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Escorted Tours

Splendours of China by Rail


Route:
  • UK
  • Beijing
  • Xi'an
  • Chengdu
  • Guiyang
  • Kaili
  • Guilin
  • Shanghai
  • UK
Tour Pace:

15 DAYS from £1749pp

Tour Highlights
  • City Tour of Beijing
  • Marvel at the Great Wall of China
  • The incredible Terracotta Warriors
  • See the City Wall of Xi'an
  • Two bullet train rides
  • Scenic boat ride down the Lijiang River
  • Fantastic views of Longsheng's terraced Rice Fields

or call us on 0800 781 4893

Splendours of China by Rail

Embark on a leisurely exploration of China's intriguing interior, delving into the country's rich cultural legacy as you explore ethnic settlements, bustling city markets and age-old temples by rail. Combining the iconic sights of Beijing and Xi'an with panda encounters in Chengdu, the ancient preserved towns of Zhenyuan and Qingyan and visits to three remote villages, this tour showcases the best of rural and urban China.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Beijing

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Beijing, via Shanghai.

2
Beijing

On arrival in Beijing, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of China's sprawling capital.

3
Beijing

After a morning at leisure, discover Beijing's rich, imperial history on an afternoon city tour. Explore Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square, under the watchful eye of Chairman Mao's large, central portrait. From here, enter the vast Forbidden Palace and wander its 9,999 rooms and chambers, brimming with age-old relics. After dinner later this evening, an optional excursion to the Legend of Kung Fu show allows you to marvel at the athleticism and precision of China's martial artists.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Beijing

After breakfast, today's tour starts with a visit to the Summer Palace. Walk around the royal grounds and peaceful lake then travel to one of China's most iconic and impressive landmarks, the Great Wall of China. Access the wall from Juyongguan, the site of some of the Ming Dynasty's biggest battles, and stroll through 5th-century watchtowers and winding stone paths. Continue on to Silk Street Market, a maze of over 1,700 stalls selling everything from designer dupes to fine silk shirts. Later tonight, feast on Beijing's greatest culinary contribution at a traditional Peking duck dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Beijing to Xi'an

Your morning tour visits the ancient sacrificial buildings of the Temple of Heaven. Built to allow prayers to reach heaven, the heavily adorned pillars and ceiling are a spectacular ode to Ming Dynasty architecture. In the afternoon, browse the longstanding, traditional calligraphy and bookshops of Liulichang Antique Culture Street and the historic stores of Qianmen Dashilan, where some of China's most notable silk stores are located. After dinner, transfer to the railway station for your overnight sleeper train to Xi'an.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Xi'an

On arrival in Xi'an and following breakfast, uncover the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Terracotta Warriors, an 8,000-strong army created so that no two warriors look alike. Explore these cavernous underground vaults then visit the UNESCO-listed Wild Goose Pagoda. Continue to the Muslim Quarter, a network of market stalls and shops, and the city's Great Mosque nestled in its centre. Enjoy an evening of culture at tonight's entertaining Tang Dynasty dance performance.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Xi'an to Chengdu

Travel to Xi'an's City Wall, a long stretch of fortifications which is the oldest in China and provides dramatic views of the city. Take in the defensive stronghold as you walk along its length then journey to the Tangbo Art Museum. Browse through an array of Shaanxi folk artwork and age-old masterpieces before trying your hand at the ancient art of calligraphy. In the late afternoon, transfer to the train station for your high-speed bullet train to Chengdu. Soak in China's picturesque rural landscapes before arriving in Chengdu for your overnight stay.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Chendgu to Guiyang

Meet Chengdu's most famous residents on today's trip to the Panda Breeding and Research Centre. Concerted efforts to save this beloved endangered animal have increased the centre's population to 120 giant and 76 red pandas. Watch the comical creatures napping, snacking and playing in natural enclosures before continuing on to People's Park, a green oasis in the city centre. Take a walk along nearby Jinli Ancient Street and admire the elegant architecture of its buildings, which house handicraft shops. Next, transfer to the train station and board your high-speed train to Guiyang. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Guiyang to Kaili

