A Journey Through Cathay

China in Classic Style

Beijing & Northern China, Shanghai, Hangzhou & Eastern China, Xi'an, Sichuan & Central China

Duration: 12 nights

Price: From £5,050 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, train transportation, private transfers and taxes

China bridges the gap between ancient and modern in flamboyant style, from ancient temples to modern skyscrapers, showcasing centuries of diverse history as well as contemporary flair. See China’s big hitters in one epic holiday, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the many attractions of Beijing and Shanghai as well as the enigmatic terracotta warriors of Xi’an, alongside the pandas of Chengdu and the classic scenery of beautiful Hangzhou, on a trip that will definitely leave you wanting more.  
Perfect forThose looking for an ideal introduction to China’s major cities and landmarks.
In the knowFinish your holiday in China in ultimate style with a few days in buzzing Hong Kong.

Best for

  • First-timers
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • History & Heritage

All Exsus holidays are tailor-made

This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

Beijing, China

3 nightsBeijing


Beijing offers an ideal introduction to China – with its temples, skyscrapers, cultural attractions and fantastic cuisine, it’s like China in miniature. Stroll around the incredible wooden dwellings of the sprawling Forbidden City. Climb the jagged hilltop beyond for fantastic views and to witness Beijing’s contrast of old and new – compare the ancient Forbidden City to the futuristic National Centre for the Performing Arts, shaped like a giant metal egg, a striking modern symbol of the city’s thriving cultural scene. You should also visit the beautiful Summer Palace, an idyllic retreat for the Qing royals - and what trip to Beijing would be complete without a hike on the Great Wall?

Your hotel for three nights is the Opposite House, a stylish and contemporary hotel in the buzzing entertainment district of Chaoyang.
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Xi'an, China

2 nightsXI’AN

Your next stop is Xi’an, a former Silk Road hub and a cultural melting pot - head to the Muslim quarter for delicious dishes flavoured with exotic spices. Much of the ancient city survives, including the city walls, which make for a scenic walk or cycle ride – and further afield, you can hike in the mountains. However, the big draw here, of course, is one of the greatest archaeological treasures of the world, the UNESCO-listed life-size terracotta warriors. They were painstakingly constructed to accompany the tomb of China’s First Emperor, and the thousands of warriors took over 700,000 builders approximately 40 years to complete from around 246 BC to 206 BC. Set in military rows, alongside horses and chariots, they are a striking sight.

Relax at the end of the day at the luxurious Sofitel Legend Grand People's Hotel, which is set in landscaped gardens within the city walls, in walking distance of many attractions, as well as numerous shopping and entertainment options.
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Chengdu, China

2 nightsCHENGDU

It’s on to Chengdu, where you can relax with a local brew in a traditional teahouse (head to the gorgeous open-air teahouse in People’s Park), tuck into spicy Sichuan food such as Sichuan hot pot, wander the winding Qing-dynasty alleys of courtyard houses and make the most of the lively nightlife. You can also take a day trip to visit the giant 8th-century UNESCO-listed Leshan Buddha, a striking stone statue carved into the mountainside, which towers over 70 metres high.

The main draw here, though is the chance to see irresistibly playful pandas, China’s national animal. There are several bases where you can see them - the most famous is just minutes from downtown Chengdu, while other panda reserves, set amongst forests and waterfalls, are further away but well worth the trip. See the pandas in the trees, playing with each other and chewing on bamboo. You can also be a ‘panda keeper’ for the day, and help to prepare food and plant bamboo trees, as well as learn more about these furry creatures.

Your base is the boutique Diaoyutai Hotel sits on the historic Kuazhai Alley, with beautiful rooms set around tranquil courtyards.  
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Hangzhou, China

2 nightsHANGZHOU

With its classic lakeside vistas and misty green hills, Hangzhou has long been popular to visit, from China’s ancient poets and emperors to today’s travellers. As well as the beautiful UNESCO-listed West Lake, with its pagodas, pavilions, bridges and landscaped gardens, around Hangzhou you’ll also find serene temples and quiet walkways to explore. Stop off for some local Longjing tea at one of the pretty teahouses.

The elegant Chaptel Hotel is a stone’s throw away from the shores of the lake, and its rooms feature traditional Chinese furnishings and Art Deco touches, with views over the city and gardens. 
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Shanghai, China

3 nightsSHANGHAI

From Hangzhou, you’ll make your way to Shanghai in style on the super-fast bullet train. Buzzing, cosmopolitan, glamorous Shanghai is a showcase of both historic architecture and contemporary style, where ancient temples sit alongside towering skyscrapers which are perfect for sunset drinks accompanied by panoramic views over the city. The hub of Shanghai is the Bund, and a stroll along the waterfront is a must. See the locals practising tai chi in the early morning, and watch the lights glittering on the Huangpu River at night.  

Shanghai’s restaurant scene is equally diverse, with everything from traditional Chinese favourites to conceptual dining, and from street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants. This dazzling city is also no slouch when it comes to shopping, with every designer store imaginable plus colourful pop-ups, vintage shops and antique stores.

We recommend the PuLi Hotel & Spa, which has a central location as well as a world-class restaurant, a blissful spa and an infinity pool.
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