Day 2: BEIJING
Start your tour of Beijing with a visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. Continue to the impressive Forbidden City within the Imperial Palace. Also known as the Imperial Palace Museum or Gugong, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties carried out their administration and lived. Now it is open to the public as a palace museum where people can see the great traditional palace architecture, enjoy the treasures kept in the palace, and learn of the legends and anecdotes about the imperial family and the court.
After lunch (pay direct), you will learn the history of the Hutongs (old city) as you travel by cycle rickshaw Hutongs came from the Mongolian language about 700 years ago. The original Mongolian word was hottog, meaning “water well." In other words, it means a place where people live, because people always gather where there is water. Today in Beijing, the word hutong means a small alleyway or lane. They are typical of the old part of Beijing and are formed by lines of siheyuan (a compound made up of rooms around a courtyard) in which most Beijing residents used to live.
The Lama Temple (YongHe Temple), also known as the 'Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple', is a temple and monastery of the Geluk (Yellow Hat) School of Tibetan Buddhism located in the northeastern central part of Beijing, next to the subway station of the same name.YongHeGong is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. The building and the artworks of YongHeGong combine Han Chinese and Tibetan styles (and some Mongolian motifs).
Afterwards, you will be driven to the Beijing Duck Palace restaurant where you will learn the history of this famous duck while enjoying dinner
Breakfast, Dinner / Hotel - TBA
Day 3: BEIJING – THE GREAT WALL - BEIJING
Today you’ll have a full day tour for hiking along the Great Wall Mutianyu section then visiting the Sacred Way .
The Great Wall of China was built mainly to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolian and other invaders. The Wall has been periodically rebuilt and modified throughout history by each reigning Chinese dynasty. It twists and winds along hill crests, gorges, and rivers. At its greatest, it reached from the China Sea town of Shanhaiguan, over 3,000 miles westward into the Gansu province. To put this in perspective, it would stretch from Los Angeles to Boston, or, from London to beyond the Urals mountain chain which separates Europe from Asia.
You will be escorted to a café for lunch (included). After which your tour will continue to the Ming Tombs where you will visit the Changling Tomb, the main building of which is above ground, before returning to Beijing.
When visiting Ming Tombs Beijing, the Sacred Way, also named Divine Road or Shen Dao in Chinese, is not to be missed. It is a path, 7 kilometers long and consisting of the huge Memorial Stone Archway, the Great Red Gate, the Stele Pavilion, the Stone Creatures and the Dragon and Phoenix Gate. Leading to the imperial tombs, the path, slightly curved to fool evil spirits, is lined on either side with willows and remarkable carved stone animals and human figures, considered among the best in China.
In ancient times, it is said that the emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, would came from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Way, and also return to Heaven through this road. Among the many Sacred Ways, the one at the Ming Tombs is the best preserved and most complete.
The main Sacred Way was built to lead to the ChangLing mausoleum. The statues here were erected between 1436 and 1438. Afterwards, twelve more mausoleums were built. The other Sacred Ways here are branches of the ChangLing Sacred Way.
Breakfast / Hotel - TBA
Day 4: BEIJING
After breakfast, visit the Temple of Heaven, set in a 670-acre park. Here you will find Qinian Dian (Hall of Prayer for the Good Harvests), constructed without a single nail, and one of the finest examples of Chinese architecture. You will then be driven to the Pearl Market followed by visiting the Olympic Green (take a photo outside the Bird Next and Water Cube!).
This afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to Xi’an (included) where you will be met by our representative outside baggage pick-up and driven to your hotel.
4.30pm depart Beijing CA1235 arrive Xi’an at 6.20pm
Xi’an is strategically set on the Silk Road trade route that once linked central Asia to Europe. Xi’an was the largest city in the world during the Tang dynasty (618-907.) Although the city is quite modernized, Xi’an has retained many of the historical remnants of its past glory.
Breakfast / Hotel - TBA
Day 5: XI’AN
A full day of sightseeing. Please wear comfortable walking shoes. Our first stop will be at the Terra Cotta Museum, followed by a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and City Wall.
Terracotta Museum - A terracotta army guarding the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, which lures travelers from all over the world. In a quest for immortality and eternal power, China's first emperor chose to have himself buried with some 8,000 life-size, intricately carved soldiers, horses, and chariots. Discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, the terracotta army then wore painted uniforms, but exposure to the air and sun has turned them black.
This afternoon, visit the nearby Banpo Neolithic Village, which offers 1,000-year-old artifacts. Continue to the hot springs of Huaqing, baths that have been in use for 3,000 years.
Later, you will visit the Muslim market.
Breakfast / Hotel - TBA
Day 6: XI’AN – KUNMING
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Kunming.(included) 11.00am depart Xi’an MU 5726 arrive Kunming at 2.00pm
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, enjoys great fame among tourists not only because the region features a consistently warm climate, but also thanks to its wonderful vistas and landscapes. Among the most dramatic of these attractions is the Stone Forest (Shilin), known since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) as the "First Wonder of the World."
Breakfast / Hotel - TBA
Day 7: KUNMING
After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby. Today you will visit the Stone Forest! The Stone Forest is in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots.