After breakfast, set out for a morning of sightseeing, starting with a visit to the grand Jiaxiu Tower. Wander the ornate interior of this structure built in honour of the province's great intellectuals then continue on to Qingyan Ancient Town. Travel back to 14th century China as you explore this preserved town and its stone pavilions, ancestral halls and watchtowers. Delve deeper into the country's colourful culture as you journey to the city of Kaili, home to the Miao ethnic minority, for your overnight stay.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Kaili

China is home to 56 ethnic groups, each with their own distinctive culture, and the city of Kaili is the ideal base from which to explore the villages of some of its most fascinating ethnic minorities. After breakfast, drive to the Zhenyuan Ancient Town of the Miao people, founded in 202BC. Although it covers a mere 1.2 square miles, this amazing settlement boasts over 160 scenic spots, including palaces, caves, temples and a spectacular central river. After a walk around the town, visit the imposing temple complex of Black Dragon Cave before travelling onward to Langde Miao Village to witness the daily life, customs and dress of the Miao people. Return to Kaili for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Kaili to Guilin

Your cultural experience continues as you make your way to the Matang Gejia Village. Witness the colourful clothes of the Gejia people, created using a traditional dyeing method, and delve into their rich, unique customs and traditions. At the nearby village of Shiqiao Miao, learn more about the villagers' ancient paper-making traditions and wander amongst their simple but elegant log houses as they go about their daily activities. In the afternoon, board your bullet train to Guilin, arriving in time for dinner and your overnight stay.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Guilin

Take in some of China's most dazzling scenery on today's trip to the rice terraces of Longsheng. Known locally as 'dragon's backbone' for their shape, these stepped terraces of rippling, multi-coloured rice fields are set on dramatic mountain slopes. Journey to the Zhuang Minority Village for fascinating insight into the lives of the Zhuang people, renowned for their vibrant headdresses, hospitality and culture of singing and dancing. Explore the village with its stilted houses and multi-storey wooden buildings before returning to Guilin for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Guilin to Shanghai

See China from a new perspective as you embark on a boat trip down the Lijiang River. Sail between karsts and past riverside villages and verdant rice paddies on a breath-taking journey that showcases rural China at its best. After lunch on your boat, disembark in Yangshuo and walk along West Street, a shopping area with a fascinating mix of Eastern and international elements, where traditional jade stores lie next to Italian cafes. This evening, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai where you will be transferred to your hotel on arrival.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
14
Shanghai

Enjoy the day at leisure, giving you the chance to explore Shanghai at your own pace. Why not stroll along the waterfront promenade of the Bund, dine in the eateries of the French Concession area or take the day to relax back at your hotel.

  • Breakfast
15
Shanghai to the UK

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK or continue on to your extension.

  • Breakfast

Your Meals

Breakfast is always western style and served in the hotel each morning. Lunch and dinner will be taken in local Chinese restaurants and served with either one beer or soft drink. A variety of restaurants are visited giving you the chance to experience a range of dishes and flavours.

Important Information

Visas

A visa is required for entry into China. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. All applicants who wish to apply for a China Tourist Visa must do so in person at the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester, Belfast or Edinburgh where fingerprint information will be collected. Fingerprints are not required for children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 70. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.

Insurance

We recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

Your initial flight is to Beijing Capital International Airport with China Eastern Airlines (MU) via Shanghai, departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4.
Baggage allowance (per person): Please note that the baggage allowance may vary. Please refer to the bottom right of your E-ticket receipt for the correct allowance. For example, if it shows '20k' this means your allowance is 20kg. If it shows '2PC' this means your allowance is two bags not exceeding 23kg each. Important note: For handling purposes the maximum weight of any single piece of baggage is 23kg. If the allowance shown on your ticket exceeds this, you will need to take an additional bag. You may also take hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size.
If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
Alternative flights are available, please contact us for details.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Currency Information

