It’s 5 * all the way with Emperor Tours Grand China Luxury Edition tour. From luxury hotels, in city centre locations, through to executive cabins on the Yangtze River Cruise and business class on the high-speed bullet train!
This itinerary from a leading China specialist operator Emperor Tours takes you from Beijing, where 21st century meets ancient history, to Xian, the former terminus of the Silk Road and, of course, the Terracotta Warriors.
You’ll then travel to picturesque Guilin whose countryside has inspired numerous paintings and literary works. At Chengdu you’ll visit the legendary Giant Pandas at their Breeding Research Base.
Then the pace changes as you board the luxury 5* Yangtze Cruise and take in the amazing landscapes which surround this iconic river. You’ll even get to visit the largest water engineering project in history – the mightyThree Gorges Dam.
The trip concludes in Shanghai – a breath-taking mix of old and new China and an unforgettable city skyline.
Take international scheduled flight from London Heathrow to Beijing.
(We can also arrange flights from other UK airports without any additional cost; upgrade to premium economy class or business class available on request)
On arrival at Beijing Capital Airport we’ll be met by our guide and taken by private transfer to the 5* Waldorf Astoria Beijing, located in the centre of this amazing city. Rest of day at leisure.
We start the day with a visit to Tiananmen Square – the largest public square in the world.
Walking through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (with the late Chairman Mao’s huge portrait hanging over the gate), we enter the magnificent Forbidden City, a massive palace compound (home to 24 Emperors since the 15th century) which never fails to impress.
We continue to Beihai Park Imperial Restaurant for lunch, Beijing’s oldest imperial restaurant offering luxurious Imperial Court Cuisine.
In the afternoon the tour continues visiting the enchanting Summer Palace with its lakes, gardens, teahouses and pagodas. The largest Imperial garden in the world is where Qing Emperors and Empresses stayed between May and October, to escape the pollution inside the city. End your day with a relaxing boat ride on the beautiful Kunming Lake.
This morning we begin with a drive past the Olympic Village (Bird’s Nest Stadium & Water Cube). Then we travel outside the city to the world famous Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the largest man-made structure on earth and one of the Great Wonders of the World. Spend time just taking in the breath taking, panoramic views!
This afternoon we visit the Temple of Heaven – built in 1420, it was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped the God of Heaven and prayed for good harvest for the year.
The evening is time to relax with a traditional Peking duck banquet in Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, voted as Beijing’s “Best Chinese restaurant of the Year”!
After breakfast you transfer to Beijing station for the high speed bullet train to Xi’an (approx. 5 hrs, business class seats).
Upon arrival we transfer to the 5* Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xi’an in the city centre.
Later we visit the Ancient City Wall, originally built during the Tang Dynasty, it is the most complete, surviving city wall in China today.
We also visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda – initially built in 589, it’s known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex.
Today begins another highlight of our tour – a visit to the amazing Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Built over 2,000 years ago, to guard the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, over 7,000 life-size soldiers, horses and chariots lay undiscovered until 1974 when they were uncovered by a farmer. This is truly one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century and now a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the afternoon we return to the city and visit the landmark, stately Bell Tower – beautifully lit as night falls with enchanting red lanterns.
You will also visit the Grand Mosque the colourful and vibrant local food market in the old Muslim Quarter.
This morning we take a flight to Guilin and check in at the 5* Shangri-La Guilin. Described as one of the most picturesque cities in China, Guilin is surrounded by the sheer-sided Karst Mountains, as well as two rivers and four lakes, providing stunning watery landscapes.
During the day we visit the spectacular Reed Flute Cave, which got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it from which people make flutes, and Fubo Hill (also known as Wave-Subduing Hill). A tale has it that Ma Yuan (also known as General Fubo) from the Han Dynasty poured all his pearls into the river on a southern expedition!
After dinner we will see the well-known speciality of cormorant fishing by local fishermen.
Today we take a scenic boat cruise along the Li River, sailing through bamboo plains and limestone karst towers, to Yangshuo (a small town near Guilin) with its breathtaking natural landscapes.
After lunch on board, we have plenty of time to browse around Yangshuo’s lively local market and bustling West Street.
Return to Guilin in the evening.
This morning we fly to Chengdu. Upon arrival, we will be met by our guide and check in to the 5* Ritz Carlton Hotel Chengdu.
In the afternoon we visit Wu Hou Temple – originally built next to the temple of Liu Bei, the emperor of Shu, at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. We then continue to Jin Li Ancient Street, a representation of Chengdu’s leisure life.
