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Grand Tour of China for Solo Travellers

  • Grand Tour of China for Solo Travellers
  • Grand Tour of China for Solo Travellers
  • Grand Tour of China for Solo Travellers
  • Grand Tour of China for Solo Travellers

Since the days of Marco Polo, China has fascinated our western minds in the most compelling way. The country’s immense size, almost unimaginable wealth and other-worldly culture have together woven an intoxicating and quite irresistible spell. But the Chinese today are living through an astonishing transformation. As well as being justly proud of their long history and unique cultural legacy, they’re keen to show you their huge achievements as a rapidly growing world superpower.  China has always been a nation of superlatives. The most populous on earth, it’s also the fourth largest. Silk, tea, paper money, porcelain and gunpowder all originated here. Effectively closed to outsiders for most of its 6,000 year recorded history, China has developed its own unique character, language and society. At the heart of Beijing lies the spectacular Imperial Palace. Here, emperors issued decrees to kneeling dignitaries for hundreds of years. Collectively called the ‘Forbidden City’, it contains a staggering 9,999 rooms. Adorned with paintings of dragons and phoenixes, carvings and inscriptions, it’s crowned by typically Chinese turned-up roofs with gold-hued tiles. Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest plaza and final resting place of Chairman Mao, holds a staggering 600,000 people. The immense Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven are stunning in their simplicity and laden with symbolism. And beyond the city lies the stupendous 4,000-mile Great Wall, the largest structure ever built by man and one of the new seven wonders of the world.  Two centuries before the founding of ancient Rome, Xian was already a world-class city and gateway to the Silk Road. Home to over a dozen dynasties, it houses the extraordinary 6,000-strong Terracotta Army. First discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well, the life-size and remarkably preserved warriors all have their own individual features. They’ve guarded the tomb of the first Qin Emperor for more than two millennia. Although on a much smaller scale than Beijing or Xian, Guilin has some of China’s most breath-taking scenery. Beautifully set around four lakes and two rivers, it’s surrounded by the stunning karst limestone scenery of lush forest-covered peaks and pinnacles. You’ll also visit the extraordinary Longshen Rice Terraces, carved into the hills in their thousands over centuries by the hands of Yao tribesmen.  In Chengdu, you’ll see some of the world’s most endangered and enchanting animals – Panda bears. This is the leading Panda research and breeding centre in China. We’ll visit them in the morning while they’re still active, and before they sleep for the rest of the day after eating their fill of bamboo. Our relaxing three-day cruise on the Yangtze is a welcome change of pace as our five-star ship, the 428-foot long river cruiser RV Century Sun, navigates through the spectacular Three Gorges. There are wonderful views from the balcony of every cabin and the service onboard is just as perfect. Shanghai, China’s wealthiest city, is an intoxicating mix of colonial tradition and modern economic dynamism. Occupied by the western powers during the 19th century, the riverside Bund became one of the greatest trading centres of the world. Today this lovingly restored waterfront contrasts with the forest of skyscrapers that cover the skyline – with more seeming to rise up every day.  But China is also home to one of the world’s great cuisines – with the ubiquitous Peking Duck from the north, chillies from the west and fruit and carp from the sub-tropical climate of the south. Real Chinese food is both a revelation and a gourmet paradise. In Britain our standard greeting is ‘How are you?’ In China, it’s ‘Have you eaten today?’ This tour is a remarkable journey of discovery of one of the world’s most ancient cultures, aspects of which are almost beyond our comprehension, blended with a remarkably stunning topography and a staggering pace of modernisation. Riviera Travel » code: 1CH » id: 34944

16 Days from £3,689 per passenger

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Travelling to...


  • China
  • Asia
  • Southeast Asia

Day 1


You will be greeted at the airport before your overnight flight direct to Shanghai.


Day 2


Transfer to our hotel, the four-star superior Central Hotel for one night with breakfast. This evening we enjoy a fascinating stroll along the colonial ‘Bund’, Shanghai’s riverside promenade. Tonight we enjoy a pleasant and informal welcome dinner, where you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your tour manager and other like-minded travellers exploring the world on their own. 


Day 3


This morning you experience a thrilling ride on China’s new 186mph high speed train service to Beijing. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, the four-star Mercure Downtown for three nights with breakfast.


