Explore Authentic China - 13 Days
Visiting Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lijiang, & Shangri-la
This tour will familiarize you with severa l of the best - known areas in China. Exploring ancient Beijing and hiking along the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, Panda habitat in Chengdu and mysterious Yunnan province with its interesting ethnic groups. At the same time, what makes this tour differen t iated with others is that we actually add more adventure experiences in it, such as Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking, and biking on one of the oldest city wall. We believe that with those authentic experiences for your first China trip would make the to ur a truly memorable one indeed. Highlights: Great Wall Hiking, shadow play show in Xi’an, Biking on the City Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Panda habitat exploration, Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking.
(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinn er)
Day 1 - Arrive Beijing (D)
Your guide will meet the group at the airport and, after picking up the luggage, will transfer the group by private vehicle to a 4 - star hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, enjoy leisure time until dinner. We will get t ogether again for a welcoming dinner at the Noodle Loft, which has been featured on Anthony Bordain’s "No Reservations" TV Show. Patrons are mostly local and the food is fantastic. Downstairs we can watch them make the noodles by hand, starting from a smal l piece of dough and ending up with long strips. After dinner, transfer to the hotel and have a good sleep to recover from any remaining jet-lag. Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing
Day 2 - Beijing Highlights (BL)
Pick up from your hotel after breakfast. Drive to Tian’anmen Square, then visit the Forbidden City, the symbol of China, also called Gu Gong. This was the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. After visiting the Forbidden City, we will be transferred to a network of local alleyway s, which are called ‘Hutongs’. First of all, we will start our visit at a traditional delicacy restaurant on the north bank of Shichahai Lake named: Jiumen Xiaochi, where we can find various Beijing delicacies.. After lunch, we will further navigate the n arrow alleyways by rickshaw, so we will have a better idea of the life of the common people, in many ways unchanged for hundreds of years. Time permitting, we will stop to visit a local family to see the typical layout of their living quarters. Then, the w hole group will be driven to the S ummer Pala ce, one of the best preserved summer resorts of the Royal Family. Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing
Day 3 - Gubeikou - Jinshanling (BL) 10 km/ 5 hrs hiking
In the early morning, we will transfer directly to the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall, where our hiking adventure will begin. There is a famous Chinese saying of Chairman Mao, which is “He who has not climbed the Wall is not a true man”. On this tour we bypass the “tourist” sections, and put our effort into trekking along those portions steeped in history and stretches which are of special architectural and historical interest, and spending time on those sections which are most stunningly - beautiful and photogenic. T he panoramic view is wonderful. In the evening, transfer back to downtown Beijing to have dinner. Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing
Day 4 - Beijing - Xi’an (B,L, D)
Today, we will get up early to see the local people doing their morning exer cises in Temple of Heaven, where emperors worshipped and prayed for Harvest during the Ming & Qing Dynasties. Every morning, locals take time to start their day doing Tai - chi, group aerobics, or even group chorus. After that, we will transfer to the airpo rt and heading to Xi’an. Upon arrival, we will be transferred to the Gao C ourtyard to see the Chinese traditional shadow play In the afternoon, we will have the chance to do the biking round the old City Wall. In the evening, have the Chinese Dumpling Dinn er with Tang Dynasty dancing show.
Overnight at 4 star hotel in Xi’an
Day 5 - Xi’an - Chengdu (B,L)
In the morning, we will visit the magnificent Qin Terracotta Warriors. It was built in about 2500 years ago and contains more than 6000 warriors, soldiers and horses. UNESCO listed it in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. In the afternoon, drive back to the airport to the hometown of Panda - Chengdu. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and after dark, wandering around the local market and bar street Jinli, take local delicacies yourselves and enjoy the leisure life with local people. Overnight at the 4 - star hotel in Chendu
Day 6 - Chengdu - Lijiang (B,L)
In the morning, we will go to the Chengdu Research centre of Panda Breeding to h ave a real chance to get intimate interaction with lovely panda, Today, we will have local Hot Pot for lunch, and visit Wenshu Temple in the afternoon, where you can spend some time sitting in its tea house to enjoy a cup of tea and absorb the special atmo sphere of Chengdu. In the evening, transfer to the airport to Lijiang, Yunnan. The driver will meet us at Lijiang airport and transfer us to our hotel.
Overnight in 4 - star Jiannanchun Resort or similar in Lijiang
Day 7 - Biking in Lijiang (B,L) 3.5 - 4.5hrs cycling; Lashihai Lake - Shuhe - Baisha Village
We will first be transported by car to Lashihai Lake, where we will do a cycling tour along the lake for 1.5 hrs, stopping and to scan the surrounding wetlands for a variety of birds, including the Black Stork, Northern Pintail, Common Merganser, Black-necked Crane, and White Egret.
Upon reaching Chan gshui Road, we will start our 1 hour cycling to Shuhe, Shuhe is an ancient trading post which once served a prominent role in supporting tea caravans between China and the Red Sea. It is also the former city center of Lijiang and has a history of more than 1000 years. Continue by bike to Baisha Naxi village (30 minutes). The Liulidian Temple and Daobaoji Temple at Baisha village house 558 mural paintings on 12 walls dating back to the Ming Dynasty in 1385. Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism murals manifest thems elves together in an integration of styles from the Han Chinese, the Tibetan, the Bai and the Naxi people, a proof of exchange of politics, economy, culture and religion between the mainland and the frontiers of China. They are now rated as key cultural re l ics under national protection. After visiting the temples, we may choose to leave our bikes with the luggage van and drive back to the hotel by car (15 minutes) or bike back to the hotel directly (40 minutes).
