Kick off in Beijing, explore the Forbidden City, ride around the Hutongs and relax over a delicious Peking Duck dinner. Discover the Great Wall at both Badaling and Juyongguan before taking a high speed train to Luoyang - home to the Longmen's Caves and the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple. Continue to Xi'an - home to the Terracotta Warriors before ending in futuristic Shanghai.
Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer from Beijing Capital Airport to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day offers free time for you to independently explore this astonishing city.
Today, we embark on a guided tour of the nation’s capital. Tiananmen Square, a patriotic vision of grandeur and the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors boasting stunning temples, courtyards and reception halls. We take an afternoon rickshaw ride navigating the old back lanes and courtyards of Beijing’s Hutongs. This evening, we enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out followed by a Welcome Dinner of Peking Duck.
After a free morning to further explore the city, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, to walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Built in the Ming Dynasty, a 6m wide pathway makes a formidable defence, following the highest contours of a steep range of hills. We also visit a Jade Carving Centre before heading to our quaint hotel near Juyongguan Pass, which offers views of the Great Wall.
Beijing - Luoyang. We rise early this morning and head (5 min bus drive) to the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass when it opens to beat the crowds. Later we return to Beijing to explore the famous Pearl Market - an Aladdin's Cave of clothing, jewellery and electronic gadgets before taking an afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself! Check in to hotel in Luoyang, late evening.
First thing today we drive to the Shaolin Kung Fu Temple (approx 2 hours), set on the foothills of the Songshan Mountain. Here generation after generation of Shaolin monks have devoted themselves to practising Chan Buddhism and a martial art widely recognised as the origins of kung fu. Over the years hundreds, if not thousands, of people have flocked to this very site to learn this ancient discipline and we'll have the opportunity to watch a performance of kung fu during our visit. Returning to Luoyang you’ll have some free time, and the option to walk to Xiyuan Park where ball room dancing, tai chi, aerobics and badminton lessons take place every evening.
Luoyang - Xi’an. Today we explore the UNESCO-listed 5th and 6th Century Longmen Caves etched into the cliffs of the Yi River. The 2,300 caves (grottoes) are adorned with 110,000 statues and images of Buddha, carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. This afternoon we board the high speed train to Xi’an (journey time approx 2hrs). After hotel check-in and some time to fresh up we’ll embark on a casual bike ride around the Xi’an City Wall. Looking down as you pedal offers delightful views of the Old City in the centre of the walls and the modern city on the outside.
Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors are reputed to be the greatest discovery of the 20th century - 7,000 life-sized clay soldiers stand ready for battle. We visit the archaeological site and the workshop where the replica warriors are crafted. Tonight, we welcome you to join the optional Tang Dynasty Show, which includes dinner, a traditional performance and transfers (bookable locally).
Xi’an - Shanghai. First up this morning, we tour the lofty Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The complex of temples, pagodas and expansive gardens, constructed during the 7th century offered refuge and a store house for Chinese Buddhists translating the very important Buddhist sutras from India. After we visit the Muslim Quarter and enjoy some free time to explore the backstreets of this ever lively area. After lunch we board our express train to Shanghai, where upon arrival we check into our hotel late this evening.
Good morning Shanghai! Just the mere mention of ‘Shanghai’ conjures up mystery, romance and general decadence. Pre – 1949, cosmopolitan Shanghai was a magnet for seekers of wealth, idle colonialists, explorers and the dispossessed. Everything went belly up in 1949, when Mao and the communists took to power and swept the good times and rock and roll away. A legacy of these heady times is Shanghai’s Bund where on and around this waterfront promenade are a vast series of grandiose pre-1949 buildings. Just across the Huangpu River is the new Shanghai, a high-tech development of gravity defying skyscrapers. <br/><br/> Today we tour many of the city’s top spots - Yu Gardens and Bazaar- Shanghai’s finest traditional garden, the Bund, Pudong and the Shanghai Plaza Tower and take a cruise along the Huangpu River.
Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai. Today we travel by road to ancient Suzhou. A sort of oriental Venice, ancient Suzhou is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways which feed a series of classical gardens, laid out here since the Song dynasty a thousand years ago, they are justly famous across China. Suzhou sits very close to the Grand Canal, we enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal before exploring the Lingering Garden - a beautiful classical Chinese garden dating back from the Ming Dynasty. Today’s final visit is a silk workshop before returning to Shanghai.
Tuesday. Our tour ends after breakfast and onward departure transfer to airport.
From a first foray into Egypt in 1998, On The Go Tours have expanded their operations to more than 60 countries, offering award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world. Their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco, whilst other regions include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the extravagant Taj Mahal in India, On The Go Tours get you to the main sights of whichever destination you choose to visit. There’s also a range of special festival tours, Christmas and New Year adventures and much more, from overland adventures to luxury cruises. They always uncover some hidden gems too, be it canoeing to a local home for lunch in Sri Lanka or riding a rickshaw around the maze of Hutongs in Beijing, China.
With three different ranges of trips to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Signature tours are everything that makes On The Go Tours special, with local tour guides, small groups and a great quality of accommodation. Essentials tours keep the costs down whilst still delivering true adventure, with a mixture of public transport in Japan and overland trucks in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Whilst on their Handpicked tours, On The Go Tours work with local partners to deliver authentic experiences in amazing destinations, from Iceland to the Galapagos archipelago.
Sustainability and environmental awareness are also at the heart of On The Go Tours’ operations. Whether it’s planting trees in Cambodia, donating stationary to a school in India or funding the conservation of endangered Bengal tigers, protecting the regions they visit is at the forefront of the way they do business. Signature tours with On The Go Tours also make use of locally-run hotels and eateries wherever possible, and tour guides are mostly English-speaking locals. Overall, around 70% of travellers holiday funds remain in the destination visited.