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Facing extinction in the 1980s as large sections of its habitat were destroyed, the giant panda population of China has grown in leaps and bounds due to sustained efforts to save this lovable creature.
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Chengdu, via Shanghai.
On arrival in Chengdu, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel.'
Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Chengdu's giant pandas on one of the highlights of this tour - a trip to the Panda Conservation Centre, where you'll be rewarded with a close-up viewing of baby and adult pandas lounging in enclosures built to imitate their natural habitat. Enjoy a morning to observe them at play before continuing on to the Shu Brocade Museum where you can marvel at this intricate method of embroidery. See parents playing Cupid at Matchmaker's Corner in the People's Park then sample fragrant, local teas at a traditional tea house before returning to your hotel.
Your second memorable panda experience takes you to the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Watch these lovable animals playing, napping and eating as you stroll around multiple enclosures. Look out for the 'overseas returnees' - all pandas born abroad have to be returned to China by the age of 2. Next, take in centuries-old pagodas and buildings on a visit to picturesque Jiezi Ancient Town. Return to Chengdu for a flavourful Sichuan dinner.
Experience China's high-speed rail network as a bullet train carries you to Xi'an. After check-in and lunch at your hotel, delve into the sights of Xi'an as you stroll along the ancient city walls, built as fortifications in the 14th century. This evening, enjoy a taste of tradition as you feast on traditional Shui jiao dumplings and watch a riveting Tang Dynasty dance performance.
After breakfast, uncover the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Terracotta Warriors, an 8,000-strong army created so that no two warriors look alike. Explore these cavernous underground vaults then witness how replicas of these figures are skilfully crafted at the Art Ceramics and Lacquer Exhibition Centre. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Beijing, with the remainder of the day to relax after checking into your hotel.
Marvel at one of mankind's greatest feats as you stroll the Great Wall of China, taking in a mere portion of this formidable structure which took over 1,800 years to construct. Access the wall at the Juyongguan Pass, which also boasts beautiful waterside temples and towers. After lunch, explore the intricate pieces on display at the Jade Museum then take in the ancient royal residence of the Summer Palace. This evening, an entertaining Chinese acrobatic show rounds off the day.
Discover Beijing's long, imperial history on today's full day city tour. Explore Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square, under the watchful eye of Chairman Mao's large, central portrait. From here, enter the vast Forbidden Palace and wander its 9,999 rooms and chambers before travelling onward to the tranquil Temple of Heaven. Later this evening, dine on fragrant Peking duck and enjoy an outdoor dance performance.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, via Shanghai, or continue on to your chosen extension.
A visa is required for entry into China. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is approximately £189.00 when calling the Travel Visa Company, they will advise you of the most up to date fees. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are valid for unlimited trips to China for 2 years from the date of issue. Therefore, we recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 10 days cover||£37||£72||£104|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai with China Eastern (MU) departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage providing the exterior dimensions (height length width) do not exceed 115cm and 5kg in weight. Weight restrictions will be finalised on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that check-in should be three hours before your flight departure time. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and able mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in China is the Renminbi, known as RMB or CNY. It is often referred to as the yuan.
We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. US Dollars are widely accepted in China should you want alternative currency.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approx. £500 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. There are some optional tours available to purchase locally and these generally need to be paid in cash. Therefore, please allow an additional £100 if you wish to book any of these. For an additional CNY3000 cash you are able to be photographed next to one of the pandas at the Chengdu breeding centre - please note 3 days notice must be given to your guide if you wish to do this. It is customary to tip your national guide, local guide and driver. Please allow approximately £45 per person for the duration of your tour. For your convenience, this will be collected by your National Guide on the first day of your tour in Shanghai. Tips are collected in Chinese Yuan.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|17 Oct 2018||25 Oct 2018|
|21 Nov 2018||29 Nov 2018||£1499|
|23 Jan 2019||31 Jan 2019||£1299|
|13 Feb 2019||21 Feb 2019||£1399|
|06 Mar 2019||14 Mar 2019||£1499|
|27 Mar 2019||04 Apr 2019||£1599|
|24 Apr 2019||02 May 2019||£1699|
|15 May 2019||23 May 2019||£1749|
|12 Jun 2019||20 Jun 2019||£1899|
|11 Sep 2019||19 Sep 2019||£1799|
|09 Oct 2019||17 Oct 2019||£1649|
|13 Nov 2019||21 Nov 2019||£1599|
The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction and/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.
Please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
Towering skyscrapers form the backdrop to Hong Kong's busy harbour whilst the street markets that fill the teeming alleys remain untouched by western influences. Explore Hong Kong and Kowloon at your own pace during this extension which includes a half day city tour.
This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.
From the ancient waterways of the Mekong Delta to the bustling cities of Hanoi and Saigon, this captivating tour is a great introduction to this unique and vibrant country.
This 10 day, 8 night tour is the perfect way to explore the highlights of China.
Wander through terraced rice paddies and palm-clad hills as you follow northern Vietnam's scenic rural walking trails, visiting the majestic Hieu Waterfall, remote village settlements, Pu Luong Nature Reserve and spectacular Ninh Binh.