IMPERIAL PALACES, TIBETAN MONASTERIES & INSPIRING LANDSCAPES

Palaces of the Dalai Lama and Chinese emperors, baby pandas, the Terracotta Army and Hong Kong beyond the skyscrapers.

Travel Highlights

  • Explore Beijing's iconic sights to learn about its Imperial and Communist past
  • Hike on the Great Wall of China at one of the most atmospheric sections
  • Take the Bullet Train to historic Xi'an to discover its beguiling Muslim Quarter
  • Get a closer look at the 8,000 members of the famous Terracotta Army
  • Visit the former residences of the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan capital Lhasa
  • See baby pandas up close in Chengdu and the 71m high Giant Buddha
  • Be awed by the spectacular rice terraces and karst landscape near Guilin
  • Delve into exotic Hong Kong, discovering local markets and tranquil islands
  • Includes all flights, trains, transfers, hotels, excursions & meals as shown
  • Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Journey Breakdown

The Mandarin Tour
Travel Itinerary

Beijing & Great Wall
Day 1 - 5

Day 1 - Fly to Beijing

Day 2 - Welcome to Beijing

Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present

Day 4 - Temple of Heaven & Hutong Tour

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 1-2 - Welcome to Beijing - The private tour departs on a direct overnight flight from London, or via an alternative route at one of the major regional airports in the UK if you prefer. Arrive in Beijing in the morning and be welcomed upon arrival for transfer to your hotel. You will receive a walking orientation tour around your hotel with our guide, familiarising you with the surroundings and answering any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, or you may prefer to add an afternoon tour.

Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present - Our special tour gives you an in-depth view of the the city's history, culture and modern life. We start amid the Communist-style buildings of Tiananmen Square and walk into the mythical Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese Emperors. Here you can learn about China's dynastic past, before climbing Coal Hill for an overview of the central Beijing landscape. After lunch in a traditional hutong, enter the Confucius and Buddhist temples to understand China's two most important belief systems and their role in daily life. (B,L)

Day 4 - Temple of Heaven Park & Hutongs - We start at the Temple of Heaven, considered by UNESCO "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design", to learn about Chinese philosophical beliefs, cosmogony, art, dynastic politics and sacrificial rituals. We visit early to gain wonderful insights into local life, as large groups of elderly Beijingers gather to take communal exercises, sing, socialise and play musical instruments. We take lunch at a family hutong home and then survey the traditional streets from the back of a rickshaw and on foot. Enjoy some cultural activities like calligraphy or paper cutting or perhaps attempt to cook the Chinese way by making some local dumplings. (B,L)

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall - We drive two hours north of Beijing to access the iconic Great Wall of China to hike a wild section away from the crowds. Here we can truly appreciate its full majesty and savour stunning views of the surrounding mountains, taking the cable cars down from the restored part at Mutianyu, allowing you a look at the Wall in its original state. (B,L)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Penta Hotel Tour - Holidays to Beijing & Great Wall

Penta Hotel

Described as a "neighbourhood lifestyle hotel", the Penta is a distinctive 4 star contemporary hotel, close to the Temple of Heaven and a short walk from the subway. The laid-back hotel offers 307 ensuite rooms in a minimalist style, including family rooms, as well as the use of bikes and maps to ex…

More Info
The Hotel Cote Cour Tour - Holidays to Beijing & Great Wall

Hotel Cote Cour

The Cote Cour is a renowned boutique hotel spread out around a traditional inner courtyard and nestled in an historic centuries-old hutong. Fully refurbished in 2016, the rooms and communal areas are decorated to a high standard with classic paintings, furnishings and details, evoking a timelessness…

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The Regent Hotel Tour - Holidays to Beijing & Great Wall

Regent Hotel

A multi-award winning luxury hotel close to Tiananmen Square and shopping streets, providing guests with outstanding service in opulent surrounds. 500 spacious rooms and suites are elegantly finished in traditional Chinese style, whilst floor-to-ceiling windows fill the rooms with natural light and …

More Info

Xi'an & Terracotta Army
Day 6 - 8

Day 6 - Bullet Train to Xi'an

Day 7 - See the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army

Day 8 - Xi'an at leisure

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 6 - Bullet Train to Xi'an - Today you will be transported to Beijing West station for your high speed Bullet Train to the ancient city of Xi'an, a journey of around four and a half hours. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, with time at leisure in the afternoon. Once the starting point of the legendary Silk Road and a capital for eleven dynasties, Xi'an has retained a great deal of its mystique and boasts an impressive array of sights, which we will explore over the next two days. (B)

