Legendary China

Explore the depth of China, its vast history and amazing cities and towns. See the inspiration for the mountain in the movie "Avatar." Enjoy unique excursions such as traveling in a sidecar of a replica of a 1930’s BMW M71 motorcycle in Shanghai; touring Guilin by bicycle; and taking a bamboo raft along the Yulong River through amazing landscapes.

Country Information

China including Hong Kong & Taiwan

Legendary China Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

China including Hong Kong & Taiwan


(Interest Type(s))

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

29 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Explore Beijing in depth, including touring the Hutong neighborhoods by rickshaw, and visiting a special section of the Great Wall, Badaling, where you have the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of this incredible structure by placing your own brick in the wall
  • In Pingyao, you have the opportunity to stay at Jing’s Residence, a small boutique hotel in the former mansion of a wealthy Qing dynasty silk merchant, built some 260 years ago
  • Take in the magnificent Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses of Xi’an, including a once-in-a-lifetime tour of a private room in the museum, where, should special permission be granted, you will be allowed special access to hold the relics within the private restoration room
  • Hike to the top of Tianzi Mountain, sightseeing in Helong Park and Tianzi Tower, and see the origin and inspiration of floating mountain from the movie AVATAR
  • Enjoy unique excursions such as traveling in a sidecar of a replica of a 1930’s BMW M71 motorcycle in Shanghai; touring Guilin by bicycle; and taking a bamboo raft along the Yulong River through amazing landscapes

Day 1: Beijing, China
Welcome to China! Upon arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel, where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China, is the nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. Located in northern China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, Beijing also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry in China. Beijing, one of the six ancient cities in China, has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore Beijing's ancient past and exciting modern development. Now it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.  Intercontinental Financial Street Hotel – Club Grand Deluxe Room (B)

Day 2:  Beijing
Today, you will have a full day exploration of Beijing. You will first visit Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing is Tiananmen Square, where you can visit Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony. Thousands of people come to the Square every day. Discover the fascinating Forbidden City, called Gu Gong in Chinese. It served as the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten meter high wall are 9,999 rooms. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate to the north is the Gate of Divine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside.

Enjoy special access to Chong Hua Palace, located in the western route of the inner count and built by the Yongzheng emperor in the early 1700s. Every Lunar New Year, emperor would gather the ministers in Chong Hua palace to make poems and tea banquet. The furniture and buildings' arrangements are preserved from Qianlong period. Travelers can rarely visit here, the courtyard is quiet and all that you hear is voices of history. (Not open to the public). Intercontinental Financial Street Hotel (L)

Day 3: Beijing
This morning, visit the Hutongs using a rickshaw. Hutongs are typical lanes or small streets in Beijing that originated during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). "Hutong" is a Mongolian word, meaning "water well". During that time, water well is the settlement around which people lived. There are tens of thousands of Hutongs surrounding the Forbidden City. In the past, Beijing was composed of countless courtyards. Hutongs were formed when people left a passageway between two courtyards to make entering them more convenient. As the symbol of Beijing City, a Hutong has its own layout and structure. A bird's-eye view of Beijing would reveal the combination of Hutongs and courtyards like an orderly chessboard with delicate gardens, fine rockeries, and ancient ruins. Hutongs have witnessed the development of Beijing. Where there is a Hutong, there is a story. Lunch is at Chen Mansion feast, this restaurant is run by one of the former personal chefs of Chairman Mao. Intercontinental Financial Street Hotel (L)

Day 4: Beijing
The Great Wall is a symbol of Chinese civilization, and one of the wonders that the Chinese people have created. Badaling Great Wall, the most representative section of the wall, was promoted as a key national cultural relic, protected under the approval of the State Council in 1961. In 1988, it became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site; and in 2007, it gained the worldwide reputation once again as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Badaling Great Wall is situated in Yanqing County, over 70 kilometers/43 miles north of Beijing. It is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  It has an average altitude of over 1,000 meters/3,282 feet and is the outpost of the Juyongguan Pass. The mountain slope is very steep and the roads are tortuous. These features made it a military stronghold. Badaling Great Wall is like a strong dragon winding its way along the mountain ranges.

