Day 1 London - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow for a direct, scheduled overnight British Airways flight to Beijing.
Day 2 Beijing
On arrival we transfer to the Landmark Hotel (4T), our base in the Chinese capital for three nights. This afternoon we visit the serene Summer Palace, a splendid collection of pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges that provided a seasonal retreat for China’s emperors for hundreds of years.
Day 3 Beijing
This morning we explore the extraordinary complex of imperial palaces known as the Forbidden City, along with Tian’anmen, the largest city square in the world and one that has played host to monumental events in Chinese history. Optional excursions introduce the maze-like traditional hutong neighbourhoods of Beijing or the beauty and power of Chinese martial art on an evening excursion.
Day 4 Great Wall of China
The Great Wall is a sight to behold. Epic in scale, it took 2,000 years to build; it stretches 8,100km and, at its height, it was guarded by a million men. The Badaling Great Wall dates to the Ming Dynasty, and we walk along its ramparts. We also travel along the ‘Spirit Way’, making a stop at the impressive Changling Tomb, and visit the Olympic Games Village to admire the now iconic Bird’s Nest and Water Cube stadia. Tonight, we savour a traditional Peking duck dinner.
Day 5 Beijing - Xi’an
After a morning flight to Xi’an, we visit the ancient Buddhist temple known as Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Later in the day, we walk North Square to admire the largest music fountain in Asia, beautiful sculptures and landscaped grounds. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Golden Flower Hotel Xi’an by Shangri-La (4T+).
Day 6 Xi’an
Xi’an’s Terracotta Army is one of the most important archaeological sites of the last century, and a genuine icon of world travel. Here, more than 6,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, arranged in battle formation, guard the mausoleum of the 3rd century BC Emperor Qin Shi Huang. In the afternoon, a visit to the small but delightful Tangbo Art Museum introduces the folk culture of the region, from calligraphy to shadow plays. The famous Tang Dynasty Show is an optional excursion this evening.
Day 7 Xi’an - Guilin
China’s great highlights are scattered across a vast nation, so it is back to the airport this morning for a flight to Guilin. Take some time to relax at the Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (4T), or join us for an optional Guilin night boat cruise.
Day 8 Guilin
The extraordinary natural beauty of the Guilin region is best appreciated on a 4-hour Li river cruise, your vessel gliding serenely beyond spectacular karst rock formations and lush greenery. Lunch and free time is included in the town of Yangshuo, then we return to Guilin.
Day 9 Guilin - Chengdu
Following a tea plantation visit, we fly to Chengdu and, on arrival, transfer to the Grand Dorsett Hotel (4T). The beguiling Changing Face Show is an optional excursion this evening.
Day 10 Chengdu
A visit to the Panda Breeding Institute of Chengdu focuses on China’s most captivating and emblematic wildlife residents, then we explore endlessly photogenic Huanglongxi - a splendidly well preserved ancient town - and sample authentic Chinese afternoon tea with pastries in a traditional tea house.
Day 11 - Chengdu - Chongqing
The ‘bullet train’ whisks us from Chengdu to Chongqing, where there is time for a brief orientation tour before we board the superb MV Century Sky (4T) for a 3-night Yangtze cruise.
Day 12 - Yangtze (Shibaozhai)
Our cruise along scenic waters brings us to Shibaozhai (literally meaning ‘precious stone fortress’), a steep-sided crag overlooking the Yangtze with an attractive nine-storey red pavilion providing a walkway to the hilltop temple.
Day 13 - Yangtze (Three Gorges - Goddess Stream)
The Three Gorges comprise the most spectacular and captivating stretch of the mighty Yangtze River. This morning, we sail through the first of these - Qutang Gorge, where we join a smaller craft for a ride along the Goddess Stream. Returning to the ship at lunchtime, we continue our journey through the awe-inspiring Witches Gorge and Xiling Gorge, arriving at the locks of the Three Gorges Dam early evening.
Day 14 Yangtze - Yichang/Wuhan - Shanghai - Suzhou
A morning excursion to the Three Gorges Dam informs your opinion on this controversial enterprise, the largest water conservatory project ever undertaken. We disembark and fly to Shanghai this afternoon, the transfer onwards to Suzhou, where the Aster Hotel (4T) is our base for two nights.
Day 15 Suzhou
A bewitching city of canals and gardens which have collectively earned UNESCO World Heritage status, Suzhou should not be missed. Our tour includes a visit to the stunning Master of the Nets Garden, perhaps the finest of its kind in China, a cruise along the Grand Canal and stops at a silk factory and silk embroidery institute.
Day 16 Suzhou - Shanghai
Today’s destination, Shanghai, is one of the world’s most exciting cities, with a fascinating past and one eye on the future. Our tour introduces this stunning oriental metropolis, with a visit to the historic Bund area and free time in the vibrant shopper’s paradise of Nanjing Road. Marvel at an optional acrobatic show this evening. Our hotel in Shanghai is the Equatorial (4T).
Day 17 Shanghai
A further day in this spectacular city invites exploration of the exceptional Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, and idyllic Yu Garden, which appropriately translates as the ‘garden of happiness’. Then there is time to relax before a buffet farewell dinner at our hotel this evening.
Day 18 Shanghai - London
This morning we transfer to the airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.