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This 10 day trip takes you to explore the sights of Beijing with the Forbidden City, Great Wall with the hutong area and Summer Palace. Using some of the most modern trains depart to Taiyuan where you join your vehicle to drive to the UNESCO city of Pingyao. Here, in one of the last cities to retain its walls you can walk right around them, visit the first bank and stay in a characterful guest house, created within an original courtyard building. Continue by train to reach Xian to see the legendary Terracotta Warriors and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Air China Business Class upgrades on request.
Depart London Heathrow at around 2020 on the non-stop Air China flight to Beijing.
Arrive Beijing and transfer to the 5-star International Hotel for a 3 night stay. Enjoy an evening welcome dinner. (D)
Leave the City behind and drive to the Iconic Great Wall of China. We will take you to the section known as the Badaling Pass. After time spent ‘walking the wall’ enjoy lunch and return to the City to visit the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of Ming architecture and one made entirely of wood. Before returning to your hotel there will be an opportunity to stroll around Tiananmen Square. Optional evening Kung Fu Show Performance. (BL)
Visit Tiananmen Square and the magnificent Forbidden City, the most complete imperial complex remaining in China and a supreme example of Ming dynasty architecture. If time allows take a short walk around the Nanluoguoxiang area with its quaint shops, small bars and restaurants. After Lunch visit the Summer Palace complete with Kunming Lake, the Marble Boat, pavilions and covered walkways. Optional evening Beijing Opera performance. (BL)
Transfer to the railway station to take the fast train to Taiyuan. On arrival drive to the well- preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pingyao with an en-route visit to the exquisite 17th Century mansion of the wealthy Wang family. This luxurious and lavishly decorated compound covers over 45000 square metres and is considered to be the Forbidden City of Shanxi, and outshines the more well-known Qiao Mansion. Time permitting visit Jinci Temple a masterpiece of ancient architecture with halls, pavilions, bridges and ancient trees in its grounds, including a cypress that has reportedly grown at an angle of 30 degrees for 900 years. At Pingyao stay at the stunning Yunjincheng Folk Guest House. (BLD)
Visit the impressive ancient city wall, 30ft high and 15ft thick, with watchtowers, battlements, a moat, drawbridge and six city gates. Continue to the Rishengchang, China’s first private bank. Stroll along the Ming- and Qing-era streets, looking very much as they did in their heyday. Visit the town’s God Temple and the ancient council office. (BL)
Today leave the City Walls of Pingyao and visit the Zhangbi Fortress encompassing the ancient town of Zhangbi Cun. This lesser known historical attraction has many kilometres of tunnels in three layers under the town which were designed and built as a military defence position. The fortress has thick ground walls surrounding the town and high walls along both sides of the main street. This would allow residents to close gates in the high walls allowing intruders to access only the main street between the gates. Return to Pingyao. (BL)
Depart Pingyao by fast train to Xian. On arrival visit the Drum and Bell Towers and have the opportunity to walk on the City Wall. Transfer to the 5-star Grand Noble Hotel for a two night stay. Optional evening Tang era music and dance dinner show. (B)
Visit the world-renowned Terracotta Army – 7000 individually crafted life-sized figures, complete with chariots and horses. Afternoon visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Grand Mosque and the Muslim quarter. Enjoy a farewell dumpling dinner. (BLD)
Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight with Air China, flying via Beijing and arriving London later the same day. (B)
This fabulous 5-star hotel has a central location, close to Beihai Park. The elegant and comfortable guest rooms are contemporarily and stylishly furnished with all modern amenities including minibar, safety deposit box, and satellite TV. The hotel also boasts a beautiful indoor swimming pool and a spa.
Located in the downtown area of Xian, the Grand Noble Hotel offers all the facilities and comforts expected of a 5-star city hotel. There are a total of 428 comfortable and well-appointed guest rooms and suites, all featuring excellent facilities including complimentary wifi and butler service.
Scattered throughout the ancient streets of Pingyao are the exquisite Yunjincheng guest houses. All are built around courtyards, with graceful tiled roofs sweeping low over carved and painted doorways of dark wood, and guarded by mythological stone beasts perched on the eaves.
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