Tailor-Made Holidays | Pope&Sons

Ride the Dragon’s Back in China

Duration:12 days
Highlights:• Enjoy the comfort of high speed train travel in China • Morning visit to the iconic Great Wall at the
Mutianyu site • Enjoy a home visit in a historic Beijing hutong neighbourhood • Appreciate the beauty of the best
preserved ancient city in China – Pingyao • Be amazed at the life-size warrior and horse figures in the Terracotta
Warriors Museum • Experience the fertile countryside – one of the rice bowls of China – when you travel from
Xi’an to Chengdu • Create fond memories with a close encounter with the Giant Panda in Chengdu’s Dujiangyan
Panda Base • Consider taking an optional extension to the vibrant city of Shanghai
China by high-speed train – there is no better way to see, experience, and immerse yourself in China’s exciting
transformation. Ride the “dragon’s back” on our 10-day journey through China’s heartland cities: Beijing,
Pingyao, Xi’an, and Chengdu. Scale Beijing’s most iconic site, the Great Wall in the morning, and then return to
the city and step back in time when you explore the maze of alleys and lanes in a historic hutong
neighbourhood. Then board your high-speed train and be whisked away to the ancient city walls of Pingyao,
UNESCO World Heritage Site, an ancient city that transports you to another time and place. Travelling south
and west you visit Xian cradle of Chinese civilization where you will be amazed at the life-sized warriors and
horses that once protected China’s first emperor more than 2,000 years ago. Your journey pushes further south
across one of the great rice bowls of China, the fertile Sichuan Basin ending up in dynamic Chengdu, China’s “it”
city where past, present, and future merge. Enjoy a close encounter of the “panda kind” at Chengdu’s Panda
Base before ending this journey into the heart of the dragon. You can also extend your experience by flying to
vibrant Shanghai for a two-day extension before returning home.
Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive Beijing
Today, you will arrive at the Beijing Capital International Airport off your international flight (with tickets booked
under your own arrangement). Upon arrival, after clearing immigration and custom formalities, you are met by a
representative of Akorn who is waiting for you, holding a green Akorn sign. You are then transferred to
Rosewood Beijing to check-in.
Overnight: Rosewood Beijing
Meal Plan:
Day 2 – Beijing
At 09:00, your local guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel and commence sightseeing.
Today’s journey will begin with a visit to Tiananmen Square (literally known as Gate of Heavenly Peace). Lying
in the center of Beijing, Tiananmen Square is thought of as the very heart of the city. The square, in spite of its
past events, remains one of the most popular venues in Beijing. Here, on any given day, thousands of visitors
gather to walk, fly kites, or enjoy the view of the monuments that surround the square.
Next, proceed to visit the extraordinary Forbidden City (closed on every Monday). Constructed over a 14-year
period, the Forbidden City was China’s imperial epicenter, serving 24 emperors over two dynasties until it was
seized by revolutionaries in 1911. Now the National Palace Museum, it houses the largest collection of Chinese
artworks and artifacts in the world.
Lunch reservation at the Xiao Wang Fu Restaurant (payable locally).
After lunch, trace the history of old Beijing as you ride through its winding alleyways, or hutongs, in a traditional
pedicab. Meaning “water well” in Mongolian, these networks of narrow lanes, linking various neighborhoods,
were once vital to commuting in the capital. Despite their dwindling numbers in the face of modernization, there
remains pockets of surviving hutong neighborhoods, wherein you visit the home of a local family for a rare
glimpse into bygone Beijing.
After sightseeing, return to the hotel.
At 19:00 meet your guide again in the hotel lobby and transfer to Da Dong for Pecking Duck dinner (payable
locally). You will be transferred back to your hotel after dinner at around 21:30.
Overnight: Rosewood Beijing
Meal Plan: B
Day 3 – Beijing
At 08:30, your local guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel and commence sightseeing to the Great
Wall at the Mutianyu, the highlight of your Beijing visit.
