CLASSIC GARDENS, ANCIENT CANALS & MISTY PEAKS
14 Night Itinerary
China by Bullet Train, with no internal flights. Enjoy Imperial wonders, classic gardens, ancient canals and spectacular mountains
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- Explore China by Bullet Train, without taking internal flights
- Start in the futuristic city of Shanghai, enjoying an in-depth tour
- Tour the Classical Gardens of Suzhou
- Visit an ancient water town
- Relax in style in Hangzhou, staying close to the romantic West Lake
- Marvel at the magnificent Yellow Mountain range
- Journey through China's Imperial and Communist past in Beijing
- Hike along a wild section of the Great Wall of China
This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.
Shanghai - 3 Nights
Day 1 - Fly to Shanghai
Day 2 - Welcome to Shanghai
Day 3 - Highlights of Shanghai
Day 4 - At leisure in Shanghai
Fly to Shanghai
Departs on a direct overnight flight from London to Shanghai, or via an alternative route at one of the major regional airports in the UK if you prefer.
Welcome to Shanghai
Arrive in Shanghai in the morning and be welcomed on arrival for your transfer to your chosen hotel for a 3 night stay. 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. An optional afternoon tour is available.
Highlights of Shanghai
Shanghai is China's most developed mega city, a futuristic metropolis symbolised by its forest of towering skyscrapers. However, if you know which street to turn down, you can still find relics of a bygone era and the occasional oasis of calm.
Our special tour introduces you to Shanghai's rich history and local life, starting at the classic Yu Gardens. We admire the European buildings of the riverside Bund area, once known as the "Paris of the Orient" and enjoy a scenic boat ride on the Huangpu River. Take an included lunch in the French Concession before discovering the traditional houses of Xintiandi, now converted into upscale shops, restaurants and bars.
At leisure in Shanghai
Enjoy time at leisure in Shanghai to relax, shop or pursue your own interests.
This popular 4 star hotel is situated close to the Bund and the People's Square in downtown Shanghai. 280 rooms are well-presented and equipped with high quality modern facilities. Should you wish to dine in, the on site restaurants offer a choice between local Chinese and Cantonese dishes and western food. The hotel also boasts its own sauna, gym, massage centre, bowling alley, tennis court and billiards room.
Suzhou's Classical Gardens - 1 Night
Day 5 - Suzhou's Classical Gardens
Suzhou's Classical Gardens
One of the great attractions of a visit to Shanghai is the ease with which you can visit some of the wonderful places nearby, each of which offers a very different insight into Chinese life and history. One such place is the small picturesque city of Suzhou, famed for its huge collection of classical Chinese gardens. Today we drive to Suzhou, visiting the traditional water town of Luzhi en-route. You will be shown around by your local guide, with highlights including the Humble Administrators Garden, Lotus Garden, Santang Street, Panmen Gate, a silk spinning factory and a short cruise on canal. Lunch is included today. Overnight in Suzhou.
Hangzhou & West Lake - 3 Nights
Day 6 - Bullet Train to Hangzhou
Day 7 - Hangzhou and West Lake tour
Day 8 - At leisure in Hangzhou
Bullet Train to Hangzhou
We will conclude our sightseeing in Suzhou and then you will be transferred to the train station for the Bullet Train to Hangzhou. Here you will be met on arrival and transferred to your chosen hotel for a 3 night stay. Enjoy a relaxed evening stroll in this delightful city.
Hangzhou and West Lake tour
Described by noted explorer Marco Polo as "the City of Heaven - the most beautiful and magnificent in the world", Hangzhou has managed to retain its charm and beauty, in the face of widespread urban development in China. Situated at the end of the Grand Canal, Hangzhou offers a number of interesting sites, but is most famed for the beguiling West Lake, surrounded by mountains on three sides and dotted with tiny islands. The views here are stunning, not least at sunset.
You will enjoy a guided tour around the area on the first day, including the gold fish of Flower Harbour, a short cruise on the West Lake, visits to the Dragon Well tea farm and Guozhuang Garden plus a walk down Guanqian historical street. Lunch is included today.
At leisure in Hangzhou
Today is at leisure for you to relax or pursue your own interests.
Hangzhou & West Lake - First Hotel
Just as the name suggests, the Lake View hotel in Hangzhou is located on the banks of the West Lake, affording easy access to places of interest and great views across the water. This recently renovated 4 star hotel provides a convenient and comfortable base from which to explore Hangzhou, either on a relaxing evening stroll or on one of the bicycles which can be easily rented from here. The 353 rooms are tastefully decorated and adorned with traditional finishing touches, such as intricate murals and oriental soft furnishings.
The Lake View hotel offers excellent on-site dining, as well as a cafe, fitness centre and family room.
Hangzhou & West Lake - Deluxe Hotel
The Hyatt Regency is a luxury 5 star hotel located in downtown Hangzhou, affording views across the city or to the serene waters of West Lake. 390 spacious and stylish rooms and suites are well-equipped, with large beds, elegant marble baths and a separate shower. Garden rooms offer patios which allow exclusive access to the private landscaped garden, creating a harmony with nature within this busy city.
The hotel provides guests with an excellent spa, sauna and fitness centre, including the 25 metre indoor swimming pool with skylight. Also on offer are the high tea experience, cooking classes and Hyatt Hotels Regency Club services. Two restaurants provide a choice between local and western-style cuisine, whilst next-door are the luxury boutiques and renowned restaurants of the Hubin International Boutique Centre.