Here you will have the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of the Great Wall by putting your own brick.

Your last stop today is beautiful Summer Palace set along Kunming Lake. Situated in the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers/9.3 miles from central Beijing. Because it has the largest royal park and is well preserved, it was designated by the State Council, as a Key Cultural Relics Protection Site of China. Containing examples of the ancient arts, it also has graceful landscapes and magnificent constructions. The Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, it, too, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Intercontinental Financial Street Hotel (L)

Day 5: Beijing
Today is at leisure for you to do what you wish. A vehicle driver and guide remain at your disposal should you wish to further explore the city (vehicle for use for 8 hours within city limits). Intercontinental Financial Street Hotel (B)

Day 6: Beijing / Datong
Take an early morning flight to Datong, where you are met and transferred to the hotel. Later this morning, explore the Yungang Grottos, a series of 53 caves that were completed during the Northern Wei Dynasty (460-494 AD). In 2001, the site became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Nine Dragon Wall in central Datong within the old city ramparts, is one of only four in China. It was built in 1392 to conceal the palace of a Ming dynasty (1368-1644) prince. The palace burned down in the 15th century but the 45-meter/148-foot screen wall survived. The wall is decorated with brightly colored glazed tiles and carved dragons and animals. It is the largest of its kind in China. You will also visit the Shanhua temple. Erected during the Tang Era, the main hall has five Buddhist statues, flanked by 24 divine generals. As one of the 24 historic cities in China, Datong is known for its abundant ancient relics and natural beauty.  Datong Yungang Jianguo Hotel – Deluxe Suite (B,L)

Day 7: Datong / Pingyao
Depart this morning overland to Pingyao. En route, visit the Hanging Temples, which date back 1400 years. These unique structures seem to hang in midair from the cliffs. Next, the wooden Pagoda at Yinxian, is a 70-meter structure and the first wooden tower building in China. Continue on to Pingyao. On arrival, check into your hotel. Nestled amongst dusty curio shops and bustling restaurants in the old walled city of Pingyao is the 19-room Jing's Residence, a small boutique hotel that is located in the former mansion of a wealthy Qing dynasty silk merchant, built some 260 years ago. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of the old town and encompasses a series of grey-brick pavilions built around a set of four courtyards in the authentic architectural style of northern China. Jing’s Residence – Courtyard Suite (B,L)
 
Day 8: Pingyao
Enjoy a tour of this ancient town. Explore Pingyao’s old town, the Rishengcan Bank, and Antique Street. During the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was a financial center in China. Its history stretches back over some 2,700 years. It is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the known world. A UNESCO World Heritage, the city has preserved Ming- and Qing-style residences that number close to 4,000. The streets and storefronts largely retain their historical appearance. In 1986, China designated Pingyao as one of the Chinese Historic and Cultural Cities. Jing’s Residence – Courtyard Suite (B,L)

Day 9: Pingyao / Taiyuan / Xi’an
Depart overland for Taiyuan in the central part of Shanxi Province. This old city was formerly called Jinyang. It was originally built at the end of the Spring and Autumn Period and has a history stretching back more than 2,400 years. Along the way, you visit the Chang Courtyard, and the Jinci Temple I - a jewel of a setting surrounded by water, mountains, ancient timber and clear springs. The temple features hundreds of palace halls, pavilions, booths, platforms and bridges. Board an afternoon flight to Xi’an. Xi’an City was the capital city in 13 dynasties, which lasted a total of more than 1,100 years. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Sofitel Xi’an Renmin Square – Prestige Suite (B)

