Day 1: New Zealand – – Xi’an
Get ready to begin your tour of China! Today, board your international flight to Xi’an. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel.
Xi’an was once known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace), it marks the Silk Road’s eastern end and was home to the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties’ ruling houses. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Terracotta Warriors!
Day 2: Xi’an (B,L,D)
Today we explore the ancient wonders of Xi’an, and one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century. For a period of more than 1,000 years, Xi’an served as China’s capital city and remains home to a great number of precious relics and historical sites. The highlight today is a visit to the UNESCO Terracotta Warriors to see the life-sized defending army to the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. This site is among the top archaeological excavations of the 20th century. This will be followed by a visit to an Art Ceramics Factory. In the evening, enjoy a special Imperial Dumpling Banquet and traditional Tang Dynasty Singing & Dancing Show.
Day 3: Xi’an – – Beijing (B,L)
Today after breakfast, visit the Shanxi Provincial History Museum. Enjoy a special noodle lunch including an interesting noodle making demonstration. Then visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the symbol of the city. As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (also called Giant Wild Goose Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is rated as a National Key Cultural Relic Preserve as well as an AAAA Tourist Attraction. In addition, it was added to the World Heritage List in 2014.
Later, walk along the Ancient City Wall, which not only is the most complete city wall that has survived in China but also one of the largest ancient military defence systems in the world. It covers 13.7 kilometres (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it.
Tonight, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Beijing. On arrival into the nation’s capital, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 4: Beijing (B,D)
Today after breakfast, begin your China trip with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the second largest public square in the world! Tiananmen Square is a city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes and has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
After, continue on to the incredible Forbidden City, which was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to Qing dynasty, the years 1420 to 1912. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (over 180 acres). The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world!
After time to explore the Forbidden City, continue on to the Temple of Heaven. The temple was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest. Covering an area of 273 hectares，it is the largest architectural complex in the world for rituals to pay homage to heaven and a photographer’s gem.
Tonight, head out to a local restaurant and enjoy a signature dish of the region, Peking Duck.
Day 5: Beijing – Great Wall – Beijing (B,L)
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall at Juyong Pass. Juyong Pass Great Wall is one of the three most famous passes along the Great Wall of China, together with Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan. 60 km from downtown Beijing, Juyong Pass was a solid stronghold encircling a valley, which was the northern direct access to Beijing in ancient times. Once here, there is plenty of time to learn about the walls construction and your given the chance to climb a portion of this 3,700-mile marvel.
On our return to Beijing, we stop at one of the largest Jade Exhibitions in Asia en-route. Then, after lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a Cloisonné Factory. Cloisonne is a famous traditional enamel ware, known as the “Blue of Jingtai” in China, with a history of over 500 years. It was so called because “blue” was the typical colour used for enamelling and “Jingtai” was the reign title of the 7th Ming Emperor.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): The Golden Mask – Tonight, enjoy a live show. The Golden Mask Dynasty, the show incorporates dancing, acrobatics, some magnificent costumes and one or two surprises. Performed daily at Beijing’s Happy Valley Amusement Park in 2007, it has been seen by an estimated of 1.1 million people.
Day 6: Beijing (B,L)
This morning, enjoy a tour to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace houses the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors. After, visit the Beijing Zoo to see China’s adorable national treasure – the Giant Panda. Then visit a Chinese Herbal Institute to learn about traditional Chinese medicine as you enjoy a rejuvenating foot massage which has existed for thousands of years.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Hutong Life – Board a rickshaw and be ridden through the oldest streets in Beijing. Witness how life in these parts has been lived for hundreds of years and marvel at the incredible courtyard houses which are now a national treasure.
Day 7: Beijing – – Shanghai – Wuxi (B,D)
Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Shanghai. On arrival you will be transferred to the ancient city of Wuxi. Wuxi boasts a reputation of being the “Land of Fish and Rice”. With a splendid history of over three thousands years, Wuxi claims to be ‘the Pearl of Tai Lake’. Besides being a rich cultural repository, Wuxi is blessed with charming natural beauty: the vast Tai Lake with its fascinating water scenes. Enjoy the scenery as we pass by Lake Tai, the third-largest freshwater lake in China.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Grand Canal Cruise – A boat tour will show you the daily life of the people past and present. The rice trading markets are still along the northern bank and the houses span little bridges along the southern bank – some of them are hundreds of years old and are well kept. One of the famous bridges over this section of the canal is called Qing Ming Bridge which is a one-arched stone bridge built in Qing dynasty.
Day 8: Wuxi – Suzhou (B,L)
This morning visit one of the largest Fresh Water Pearl Exhibitions in the country. After lunch, travel by coach to Suzhou, an extraordinarily delicate and elegant city with its canals, stone bridges and meticulously designed gardens which has often been referred to as “Paradise on Earth” by Chinese poets and writers since ancient times. As a large area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, Suzhou is also known as “Venice of the East”. It is also known as the “Garden City” due to its many classical gardens, renowned for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. Visit the Lingering Garden which is among the nest gardens in China.
Day 9: Suzhou – Hangzhou (B,L,D)
This morning visit a Silk Spinning Mill, and learn how silk is created from mulberry-munching silkworms to produce the nest thread and cloth. After lunch, travel by coach to Hangzhou, described by Marco Polo as “the most beautiful and magni cent city in the world”. Upon arrival, take a boat ride on the serene West Lake, the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, noted for its scenic beauty which blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Impression West Lake – is an evening spectacle of music, light, and dance, entirely staged on the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou City, with natural mountains and real waters as its backdrop. It is one of the creations of famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou, and the music of the performance was composed by Kitaro, a world-class musician
Day 10: Hangzhou – Shanghai (B,L)
Today after breakfast we make our way back to Shanghai. Enroute, experience an oriental tea-tasting at the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Then travel by coach to Shanghai, the vibrant metropolis and commercial centre of China. Then we walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. Lined by the colonial architectures of European design, this area is the best place to capture the western nuances of the old days. The Bund is regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure strolling along the bustling shopping district, Nanjing Road.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): ERA: Intersection of Time – See a captivating combination of Chinese history, mesmerizing martial arts and incredible special effects throughout the unique spectacle. Watch China evolve from humble beginnings to the global superpower it is today, and enjoy entertaining live music and elaborate costumes as you experience the show.
Day 11: Shanghai (B,D)
After breakfast, visit Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck (88th floor) for a panoramic view of Huangpu River and the Bund. Then taste the famous Xiao Long Bao at a Shanghai Dim Sim restaurant for lunch (at your own expense). After lunch, head to the City God Temple of Shanghai, symbolic of the large temple complex and surrounding traditional district of commerce in the city.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Huangpu River Cruise – Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai. When the sun sets, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights on its banks. Cruising on the river in the evening, visitors can experience its silence and beauty under the moonlight.
Day 12: Shanghai – – New Zealand (B)
Today at the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flights.
Day 13: New Zealand
Arrive home today.