China: 5 Showcase Itineraries

    China: 5 Showcase Itineraries
    By admin


    a

     

    Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

    China: 5 showcase itineraries

    China: 5 showcase itineraries
    By admin


    A destination to tick off once you're retired and already well-travelled? Not anymore. Thanks to China's greater accessibility and word of mouth about its historic and cultural wonders, the last few decades have seen it become one of the most sought after countries among Australian travellers of all ages. However, for some travellers there can be a lack of understanding about how much they can achieve on the one trip. As a consultant, you need to help them figure out what they most want to see in their chosen timeframe.

    TRAVEL TRIFECTA

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    Beijing, Xian and Shanghai are undoubtedly the three most visited cities in China, and it's not hard to see why. The cosmopolitan capital Beijing boasts some of the country's most cherished centuries-old relics, like the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall.

    Xian, which served as the nation's capital for thirteen dynasties, is home to the legendary Terracotta Warriors but is also choc-a-bloc with other historic and cultural gems, while Shanghai is an intriguing blend of East meets West. This is best exemplified in the stately buildings of Old Shanghai that line the Bund on one side of the Huangpu River and the futuristic skyscrapers of the Pudong financial district on the other. A trip taking in the three major cities will take roughly 10 days, with many operators also offering longer versions that take in other cities such as Guilin, or perhaps include a short Yangtze River cruise.

    CRUISING CAPERS

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    The Yangtze remains a highly popular choice for Australian travellers, who love to include it in their broader itineraries as part of either a first time visit or a return trip. The stars of the show are, of course, the Three Gorges. But there are also the Lesser Three Gorges and the Mini Gorges, located on Yangtze tributaries. Then there's the mind-boggling Three Gorges Dam Project and fascinating towns like Fengdu and Baidi Cheng. The average Yangtze cruise takes three days, starting in Chongqing and finishing in Yichang.

    The great thing about a Yangtze journey is that quality tour companies use luxury cruiselines such as Victoria Cruises, so you can rest assured that your clients will be well looked after, and there are plenty of shore excursions to keep things interesting.

    And there's another cruise option in the form of the Li River, with operators including the short but leisurely journey from Guilin to Yangshuo in itineraries that cover those destinations. The karst limestone formations along the way make this a highly memorable experience.

    SCENIC SPLENDOUR

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    Clients who haven't been to China may be unaware that, outside of the buzzing cities, there are some breathtakingly beautiful natural features to see. Guilin is home to several of these – boasting a number of beautiful caves in addition to its limestone peaks. The ancient town of Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, likewise offers a visual feast. World Heritage listed and notable for its Old Town, this place is also loved for its lush landscapes and spots like Tiger Leaping Gorge. Then there's Suzhou, with its classical gardens, and the equally delightful Hangzhou, where an afternoon cruise on the West Lake is an idyllic experience.

    A stunning place that's still a little off the radar is the World Heritage listed Jiuzhaigou – located in north-western Sichuan Province and best described as a fairlyland with its crystalline lakes and striking waterfalls. And still largely unknown is World heritage listed Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Provnce – its towering quartz-sandstone pillars were the inspiration for the floating rocks in James Cameron's hit film Avatar. Scenic gems like these are often added to basic China itineraries.

    ESPECIALLY EXOTIC

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    China officially has 56 ethnic groups, with the Han people making up the majority and the other 55 groups classed as ethnic minorities. So it should come as no surprise that this destination has a touch of the exotic to it. And that's especially the case when it comes to the Silk Road – which dates back over 2000 years, having once served as the major trade route between Asia and Europe. A Silk Road itinerary brings travellers face to face with some fascinating ethnic minorities, in key stopping points like Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar, with its famous Sunday Bazaar. A comprehensive Silk Road journey can take up to three weeks.

    Another place for those who have a taste for exotic travel destinations is Tibet, which is still opening up to tourism and retains an air of mystery, with its snow-capped mountains, beautiful temples and fascinating customs. Lhasa, the capital city, is known as The Roof of the World and offers noteworthy attractions like Potala Palace, Ganden Monastery and Jokhang Temple. It's not uncommon for a tour of mainland China to be followed by a trip to Tibet.

    WONDERFUL WILDLIFE

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    While not everyone will associate China with wildlife, the fact is that the giant panda – the country's unofficial symbol – is a major drawcard for travel to the destination. While they can be viewed in the major city zoos, the best place to see them is at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu, a facility that focuses on the advancement of wildlife conservation in China.

    And it's not just the pandas that you'll get to see – other endangered species that call the Research Base home include the red panda, the South China tiger and the golden monkey. A visit to the panda base can serve as a key selling point of any tour itineraries that visit this place.

    Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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