Day 7 - See the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army - We begin today with a visit to the famous Terracotta Army, just outside Xi'an. 8,000 individually sculptured clay warriors, horses and archers proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder in three large excavated pits, protecting the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang. At first it is the sheer number that overwhelms, but on closer inspection you begin to notice the extraordinary level of detail that went in to them, with each figure seemingly sporting a different expression and hairstyle. It's not hard to imagine this as a real army in waiting, awakening at the slightest hint of danger. Afterwards we can visit the home of the farmer who accidentally discovered the Terracotta Army.

In the afternoon we return to the city and explore the Muslim Quarter. We will visit a traditional courtyard mansion, owned by a former official during the Ming Dynasty. Dating back 400 years, the property shows the wonderful architectural style of the time and offers cultural activities and demonstrations including shadow puppetry and paper cutting. Following this there will be time to explore the temple and the lively food market. (B,L)

Day 8 - Xi'an at leisure or optional tours - Today you will have time at leisure to explore Xi'an and pursue your own interests. (B) Alternatively, you may wish to undertake additional tours, including:

  • Cycle around the ancient city walls
  • Big Goose Pagoda, built to house precious Buddhist scripts
  • Shaanxi Historical Museum - one of China's most renowned museums
  • Han Yangling Museum and Archaeological sites
  • Venture into Huxian County to see the colourful folk art of the Huxian painters. Learn about calligraphy and painting and experience the farmers' way of life in China

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

 

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Mercure on Renmin Square Tour - Holidays to Xian & Terracotta Army

Mercure on Renmin Square

The Mercure hotel has become a fixture of Renmin Square, alongside landscaped gardens and historic buildings. With over 100 well-equipped and tastefully decorated rooms and suites and a wonderful location right in the heart of ancient Xi'an, this 4 star hotel is a popular choice amongst visitors. It…

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The Sofitel on Renmin Square Tour - Holidays to Xian & Terracotta Army

Sofitel on Renmin Square

This modern 5 star hotel curves gracefully along the side of the historic Renmin Square, right in the heart of this ancient city and within easy reach of the Bell Tower and Drum Tower, as well as the Great Mosque and the bustling night markets of the Muslim Quarter. 178 spacious rooms are equipped w…

More Info

Lhasa
Day 9 - 11

Day 9 - Welcome to Tibet & Summer Palace

Day 10 - Potala Palace, Pilgrims & Jokhang Temple

Day 11 - Sacred Lake & Monks Debate

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 9 - Welcome to Tibet & Summer Palace - This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lhasa in Tibet. Here you will be met on arrival by your local guide and driver who will welcome you to the city and get you settled in to your hotel. You will now be at high altitude so it is best to take it easy and drink plenty of water to help your body acclimatise. As a gentle introduction to Lhasa, we will visit the Norbulingka, the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama, set within relaxing landscaped parkland on the outskirts of Lhasa. Following lunch at a local restaurant you will have the afternoon free to relax and wander around the charming old town. (B,L)

Day 10 - Potala Palace, Pilgrims & Jokhang Temple - We start the following day with a tour of the Potala Palace, the defining symbol of Lhasa and Tibet. The winter home to ten Dalai Lama's, the huge 17th century structure is one of the most poignant on the planet, telling the story of life here before the Dali Lama was forced to flee to India. The roof terraces house the former residences of the Dalai Lama and afford sweeping views of the city.

We then drive into the very heart of the old town, stopping to take lunch. The colourful Jokhang Temple is the most sacred place in Tibet, a destination for pilgrims from across the Buddhist world. It is encircled by the lively Barkor Street, around which pilgrims walk in a clockwise directions, spinning prayer wheels as they go or prostrating themselves fully along the ground. Watching their incredible devotion is a privileged experience for any visitor. We tour the Jokhang Temple and enjoy the sweeping views from the rooftop. (B,L)

Day 11 - Sacred Lake & Monks Debate - This morning we drive out of Lhasa and through the mountains to the sacred Yamdrok Lake. Upon arrival there will be plenty of time to enjoy the sumptuous views from the lookout point and see the yaks up close on the shore. We then return to Lhasa and visit Sera Monastery, arriving in time to watch the monks in their fascinating afternoon debate sessions. (B,L)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The House of Shambhala Tour - Holidays to Lhasa

