China is a vast and diverse country that offers an intriguing culture that is completely different to our own. However, this is not a reason to stay away but rather one of the biggest reasons to visit. The cities are some of the fastest developing destinations in the world, showcasing futuristic technology, delicious cuisine and efficient transport. In contrast, the more rural areas feature spectacular vistas, remote villages and ancient pagodas built into the landscape.
The best way to see both sides of this great country is by combining a river cruise and a land tour, something which is offered by our Best of China itinerary with APT. With stays in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai positioned either side of a Yangtze River cruise, you will get to see many of the reasons why China is considered such an alluring country to visit.
The land highlights of this particular tour include some of China’s most popular attractions. In Beijing, you will enjoy a city tour that takes you to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City – a former imperial palace that is now a museum. You will also get to taste some authentic Peking duck (christened in honour of the city’s former name) at a delicious banquet. Of course, no trip to China is complete without spending some time at the Great Wall. You will head to the Mutianyu section, where a cable car provides amazing views of the wall and the scenery all around.
After your cruise, you will arrive in the city of Xi’an to see the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, as well as visiting a factory where these clay sculptures are still made today. Having stopped off in Chongqing to see the adorable pandas, your last destination will be Shanghai. Here, you will learn about the city’s humble beginnings at a silk factory and have the chance to take in views over the Bund from the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Sandwiched between stays in Beijing and Shanghai is a four-night Yangtze River cruise. You will climb aboard a luxurious ship and head off to sail through one of the most scenic parts of China – the Three Gorges. Made up of the Xiling, Qutang and Wu Gorges, this stretch of river glides through beautiful landscapes, featuring natural landmarks with mythical names that describe the dangers boats would have faced in the past.
It’s not all natural wonder along the Yangtze, though, as you will also get to see a manmade marvel and astonishing feat of engineering in the form of the Three Gorges Dam. As the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, it cost almost £37 billion to build and produces a whopping 93 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year.
Other highlights include a stop in Fengdu Ghost City, a collection of temples and shrines dedicated to the afterlife, which became cut-off from the main city of Fengdu due to high water levels. You will also sail past the stunning Shibaozhai Pagoda, which is built into the side of a hill without the use of nails. It is said that the higher you climb up its levels, the more likely your dreams are to come true.
If you would like to experience China in this way, and see both the built-up cities and the rural waterside communities, call us on 0800 028 4272.
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