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Dynastic Discovery: Exploring China's Heartland

14 days from £4,945 per person

China's origins are enigmatic and not widely understood: a vague vision of vast armies, endless defensive walls, all-powerful emperors and the rise and fall of countless dynasties. The real story is even more exciting and interesting. Find out for yourself on a personally tailored tour taking in the highlights of the Han Chinese heartland.

Start your journey with a stay in Beijing. The capital of today was the seat of power at various times over the last 1,700 years and is undoubtedly the core of modern communist China. Discover the Ming and Qing imperial indulgences in the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace while experiencing the morphing, thriving China of today all around you. A trip to the lesser visited Jinshanling section of The Great Wall will leave your mind reeling, particularly if you choose to experience the aerial views on a helicopter ride as a supplement.

Pre-revolution China was an intricate web of cart tracks and well organised staging posts. That web is today overlaid with railways. Hop on a "bullet" train to Pingyao where you'll find one of China's best preserved walled cities. Wander down immaculately paved alleyways that have felt hundreds of years of footfall. Pingyao was the empire's trade and finance centre for centuries. The country's first banks were here and the world's first cheque was drafted in one of them.

Another short blast on the highspeed train will bring you to Xi'An; the first capital of unified China in the 1st century AD. Here you'll have dinner in the vibrant Muslim Quarter of the city where the Far East and the Middle East blended 13 centuries ago. The following day you'll be dumbstruck by the sheer scale and wonder of the Terracotta Army; an astonishing symbol of imperial might.

Then it’s time to relax in Hangzhou. Unwind with a couple of days exploring idyllic villages among tea plantations with Buddhist temples and monasteries or taking a boat ride on XiluLake. You’ll be left rejuvenated and ready to end the holiday in the glitzy metropolis of Shanghai. If Beijing encompasses the China of today, Shanghai is the China of tomorrow. This is one of our favourite cities in Asia with opportunities to walk along the Bund with the famed skyline as a backdrop, visit world class museums, shop, party into the small hours and dine extremely well. After this trip you'll be desperate to return year on year! This luxury holiday is purely a suggested itinerary. It can be booked as is or alternatively used as a starting point for creating your own ideal tailor made trip to China.

If you want to maximise the luxury of your holiday then a couple of hotel supplements are the best way to go. In Hangzhou we’d recommend the Amanfayun with its divine tea field and bamboo grove surroundings. The Shanghai Peninsula really knows how to spoil its guests and offers the best views of the water and the towering Pudong skyline. Both properties are Ampersand Top 10 favourites.


Itinerary details

14 days from £4,945 per person

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I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

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
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
We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
- Susan Ford, 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
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
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
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

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