Finally we can wonder around Chengdu People’s Park, the first public park built in 1911 in Chengdu, where we can witness people relaxing in teahouses.
This morning we pay a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, one of the most important centres in China for the captive conservation of giant pandas and a highlight of any visit to Chengdu.
This afternoon we transfer to Chengdu station for local train to Chongqing (approx. 2 hrs, business class seats). On arrival we will be met and transfer to local restaurant for dinner.
After dinner we board our 5* Yangtze Cruise, settle into our Executive Cabin and prepare for our Yangtze cruise!
Early birds among us can take the opportunity to learn Taichi on the upper deck before breakfast.
After breakfast there will be a shore excursion to Fengdu – the ghost city, where Chinese people believe spirits meet after death (this may change to Shibaozhai or Wanxian County, depending on the water level).
*Cruise schedule may be subject to change, depending on the water level.
Our cruise today takes an excursion to the beautiful Daning River through its lesser Three Gorges, or a small boat trip to the Shennong Stream – where we can drift along the crystal clear water and be dazzled by the strength and bravery of boat-trackers.
Cruise staff will prepare a scrumptious farewell dinner and cabaret for us this evening.
After breakfast we will visit the Three Gorges Dam construction site – the largest water engineering project in history, which will create millions of migrants and generate enough power to feed the country’s fast developing economy.
We disembark the cruise at Yichang around noon time and have lunch.
Afterwards we take a short flight to Shanghai – a vibrant modern city often referred to as the “Oriental Paris”. You’ll be staying at the centrally located 5* Fairmont Peace Hotel.
We begin our tour today to the Jade Buddha Temple – one of the few working monasteries in the city.
We then continue to the Old Town and the enchanting Yuyuan Garden, a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai, dating back to the Ming Dynasty.
Finally today we visit the Shanghai Museum or French Concession Area, appreciated for its cafes, tree-lined avenues and Tudor houses.
We then take a leisurely walk on the Bund – Shanghai’s famous colonial waterfront. Here you’ll be treated to breathtaking views Shanghai’s skyline on both sides of Huangpu River.
In the evening we’ll be entertained by the famous State Shanghai Acrobatic show.
Discover more of Shanghai under your own steam! Spend the whole day exploring the winding alleys of the Old Town, the famous Shanghai Museum, or indulge in some last-minute shopping and experience some local cuisine.
Time to return home! After breakfast you’ll transfer to Shanghai airport for your flight home.
For those customers who wish to take advantage of the 3 day Hong Kong extension – click extensions tab above.
5* Waldorf Astoria Beijing
Blending contemporary luxury, unequaled service and exotic Oriental charm, Waldorf Astoria Beijing offers a timeless experience in the heart of Wangfujing.
This distinctive luxury Beijing hotel boasts an ideal location near extensive shopping options and culturally significant Siheyuan – traditional courtyard residences. Stone-colored walls and roof tiles are accentuated by red doors, pillars and window frames. Tasteful eye-catching Ming era geometric and floral decorations add the finishing touch.
For more information click here
5* Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian
Opened as a State Guesthouse in 1953, this iconic building provides a unique sense of place and time in a city that was China’s capital throughout 13 dynasties. This is Sofitel’s first Legend Hotel in greater China, the second in Asia and only the fifth in the world.
5* Shangri-La Guilin
5* Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chengdu
Located in the heart of the city and in a place that was once the site of an imperial palace, The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu marks the official arrival of luxury hospitality in south-west China. This luxury hotel features unmatched views of downtown Chengdu together with the comfort, privacy and personalized service offered by Ritz-Carlton hotels worldwide.
For more information click here
5* Century Cruise
The only fleet with all ships built after 2003, with a Grand Atrium Lobby in every cruiser, private balconies in all cabins and with the largest standard cabins of any Yangtze fleet. Century Cruise also offer five star service, with European hospitality experts providing personal management on every ship and international five star quality all-cotton linen and bathroom products.
For more information click here
5* Fairmont Peace Hotel
5* Harbour Grand Hong Kong
The multi-award winning Harbour Grand Hong Kong is a luxury property with harbour views, managed by Harbour Plaza Hotel and Resorts.
Ideally located at the heart of Hong Kong Island, each of our 828 rooms and serviced suites enjoys views of the world renowned Victoria Harbour.
For more information click here
After breakfast you will transfer to Shanghai airport for your flight to Hong Kong.
Upon arrival in Hong Kong you’ll be met and transferred to the 5* Harbour Grand Hong Kong, just steps away from the world-famous Victoria Harbour.
The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore.
