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From the sprawling urban settlements, sophisticated enough to compete with any modern metropolis, to morning tai chi and farming methods which have remained unchanged for thousands of years, China is a vast country made up of infinite variety and wild contradictions. This 15-night tour will take you to the highlights of this fascinating country as well as some of the quieter and less explored areas.
From the historical city of Beijing where you visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, you will travel to probably the most famous site in China, the Great Wall of China. Here you will enjoy a trek along a quieter stretch of the Wall and a night in a fabulous eco-retreat overlooking the Wall itself. From here you head to visit the famous Ming Tombs before taking your comfortable overnight sleeper train to Xi’an, the home of the famous Terracotta Army.
The warriors, numbering in the thousands, were discovered in 1974 and it is thought they were created to accompany Emperor Qin into the afterlife. You will of course enjoy a visit to the Army of soldiers, chariots, and horses in the Terracotta Museum, and also in Xi’an city itself, you will enjoy a gentle cycle ride around the elevated city walls for a different perspective. From Xi’an, you will fly to Guilin and enjoy a trip to see the Longsheng rice terraces and also to visit the local minority villages followed by a cruise to the small, laid-back town of Yangshuo. Here you will spend time in a quiet eco-retreat called the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat from which you will enjoy a spot of cooking with a local family and spare time in the low-key town of Yangshuo itself with its bars, restaurants, and shopping.
After time in rural China, you will fly to Shanghai for a few days in this modern metropolis. It’s thought that during the building boom of the early ’90s a third of the world's construction cranes were at work in Shanghai. Here you will visit the pretty and lavish Yuyuan Garden, the Jade Buddha Temple, and Long Hua Park before spending a final day exploring at your own pace, maybe doing a spot of shopping or simply relaxing after your busy trip.
Best time to go:
The climate in China varies a lot as the region covers a range of latitudes. Generally, the most comfortable time of year to travel is in the Autumn or Spring between September and October or April to May when you can expect reasonable temperatures and limited amounts of rainfall. Summers between June and August can be very hot and the winters can be very cold indeed, especially in the north.