Grand Tour of the Orient
Surround yourself with insurmountable history, deep culture and ancient tradition on this 17-day tour through China and Japan.
Imagine a vacation that allows you to be amongst giant pandas one day and Terracotta Warriors another. Watch your travel fantasies come to life as you uncover the countries of China and Japan with this rail vacation. You will begin your tour through the Orient in Beijing, where we will visit sites such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The distant mountain views from the incredible Great Wall of China will put you at peace as you travel along the world wonder. Moving to Xi’an, the ancient Terracotta Warriors are a site to remember, with their intricate carvings and life-size builds. We visit a panda reserve and a Buddhist temple in Chengdu before moving from the historic areas of China to one of the most vibrant: Shanghai. A city tour brings all of the most famous districts and attractions to life, and luckily for you, you will also have some free time to explore the city’s sites, markets and cuisine on your own.
Midway through the trip, it is off to Japan, a place where deep tradition is laced in everyday life. Our first stop is Kyoto, where we will have two days to visit the world’s largest wooden structure, Toda-ji Temple, as well as to explore UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle and to partake in a traditional tea ceremony. Before moving out of the more rural portion of Japan, we enjoy a look at another temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and a scenic cruise on Lake Ashi. Following these splendid sites, we are off to the lively city of Tokyo, where we uncover the city’s most loved sites on a full-day tour and enjoy a free day to see the sites and to soak in the culture. We end our time in Japan in yet another city, Hong Kong, where we not only enjoy time in the city, but we also enjoy unbelievable cityscapes from Victoria Peak, looks upon the water from Repulse Bay Beach and immerse ourselves in the country’s traditions with a ride aboard a sampan boat to Aberdeen Village. Seventeen days, two countries: A lifetime of memories.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First Class rail in China and Standard Class rail in Japan
- Flights from London to Beijing via Hong Kong, Chengdu to Shanghai, Shanghai to Osaka, Tokyo to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong to London
- 15 nights' hotel accommodation
- 24 meals, including 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 6 dinners, including a Peking duck dinner, a dumpling banquet, and a farewell dinner in Hong Kong
- Tiananmen Square
- The Forbidden City
- Excursion to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
- The Terracotta Army
- Tours of Xi'an, Chengdu, and Shanghai
- Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
- Gion district
- Guided tour of Kyoto
- Todaiji temple
- Nara Deer Park
- Cruise on Lake Ashi
- Coach Tour of Tokyo
- Half day tour of Hong Kong
- he services of a professional UK Tour manager from start to finish
Days 1 & 2 - To Beijing
Meet your Tour Manager at the airport this morning, and fly to Beijing, via Hong Kong, arriving on Day 2. We transfer to our hotel for the next two nights, the Novotel Peace Hotel, on arrival. After checking in, we take a tour of the Chinese capital, including the incredible Forbidden City. An enormous palace complex of around 980 buildings, this imposing palace was the centre of Chinese government for over 500 years. We also visit Tiananmen Square, one of the lasting icons of Chinese history, and the centre of many significant political events. This evening, we return to our hotel for a delightful welcome meal.
Day 3 - The Great Wall of China
We experience an undeniable highlight of our tour today, with a visit to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. This is an amazingly preserved stretch of wall, which stretches from the Gobi Desert all the way to the Korean border. We ascend to the wall by cable car, and there is time to enjoy the breathtaking views over the distant mountains. We return to Beijing this afternoon, pausing for photo opportunities outside the 'Water Cube' and the 'Bird's Nest', which were the main arenas in the 2008 Olympics. Tonight, we enjoy a traditional Peking duck dinner together.
Days 4 & 5 - Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors
Today, we experience our first rail journey of the tour and head to Xi'an. The highspeed service takes us through some of China's beautiful rural scenery before we arrive, and transfer to the Grand Mercure Xi'an, our hotel for the next two nights. On arrival, we visit the Great Mosque, as well as the Bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This evening, our dinner is a delicious Dumpling Banquet. On Day 5, we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors, an incredible army of 6,000 figures that were buried in 210BC, and remained buried until 1974. The life-sized statues are part of an elaborate tomb for the Qin Emperor and were believed to have been put there to protect the emperor in the afterlife. In full regalia and grouped in rank, the sight of the warriors is truly one to behold. We then transfer to the station for our highspeed train to Chengdu this afternoon. On arrival, we check into our hotel.
