Day 1 Arrive in Beijing
On arrival into Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) or Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) be met by your dedicated tour guide outside the baggage claim area. On the way to your pre-booked four- or five-star inner city hotel, your guide will point out the highlights and history of Beijing. Spend the rest of the day exploring this incredible city.
Day 2 Beijing (Breakfast, Lunch)
After breakfast today explore Beijing with your guide who will collect you from your hotel. Visit the world’s largest city square, Tiananmen Square. Make your way across the road to the magnificent Forbidden City, a culturally historic landmark in China, which was the former residence of Chinese royalty for five centuries. After the Forbidden City tour, exploration continues with a visit to the Summer Palace. Appreciate the beautiful gardens and imagine the lifestyle of royalty who enjoyed this summer resort during imperial times. A stopover at Beijing’s stadium and pool – the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube – built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics – provides a modern contrast to China’s ancient history. Return to the hotel.
Day 3 Beijing (Breakfast)
Before heading to the Mutianyu Great Wall, sample the famous local food market Sanyuanli where you can stock up on fruit and snacks for your today’s trip. Continue to explore the Mutianyu Great Wall, a less frequented part of China’s 1,400-year-old iconic landmark located approximately 70 kilometers from Beijing. Take a pleasant and comfortable round-trip cable car transfer over the picturesque scenery, then walk the wall to take in the Ming dynasty guard towers and sensational views. On return to the city in the afternoon, exploration continues with a visit to the Confucius Temple and Imperial College Museum. Stroll through Wudaoying Hutong and experience local life as you wander through quaint shops, enjoy a coffee, and gain an insider’s view of a real Beijing community.
Day 4 Beijing – Xi’an (Breakfast, Lunch)
Start today with a visit to the remarkable Temple of Heaven, where emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties performed ceremonies and rituals to pray for good harvests and blessings for the country. Transfer to the Beijing West railway station and be checked in by your guide to travel by high-speed rail journey to Xi’an. Approximately a five-hour trip, travelling at 300 kilometers per hour, you can relax and absorb the diverse landscape along the way. On arrival at the Xi’an North Station, your local tour guide will meet and escort you to your inner city four- or five-star hotel.
Day 5 Xi’an (Breakfast, Lunch)
Today’s tour highlight is the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Recognized as the largest underground military base in the world, take in this extraordinary archeological discovery, which houses thousands of unique life-sized figures. Return to the city and explore Xi’an’s ancient City Wall, currently the largest and best-preserved wall of its type in China. Enclosing China’s former capital city and almost 14 kilometers long, enjoy your free time by exploring on foot or bicycle. For a change of pace, take in the quiet of Xi’an’s Great Mosque, located in the middle of the city’s old block. Built mid seventh century, the Great Mosque is the oldest and largest Islamic Mosque in China. Mix with locals and find food of every flavor in Muslim Quarter, which is bustling with authentic eateries and souvenirs. Today’s final destination before returning to your hotel is Xi’an’s famous Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square.
Day 6 Xi’an – Dunhuang (Breakfast, Lunch)
Enjoy your free time this morning prior to your flight to Dunhuang. On arrival in Dunhuang your local guide will meet and transfer you to your hotel, providing a brief introduction to Dunhuang on the way.
Day 7 Dunhuang – Liuyuan – Turpan (Breakfast, Lunch)
Begin your journey along the magnificent Silk Road in Dunhuang, considered a pearl from China’s ancient past. Today commences with a visit to the Mogao Grottoes. Spectacular on a whole different level, gain a deeper understanding of their origins and meaning with a documentary and tour through the Visitor Center. Marvel at the gorgeous murals and sculptures reflecting the different stages of development, as well as the cultural and intellectual influence over a thousand years. Move on from the grottoes and be amazed by the stunning beauty of the crescent-shaped oasis, Crescent Lake, embraced by the Echoing Sand Dune. Named for the roaring sound made when things slide down from above, gain a unique perspective and insight to ancient modes of travel when you enjoy a camel ride across the stunning landscape. This afternoon, transfer to the Liuyuannan Railway Station for a bullet train ride to Turpan where you’ll be greeted by your local Turpan guide.
Day 8 Turpan (Breakfast, Lunch)
Commence sightseeing in Turpan with the Jiaohe Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which originated in the 2nd century BC. These ruins are the largest, oldest and best-preserved of their kind in the world and will make for a truly memorable experience on your tour. Proceed to the intriguing Karez Well, a unique irrigation system, only found in Turpan. With an underground flow, the water from the well is stored and used for irrigation with minimal loss. Finish the tour of Turpan with a visit to the Sugong Pagoda, the tallest ancient pagoda extant in Xinjiang, reputed for its novel and unique architectural style. Make a stop at Flaming Hill, impressive for its reddish vista, particularly in summer, when temperatures may reach close to 50 degrees, making it the hottest place in China.
Day 9 Turpan – Urumqi (Breakfast, Lunch)
Check out from your hotel in Turpan and be transferred to Urumqi. Enjoy the afternoon with your guide exploring the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum where you’ll view the stunning collection of artefacts and relics from the Xinjiang region. Wandering in the Urumqi Grand Bazaar and nearby Er Dao Qiao Market will be the amazing experience you can’t miss in Urumqi.
Day 10 Urumqi – Shanghai (Breakfast, Lunch)
Following breakfast and check out from your hotel, you will be transferred to Urumqi airport for the flight to Shanghai. In Shanghai, your local guide will meet and transfer you to the hotel, pointing out this bustling city’s local landmarks along the way.
Day 11 Shanghai (Breakfast, Lunch)
Commence your tour of Shanghai with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, a massive museum housing over 140,000 artifacts, presenting the full history and culture of this cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a walk along The Bund, iconic and prestigious, one of the most well-preserved examples of old Shanghai glamour. Walk Nanjing Road, the busiest shopping precinct in China. Change tempo and visit Yuyuan Garden, where you can marvel at the stunning gardens; then stroll around the nearby Chenghuangmiao bazaars and make a worthwhile detour and visit the Shikumen Museum in New Spot (Xintiandi) for a true taste of old-world Shanghai. Make the most of your afternoon by wandering the quieter streets of Dongping Road or Sinan Road in the Former French Concession, where you will find the essence of classic Shanghai.
Day 12 Depart from Shanghai (Breakfast)
Your tour guide will collect you at the hotel and drive you to the airport for your flight home.