CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing Logo China (1)
Back to Listing

Far from the madding crowd: rural highlights of Southern China

18 days from £7,675 per person

This itinerary features in our Top Ten Romantic Holidays.

China has four of the world's eight most populous cities and has become associated with hordes of workers pedalling to their jobs or squashing unpleasantly onto the subway. However, South China is a treasure trove of peaceful rural towns in jaw-dropping settings. From lush bamboo forests with giant pandas to traditional Tibetan mountain villages, this five province tour has something to suit all tastes.

Start your journey with a luxury stay in Shanghai to first observe and fully appreciate the size and throbbing activity of the world's largest city. Twenty-four million people jostle together in this melting pot that is a modern Chinese megacity. From here you'll be whisked away to Chengdu to see a very different kind of city. With a relaxed tea house culture and a cooler climate, Chengdu is the best place to see the poster child for world wildlife conservation: the giant panda. At the Panda Research Institute there is the opportunity to hold a baby panda. Chengdu is also the capital of China's most famous - and spiciest - regional cuisine; Sichuanese. Beware the Gōng bǎo jī dīng (kung-pao chicken)!

After two city stops it is finally time to unwind in the mountains of Yunnan Province. Lijiang is a listed UNESCO world heritage site and sits at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, an alpine range soaring to a dizzying height of 5,596 meters. Dubbed "The Venice of the Orient" for its many canals running through sedate alleyways, Lijiang Old Town is home to the Naxi ethnic minority who are descended from Tibetan nomadic tribes, practice animism and have a matriarchal society. The scenic drive following the Jinsha river up to Shangri-La is a highlight and allows for an unforgettable trekking stop en route in the vertiginous chasm that is Tiger Leaping Gorge. One can't help but absorb the tranquillity of Shangri-La; a traditionally Tibetan town on the edge of the world's highest plateau. The fascinating Buddhist temples, peerless panoramic views and idyllic trekking are quite a winning combination but there'll be time to acclimatise during a rest day as the altitude is over 3,000m. 

From rugged mountains to tamed ones, you'll next visit Longsheng in Guanxi Province and stay in a lodge overlooking the most impressive set of rice terraces that China has to offer: Lóngjí Tītián, or "Dragon's Backbone". An astonishing achievement of agricultural landscaping and an incredibly photogenic sight. In the town of Guilin you'll board a riverboat for a scenic cruise down the Li River. The landscape is a carpet of rich verdure and green agriculture punctured  by the jagged, towering limestone karst mountains. The boat will land you in Yangshuo from where you can explore the area on a gentle bicycle ride.

Last stop in Hong Kong is a return to a cosmopolitan jungle but done in style with a stay at The Upper House which is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Boutique Hotels. Enjoy the haute cuisine, colonial sights, shopping and nightlife of this culture capital before flying home desperate to return! 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.

This is purely a suggested itinerary, so it can be booked as it is or used as a starting point for creating your own luxury tailor-made tour of China. If you'd like to see similar trips, take a look at our Family Holiday and Active Tour collections; as well as our favourite Mountains & Trekking and Culinary Tour itineraries.


Itinerary details

18 days from £7,675 per person

Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 14 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 14
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 2 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 2
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 4 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 4
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 5 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 5
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 6 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 6
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 7 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 7
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 8 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 8
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 1 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 1
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 9 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 9
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 10 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 10
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 11 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 11
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 12 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 12
Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 13 Far From The Madding Crowd Rural Highlights Of Southern China 13

Key

35.86166,104.19539699999996,4
Travelling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, 'I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.
Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

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 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
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
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
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

From our Instagram

Our India specialists are off... ✈️
.
They’ll be whisked straight to the divine #TajLakePalace in #Udaipur upon arrival! 🇮🇳
.
Get in touch with us to stay at this heritage hotel, which has been a firm Ampersand favourite for years
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Monks in #Myanmar (#Burma) 🇲🇲
.
Buddhism runs strong through the country’s veins - not only are 90% of the Burmese Buddhist, but many children are monks in training and call ancient monasteries home 🧘🏽‍♂️
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
In #Japan, the lesser-known plum tree (‘ume’ #梅) blossoms in February - March 🌺
.
Visit at this time to admire these special flowers and beat the crowds that swarm the country during cherry blossom peak season 🌸
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Fine red shells blend seamlessly into the powdery white seashore of the #KomodoIslands to create this natural wonder - the otherworldly #PinkBeach 🏄🏼‍♀️🌊
.
Dive into its crystal-clear aquamarine waters to explore one of the richest marine environments on Earth 🌏
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Set within an inviting oasis of elegant palms and eucalyptus trees, #Amanbagh stays true to its name 🍃(‘Peaceful garden’ in Sanskrit and Hindi) 🇮🇳
.
One of @jamesjayasundera’s favourite hotels in the world, #Ampersand believe that there’s no better place to enjoy rural #Rajasthan than this luxurious idyll
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
We’re dreaming of #Bali’s reflective sunsets today 🌅
.
Enjoy particularly striking views from @thelegianbali in #Seminyak
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
✨Ampersand’s ‘Top 10 Swimming Pools’ hotlist - 2019 ✨
.
Check our TOP TEN'S #Highlights to be tempted to dive into the hottest hotels’ new pools, as well as some of our firm old favourites across Asia... 🏊🏻‍♂️💧
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Has #ChineseNewYear inspired you to visit this fascinating country? It certainly has for us! 🇨🇳
.
Explore #China on a tailor-made tour with us to delve into its rich culture, taste its world-renowned cuisine & stay at the exquisite #AmanSummerPalace
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
The mysterious allure of #Namibia never fails to draw us in 🇳🇦
.
Misty layers, endless plains and silhouetted trees stretch as far as the eye can see
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences