23 days

China Panorama

China Panorama

Songzanlin Monastery - a place of homage for Tibetan Lamaism

The Bai traditional minority tribe of Dali

Kunming's flower and bird market

Terracotta Warriors of Xian

The Forbidden City

Lijiang - former capital of the Naxi Kingdom

Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge

Chengdu's Giant Pandas and Sichuan cuisine

Trip rating
  • This is a comprehensive journey through China, taking in the splendours of the south, including colourful Yunnan Province, as well as the historical and natural icons of the north.

    Beginning in Kunming and continuing to Dali and Lijiang, home to a wide array of ethnic minority people, we explore ancient historic towns and enjoy sweeping panoramic views. Tiger Leaping Gorge is the perfect place for a memorable walk in spectacular surroundings. Flying east to Shanghai we discover the modern face of China wth amazing skyscrapers towering over historic Art Deco buildings. We view giant pandas in Chengdu, visit the fabled Terracotta Warriors in Xian and enjoy a comfortable cruise on the fabled Yangtze River, surrounded by dramatic gorges. We also have the opportunity to dine on the famous hot and spicy cuisine of Sichuan. The final highlights are found in the capital, Beijing - home to the renowned Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, not to mention the Great Wall of China.

    Why we love it

    • This is a comprehensive journey through China, taking in the splendours of the south, including colourful Yunnan Province, as well as the historical and natural icons of the north.
    • Beginning in Kunming and continuing to Dali and Lijiang, home to a wide array of ethnic minority people, you will explore ancient historic towns and enjoy sweeping panoramic views.
    • Tiger Leaping Gorge is the perfect place for a memorable walk in spectacular surroundings.
    • In Shanghai you will discover the modern face of China wth amazing skyscrapers towering over historic Art Deco buildings.
    • You will view giant pandas in Chengdu, visit the fabled Terracotta Warriors in Xian and enjoy a comfortable cruise on the fabled Yangtze River, surrounded by dramatic gorges.
    • You will also have the opportunity to dine on the famous hot and spicy cuisine of Sichuan.
    • Exploring the capital, Beijing - home to the renowned Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, not to mention the Great Wall of China, finishes the trip on a high note.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Kunming

    • On arrival in Kunming you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
    • You will meet your tour leader and other group members at a pre-tour briefing, then head out for an optional group dinner.
    • Local specialties are a highlight, you will have the opportunity to sample dishes such across-the-bridge noodles and similarly intriguing Yunnanese fare.
    Haikun Hotel or similar

    Day 2-3 - Dali

    • Depart Kunming by bus and prepare for the adventure ahead as you travel through the countryside to Dali (approx 6 hours).
    • Dali is a favourite among travellers in China. Resting near the banks of Er Hai Lake with the Cang Shan mountain range forming an impressive backdrop, the town's cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses, and laid-back charm make it a wonderful place to relax.
    • Dali is home to the proud Bai people, a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship.
    • There is a chance to go boating on Er Hai Lake and travel across to the village of Wase, or spend a day catching a chairlift up and hiking in the mountains behind Dali (stopping at the occasional monastery along the way).
    • You can also cycle to nearby villages or just stroll around town. Several small stone hamlets lie close to Dali and make for a highly rewarding half-day trip by bicycle or local bus.
    Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4-5 - Shaxi

    • What makes Shaxi so special is that unlike many other ancient towns in Yunnan, it has been restored rather than rebuilt and being off the main highways it hasn't seen the rapid development of the tourist industry as other places like Lijiang and Dali have. Here you can still find the Yi and Bai ethnic minorities living their traditional lives, farmhouses lining the country roads, and the original walled town gates and market square proving that Shaxi was once an important stop on the old Tea Horse Trail.
    • Walk the mountain trails with a local guide to Shizong Temple (4-5 hours return), perhaps taking a picnic lunch along to make the most of the beautiful "danxia" landscape.
    • The hike takes up up to around 2400m above sea level and is accessible to all travellers with a reasonable level of fitness. Bring your walking poles if you have them as these will also be useful for the more challenging Tiger Leaping Gorge hike. For those travellers who wish to sit out this activity there is the option to stay in Shaxi for the day instead.
    • In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals on the town square where it's not rare to see impromptu dancing, singing and games happen that we are welcome to join in or observe!
    Huishui Guesthouse or similiar
    Breakfast