Overnight in 4 - star Jiannanchun Resort or similar in Lijiang
Day 8 - Free day in Lijiang Old Town (B)
Free day on your own. Recharge your energy and get ready for another 2 - day hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge. Option: Full day trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yak Meadow. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain co nsists of 13 peaks. Among them, the highest one is 18,000 feet above sea level. This area is a treasure of wild plants and rare animals. Yak Meadow (Maoniu P ing) is part of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, where the Yi and Tibetan Minority Ethnic Tribes live. Ya k Meadow is so - named because the local people like to pasture their yaks here. It is picturesque in all seasons – in the spring, the brilliant flowers are in full - bloom; in the summer, the grass looks like a green carpet sprinkled with the black and white of grazing yaks; even in the autumn, all many plants and flowers are still growing luxuriously. Overnight in 4 - star Jiannanchun Resort or similar in Lijiang
Day 9 - Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Halfway Guest house) (B,L,D) 20 km/ 6 hrs hiking
Today is special! After crossing the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), we will spend approximately 6 hours trekking to H alfway Guest house ( 中途客栈 ) located in Bendiwan( 本地湾 ). Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the world’s deepest gorges or river canyon in the world. Th e mountains, Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, on either side of the Tiger Leaping Gorge reach over 5,000m at their highest point, looking down to the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) running through it below.
There is a huge stone in the centre of the river, and a tiger once leaped from Yulong Snow Mountain to Haba Snow Mountain by jumping on it, which contributes to the name of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
In the morning we will drive for 3 hours to Qia ot ou ( 桥 头 )(1,835m) to begin our trek. First, trek 2 hours to Naxi Family Guest house and have lunch.
The Naxis are a Chinese minority group and can be identified by their royal blue and white outfits.
Then continue to trek another 2 hours, making it over the 28 bends (or hairpin ) ( 二十 八 道 拐 ) turns up the gorge, the most difficult part to the trek, which involved steep trails and climbing using the rocks and roots of trees to help. Once we get on the top (2,670m), t he outstanding views made it all worthwhile. The trail c an be very narrow and slippery at times so you do have to be extra vigilant with each step, especially in wet weather.
After a break, trek another 1 - 2 hours, we will finally arrive at Halfway Guesthouse ( 中途客栈 ) in Bendiwan( 本地 湾 ) with a great view of Yulong Sn ow Mountain, and overlooks the Jinsha (Golden Sands) River Valley, the upper reaches of the Chang Jiang, which has some of the roughest and most spectacular white water rapids in the world. Here you can sit out on a deck facing the mountain, and there are hot showers and clean beds. The vistas here are awe - inspiring and perhaps the best of any lodging in the gorge, and the view from the communal toilets is worth the price of a bed alone.
Note: leave your belongings in the car with the driver while trekking.
Overnight at Halfway G uesthouse (2,395m) in Bendiwan
Day 10 - Halfway Guest house - Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge - Walnut Grove - Zhongdian (3,297m) (B L) 18 km/ 5 hrs hiking
We will get up in the early morning, then hike down to Tina’s Guest house, passing a sma ll but high waterfall on the way. From Tina’s, our plan will be to trek further, down to the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge and back (about one and a half hours). The Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge features a huge drop in water level. 6km away from the Upper Gorg e is a waterfall where the river crashes down over 100 meters hitting the rocks in the river bed below, and creating violent currents in the water below. A short drive from Tina’s Guest House will take us to the lower part of the Gorge, where we will get off and walk for about half an hour to the bank of the river. We will then hike further along to the lower section of the Gorge (about 1.5 - 2 hours) to see tons of water squeezing through a narrow passageway - because of the thunderous noise, no talking her e! After that, we will climb back up to Middle Tiger Leaping and drive back to Tina’s for a local homemade lunch. In the afternoon, drive to Zhongdian. Note: leave your belongings in the car with the driver while trekking. Stay in Lefu Hotel in Shangri-La Old Town
Day 11 - Zhongdian (Shangri-La) (3,297m) (BL)
In the morning, we will once again have a chance to immerse ourselves into Tibetan culture by wandering around the lovely Tibetan town of Zhongdian, located at about 3,400 meters. Many travelers use this picturesque town as a gateway into Tibet, either travelling many days overland from here to Lhasa by jeep, or by flying from the city's airport. However, the town is a tourist destination in itself, primarily due to the nearby Gandan Sumtseling Mo nastery, Tiger Leaping Gorge, and amazing Tibetan culture all around. We will spend the morning first visiting a Tibetan village known for making black pottery, then by going to check out the local vegetable market. After lunch, a visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, one of the largest Tibetan monasteries in Yunnan province. We will then take a moderate hike to a nearby Tibetan village, and visit a Tibetan family to try their yak butter tea. Stay in Lefu Hotel or similar in Shangri-La Old Town
Day 12 - Zhongdian - Kunming - Beijing (B)
Fly back to Kunming, and take connecting flight to Beijing. Our driver will pick us up at the airport and transfer us to the hotel. Tonight, we will walk to Wangfujing Street (10mins from the Hotel) for souvenirs and m aybe try some insects, scorpions, starfish, or chicken claw from the famous Donghuamen night market, one of the tough missions for players in “The Amazing Race” !! Overnight at 4 star hotel in Beijing
Day 13 - Beijing Departure (B)
Free time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your departure