Huangshan - 2 Nights
Day 9 - Transfer to Huangshan and ancient village
Day 10 - Spectacular mountain landscapes
Transfer to Huangshan and ancient village
Take the morning bullet train for three hours from Hangzhou to Huangshan. You will be met by your guide on arrival and driven to Tangmo for a tour of this picturesque Tang era ancient water village and its treasured gardens. You will then have some free time on the old street ot Tunxi and will later be transferred to your hotel for a 1 night stay. Lunch is included today.
Spectacular mountain landscapes
Today we will start early, taking the cable car to the top of Huangshan, in China's famed Yellow Mountain range. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been a source of inspiration for painters and poets for centuries. Upon arrival at the top, we will spend the day walking between some of the most panoramic lookout points, seeing powerful granite peaks and ancient bamboo forests towering above the clouds. Specific highlights include the vividly named Brightness Summit, the Rock Flying from Afar and the Cloud-dispelling Pavilion. Enjoy an included lunch.
In the evening you will stay at a hotel on the top of the mountain. Enjoy the spectacular sunset and views of the peak after the majority of the crowds have left for the day.
Huangshan - First Hotel
This classically decorated 4* hotel provides a good base for those visiting Huangshan Mountain. Situated on the banks of the Hengjiang River, it is well located for the airport and train station. It is a 15 walk to the pedestrian shopping street and a 50 minute drive to the mountain. The hotel provides good in-room facilities and a choice of Chinese or western dining.
Huangshan - Deluxe Hotel
The Crowne Plaza Huangshan Yucheng is located along the river, around an hour drive from Huangshan mountain. This large and modern hotel provides excellent facilities with spacious and attractive en-suite rooms. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, a fitness and wellness centre with spa facilities, a riverside cafe and both a Chinese and western-style restaurant.
A great location, friendly and helpful service, top-notch dining and a range of facilities make this a very popular hotel for visitors to Huangshan.
Beijing - 5 Nights
Day 11 - Bullet Train to Beijing
Day 12 - Temple of Heaven, Hutongs & Forbidden City Tour
Day 13 - Experience the Great Wall of China
Day 14 - At leisure
Day 15 - Return flight to UK
Bullet Train to Beijing
Around midday, travel from Huangshan North station to Beijing South on the high speed Bullet Train. The journey takes five and a half hours, meaning you will arrive in time to have dinner in Beijing. You will be met at the station and taken to your hotel in the city centre for a 4 night stay.
Temple of Heaven, Hutongs & Forbidden City Tour
We start early to visit the Temple of Heaven located in a delightful park. The Temple of Heaven, considered by UNESCO "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design", was created as a place of learning about Chinese philosophical beliefs, cosmogony, art, dynastic politics and sacrificial rituals. In the park, you will gain insights into local life, as groups of elderly Beijing residents gather to take communal exercises, sing, socialise and play musical instruments. We continue to the Hutong district, where we explore the ancient narrow streets by foot and rickshaw and enjoy an included lunch at a family hutong home. In the afternoon, we visit Tiananmen Square and explore the mythical and vast Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese Emperors. Here you can learn about China's dynastic past.
Experience the Great Wall of China
Today we visit one of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China. We travel for 2 hours out of Beijing to a remote section of the wall where in the footsteps of soldiers from the Ming Dynasty, we hike a wild section away from the crowds. It is a unique experience where you will truly appreciate the full majesty of the Great Wall and savour stunning views of the surrounding mountains. We also visit the restored part of the wall at Mutianyu, allowing you a look at the Wall in its original state. Lunch is included.
Enjoy your last day in Beijing at leisure. There are are many excellent shopping centres to browse. We have a range of optional excursions you can book with your guide including a calligraphy or paper cutting class or perhaps attempt to cook the Chinese way by making some local dumplings.
Return flight to UK
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the UK, arriving later the same day.
Beijing & Great Wall - First 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 explore the local area. The heart of the hotel is the bustling Pentalounge; an all-encompassing café, deli, noodle bar, library and games area that provides a meeting place where guests and locals come and go.
Beijing & Great Wall - First Boutique
The Cote Cour is a renowned boutique hotel spread out around a traditional inner courtyard and nestled in one of the historic centuries-old Hutongs. Fully refurbished in 2016, the rooms and communal areas are decorated to a high standard with classic paintings, furnishings and details, evoking a deep connection with the long history of the structures. You will find all the modern amenities that you will need during your stay, as well as an attentive service, free internet access and bicycle hire.
Guests can relax on the rooftop space and perhaps choose to dine in the a la carte restaurant. For families, there is both a standard and deluxe family room on offer.
Beijing & Great Wall - Deluxe 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 a traditional Chinese style, whilst floor-to-ceiling windows fill the rooms with natural light and afford panoramic views, including one of the Forbidden City from some. Connecting rooms are available for groups and there is a choice of renowned restaurants, as well as an indoor pool and wellness centre.
03/10 - 15/06
16/06 - 02/10
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room
Multiple Travellers - Own Room
Single Traveller - Own Room
Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.
- 15 days / 13 nights
- International return flights (1 overnight)
- 2nd class Bullet Train tickets as described in itinerary
- 13 nights accommodation as shown on the itinerary
- Meals as described on 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
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