The currency in China is the Renminbi, known as RMB or CNY. It is often referred to as the yuan. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in China should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100-£200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. There are some optional tours available to purchase locally and these generally need to be paid in cash. Therefore, please allow an additional £100 if you wish to book these.
It is customary to tip your national guide, local guide and driver approximately £3.50 (CNY30.00) per person per day. Your national guide will collect this for your convenience on the first day of your tour in Shanghai, approximately £35.00 (CNY300.00) per person for the total duration. Tips are collected in Chinese Yuan.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPriceBook Now
2019 Dates
22 Nov 201906 Dec 2019SOLD OUTSOLD OUT
2020 Dates
06 Mar 202020 Mar 2020£2199.00Book Now
24 Apr 202008 May 2020£2249.00Book Now
22 May 202005 Jun 2020£2249.00Book Now
19 Jun 202003 Jul 2020£2349.00Book Now
04 Sep 202018 Sep 2020£2759.00Book Now
09 Oct 202023 Oct 2020£2349.00Book Now
06 Nov 202020 Nov 2020£2049.00Book Now
04 Dec 202018 Dec 2020£1749.00Book Now

Included in the Price

  • Meals included: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners
  • Fully escorted with local English-speaking guides throughout
  • Scheduled flight from London Heathrow to China with China Eastern
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation
  • Accommodation, 14 excursions and entry fees to all sights

Additional Expenses

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Any meals not specified in your itinerary
Itinerary Note

The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. The schedules of the domestic airlines in China are subject to frequent changes. For this reason, we have indicated approximate times only. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction &/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.

All dates:

Your hotel in Guiyang is 4* Karst Hotel.

2019 Departures:

Your hotel in Chengdu is 4* Dorsett Grand Hotel

25th Oct 2019

Your hotel in Beijing is 4* Guanganmen Grand Metropark.

Please note

The 13th Sept & 11th Oct 2019 groups will be staying at the 4* Jinglun Hotel for 3 nights.

Overnight trains

On the overnight trains, travellers who have not chosen to upgrade to a private cabin will be allocated a four-berth shared cabin. In this event, it is not guaranteed that travellers will be allocated cabins with fellow tour members or with passengers of the same gender. Overnight train facilities feature Asian-style toilets. These are local Chinese and Vietnamese trains and standard may not match what you are used to at home.

Alternative Flights

Alternative flights are available, please contact us for details.

What to expect

Fact File
Currency

Yuan

Average Flying time

11 hours

Min/Max temperature

-2 °C / 29 °C

Spoken languages

Mandarin, English

When to go

Please familiarise yourself with the climate charts.

Beijing

Xi'an

Shanghai

What to pack
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunhat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera and charger
  • Travel plug adaptor - The voltage in China is 220 Volts. It is advisable to bring a multi-adaptor
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Binoculars
  • Personal first aid kit
Customer Rating:
10/10
Ray Mcerlean
11th Nov 2019

Good hotels well situated for city centre

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Ian Bishop
7th Jul 2019

All the hotels were very good with possibly the exception of the Zong Heng, where breakfast was much more limited and chaotic on the second day of the stay.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Tour Map
Splendours of China by Rail Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • China
    Shanghai

    2 nights from £159pp

    View
  • Hong Kong
    Hong Kong City Stay

    3 nights from £489pp

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Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Shanghai
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Beijing
  • Xi'an
  • Chengdu
  • Guiyang
  • Kaili
  • Guilin
  • Shanghai
  • UK

Contrasting skyscrapers and traditional Shikumen houses form the skyline of Shanghai, perfectly reflecting the blend of Western cultures and Chinese traditions.

2 nights
from £159pp
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View Tour + Extension
Hong Kong City Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Beijing
  • Xi'an
  • Chengdu
  • Guiyang
  • Kaili
  • Guilin
  • Shanghai
  • Hong Kong
  • UK

Towering skyscrapers form the backdrop to Hong Kong's busy harbour whilst the street markets that fill the teeming alleys remain untouched by western influences. Explore Hong Kong and Kowloon at your own pace during this extension which includes a half day city tour.

This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.

3 nights
from £489pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension