Discover Your Travel Dreams

The Essence of Ancient China

Beijing, Xian and Shanghai are just three of the must-visit destinations included on this tour of China

Beijing - Xian - Guilin - Shanghai - Wuzhen - Hangzhou

Face an army in Xian, walk the Great Wall, take in the scenery on the majestic Li River and visit historic water towns – you’ll enjoy an array of amazing experiences on this thrilling 15-day holiday.

Travelsphere, the escorted tour specialist
  • Included visits and excursions
  • 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches & 11 dinners included
  • Experienced Travelsphere Tour Manager

  • Audio Guide so you won't miss a word
  • ATOL & ABTA protected - Book with confidence
  • Escorted tour operator for over 50 years

What's included

  • Scheduled flights from Heathrow with Air China or similar scheduled airline and internal flights
  • Overseas transfers and other transportation
  • 13 nights’ accommodation with breakfast, plus 11 lunches, 11 dinners and 
1 night in flight
  • The services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager and Local Guide
  • Hotel porterage (one bag per person)

Included holiday highlights

 Beijing including Tiananmen Square Walk along the Great Wall of China
  • See the intricately carved animals on the Avenue of Statues
  • Visit the Summer Palace, plus boat ride
  • Terracotta Army and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda Visit the Han Tombs
  • Learn to make a traditional dish at a dumpling-making class
  • Visit the ancient Xian City Wall
  • Enjoy views of Karst mountain peaks as you cruise the Li River
  • Visit a vegetable market, a farmer’s home and a country cookery class
  • The natural limestone Reed Flute Caves in Guilin
  • Sightseeing in Shanghai including the Jade Buddha Temple
  • Tour the historic water town of Wuzhen Visit the city of Hangzhou
  • Tour and tasting at a world-renowned tea plantation

Optional excursions

, Kong Fu martial arts show in Beijing Hutong rickshaw ride
  • Cultural Tang Dynasty show in Xian
  • Visit a family at Longshen Rice Terraces
  • Enjoy the Liu Sanjie Impression show in Yangshuo
  • Stunning Shanghai acrobatic show
  • The spectacular Hangzhou West Lake Impression show
  • The Kong Fu, Tang Dynasty and West Lake Impression shows can be 
pre-booked as a package, please contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

Please note: We want you to get the most from your holiday with us so please be advised that this tour is not suitable for anyone with limited mobility.

To introduce you to China’s many extraordinary sights, our itineraries are very full with some early starts and long days, but they are also extremely rewarding.

Your meals
: Breakfast is Western continental-style, followed by Chinese lunch and dinner, each consisting of a variety of local dishes.

You’ll depart on your scheduled flight to Beijing today, arriving on day 2.
Upon arrival in Beijing, you will be met by your Local Guide and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and dinner is included this evening.
Beijing is an extraordinary city where ancient temples and ornate palaces stand beside the vast 20th century civic buildings created by Chairman Mao and his people. Daily life in Beijing is a truly spellbinding sight. It is a city of bustling street markets, crowded buses and, above all, friendly people.

On today’s included city tour you will see the Temple of Heaven and visit the heart of Beijing - Tiananmen Square. It is the largest public square in the world, bordered by the Qianmen Gate, the Great Hall of the People and the Gate of Heavenly Peace. You will go through the gate, which forms the entrance to the incredible Forbidden City, where you’ll see the buildings that house the Imperial Palace from which China was ruled by the imperial dynasties for hundreds of years.

Later you’ll have the chance to sample local delicacies at a night food market.
This morning you will visit the Great Wall on our included excursion. This man-made wonder is some 3,800 miles long and at least 2,600 years old. It winds through the hills of northern China and passes within 40 miles of Beijing at Badaling, where you will have plenty of time to walk along the historic ramparts. Lunch today is followed by a visit to the Sacred Way (Avenue of Statues) - also known as the Divine Road. The path, which is slightly curved to fool evil spirits, is lined with willows and carved stone statues.

This evening why not take your seat at an optional Kong Fu martial arts show.
This morning you will visit the magnificent Summer Palace - the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. We also include a gentle boat ride on scenic Lake Kunming, which dominates the park.

Later, why not take an optional rickshaw ride around the Hutongs - winding lanes that have been home to Beijing’s families for centuries - for a glimpse of traditional local life.

Today you will take a flight to Xian. Your journey then continues to the Small Goose Pagoda, which dates back to the Tang dynasty, before a stop for lunch.

