Beijing Nights Southern China and Topical Beaches
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- 1298 GBP /person
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Last updated: 05/01/2009
This trip combines the historical sites of the North with a relaxing trip to the Southern Chinese countryside; from Karst mountains and epic rice terraces to long sandy beaches and tropical islands
Day 1: Arrival in Beijing
One of our local representatives will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with a sign with your name on it and will take you to your hotel in the centre of Beijing. You'll stay in a traditional courtyard hotel with a small scale architecture that makes it quite cosy. There are several large streets filled with stores near the hotel. The staff at the reception desk speaks a reasonable level of English. In the afternoon you'll take a taxi cab to Tian'anmen Square, the Gateway to Heavenly Peace (you shouldn't have any problem getting there; every taxi driver knows that the tourists want to visit it, a taxi will cost approximately â¬ 1.50). There are buildings of parliament on the square as well as Mao Zhedong's Mausoleum, China's infamous one-time leader, and you'll also find the entrance of the Forbidden City here. Once you've seen all you want to see, you'll catch a taxi cab to your hotel.
Day 2: Beijing - Great Wall of China excursion
The Great Wall of China should be a part of every China trip. It isn't until you actually walk over the wall that you can get a sense of the vastness of this unique Chinese heritage site.
We'll make arrangements for you to go on an excursion to the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. You'll be able to walk over the wall for about 3km and eventually you'll return to where your walk started on the wall. This part of the wall has been restored and you'll be walking over a path; however if the path is slippery you'll have to be careful and walk slowly. You'll be able to enjoy the fantastic view all around you and for a little while you'll forget all about the modern western world and you'll feel at one with the era of Chinese emperors and the great Chinese dynasties.
Day 3: Beijing - Xi'an
Today you'll have another day off in Beijing. After your walk on the Great Wall of China yesterday, your muscles may be a bit stiff. If you'd like to spend the day in peace and quiet, you may want to take a taxi cab to Beihei City Park to visit one of the remaining classical Chinese gardens. If you're looking for a more active way to spend the day you can go for a walk or bike ride through Beijing's historic neighbourhoods, the hutongs.
Head back to your hotel around 15:00 to avoid rush hour on the roads. You'll be picked up at around 17:00 and taken to the train station. We'll make reservations for a hard sleeper hard sleeper in the night train to Xi'an for you. Once on board you'll find it difficult not to fall asleep to the rhythmic sound of the train rolling over the tracks.
Day 4: Arrival in Xi'an
You'll be awakened from your slumber before arriving in Xi'an (if you prefer not to travel by train, there are several daily flights to Xi'an). We'll make reservations for you in a centrally located, comfortable hotel. You'll be greeted in the arrival hall and taken straight to your hotel. The transfer should take approximately 15 minutes.
The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Stroll across the boulevards to the heart of the city, the large Bell Tower. Nearby you'll also find the Drum Tower. If you climb the tower around 17:00 you'll have a wonderful view of the city and you'll catch a demonstration of Chinese kettle drums. The Muslim neighbourhood is quite fun to visit for dinner in the evening. A taxi cab (or take a tuk-tuk) back to your hotel will cost about 1 or 2 Euros.
Day 5: Xi'an - Terracotta Army - Guilin
You'll be picked up at 9:00 this morning for a visit to one of China's most popular attractions. The Terracotta Army excavation site is located in a park about 40 minutes from the city of Xi'an. The site was discovered in 1974 by farmers. They found approximately 7000 clay soldiers, clay horses and clay chariots, which were commissioned by the then 14 year old king Zheng for his future royal tomb.
The best way to view the site is to start in hall 3, then to continue on to hall 2 and finally 1. This way you'll save the largest and most impressive part of the site for last. Also try to visit the museum and the souvenir stands offering miniature clay soldiers, horses, weapons and other knick knacks. A visit to the Warriors will take up approximately 2 hours, however including transport you'll be out half a day. At around 13.00 you'll be back in Xi'an.
Sometime in the afternoon you'll head for Xi'an airport and you'll fly to the karst mountain area in Guilin. We'll arrange for a transfer to take you straight to the Yangshuo countryside, which will take about 2 hours. During the winter the temperature is 10-15C on average and there is little precipitation.
Day 6: Yangshuo - bike, bamboo boat excursion Yulong River
You'll start off the day with a bike ride along the Yulong River. The scenery here is every bit as beautiful as it is at the Li River and it features a dramatic array of karst mountains on the banks of the river. During your bike ride you'll leave the main roads and peddle over paths along the river, through farmland and rice paddies and you'll have the karst mountains as constant companions during your ride. You'll be able to stop for drinks or snacks in the small villages that you'll pass during your ride. After biking for a while, the bamboo raft will be waiting to take you down the river. You, your guide and other boats will sail through the peaks of the karst mountains. After a few kilometres you'll get back on your bike and peddle towards the 'highlight' of this trek, Moon Hill. You can choose to climb the hill if you wish. Eventually when you return to your hotel you can unwind with a beer or glass of wine on the terrace.