House of Shambhala

Full of endearing Tibetan charm and located in the very heart of the charming Lhasa old town, this 4* courtyard hotel is a wonderfully authentic base from which to explore the city. The 13 rooms are decorated in traditional Tibetan style, creating a warm and welcoming environment, with a good range …

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The St Regis Tour - Holidays to Lhasa

St Regis

Starwood hotels follow their legacy of luxury accommodation with this fabulous 5 star hotel in Lhasa. 162 large sumptuous rooms and suites provide exquisite spaces in which to relax and unwind after a day exploring the high altitude city. These feature welcoming sofas, walk-in closets, powder room, …

More Info

Chengdu & Leshan Buddha
Day 12 - 14

Day 12 - Bullet Train to Chengdu

Day 13 - Pandas & Dujiangyan Irrigation System

Day 14 - Come face-to-face with the 71m Giant Buddha

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 12 - Bullet Train to Chengdu & time at leisure - Today you be fly to Chengdu, where you will be met upon arrival by your guide for the next few days and transferred to your hotel. You'll have today at leisure, perhaps to relax in the large People's Square, taking tea at one of the large outside teahouses and observing local life here. South of the river is the lively Jinli Street, lined with traditional buildings and shops and stalls selling locally created artwork, handicrafts, paper cuts and calligraphy. This is a great place to spend the afternoon shopping for gifts and souvenirs. (B)

Day 13 - Pandas & Dujiangyan Irrigation System -No visit to Chengdu would be complete without going to the nearby Panda Research Base - there is simply no better place to see these charming and highly endangered animals up close. Designed to replicate the natural bamboo habitat of the panda to encourage breeding, the centre is respected the world over for its ongoing research and conservation efforts, not just for the giant pandas, but also for red pandas and black swans. We visit early in the morning to see the baby pandas at their most active, returning to the city for midday.

From here we continue on to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. This extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage site was originally constructed back in 256BC, during the Qin Dynasty. It is the oldest irrigation system in the world and is thought to be the only major system of its kind not to feature a dam.  Another major feat of engineering is the magnificent Anlan Suspension Bridge which crosses the river. Surrounding the irrigation system are a number of impressive temples, halls, towers, statues and gardens. (B,L)

Day 14 - Come face-to-face with the 71m Giant Buddha - Today we will drive around 2 hours south of Chengdu to visit the magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha. Measuring in at 71 metres high, the 1,200 year old Buddha watches over the confluence of three rivers and looks out onto the sacred Mount Emei. We will take a boat ride to enjoy panoramic views of the Buddha and then climb up the steps to come face-to-face with it, for a close up view. We will then return to Chengdu by road. (B,L)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Buddha Zen Tour - Holidays to Chengdu & Pandas

Buddha Zen

Located close to the Wenshu Yuan Monastery, this spiritually themed 4 star hotel aims to give visitors an insight into traditional Buddhist life. It offers 35 tranquil rooms and well-equipped rooms, all thoughtfully and elegantly decorated in a style true to the spirit of the hotel. The courtyard-st…

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The The Ritz-Carlton Tour - Holidays to Chengdu & Pandas

The Ritz-Carlton

As you might expect from a Ritz-Carlton, this hotel delivers luxury and service on an unparalleled level in Chengdu. Its collection of spacious and stylish rooms all offer fine city views of Chengdu's skyscrapers and offer a host of facilities and features including:

  • Twice-daily housekeeping atte…

More Info

Longji Rice Terraces
Day 15 - 16

Day 15 - Spectacular caves & drive to Rice Terraces

Day 16 - Magnificent views of Longji Rice Terraces

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 15 - Spectacular caves & drive to Rice Terraces - You will be transferred to the airport for the short flight to Guilin, where you will be met on arrival and shown around the dramatic rock formations and ancient inscriptions of the nearby Reed Flute Caves. We will then take a scenic two hour drive north to Longsheng, where you will stay overnight in a charming lodge. There will be time to have lunch, walk around Ping'an village and enjoy the peaceful countryside. (B,L)

Day 16 - Magnificent views of the Longji Rice Terraces - Today we will explore the incredible Longji Rice Terrace landscape, enjoying the best panoramic vistas of the area and learning about local life here. The landscape changes throughout the year here, depending on the seasons. In spring, the terraces are irrigated and so brim with water, before turning lush green over the summer. The autumn brings beautiful golden hues, before snow falls add to the drama in winter. Lunch is included, before transferring back to Guilin by road. (B,L)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Longji Star Wish Tour - Holidays to Longji Rice Terraces