In the morning we take you on a half day tour including Victoria Peak – at 554m above sea level the highest point in Hong Kong and the perfect birds eye viewpoint of this spectacular city. We also visit shopping heaven at Stanley Market as well as the intriguing, Aberdeen Fishing Village – famous for its community living on traditional junks and a fabulous destination for seafood dining.
The rest of the day is free.
You’ll have the whole day to explore further and take in more of the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.
We’ll then organise a late evening transfer to Hong Kong airport for your overnight flight home.
Optional extra nights in Hong Kong are available – please ask a member of our team for further details.
Arrive back in the UK in the morning. Your taxi will be waiting upon your arrival to transfer you back home.
Tour Price includes:
* Available within 70 mile radius; supplement may apply for excess mileage beyond this radius.
Tour Price excludes:
FLIGHT TIMES: 9.5 hours direct from London Heathrow to Beijing.
TIME DIFFERENCE: +7 hours in summer time / +8 hours in winter time (BST).
CURRENCY: Chinese Yuan (official name Ren Min Bi) £1 = approx. 9 CYN.
MONEY: You can take Sterling cash with you and exchange in China – hotels and banks all provide a currency exchange service. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATM machines for withdrawing cash in local currency.
TIPPING: Tipping is at your own discretion. We recommended £5 (approx. 45 CYN) per day for your tour guide but it’s entirely up to you based on how good you think your guide and driver are.
VISA: All visitors to China are required to apply for a Chinese visa in advance of travel. Upon booking Emperor Tours will provide visa forms and detailed instructions explaining the application process.
LANGUAGE: The official language spoken in China is standard Mandarin (Pu Tong Hua).
BEST TIMES TO VISIT: Generally Spring and Autumn months – end of March to early June and September to early November.
FESTIVALS: Here are the main Chinese festivals and what you will expect to see and experience during these festivities…
Chinese New Year – 1st-15th of the first lunar month
Scrolls and paper-cut pictures, firecrackers and fireworks, New Year visits to family and friends, eating celebratory dishes.
Lantern Festival – 15th day of the first lunar month
Lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, folk dances and eating celebratory dishes.
Qingming Festival – April 4th or 5th of the solar calendar
Tomb sweeping, Spring outings and kite flying.
Dragon Boat Festival – 5th day of the 5th lunar month
Dragon boat racing, eating celebratory dishes and tying five-colour silk thread.
Double Seventh Festival – 7th day of seventh lunar month
Praying for skillful hands, appreciating the stars, and eating noodles, and wontons.
Mid-autumn Festival – 15th day of the 8th lunar month
Appreciating and offering sacrifice to the moonlight and eating moon cakes.
Chongyang Festival – 9th day of the 9th lunar month
Eating Chongyang cake, drinking chrysanthemum wine, climbing mountains and appreciating beautiful chrysanthemums.
Winter Solstice – Dec. 21st, 22nd or 23rd in solar calendar
Eating dumplings in Northern areas and sticky puddings in Southern areas.
Laba Festival – 8th day of the 12th lunar month
Eating laba rice porridge.
NOTE: A lunar month is the time between two successive syzygies (new moons or full moons).
FOOD & DRINK: Our China Group Tours include most meals however if you are venturing out to eat on your own all our hotels are in city centres so it’s very easy to find local restaurants. Your guides will be more than happy to recommend restaurants of various cuisines to you. It’s not expensive to eat out in China – a simple meal in a local restaurant costs around £10 per person.
It’s advisable not to use the minibar in your hotel room as it can be very expensive, and you can find cheap soft drinks, beer and wine in supermarkets. Emperor Tours provide bottled water for guests and your hotel will also provide free bottled water in your room.
SOCIAL ETIQUETTE: China is a fairly relaxed country regarding etiquette, but there are a few things to be aware of:
Greetings and goodbyes – shake hands but never kiss someone’s cheek.
Religion – dress sensitively when visiting Buddhist (especially in Tibet) and Taoist temples, churches and mosques.? You should avoid touching monks, especially women.
Eating and drinking – its polite to help fill your neighbour’s plate at the dinner table and toast the host and others at the table. At the start of dinner, wait until toasting starts before drinking from your glass.
Gestures – don’t use too many hand movements or excessive body language.
HEALTH ADVICE: Before you travel, please make sure that you have obtained appropriate medical / travel insurance. There is no compulsory requirement for vaccination – the common recommendations are Hepatitis A and Typhoid and Malaria tablets are required if you travel to Yunnan Province or Hainan Island.
If travelling in Summer months, please bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent etc.
It is not safe to drink tap water in China – please drink boiled water or bottled water only.