    Day 6-7 - Tiger Leaping Gorge

    • Another breath-taking journey on the private mini-bus takes you past the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to one of the world's deepest gorges and China's most spectacular natural scenery.
    • Part of the Yangtze River (known here as the Jinsha River) thunders through Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is in turn framed by 5000-metre-high mountains. In the gorge, a sheer cliff face rises from the raging torrents. A memorable walk in the gorge is a wonderful way to take in its awesome beauty, passing local villages such as enchanting Ben Di Wan.
    • Please note that this walk is geared towards travellers who like to enjoy some physical activity, but it is not an extreme trek for advanced mountain trekkers. The walk can be quite challenging for some people depending on the weather conditions, and good footwear, preferably hiking boots, is essential. It is necessary to bring warm clothing, especially for the evenings, and for the cooler months in general. The degree of difficulty on the particular trail that you take will vary greatly, depending on the time of year. Your tour leader may not be able to advise you of the actual trekking itinerary until the last minute.
    • As we stay in 2 different guesthouses and use a combination of walking and our own transport to get between them, travellers will need to pack a day pack each day and leave our main luggage in storage.
    Tina’s Guest House or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8-9 - Lijiang

    • Lijiang, a former capital of the famed Naxi Kingdom. The Old Town is a maze of cobblestone streets, narrow canals, and decorative wooden houses, a wonderful place to wander around and imagine being part of a bygone era.
    • A walk up to the Wangu Pagoda on Lion Hill offers an impressive view of the rooftops of the Old Town. Your accommodation is located right in the middle of the Old Town and set up like a local Naxi house, but the rooms contain all of the facilities that one would expect at home.
    • In the evening, you can witness a performance of the local Naxi orchestra (optional), a unique and entertaining musical experience (please check schedules in Lijiang to see if the show is on during your visit).
    Sanhe Naxi Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 10 - Kunming - Shanghai

    • After a flight from Lijiang to Kunming, you will transfer to another flight that takes you to Shanghai.
    • You will say goodbye to your Yunnan tour leader at this point and will be unaccompanied during the flight.
    • You will be met on arrival in Shanghai and transferred 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.
    • In the evening you will meet your next tour leader and fellow group members that you will be travelling with for the rest of your tour.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar

    Day 11 - Shanghai

    • The Bund is an excellent place to rub shoulders with the locals. The shopping area on Nanjing Road is situated nearby.
    • You will enjoy some free time in Shanghai, and your tour leader will 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.
    • There is also the option to see the impressive Shanghai acrobats perform or have a beer in the highest bar in the world.
    • Shanghai certainly looks impressive from the 87th floor of Jinmao Tower.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Zhouzhuang - Shanghai

    • In the morning you will be transported by a private coach to Zhouzhuang where you will spend the day exploring this ancient well preserved town.
    • Zhouzhuang is the most famous water town in China and you will have the opportunity to walk where Marco Polo once walked, as he roamed these streets in the 1200s. Zhouzhuang is known as the Venice of the East.
    • In the evening you will return to Shanghai.
    Bund Riverside Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 13-14 - Chengdu - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise

    • You will catch a flight to Chengdu today, capital of Sichuan Province.
    • Sichuan is known for its hot, spicy dishes, considered by the Chinese as the best cuisine within China. In such a food-loving country, this is no mean feat.
    • There will be free time to explore the city. There is a large statue of Chairman Mao in the middle of the city and the tranquil Renmin Park is well worth a visit, with its beautiful gardens and interesting teahouses.
    • One morning you will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base situated near the city.The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and has become an icon for conservation movements everywhere. It is still found in parts of the Sichuan province, but is very difficult to spot in the wild.
    • In the afternoon you will catch a train to the city of Chongqing where you will board a boat for a cruise on one of the great rivers of the world.
    • Before boarding, you may wish to purchase some small snacks to take with you on the boat.
    Chengdu Garden City Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 15-16 - Yangtze River Cruise

