China Highlights

The tailor-made itinerary we will prepare uniquely for you will include destinations and experiences we hope will surprise and delight you. These we will weave between the fabulous highlights that China is best known for, and that will form the framework of your China odyssey. Depending upon length of stay and the budget you set, these highlights may include the unforgettable Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the awe-inspiring Great Wall, chic and historic Shanghai, dazzling Hong Kong and Macau, walking in the footsteps of emperors in Beijing’s Forbidden City, cruising the Yangtze River – experiencing the full wonder of China’s history and culture and stunning natural beauty.

Beijing: Great Wall and Forbidden City

The capital of China is rich in historical sites, cultural institutions and national heritage. From the narrow hutong alleys to impressive temples and The Forbidden City. Beijing is also a great base to visit the Great Wall.

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Bifengxia Panda Reserve:

View the elusive Giant Panda in its stunning natural habitat of bamboo forested hills and spectacular waterfalls.

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Chengde: Imperial Garden and summer palace

set against the dramatic backdrop of the Yanshan Mountains, this former provincial town came to prominence in 1703 when the Qing Dynasty emperor Kangxi chose it as the site of his summer palace.

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Chengdu: Pandas and Buddhas

Chengdu is a city rich in culture and history dating more than 2500 years, the former capital of the Shu Kingdom, and modern-day capital of Sichuan Province.

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Chongqing: gateway to a Yangtze cruise

Experience unforgettable scenes as you cruise the great Yangtze River to the legendary Three Gorges.

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Dali: home to the Bai minority

Set on a fertile plain between the picturesque Erhai Lake and the imposing Cangshan Mountains, the ancient Bai capital retains much of its period charm.

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Datong: Hanging Monastery and historical relics

Marvel at the extraordinary Northern Wei Dynasty Overhanging Temple, cut into a high cliff behind imposing wooden pillars, and dating to the 4th Century.
Explore forbidding, unrestored earthen sections of the Great Wall, and gaze upon the sacred Mt Wudang.

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Dunhuang Desert and Mogao caves

Dunhuang is a former Silk Route oasis town notable for the mountainous dunes – among the world’s largest – in the surrounding desert, and the historically and culturally important Mogao Caves.

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Emeishan: sacred Buddhist Mountain

Located 2 hours by road from Chengdu, Emeishan is a place of great natural beauty. It is also culturally significant as the birthplace more than 2000 years ago of Buddhism in China.

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Guilin: dramatic limestone karst hills

Cruise the misty, emerald green Li River, winding like a ribbon through timeless landscapes of bamboo and riverside villages and limestone cliffs to the delightful market town of Yangshuo

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Gyantse Pelkhor Monastery and Dzong

Dating to the 15th Century, the monastery of Pelkor Chode is notable not only for the harmony of its architecture and 8m high bronze Buddha but also that of its philosophy, home as it is not to one single Buddhist order but several,

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Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth

Set upon the shores of the stunning West Lake, Hangzhou is culturally and historically important

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Harbin, Ice sculptures

Located on the Songliao Plain, in China’s far north-east, Harbin is the world-renowned venue for the astonishing and spectacular ice festival that takes place each winter.

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Huangshan: Yellow Mountain

Located in the south of Anhui Province, the jagged pinnacles of the wonderfully scenic Huang Shan or Yellow Mountains are both staggeringly beautiful and central to traditional Chinese notions of art and folklore.

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Journey along the Great Wall

In terms of military history, architecture, human endeavour and sheer scale, the Great Wall of China, over 10,000 km in length must rank as one of the most significant man-made structures on the planet.

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Kashgar Sunday Market

This extraordinary spectacle of noise and colour and dust at this the most pivotal of trading posts on the old Silk Road dates to Roman times and swells the population of the city each Sunday by up to 100,000 people.

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Kunming: the City of Spring

Immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan mix of dress, cuisine and customs of up to 28 distinct Yunnanese tribal groups living and working in the city, and the vibrancy and rich cultural diversity

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Lanzhou, on the banks of the Yellow River

Set at altitude commanding a Silk Road Valley tracing the mighty Yellow River, the city’s strategic importance – leading to its control passing through time from one Chinese or Central Asian empire to another – is reflected today in a rich and varied cultural mix.

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Leshan Giant Buddha

Located at the confluence of 3 rivers, this unremarkable market town is the stepping-off point for the internationally famous Leshan Giant Buddha.