Later, you will have the chance to make dumplings - a staple food in Chinese cuisine - with the guidance of an expert. Keeping to the theme you will then enjoy a traditional dumpling dinner.

Choose to join an optional excursion to the Tang Dynasty folklore show tonight.
After breakfast you will visit the ancient Xian City Wall.

This afternoon you will see one of the world’s most remarkable sights, the Terracotta Army at Li Shan Mountain. Discovered in the 1970s by farmers digging a well, this staggering collection of at least 6,000 life-size terracotta figures representing the individuals of the Imperial Guard were interred in 200 BC with the first Qin emperor. You will also visit the ancient Han Tombs.

This evening you’ll fly to Guilin.
Today you will have the option to join an excursion to Longshen Rice Terraces. Here a large number of terraced fields swamp the landscape creating beautiful vistas. You’ll visit a traditional village and have the chance to experience the ethnic culture as you’re invited into a family home. Alternatively, join a walking tour around Banyan Lake – exploring this area offers the opportunity to see more of daily life and perhaps see local people enjoying daily exercise in the form of Tai Chi.
Join your Tour Manager on an included scenic boat trip on the Li River. Relax and admire the wonderful views of Karst mountain peaks and thick bamboo forests that line the banks. Continue to Yangshuo, perhaps Guilin’s most picturesque town.

Spend some time in West Street, 
where you’ll find fine examples of traditional southern Chinese architecture and plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants. You’ll stay in Yangshuo overnight.

This evening you have the chance to witness a performance of Impression Liu Sanjie – a spectacular show staged on the waters of the Li River with a backdrop of mist-shrouded hills.
This morning you’ll visit a local vegetable market with time explore the stalls. After time exploring the stalls you’ll visit a farmer’s house before continuing to a countryside cookery school to learn to cook five local dishes.

You will transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. En route to the airport you will call at the remarkable natural limestone cave called Reed Flute Cave. The cave is so named because of the reeds that grow outside the cave which are gathered to make flutes. You’ll stay in Shanghai for two nights.
Today’s included tour shows you the best of Shanghai including Yu Yuan Gardens and the beautiful Jade Buddha Temple. Take a stroll through the thronging shopping thoroughfare of Nanjing Road and along the Bund, the city’s famous boulevard which winds along the west bank of the Huangpu River. We offer the opportunity to see a Shanghai acrobatic show this evening.
This morning we bid Shanghai farewell and head to Wuzhen, an historic water town situated on the banks of the Grand Canal. On arrival you will head to the eastern part of the town, which boasts an abundance of eateries and shops. You will overnight here. The area is ideal for an evening stroll, there is plenty to admire in this pleasant district.
Today we start with a visit to the west side of Wuzhen where you can find rice wine and indigo workshops and a local folk museum. After lunch your tour continues to Hangzhou, an enchanting city with an abundance of natural beauty. Included is a visit the beautiful traditional Guo Zhang Garden and Lily Street. You will stay here for two nights.
Your day begins with a visit to the delightful Lingying temple. We continue to the world-renowned Longji Tea Plantation where you can see the terraces where one of China’s most popular teas, Longjing green tea, is grown. You’ll have chance to taste the tea and if you like the taste, perhaps purchase some to take home.

Your tour continues with a cruise through the scenic beauty of West Lake and a visit to Xiaoyingzhou Island. A walk around the edge of the island leads you to highlights including the Gold Fish and Flower Pier. In the evening there is the opportunity to watch the amazing West Lake Impression Show.
After breakfast this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to the UK. You will arrive in the UK later today.

Click to go back to map

Experience even more of your destination by adding one or more optional excursions to your holiday before you set off. Right now is the perfect opportunity to do that – with everything booked and paid for you’ll have even more to get excited about and all you’ll need to think about while you’re away is having a great time.

By the way - look out for ‘Optional Excursion Packages’. For some holidays we’ve grouped a selection of excursions into a package which means you can make a saving when you book in advance.

Prices shown may vary according to departure date and are subject to change.  The full range of excursions will be detailed in your holiday information pack, sent approximately 15 weeks prior to departure.

Hangzhou West Lake Impression Show

Hangzhou West Lake Impression Show

from £41

The West Lake impression show in Hangzhou is an experience that should not be missed. Enjoy a live impression performance set on the Lake itself – you will be mesmerized by the spectacle of light, music, dance and theatrics that make up this stunning performance. The show tells a story of the myths and legends of the West Lake using the lake and hills as its backdrop.