Day 4


Our first stop is at Tiananmen Square and the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the entrance to the Forbidden City, where Chairman Mao announced the birth of the People’s Republic in 1949. Through the central arch you enter a different world: spread over 250 acres, with 9,999 rooms, this was the seat of imperial power for 600 years. After lunch we continue our tour with a visit to the great Summer Palace. This evening we have the option to attend a Kung Fu show, with dinner.


Day 5


Today is one of the highlights of the tour as we head towards the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. Although a popular spot, it’s much less visited by the masses. As we approach, your first sight of the Great Wall is as it snakes along the forested ridges above – a wild landscape, as untamed as when it was built. After lunch we visit the great Temple of Heaven in Beijing: the park surrounding is full of locals playing board games, dancing, exercising, playing music and singing – a glimpse of the real Beijing. This evening we enjoy the classic local dish: a Peking Duck banquet.


Day 6


This morning we fly to Xian. On the way from Xian airport we visit the remarkable Hang Yang Ling tomb and Underground Museum which displays some of the 40,000 funeral objects and statues unearthed around the tomb of the first Han Emperor. We then see the city’s imposing Ming Dynasty walls, 40ft high and stretching for nine miles. Prior to Beijing, Xian was the centre of Chinese imperial power for over 2,000 years, as well as the start of the famed Silk Route to the West. We stay two nights with breakfast at the four-star Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel.


Day 7


Another highlight is today’s visit to the stunning Terracotta Army. The first Qin Emperor united China’s warring factions and began the construction of the Great Wall. Guarding the tomb itself is his Terracotta Army. Drawn up in traditional battle order, the vanguard consists of rows of archers and crossbowmen, followed by columns of infantry and chariots. Each figure is unique, life-size and lifelike – a unique experience! Lunch is included today.


Day 8


Today we fly to Guilin. We see another of China’s great wonders: the Longshen Rice Terraces. Over hundreds of years the ethnic Yao tribes have cut thousands of rice terraces into the steep hills and over every fold of the landscape. Our hotel for two nights in Guilin is the four-star Bravo Hotel with breakfast. Dinner is included tonight.


Day 9


We board our excursion boat for a cruise down the Li River. This has to be one of the most beautiful river journeys in the world: rising from flat rice paddies around the river are thousands of conical-shaped limestone peaks and pinnacles covered in verdant tropical forests. After lunch on board, you’ll have some free time in the picturesque riverside town of Yangshuo before returning to Guilin.


Day 10


We fly to Chengdu for one night at the four-star superior Tianfu Sunshine Hotel with breakfast. This afternoon we walk through Jin Li Street, a recreation of a traditional shopping street, with plenty of local handicrafts and places to sit down and relax with some local green tea or coffee.


Day 11


Spread over 200 acres the Chengdu Panda Breeding & Research Centre has been beautifully landscaped with bamboo-shaded pathways leading to the large panda enclosures. One of the most popular stops is at the baby panda enclosure where there will usually be 3-4 youngsters climbing over specially constructed bamboo frames. We experience one of China’s high-speed express trains for the 2hr journey to Chongqing where we board our river cruise ship and home for the next three nights, the five-star RV Century Sun.


Day 12


After breakfast there is the option to visit Fengdu, the ‘Ghost’ City, or participate in some of the various activities on board. In the afternoon we visit the remarkable Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising twelve stories up a sheer cliff face, this delicate structure is the architectural jewel of the Yangtze.


Day 13


Today we enter Qutang, the first Yangtze gorge, continuing through the Wu Gorge just before lunch. This afternoon we transfer to a smaller riverboat for a leisurely cruise on one of the Yangtze’s Lesser Three Gorges, the narrow Shennv or ‘Goddess’ Stream. Tonight it’s the Captain’s Farewell Banquet followed by dancing in the lounge.


Day 14


We continue our cruise downstream through the Xiling Gorge towards the Three Gorges Dam, visiting the viewing platform from where the colossal size of the project can be appreciated. We disembark at Yichang, have lunch and fly to Shanghai in the afternoon. Our hotel for two nights is the four-star superior Central, right on Jiujiang Road, a 10-minute stroll to the Bund and People’s Square.


Day 15


This morning we have a short tour of the principal sights, including the Jade Buddha temple and the Yuyuan Gardens. We’ll pass the British Consulate, the oldest building on the Bund, plus the former headquarters of the famous trading house of Jardine Matheson. This evening you have the option to see the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic show.


Day 16


This morning we catch the world’s fastest train, the Maglev, on our way to Shanghai’s Pudong airport for our direct flight home, arriving later the same day.


