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Strategically located between the ancient imperial capital of Beijing and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, Xian, the province of Shanxi has always been at the heart of China’s trade, and consequently, at the heart of her culture and religion too. Here we combine Shanxi with the fascinating areas of Tai’an and Qufu in Shandong province.
Air China Business Class upgrades from £825 one way, £1565 return.
Beijing, Pingyao, Luoyang, Shaolin Temple, Kaifeng, Qufu, Tai'an
Depart London Heathrow at around 2025 on Air China’s non-stop flight to Beijing.
Arrive Beijing and transfer to the 4-star Shangri-La Traders Hotel. After a chance for a rest, visit the area of Shishahai near Houhai Lake, where there are lots of little bars and restaurants. Continue to the pedestrian hutong area of Nanluoguxiang and take dinner at a traditional courtyard restaurant. (D)
Take the train to the ancient city of Pingyao and stay at the stunning Yunjincheng Folk Guest House for 2 nights. Enjoy a walk in the old town. (BLD)
Pingyao offers visitors a fascinating glimpse of old China. Here is China’s first bank, the Rishengchang, built in 1823. See too the City Wall complete with battlements, a moat and drawbridge, watchtowers and gates. (BL)
Drive to Taiyuan stopping to visit the Wang Courtyard. Continue to the Jinci Temple, a masterpiece of ancient architecture with halls, pavilions, bridges and ancient trees in its grounds, including a cypress that has reportedly grown at an angle of 30 degrees for 900 years. Take an overnight train to Luoyang (soft sleeper in 4-bed cabin). Overnight aboard the train. (BL Packed supper)
Arrive in Luoyang and admire the Longmen Grottoes, 1,300 man-made caves along a cliff, crammed with thousands of Buddha statues. Overnight at New Friendship Hotel. (BL)
Heading east pause at the Shaolin Temple, known as the birthplace of Kung Fu, which was originally conceived as a healthy form of meditation for the monks. Drive to the city of Kaifeng and stay at the New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng. (BLD)
Visit the beautifully preserved Iron Pagoda, the dragon pavilion and the Millenium City Park. Afternoon bullet train to Qufu, the birthplace of China’s greatest philosopher, Confucius. Stay 2 nights at the 4-star Queli Binche Hotel. (BLD)
Visit the Confucius Temple and Mansion. Witness the morning Confucius memorial show. (BLD)
Continue your visit to Qufu and the Confucius Forest before departing to Mount Tai’an, a source of spiritual inspiration and religious belief for thousands of years. Stay 2 nights at the Ramada Plaza Tai'an Hotel. Afternoon visit to Dai Temple, one of the largest and best-preserved architectural complexes in China. (BLD)
Take the cable car up to Moon Viewing Point and explore the views and temples. (BLD)
Take a bullet train to Beijing and spend a final night at the Traders Hotel. (BL)
Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight to London arriving later the same day. (B)
These are the hotels on this tour.
A member of the renowned Shangri-La group, the 4-star Traders is a smart, contemporary hotel with 570 rooms measuring 28 sq m with complimentary broadband internet, safe, minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer and iron and ironing board.
The New Friendship Hotel is a modern and comfortable hotel with 136 guest rooms with modern conveniences such as tea/coffee facilities, in-room safe and flat-screen cable TV. The Youyi Restaurant serves a range of Chinese dishes.
A centrally-located and traditionally-styled hotel with 160 comfortable guest rooms and modern amenities. There are several restaurants offering a selection of Chinese dishes, with an emphasis on Shandong cuisine. There is also a beauty salon, gym, sauna, and massage.
Scattered throughout the ancient streets of Pingyao are the exquisite Yunjincheng guest houses. All are built around courtyards, with graceful tiled roofs sweeping low over carved and painted doorways of dark wood, and guarded by mythological stone beasts perched on the eaves.
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