Days 6-8 - To Chengdu and Shanghai
This morning, we venture out to see some of the sights of Chengdu, stopping first at the Panda Research Centre. After, we continue our sightseeing. Wenshu Monastery is one of our stops, an ancient Buddhist temple that began its life as a simple wooden hut, and is now a gorgeous example of ancient Chinese architecture. We also visit Jinli Street that dates back to the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. We then depart Chengdu and fly to Shanghai, transferring to our hotel on arrival. On Day 7, we take a short exploratory tour in Shanghai, visiting the vibrant and colourful Yu Garden and Bazaar, as well as the Bund, a gorgeous waterfront area of Shanghai that mixes a myriad of International architecture to a delightful effect. This evening, you are at leisure. We bid farewell to mainland China on Day 8, and transfer to the airport for our flight to Osaka in Japan, checking in to our hotel on arrival.
Days 9 & 10 - Kyoto and Nara
We take a coach from Osaka to Kyoto today, stopping en-route to visit the atmospheric Nara today, another one of Japan's many former capitals. A sightseeing tour of the grand city shows us the Toda-ji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world and home to the 13th century Great Buddha, as well as Nara Park. This oasis of calm is home to a great many Sika Deer, which were once considered sacred animals of the ancient Shinto religion. Upon arrival in Kyoto, we embark on a walking tour of Gion, the traditional Geisha district of Kyoto that has roots that date back to the Middle Ages. Your evening at leisure. Day 10 is spent exploring the full splendour of Kyoto. The UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle is undoubtedly a highlight, with its fortifications and gardens from the 17th century, as well as Kinkakuji temple, which is famed for it's opulent, yet traditional, golden appearance. Later we enjoy a tea ceremony, discovering the time-honoured ritual of tea preparation that has been passed down through generations.
Days 11 & 12 - Hakone and a Cruise on Lake Ashi
Today, we take a coach to pay a visit to the Tenryuji temple and the atmospheric Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. This is a truly magical place, filled with fast-growing bamboo stalks that make the lighting seem hazy and almost green. From here, we transfer to Kyoto station and take a bullet train to Odawara in Hakone. On Day 12, we take to the waters of beautiful Lake Ashi for a cruise on board an extravagant pirate ship, after which we visit the volcanic Owakudani valley and continue by a local train to Tokyo, the current capital of Japan and an enormous megacity. Your evening is at leisure in Tokyo, perhaps to acquaint yourself with this irrepressibly lively place.
Days 13 & 14 - Tokyo
A full day of exploration is ahead of us today, as we uncover Tokyo on a full day coach tour. We start the day with a visit to Hama-Rikyu garden as well as the Edo Tokyo museum. We visit the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple as well as the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the Japanese Emperor Meiji, and his wife, Empress Shoken. We also visit Sensoji Temple, and the famous Shibuya Crossing said to be the busiest intersection in the world. Day 14 is at leisure.
Days 15-17 - Hong Kong and Home
This morning we leave Japan, transferring to the airport to fly to Hong Kong. After checking into our hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure. Day 16 begins with a half day tour to Victoria Peak, which displays wonderful views of the cityscape. We also visit the sandy beaches of Repulse Bay and explore pretty Aberdeen village on a traditional boat, known as a sampan. This evening, we enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate our final night. On Day 17, we fly back to London, our fantastic tour ending on arrival.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing
Ideally situated in the heart of Beijing, the 4-Star Novotel Peace Hotel is a short metro ride away from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Its facilities include a lobby bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as a selection of hot and cold snacks. There are two restaurants serving international and French cuisine, as well as an indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre. Massage therapies are available (payable locally). The air-conditioned rooms feature facilities such as a telephone, television, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi. A dry cleaning and ironing service is available at this hotel (payable locally).
