With a long and highly cultured civilisation, China has produced some of the greatest art, original thinking, literature and architecture anywhere on earth. Ancient Chinese ceramics, sculpture and carving are simply unrivalled and an exemplary definition of skill by which these crafts are judged.

However, these pinnacles of human achievement have been interspersed with damaging earthquakes and periods of dramatic and violent political upheaval, particularly during the Cultural Revolution of the last century, when much of China’s ancient past was sacrificed in the name of instilling the new Maoist ideology, and even today, as China rapidly metamorphoses into a leading player in the modern era of globalisation, much of the country’s heritage continues to be eroded in the expansionism. 

Nevertheless, a great deal of China’s rich history has survived and includes some of the world’s most iconic structures such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City of Beijing. The ancient Cities of Nanjing and Xian still bear the massive Ming Dynasty city walls that used to defend the great cities all over China, while archaeological sites such as the Terracotta Army are a staggering testament to Chinese aspiration. 

For those in search of the ancient culture of China from the perspective of daily life, the charms of the towns of Suzhou, Lijiang and Pingyao, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, are unmissable. 

The most accessible of these is Suzhou, close to Shanghai, a beautiful town of canals and lovely historic gardens, though the experience is somewhat marred by the busy modern city surrounding the old town.

Lijiang is spectacularly set under Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, in northern Yunnan Province, and is a well preserved town of the Naxi ethnic culture and a picturesque world of delightful old cobbled streets, wooden houses and canals, largely untouched by the modern world. 

Pingyao, in Shanxi Province is the best preserved of all, featuring its complete city wall, delightful ancient streets and well preserved Han Chinese culture. 

The modern era is best reflected in Shanghai, with the towering cityscape of Pudong a glittering testament to China’s economic miracle and ambitious future. A lovely contrast of era is situated across the river in the historic European colonial features of the Bund and French Concession. 

AWESOME LANDSCAPES 

Perhaps the most famous of China’s profound landscapes are the hills around Guilin and the Li River, an area of stunning natural beauty, easily among the top natural wonders on earth. 

However, the most iconic of Chinese landscapes can be found on Haungshan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, instantly recognisable from the famous Chinese school of landscape painting, with its swirling mists and seemingly impossibly shaped rocks and peaks, and among the most beautifully scenic views to be witnessed anywhere. 

If otherworldly landscapes inspire, the UNESCO World Heritage site at Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie National Park offers breathtaking vistas of its forest of towering rock pinnacles, immediately familiar as the template for the 3D animated landscape developed for the film Avatar. As fantasy turns into reality, you'll scarcely believe your eyes. 


In Tibet, the world’s highest mountain sits in grandeur over the Tibetan plateau, a wild inhospitable land of ancient Buddhist citadels such as Lhasa and Shigatse. A trip to Everest Base Camp, for those able to deal with the challenging altitude, provides a sight quite simply without rival, and with a road leading up close to the mountain is infinitely more accessible than that of the Nepali camp.

Another of Tibet’s great mountain views is that of the 6,714 metre (22,027 feet) Mount Kailash, a sacred mountain and important pilgrimage site.

Before venturing to Tibet, however, it should be noted that the region is periodically closed to foreign visitors during politically sensitive anniversaries and occasional sporadic unrest. If you enquire through us, your tour designer will naturally appraise you of any potential issues with your intended travel dates.

In Yunnan Province, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge are the attractions of a beautiful wild area, while the wild desert lands of of north-eastern China, reverberating with the ghosts of the ancient Silk Road, are a spectacle almost beyond time itself. 

Jiuzhaigou National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage area, situated in the north of Sichuan Province, is a breathtakingly beautiful forested wilderland of snowy mountains, waterfalls and lakes, and famed for the ultra-bright blue of its waters and brilliant autumn colours.

Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage, Family
Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Guilin
Duration: 15
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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From Beijing’s Forbidden City to Guilin’s limestone karst mountains, the whole family will enjoy exploring the wonders of China on this tour. Visit historical treasures like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, join activities like dumpling-making and river kayaking, cycle Xian’s ancient city walls and look down on Shanghai from a 474 meter high glass-floored viewing platform. With the Sichuan Opera, the Shanghai circus, and everyone’s favourite, the pandas, by the end of this trip, everyone will be a fan.

Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic
Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, The Three Gorges
Duration: 14
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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A broad view of this vast, fascinating country packed with contrasts, this tour brings you the shining towers and trendy neighbourhoods of Shanghai, the legions of terracotta warriors, and the stately Forbidden City. View China’s natural delights in Guilin’s rugged peaks and on a Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges, as well as the engineering wonders of the recently completed Three Gorges Dam and China’s ancient Great Wall, projects perhaps equally monumental in their day. This full two weeks of experiencing China is sure to be unforgettable.


Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic
Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, The Three Gorges, Hangzhou
Duration: 21
Guideline price: US$ 5136     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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Designed for the traveller who wants to take the time to explore China’s wonders more fully, this 21 day tour takes in a wonderful array of experiences, including the most famous landmarks such as Zhouzhang, the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Ming Tombs, Leshan Buddha, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, combined with cruises of the natural wonders of Guilin and Three Gorges and visiting some of the country’s spectacular gardens.


Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic
Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian
Duration: 8
Guideline price: US$ 1690     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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This short 8 day tour of China is designed to maximise the experience of a limited timeframe, with visits to its outstanding historic sites such as the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, Beijing’s Olympic venues and the exciting contrasts of modern and traditional Shanghai.


Country: China
Type of holiday: Heritage
Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xian, Nanjing
Duration: 13
Guideline price: US$ 2693     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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Tour the splendour of imperial history amidst today’s rapidly changing China. See the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, and experience the inimitable peace of classical Chinese gardens and the Forbidden City. Circle Xian’s ancient city wall, stroll Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, ride a rickshaw through a hutong, and spend time with a local family. Finally, take in the excitement of Shanghai, from the Bund to the dizzying height of the Shanghai World Financial Centre. China is a study in contrasts and never fails to be a compelling travel destination.


Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic, Family
Destinations: Beijing, The Great Wall, Guilin
Duration: 10
Guideline price: US$ 3375     (per person for Superior accommodation)
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China for the whole family, this tour makes history come alive, with engaging activities at Beijing’s historic highlights like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and a visit to a waterpark to cool things off. Head to Yangshuo, where you will find river boat rides and quiet country lanes among rugged karst mountains. Finally, take a whirlwind tour of buzzing Hong Kong and check out Ocean Park Hong Kong theme park before heading home.

Country: China
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage
Destinations: Beijing, Xian
Duration: 7
Guideline price: US$ 1633     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight:
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Experience the splendour of imperial China exploring Beijing’s ponderously graceful Forbidden City, walk Tiananmen Square, and circle what was once the heart of Chinese power atop Xian’s ancient city wall. Gain a more intimate view of Chinese life in Xian’s bustling Muslim quarter and aboard a rickshaw in a Beijing hutong neighbourhood. Take in China’s Great Wall at Mutianyu, climb Xian’s Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and wander the ranks of the Terracotta Warriors. This is your chance to see the wonders of ancient China, standing today as witnesses to history.

Country: China
Type of holiday: Adventure, Trekking
Destinations: Lijiang
Duration: 8
Guideline price: US$ 1544     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight:
Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

Start off this adventure wandering the streets of Lijiang Ancient Town, then taste the wild around Spruce Meadow on Jade Snow Mountain, and enjoy the Baishi mural paintings and a performance of ancient Naxi music. Step up the adventure with a two day trek at Tiger Leaping Gorge, and top off your experience of Shangri La with the pristine beauty of Pudacuo National Park and jaw-dropping views from a cable car over Blue Moon Valley.

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