This really is the ultimate tour for those who want to experience China in depth! From modern cities and ancient history to rural villages and spectacular landscapes, this is the tour for those wanting to see all of China's highlights in just one visit.
Our Ultimate China tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
Explore the imperial treasures of China's capital Beijing
Admire Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Discover mystical Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet
Relax with a 3-night cruise on the Yangtze River
Our Ultimate China Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
Cruise on the crystal-clear tranquil waters of Erhai Lake, admiring the views over the Cangshan Mountains and passing its many famous islands, many of them complete with colourful temples.
Painted during the Ming Dynasty (1368 and 1644) the incredible Baisha Frescoes tell fascinating stories of the daily life, religion and politics of their time and have retained their bright colours and vivid patterns.
Venture to a Tibetan village in the highlands of Yunnan province to meet the local community, visit a traditional family home and experience the intriguing blend of the Tibetan and Chinese way of life.
Fly overnight to Beijing, China's historic capital. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
This morning, head to Beijing's symbolic heart, Tiananmen Square and stroll into the sprawling magnificence of the Forbidden City. Later, soak up the harmonious ambience of the Temple of Heaven, where you can mingle with the locals and watch or participate as they practise Tai Chi, dance or play cards. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Peking duck dinner.
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 wall itself and the dramatic scenery that it crosses. Visit a jade factory then spend the afternoon in the idyllic gardens of the Summer Palace. This evening, there is an option to see kung fu masters in action.
Take the bullet train to Xian and in the evening, enjoy a delicious feast of traditional Shui Jiao dumplings followed by a performance of Tang Dynasty dancing.
After their fortuitous discovery 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-sized warriors and horses. Also visit the workshop to see where the warriors are intricately recreated in the style of their ancient counterparts. After lunch, stroll along the beautifully preserved 14th-century city walls that enclose Xian's old town.
Visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda. Next, fly to the beautiful city of Guilin and visit a pearl factory.
Take a relaxed cruise along the Li River to charming Yangshuo. Around every river bend is a view to take your breath away as jagged karst peaks loom over rural scenes of lush greenery, grazing buffalo and local fishermen. This afternoon you can spend some time browsing Yangshuo's vibrant markets.
Begin with a relaxing and invigorating session of Tai Chi, taking a class with a master to learn this ancient martial art. Explore the countryside and stop on the banks of the Li River for a photo opportunity with a cormorant fisherman. Enjoy time at leisure or choose one of the many optional activities available including cycling or bamboo rafting.
Drive back to Guilin and visit Reed Flute Cave to see the colourful stalagmites and stalactites. Next, fly to Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province.
Meander through the formations of the UNESCO-listed Stone Forest, where towering limestone pillars stand tree-like in a fascinating illusion of woodland. This evening, dine on the local dish, Across the Bridge Noodles.
Board the bullet train to Dali, a charming town that offers a peek at bygone China and discover the magnificent Three Pagodas.
Today, explore the village of Xizhou to browse its local market, visit the Yan family home and watch a tie-dying demonstration and wander through Dali’s ancient quarter. Also enjoy a relaxing cruise on Erhai Lake.
Drive to Lijiang, set in the foothills of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and visit Shaxi village.
A magnificent mountain, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain comprises several peaks, the tallest of which soars 5,500 metres. Taking a cable car, explore one of the gorgeous high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas. On the way back to Lijiang, visit Baisha old town to view its spectacular Ming Dynasty frescoes and Baisha village, a settlement of the Naxi minority people.
Journey to the 3,000-metre-deep Tiger Leaping Gorge. With its backdrop of snow-capped mountains, it is one of China's most extraordinary sights. Next, continue to the monastery town of Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-La. This afternoon is at leisure to acclimatise to the altitude.
Begin the day with a visit to a Tibetan style village where you will learn about the villagers’ way of life. Also visit Dafo Temple, explore the spectacular Songzanlin Monastery and end the day with a tour of the old town.
