China: The Big One


The complete Chinese adventure - this itinerary takes more time to explore the highlights of this beautiful and eclectic country, from busy cities, rural utopias and quirky ancient towns where you are free to absorb the relaxed atmosphere.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Beijing (4N) - Overnight Train (1N) - Xian (2N) - Guilin (2N) - Yangshuo (2N) - Kunming (2N) - Dali (2N) - Lijiang (3N) - Chengdu (2N) - Yangtze River Cruise (3N) - Shanghai (3N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Fly to Beijing, China's historical capital.
Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Day 3: Forbidden City and Hutongs
Stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Next visit Dazhalanxijie Street where there’s time to wander the Hutongs; these narrow alleys offer a glimpse of old Beijing. Later, there's free time to explore. (B,L)
Day 3: Forbidden City and Hutongs
Day 4: Huanghuacheng Great Wall and Wangfujing
This particularly scenic section of the wall is reached by boat, and boasts spectacular views from the top. Spend the evening at leisure exploring colourful Wangfujing night market, or take an optional (at your own expense) Peking Duck dinner. (B,L)
Day 4: Huanghuacheng Great Wall and Wangfujing
Day 5: Imperial Summer Palace
Take a relaxed day exploring the beautifully designed grounds of the Summer Palace including the Long Walk and the Marble Boat. Spend time strolling around pretty Kunming Lake and walk up wooded Longevity Hill. (B,L)
Day 5: Imperial Summer Palace
Day 6: Overnight Train to Xian
Visit the Temple of Heaven and mingle with the locals as they start their day with Tai Chi, dancing and cards in a flurry of sociable activity. Take the overnight train to Xian. (B,L)
Day 6: Overnight Train to Xian
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors
Housed in three immense hangars, the ranks of the Terracotta Army stand sentinel in their subterranean necropolis, constructed to protect China’s First Emperor. Gaze over the ranks of warriors and horses, while you are introduced to these lifelike soldiers’ fascinating story. Visit the Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition. Take a walking tour of the Muslim Quarter and sample freshly cooked snacks. With the evening free (B,L)
Day 7: Terracotta Warriors
Day 8: Cycling in Xian
Start your day with a gentle cycle ride that will take you the 14km around the wall and past many smiling locals. This afternoon visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. (B,L)
Day 8: Cycling in Xian
Day 9: Beautiful Guilin
Fly to Guilin. This afternoon is at leisure – you may wish to stroll around Zhengyang Street. (B)
Day 9: Beautiful Guilin
Day 10: Hiking in Longji
Take an optional full-day hike in the stunning rice terraces of Longji. Walk past small hamlets and picture-postcard views of the terraces which cover the landscape in intricate patterns. Otherwise, spend more time in Guilin. (B)
Day 10: Hiking in Longji
Day 11: Yangshuo Countryside
Cruise along the Li River to Yangshuo. Lined with dramatic limestone cliffs, the serenity of life on the riverbanks is a wonderful sight. Take a walk through this idyllic wonderland and get an insight into life here. There’s an option to hike to the top of Moon Hill for views of the countryside (at your own expense). (B,L)
Day 11: Yangshuo Countryside
Day 12: Yangshuo Tai Chi
Start the day with a relaxing yet invigorating session of Tai Chi, taking time with a master to learn this ancient martial art. You may wish to join an optional bamboo rafting trip (at your own expense) along the Yu Long River for one last, tranquil jaunt in Yangshuo. (B,L)
Day 12: Yangshuo Tai Chi
Day 13: Kunming at leisure
Transfer to Guilin and visit the Reed Flute Cave and a Pearl Museum. Fly to Kunming. (B)
Day 13: Kunming at leisure
Day 14: Stone Forest
Meander through the UNESCO listed Stone Forest. Back in Kunming stroll through Green Lake Park and have an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Day 14: Stone Forest
Day 15: Dali's Ancient Town
Drive to Dali and spend the rest of the day admiring the Three Pagodas and being immersed in the atmosphere of the fascinating old quarter and lively market. Stroll along Foreigners’ Street and explore the many dining options here. (B,L)
