In Pursuit of Pandas

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Journey from the imperial treasures of Beijing through atmospheric Xian with its enigmatic legions of Terracotta Warriors to reach the charming city of Chengdu, where you will meet its most famous residents – the captivating Giant Pandas.

Places Visited

Australia - Beijing (3N) - Xian (1N) - Chengdu (3N) - Australia

Day 1: Fly to Beijing
Fly to Beijing for a three night stay. Perth and Darwin passengers may depart one day earlier.
Day 1: Fly to Beijing
Day 2: Imperial Beijing
We begin in Beijing’s symbolic heart with a stroll across Tiananmen Square, flanked by imposing government buildings and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao. At the head of the square the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City is a monument to dynasties past. Entering through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, you will find a complex of a thousand rooms and many imperial treasures. 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.
Day 2: Imperial Beijing
Day 3: The Great Wall
This morning is dedicated to China’s most iconic sight – the Great Wall. Stretching thousands of miles from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert, over all sorts of dramatic landscapes, it is one of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering. Taking a walk on this incredible structure is the best way to appreciate both the wall itself and the magnificent scenery that it crosses. Savour a relaxed afternoon in the idyllic landscapes of the Summer Palace as you wander through traditional gardens and admire exquisite architecture. Jade is revered throughout China, it is said to bring fortune and prosperity to those who wear it. You will have an opportunity to visit a Jade factory, where you will be able to buy a small handcrafted piece. A Chinese acrobatic show rounds off the day.
Day 3: The Great Wall
Day 4: Fly to Xian
Fly to Xian. An illustrious and age-old city, Xian is one of the four great ancient capitals of China. It is also the capital of Shaanxi province, and the starting point of the fabled Silk Road with a history spanning 3,100 years. Take a leisurely stroll on the beautifully preserved 14th century city walls that enclose Xian’s old town to get your bearings, before a delicious feast of traditional Shui Jiao dumplings and a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
Day 4: Fly to Xian
Day 5: Terracotta Warriors
After their fortuitous discovery by local farmers in the 1970s, the Terracotta Army of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang has intrigued visitors ever since. Spend the morning viewing the enigmatic ranks of life-like warriors who stand in their original formations at the exact location they were excavated. Visit the workshop of the craftsmen who recreate Terracotta Warriors in the style of their ancient counterparts. Watch the skilled production process and buy a souvenir warrior to take home. Fly to Chengdu.
Day 5: Terracotta Warriors
Day 6: Grand Buddha of Leshan
Travel to Leshan to see the Grand Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at 71 metres, this is the world’s largest stone-carved Buddhist monument. A short boat trip on the river will give even better views of the statue. Returning to Chengdu, there will be a stop at the riverside village of Huanglongxi, where cobbled streets and rickety wooden buildings retain the charms of the Qing Dynasty. Sample a delicious Sichuan meal this evening.
Day 6: Grand Buddha of Leshan
Day 7: Giant Pandas
A visit to Chengdu’s famous Panda Conservation Centre allows you to see and learn about China’s celebrated bears. See them up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat as they chomp through piles of bamboo. A look around the informative museum gives an overview of the Reserve’s breeding programme. Also, visit the Shu Brocade Embroidery Museum, then enjoy a hot beverage in a traditional tea house before visiting Matchmakers Corner where parents search for worthy suitors for their children.
Day 7: Giant Pandas
Day 8: Depart Chengdu
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Chengdu airport to board your overnight flight to Australia. Due to flight schedules, some passengers may arrive home on day 8.
Day 8: Depart Chengdu
Day 9: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

Tour prices are per person, twin share

2016

2017

Additional Price Information:

Single Hotel Room Option from $465
Land Only (Beijing to Chengdu) 8 days from $2,308 per person (includes tipping)
Adelaide passengers may require one night pre-tour accommodation in Beijing at an additional cost
23 Sep & 07 Oct departures coincide with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected
Above prices include airline fuel surcharge and tipping. Subject to change
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 4 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.


Why Book This Tour?

This adventure is ideal for travellers with less time to spend and who want to see the very best bits of this incredibly diverse destination. We have designed the tour to make the most of the time available to showcase the key highlights and cities of China.

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