Fly to the city of Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet. This afternoon is at leisure to help acclimatise to the altitude.
Lhasa is a modern, fast-growing city, but among the narrow, old, atmospheric streets you will feel a million miles from the modern world. Wander around the Barkhor Circuit with traditionally-dressed locals and explore the Jokhang Temple, the sacred centre of Tibetan Buddhism. There will also be a visit to Sera Monastery, a renowned seat of Buddhist learning, and a local Tibetan arts and crafts shop.
The Potala Palace is an architectural wonder towering over the city from its seat on Marpo Ri (Red Mountain). The Potala, the former winter palace of the Dalai Lama, houses thousands of rooms filled with old treasures from intricate shrines to beautiful frescoes. This afternoon, explore Norbulingka, the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama.
Fly to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. Take a stroll through People’s Park to see Matchmaker’s Corner, where parents search for suitable partners for their children. Tonight, dine on local Sichuan cuisine.
Begin the day with a visit to Chengdu’s famous conservation centre. Later, transfer to Chongqing and board your Yangtze River cruise vessel.
Over the next three days prepare for one breathtaking panorama after another. Enjoy various side trips and shore excursions including the Three Gorges Dam. Disembark and transfer to Yichang for your flight to Shanghai.
Shanghai is China's great metropolis, where east and west collide on streets lined with futuristic skyscrapers and 10th-century temples. Today's explorations start with a visit to Chenghuang Temple and the atmospheric alleys of the old town. Admire the magnificent colonial architecture with a stroll along the historical Bund and visit the Silk Factory. This evening, view the city from the Huangpu River on a panoramic cruise and enjoy a delicious meal of traditional Shanghainese cuisine.
Fly to Australia, arriving home the same or following day.
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
The 4-star Mercure Beijing Downtown is very well connected across the city, with easy access to the city centre and multiple transport links. The elegant and spacious guests rooms offer free internet access and satelite TV.
A short distance from Xian's historic old town, the 4-star Lanxi International hotel features a terrace for you to enjoy, as well as an indoor pool and hot tub. The modern guest rooms offer a private bathroom, desk and flat screen TV.
Located in Guilin’s city center and opposite the attractive Sun and Moon pagodas, the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel offers luxury rooms equipped with a flat screen satellite television, a minibar, a safety deposit box and a stunning en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries. The hotel also boasts an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. Guests can enjoy Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Western cuisines in the onsite restaurant.
In the centre of Yangshuo, the 4-star Elite Garden Hotel offers spacious guest rooms designed and decorated to make you feel at home, all equipped with free internet access, complimentary bottled water and a coffee machine. The private bathrooms include both bath and shower facilities.
JinJiang Hotel is located close to Kunming's main attractions. Each of its air conditioned, modern en-suite rooms include satellite television, a minibar, complimentary toiletries and tea making facilities. The hotel is home to one revolving restaurant as well as 6 dining options and a bar. The onsite fitness centre and spa is a highlight.
The 4-star Xinliang Hotel is located in the heart of Chengdu, just a short distance from some of the cities key attractions. The hotel's interior was inspired by Bashu culture and blended with a modern charm. Enjoy the recreational facilities available to you, including a sauna and steamroom designed for escapism and relaxation.
A short distance from Shanghai's major tourist attractions, the 5-star Jinjiang Huating hotel offers elegant guest rooms with large windows providing views of Shanghai. This beautiful hotel is home to the rooftop Moon View Restaurant, offering breathtaking city views and exquisite Chinese dishes.
Places Visited: Beijing (3N) - Xian (2N) - Guilin (1N) - Yangshuo (2N) - Kunming (2N) - Dali (2N) - Lijiang (2N) - Zhongdian (2N) - Lhasa (3N) - Chengdu (1N) - Yangtze River Cruise (3N) - Shanghai (2N)
If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs or you prefer travelling with your own personal guide, contact us to arrange this as a Private Tour.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.