    • At 6300 kilometres, the Yangtze (also known locally as the Chiangjiang River) is the world's third longest waterway.It winds deep in to the heart of the province of Qinghai, to the north of Tibet, and flows relentlessly eastwards until it empties into the East China Sea near Shanghai.
    • Effectively dividing the country into north and south, the river not only supplies the rural heart of China, but has also spawned many industries reliant upon its power.The Yangtze has also inspired poets, writers and travellers over the centuries.
    • You will travel along one of the most picturesque sections, through the renowned Three Gorges.
    • You will have a chance to do a couple of optional activities while on the Yangtze such as Shibaozhai (A hill along the bank of the Yangtze River in Zhong County, Chongqing, China. This rocky and craggy hill has extremely steep sides and is about 200 meters tall)
    • You will spend three nights on board and sleep in twin share cabins with private facilities in accommodation similar to a small hotel room. Bedding and sheets are provided, as are all meals throughout the cruise.
    • Please note that all rooms on the Yangtze cruise are on a twin share basis. If you are not already sharing a room with someone from your group, you may be required to share with someone (of the same gender) from outside your group. This could be a member of another tour group or a local person. If you have paid a single supplement, please note that this does not cover the cruise.
    Yangtze cruise
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 17 - Yichang - Wuhan - Xian

    • After disembarking from the boat, you will enjoy a tour of the amazing Three Gorges Dam.
    • You will then be transferred to the airport in Wuhan to catch an early evening flight to Xian.
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 18-19 - Xian - Overnight Train

    • Capital of Shaanxi Province and the largest city in northwest China, Xian is a wonderful place to explore. The food options are excellent here, ranging from delicious Muslim fare to great little dumplings in cafes. Widely regarded as the first capital of a united China in 221 BC, the city is rich in history.
    • A half-day tour to the renowned Terracotta Warriors introduces you to these entombed statues, considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.Over 6000 of them were individually sculpted from clay, each with a different costume, height, and 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.
    • Peasants digging a well discovered the underground vault, which was home to this army for two millennia, in 1974.
    • Xian also has a wonderful Muslim Quarter. A free day could 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 in China.
    • You will depart Xian on the overnight train bound for Beijing, travelling in soft-class sleeper; four-berth compartments.
    Union Alliance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 20-22 - 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 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 carefully detailed, ranging from intricately carved walkways to colourful, painted ceilings.
    • The Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace are other fine examples of extraordinary workmanship.
    • You will visit one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section, 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 will have the chance to enjoy a performance of the unique Beijing Opera (optional).
    Dong Fang Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 23 - Beijing

    • The tour will come to an end today after breakfast.
    • A transfer to the airport is not included, however your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Arrival transfer
    • An experienced, English-speaking local Peregrine leader and specialist local guides at some sites
    • Authentic Accommodation includes: 12 nights comfortable hotel, 3 nights cruise boat, 6 nights local guesthouse, 1 night sleeper train
    • Trekking in Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shaxi with overnight stays in local villages and towns
    • Three-night Yangtze River cruise sailing through the Three Gorges. Accommodation in a twin-share cabin with private facilities on a tourist-class riverboat, with all meals provided
    • Visit to Chengdu’s Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
    • Walk on a the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): the water town of Zhouzhuang; Terracotta Warriors; Shanghai Acrobats; Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & Summer Palace
    • Overnight train from Xian to Beijing in a ‘soft-class’, four-berth compartment
    • Domestic flights from Lijiang to Kunming, Kunming to Shanghai, Shanghai to Chengdu and Wuhan to Xian
    • Meals: 19 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
    • Chinese visa support

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Departure transfer
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip

    Safety Information

    China is a safe country to travel in and very few travellers will experience any safety concerns. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. Foreigners can be targeted for passports, laptops, mobile phones, purses and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, Beijing International Airport, major international events and conferences and popular bar areas after dark.

    There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint.

    Counterfeit bank notes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine bank notes for counterfeits. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so.

    Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

    Fire protection standards in Chinese accommodation are not always the same as at home. Check fire precautions including access to fire exits.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    China Panorama

    Richard - Hertfordshire, UK, 23 Oct, 2009
    5
    Overall Rating

    The trip really gives you a good view of China. We were originally planning a shorter trip mainly in the northern part of China.  Tiger leaping Gorge and Yangshou were well worth taking the extra time.

    China Panorama

    Richard - Hertfordshire, UK, 23 Oct, 2009
    5
    Overall Rating

    Eddie was exceptionally good. You really felt he had your interests at heart.

     

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PCCP
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Kunming
End City: Beijing

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