The director of this show, Mr Zhang Yimou was also the director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing – so we know that you will not be disappointed.

Evening Show – Minimal Walking – Unique Experience

Beijing Kung Fu Show

Beijing Kung Fu Show

from £24

Using traditional Martial Arts & Modern Theatre, the Legend of Kung Fu follows the story of a young boy found wandering outside an ancient temple. Like every boy in China, he dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master. On the road to enlightenment the young monk encounters many difficulties and temptations when overcoming his fears of becoming a Master of Kung Fu.

The show has English subtitles shown above the stage to keep you informed of the story line. The actors do not speak; the show is all Kung Fu, dance and acrobatics. It is the fusion of modern dance with Chinese traditional arts which make this performance unique and spectacular.

The best Kung Fu performers from all over China have been found for this production and it shows on the stage. Their average age is just 17 years old.

Minimal Walking - Cultural - Amazing Performance

Longsheng Rice Terrace

Longsheng Rice Terrace

from £56

The Longji Terraced rice field’s areas are located in Longsheng County, one of the outlying regions of Guilin city. Covering about 66 sq km in Southeast Longsheng, the terraced fields have an imposing beauty, and are reputed to have an "unrivalled beauty ". Longji, means dragon’s backbone, it got its name due to its shape like Dragon. The terraces were first built in the Yuan dynasty and completed by the Qing dynasty. The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountaintop, with the highest place of an elevation of 1180m and the lowest 380m. In the area, you will also meet the ethnic people and experience their culture, the way they live, with their tranquil way of life. This full day tour starts at approx. 8:30 and ends around 17:30.

Moderate Walking - Spectacular views - Scenic and tranquil

Xian Tang Dynasty

Xian Tang Dynasty

from £25

This is a great night out in Xian and listed as one of the top 10 of things to do, The Tang Dynasty Show you are going to see is performed by Shaanxi Song & Dance Troupe which has a world renowned reputation, and is also the largest performing group in western China. The young performers are highly gifted and have been training in the arts since 1982.

Watch Chinese music and dance that originated in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), this in turn gives you an insight into the ancient, rich and prosperous life style of the era. Considered the golden age of Chinese culture, this evening’s show of Tang folklore takes place with performers who are distinguished by their costumes of splendid extravagance and colours. The show begins with an ancient Chinese musical instrument ensemble and then later the cultural dance segment begins. A truly spectacular event.

Evening show – Minimal Walking – Must See

Liu Sanjie Impression Show

Liu Sanjie Impression Show

from £41

The Liu Sanjie Impression Show is an outdoor night show beside the Li River in Yangshuo; it’s very different from other shows you may have seen before - staged in the actual Li River over an area of 2km. The mist, moonlight, together with 12 Karsts peaks and their reflections in the river all creates a spectacular natural backdrop.

The show consists of 7 episodes; each episode displays different images and sceneries with the ever-changing natural background and lighting.

Involving nearly 600 actors and actress most of them are fishermen from the villages along the river. The show combines classical folk songs and ethnic group culture which results in a large-scale realistic performance in harmony with the landscape.The director of the show is Zhang Yimou who is a famous director in China, he has directed films such as, Hero and The House of the Flying Dagger, he was also the director of the opening and closing ceremony of the 20008 Beijing Olympics.

Minimal Walking – Stunning – Must see

Shanghai Acrobats

Shanghai Acrobats

from £25

One of the most loved attractions in Shanghai is the Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe a well-known Chinese professional acrobatics performing group which was founded in 1951. People from all over the world come to witness the gravity defying stunts and amazing feats of balance and strength that are synonymous with a performance by these world-renowned acrobats.

The Troupe performs a humorous show focusing on Chinese traditional features. In the 90-min show the performance is slick and entertaining with acts including the hoop diving, tightrope walking and the ‘ball of death’ motorcycle stunt.

Minimal Walking - Must See - Amazing Performance

Prebookable Package

Prebookable Package

from £86

You can save money and enhance your holiday with this prebookable excursion package...

Beijing Kung Fu Show / Xian Tang Dynasty / Hangzhou West Lake Impression Show
Radisson Blue Beijing is located 20 kilometres from Beijing Capital International Airport, short walk from the rail station, multiple subway lines and bus stops. Also near to Beijings attractions such as the New CIEC and the Forbidden City. Hotels facilities include the Huang Du Restaurant, Royal Cafe, The Grill, The Bar and fitness centre. Bedrooms have private facilities.
The 4-star Grand Metropark is ideally located in the centre of Xian.

