Days One to Three - Beijing, China
Today, you'll meet your Tour Manager at the airport this morning, and your adventure begins with a flight to Beijing, via Hong Kong, arriving on day two. Upon arrival in the sprawling Chinese metropolis, you'll transfer to the Novotel Peace Hotel, which will be your home for the next two nights during your stay in the city. After checking in, you'll be introduced to the Chinese capital with a city tour, including the iconic Forbidden City, an enormous complex of around 980 buildings, and the centre of Chinese government for over 500 years. Your tour will also include Tiananmen Square, one of the lasting icons of Chinese history, before returning to your hotel this evening for a delightful welcome meal. On day three, you'll experience one of the tour's highlights as you head to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, one of the most famous and recognisable landmarks in the world. This section is an amazingly preserved stretch of the wall, and you'll ascend by cable car, before enjoying the breathtaking views over the distant mountains. As you return to Beijing in the afternoon, there will be photo opportunities outside the 'Water Cube' and the 'Bird's Nest', two of the main arenas in the 2008 Olympics. Tonight, you'll enjoy a traditional Peking duck dinner with your fellow travellers.
Days Four and Five - Xi'an, China
Leaving Beijing behind, today you'll hop aboard your first rail journey of the tour on a highspeed service that will journey through some of China's beautiful rural scenery towards Xi'an, once the ancient capital of China. Upon arrival, you'll visit the Great Mosque, as well as the Bazaar, and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, before enjoying a delicious Dumpling Banquet for dinner. On day five, you'll visit another of China's famous attractions, the incredible 6,000-strong Terracotta Warriors, that lay buried since 210BC, until they were accidentally unearthed in 1974. These statues are renowned for being incredibly life-like and detailed, as well as life-sized, and were buried with the Qin Emperor to protect him in the afterlife, and are grouped by rank, and in full regalia. Later, you'll head to the train station for another high-speed train to Chengdu.
Days Six and Seven - Chengdu and Shanghai China
The city of Chengdu is the capital of China's southwestern Sichuan province, and is best known for its Panda Research Centre, which will be the first stop on your city sightseeing tour. Other visits will include the Wenshu Monastery - an ancient Buddhist temple that was originally a simple wooden hut, but now boasts a reputation as a gorgeous example of ancient Chinese architecture - and Jinli Street, which dates back to the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. Afterwards, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, where you'll enjoy a two-night stay. You'll discover Shanghai on a city tour on day seven, visiting the vibrant Yu Garden and Bazaar, as well as the beautiful waterfront area of The Bund, which boasts a myriad of international architecture, before enjoying the rest of the day at leisure.
Day Eight - Osaka, Japan
Today it's time to leave mainland China, and say 'Konichiwa!' to Japan as you transfer to the airport for your flight to Osaka, checking in to your hotel on arrival.
Days Nine and Ten - Kyoto, Japan
Today, you'll experience two of Japan's many former capitals, as you take a coach to Kyoto today, visiting the atmospheric city of Nara en route. You'll explore the grand city on a sightseeing tour, showing you the Toda-ji Temple, which is notable both as the largest wooden building in the world and as the home to the 13th century Great Buddha, and visit Nara Park, a beautiful oasis of calm, where you can spot many Sika Deer, which were once considered sacred by the ancient Shinto religion. Later, once you've arrived in Kyoto, you'll embark on a walking tour of Gion, the famous traditional Geisha district that dates back to the Middle Ages. You'll enjoy the evening at leisure. You'll explore the full splendour of Kyoto on day ten, with highlights including the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle, which boasts fortifications and gardens from the 17th century, as well as the opulent Kinkakuji Temple, which is also known as the 'Golden Pavilion' thanks to its golden exterior. Later, you'll enjoy a tea ceremony, experiencing the time-honoured ritual of tea preparation that has been passed down through generations.
Days Eleven and Twelve - Hakone, Japan
Travelling by coach, today you'll visit the Tenryuji temple and the atmospheric Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, discovering a magical place filled with fast growing bamboo stalks making the lighting seem hazy and almost green. Afterwards, it's back to the train station in Kyoto for one of Japan's famous bullet trains to Odawara in Hakone, a mountainous town renowned for its onsen (hot spring resorts) and fabulous views of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji. On day twelve, you'll take to the waters of Lake Ashi, enjoying a cruise onboard an extravagant pirate ship and admiring the Hakone Shrine, a red 'torii' gate overlooking the lake, before visiting the volcanic Owakudani valley. Afterwards, you'll continue by local train to the Japanese capital, Tokyo, an enormous and vibrant megacity. You'll have an evening at leisure tonight, so there will be some time to begin to acquaint yourself with this lively city at your own pace.
Days Thirteen and Fourteen - Tokyo, Japan
You'll have a full day today to explore Tokyo on a full day city tour, starting with a visit to the Hama-Rikyu garden and the Edo Tokyo museum, continuing on to the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, and the Meiji Shrine, which is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Your tour also includes Sensoji Temple, and the famous Shibuya Crossing, which is considered to be the busiest intersection in the world. You can explore more of Tokyo at your own pace with a full day at leisure on day fourteen.
Days Fifteen and Sixteen - Hong Kong
Saying farewell to Japan today, you'll transfer to the airport this morning for your flight to Hong Kong. Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day at leisure, while day sixteen begins with a half day tour to Victoria Peak, which boasts fantastic views of the cityscape. Your tour also includes a visit to the sandy beaches of Repulse Bay, and you'll take a traditional boat, known as a sampan, to explore pretty Aberdeen village. Tonight, you'll enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day Seventeen - UK
Today, your tour comes to a close as you fly back to London.
Departs 25 March and 28 October 2019
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