|Beijing, China||Shanghai, China|
“As we all know, the custom of drinking tea in China is very old. Drinking tea is not only a behavior, it’s a very social thing. You don’t drink tea by yourself purely, you invite your friend to come over and talk and drink tea. It is a part of our culture that you can bring home and share.” Bruce Xie, Peregrine local leader.
Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel or similar, Beijing
On arrival in Beijing you will be transferred to your hotel. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and the other group members for a pre-tour briefing. This is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant - Peking Duck is often a popular choice.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Accommodation: Dong Fang Hotel or similar, Beijing
Beijing offers endless opportunities for exploration. The enormous Forbidden City, built more than 500 years ago and off limits to commoners for almost all of that time, is a truly amazing place. Its size might surprise you (it is huge!), but what makes it truly fascinating is that every square metre is detailed, ranging from intricately carved walkways to colourful, painted ceilings. The Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace are other fine examples of extraordinary workmanship which are also included in our time here. On Day 3 you will visit one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall at Mutianyu which used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. Being perched on this incredible engineering feat and surveying the spectacular surrounding countryside is an unforgettable experience. There is also ample free time built in to the itinerary, allowing you to make your own discoveries. In the evening, you might have the chance to enjoy a performance of the unique Beijing Opera or Acrobats (optional). You will leave Beijing in the afternoon of Day 4 on a high-speed train to Xian (journey time approx 5.5 hours), where on arrival you will enjoy a free evening.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Union Alliance Hotel or similar, Xi'an
Xian is a wonderful place to explore. The food options are excellent here, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to great dumplings and street food. Widely regarded as the first capital of a united China in 221 BC, the city is rich in history. A tour to the renowned Terracotta Warriors with a local guide introduces you to these entombed statues and is considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. Over 6000 of them were individually sculpted from clay, each having a different costume, height, even facial expression. They are standing in battle formation, facing east in order to protect the tomb of China's first emperor, the great Qin Shihuang. In 1974, farmers digging a well discovered the underground vault, which was home to this army for two millennium. Xian also has a wonderful Muslim Quarter. A free afternoon can be spent wandering the narrow streets where you will find quaint shops, lively markets, groups of white-bearded men in skull caps sipping tea in cafes, and the Great Mosque, one of the most important and unique in China.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Bund Riverside Hotel or similar, Shanghai
Today you will fly to Shanghai and transfer to your hotel located near the famous Bund or waterfront area, where dozens of imposing European colonial buildings, remnants of the concession era, line the promenade. This is an excellent place for people watching as domestic tourists also flock here for photo opportunities. The shopping area on Nanjing Road is situated nearby our hotel too. You will enjoy free time in Shanghai, and your tour leader can show you how to get to the famous Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar, a fascinating highlight of the city and worth exploring for its tranquil Chinese garden and wonderful food stalls. On your last evening you will enjoy a farewell drink at one of in the highest bars in the world - Cloud 9 Bar in the Jin Mao Tower (87 floors up!). Shanghai certainly looks impressive from the top of a skyscraper!
Meals included: 1 breakfast
The tour will come to an end today after breakfast. You should arrange an evening flight out, or stay an extra day, if you wish to have time to explore more of Shanghai. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
Some meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region. We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.Visas and Permits
Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.Australia: Yes - in advance
MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG:
Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements.
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.
Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
+86 10 6406 7328
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by your booking agent. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that your trip visits.
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not.
* Itinerary – please print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website and include it with your application, listing the dates you will visit each destination.
* Photocopy of your passport.
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required).
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
We require you to send the following at the time of booking, or no later than 60 days prior to travel:
Clear, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport
Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.
Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are: Wild Swans-Jung Chang The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices-Xinran Riding the Iron Rooster-Paul Theroux From Heaven Lake-Vikram Seth One’s Company-Peter Fleming Red China Blues-Jan Wong Mr China’s Son: A Villager’s Life-He Liuyi China, Renaissance of the Middle Kingdom-Odyssey Guide China-Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrase Book-Lonely Planet. The following are recommended for travellers on the Silk Road: The Great Game-Peter Hopkirk Foreign Devils on the Silk Road-Peter Hopkirk.
Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our Beijing Office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328
China is a rapidly developing country whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards differ from what you are used to at home. Please bear this in mind as you are travelling in this exciting country and respect the fact that you should not impose your standards and expectations on the culture there. Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control, such as bad weather and poor road conditions. Changes to flight and train schedules do sometimes occur, which may also lead to changes to this itinerary.
Travelling During Holiday Periods
Major holidays in China are Spring Festival (Lunar New Year), first week of May and National Week (first week of October). These are not ideal times to travel in China as literally the entire country is on the move and we schedule less or no tours during these times. There is a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. If your tour does travel during this time, plenty of patience and flexibility will be required.
In 2014 Chinese New Year day fall on Friday 31st January, ushering in the Year of the Horse. All days from 30th January to 5th February 2014 are designated as public holidays. In 2015 Chinese New Year will be on 19th February (Year of the Sheep) and in 2016 it will be on 8th February (Year of the Monkey).
Train Travel in China
Overnight train accommodation on this tour is in 4-berth ‘soft-sleeper’ class, which are four beds in a compartment. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilet facilities (usually one with a toilet seat and one squat-style in each compartment) are available on all trains, but there are no showers or baths. There are urns or thermos flasks for making hot beverages. It is quite possible that we may be divided over a series of separate compartments and some of us may have to share our compartment with other train travellers. There is no single supplement available for the train. While train travel is an integral part of the China travel experience and offers some of the best chances of meeting and making friends with locals, it can also be quite a culture shock for some travellers.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
15 April 2014