Days 1: Australia to Shanghai
Fly to the exuberant city of Shanghai, called ‘the Paris of the East’, for a three-night stay.
Days 2: Explore Shanghai
Shanghai is China’s great metropolis, where east and west collide on streets lined with futuristic skyscrapers and 10thcentury temples. Visit the classical Yu Gardens and the atmospheric old town before admiring the colonial architecture with a stroll along the Bund. Round off the day with a delicious meal of traditional Shanghai cuisine.
Day 3: Shanghai Museum
Explore Pudong, a Silk Museum and the antiquities of the Shanghai Museum. This evening view the city from the Huangpu River on a panoramic cruise.
Day 4: Historic Suzhou
Suzhou’s centre has managed to retain a sense of quaint charm even as the city has grown up around it. Renowned for its gardens, visit one of its finest, the Humble Administrator’s Garden, typical of the Chinese appreciation of balance and harmony. Later, cruise on the thousand year-old Grand Canal.
Day 5: Wuzhen
Travel to the water town of Wuzhen – a charming place of old-world timber buildings, cobbled streets and narrow waterways. Continue to the city of Hangzhou.
Day 6: Spiritual Hangzhou
A restful morning is spent wandering around the Temple of Inspired Seclusion, one of China’s most renowned Buddhist temples. Later, enjoy a cruise on Hangzhou’s West Lake, admiring the gardens, pagodas and old bridges on its shores.
Day 7: Fly to Guilin
Browse the bustling local markets and visit the plantations of Meijiawu to learn the tea-making process, from bush to brew. Enjoy a cup of organic green tea and ponder which of the locally produced teas you might like to purchase. Fly to the picturesque city of Guilin where the rest of the day will be at leisure.
Day 8: Li River Cruise
Take a relaxed cruise along the Li River to the charming village of Yangshuo. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged karst peaks loom over rural scenes of lush greenery and grazing buffalo. Wander the Yangshuo markets and stop for a photo opportunity with a cormorant fisherman on the banks of the Li River.
Day 9: Yangshuo
Yangshuo sits in an exquisite rural location, surrounded by landscapes of emerald-green paddy fields and dramatic limestone karsts. Start the day with a relaxing and invigorating session of Tai Chi, taking a class with a master to learn this ancient martial art. Spend the rest of the morning exploring the countryside and enjoy some time at leisure. Later, travel through the countryside as you return by road to Guilin.
Day 10: Fly to Chengdu
Visit Reed Flute Cave to admire the colourful stalagmites and stalactites. Visit the Pearl Museum, then fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. This evening you may wish to attend the Sichuan opera including the famous 'facechanging' performance (at your own expense).
Day 11: Grand Buddha of Leshan
Travel to Leshan to visit the Grand Buddha which at 71 metres is the world’s largest stone-carved Buddhist monument. Get a bird's eye view of the Buddha from the adjacent park, then a short boat trip will give excellent views from the river. Visit the Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum. Tonight you will sample a delicious Sichuan meal.
Day 12: Giant Pandas
Visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see and learn about China’s celebrated bears up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Take a 4-hour bullet train Xian, the ancient former capital.
Day 13: Terracotta Warriors
Visit the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The warriors have intrigued visitors ever since their fortuitous discovery in the 1970s. Spend the morning viewing their enigmatic ranks. Next, visit the Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition and stroll on the beautifully preserved 14th-century city walls that enclose Xian’s old town. This evening, sit down to a delicious feast of Shui Jiao dumplings followed by a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
Day 14: Train to Beijing
Enjoy a fascinating morning visit to the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Later, board your flight to Beijing, China's capital.
Day 15: Imperial Beijing
Soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape, where you can watch, or participate in, a dance class. Heading to Beijing’s symbolic heart, cross Tiananmen Square and head into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City – a complex full of imperial treasures. A Chinese acrobatic show rounds off the day.
Day 16: Great Wall
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate both the sheer magnificence of the wall itself and the dramatic scenery that it crosses. Later on you’ll visit a jade factory. Take some time in the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace before dining on Beijing’s best-known delicacy – Peking Duck.
Days 17 18: Beijing to Australia
This morning is at leisure before you are transferred to Beijing airport to board your flight to Australia, arriving home to same or following day.