Day 15: Dali's Ancient Town
Day 16: Dali at leisure
Take an optional visit to Weibaoshan. Steeped in legend, the mountain features 20 Taoist temples nestled on its forested slopes. Walk up the forested hillside, stopping at Qinxia Temple where you will be met by a Taoist priest for a relaxing meditation session (at your own expense). Otherwise, spend the day relaxing in Dali. (B)
Day 16: Dali at leisure
Day 17: Shaxi Ancient Town
Drive to Shaxi Ancient Town, nestled deep in the Himalayan foothills. Learn about the fascinating minority peoples that reside in the area and enjoy a local lunch. In the afternoon, continue to Lijiang. (B,L)
Day 17: Shaxi Ancient Town
Day 18: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Jade Dragon incorporates several peaks, the tallest of which soars to 5,500m. Take a cable car to one of the gorgeous meadows and enjoy amazing vistas. Visit the minority Baisha Naxi Village and admire the Baisha Frescoes. (B,L)
Day 18: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Day 19: Lijiang at leisure
Today’s optional mini-trek to Tiger Leaping Gorge takes you through dramatic cliffs and down into the gorge itself (at your own expense). If you do not join the trek, the day is at leisure in Lijiang. (B)
Day 19: Lijiang at leisure
Day 20: Chengdu like a local
Fly to Chengdu and walk around People’s Park. See the locals dancing and practicing Tai Chi, visit a local teahouse and Matchmaker’s Corner. Visit Wide and Narrow Alleys. (B,L)
Day 20: Chengdu like a local
Day 21: Giant Pandas
Visit Chengdu’s renowned panda base and see these adorably charming creatures up close. The rest of the day is at leisure where you can enjoy an optional hot pot dinner and face changing show (at your own expense). (B,L)
Day 21: Giant Pandas
Day 22: Ancient Ciqikou
Board your train to Chongqing. Enjoy free time in the old town of Ciqikou then board your Yangtze Cruise vessel, home for the next three nights. (B,D)
Day 22: Ancient Ciqikou
Day 23-24 Yangtze River Cruise
A cruise down the Yangtze reveals some of the world’s most dramatic scenery. (B,L,D)
Day 23-24 Yangtze River Cruise
Day 25: Three Gorges Dam
Visit Three Gorges Dam. Disembark, transfer to Wuhan and fly to Shanghai. (B,L,D)
Day 25: Three Gorges Dam
Day 26: Shanghainese Shanghai
Wake up to the buzz of Shanghai, and take a breakfast walking tour. Visit the Yu Gardens, the Old Town and the Silk Museum. Cruise down the Huangpu River, serenaded by the neon lights of Pudong. (B,L)
Day 26: Shanghainese Shanghai
Day 27: Shanghai
Join the optional day tour to Zhujiajiao (at your own expense), or spend more time at leisure in Shanghai. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day 27: Shanghai
Day 28: Depart Shanghai
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Shanghai airport to board your flight to New Zealand, arriving home to same or following day. (B)
Day 28: Depart Shanghai
Day 29: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Supplement from $1,760
Land Only (Beijing to Shanghai) 27 days from $5,780 per person
Additional charges: Customary tipping - RMB1250 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
15 Apr, 09 Sep and 23 Sep 2019 and 06 Apr, 13 Apr, 07 Sep, 21 Sep & 05 Oct 2020 departures coincides with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.

 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies.

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
 
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
 
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
 
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
 
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
 
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
 
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
 
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.


Why Book This Tour?

You'll love this slower-paced tour, that has time set aside for independent exploration. As well as the vibrant cities, discover the charms of beautiful Yangshuo, delightful Dali and quaint Lijiang. Please note these is some altitude on this tour

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