Longji Star Wish

The Longji Star Wish hotel is a fantastic base from which to explore the rice terraces of the region, indeed without even leaving the hotel you can enjoy panoramic views from the rooftop terrace. The cosy rooms are attractively furnished with bamboo or wooden panelling and all well-equipped to weste…

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The Li-An Lodge Tour - Holidays to Longji Rice Terraces

Li-An Lodge

The renowned Li-An Lodge is located in the heart of the Longji region at Ping An village, overlooking gracefully curving rice terraces for as far as the eye can see. Its attraction goes far beyond its spectacular views, with 16 individually and tastefully designed rooms, decorated with beautiful Chi…

More Info

Guilin & Yangshuo
Day 17 - 18

Day 17 - Cruise past the karst peaks along the Li River

Day 18 - Hike or cycle through the wonderful landscapes

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 17 - Cruise past the karst peaks along the Li River - The highlight of a trip to Guilin is the chance to drift down the Li River to Yangshuo, passing through the infinite limestone sugarloaf peaks which rise dramatically out of the ground, so creating one of the most arresting vistas in the country. Bamboo groves and paddy fields line the river's edge, where we can also observe water buffalo and local peasants working the land. Lunch is included on-board. In Yangshuo, as the light begins to fade, traditional fishermen emerge on their bamboo rafts, to which cormorants are tethered, to help them locate the best fish, a tradition practiced since ancient times.

In the evening, you might also choose to enjoy the spectacular Impression of Liu Sanjie show, which takes place the Li River in Yangshou. It fuses musical, lighting, dance and story telling elements to create a dramatic spectacle. It is performed by local actors from the nearby minority villages and was directed by proclaimed film director Zhang Yimou, who was responsible for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Stay overnight in Yangshuo. (B,L)

Day 18 - Hike or cycle through the wonderful landscapes

This morning we will take a guided hike or cycle ride to explore the beautiful countryside and karst landscape around Yangshou in more depth. There is also the option of undertaking an early morning bamboo raft to enjoy the river at a quieter time. After lunch (included) you will then have the rest of the day free to relax or explore at your leisure, perhaps watching the local cormorant fishermen show in the evening. (B,L)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Guilin Bravo Tour - Holidays to Guilin & Yangshuo

Guilin Bravo

Located on the edge of Ronghu Lake, a ten minute walk to the city centre, the Guilin Bravo hotel offer 329 spacious and well-appointed ensuite rooms and suites. Of these, 160 have lake views and all enjoy good modern facilities. There is a sauna and outdoor swimming pool, as well as an attractive pa…

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The Green Lotus Tour - Holidays to Guilin & Yangshuo

Green Lotus

The misty karst hills of Yangshuo provide a spectacular backdrop to this luxury 5 star hotel, which takes its name from the nearby Green Lotus Peak. It offers 333 modern and well-equipped rooms and suites, more than 80% of which enjoy river views. A garden restaurants boasts further splendid views a…

More Info

Hong Kong
Day 19 - 22

Day 19 - Ride the Bullet train to Hong Kong

Day 20 - Special 'local life' Hong Kong tour

Day 21 - Tranquil islands or Portuguese heritage

Day 22 - Time at leisure & return flight to UK

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 19 - Ride the Bullet train to Hong Kong - This morning you will be transferred to the station to take the 300km/h Bullet Train from Guilin. The train will take around three hours to arrive in Shenzhen, from where you will have a private transfer into Hong Kong, passing through immigration on the way.

Hong Kong offers a great mix of exoticism and familiarity. It is perhaps the easiest city for western travellers to get about it, travelling on the efficient MTR underground system, which reaches as far as some of the outlying islands. You will enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to perhaps take the iconic Star Ferry across the water to Hong Kong Island. Here you can ride the tram to The Peak, for one of the world's great urban vistas, especially as the sun goes down and the light's begin to twinkle at dusk. (B)

Day 20 - Special 'local life' Hong Kong tour - We start in the thriving markets of Mong Kok; the bird market, where locals often gather to socialise with their birds sat next to them in cages, then the goldfish market to admire the amazing colour and detail of the tropical fish on sale here, often at extremely high prices. Next is the Chinese Jade Market and the fruit market, followed by a visit to the Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, revered by fishermen and those who spend their working lives at sea.

