See elegant Shanghai, the Great Wall, the pandas of Sichuan, ride bicycles through the gorgeous rural karst landscapes of Yangshuo, and tug around the harbors of Hong Kong, all the while eating delicious food. Meals are not just another time of the day on this tour where you will experience such delicacies as Beijing duck, Sichuan hot pot, and Cantonese dim sum. See how China’s incredible diversity and local influences come together to form the four main cuisines: Northern, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Cantonese.
Shanghai: The tour begins in Shanghai, which has its own unique cuisine. Here we will visit the Bund and Yuyuan Gardens among other sites in this metropolis mix of old and new.
Beijing: Then we are off on an overnight train to Beijing where we will walk along a lesser visited section of the Great Wall and visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Northern cuisine has different influences than southern cuisine, one of which is that wheat is grown here, and many dumplings, pastries and pancakes are wheat-based. We will enjoy a traditional Beijing duck dinner.
Xian: Here we will see the terracotta warriors, along with the Great Mosque and the Muslim Quarter. We will have a chance to sample jiaozi dumplings and Chinese Muslim snacks such as kebobs, all for which the city is famous.
Chengdu: Then, off to Chengdu where we will visit the Giant Panda Research Center and sample Sichuanese cuisine, famous for it’s emphasis on chili pepper.
Yangshuo: A land of rice paddies, small villages, and otherworldly karst peaks in the heart of southern China. We will visit a local market where we will choose fresh ingredients to prepare local specialties in a cooking course. There are options to take excursions by bicycle or otherwise into the surrounding countryside.
Guangzhou: We will then take an overnight train to Guangzhou, in the center of the Cantonese food region. Here we will visit a street market selling all manner of exotic food, before we have a dim sum lunch.
Hong Kong: The tour finishes in Hong Kong where you are free to wander and sample more Cantonese cuisine or other cuisine influences in this cosmopolitan crossroads of cultures from around the world.
|Transport||plane, private and public bus and taxi|
|Flights||Xian to Chengdu, Chengdu to Guilin|
|Fully Escorted||By tour leader|
|Activities||A cooking demonstration/lesson, optional hike on the Great Wall, optional cycling in Yangshuo, hours of walking at sites|
|Accomodation||11 nights hotels, 3 nights sleeper train|
|Meals||As mentioned in itinerary: B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner|
|Entrance Fees||Included for sites that are not optional in the itinerary|
|Elevations||From Shangrila to Chengdu elevations in excess of 3000 meters (9840 ft), above 4000 meters (13120 ft) in Litang, Chola Pass near Dege in excess of 5000 meters (16400 ft), time is allowed for acclimatization of all elevations|
|Physical Rating||Basic to moderate activity|
|Temperature||25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F)|
|Not Included||Airfare to and from China|
|Day 1||Shanghai||Arrival day. We will have a Shanghai cuisine dinner followed by an acrobat show to rival all others. (D)|
|Day 2||Shanghai||We will tour the Bund, Yuyuan gardens and other famous sites of Shanghai.|
|Day 3||Shanghai – Beijing||Catch China’s brand new bullet train to Beijing. After checking into the hotel you are free to roam the city. Explore the many sites and markets of Beijing, or take a tricycle ride through Beijing’s lively Hutongs. In the evening we will enjoy a delicious Beijing duck dinner.|
|Day 4||Beijing – Great Wall||We take a day trip out to the Great Wall, and hike on one of the more remote, less frequented sections.|
|Day 5||Beijing – Xi’an||Morning excursion to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City before heading off on the overnight train to Xian.|
|Day 6||Xi’an||See the Terracotta Warriors in the morning. For dinner sample various dumplings (jiaozi), for which Xi’an is famous. (BD)|
|Day 7||Xi’an||Today is free for exploring Xi’an. Ride a bicycle on the city wall, visit Tang Dynasty pagodas or wander through the Great Mosque and markets in the Muslim quarter. Here you will have a chance to try Hui minority (Muslim Chinese) snacks such as kebabs. (B)|
|Day 8||Xi’an – Chengdu||Fly to Chengdu, Sichuan, the home of spicy cuisine. In the evening we will enjoy such Sichuan favorites such as spicy chicken with peanuts, after which you will have the option to go to a Sichuan opera. (BD)|
|Day 9||Chengdu||We choose the morning to visit the Giant Panda Research Centre because the pandas tend to be the most active and playful then. The afternoon is free for exploring Chendu’s famous temples, tea gardens and parks. In the evening we will dump plates of vegetables and meats into the boiling spices of Sichuan hot pot, one of the most famous cuisines of China. (BD)|
|Day 10||Chengdu – Longsheng||We fly to Guilin before heading up to the atmospheric mountainous village of Pingan in the Longsheng region, a place known for its spectacular rice terraces. (B)|
|Day 11||Longsheng – Yangshuo||In the morning explore the rice terraces before we drive to the otherworldly karst mountains of Yangshuo. (B)|
|Day 12||Yangshuo||We go shopping for fresh ingredients in the local market before heading to our cooking class, where we will learn how to make some of the local specialties. (BL)|
|Day 13||Yangshuo – Guangzhou||Today we are free to explore the surrounding countryside by bicycle or learn skills such as Kung Fu, Tai Chi or Chinese watercolor. In the evening we drive to Guilin for the overnight train to Guangzhou. (B)|
|Day 14||Guangzhou – Hong Kong||Wander through a fascinating local market of exotic food such as snakes, scorpions and Chinese medicinal herbs before enjoying a dim sum banquet brunch/lunch. Take a short train ride to Hong Kong (L)|
|Day 15||Hong Kong||Tour ends (B)|
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