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Lhasa, centre of Tibetan Buddhism

Lhasa, translating from Tibetan as the Place of the Gods is a city of palaces and ruins, history, and serenity set at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet in a Himalayan valley, and for 1000 years has been the centre of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Li River Cruise

The cruise follows the stunningly beautiful Li River from Guilin, the capital of Guanxi Province, four hours to the picturesque market town of Yangshuo.

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Lijiang: home to the Naxi people

Lijiang is set in within an idyllic rural landscape of snow-fed mountain streams, lush green pine forests and rustic agrarian architecture

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Luoyang and the Longmen Grottoes

Luoyang boasts a fine museum but is best considered as a base camp for the nearby Shaolin Temple and stunning and the culturally important Longmen Caves.

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Pingyao: UNESCO World Heritage city

Journey through timeless landscapes of river and bamboo and long-abandoned temples to surrounding fortified clan villages, little changed through the generations.

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Qinghai Lake, an area of outstanding beauty

Qinghai Lake – or Koke Nuur in Mongolian translates as Blue Lake and is the largest saline lake in China.

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Shanghai: Colonial and Futuristic city

Cruise the Huangpu River past ancient water villages to contrast the dazzling skyline of modern Pudong with the charm and elegance of the colonial-era Bund

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Shigatse Dzong and views of Mt. Everest

After Lhasa, Shigatse is Tibet’s second city and like the capital is important not just in terms of religion but also culture, architecture and the surrounding natural beauty.

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Suzhou: Magnificent gardens and lakes

Suzhou is dominated by tree-lined lakes and waterways, and fabulous landscaped gardens, and is celebrated for its temperate climate and proud history of silk weaving.

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Terracotta Warriors of Xian

Nothing can prepare the visitor for the unique and unforgettable experience of gazing down upon the more than 7000 life-size warriors and battle horses of this amazing UNESCO World Heritage site.

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The Silk Road of China

Travel with your personal driver and guide or by rail from Dunhuang across a rainless, sun-baked depression – a place feared above all by traders on the route - to the miraculous, mountain river-fed vineyards of Turpan.

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Turpan and The Flaming Mountains

The Flaming Mountains are a startling sandstone range running 100km through the barren cauldron of the Turpan Depression that in temperatures approaching 50 degrees Centigrade appears to flicker like fire in the haze.

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Urumqi, a major hub on The Silk Road

Located in China’s far north-west this historic former Silk Road trading post is bordered by mountains, glaciers, vast grassland steppes and forests, and remote desert.

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Xiahe, Tibetan Labrang Monastery

Join monks and pilgrims in turning ancient prayer wheels and meditating and as you do so absorb the calm of the early 18th Century monastery - the largest of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism

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Xian: The Silk Road

Xi’an is best known for its incredible Terracotta Army – once seen, never forgotten; however, the city has many more attractions to offer.

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Xidi and Hongcun

Set picturesquely on a slope of China’s most sacred peak, Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, these Ming dynasty villages are of unique cultural importance and beautifully preserved.

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Xining, The Tibetan Plateau

The city is a vibrant mixing bowl of cultures and cuisines and spectacular river and mountain scenery at the eastern approach to the vast Tibetan Plateau.

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Yangshuo on the Li River

Located among quintessentially Chinese countryside of bamboo and winding streams and stunning limestone pinnacles, this charming town is set idyllically on a bend of the Li River.

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Yangtze River

Cruise the River through inland plain and jungle, past the stunning 21st Century skylines of Chongqing and Yichang to the spectacular natural beauty of the unforgettable Three Gorges.

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Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Located 80km south of Jianshui, Yuanyang is home to the Hani ethnic group and offers some of the most stunning scenery in China.
Marvel on your journey south at mile upon mile of elegant rice terraces tracing the contours of the surrounding hills

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Yungang Grottoes

Also known as the Cloud Ridge Caves, these Northern Wei Dynasty grottoes, dug out of a kilometre of cliff-face beneath Wuzhou Mountain date to the 5th Century, and are widely held, together with the Longmen and Mogao cave complex’s to be the finest of their kind in China.

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Yunnan: ethnic minority tribes and unique cultures

Immerse yourself in the dialects and cuisines and distinct ethnic styles of Dai and Bai people, of Wa, Lahu, Hani, Jingpo, Nu, Naxi and Lisu, unchanged through centuries.

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Zhongdian: Shangri-La

Re-named Shangri-la after the imagined Buddhist paradise of James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon, this former logging settlement (in Tibetan, Gyalthang) is set amid a stunning alpine landscape of lakes, gorges, and jagged snow-capped peaks

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