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TS-C-EW-06 Cultural & Scenic China


11 nights from UK £ 2,960 per person

Price based on 2 people travelling together. These prices are here to give guidance and final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability.

A fantastic tour focused on China’s rich culture. Start in SHANGHAI, a modern metropolis before a bullet train to the stunning scenery of mount HUANGSHAN.

Continue by private car to HANGZHOU, considered a centre of Chinese culture before a flight to XIAN to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. Another bullet train to PINGYAO, a superbly preserved Ming Dynasty city before BEIJING, home to the Great Wall and Forbidden City.

Trans-Siberian Trip Guidebook
This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip - an invaluable resource!
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Day 1 - Arrival Shanghai

Arrival in Shanghai With Time to Relax at the Hotel After Your Flight

Welcome to Shanghai, China’s exciting and futuristic financial capital and living testament to China’s phenomenal growth. Your guide will greet you at the airport with a transfer by private car to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax from the long flight or start to explore the city with the help of your personalised and exclusive Trip Guidebook we send you before the trip. The area around your centrally located hotel is perfect for an introductory walk.

Meals Included: None today.

Day 2 - Shanghai

Yuyuan Gardens, Old Shanghai, Antique Market, the Bund & Skyscraper Viewpoint & Acrobats

Today you will have a full day private tour of some of Shanghai’s highlights starting with the classical Yuyuan Garden that dates back to 1577. Surrounding the garden is Old Shanghai, an area that has been a vibrant commercial centre for over a century. Here we visit Fuyou Road antique market, one of the best places for souvenir hunting and a fascinating experience even if not shopping. The tour continues with a walk down the Bund along which the Huangpu River runs and where some of Asia’s finest colonial architecture is located. From here we cross the River by ferry to Shanghai’s ultra modern Pudong Financial district for a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of one of the stunning skyscrapers.

There is no better way to round off this Shanghai experience than with a visit to the world famous Chinese Acrobats for a show filled with colour and excitement.

Return to your hotel or head out to sample Shanghai’s vibrant nightlife.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 3 - Shanghai to Huangshan

Bullet Train to Huangshan & Your Summit Area Hotel

Transfer to the station for a bullet train to Huangshan arriving early afternoon. Transfer to Mount Huangshan’s cable car station that takes you to the Northern Summit area and your hotel. Note that there is about a 30 minute walk from the top of the cable car to the hotel. You will be able to leave unneeded luggage at a hotel before taking the cable car.

The guide will accompany you to the hotel. It will be late afternoon by the time you have checked-in to your hotel but this is an excellent time to take a short walk in the area around the hotel itself to get a feel for this mountain.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 4 - Huangshan

The Famous Sunrise on the Mountain & a Free Day to Explore Its Many Paths

Make sure you are up very early this morning to see the sunrise Huangshan is famous for. One of the best view points is only a few hundred meters away. Much of the year it can be very cold at dawn but you should find down jackets in your hotel room’s wardrobe. If the weather Gods’ are on your side the sunrise is spectacular and the “cloud sea” often plays a part in this with a layer of cloud well below your view point.

Return to the hotel for breakfast before a free day exploring the multitude of well signed and maintained paths that stretch out across the mountains.There is no set itinerary to follow but the time you have is long enough to see the highlights.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 5 - Huangshan to Hangzhou

A Second Chance to See the Sunrise on Huangshan Before Descent

Another chance to see the sunrise (and these can be very different from day to day so resist the temptation to stay in bed!) before breakfast and some more time for further walks.

A transfer guide will meet you at the hotel to take you to the cable car station to descend and assist you in collecting any stored luggage. From here a private car or minibus will take you the three hour drive to Hangzhou. On the way stop at the architecturally stunning village of Hongcun. If Hongcun looks familiar to you it may be because scenes from the Chinese film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” were filmed here.

Afternoon arrival in Hangzhou, famed throughout China for its culture and the beauty of its West Lake, praised and written about for centuries. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

The rest of today is free to start exploring the West Lake area with the help of your Trip Guidebook. Alternatively, your hotel is an ideal place to relax.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 6 - Hangzhou to Xian

Enjoy a Boat Ride on the West Lake & the Stunning Residence of Hu Xueyan

Hangzhou is famed throughout the country for its beautiful West Lake, one of China’s most important cultural centers for the last 1,000 years and represents the Chinese ideal of man in perfect harmony with nature. The many temples and gardens surrounding the West lake are designed to personify this relationship and this style has been exported to Japan and Korea. Today’s half day tour includes a boat ride on the lake itself as well as visiting the architecturally important residence of Hu Xueyan.

