Border Information: if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY).
Welcome to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'!
There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting.
The rest of the day will be free to explore the city of Xi'an, its famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an.
In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife
This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour. We'll return to Xi'an in the afternoon and have some more free time to further explore this incredible city!
Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties - Cost: CNY 80
Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world - Cost: CNY 80
Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 - Cost: CNY 50
Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China - Cost: CNY 30
Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures - Cost: CNY 90
Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China - Cost: CNY 30
Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset - Cost: CNY 40
Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens - Cost: CNY
Today we begin our journey south of Xi'an with a drive to the beautiful Wudang Shan Mountain Reserve, the birthplace of the martial art of Taichi and the location of the filming of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'.
We will have time this afternoon and the following morning to fully explore the mountain's sights, temples and martial arts schools.
In Wudang Shan we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
This morning we will spend more time exploring Wudang Shan and the surrounding area, before setting off in the afternoon for a short drive to the pleasant city of Xiang Fan. We will also try to stop at the Purple Cloud Monastery en route.
In Xiang Fan we will stay in a local guesthouse or hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours.
Trek up the Tianzu Peak to visit the Taoist martial arts school and numerous temples on Wudang Shan
Today we will drive from Xiang Fan to Yichang, where we will catch our first glimpse of the mighty Yangtze river. Yichang is a pleasant town, and we will stop here for 1 or 2 nights, depending on the ferry schedule - either way we will have time to explore a little.
In Yichang we will stay in a friendly local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Today we will have some free time to explore Yichang and the surrounding area, prepare for our 3 day Yangtze River cruise.
We will most likely have an included visit to the incredible Three Gorges Dam today, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, although it is possible this visit may take place tomorrow depending on the ferry schedule.
We will most likely stay in our hotel in Yichang tonight, but our ferry may need to depart tonight, in which case we will have a spare day later in the trip that we can use at our discretion.
The cruise visits the main sites of the Three Gorges & new Yangtze Dam
Today we embark on our Yangtze River cruise. We travel on a local ferry boat used by local people, a much more authentic and interesting way of travelling than on a tourist cruise. We stay in shared cabins (4 members of the group to each cabin) with private bathrooms and air conditioning where possible.
The journey itself usually takes 3 days/3 nights and heads through some areas of stunning scenery, especially near the Three Gorges - the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges. The boats usually stop at the Fengdu (Ghost City), Shibaozai Tower, home to the Lanruo Dian (Orchid Temple) and at the three Lesser Gorges at various points on the trip. However due to local conditions, stops cannot always be guaranteed.
Cruise down the mighty Yangtze River for 3 nights on a local sleeper ferry
Stop off to visit the 1700-year-old Zhang Fei temple, famous for its exterior red-light decoration
Stop off at the White Emperor City, a very scenic spot featured on the Chinese 10 Yuan banknote! - Cost: CNY 180
Stop off to take a boat ride through the stunning Three Mini Gorges - Cost: CNY 220
Today we will disembark our ferry when it docks in Chongqing in the early morning, and rejoin the truck and our co-driver!
From Chongqing we have a short drive to Dazu, where we visit the Bei Shan and Baoding Shan caves, famous for their brightly-coloured freizes and carvings.
In Dazu we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Side trip to see the amazing sleeping Buddha in the Dazu Caves - Cost: CNY 135
Today we have another short drive on to the incredible city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where we will stay for 2 nights. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to explore the city's parks, streets, and museums, and visit the fascinating and incredibly photogenic Jinli Old Town.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
On the following day we will have an included visit to the fantastic Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre. We'll then return to Chengdu for another free afternoon to further explore the city.
In Chengdu we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Visit to the Giant Panda breeding centre in Chengdu
Explore the Jinsha Archeological Site, the capital of the Bronze Age Shu Kingdom who were one of the most ancient civilisations to settle in the area - Cost: CNY 80
Freely explore the narrow streets of the atmospheric Jinli Ancient Street and visit the nearby Wuhouci Shrine
- Cost: CNY 60
Explore the cobbled streets of historic Lijang - Cost: CNY 85
Explore the mountain complex of Qingcheng, one of the ancient cradles of Taoism in China - Cost: CNY 190
Visit the impressive Tang Dynasty Buddhist temple of Wenshu, containing more than 450 Buddha statues - Cost: CNY 5
Head out for an evening performance of a traditional Sichuanese Opera - Cost: CNY 220
Today we continue our journey south to the town of Leshan to visit to the Leshan Grand Buddha - at 71m tall, this statue is the largest Buddha rock carving in the world!