Day 7: Yangshuo
Today you'll have the entire day to spend as you please; there is plenty to do in this area. You can rent a kayak from the hotel, spend another day on a bicycle to explore the area on your own or you can even take Kung Fu lesson for an hour. We'll gladly give you more options.
Day 8: Yangshuo - Ping'an
At around 9:00 you'll be picked up and a transfer will take you north through Guilin to the Longji rice terraces. The village Ping'an is located in the middle of this area and is only accessible by foot. You'll be awaited at the end of the drive and someone will join you on the 20 minute walk to the village. By lunchtime you'll reach the village of 800 inhabitants.
You'll stay in a basic, well maintained guest house in the village. Electricity and warm water are available in the mornings and evenings. Your room will have its own private bathroom. The guest house has a large veranda where you can enjoy the view of the rice fields and mountains in the crisp clean air. In the afternoon you can walk through the village and explore the surrounding area.
Day 9: Ping'an - hike with a guide
At 9:00 you'll take off with your guide on a walk through the world's largest rice paddies, The Dragon's Bone or Long Ji.
Your walk will be anything but ordinary. You'll climb and descend through marvellous scenic areas, past rivers, through wooded areas and through rice paddies where the Zhuang push their oxen through the blubber. Around lunch time you'll have a bite to eat and you'll rest up for a bit in the village before continuing on the two hour walk back to Ping'an. At around 15:00 a bus will take you to the end of the road to Ping'an where you'll continue walking along the short path to the village.
If you stay in an accommodation in this area you'll see shrouds of mist floating across the mountains in the morning, during the day you can walk or relax in this beautiful area and in the evening you can watch magical sunsets behind the mountains before spending a fun evening with the locals or a quiet evening on the veranda by moonlight. This was one of the most relaxing places we visited during our China trip.
Day 10: Ping'an - Guilin - Canton - Sanya (Hainan Island)
You'll have an early start this morning as a transfer will take you to Guilin airport. While walking back to the parking lot, take one more chance to enjoy the mist surrounding the mountains. Your transfer will be waiting for you and after an hour and a half you'll be at the airport.
You'll fly to the city of Canton (Guangzhou) where you'll change planes and after another hour of flying you'll arrive at Sanya airport at the southern part of Hainan Island. On arrival your transfer will be waiting to take you on a short drive to your hotel by the beach. There's a restaurant, swimming pool and your room has an air conditioning, tv and a modern bathroom. When you exit your hotel you'll walk straight onto the beach and into the warm sea.
Day 11: Hainan Island
Spend the day as you wish; rest and relaxation are your only priorities on this island. The atmosphere here is one of 'sun, sea and surf'. There are several diving shops at the beach where you can also rent snorkelling equipment or arrange an introductory dive..... China never ceases to amaze its visitors!
If you would like to see a little more of the island: 5km south of Sanya lies a hilly peninsula which offers great hiking opportunities and beautiful views. Further inland lies a reserve with 1000 Guanxi monkeys. Yalong Bay lies about 20km further down the coast and is the most popular centre for tourism on the island. It has a yacht harbour, horse track and golf course. You can reach the bay by bus, taxi or by bicycle (rent a bicycle at your hotel). Head into Sanya or stay in the area around your hotel for dinner in the evenings and try some of the catch of the day. Sanya is known for its fresh fish dishes.
Day 12: Hainan Island
Today is free to spend as you wish
Day 13: Hainan Island - Canton
This morning you'll be able to take your time, relax and even go for one last walk along the beach. Later on you'll return to Sanya airport and fly to Canton (Guangzhou). If there is a flight available to the UK for later in the day, we'll make arrangements for you to fly home the same day. Otherwise you'll be able to visit the Canton evening market for souvenirs, taste some genuine Canton food and spend one more night in your hotel in the centre of town.
Day 14: Guangzhou (Canton) - UK
All good things must come to an end. Today, with a sigh, you'll return to the airport ( you can arrange a transfer at your hotel reception for just a few pounds) and catch your flight back to the UK.
- Inclusions -
- Accommodation, transport, 4 domestic flights and all transfers and excursions as mentioned below
- Exclusions -
- International flight, (airport) taxes, meals and drinks, entrance fees
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Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
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- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.