Border Information: if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).Welcome to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting.The rest of the day will be free to explore the city of Xi'an, its famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.Please note that many of the optional activities listed will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an.
This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour. We'll return to Xi'an in the afternoon and have some more free time to further explore this incredible city!
Today we begin our journey south of Xi'an with a drive to the beautiful Wudang Shan Mountain Reserve, the birthplace of the martial art of Taichi and the location of the filming of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'.We will have time this afternoon and the following morning to fully explore the mountain's sights, temples and martial arts schools.
This morning we will spend more time exploring Wudang Shan and the surrounding area, before setting off in the afternoon for a short drive to the pleasant city of Xiang Fan. We will also try to stop at the Purple Cloud Monastery en route.
Today we will drive from Xiang Fan to Yichang, where we will catch our first glimpse of the mighty Yangtze river. Yichang is a pleasant town, and we will stop here for 1 or 2 nights, depending on the ferry schedule - either way we will have time to explore a little.
Today we will have some free time to explore Yichang and the surrounding area, prepare for our 3 day Yangtze River cruise.We will most likely have an included visit to the incredible Three Gorges Dam today, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, although it is possible this visit may take place tomorrow depending on the ferry schedule.We will most likely stay in our hotel in Yichang tonight, but our ferry may need to depart tonight, in which case we will have a spare day later in the trip that we can use at our discretion.
Today we embark on our Yangtze River cruise. We travel on a local ferry boat used by local people, a much more authentic and interesting way of travelling than on a tourist cruise. We stay in shared cabins (4 members of the group to each cabin) with private bathrooms and air conditioning where possible.The journey itself usually takes 3 days/3 nights and heads through some areas of stunning scenery, especially near the Three Gorges - the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges. The boats usually stop at the Fengdu (Ghost City), Shibaozai Tower, home to the Lanruo Dian (Orchid Temple) and at the three Lesser Gorges at various points on the trip. However due to local conditions, stops cannot always be guaranteed.
Second day of our Yangtze River Cruise.
Third day of our Yangtze River Cruise.
Today we will disembark our ferry when it docks in Chongqing in the early morning, and rejoin the truck and our co-driver!From Chongqing we have a short drive to Dazu, where we visit the Bei Shan and Baoding Shan caves, famous for their brightly-coloured freizes and carvings.
Today we have another short drive on to the incredible city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where we will stay for 2 nights. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to explore the city's parks, streets, and museums, and visit the fascinating and incredibly photogenic Jinli Old Town.
Today we will have an included visit to the fantastic Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre. We'll then return to Chengdu for another free afternoon to further explore the city.
Today we continue our journey south to the town of Leshan to visit to the Leshan Grand Buddha - at 71m tall, this statue is the largest Buddha rock carving in the world! After our visit we will continue to the small town of Emei Shan.
Today we will have a full day to explore Emei Shan Mountain, one of the holiest sites in Chinese Buddhism and the site of hundreds of temples and an incredible golden statue of the deity known as Samantabhadra. It is possible to walk all the way up the stairs from the base of the mountain, joining the many pilgrims in their journey to the temple complex at the mountain summit, or take the cable car up instead!
Today we have a long drive south through stunning mountain scenery towards China's Yunnan province. In the evening you can take a stroll on the riverfront and get an insight into local Chinese life.
Today we drive further into Yunnan province to the beautiful 'Old-China'-style town of Lijiang, the base for visiting the world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge.
These following 2 days we will have free time to explore the town of Lijiang and its surroundings. One very popular excursion here is to go on a 2 day/1 night trek along the high trail above the Tiger Leaping Gorge - this is by far the best way to see the gorge from some truly incredible vantage points, and we will have the opportunity to take this trek during our time here (staying in a local guesthouse on the trail on the first night and returning to Lijiang for the second night).
For those that don't want to do the full trek, your crew will also be able to arrange a trip to the low sections of the gorge, where there is a flat walkway to various viewpoints.
Today we will drive through more stunning scenery to the beautiful Naxi town of Dali, where we will stay for 2 nights.
Today we will have a free day to fully explore the area and for optional activities such as some short treks in the nearby Cangshan mountains or hiring bicycles to ride around the Dali lake.
There will be a group meeting at 18:00PM. The evening free to explore the city. Overnight in comfortable hotel.
This morning we will drive to the incredible Shilin Stone Forest. We will have a free afternoon exploring the stunning and bizarre rock formations of the Stone Forest.
Heading south from Shilinzhen we have a full days drive towards the southern region of Xishuangbanna.
Today we drive to Jinghong. Overnight in a local guesthouse.
Border Information: Exit China at Mohan, enter Laos at Boten.Short morning drive to the border with Laos, cross border and drive on to Luang Namtha, a small laid-back town on the edge of the Nam Ha Protected Area.
We have two full days in Luang Namtha for optional activities. There are many Hiking and trekking options available in the national park, or you could use this time to simply kick back and relax back at our guesthouse.
Today is a free day for activities in and around Luang Namtha.
This morning we drive through the stunning countryside of northern Laos and make our way to Luang Prabang where we stay in a friendly local hotel. This afternoon there will be free time for any optional activities.
Border Information: If finishing in Luang Prabang, exit Laos at Luang Prabang Airport.Free time in Luang Prabang.