China Encounters

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Encounter all of the magnificent sights that make China a truly spectacular destination. Journey from the iconic Wall and enigmatic Warriors to the off-the-beaten-track vistas of Yunnan province on this epic cross-country adventure.

Please note: This page shows the 2017 Itinerary. To see the itinerary for tours departing in 2016, please Click Here.

Places Visited

Australia - Beijing (3N) - Chengde (2N) - Xian (2N) - Yangtze Cruise (4N) - Chengdu (2N) - Zhongdian (2N) - Lijiang (2N) - Dali (2N) - Kunming (2N) - Australia

Day 1: Fly to Beijing
Fly with Cathay Pacific Airways to Beijing for a two-night stay.

Perth passengers may depart one day earlier.
Day 1: Fly to Beijing
Day 2: Imperial Beijing
Heading to Beijing's symbolic heart, stroll across Tiananmen Square and into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City where you will find a complex full of imperial riches. Later soak up the harmonious ambiance of the Temple of Heaven, an orderly oasis in a bustling urban landscape, where you can watch, or participate in, a dance class. This evening sit down to a traditional dinner of Peking Duck and an exciting acrobatics show.
Day 2: Imperial Beijing
Days 3-4: Chengde
Savour the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace before travelling to Chengde by road. The summer retreat of Manchu emperors, this town is home to a wealth of imperial architecture. Over two days visit the magnificent mountain villas and intricate temples, including Puning and Putuo.
Days 3-4: Chengde
Day 5: Great Wall
Make the return journey to Beijing via the Great Wall, China's most iconic sight. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate its sheer magnificence.
Day 5: Great Wall
Days 6-7: Terracotta Warriors
Take a bullet train to Xian and enjoy a visit to the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Tonight feast on traditional Shui Jiao dumplings before a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing. The next day, view the enigmatic ranks of warriors that make up the Terracotta Army. Visit the workshop of the craftspeople who recreate warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Watch the skilled production process and perhaps choose to purchase one to take home. Later stroll Xian's 14th-century city walls, and the atmospheric alleys of the Muslim Quarter.
Days 6-7: Terracotta Warriors
Day 8: Bullet train to Wuhan
Take the bullet train to Wuhan and transfer to Yichang to board your Yangtze River cruise vessel.
Day 8: Bullet train to Wuhan
Days 9-11: Yangtze River cruise
A man-made marvel, the Three Gorges Dam showcases a massive feat of engineering. But as we cruise upstream nature takes over, revealing some of the world's most dramatic scenery including the Three Gorges themselves. Over the next three days prepare for one breathtaking panorama after another. Take a side trip to the attractive Goddess or Shennong Stream and enjoy shore excursions to the Ghost City of Fengdu or Shibaozhai.
Days 9-11: Yangtze River cruise
Day 12: Drive to Chengdu
Disembark in Chongqing and explore old Ciqikou, whose narrow streets are perfect for a stroll to admire the traditional architecture. Transfer to Chengdu. This evening there is an option to enjoy a traditional Sichuan Opera performance (at your own expense).
Day 12: Drive to Chengdu
Day 13: Explore Chengdu
Visit Chengdu's famous Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see and learn about China's celebrated bears in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Stroll through the bustling People's Park to Matchmaker's Corner, where parents search for worthy suitors for their children.
Day 13: Explore Chengdu
Days 14-15: Zhongdian
Fly to the monastery town of Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-La. Tour Zhongdian Old Town and Dafo Temple. Tomorrow, visit magnificent Songzanlin Monastery then make your way to a rural Tibetan-style village where you will learn about the villagers' way of life, farming and taste home-cooked dishes.
Days 14-15: Zhongdian
Day 16: Tiger Leaping Gorge
The 3,000 metre-deep Tiger Leaping Gorge, with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is one of China's most extraordinary sights. The whole area is spectacular – prepare for breathtaking views before you travel on to Lijiang.
Day 16: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 17: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain incorporates several peaks, the tallest of which is 5,500 metres. Taking a chairlift, explore one of the gorgeous high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas. Visit Baisha village to view the fascinating murals which were painted during the early Ming Dynasty.
Day 17: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Day 18: Black Dragon Pool
The quintessential Chinese 'old town', Lijiang's old quarter is a jumble of cobbled streets, precarious wooden buildings and rustic stone bridges – in short, a delightful place to aimlessly wander. Also visit Black Dragon Pool where there are wonderful views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Travel to Dali and explore the lively Foreigner Street.
Day 18: Black Dragon Pool
Days 19-20: Enchanting Dali
Dali is a charming place to visit. Explore Xizhou village to browse the local market. See the Yen family home and witness a tie-dying demonstration. Explore Dali's Ancient Quarter and relax with a cruise on Erhai Lake. The next day visit the Three Pagodas and travel by road to Kunming. Tuck into local Across the Bridge noodles for dinner.
Days 19-20: Enchanting Dali
Day 21: Stone Forest
Explore the fascinating formations of the picturesque Stone Forest.
Day 21: Stone Forest
Day 22: Depart Kunming
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Kunming airport to board your overnight flight to Australia.
Day 22: Depart Kunming
Day 23: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

Tour prices are per person, twin share



Additional Price Information:

Above prices include airline fuel surcharge and tipping. Subject to change
Single Hotel Room Option from $1,140
Single Cruise Cabin Option from $440
Land Only (Beijing to Kunming) 22 days from $5,880 per person (includes tipping)
Adelaide and Perth passengers may require a stopover in Hong Kong at an additional cost
Cairns passengers please contact reservations for joining the tour
Darwin passengers may require one night post-tour accommodation in Kunming at an additional cost
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 1300 318 203. Limited seats denotes 5 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visa in the price of our tour for Australian passport holders. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call Australia – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 61, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure. 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.


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Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 1300 318 203 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

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Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suited for those interested in gaining a further insight into some of China’s lesser known destinations and at the same time visiting the country’s most famous sights. This tour is also ideal for those who wish to take a Yangtze River Cruise, a day train and an overnight train journey in China.



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