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Explore China in depth on this incredible 25 day, 23 night journey. From the cosmopolitan cities of Beijing and Shanghai, to the remote ancient town of Lijiang and the stunning Li River in Guilin, this extended tour visits the most iconic sights as well as discovering the hidden treasures of China.
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight.
On arrival in Shanghai, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Visit the impressive Bund, followed by a walk along Nanjing Road, the city's main shopping area.
A full day tour of the city incorporates the Yuyuan Garden, the French Concession and the arts area of Tianzifang. Wander around the district of Xintiandi and take in the beautiful scenery on a night cruise along the Huangpu River.
Spend time at the Shanghai Museum and Pudong area before visiting the ancient water village of Zhujiajiao, with its arched stone bridges and quiet alleyways. Continue onto Hangzhou.
Enjoy a relaxing boat trip on the scenic West Lake and marvel at the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Spend the afternoon in the atmospheric Qing Hefang ancient walking street - the only well-preserved part of the ancient city.
After breakfast depart for Suzhou, the Garden City of China. On arrival, visit the Master of the Nets Garden, one of the finest oriental gardens, as well as the local silk mill. Take a stroll around Guanqian Street, one of the 'Four Most Famous Walking Streets'.
Transfer to Shanghai and fly to Wuhan, then take coach or bullet train to Yichang. Following dinner in Yichang, you will board your ship for the Yangtze River cruise.
Cruise upstream to reach your first shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam itself and the Five Stage Ship Lock. In the afternoon you'll sail past the Xiling Gorge the largest and most famous of the Three Gorges.
Take a morning tour of the Shennong Stream before continuing on to the two other Gorges; the prettiest Wu Gorge, and the shortest, Qu Tang Gorge. An optional tour of the White Emperor City will be available in the afternoon.
The final day of the cruise will pass through the Fengdu Ghost City. With nearly 2000 years history, this is believed to have been the place where souls go to pass three tests before entering the afterlife.
You will disembark your ship at Chongqing and travel, by bus or bullet train, to Chengdu. Stroll around the People's Park, the ancient streets of the Wide and Narrow Alleys, and Jinli Old Street.
Spend the morning experiencing a once in a lifetime trip to the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre, home to one of China's largest habitat of pandas. Stroll around the enclosures, take photos and try to spot the lesser-known Red Pandas.
Fly to Lijiang, a famous remote, ancient town with breath-taking scenery. Visit the Pool of the Black Dragon which, built in 1737, affords stunning views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
This morning takes you on a cable car ride to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the region's tallest mountain and the most southern glacier in the northern hemisphere. You will also visit Yufeng Temple and Baisha village before driving to Dali.
Visit a family of the Bai minority group before heading on to the Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng. Following some time walking around the Old Town, you will take a drive to Kunming.
Today's excursion is to Stone Forest a UNESCO listed area with incredible limestone formations. You will be transferred to the airport in the afternoon in time for your evening flight to Guilin.
Arguably China's most picturesque region, Guilin is home to the stunning Karst Mountains and Li River. Visit the Reed Flute Caves with their rock formations and inscriptions, as well as Elephant Hill before walking around the beautiful lakes.
Sail for around 5 hours along the Li River, through unforgettable scenery, to Yangshuo. Spend the afternoon exploring West Street with the option to see a theatrical performance of The Impression of Liu Sanjie - a show portraying life and culture of the local Yangshuo people using a stunning natural backdrop.
Take a leisurely 1.5 hour bicycle tour to a village in Yangshuo, stopping at an old farming house before returning to Guilin and then flying on to Xi'an.
Considered by many to be the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', the magnificent Terracotta Warriors is a highlight of the tour. After admiring the awe-inspiring tomb, continue to the Old City Wall and Muslim Quarter before travelling back in time at a Tang Dynasty dancing show.
A full day tour of Xi'an includes a visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda, Jade factory and Shanxi History Museum. You will then take the overnight train* to Beijing.
This morning you will arrive in Beijing and be taken to one of China's most important political landmarks, Tiananmen Square. You will also visit the Forbidden City and Wang Fujing area before sampling a traditional Peking Duck dinner.
Another full day in Beijing allows you time to stroll around the magnificent Summer Palace, shop at Pearl Store as well as visit the Temple of Heaven and enjoy a traditional Tea House and ceremony.
Start the day with a cable car ride up the iconic Great Wall of China. Spend time at the Cloisonne factory before heading back to your hotel via a photo stop at the impressive Olympic Stadium. Following dinner, be mesmerised by a fantastic Chinese acrobatic performance.
Transfer to Beijing airport for your flight 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 £186.00, 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 only valid for 3 months 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.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 31 days cover||£53||£104||£157|
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.
All flights are operated by China Eastern Airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm in size. A return Business Class upgrade for international legs of the tour is available from £899pp, please speak to our reservations department for further details.
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 full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs 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 40. 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 a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in China is the Renminbi, known as RMB or CNY. It is often referred to as the Yuan. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in China should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approx. £500-£600 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. There are some optional tours available to purchase locally and these generally need to be paid in cash. Therefore please allow an additional £100 if you wish to book any of these. For an additional CNY3000 cash you are able to be photographed next to one of the pandas at the Chengdu breeding centre - please note 3 days notice must be given to your guide if you wish to do this. It is customary to tip your national guide, local guide and driver approximately £3.00 (CNY30.00) per person per day. During your Yangtze Rivercruise it is customary to tip the cruise staff approximately £15 per person for the total duration. For your convenience, this will be collected by your National Guide on the first day of your tour in Shanghai, approximately £90.00 (CNY900.00) for the total duration per person. Tips are collected in Chinese Yuan.
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The Overnight train is based on 4 people sharing a soft sleeper/compartment. Pay a supplement of just £89 per person to have the sleeper/compartment to yourself (minimum two people).
If the group tour departure dates and not suitable for you and you would prefer a more personal and flexible experience than you can choose to book a private guide for your tour at a reasonable supplement.
Please be advised at the present time the option to have your picture taken with a Panda in Chengdu is unavailable due to renovations.
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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.