An old local saying is "If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time." Truly, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions.of.Yunnan. Walking through the Stone Forest, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations. There is a lot of walking, high and uneven bolders and steep paths.
Late afternoon return to your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch / Hotel - TBA.
Day 8: KUNMING - LIJIANG
This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to Lijiang. In the airport you will notice all the beautiful fresh flowers and instead of candy, dried and fresh fruit.
12.00pm depart Kunming CZ 3491 arrive Lijiang at 12.50pm Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and driven to the ancient city of Lijiang. The car is not permitted inside the city so once the car is parked, you will begin a walking-tour to your hotel. You will walk the cobbled, winding streets and your luggage will arrive at the hotel separately.
Lijiang is home to the Naxi people, a small matriarchal tribe with a rich culture. The Naxi use a Tibeto-Burman language with a unique Naxi pictographic script which is still in use! Men are renowned for their excellent gardening and musical skills (attend a performance one evening). Other minority groups in the area include Lisu, Pomi and a smaller number of Tibetans. You will see many Naxi (pronounced Nashi) women in their tribal costume.
Your guide will drive you to “Black Dragon Pool”, the Jade Spring Park to the north of Lijiang which derives its name from the waters which sparkle like jade and are as clear as spring water. The entire park is green with grass and shaded by swaying willow trees. Under the Shuocui Bridge, a waterfall creates a constant roar as it cascades downstream. There will be quite a bit of walking here.
In a renovated complex on the hillside, there is the Dongba Research Institute and a small museum with Dongba scrolls and artifacts on display, including such invaluable treasures as the "Dongba Scroll Painting" and the "Art of Dongba Painting." Dongba culture originated in the primary polytheistic Naxi religion, which incorporated elements of Lamaism, Buddhism, and Daoism. The Dongba scriptures comprise a series of more than 20,000 books done in Naxi pictographs along with more than 2,000 hieroglyphs--a form of writing invented by the Naxi people more than 1,000 years ago. The name itself, Dongba, is the name applied to the shamans of this culture--wise men who combined the functions of witch doctor, scholar, craftsman, and artist.
This evening, stroll across the courtyard down to the canal which is lined on both sides by restaurants. They are not covered, so be sure to keep your coat on! Note that no one in Lijiang speaks English, but menus are easy – just point to the picture!
Breakfast / Guanfang Hotel
Day 9: LIJIANG – BAISHA VILLAGE & THE JADE DRAGON MOUNTAIN
Today is a full day tour beginning with a visit to the Baisha Village where you can see The Mural. Baisha village is one of the Naxi Minority villages in Lijiang and is outstanding because of the collection of murals in the village. Painted over a thousand years ago, they combine the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Naxi people displaying the life stories of the Tibet Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism. The unique artistic style and precious historical content of the murals attract visitors from home and abroad.
After lunch, we will continue to Jade Dragon Mountain where we will begin our short hike to the large cable car . This will take us up to 11,000ft. The view from the cable car is wonderful – the eastern end of the Himalayan mountains! The Dragon mountain’s snow capped top has an altitude of 5594meters above sea level. The cable car will take you to the top of Jade Dragon Mountain if you choose! The mountain has 13 peaks of which the highest is 18000 feet above sea level. It’s high mountain and meadow views off-setting the snow and rivers, make an amazing picture.
Later return to Lijiang and have the option of attending a Naxi Ancient Music performance.
Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Baisha / Guanfang Hotel
Day 10: LIJIANG – TIGER LEAPING GORGE
Today’s excursion with your guide will take you to Tiger Leaping Gorge. After an early breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby. The car and driver will be waiting for you.
About 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan) is Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge), which is believed to be the deepest gorge in the world. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jingsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) below.
After a day of hiking, walking and fascinating beauty, return to Lijiang for a well earned dinner and sleep!
Breakfast, Lunch / Guanfang hotel
Day 11 – KUNMING - BEIJING
After breakfast, check out of the hotel. Your day is unscheduled until time for your transfer to the airport.
4.15pm depart Kunming Air China 4173 arrive Beijing 5.25pm
Breakfast / Langham Place airport hotel
Day 12:– BEIJING - DEPART
After breakfast, board the free hotel shuttle bus for a 5 minute ride to the airport. Note that you must check in 3hrs prior to departure time.
Optional Extension: MONGOLIA - Land of Genghis Khan
Contact us for suggested itinerary and customization.
- Accommodation per itinerary; Private transfers from/to airports/hotels
- Private English speaking guide with driver and vehicle
- Meals per itinerary; Hotel taxes; Sightseeing & excursions per itinerary
- Flights: Beijing-Xi’an-Lijiang-Kunming-Beijing in economy class
- Tickets to Naxi Ancient Music performance
- Travel insurance (separate transaction)
- International airline tickets & airport taxes
- *Visa processing (all nationalities are required to have a visa prior to arrival in China)
- Meals and drinks unless mentioned
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. laundry; phone calls etc.); Gratuities
- Please apply for your China visa no later than 2 months prior to tour date. Attach the following documents to your application form:
- Copy of international airline tickets
- Copy of itinerary
- Copy of contact page
- Application form & passport size photos