The price of this holiday is per person, based on one person in a twin/double room for sole occupancy. Price includes flights to and from Shanghai; 14 nights’ accommodation in four-star hotels including 3 nights on board a five-star Yangtze cruise ship; daily breakfast, 9 lunches and 6 dinners; all tours and entrance fees as described; all transfers; all touring as mentioned; all local accommodation taxes and airport/flight taxes; four domestic flights and two rail journeys; hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.


A comprehensive tour of China visiting its greatest cultural legacies, iconic monuments, astounding palaces and astonishing scenery Visit the astonishing Great Wall of China, the only man-made monument visible from space See the world-famous Terracotta Army and the less-visited underground museum Enjoy a tour of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding Marvel at the Temple of Heaven and the imperial gardens at the Summer Palace in Beijing See the Longshen Rice Terraces, a man-made wonder Enjoy a five-star Yangtze River Cruise through the breathtaking Three Gorges, with full board Travel through the world’s largest ship locks of the Three Gorges Dam Tour Shanghai and take in the Jade Buddha temple, Yuyuan Gardens and the old British Consulate Take a guided tour of Tiananmen Square and the amazing Forbidden City, the world’s largest concentration of preserved ancient wooden buildings Travel from Shanghai to Beijing on one of China's high-speed trains Cruise the world-famous Li River and visit the picturesque riverside town of Yangshuo Return direct scheduled flights from the UK Hand-picked accommodation rated four and five-stars, with daily breakfast and 14 meals including a Peking Duck banquet and a welcome dinner on the first night to get to know your travelling companions Services of our expert Tour Manager

4* Bravo Hotel - Guilin


The four-star Bravo Hotel is centrally located close to Guilin’s main shopping and pedestrian areas and overlooks the attractive Ronghu Lake. The city’s night market is about a 10 minute walk away and there are also some pleasant paths along the tree-shaded lakeshore which is beautifully lit at night. The hotel’s Patio Café offers all-day dining with Chinese and western cuisine and there are also two speciality Chinese restaurants. Facilities include a lobby bar (with free wifi), small open-air pool and fitness centre. The 329 rooms (some with lake view, which cannot be guaranteed) all have bath, shower, hairdryer, air-conditioning, safe, minibar and satellite TV.


4* Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel - Xian


The Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel is located within a 10-minute walk from the Xi’an City Wall and Peace Gate and a 15-minute walk to the city centre. The hotel offers four dining venues and a lobby lounge serving Chinese, Asian and international cuisines. There is also an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness centre. The 345 comfortably furnished rooms feature air-conditioning, a bathroom with shower, hairdryer, minibar, TV and safe, plus free Wi-Fi.


4* Tianfu Sunshine Hotel – Chengdu


The four-star Tianfu Sunshine Hotel is centrally located in Chengdu. There’s a swimming pool, gym, spa and a light and airy lobby bar. Restaurants include the Café Oriental featuring Asian and international buffets, plus separate Chinese and Korean speciality restaurants. The 222 comfortable air-conditioned rooms have a bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar, TV, tea/coffee-maker and free wifi.


4* superior Central Hotel - Shanghai


The four-star superior Central Hotel is most aptly named as it is located on Jiujiang Road, close to Nanjing Road, which is the Oxford street of Shanghai and the pedestrianised thoroughfare that links People’s Square with the Bund, the colonial centre of the city. Rising 27 stories above the bustling streets below, the hotel has an elegant lobby bar and an excellent all day dining café with a wide selection of western and Asian cuisine, as well as highly-regarded Chinese restaurant specialising in local Shanghai cuisine. The 313 air-conditioned rooms are very comfortable and have bath/shower, hairdryer, safe, TV, minibar, tea/coffee-maker and offer spectacular views of the Shanghai skyline.


4* Mercure Downtown - Beijing


The four-star Mercure Downtown is located to the east of Tiananmen Square, close to Beijing’s central business district. The hotel has two restaurants: an all day dining buffet and a la carte restaurant with western and Asian cuisine with an open kitchen, as well as a Cantonese restaurant. There is also a friendly bar in the main lobby area. Leisure facilities include a large indoor heated pool, fitness centre, steam bath and jacuzzi. The 373 comfortable air-conditioned rooms all have shower, hairdryer, minibar, safe, flat-screen TV, tea/coffee-maker and free wifi.