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Glimpse into the future beneath Shanghai's cloud brushing skyline, cruise upon the Li River to observe China's rural heart against a backdrop of immense karsts and step back in time on a rickshaw as you navigate Beijing's ancient hutong alleys to the revered Lama Temple. Our fourteen-day itinerary showcases this magnificent country of contradictions, with unique cultural encounters allowing you to join a traditional tea ceremony or marvel at a spellbinding Tang Dynasty performance, intertwined with visits to iconic landmarks including Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors and the astonishing Great Wall of China.
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Shanghai.
Upon arrival into Shanghai you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. Following dinner, experience your first taste of this fast-paced metropolis with a visit to the Bund, Shanghai's riverside architectural showcase, followed by a stroll along Nanjing Road to observe a neon-illuminated bustle of the world's busiest shopping street.
Following breakfast embark on a morning tour of Shanghai, which includes a meander through the pond-dwelling pavilions of Yuyuan Gardens and past the French Concession's charming tree-lined avenues. After lunch, tour the affluent district of Xintiandi to admire Shikumen housing of old Shanghai, much of which conceals contemporary interiors that make up international galleries, quaint cafes and upmarket boutiques.
Discover treasures of the Shanghai Museum, which hosts an astonishing collection of paintings, calligraphy and sculptures representing a complex tapestry of dynasties. Continue to the Pudong area and peer up at the gargantuan skyscrapers that dominate the city's skyline, including the striking Oriental Pearl Tower's protruding spheres. Later in the morning, enjoy a scenic coach journey to the ancient city of Zhujiajiao for a tour of its winding waterways, delicate bridges and Ming Dynasty suburbs.
This morning take a short flight to the city of Guilin. Your sightseeing tour begins at Fubo Hill, a rock edifice that protrudes through the river. Explore its network of caves that display intricate Buddha statues before ascending a sweeping staircase that'll lead you to a viewing platform to admire stunning vistas across Guilin. Spend some time at leisure this afternoon beside the striking Elephant Hill, whose trunk appears to be drinking from the Taohua River.
Begin today with a peaceful cruise along the winding Li River to witness enormous karsts behind each corner, water buffalo patrolling the fields and the famous cormorant fisherman upon bamboo rafts. Having observed this charming rural landscape arrive at Yangshuo, arguably one of China's most beautiful cities. Following lunch, explore West Street at leisure to savour all the cultural nuances this diverse hub has to offer including stalls decorated with vibrant local crafts and a myriad of freshly caught fish from the Li River.
Today explore Yangshuo at your own pace, in which you can revisit West Street, wonder at the enigmatic Moon Hill or take a scenic bike ride to Xingping Town for an encounter with a quaint fishing community.
Return to Guilin where you will catch your flight to the city of Xi'an. In the afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour that will lead you through 3,000 years of history concluding at the Xi'an City Wall, one of the largest ancient defence structures in the world, crowned by elaborate guard towers indicative of fourteenth century Ming architecture.
Behold over 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots crafted to protect the first Emperor of China, during your visit to the magnificent Terracotta Warriors, considered by many to be the 'Eight Wonder of the World'. After admiring this tour highlight, visit the Wild Goose Pagoda to marvel at this 197ft ancient structure surrounded by pilgrims lighting aromatic incense, followed by a meander through the Muslim Quarter's marketplace, alive with the scent of steamed Jiasan buns. This evening witness a breath-taking artistic performance during a colourful Tang Dynasty Show.
After breakfast take a flight to China's capital, Beijing. Your half-day tour begins at the grand Temple of Heaven, an oasis of pristine garden space interrupted by lavish Confucian monuments, including the Temple itself that once served as a vast stage for the emperor. After spending time strolling through the Wang Fujing area, savour a delicious Peking duck dinner, for a traditional taste of fine Chinese cuisine.
Your day tour of Beijing includes a visit to Tiananmen Square, one of China's most infamous political landmarks and the world's largest public square. Having marvelled at this symbolic centre of the Chinese universe overlooked by a portrait of Chairman Mao, gaze at the largest palace complex in the world, the Forbidden City. Continue to the Summer Palace, for a stroll through the royal gardens that once acted as a retreat for emperors, before visiting a tea house to be part of an ancient ceremony involving the preparation and serving of oolong tea.
Today's sightseeing tour will begin at the iconic Great Wall of China. Winding over 5,500 miles across vast deserts, grasslands and mountains, the Wall was constructed over 2,000 years ago to guard the Chinese Empire against Mongol invaders from the north. We have included a cable car trip to a viewing point, ensuring you get the most from this gargantuan landmark. In the afternoon, stop off at the eye-catching Bird's Nest stadium used for the 2008 Olympic games. After dinner relax and take-in a spellbinding Chinese Acrobatic show.
Your last full day in Beijing commences with a rickshaw tour of the city's hutong alleys, a network of ornate houses and elegant courtyards. Before lunch explore the Lama Temple, China's most perfectly preserved lamasery whose Hall of Harmony houses three enormous bronze Buddha statues. Following an afternoon of perusing Liulichang's antique street, spend this evening witnessing a traditional Peking Opera performance, a quintessence of China and mesmerising way to end your tour.
Transfer to Beijing airport for your flight back to the UK via Shanghai.
A visa is required for entry into China. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is approximately £189.00, when calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of the most up to date fees. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is an escorted tour, meaning the you will have the services of an English speaking guide during each excursion ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
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|10 Sep 2018||23 Sep 2018|
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Towering skyscrapers form the backdrop to Hong Kong's busy harbour whilst the street markets that fill the teeming alleys remain untouched by western influences. Explore Hong Kong and Kowloon at your own pace during this extension which includes a half day city tour.
This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.
From the ancient waterways of the Mekong Delta to the bustling cities of Hanoi and Saigon, this captivating tour is a great introduction to this unique and vibrant country.
This 10 day, 8 night tour is the perfect way to explore the highlights of China.
Wander through terraced rice paddies and palm-clad hills as you follow northern Vietnam's scenic rural walking trails, visiting the majestic Hieu Waterfall, remote village settlements, Pu Luong Nature Reserve and spectacular Ninh Binh.