Jingshan which means the 'Hill of Scenery’ and the character Jing (景) holds the characters for both sun and capital city inside it, meaning the hill from where one can see the sun rise and set over the capital. On our way back to the hotel we visit a silk showroom before enjoying dinner in a cosy, local restaurant.


Accommodation: Qianmen Hotel ****
Day 3: Discover the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. Visit a local village home.Meals: B L D

Today we’ll start in the centre of Beijing and drive through the suburbs into the rural areas of the municipality of Beijing. On our way we will visit a cloissone factory.

In the morning we will climb the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall which once was one of the most important sections of the Great Wall due to its strategic location between two mountain tops just north of Beijing.

After a good climb we proceed to the Sacred Way which leads into the area of the Ming Tombs.Thirteen emperors were buried in the area and we will visit the only tomb that was excavated, the Ding Tomb. The village is an open and friendly place so we will be allowed to visit a home and see the local supermarket. There will also be time to stroll around and get a glimpse of people’s everyday life.

Driving back on the new highway, the tall buildings of Beijing’s inner city slowly reappear showing how great construction projects have been always been embedded in Chinese history. The day will end at the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in the northern part of Beijing.Outside the Bird's Nest you will be able to see the extension of the north – south axis that runs through Beijing.


Accommodation: Qianmen Hotel ****
Day 4: Life, Religion and Art: Temple of Heaven, 798 Art District, and an acrobatics show.Meals: B L D

Depending on the season this will be a fairly early pick-up at the hotel (7:30am summer, 8:30am winter) as we leave for the Temple of Heaven to experience the outdoor life of Beijing locals. In every corner of the park inside the Temple of Heaven we will see elderly Beijing residents dancing gracefully, exercising and playing “pukepai” which just means playing cards but is based on the phonetics of the English word poker.

After our morning walk in the Temple of Heaven we will visit a traditional Chinese tea house and taste a few of China's many teas.

From ancient China, we move on to the modern art world of Beijing. The 798 art district in the eastern part of Beijing was originally part of the great industrialisation of the larger Chinese urban areas. In and around this joint factory area with the simple name of 798, an innovative and creative art culture arose in the early 1980s. Art shops, studios and galleries emerged in the abandoned factory buildings.

We will have lunch in a nearby restaurant. In the afternoon we watch an impressive acrobatics performance before heading out for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant and have at least one or two dishes coloured by beautiful red chillies.


Accommodation: Qianmen Hotel ****
Day 5: Exploring old Beijing: the Drum Tower and hutongs, followed by a Peking duck meal.Meals: B L D

The Drum and Bell towers stand in the northern part of the old city of Beijing. We climb the Drum Tower and enjoy the view of the old narrow hutong streets that were once home to families close to the Imperial court in the Forbidden City.

We go for a fascinating stroll through the old Beijing and take in the bustle of the old hutongs and eat with a local family and see how they live inside the closed courtyards. We walk west to see Nanluoguxiang, one of the most interesting bar and shopping streets in Beijing.

A holiday in Beijing would not be complete without a trip to Nanluoguxing where trinkets, food, fresh produce, clothes and other products are sold. After a relaxing afternoon in the heart of Beijing, we go to a traditional restaurant to try the delicious Peking Duck - a dish that was once reserved for the emperor.

Note: We will check out of our hotel in the morning as we'll be catching the night train to Xi'an. We recommend that you bring snacks and drinks along for the train journey.


Accommodation: Qianmen Hotel ****
Day 6: Welcome to Xi'an. Visit the Terracotta Warriors and the old town's Muslim Quarter.Meals: B L D

We arrive in Xi'an in the early morning. The local guide will pick us up and take us to the hotel for breakfast and a shower before we start our day of exploration. Today we'll visit the famed Terracotta Army and pay a visit to the Grand Mosque in the Muslim Quarter. There'll be ample time to wander around the market of the Muslim Quarter and browse through the endless lines of stalls selling everything from jade to clothes and grilled kebabs.


Accommodation: Xi'an Grand New World Hotel ****
Day 7: Imperial Xi'an: Shaanxi History Museum Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and old city walls.Meals: B L D

Today the historic discovery of Xi'an begins. We start off at the Shaanxi History Museum which houses imperial artefacts from the Zhou dynasty through to the Tang dynasty. The present city wall was built during the Ming dynasty and is roughly 14km long. It's possible to rent a bicycle on the wall and ride around it. There are restrictions on how tall buildings can be in the centre of Xi'an but not outside the walls, which means that on one side you get a good view of the old Xi'an centre and on the other side the modern metropolis circles the wall. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in the Tang dynasty (652) and lies within the walls of the Monastery of Great Maternal Grace. One of its functions was to store Buddhist sutras that the monk Xuanzang brought back from his 17-year overland journey to India. In the afternoon, you will be driven to the airport and catch a flight to Guilin. A local guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.


Accommodation: Guilin Universal Hotel
Day 8: Cruise on the River LiMeals: B

Cruise from Guilin to the little town Yangshuo. On the way you will pass the karst rock formations that are iconic to the Guilin area.


Accommodation: Yangshuo New Century Hotel
Day 9: Relaxing bike ride around charming Yangshuo.Meals: B

Today we'll explore the beautiful surroundings of Yangshuo by bike. Led by the tour guide, we'll meander our way through rice fields, along the serene Li River and enjoy the stunning countryside. We'll stop at the famous lookout Moon Hill for a breathtaking view of the karst mountain scenery.

