An amazing country of contrasts, China will leave you breathless and in awe. See Mother Nature’s most amazing creations, so beautifully sculptured, and the breathtaking feats of human design and engineering, created in an effort to tame her majesty. Visit Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. See Giant Pandas in Chengdu, cruise the mighty Yangtze River and gaze in wonder at the incredible Terracotta Warriors. See the jaw dropping Tianmen and Zhangjiajie Mountains, the stunning rice terraces at Longsheng, and walk through the fascinating Reed Flute Caves in Guilin. You’ll witness acclaimed acrobatics, martial arts performances and cultural shows that will astound you. There’s plenty of time for shopping too and in Shanghai you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice this most modern of cities presents.
“If you fail to reach the Great Wall, you are not a man” - MAO ZEDONG
13 MAY – 6 JUNE • 25 DAYS
NEW ZEALAND – SINGAPORE one night Singapore
Days 1–2 We depart New Zealand on Singapore Airlines bound for Singapore and an overnight stay, en-route to our grand destination China and some of the most unforgettable experiences of your life.
SINGAPORE – BEIJING three nights Beijing
Days 2–5 On arrival in Beijing we will be met by our local English speaking guide, and taken by private coach to our hotel, home for the next three nights. We travel to the foot of one of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall, taking the cable car to a fascinating section known as Mutianyu. Those fit enough may decide to walk a portion or enjoy the amazing sight from where they stand. We’ll take you to a Peking Duck restaurant and show you Beijing’s most recognisable and iconic symbols Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We’ll also see an incredible performance of ‘The Legend of Kung Fu’.
BEIJING – XIAN two nights Xian
Days 5–7 We bid farewell to Beijing bound for Xian. Walk atop Xian’s ancient defensive wall, one of the best preserved in China, built during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Throughout the Empire, the working day would open with a bell chime and end on a drum-beat. We’ll see the two great towers, the Bell and the Drum Towers standing in the very center of Xian that perform these timekeeping functions. Witness one of the best known archaeological finds in the world, the Terracotta Warriors. The lifelike figurines were meticulously cast to be the personal army of Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c.246BC) in the afterlife. Disliked by his subjects, his tomb was constructed in total secrecy by thousands of craftsmen who cast the warriors, and were rewarded by being buried alive–to silence them forever. Celebrate a wonderful stay in Xian with a specialty dumpling dinnerand a spectacular Tang Dynasty Culture show.
XIAN – CHENGDU two nights Chengdu
Days 7–9 With a history stretching over 2,000 years the city of Chengdu is the vibrant capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. In Chengdu all roads lead to Chairman Mao, his huge statue standing at the northern end of Tianfu Square in the geographic centre of the city. No tour to China would be complete without seeing the Giant Panda up close, and what better place than at the Giant Panda Breeding and Research facility where we learn all about them. This evening we attend a remarkable face changing and dramatic performance, and afterwards dine-out at a local Hot-Potrestaurant.
CHENGDU – CHONGQING three nights Yangtze River Cruise
Days 9–12 We depart Chengdu for Chongqing and Chaotianmen Port, to join the Century Paragonand the start of a four day cruise on the mighty Yangtze River. There’s an optional excursion to The Ghost City in Fengdu, said to be the abode of devils, the famous ‘Ghost City’ is situated on the northern bank of the river between Zhongxian and Fuling. The origin of the town’s eerie reputation can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) when two officials, Yin and Wang, became Taoist recluses here, and were immortalized. Later in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907A.D) their names were combined to mean King of the Underworld. We’ll visit the beautiful 12 story Shibaozhai Pagodabuilt in the 1800’s and marvel at the scenery as the ship enters the Three Gorges through Kui Gate, an imposing mountain buttress guarding the western entrance to Qutang Gorge. Sandwiched between the Wu Mountains we enter Wu Gorge and embark on a small boat excursion, winding our way through a narrow gap bordered by high cliffs and mountains along the picturesque and stunningly beautiful Shennv Stream.
YICHANG – WULINGYUAN two nights Wulingyuan
Day 12 Disembarking Century Paragon at Yichang we’ll take a private excursion to the Three Gorges Dam, a major feat of engineering brilliance, culminating in the construction of the largest man made dam in the world. Seeing is believing! Displacing over 1 million people from their homes, and containing enough water to raise initial fears that it might cause the earth to alter rotation on its axis! At capacity the dam supplies 10% of China’s entire power needs. We continue our journey to Wulingyuan, gateway to Zhangjiajie National Park, brought to prominence by the Hollywood Blockbuster movie Avatar.
