Classic China

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Cruise along the Yangtze and Li Rivers and let the landscapes of Yunnan province take your breath away. Saunter the cobbled streets of Lijiang, explore the Stone Forest and gaze over the Tiger Leaping Gorge on this diverse adventure.

Places Visited

New Zealand -Beijing (3N) - Xian (2N) - Guilin (1N) - Yangshuo (2N) - Kunming (2N) - Lijiang (3N) -Chengdu (1N) - Yangtze Rriver Cruise (3N) - Shanghai (2N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Fly to Beijing for a three-night stay.
Days 1-2: Fly to Beijing
Day 3: Imperial Beijing
Heading to Beijing’s symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Entering through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, you will find a complex full of imperial riches. Later, soak up the harmonious ambiance of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape, and wander in the park where you can watch, or participate in, a dance class. Eat traditional Peking Duck for dinner and enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show.
Day 3: Imperial Beijing
Day 4: The Great Wall
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate both the wall itself and the dramatic scenery that it crosses. Visit a jade factory then savour an afternoon in the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional Chinese gardens and see the exquisite architecture. This evening, there is an option to see some Kung Fu masters in action (at your own expense).
Day 4: The Great Wall
Day 5: Fly to Xian
Transfer to the airport and fly to the ancient city of Xian. Visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda before enjoying a delicious feast of traditional Shui Jiao dumplings and a colourful performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
Day 5: Fly to Xian
Day 6: Terracotta Warriors
After their fortuitous discovery in the 1970s, the Terracotta Army of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang has intrigued visitors ever since. Spend the morning viewing the enigmatic ranks of these life-like warriors. Visit the workshop of the craftsmen who recreate Terracotta Warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Watch the skilled production process and buy a souvenir warrior to take home. Take an afternoon stroll on Xian’s beautifully preserved 14th century city walls.
Day 6: Terracotta Warriors
Day 7: Travel to Guilin
Fly to the attractive city of Guilin. Visit the Reed Flute Cave where you can admire colourful stalactites and stalagmites.
Day 7: Travel to Guilin
Days 8: Li River Cruise
Take a relaxed cruise along the Li River to charming Yangshuo. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged karst peaks loom over rural scenes of lush greenery, grazing buffalo and local fishermen. Spend some time browsing Yangshuo's vibrant markets.
Days 8: Li River Cruise
Day 9: Around Yangshuo
Yangshuo sits amongst paddy fields and dramatic karsts – spend the morning exploring the countryside around it and stop for a photo opportunity on the banks of the Li River to meet a cormorant fisherman. This afternoon is at leisure. There are many optional activities available including cycling and rafting (at your own expense), or take a relaxing walk through the town.
Day 10: Travel to Kunming
Drive back to Guilin and visit the Pearl Museum before catching a flight to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province. This evening, dine on a local dish, Across the Bridge noodles.
Day 10:  Travel to Kunming
Days 11: The Stone Forest
Meander through the formations of the UNESCO-listed Stone Forest, where towering limestone pillars stand tree-like in a fascinating illusion of woodland.
Days 11: The Stone Forest
Day 12: Explore Lijiang
Fly to Lijiang. Discover the old quarter; the quintessential Chinese ‘old town’, wander the jumble of cobbled streets, precarious wooden buildings and rustic stone bridges. Continue on to the Black Dragon Pool, where there are wonderful views of the mountains.
Day 12: Explore Lijiang
Days 13: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Over 3,000 metres deep, Tiger Leaping Gorge, with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is one of China’s most extraordinary sights. The whole area is spectacular – prepare for breathtaking views.
Days 13: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 14: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
A magnificent mountain massif, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain incorporates several peaks, the tallest of which soars 5,500 metres. Taking a chairlift, explore one of the gorgeous high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas. On the way back to Lijiang, admire the fascinating Ming Dynasty frescoes at Baisha and visit Baisha village, a settlement of the Naxi minority people.
Day 14: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Day 15: Travel to Chengdu
Fly to Chengdu, the home of the Giant Panda. Dine on some fantastic local cuisine before an option to take in a traditional Sichuan Opera (at your own expense).
Day 15: Travel to Chengdu
Day 16: Giant Pandas
A visit to Chengdu’s famous Panda Research Base allows you to see and learn about China’s celebrated bears up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Take a stroll through People's Park to see Matchmaker’s Corner, where parents search for suitable partners for their children. Later transfer to Chongqing and board your Yangtze cruise vessel.
Day 16: Giant Pandas
Day 17-19: Yangtze River Cruise
Cruise down the Yangtze through some of China’s most dramatic scenery, particularly the Three Gorges. Over the next two days prepare for one breathtaking panorama after another. Take a side trip to the Goddess or Shennong Stream and enjoy shore excursions to the Ghost City of Fengdu or Shibaozhai. You will also see Three Gorges Dam which showcases a massive feat of engineering. Disembark, transfer to Wuhan and fly to Shanghai.
Day 17-19: Yangtze River Cruise
Day 20: Explore Shanghai
Shanghai is China’s great metropolis, where east and west collide on streets lined with futuristic skyscrapers and 10th-century temples. Visit the delightful Yu Garden and the Old Town before admiring the magnificent colonial architecture with a stroll along the Bund. Follow the age-old silk production process at the Silk Museum and take an optional trip on the superfast Maglev train or up Jin Mao Tower (at your own expense). This evening view the city from the Huangpu River on a panoramic cruise and enjoy a meal of traditional Shanghai cuisine.
Day 20:  Explore Shanghai
Day 21: Depart Shanghai
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Shanghai airport to board your flight to Australia, arriving home the same or following day.
Day 21:  Depart Shanghai

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 $1,435
Land Only (Beijing to Shanghai) 20 days from $5,780 per person
Additional charges: Customary tipping - RMB920 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
28 Apr, 15 Sep, 22 Sep & 06 Oct 2019 and 27 Apr,14 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. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
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.

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Why Book This Tour?

Cruise along the Yangtze and Li Rivers and let the spectacular landscapes take your breath away. Explore the cobbled street of old Lijiang, gaze on the magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge and visit the Giant Pandas in Chengdu


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