Hotel facilities include a selection of restuarants, bar and a health club. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, mini-bar, hairdryer, complimentary wi-fi, safe, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.
The 4-star Guilin Bravo Hotel is ideally located just a short walk from the centre of Guilin.

Hotel facilities include a selection of restaurants and bars, spa and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, safe, mini-bar, hairdryer, complimentary wi-fi and a TV.
The 3-star Aiyuan Hotel is ideally located in the centre of Yangshuo.

Hotel facilities include a restuarant and a bar. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, hairdryer, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.
The 4-star Greenland Jiulong Hotel is ideally located in the north bund area of Shanghai.

Hotel facilities include a selection of restuarants, bar and a gym. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, hairdryer, and a TV.
The 4-star Waterside Hotel is situated in Wuzhen.

Hotel facilities include a selection of restuarants, a bar and a cafe. Bedrooms have private facilities, mini-bar, hairdryer and tea/coffee-making facilities.
Situated close to central Hangzhou, and 1km from the famous West Lake. Hotel facilities include restaurants, Bar/Lounge, Fitness Centre with Gym and Spa.

Radisson Blu - Beijing

Travelsphere have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the hotel images provided on this website and images of room types displayed may vary to those offered on your tour.  Therefore due to the possibility of inadvertent errors we do not guarantee their accuracy. Hotels are subject to change and will be confirmed in your final documents.

Departing from

Departure date






London (Heathrow)

Friday 08 April 2016

15 Days




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London (Heathrow)

Friday 20 May 2016

15 Days




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London (Heathrow)

Friday 09 September 2016

15 Days




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Take the opportunity to maximise your travel experience and extend your holiday with an add-on. The number of days and the price shown is inclusive of the main tour:

The Essence of Ancient China with Yangtze Gorges Cruise add-on

Extend your holiday to 20 days from £674

Apr 2016 - May 2016 Departures
Enjoy a 4-night Yangtze River cruise and an overnight stay in Beijing. DAY 1 Yichang On the final day of your brochured holiday you will fly to the city of Wuhan before transferring to Yichang by train, where you will board your ship and embark on a four-night Yangtze cruise. DAYS 2-4 Yangtze Your cruise begins with a visit to the site of the mighty Three Gorges Dam, you’ll then proceed through the spectacular scenery of the Xiling Gorge. Your cruise continues through the Wuxia and Qutang Gorges and a fascinating trip will be taken up a tributary of the Yangtze surrounded by lush, emerald-green forest, steep cliffs and caves. DAY 5 Chongqing This morning you will arrive in Chongqing, where you will disembark your ship. During a short sightseeing tour you will visit Erling Park, Ciqikou Old Town and a traditional tea house before enjoying lunch. You will fly to Beijing this evening for an overnight stay. DAY 6 Beijing/UK Transfer to the airport this morning for the flight back to the UK. As you are flying westwards you will arrive later the same day. Please note: your cruise itinerary is dependent on local conditions. Your Yangtze Gorges Cruise option includes: Scheduled flights; overseas transfers and other transportation; 4 nights’ full-board accommodation on board your ship; 1 night’s hotel accommodation; All meals; The services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager and Local Guide; Hotel porterage (one bag per person); All airport taxes and security charges, UK Airline Passenger Duty, all state and local taxes. Included excursions and visits: Three Gorges Dam; Xiling Gorge; Wuxia Gorge; Qutang Gorge; Chongqing tour. Please note: You will not be accompanied by a Tour Manager.

Please note: images shown below have come from various sources including customers, employees and partners and are representative of this tour but we cannot guarantee that all destinations or activities shown will feature on a particular departure.

Please click on the images below to view in fullscreen

Customer Quotes

Every Travelsphere customer is asked to fill out a questionnaire when they return from their holiday so we can see how we have done and to ensure we maintain our high standards.

Below are a selection of customer quotes taken directly from the customer questionnaires:

Well done Travelsphere! Discover China was the tour and discover China was what we did! Couldn't fault it! Wonderful venues and hotels, terrific guides and local guides, lovely food, varied and interesting program.
Mrs Knight - Bath
Discover China - Sep 2015
All activities well organised and enjoyable. Tour guides knowledgeable and helpful.
Mrs Gibson - Nottingham
Discover China - Sep 2015