Day 10: Xi’an
After breakfast, enjoy a brief visit to a symbol of old-line Xian - Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda), a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometers/2.49 miles from downtown. It is a National Key Cultural Relic Preserve. Then you head to Shaanxi Province, where you will spend the majority of the day exploring the renowned Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses, one of the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum in Lintong. It is an extraordinary site not to be missed. Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his afterlife. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC). Life-size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard of that era. The museum is divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. Sofitel Xi’an Renmin Square – Prestige Suite (B,L)

Day 11: Xi’an / Lijiang
This morning visit the Xi’an City Museum. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tour of a private room in the museum. Should special permission be granted, you will be provided a pair of special gloves and allowed special access to hold the relics within the private restoration room. Then head to the airport for your flight to Lijiang in Yunnan, considered a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by friendly people. Lijiang Old Town is graced by well-preserved ancient buildings and the Naxi culture. Lijiang City is remote, but it has the advantage of ensuring a pleasant year-round climate. The earliest recorded history of Lijiang can be traced back to the Warring States Period (476 BC-221 BC), but with the advent of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the local economy reached its peak with the development of the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, which made a great contribution to both the commercial and cultural communication between Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Arriving late in the day, you are transferred to your hotel, where the evening is at leisure.  Banyan Tree Resort – Garden Suite (B,L)

Day 12: Lijiang
Enjoy a private tour to the Baisha Village, Baisha Fresco, Yuhu village and Rock’s former residence. Black Dragon Pool, also known as Yuquan Garden, is located north of the city at the foot of Elephant Mountain. Running from the Sifang Street for about one km along the Jade River, a crystal clean spring sprays out between the stones, making a pool of about 40,000 square meters with picturesque scenery around. Along with the ancient buildings that dot the lush  mountain landscape, you can easily lose yourself in this dreamy wonderland. The Black Dragon Pool Park in Lijiang is commonly referred as the Temple of the Dragon King. It was built in the 2nd year of Emperor QianLong's reign (1737), and then rebuilt many times. The ancient buildings in the park include Shrine of Dragon King, Deyue Building, Suocui Bridge and Jade Emperor Building. The Wufeng Building is the most famous, which was formerly built in Fuguo Buddhist Temple named as Fayun Attic. In the evening enjoy a Naxi Music Performance. Banyan Tree Resort – Garden Suite (B,L)

Day 13: Lijiang
This morning, enjoy the Old Town of Lijiang, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture. It is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters/7,874 feet above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like a big jade ink slab, gaining it the alias Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen). Here, your guide will take you to the food market where you can see and try some local food. The afternoon is at your leisure. Banyan Tree Resort – Garden Suite (B)

Day 14: Lijiang / Zhongdian
Today transfer to Zhongdian, or Shangri-La, "Eden in a dream." Since it first appeared in British novelist James Hilton's Lost Horizon in 1939, it has been associated with the mystique of a place which could not possibly exist here on Earth. In Tibetan, Shangri-La means the "sun and moon in heart", an ideal home only found in heaven. There the lofty and continuous snowy mountains, endless grasslands, steep and grand gorges, azure lakes and the bucolic villages always leave a deep impression on visitors. Located at point where Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan all meet, Shangri-La County is administered by Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.

En route visit the first bend of Yangzte River, Shigu village, and Tiger Leaping Gorge on the way. About 100 kilometers/62 mile northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan). Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge), which is believed to be the deepest gorge in the world. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jingsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) below. Banyan Tree - Tibetan Suite (B, L)

Day 15: Zhongdian
Begin your day with a visit to Songtzling Monastery. It is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, also known as Guihua Monastery. It is one of the most famous monasteries in the Kang region. Construction of the monastery began in 1679 and was completed two years later. It appears to be a group of ancient castles and is composed of two lamaseries, Zhacang and Jikang. The gilded copper roof has strong Tibetan features and the 108 (an auspicious number in Buddhism) columns downstairs also feature characteristics of Han nationality. The main halls are magnificent, with wonderful frescos depicting Buddhist tales and legends. The inside halls are exquisite with cloisters running through all decorated with beautiful sculptures and consummate frescos. Here, you will meet the lama inside the monastery. You also visit the Dabaosi Temple. Hike to the summit of Dabaosi (sacred hill of Ringha) and sip butter tea with a farming family. They will teach you how to make the “Yak Oil Tea and Yak Oil Bread” which are the most common daily food for Tibetan people. Banyan Tree - Tibetan Suite (B, L)

