This is an outline of the 20-day China itinerary that includes cultural sites, walking excursions and suitable accommodation.
- Begin at: Shanghai, China
China Itinerary: 20 days
- Day 1. Australia/Shanghai
Depart Australia on your Qantas Airways flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the Merry Hotel for three nights.
- Day 2 & 3. Shanghai
A delightful day is spent exploring this gracious and cosmopolitan city. Drive to Pudong and stop at the Jin Mao Tower, the world's third tallest building, for a breathtaking panorama of the city. See the former Colonial Concessions along the Bund where you will have a spectacular view of the "yesterday & today" of Shanghai. Take a stroll along the twisting alleyways of Old Chinatown and visit the Yu Garden. Visit Xintiandi, a newly restored area of distinctive 'shikumen" houses, as well as the site of the 1st National Communist Party Congress. Next day make a full day excursion to Zhouzhuang where tile-roofed houses crowd the canals as you cruise beneath arched stone bridges. An evening acrobatic show will be arranged.
- Day 4. Shanghai/Suzhou
Travel by train to Suzhou where you will spend two nights at the Bamboo Grove Hotel. In the evening you will enjoy a cultural performance in the enchanting Master of the Nets Garden.
- Day 5. Suzhou
Beautiful gardens and waterways are discovered today when you visit the city's highlights including the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden and a silk factory, and take a short cruise on the canals.
- Day 6. Suzhou/Hangzhou
Travel by train to Hangzhou where you will spend two nights at the Holiday Inn.
- Day 7. Hangzhou
Hangzhou, renowned for its 'heavenly beauty', picturesque gardens and tranquil surroundings, is revealed today as you enjoy a leisurely cruise on the West Lake and view the Three Moon Reflection Island. Continue on to the Pagoda of Six Harmonies and Lingyin Temple. There will also be a chance to visit a tea plantation.
- Day 8. Hangzhou/Guilin
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Guilin where you will spend three nights at the Guilin Bravo Hotel. Afternoon visit to the Reed Flute Cave.
- Day 9. Li River Cruise
Enjoy an unforgettable cruise along the Li River. See unique landscapes of craggy mist-shrouded peaks, unusual rock formations, and fishermen working from their bamboo rafts. The cruise arrives at the bustling village of Yangshuo where you can browse among the small stores and street stalls before joining your coach back to your hotel.
- Day 10. Longsheng Excursion
Depart by coach for the drive to Longsheng, a remote and mountainous county about 100 kms from Guilin. Spectacular views of steep terraced fields unfold along the way and you have a unique opportunity to visit a village of the region's minority nationalities, the Zhuang and the Yao.
- Day 11. Guilin/Kunming
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kunming where you will spend three nights at the Bank Hotel.
- Day 12 & 13. Kunming
A full day excursion to a rare and natural wonder - the Stone Forest, consisting of 80 hectares of bizarrely-shaped limestone cliffs and peaks, formed by erosion after the sea bed was thrust up some 270 million years ago. Returning to Kunming, make a stop at the fragrant and colourful Bird & Flower Market which, along with the well-kept old houses in its immediate neighbourhood, is now protected under Kunming's preservation plan for the Old Town Quarter. Also visit the 2,500 metres high Western Hills and Dragon Gate, a grotto complex carved from the cliffs and dating from 1781.
- Day 14. Leshan/Chengdu
Transfer by coach to Chengdu via the busy town of Leshan where you will visit the Lingyin Temple, a vantage point for viewing the Giant Buddha carved into the mountain. Arrive in Chengdu and spend two nights at the Sheraton Hotel.
- Day 15. Chengdu
A special visit today to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base with exhibits on panda evolution, habits, habitats and conservation efforts. Also visit Sanxingdui Museum and see the extraordinary sophistication of China's early bronze culture in the amazing and drama-charged bronze masks dating from the Shang dynasty in 1700-1100BC.
- Day 16. Chengdu/Xian
Morning visit to the 3rd century BC Dujiangyan irrigation project. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Xian where you will spend two nights at the Le Garden Hotel. Enjoy a Tang Dynasty Cultural Show and dinner in the evening.
- Day 17. Xian
In Xian you will marvel at amazing archaeological wonders - the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang and the Chariot Exhibition. Also visit the Shaanxi History Museum and the City Wall.
- Day 18. Xian/Beijing
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Beijing where you will spend five nights at the Beijing International Hotel.
- Day 19 - 22. Beijing
Four full days visiting sights which have captured the imagination of mankind - the magnificent Summer Palace, the exquisite design of the Temple of Heaven, the splendours of the Forbidden City - as well as Tiananmen Square. See the Pandas at Beijing Zoo and explore the Silk Market. Take a boat ride on Shishahai Lake, a scenic area surrounded by princes' houses, Chinese courtyards and celebrity residences. Tour the 'hutongs' - the "back alleys" - by cycle rickshaw where you can see Chinese life at its most traditional and obtain a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lifestyles of the local people. Spend a day visiting the Sacred Way, the Exhibition Hall of the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall, truly one of the world's greatest wonders. Enjoy a Peking Duck Dinner and the 'Beijing Night Show' during your stay in Beijing.
- Day 20. Beijing/Australia
Your wonderful China experience comes to an end today when you say farewell China and transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home.
This tour gives you a good all-round look at some of China's culture and history, as well as the great strides towards modernity and you'll see the moves towards reclaiming its ancient role as being the centre of the world..