NOTE: Breakfast will be served at the hotel. For lunch and dinner, you are free to enjoy the many restaurants and cafes in Yangshuo.


Accommodation: Yangshuo New Century Hotel
Day 10: Travel to Hangzhou and dinner.Meals: B L D

Today we leave Yangshuo for Guilin to catch our flight to Hangzhou. We'll have dinner together in the evening after we get settled into our hotel.


Accommodation: Edinburgh Hotel Hangzhou
Day 11: Boat ride on the West Lake - Lingyin Temple - Dragon Well Tea PlantationsMeals: B L D

After breakfast, we'll embark on a leisurely boat ride on the famed West Lake. We'll stop off at the Lingyin Temple, the temple of soul's retreat, for a visit. The temple is known as a leading Buddhist centre. The Dragon Well Tea Plantation near the West Lake is our next stop. The famed longjing, or dragon well tea, is cultivated in the region and treasured for its delicate taste and health benefits. Dinner will be enjoyed at a Chinese restaurant.


Accommodation: Edinburgh Hotel Hangzhou
Day 12: Travel to Shanghai via Wuzhen canal town.Meals: B L D

Bus from Hangzhou to Shanghai with a stop in one of the many water towns in the area between Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Sightseeing in the beautiful Wuzhen canal town.

In the afternoon we arrive at Shanghai and check in at the hotel before dinner.


Accommodation: New Asia Hotel Shanghai
Day 13: Stroll along the Bund, embark on a river cruise and enjoy an acrobatics show.Meals: B L D

Today, we'll head to Pudong and pay the World Financial Centre a visit. Before lunch, we'll have a leisurely stroll along the Bund, one of the most famous attractions in Shanghai. In the afternoon, we'll embark on a scenic river cruise and get a glimpse of this sprawling city from the river. After dinner, we'll enjoy the acrobatics show.


Accommodation: New Asia Hotel Shanghai
Day 14: Departure serviceMeals: B

After breakfast, we'll check out of the hotel and provide a departure service to the airport for your onward journey.

Additional information

Prices do not apply to the Golden Weeks (approx. May 1-7, Oct. 1-7) and the Chinese New Year

A child is defined as 12 years or younger and below 1.20m in height.

Included
  • Pick up and drop off service at hotel, airport or train station
  • Professional local English-speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Transportation according to the programme with car, coach or bus depending on group size
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary B = Breakfast. L = Lunch D = Dinner. Breakfast is usually international breakfast buffet combined with local Chinese breakfast. Lunch consists of local Chinese dishes including meat and vegetables. Sometimes lunch is a western-style sandwich if the weather or programme so requires. Dinner is specialised Chinese meals from many different regions in China.
  • All entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • All local taxes and required insurances
  • Beverages (soft drinks or local beer) within a reasonable limit (2-3 glasses)
  • English map of Beijing
  • 24hr on-call service in case of emergencies 
Excluded
  • Anything not in “Included” list above
  • Any flights or transportation besides those mentioned in the "Included" list above
  • Phone calls or other personal expenses
  • Tips - We recommend that the guide receives 2 USD per person per day and 1 USD per person per day for the driver

We reserve the right to make improvements and changes to the itinerary due to local circumstances or events outside our control. 

Tour starts/ends:

This tour starts in Beijing and ends in Shanghai.

An Albatros Travel representative will meet you at the airport. This tour includes pick-up and departure services. Please let us know your flight details, including flight number, arrival and departure times, in order for us to arrange your transfers.

Type of vehicles used:

For transfers between destinations we use modern and comfortable vehicles that have air conditioning.

Level of ability required:

This tour does not include any strenuous activity so no particular level of ability is required, however please be prepared for some walking. If you have any concerns or questions regarding disability access, please contact us in advance.

Food and dietary information:

If you have any particular dietary preferences or requirements, please make these clear when you make your booking. Most types of diet can be catered for. We will eat at local restaurants. It’s not a problem to maintain a vegetarian diet in China.

Breakfast at the hotel is usually an international breakfast buffet.

Health and vaccinations:

In general, tourists do not need any vaccinations. Malaria vaccinations are not necessary in most parts of China. However, we advise you to consult with your doctor before travelling. For more information about health and vaccinations, please look at this website

Baggage and what to bring:

Baggage
For domestic travel by air, the baggage allowance is 20kg (44lbs) per person. Since we do not provide tours with international air travel, please check your airline's website for luggage weight limits.

Adaptors
Flat two pin outlets are used in China. European round two pin outlets can also be used but don't fit perfectly. A plug adaptor can be purchased in most electronic stores.

Visa requirements:

Most travellers need a tourist visa to China. Please consult the Chinese consulate or embassy in your country of residence for visa application. This website may be useful in providing information regarding the application procedure.

Cancellations:

If you need to cancel
We understand that your travel plans sometimes change and we try to be as flexible as possible. However as we have to book accommodation at hotels we are also bound by their cancellation policies. In general, the following rules will apply when cancelling a tour you have booked:

- If cancelling more than 45 days before commencement of our services there is no cancellation fee and we will refund 100% of your money

- If cancelling within 45 to 31 days before commencement of our services: 20 % of the total booking value will be levied

- If cancelling within 30 to 15 days before commencement of our services: 60 % of the total booking value will be levied

- We are unable to offer a refund if cancelling less than two weeks before commencement of our services

For full details of our cancellation terms, please see our general Terms and Conditions.

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