After our visit we will continue to the small town of Emei Shan.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
On the following day we will have a full day to explore Emei Shan Mountain, one of the holiest sites in Chinese Buddhism and the site of hundreds of temples and an incredible golden statue of the deity known as Samantabhadra. It is possible to walk all the way up the stairs from the base of the mountain, joining the many pilgrims in their journey to the temple complex at the mountain summit, or take the cable car up instead!
In Emei Shan we will stay in a local guesthouse.
Day trek up the lush mountain of Emei Shan, one of the most important pilgrimage treks in China
See the colossal Dafo Great Buddha in Leshan, the world's largest rock-carved Buddha statue
Ferry trip down the river to see the huge Dafo Buddha in Leshan - Cost: CNY 70
Take a cable car ride to the top of Emei Shan - Cost: CNY 120
Today we have a long drive south through stunning mountain scenery towards China's Yunnan province.
We will aim to stay in the town of Miyi tonight in a comfortable local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today we drive further into Yunnan province to the beautiful 'Old-China'-style town of Lijiang, the base for visiting the world famous Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.
On the following 2 days we will have free time to explore the town of Lijiang and its surroundings. One very popular excursion here is to go on a 2 day/1 night trek along the high trail above the Tiger Leaping Gorge - this is by far the best way to see the gorge from some truly incredible vantage points, and we will have the opportunity to take this trek during our time here (staying in a local guesthouse on the trail on the first night and returning to Lijiang for the second night). For those that don't want to do the full trek, your crew will also be able to arrange a trip to the low sections of the gorge, where there is a flat walkway to various viewpoints.
In Lijiang we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Explore the beautiful natural scenery and traditional buildings in the Black Dragon Pool Park - Cost: CNY 80
Head out for a day of trekking around the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, taking in some of the most incredible scenery in China on a clear day - Cost: CNY 80
Explore the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain area by cable car - Cost: CNY 280
See the incredible 'Impressions Lijiang' cultural show, demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area - Cost: CNY 270
Freely explore the area by bicycle and discover the Naxi villages surrounding Lijiang, such as the beautiful village of Baisha - Cost: CNY 20
Head out for a 2-day self-guided trek along the high ridge of the sensational Tiger Leaping Gorge - Cost: CNY 200
Go on a shorter trek along the flat base of Tiger Leaping Gorge to enjoy the scenery from below - Cost: CNY 125
Today we will drive through more stunning scenery to the beautiful Naxi town of Dali, where we will stay for 2 nights.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
On the following day we will have a free day to fully explore the area and for optional activities such as some short treks in the nearby Cangshan mountains or hiring bicycles to ride around the Dali lake.
In Dali we stay in a friendly hostel or guesthouse with good facilities.
Time for sightseeing in the lakeside town of Dali, home to the minority Bai people - Cost: CNY 40
Learn how to make dumplings and traditional Yunnanese cuisine at one of Dali's fantastic cooking classes - Cost: CNY 150
Discover the ornate 9th-century Three Pagodas of Chongsheng, some of the tallest pagodas in China's history and the symbol of Dali - Cost: CNY 120
Head out by bicycle to explore the region in depth and visit various Bai villages and Qing Dynasty bridges en route - Cost: CNY 50
Experience the incredible ancient art of cormorant fishing with the fishermen of Xizhou on Lake Erhai - Cost: CNY 100
Border information: if leaving in Kunming, you will most likely enter China at Kunming Changshui International Airport (IATA code: KMG).
Please note that if you are leaving in Kunming, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. If you plan to leave today we advise that you do not book flights for earlier than 4:00pm so that you will comfortably reach the airport on time. Please note that if you wish to have time to explore Kunming, you will likely need to stay for at least an extra night at the end of your trip.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Overnight stay in Yunnan's laid back capital, Kunming - Cost: CNY 6
Learn all about the area's minorities at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, and visit the nearby markets - Cost: CNY
Visit the Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology in Kunming, and learn all about the history of the province - Cost: CNY