Day 16: Zhongdian / Guilin
Today you are transferred to the airport for your afternoon flight to Guilin in the northern end of Guangxi region. Upon arrival, you will be met and privately escorted to your hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure. Guilin, China’s great scenic city, is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes and studded with sheer karst mountains. Shangri-La Hotel – Executive Suite (B)

Day 17: Guilin / Longsheng / Guilin
Depart this morning for Longsheng and some of the most breathtaking landscapes, including the immense Longji Rice Terrace, where, local communities have grown rice for centuries. They developed a simple yet very efficient terracing and watering system. Of particular interest are the people themselves. This region has a large number of Chinese ethnic minorities such as Miao, Zhuang, Yao and Dong. They retain many traditional ways of life. Following your tour, return to Guilin. Shangri-La Hotel – Executive Suite (B, L)

Day 18: Guilin / Yangshuo
Today, you travel by road to Yangshuo and check into your hotel. Enjoy a bamboo rafting excursion along the Yulong River through amazing landscapes.  This afternoon, drive to the town of Fuli to explore the ancient architecture. Fuli is also famous for the preservation of the ancient paper fan making process, all done by hand utilizing ancient customs. Yangshuo Green Lotus Hotel – Deluxe Riverview Suite (B,L)

Day 19: Yangshuo / Guilin
This morning set out on a bicycle tour of this charming town. Pedal leisurely to Moon Hill where you have the chance to pause for tea and a chat with a local farmer. The balance of the day is at leisure. Drive back to Guilin and check into your hotel. Shangri-La Hotel – Executive Suite (B, L)

Day 20: Guilin / Zhangjiajie        
Today you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Guangzhou and connect flight to Zhangjiajie. Upon arrival you will be met and privately transferred to the city where you will check into your hotel upon arrival. Pullman Hotel –Executive Suite (B)

Day 21: Zhangjiajie
Start your day at Yellow Stone Mountain, taking a cable car to the top of the mountain. If you don’t visit Huangshizhai, you cannot claim to have visited this region. Travel to the Cable Car launch traveling to Tianzi Mountain. Hike to the top, sightseeing in Helong Park and Tianzi Tower. See the origin and inspiration of floating mountain from the movie AVATAR. End the day taking a boat on Baofeng Lake listening to Tuija Folk songs. Pullman Hotel –Executive Suite (B,L)

Day 22: Zhangjiajie / Shanghai
Begin today a visit to Golden Whip Stream Canyon, its meandering streams, crystal-clear waterfalls, exotic plants and rare animals make this a beautiful, tranquil and natural ecological environment. Transfer to the airport late afternoon for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Intercontinental Hotel Shanghai Pudong –Club Premiere Room (B,L)

Day 23: Shanghai
Today, explore Shanghai. First you will visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. This 468 meters (1,536 feet) high tower is the world's third tallest TV and radio tower surpassed in height only by towers in Toronto, Canada and Moscow, Russia. However, even more alluring than its height is the tower's unique architectural design that makes the Oriental Pearl TV Tower one of the most attractive places anywhere. The base of the tower is supported by three seven-meter wide slanting stanchions. Surrounding the eleven steel spheres that are 'strung' vertically through the center of the tower are three nine-meter wide columns. There are three large spheres including the top sphere, known as the space module. Then there are five smaller spheres and three decorative spheres on the tower base. The entire structure rests on rich green grassland and gives the appearance of pearls shining on a jade plate. Continue to the Yu Garden, a famous classical garden in Anren Jie. The garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.  After your lunch, enjoy a unique excursion through parts of Shanghai traveling by sidecar. The motorcycle, driven by a professional guide will be a replica of a 1930’s BMW M71 motorcycles.