Day 13 Zhangjiajie National Park, is China’s first national park created in 1982 and another of China’s World Heritage Sites. See towering quartz sandstone pillars, dense forests and stunning lakes, making for the most uniquely, beautiful landscapes you will see. Apart from the breathtaking scenery the park is a treasure trove for rare and once thought extinct species of plants. The Long Xia Flowercan change colour five times a day and the Dove Tree with dangling handkerchief like foliage whose ancestors fossilized remains date back 2.5 million years. Monkeys, bears and leopards live in the park, as well as the giant salamander who makes its home in its streams and rivers, growing up to 1.8 metres in length and weighing up to 50kgs!
WULINGYUAN – ZHANGJIAJIE two nights Zhangjiajie
Days 14–16 This morning the dare devils among us can take an optional excursion to walkZhangjiajie Glass Bridge which is suspended 260m above the canyon floor. When opened in August 2016 it was the largest and longest glass bottom bridge in the world. This afternoon we travel to Zhangjiajie town from where we travel on the world’s longest cable car to beautiful Tianmen Mountain. Atop the mountain we’ll experience amazing views, cliff-side walkways, and for the brave glass walkways. We descend via seven escalators inside the mountain to Heaven’s Gate. From there some may choose to carry-on down via 999 steps, others will take another escalator inside the mountain. Finally we will drive back to our hotel via the most incredible road with its 99 switchbacks, and the end to an incredible day.
ZHANGJIAJIE– GUILIN four nights Guilin
Days 16–20 We bid farewell to the Avatar Mountains bound for Guilin. The name translates to Forest of Sweet Osmanthus due to the scented Osmanthus Forest found in the area, and is regarded as one of China’s Pearls owing to its natural landscapes and historic beauty. We’ll cruise the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo where you’ll see incredible limestone peaks, often shrouded in cloud, adding to their mystique. Water buffalo march ceremoniously through the fields as farmers tend their paddies, and children and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, the scenery along the Li River is another of China’s wondrous sights to be seen. We’ll also experience amazing Longsheng Rice Terraces (Dragons Backbone). Construction of the terraces began during the Yuan Dynasty, 1271 – 1368, and completed in 1911 during the Qing Dynasty. They’re a culmination of both insightful wisdom and the tireless labour of a local ethnic minority called the Zhuang. Interwoven over the hillsides the terraces paint an amazing picture whatever season they’re viewed, and are an astonishing feat of human engineering. We’ll visit the beautiful Reed Flute Caves, a magical fairyland of stalactites and stalagmites, stone pillars and fantastic shapes depicting birds, plants and various animals, highlighted by an amazing display of coloured lighting.
GUILIN – SHANGHAI three nights Shanghai
Days 20–23 After a short flight we are back to the big cities again, and one of the fastest growing and most dynamic of them all is Shanghai. Boasting numbers and firsts, Shanghai is a bustling metropolis of shanty’s, shops, skyscrapers, vehicles and of course … people. You’ll love it! This morning we’re off to the Bund. An area on the bank of the Huangpu River with a very British feelabout it, for a very good reason. In the 19th and early 20th century it beckoned British, amongst others, with the lure of its opium trade. Not long after it became home to banks, financial institutions and many businesses of European origin. It affords some of the best views across the river to the skyscrapers and buildings of architectural excellence that have sprouted up, long after the opium days were over. To refresh the spirit we make our way to the beautiful Yu Gardens, a gem of Shanghai. Built between 1559 and 1577 the gardens with their pavilions and ponds linked by ornate bridges and rock waterfall are an oasis of peace in a fast paced city. We’ll visit what was once Old Shanghai a bustling warren of narrow alleys filled with shops, antique stores, tea and noodle houses, and tiny eateries serving soup, dumplings and traditional sweets. You’ll see one of the most incredible acrobatic shows on the planet, certain to leave you spellbound. There’s a full day at leisure to shop or explore, however for those wanting more, an optional excursion can be arranged to Zhujiajiao, an interesting and ancient water town built over 1700 years ago.
SHANGHAI – SINGAPORE one night Singapore
Day 23 Tinged with sadness we bid farewell to Shanghai and China, however we have one final experience for you aboard the Maglev high-speed train as it travels at 430kmh, covering 30km between the city and Pudong International airport in 8 minutes flat! Check-in for our Singapore Airlines flight bound for Singapore and our overnight stay.
Day 24 The day is yours to do as you please before we depart late afternoon to Changi Airport.
SINGAPORE – NEW ZEALAND
Day 25 We arrive back in New Zealand today filled with wonderful memories of an enchanting journey.