CLASSIC | 9 DAYS | PHYSICAL LEVEL 1 BEIJING – XIAN – CHENGDU
This short adventure in China is designed for exploring imperial Beijing and experiencing ancient Xian, before being whisked off to Chengdu to get up close to the resident Giant Pandas.
• Discover the imperial treasures of Beijing
• Explore the Great Wall of China
• Experience the spectacular Terracotta Warriors
• Spend time with the lovable Giant Pandas
See the classic sights in the company of expert guides so you can really understand the history and culture of the destination. On our classic tours we take care of everything, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the experience to the full. The tours are fully inclusive with all meals and a comprehensive touring programme.
Itinerary – In Pursuit of Pandas
Fly overnight to Beijing, the capital of China, for a 3-night stay. On arrival in Beijing Capital International Airport on day 2, you will be met in the arrival hall by your local guide and/or National Escort. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer approximately 1 hour to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. A tour introduction will be held in the hotel either this evening or the next. Food and drinks will not be served at this meeting, it is simply an opportunity for your group to meet and learn more about travelling in China.
Beijing – The capital of the People’s Republic of China, with its unequalled wealth of history, Beijing served as the centre for the many different empires and cultures that ruled China. It has been the heart of politics and society throughout its long history. The ancient monuments, stories of days gone by, and the dynamic, modern city Beijing has become today, make it a destination not to be missed.
Walk through Tiananmen Square and into the magnificent Forbidden City. Sightseeing here will involve approximately 3-4 hours on foot. Later, soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven for about 1 hour where you can watch, or take part in, an outdoor dance group. Tonight, eat a traditional Peking duck dinner.
Please note: The Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. If this day of touring falls on a Monday, your touring in Beijing will be switched around so that the Forbidden City is visited on an alternative day.
Tiananmen Square – Built under the guidance of Chairman Mao Zedong, Tiananmen Square is one of the largest public squares in the world, said to hold a capacity crowd of over one million. It houses not only the Monument to the People’s Heroes, it is also the final resting place of Chairman Mao himself in the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Forbidden City – The sacred centre of the Chinese empire for 500 years and home to the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is a vast complex of over 900 buildings and covers an area of 180 acres. Since 1987, the Forbidden City has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its palatial architectural style has been an influence on many imperial buildings throughout Asia.
Temple of Heaven – Set in a 267-hectare park surrounded by a long wall and with a gate at each compass point, the Temple of Heaven is absolutely unique. It is one of the most perfect examples of Ming architecture, created as a place of worship for the Emperors, who would ask for prosperity, longevity and good harvest for the people. See the many groups of local people that gather here every day to sing folk songs, practice Tai Chi, play chess or just come to sit and chat.
Peking duck – A favourite of the Emperor’s court and the upper-class elite during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Peking duck quickly spread throughout Chinese society to become a national favourite and a symbol of China.
Rise early this morning to avoid the crowds and drive approximately 2 hours northwest of the city to the Juyongguan Pass to take a walk on the Great Wall of China, appreciating the wall itself and the dramatic scenery. Your visit involves walking from the bus to the first section; once your group has been given an introduction to the Great Wall’s unique history you will have free time to explore at your own pace. Later, visit the Jade Factory and then stroll through the Summer Palace. This evening, enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show.
Great Wall of China – Originally built under the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, The Great Wall of China is the country’s most iconic sight. Snaking through the northern countryside from the Gobi Desert in the west into the Bohai Sea in the east, the Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world and was used as a fortification against northern nomadic tribes. The current structure dates back to the Ming Dynasty – over 700 years old.
Jade Factory – Learn about one of China’s most symbolic and important materials: jade, at this comprehensive factory. Understand how to tell if jade is real or fake and watch artisans at work, carving this emerald stone into works of art.
Summer Palace – The former holiday retreat of the Qing emperors, the Summer Palace is a stunning example of Chinese garden style. The Summer Palace incorporates the Fengshui notion of ‘Mountain’ and ‘Water’, seen here with tranquil Kunming Lake and magnificent Longevity Hill. A favourite resort of the Empress Dowager Cixi, the Summer Palace is home to a stunning Marble Boat and the Long Corridor, one of the longest outdoor passageways in the world.
Chinese Acrobatics – Chinese acrobatics incorporates many forms of art, including acrobatics, contortionism, juggling and plate spinning.
This morning you will be transferred approximately 1 hour to Beijing airport for your 2-hour flight to Xian. On arrival, take a walk on the ancient city walls before you check in. Your local guide will give you time to explore the ancient city walls at your own pace. There are options here to hire a bicycle or an electric cart to drive along the length of the wall, these are offered by private vendors and can be organised at your own expense. Later this evening, enjoy a delicious feast of traditional Shui Jiao dumplings and a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
Xian – Xian has long played a pivotal role in China’s extensive history and has been a hub for cultural exchange, economic trade and national politics for centuries. Home to some of China’s most ancient sights, diverse architecture and delicious fares.
Ancient City Walls – Dating back to the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, the Xian ancient city wall is one of the best preserved urban fortifications in China. The wall’s ideal spot and layout gives visitors a bird’s eye view over this fantastic city. Follow the locals’ example and hire a bike to get an ever more spectacular experience.