At the end of WWII, the BMW factory was moved from Eastern Germany to Siberia and became Ural; during the 1950's, the technology was transferred to China under the name of Changjiang, the mechanics have hardly been modified in the past 50 years which makes the bikes unique and the most appropriate time machine to discover the streets of Shanghai. The tour lasts 2 hours and it will be tailor made to meet your requirements. The Motor will send you to Tian Zi Fang Area after the tour finished to meet your guide there. Walking down the narrow lane of Tianzi Fang at Taikang Lu ('Art Street'), you'd be wondering if you were really in cosmopolitan Shanghai. At a glance, Taikang Lu features a mix of old and refurbished brick houses some dating back to the 1800s.  However, do not be fooled by the traditional old lanes or wet clothes hanging on bamboo poles above your head. Taikang Lu sure deserves a second look. These days, many artists and local designers have set up boutiques and laid-back cafe is that have been drawing crowds of yuppies, fashionistas, designers and expatriates. Intercontinental Hotel Shanghai Pudong – Club Premier Email (B, L)

Day 24: Shanghai / Hangzhou
Transfer to the train station today for your train to Hangzhou (your guide from Shanghai will accompany you). Upon arrival in Hangzhou you will be met and transferred to West Lake where you will enjoy some afternoon hiking around the area. You will also have the opportunity to ride bicycles if you choose. Originally a shallow sea inlet, due to the laying down of silt this 5.68 square kilometers/about 1,404 acres of water became the famous West Lake. The cultural landscape of the West Lake initiated in the 9th Century, took shape in the 13th Century and had been thrived since the 18th Century. For about ten centuries, it has always been the spiritual home of Chinese culture elites, the paradise for all strata of Chinese people and a well-known lake in China with the longest history and biggest influence. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List on June, 24, 2011, by the committee of the 35th World Heritage Conference in Paris. Afterwards you will visit the Longjin village where you will enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. Then you will continue to Shangtianzhu Temple where you will enjoy some soft hiking in the area, which offers amazing views and panoramas of the surrounding area. Amanfayun – Villa Room (L) 

Day 25: Hangzhou
Explore the Leifeng Pagoda today built in the late 8th century for Quing Chu to honor the birth of his son Huang Fei. Continue on to Guozhuang Village and Hefang Street, one of the most ancient in Hangzhou. The balance of the day is at leisure. Amanfayun – Villa Room (B, L)

Day 26: Hangzhou / Suzhou - Suzhou / Shanghai
You will transfer to the train station this morning for your departing train to Suzhou, about a two to three hour train ride. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred into the city where you will first visit Pingjiang Road. Strolling on the street flanked by old houses, you will see willows lining the river.

Next you visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Due to its unique designs and ethereal beauty, the garden has garnered many special honors. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site and has also been designated as one of the Cultural Relics of National Importance under the Protection of the State as well as a Special Tourist Attraction of China. Along with the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou, it is considered as one of China's four most famous gardens. No other classic garden in the country has been honored more than this one. Continue to the train station where you will board your train back to Shanghai. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will check in and overnight. Intercontinental Hotel Shanghai Pudong – Club Premiere Room (B,L)

Day 27: Shanghai
Today is at leisure. Should you wish to explore the town further or do some shopping, a vehicle with driver and guide is at your disposal for use within city limits during normal hours. Intercontinental Hotel Shanghai Pudong – Club Premiere Room (B)

Day 28: Shanghai
Today is at leisure to explore on your own. A vehicle with driver and guide is at your disposal for use within city limits during normal hours. Intercontinental Hotel Shanghai Pudong – Club Premiere Room (B)

Day 29: Shanghai / Depart
Today you driven to the airport in time to connect your flight home.

Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$500 per person per day

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