After an overnight flight from the UK to Beijing we’ll be there to meet you and take you to the Waldorf Beijing for some rest and relaxation.
For a thousand years successive emperors lorded over the Chinese from the palaces of Beijing. With the expertise of a private guide you can get under the skin of this dynamic city as you visit the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. Barter for silk scarves and fine pearls at Hongqiao Market before taking a pedicab ride around ancient hutong alleyways. Thrillingly, at Mutianyu, you can even climb the panoramic ramparts of the Great Wall of China, a true Wonder of the World.
Watch the Chinese countryside whizz by on the high-speed train to Xian. You’ll be staying at the stylish Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian.
Close by the city lie the Terracotta Warriors, a 8,000-strong army complete with their attendant chariots and horses. They were built by ambitious emperor Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC but only rediscovered by a farmer as recently as 1974! Within Xian itself other marvels await, including the graceful Great Mosque, the dazzling Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the tasty street food of the delightful Muslim Quarter.
Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, practically sizzles: it's Asia's first UNESCO City of Gastronomy, and its food is the most mouthwatering in China. After a short flight from Xian, you could spend an afternoon grazing among the city's backstreets, or relax in the luxurious lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, partaking in a traditional gongfu tea ceremony.
Chengdu's Panda Breeding and Research Centre is the best place to get close to this iconic, endangered species. You can’t help but fall in love with the playful cubs tumbling around the nursery. After this overload of cuteness, enjoy some culture: at a Bian Lian performance the opera-like show is enlivened by dramatic movement and vibrant masks.
The Yangtze is the third-longest river in the world, and slices through some of the most picturesque parts of China. When you board in Chongqing, it’s immediately clear that you’ll be navigating in some style aboard the five-star MS Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer. Meals on board are sumptuous, views from the deck sublime and shore excursions, led by expert historians and naturalists, will truly bring the landscape to life.
From lazy river to neon whirlwind: Shanghai is modern China incarnate. A quick flight from Yichang and you'll be fully immersed in this heady Paris of the East. The elegant Waldorf Astoria sits right on the Bund, the historic boardwalk along the Huangpu River. Wander out at night to see the city sparkle.
Shanghai may be thrusting onward – and ever upward – into the 21st-century but there's still plenty of history to discover around every corner. Explore with a guide to unearth the best of this city, old and new, from the picturesque Yu Gardens and the winding alleys of the Old Town to the cutting-edge artistic centre of Moganshan.
It’s time to return to the UK, your mind no doubt spinning with impressions and memories of classic China.