Tang Dynasty Dancing Show – Xian, previously known as Chang’an, was an important cultural and historical centre in not only China but in the known-world. The Tang Dynasty dancing show is an exciting exponent of this prosperous society and keeps alive the splendour of this period.
Spend the morning viewing the enigmatic ranks of the life-sized Terracotta Warriors. The Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses is located approximately a 1-hour drive outside of Xian. From the bus park to the museum entrance is a 15-minute walk. There are electric carts offered by private vendors which can be organised at your own cost. There is no electric cart available for the return from the museum exit to the bus park. Within the museum area the warriors can be seen in three different ‘pits’, which are active archaeological digs. The site is large and will take about 2 and a half hours to explore. After this, visit the Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Workshop to see smaller models of the warriors being made. Later, take a 3-and-a-half-hour bullet train to Chengdu.
Terracotta Warriors – One of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, this unearthed terracotta army is comprised of over 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots. The army was built in life-sized form by thousands of workers and designed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang to defend himself in the afterlife.
Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Workshop – See smaller versions of the enigmatic Terracotta Warriors being created at the captivating Xian Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Workshop; even purchase your own portable soldier.
Chengdu – China’s symbolic western capital and the residence of the country’s most lovable black and white bear, Chengdu has an abundance to offer. With a fast-paced economy that is dragging China’s west into the 21st century, it is no wonder that Chengdu’s appeal is growing year on year. As the gateway into Sichuan Provinces large collection of sights, as well as Chengdu being its own trove of historical and cultural treasures, Chengdu is a must-visit on any trip to China.
Today, see the Giant Pandas at Dujiangyan Panda Base. Located in the forested Sichuanese countryside around 1 hour’s drive north of Chengdu, Dujiangyan offers refuge to Giant Pandas with the aim to reintroduce them into the wild. Later, return to Chengdu and soak up the atmosphere on lively Jinli Street, before enjoying a typical Sichuan meal this evening.
Dujiangyan Panda Base – Offering one of the most authentic, spacious and natural settings in the country, Dujiangyan is home to around 20 Giant Pandas.
Sichuanese Meal – Sichuanese cuisine is famous for its use of Sichuan pepper and chillies. These spices area are known for their ‘mala’ (numb and spicy) flavours, which seem to cool and heat your mouth at the same time. Famous dishes include Kung Pao chicken, twice- cooked pork and spicy Sichuanese hotpot.
This morning, visit the Giant Pandas at the Panda Conservation Centre, where you can learn more about China’s celebrated bear. It is not guaranteed that you will be able to see the feeding of the younger pandas, as this only happens at the start and end of each day. Sightseeing involves approximately 1 and a half hours on foot and there are electric carts offered by private vendors that can be organised at your own cost. Later, visit Matchmaker’s Corner where you can watch parents search for suitable suitors for their children, and visit a traditional tea house where you can try traditional Chinese tea (at your own expense).
Panda Conservation Centre – With over 80 pandas holding residence, the Chengdu Panda Research Base is equipped with the latest technology and research materials to gain a further understanding in how we can protect the panda and maintain, if not increase, its numbers. The park is set up to resemble the mountain and forest regions in north Sichuan, the original home of the Giant Panda, with extensive bamboo trees and large green spaces. Red Pandas, the Giant Panda’s lovable cousin, and flamboyant peacocks too roam the park, making for an interesting mix.
Any time before your flight is at leisure. You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight.
In Pursuit of Pandas Travel Information
• Return international economy flights, taxes and current fuel surcharges (unless a land only option is selected)
• All accommodation
• All meals
• All sightseeing and entrance fees
• All transportation and transfers
• English speaking National Escort (if your group is 10 or more passengers) and Local Guides
• Visa fees for UK/Irish passport holders
• Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
• Comprehensive travel guides
• Safe and secure with TTA, ABTA, ATOL and IATA
The only thing you may have to pay for are personal expenditure e.g. drinks, optional excursions or shows, insurance of any kind, tipping and early check in or late check out. These are all payable locally
All our tours feature a physical rating to help you select the right holidays for you. To travel on any of our tours requires unaided mobility and the ability to stroll around the sights.
‘In Pursuit of Pandas is rated as a physical level 1 tour. A reasonable level of fitness is required but it’s more about spending time on your feet rather than covering large distances. You’ll be getting on and off coaches and boats, walking around the sights and climbing some steps.
• There will be sightseeing on foot for both short and extended periods of time
• On the Great Wall of China in Beijing, some of the walking will be at an incline
Of course, our national escorts and local guides will always endeavour to provide the highest level of service and assistance; however, they cannot be expected to cater for customers who are unfit to complete the itinerary.
A visa is required for entry into China. The cost of your visa is included in the price of your tour (UK/Irish passports only). Please note that the visa application process and specifications can change at any time, and for the most up to date information. In order to obtain a visa for China, all passengers between the ages of 14-69 years old are required to visit one of four visa centres across the UK – London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Belfast. If you are visiting London, a representative will be available to assist, an appointment will need to be booked in advance. If these times and dates are not convenient for you, you may visit the visa centre directly at a time and date which is more convenient for you.