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Our day-by-day China blog

Some time has now passed since we got back from our epic Chinese adventure and our spirits do not feel dampened. I still feel surprised at my our reaction to China and how positive it left us. We are so excited to have discovered a new corner of the world, and we can’t wait to go back. Here is our day-by-day diary of our action-packed journey through China...

Day One
China Great Wall
We hit the ground running! A 4.30am arrival in Beijing and straight to the Great Wall! We followed one highlight with another at the stunning Summer Palace… We are now cosy in our room at Aman Summer Palace and very much ready for Bedfordshire.

Day Two
China Tai Chi
We had the perfect start to the day, with an early morning Tai Chi class from the ‘Master’, in the grounds of The Temple of Heaven – so Chinese! As the day unfolded, more unbeatable highlights followed: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Hot Pot lunch, Hutong Tour, 796 Art District… We have ended the day at The Opposite House and have found delectable treats in our room.

Day Three
China Peking Duck
A full-on working day in Beijing for us today. But we were rewarded by an amazingly delicious Peking Duck at The Country Kitchen at the Rosewood Hotel. Totally mouth watering.

Day Four
China Lijiang
It was worth us waking up early today to get to the fresh air and beautiful mountains of Lijiang. We visited a local ‘Snack Store’ which was so much fun! We are now staying at the mind-blowing Amandayan.

Day Five
China Black Dragon Pond
Today we visited the picture perfect Black Dragon Pond, where we learnt so much from our guide about the history of the Naxi tribe in the local villages. We didn't want to leave Lijiang! But… We have arrived at The Temple House Hotel – it is the ultimate in ‘chic’. My first impression is that it is the perfect blend of Chinese authentic and modern.

Day Six
China Chengdu
Today was ALL about the pandas in Chengdu - we fell completely in love! Our evening flight was cancelled due to bad weather, with an overnight stay in the airport hotel – all in the name of a Chinese adventure!

Day Seven
China Hangzhou
We flew to Hangzhou this morning (admission: we stopped at the airport Starbucks…). The weather has been questionable but this evening we cosied up in The Steam House restaurant and filled ourselves with delicious Chinese pork belly…

Day Eight
China Fayun Village
The grottos and temples in Fayun village, the Dragon Well Green Tea plantations and the mystical boat ride on Hangzhou's West Lake were completely dreamy this morning. The serenity we felt earlier is totally contrasted to our bullet train to Shanghai! Wow, what an amazing assault on our senses, this bustling city definitely feels like “The Paris of the Orient”!

Day Nine
China The Peninsula Hotel Shanghai Cocktails
Museums can be hit and miss, but the amazing artefacts in the Shanghai museum made it a hit for us today. This was perfectly followed by a leisurely stroll around the French Concession. Which was PERFECTLY followed by a cheeky cocktail with a view at St Elly’s al fresco bar at The Peninsula Hotel… Work or play?!

Day Ten

Today we have had an exhausting full day of work in Shanghai. We are now tucked up in bed in the Shangri La, Guilin. Sleep time.

Day Eleven
China Longsheng
Today was spent walking amidst the beautiful and ethereal landscapes in Longsheng, home to the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces, a group of large terraces carved into the hillside dating back more than 650 years.

Day Twelve
China Noodle Soup
It’s hard to know whether our noodle soup for breakfast, or our noodle soup for lunch was more ‘authentic’ today! We had a great time visiting a local tea house, taking a river boat and exploring an authentic market – and sampling some street side, freshly steamed taro dumplings… China’s answer to custard tarts!

Day Thirteen
China Yulong River
I can’t believe that we left mainland China today. The sun shone as we relaxed on our own bamboo raft down the Yulong River before flying to Hong Kong… It feels like we have entered another world.

Day Fourteen
China Hong Kong
Another full on working day in Hong Kong today.

Day Fifteen
China Hong Kong Big Red Bus Tour
We are flying home today, but we managed to squeeze in some exploration though. Soho is very cool, but my favourite was our ride on the Hong Kong Big Red Bus Tour - our chance to be quintessential tourists!

This has been an incredible trip, and we have been so lucky. China has blown all my expectations out of the water. Culture, history, art, architecture, food, landscapes, activity, relaxation – there is nothing that this wonderful country does not possess. So many incredible memories and I for one, cannot wait to come back.

For more information or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to China, please get in touch with us:   /  +44 (0) 207 819 9770

So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka

From our Instagram

Spot mighty lions in #SouthAfrica’s game reserves with the help of our expert guides 🐾 🇿🇦
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(📸 @chris_fischer_photography)
Peek into the Himalayan Kingdom of #Bhutan & discover its extraordinary natural beauty with us 🇧🇹
Vibrant hues compliment earthy tones at every corner, especially within the hotly-anticipated #SixSensesBhutan lodges 🍂✨
📸 captured by @jamesjayasundera along his @sixsensesbhutan journey
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From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
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Staying at the beautiful @GalOyaLodge means you will experience one of Sri Lanka’s lesser-known National Parks at its very best 🌿
Take a boat safari here to see swimming elephants and a striking sunset 🐘🌅
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Cascading rice terraces greet you in #Ubud 🍃🍃🍃
Balinese women make daily offerings of vibrant flowers and fruit to the gods 🍊🍐🍌🍎🌺💐
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Sunsets at the @gallefacehotel are the best welcome to #Colombo, especially when watching their flag ceremony from the iconic checkerboard terrace with a G&T in hand 🌅
We also love the wonderful @maniumpathy_boutique_hotel, which is truly an oasis of tranquility within this city 🌿
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There are more colours to the #PinkCity than you may think... 🌸
Walk the streets of #Jaipur, past the iconic #HawaMahal (Palace of the Winds), #CityPalace & #AmerFort passing a vivid spectrum of colours as you go 🌻🌹🌿
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✨Beautiful Udaipur✨
A pleasure palace built in the 1700s, the location for Octopussy and many a love story, @tajlakepalace is so magical, you can’t quite believe your eyes
📸 @the_adventuresofus during their whirlwind tour of India 🧡🇮🇳
We’re dreaming of #Bali’s reflective sunsets today 🌅
Enjoy particularly striking views from @thelegianbali in #Seminyak
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience

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