The Wall has been built up in myth and legend, but despite the many inaccuracies written, it remains one of the
great man-made wonders of the world. The Great Wall rides some of the highest peaks of the Yan Mountains
affording some stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Originally built to guard strategic passes to the
plains on which Beijing is located, the magnificent vistas and solitary setting here evoke the grandeur and
dazzling achievement of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
Lunch reservation at the Xiao Long Pu Restaurant (payable locally).
After lunch, enjoy a leisurely tour of the majestic Summer Palace situated in Haidian District, some 12
kilometres northwest of downtown Beijing. Commissioned in 1750 by Emperor Qinglong as a birthday gift for his
mother, this vast sanctuary exemplifies the seamless marriage of natural and architectural beauty, offering
respite and residency to various royal families before it was destroyed by foreign troops in 1860.
After sightseeing, return to the hotel.
Overnight: Rosewood Beijing
Meal Plan: B
Day 4 – Beijing / Pingyao
At 08:30, your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer to the Beijing West Train Station for your
high speed train G#605 departing 10:28 to Pingyao. Please take note no Akorn representative to travel with you
on this train journey.
You will arrive at the Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station at 14:28. Upon arrival, you are met by an Akorn
representative, holding a green Akorn sign. You are then transferred to the Jing’s Residence for check-in.
Jing’s Residence is a reconverted courtyard compound that melds the design ambiance of both East and West –
with just 15 rooms and suites and an attentive and friendly staff, the inn is a wonderful reflection of Pingyao’s
charms.
After settling into the hotel, your local guide will lead you on a preliminary walk through part of the old city. The
Old Town of Pingyao was constructed during the reign of King Xuan of the Western Zhou Dynasty (C.1100
771B.C.) and has been the county seat ever since the establishment of the prefecture-and-county system in
ancient China. Enjoy a walk along the city’s bustling commercial market street – Ming Qing Jie – taking in the
myriad of shops, food stalls, and craftsmen workshop that recall another time and place in China. Pingyao is
famous for such crafts as paper cutting and exquisite embroidery.
Return to the hotel at night, and enjoy a dinner at the Jing’s Residence (payable locally).
Overnight: Jing’s Residence
Meal Plan: B
Day 5 – Pingyao
At 09:30, your local guide will collect you from the hotel lobby to commence sightseeing (on foot).
You will first visit the Risheng Chang, China’s first private bank. Pingyao built its early prosperity upon the
success of its businessmen among those is Risheng Chang. Next proceed to visit the ancient City Wall, which
was built during the Ming period (15th century) wall and walk along its ramparts.
Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant (payable locally).
Your afternoon sightseeing begins with a visit to The Yamen’s Office – during the Qing dynasty this was the
office and official residence of the city magistrate/civil representative. Next proceed to The Confucius Temple, a
national protected unit, exhibiting sculptures of Confucius and his disciples at the site, and a fine regular
exhibition of the history of the ancient Imperial Examination system. Learn even more of the Chinese religion by
visiting the Daoist Temple – one of the many temples that dot the city landscape, the temple is beautifully
maintained. Stroll along the Ming Qing Street – this is the main commercial street in Pingyao and features a
number of shops that sell many traditional crafts. One of them is the Pingyao papercut art, and you will learn the
masterpiece of Madam Wen Hao in her workshop.
Return to the hotel at night, and enjoy a dinner at the Jing’s Residence (payable locally).
Overnight: Jing’s Residence
Meal Plan: B
Day 6 – Pingyao / Xian
At 08:45, your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer to the Pingyao Ancient City Railway
Station for your high speed train D#2561 departing 10:08 to Xian. Please take note no Akorn representative to
travel with you on this train journey.
Enjoy a lunch box prepared by Jing’s Residence for you train journey.
You will arrive at the Xian North Train station at 13:01. Upon arrival, you are met by an Akorn representative who
is waiting for you, holding a green Akorn sign.