Tibet Hotel, Chengdu
The 4-Star Tibet Hotel Chengdu is conveniently situated five minutes from the nearest railway station. The hotel was built in 1988 and boasts more than 25 years of history, accommodating guests with 276 well designed and comfortable rooms this hotel has plenty to offer, attractive on the outside as it is within. The hotel has two restaurants, laundry facilities, sauna, fitness room and a beauty salon amongst other excellent facilities on offer.
Hakone Hotel, Hakone
Also known as the Fujiya Hotel Lake View Annex, the 4-Star Hakone Hotel in Hakone enjoys a superb location on the shores of Lake Ashi and offers fantastic views of Mount Fuji. The hotel has two restaurants: a Teppanyaki restaurant and Il Miraggio, which offers French cuisine. There is also a lakeview lounge and a bar, as well as gardens on the lake shore, a souvenir shop and a hot spring bath. The air-conditioned rooms come with a telephone, television, internet connection, hot water jugs, a Japanese tea set, fridge and a hairdryer.
Harbour Plaza Metropolis, Hong Kong
Conveniently located in the heart of the Kowloon district of Hong Kong, the 4-Star Harbour Plaza Metropolis Hotel boasts an excellent central location from which to explore. Overlooking Victoria Harbour, the hotel offers stunning views of Hong Kong Island just across the water, as well as excellent leisure facilities including a gym, spa, heated outdoor swimming pool and a Jacuzzi with panoramic views over the Harbour. Our well-appointed rooms are all en-suite and equipped with a telephone, satellite television, radio, alarm clock, safe, hairdryer, air conditioning, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities.
ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kyoto
In Kyoto, we stay in the 4-Star ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Kyoto. With an ideal location in front of historic Nijo Castle, this is a wonderful base from which to explore. Amenities here include an indoor pool, and 6 different restaurants, serving a variety of cuisine. The rooms are decorated in pleasantly neutral colours and come with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka
The 4-Star Sheraton Miyako Hotel is our hotel whilst in Osaka. Located right next to some excellent public transport links, taking us all over this incredible city, this is a wonderful base from which to explore. Decorated in elegant and neutral colours, this hotel is a fascinating mixture of traditional and modern. The rooms are comfortable and come with a television, a minibar, tea making facilities, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The four restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, and there is also a bar and a café. As well as dining, there is also a health club on site, and a flower shop and beauty salon.
Regal International East Asia, Shanghai
Our base in Shanghai, the fabulously contemporary 5-Star Regal International East Asia hotel, is situated close to the pretty Xujiahui Park. The hotel has some fantastic amenities, including 2 restaurants, a café, a bar, and a pastry café. There is also a plethora of leisure facilities, including a beauty salon, a bowling alley, an indoor pool, a gym, and a massage and spa centre. The opulent rooms come well furnished, with a television, an in-room safe, a minibar, tea & coffee-making facilities, and a telephone.
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
The 4-Star Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo is located close to Shinjuku railway station and is ideally placed for exploring the city. The hotel has a wide range of restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European cuisine, as well as a coffee shop, cocktail and tea lounge, and two bars including the Sky Bar, which offers magnificent views over Tokyo from the 45th floor. There is a drugstore, boutiques, beauty salon (payable locally) and guests have complimentary use of the hotel's outdoor pool (seasonal) and gym. The contemporary western-style rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, hairdryer and a safe and most offer excellent views over the city.
Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xi'an
Set within the ancient walls of Xian, the 4-Star Superior Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian combines chic Chinese design with modern touches. Among the hotel's many facilities is a restaurant serving both Chinese and western cuisine, a bar and lounge, a fitness centre and a wellness centre offering massages. The rooms are air-conditioned and come with a television, telephone, minibar, safe, Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities. A laundry service is available at the hotel.
Shinkansen refers to the dedicated high-speed Japanese rail network that provides a link to most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The name 'Shinkansen' is also used to refer to the trains that run on the network - which are perhaps better known as 'Bullet Trains'. Renowned for their punctuality, comfort and safety, the trains are frequent and fast, regularly running at speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h). The trains offer comfortable reclining seats and large windows and there are usually refreshment trolleys selling snacks and beverages.
Dates & Prices
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: Departs 25th March 2019 (£4,845), 28th October 2019 (£4,895)
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Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Prices are based on double occupancy.
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