We then drive to the south of Hong Kong Island to the Aberdeen fishermen community, where fishing junks are juxtaposed against the skyscrapers. We take a short sampan boat ride to learn more about their ways of life and enjoy a dim sum lunch aboard the famous Aberdeen Jumbo Kingdom. Next up is the Central business district and the world's longest continuous escalator system. Hollywood Road in westernised district of SoHo is next, known for its antique shops. Finally, we finish at the Man Mo Temple, one of Hong Kong's oldest and most important and where giant incense coils hang from the ceiling, imparting a fragrant, smoky haze. The temple is dedicated to the God of Literature and the God of War. (B,L)

Day 21 - Hong Kong at leisure - tranquil islands or Portuguese heritage - Taking the ferry across the water to Macau, a bastion of Portuguese heritage, is an excellent day trip, as is a visit to the tropical and tranquil Lamma Island, reached by boat from Aberdeen fishing harbour in the south. Closer yet is Lantau Island, famed for its large seated Buddha and temple, reached by a panoramic cable car. At the far end of the island, Tai O is an immensely charming and timeless fishing village, whilst one of the region's best beaches can be enjoyed a short bus ride away at Cheung Sha. (B)

Day 22 - Time at leisure & return flight to UK - Your return flight will likely be at around 11pm, giving you another full day of sightseeing or shopping. You will be picked up and transfered to the airport in plenty of time for your overnight return flight to the UK. (B)

Click to get a tailored quotation based on this tour

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

First Class

The Hotel Stage Tour - Holidays to Hong Kong & Macau

Hotel Stage

Hotel Stage exudes contemporary and creative charm, a welcoming haven from the busy streets of Kowloon. Spacious and minimalist rooms offer a range of modern facilities, including a complimentary smart phone which you can carry about the city to browse the internet, consult maps, make international …

More Info

Deluxe Experience

The InterContinental Grand Stanford Tour - Holidays to Hong Kong & Macau

InterContinental Grand Stanford

Conveniently situated in the south of Kowloon, overlooking the iconic Victoria Harbour and close to an MTR station, the InterContinental is a renowned 5 star hotel. 572 luxurious rooms and suites afford harbour, courtyard or city views and come equipped with all the necessary amenities you'll need, …

More Info

Travel Details
Mandarin

What's Included

  • International return flights
  • 3 internal flight as shown
  • Bullet Train tickets as described in itinerary (First = 2nd class, Deluxe = 1st class)
  • 20 nights accommodation as shown on the itinerary
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from airport
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides and private vehicle
  • Prices are per person based on two sharing a room
  • Guideline price only - please request a bespoke itinerary for an accurate quote

Price Breakdown

Prices are per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Chinese New Year.

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates 03/10 - 15/06 16/06 - 02/10
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - £4,935 £5,676 - £5,336 £6,197
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + £723 + £1,289 - + £897 + £1,689
Single Traveller - Own Room - + £2,095 + £2,955 - + £2,446 + £2,962
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates 03/10 - 15/06 16/06 - 02/10
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - €5,022 €5,911 - €5,936 €7,056
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + €868 + €1,548 - + €644 + €1,508
Single Traveller - Own Room - + €2,514 + €3,546 - + €2,503 + €3,035
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates 03/10 - 15/06 16/06 - 02/10
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - $5,415 $6,378 - $5,936 $6,197
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + $941 + $1,677 - + $1,167 + $3,055
Single Traveller - Own Room - + $2,725 + $3,842 - + $3,181 + $4,710

Booking Terms & Conditions

Speak with a Specialist
Travel Enquiries

Complete a form or call our specialist advisors to start planning your trip.

Please provide as much information as possible, and we will aim to respond to your enquiry the same or next working day.

Speak to a Specialist

20 8762 0616 travel@veloso.com

Travel in Confidence

  • Free Proposal Itinerary
  • 100% Customisable Tour
  • Specialist Advice & Inspiration
  • First-hand Knowledge
  • Expert Travel Consultants
  • Excellent Service & Support

Contact an Advisor

Please be a descriptive as possible
Spur your wanderlust with our beautiful brochures.


Get inspired each month with the latest travel news and tips.

We take your privacy very serious and will never share your personal data with a third-party. You can read more about our privacy policy and how we use your data here: Privacy Policy