After the tour a transfer to the airport for a flight to Xian, the once golden city of Emperors, soldiers, arts, culture and the capital of the prosperous Tang Dynasty. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

The rest of today is free to start exploring this giant of Chinese history with the help of your trip Guidebook. Alternatively, this comfortable hotel is an ideal place to relax.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 7 - Xian

The Terra Cotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Walls & Muslim Quarter

Today visit one of China’s most extraordinary sights, the Terra Cotta Army built by China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 246 BC. Several thousand of the life-sized soldiers are on display and, with no two soldiers looking alike, make for a truly impressive spectacle.

We also visit a relic of the Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, home to some of the most famous Buddhist scriptures in China. It is possible to climb the pagoda – you will need to buy a ticket locally if you wish to do this – for views over Xian. Continue to the 14 km Ming Dynasty City Walls which are up to 18 meters thick at the base and 12 meters in height. It is possible to hire bicycles and ride some sections of the wall – local rental payment required.

Finish the day with a wander through Xian’s vibrant Muslim quarter, including a visit to the Great Mosque, unusually built entirely in the Chinese architectural style. This area is an excellent place to souvenir shop and eat – just ask your guide for recommendations.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 8 - Xian to Pingyao

Bullet Train to the Walled Ming Dynasty City of Pingyao

Transfer to the bullet train station for a train to Pingyao, an intact Ming Dynasty city and once a centre of banking in China with the only complete city wall of that era left in China.

Transfer to your hotel with the rest of the day free to start exploring this ancient and easily navigated city with the help of your trip Guidebook. If you wish to enter any of the old banking houses or temples you will need to buy a ticket which covers most of the sights within the city walls as well as the walls themselves. Your hotel will be able to assist with the purchase of this.

A free evening to continue to explore the city, the centre of which is beautifully lit by traditional Chinese lanterns.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 9 - Pingyao to Beijing

Free Day to Explore Pingyao Before a Bullet Train to Beijing

Much of the day is free to continue to explore the ancient streets of the city. Mid-afternoon transfer to the station to catch a bullet train to Beijing. Evening arrival in China’s cultural and political capital with it’s extraordinary blend of ancient and modern sights. Your guide and driver will meet and transfer you to your hotel to overnight.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.

Day 10 - Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace

Today you will see the main highlights of Beijing starting with the Temple of Heaven, considered by many to be the most beautiful building in China. On to vast Tiananmen Square, home to the Mao Mausoleum (it may be possible to visit if open) and Monument to the People’s Heroes before walking to the huge palace complex of the Forbidden City. We’ll walk up the middle axis from South to North taking in the splendour of the most important central buildings before finishing in a small and ancient garden by the north gate.

The last stop today is at the Summer Palace to the west of Beijing. Dominated by Kunming lake it is as popular an escape from the city for todays Beijingers as it was for the Imperial court over the centuries.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 11 - Beijing

The Great Wall at Stunning Mutianyu & the 2008 Olympic Venues

Today we will be showing you one of China’s most famous sights – the Great Wall. We visit the dramatic and less crowded Mutianyu section 70 km from Beijing set amongst spectacular mountain scenery. Dating back to the 6th Century and largely rebuilt in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty, it is one of the best preserved sections of the wall largely due to the high standard of construction.

On the way back to the city we stop at the 2008 Olympic sites of the spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium and the aquatics centre known as the Water Cube – external viewing only.

Return to your hotel with the rest of the evening free or just ask us for suggestions of shows or cultural activities.

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch.

Day 12 - Depart Beijing

Depart Beijing & Start Your Trans-Siberian Rail Adventure

Free time this morning until a transfer to the train station to begin your Trans-Siberian adventure!

Meals Included: Hotel Breakfast.


Hand-picked Accommodation for this Trip

The hotels & accommodation used for this trip are from our hand picked selection and all are excellent for their class. We also offer upgraded hotels in most locations. If you would like to explore additional hotel options please the button below and let us know of any changes you wish to make.

TS-C-EW-06 map

Destinations Visited on this Trip

Click on any of the destinations below for more information.


What is included?

Air and / or train transport as described.

All accommodation as specified under the accommodation tab

All private transfers and any other transportation as described

All meals as specified in the itinerary

All tours as specified in the itinerary

All entrance fees to sights toured in the itinerary

24 hour emergency assistance

Visa Paperwork you need in order to obtain the visas

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected

Our exclusive 200+ page trip guidebook, personalised to your trip

What is not included?

International Airfare to / from the start / finish of your trip – we can book these flights on request

The Chinese visa – we can advise and partner with VisaCentral

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – we recommend ABTASure (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment


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