You will commence a visit to the Han Yangling Excavation, one of the most important archeological
excavations in all of China. Han Yangling, first excavated in 1990, represents the burial area of the fourth
emperor of the Western Han dynasty, Han Jing Di (died 141 BCE), and is one of the most important and exciting
archeological finds of the late 20th century.
Insider Access (option): private visit of Restoration Lab.
After your first sightseeing in Xian, you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in.
At 19:00 meet your guide again in the hotel lobby and transfer to Haishi for dinner (payable locally). You will be
transferred back to your hotel after dinner at around 21:30.
Overnight: Shangri-la Hotel, Xian
Meal Plan: B,L
Day 7 – Xian
At 07:30, your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and commence sightseeing to the Terracotta Warriors
and Horses Excavation.
Pay a visit to the famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses Excavation located in Lingtong County. The
terracotta site, a small part of the Tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, is made up of three distinct dig “pits”, the bronze
chariot hall, and a newly opened theatre in the round which shows a short film on the history of the first emperor
of the Qin Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 B.C.). Theories abound, but it is thought the Terracotta Warriors, made from
mineral rich loess soil, were meant to safeguard the emperor’s passage to the afterlife and additionally protect
his kingdom from attack. Each pit serves a different military purpose including the vanguard and side flanks,
military encampment, and strategic headquarters.
After sightseeing at around 12:00, transfer back to your hotel.
Lunch is served in a local restaurant in the old city quarter (payable locally).
After lunch, take a walk through Xian’s Muslim Quarter en route to the mosque. The Great Mosque, one of the
most interesting sites in a city known for its rich history. While the Buddhist traditions of Chinese culture are well
known to most visitors, the influence exerted by Islam is not. Yet, of the religious beliefs within China today, no
one can claim the strength of belief that Islam does.
After a day’s sightseeing, return to your hotel to relax and enjoy a dinner at the hotel or as recommended by our
local guide (payable locally).
Overnight: Shangri-la Hotel, Xian
Meal Plan: B
Day 8 – Xian / Chengdu
At 07:45, your local guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer to the Xian North Train station for your
high speed train G#89 departing 11:28 to Chengdu. Please take note no Akorn representative to travel with you
on this train journey.
Enjoy a lunch box prepared by Shangri-La Hotel, Xian for your train journey.
You will arrive at the Chengdu East Train station at 14:41. Upon arrival, you are met by an Akorn representative
who is waiting for you, holding a green Akorn sign.
Commence your tour by visiting to the People’s Park. You can see locals relaxing and families spending time
with each other. Observe the local artist painting Chinese characters along with locals playing chess and mah
jong in traditional bamboo chairs.
You are then transferred to The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu for check-in.
At 19:00 meet your guide again in the hotel lobby and transfer for a hotpot dinner (payable locally). You will be
transferred back to your hotel after dinner at around 21:30.
Overnight: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
Meal Plan: B,L
Day 9 – Chengdu
At 07:15, your local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and commence sightseeing to the Dujiangyan
Panda Base.
The Dujiangyan Panda Base is part of an effort to reintroduce pandas into the wild. This Base contains three
parts: the breeding area, semi-wild reintroduction area and reintroduction area.
Insider Access (option): Participate in volunteer work at the center, such as washing bamboo leaves, feeding
pandas and cleaning their houses.
Insider Access (option): During your visit, you have an opportunity to participate in the “Close Encounters of
the Panda Kind”; where you can stroke the panda as well as picture taking under the guidance of the base staff.
(Duration is around 30 seconds).
Lunch is served at a local restaurant (payable locally).
Visit Mount Qingcheng, one of the most sacred Daoist mountains where the earliest disciples developed
China’s true indigenous belief systems. The mountain is scenically beautiful (access up and down by cable car)
forested in a mantle of ancient trees.
