Harbin Ice Festival - 11 Days
10 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners and a traditional Peking Duck dinner (4 dinners total).
2 nights 5 star hotel in Harbin, 7 nights 3 - 4 star hotels.
Flight: Xi’an – Harbin.
1 overnight train: Harbin - Beijing (4-berth soft sleeper cabin).
High speed train: Beijing - Luoyang and Luoyang - Xi'an.
Touring of Beijing, Great Wall area, Luoyang, Xi'an and Harbin Ice Festival.
Chinese acrobatic performance in Beijing.
Rickshaw ride through Beijing's Hutongs.
Xi’an - bike ride on medieval City Wall.
Escorted by an experienced English speaking Chinese Tour guide.
English speaking specialist guides at some sites.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private heated vehicles.
Beijing Capital Airport arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer day 11.
Day 1 - Beijing 23 December. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Arrive Beijing Capital Airport and included transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time.
Day 2 - Beijing This morning, we explore the centre of Beijing, including massive Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City. Boasting some 9999 rooms, the city within a city was once the sole preserve of the Chinese emperors. This afternoon we take rickshaws to the Hutongs areas of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, we gain a fascinating snapshot into the city’s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home, before returning to our hotel. It's Christmas Eve and to get you in the festive mood we'll enjoy a tasty Christmas banquet tonight.
Day 3 - Great Wall Merry Christmas! Today we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Climbing the Great Wall on Xmas day, now that’s something special. The wall is a little steep in sections, but the photo opportunities are worth a million dollars! Afterwards, we visit a Jade Carving Centre, where we learn about its importance in Chinese culture. We celebrate our Christmas in China with a traditional Peking Duck dinner this evening, followed by an astounding acrobatic show.
Day 4 - Beijing Beijing - Luoyang. Today we start with a sightseeing tour of the Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake. The lake may be frozen solid. This afternoon we visit the famed Pearl Market. Later today we drive past the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium en route to the train station where we take the late afternoon bullet train to Luoyang. Reaching speeds of up to 305km per hour the journey is an experience in itself! We arrive to Luoyang late this evening.
Day 5 - Luoyang Today we explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Longmen Caves. Carved into the cliffs along the Yi River, the 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Creating temples within the caves they then sculpted and decorated the interior with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples. Experts consider the Longmen Caves to be the artistic triumph of all Buddhist stone carvings. Later this afternoon we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China before having a delicious local dinner.
Day 6 - Xi'an Early this morning there is the option to walk to Xiyuan Park and witness or maybe even partake in a little local exercise. Hundreds of local people enjoy their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the early hours of the morning. It's a marvel to watch! After some free time we board a high speed express trains to Xi'an, evening at leisure.
Day 7 - Xi'an Today, we visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site where some 7,000 warriors stand in battle ready position and a factory that shows how the terracotta figurines were crafted. Tonight, we welcome you to join the optional Tang Dynasty Show, which includes dinner, a traditional performance and transfers (bookable locally).
Day 8 - Xi'an Xi’an - Harbin. This morning we bike ride (solo or tandem) on top of the amazing old City Wall, offering unique views of the city and residents going about their daily lives. Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, with time to explore. Evening flight to Beijing and onward connecting flight to Harbin.
Day 9 - Harbin Today, we hit Sun Island Park for the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The festival is open to visitors from 20 Dec, (though the official festival opening occurs on 05 Jan). This is a wonderful time to visit as sculptors will still be adding final touches to their somewhat massive icy masterpieces.
Later we visit Harbin Snow and Ice World an otherworldly theme park where the incredibly large displays change from year to year. What will be on offer this year is anyone's guess. Imagine sliding down a 100m ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China. You can pick up some serious speed if wearing a slick winter coat. Climbing to the top of a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers, guard house, moat and seven arched bridge or sail away on Empress Dowager Cixi’s ice marble boat. Living up to its name the ‘Ice World’ is totally beyond imagination, unusual, enchanting, inspiring and a little peculiar.
This evening we include dinner at a hotpot restaurant before returning to our hotel to ring in the new year. With plenty of lights, ice and ‘Maitai firewater', (the local alcoholic spirit) we welcome in the coming year.
Day 10 - Happy New Year! Harbin - Beijing. Happy New Year! This morning offers free time before an afternoon visit to Zhaolin Park or Sunac Park (dependant on the parks program) to see the Ice Lantern Show, also known as the Ice Lantern Art Fair. In previous years we've seen ice blocks standing some 8 metres tall, resembling giant ice lollies. Ice is sculpted into the most unusual designs - from roosters to dragon boats and a pair of cupids fluttering in the heavens, or a cavalry about to do battle. Each is lit up with hundreds of traditional Chinese lanterns and a multitude of neon creating the most spectacular photo opportunities. Later this evening we bid farewell to Harbin, boarding our overnight sleeper train to Beijing.
Day 11 - Beijing 02 January. Upon arrival to Beijing we transfer to a local hotel for a hot breakfast. Today offers free time for you to further explore Beijing before your included departure transfer to the airport. We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year tour in China! Note: Onward flights should be booked for departure after 2pm.
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