After sightseeing, transfer back to your hotel.
Overnight: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
Meal Plan: B
Day 10 – Depart Chengdu or Join Extension to Shanghai
This morning, your local guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel for your departure transfer to the
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. Your guide will escort you to the counter, and assist you with the
check-in process.
Or Join our Shanghai Extension
You will then fly to your next destination with flight booked under your own arrangement, or to join our Shanghai
extension.
At 08:00, your local guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel for your departure transfer to the Chengdu
Shuangliu International Airport for your flight CA4513 departing 10:15 to Shanghai. Your guide will escort you to
the counter, and assist you with the check-in process.
You will arrive at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 13:15. Upon arrival, you are met by an Akorn
representative, holding a green Akorn sign. You will then commence a half-day tour in Shanghai.
Shanghai Tower is a 632 meters (2,074 feet), 127-story mega tall skyscraper and ranking as China’s tallest
building and second only to the world at large. The foot print takes up 30,368 square meters with floor space of
about 576,000 square meters, with 5 basement levels, 127 floors above ground and 5 podium floors. Visitors
can take the express elevator to the sightseeing deck on the 119th floor directly and a whole ride only takes 55
seconds.
Visit the Tai Kang Road, the main art street in Shanghai, for a walk amongst the art companies and workshops.
After sightseeing, you will be transferred to the Peninsula Shanghai for check-in.
Overnight: Shanghai Extension only: Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Puxi
Meal Plan: B
Day 11 – Shanghai
At 08:30, your local guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and commence sightseeing.
The Old Town and Yu Garden – the original “Chinese” city of Shanghai (i.e., the city as it existed prior to the
settlement of the First Opium War in 1842 and the establishment of the International Settlement and the French
Concession) – this district retains its original charms, a warren of alleys and lanes fronted by local shops and
restaurants – the center of the original Old Town is set around the exquisite Yu Garden, a traditional scholar’s
garden built by a wealthy Ming dynasty official to honor his parents (the garden was constructed between the
years, 1559 – 1577).
Tea appreciation – Learn about the importance of this Chinese tradition and see how a ceremony is performed.
A promenade along Shanghai’s west bank has become as essential as the landmarks that line the Huangpu
River. The Bund, an Anglo-Indian term for “muddy embankment,” comprises distinctively European-influenced
architecture and colonial-style banks, hotels and consulates that sprang up during the turn of the 20th century.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant (payable locally).
Glimpse into the Jewish Quarter, a small yet significant sliver of this sprawling city. During World War II,
Shanghai was China’s sole safe harbor to over 32,000 paperless Jewish refugees, known amongst themselves
as “Shanghailanders,” forced to flee the terrors and mass executions of their home countries. While synagogues
are a rare sight in this fully-fledged metropolis, the Ohel Moishe Synagogue, now the Jewish Refugee Museum,
remains a memorial to this momentous time in history.
See Shanghai in a brand new light as you cruise through its streets the old-fashion way: seated in the side-car
of a classic motorbike for a one-hour journey (two persons share one sidecar). Let the vintage charm of old
Shanghai slowly unfold as you’re driven around in this rather eccentric 1930’s-style vehicle by a personal guide
and expert rider. Savor the city’s sights and sounds in open-air, weave through traffic and discover new paths
otherwise inaccessible by regular cars.
After sightseeing, return to your hotel.
At 19:00 meet your guide again in the hotel lobby and transfer to Ye Shanghai for a dinner (payable locally).
You will be transferred back to your hotel after dinner at around 21:30.
Overnight: Shanghai Extension only: Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Puxi
Meal Plan: B
Day 12 – Depart Shanghai
This morning, your local guide will collect you from the lobby of your hotel for your departure transfer to the
Shanghai airport. Your guide will escort you to the counter, and assist you with the check-in process.
You will then fly to your next destination with flight booked under your own arrangement.
Overnight:
Meal Plan: B