Enjoy Christmas and 5 star New Year’s eve climbing the Great Wall, sightseeing in Beijing, tackling terracotta warriors & throwing snowballs at Harbin’s Ice Sculpture festival! Harbin offers special winter travel experiences like nowhere else on earth: ice and snow world, international snow sculpture art expo, ice lantern art fair, winter swimming watching, dog sledding or try the traditional – ice skating, skiing, snowmobiling or a romantic sleigh ride in the countryside.
Renown as the ‘Ice City’, Harbin, is not only rich in cultural heritage but is also famous for its beautiful natural scenery, ensuring an unforgettable tour. Harbin is famed as China’s coolest ice city for annual Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival on January 5. Lasting three months from December to February, Series of festival winter activities cover ice lantern Show, ice sculpture competition, alpine skiing, ice hotel relax, dog sledding, siberian tiger watching, winter swimming game, ice & snow carnival and firework display etc.
Being capital of the People's Republic of China, it is the nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. As one of the six ancient cities in China, it has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore the city's ancient past and exciting modern development. It has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.
As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometers (2.49 miles) from the downtown of the city. Standing in the Da Ci'en Temple complex, it attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion and its simple but appealing style of construction. This whole scenic area includes the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Daci'en Temple, and the various squares, gardens and other facilities around.
Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Arrive Beijing Airport and included transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time.
This morning, we explore the centre of Beijing, including massive Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City. Boasting some 9999 rooms, the city within a city was once the sole preserve of the Chinese emperors. This afternoon we take rickshaws to the Hutongs areas of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses, we gain a fascinating snapshot into the city’s traditional way of life.
Merry Christmas. Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Climbing the Great Wall on Xmas day, now that’s something special. The wall is a little steep in sections, but the photo opportunities are worth a million dollars! Afterwards we visit a cloisonne workshop.
Today we start with a sightseeing tour of the Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake. The lake may be frozen solid but there is no chance of ice skating on it. This afternoon we visit the famed Silk Alley markets, boasting more than 1000 stores and every souvenir imaginable. Later this evening we travel by overnight train to Luoyang. En route we’ll get an opportunity to view the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium – commonly referred to as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ and Aquatic Centre.
Arrive Luoyang and transfer to our hotel. Later we explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Longman Caves. Carved into the cliffs along the Yi River, the 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Creating temples within the caves they then sculpted and decorated the interior with 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples. Experts consider the Longman Caves to be the artistic triumph of all Buddhist stone carvings. Later this afternoon we tour the stunning White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.
Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to witness and maybe even partake in a little local exercise. Hundreds of local people enjoy their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the early hours of the morning. It’s a marvel to watch!
Today, we visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site where some 7,000 warriors stand in battle ready position and a factory that shows how the terracotta figurines were crafted. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance.
Xi’an – Harbin. This morning we bike ride (solo or tandem) on top of the amazing old City Wall, offering unique views of the city and residents going about their daily lives. Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque, with time to explore.
Today, we hit Sun Island Park for the Harbin Ice Festival. The festival is open to visitors from 20 Dec, (though the official festival opening occurs on 05 Jan). This is a wonderful time to visit as sculptors will still be adding final touches to their masterpieces. This evening we head out to Zhaolin Park for the enchanting Ice Lantern Garden Party. Ice blocks standing some 8 metres tall, resembling giant ice lollies are sculpted into the most unusual designs; a rooster, a dragon boat, a pair of cupids fluttering in the heavens and a cavalry about to do battle. Each is lit up with hundreds of Traditional Chinese lanterns and a multitude of neon creating the most spectacular photo opportunities. Before the stroke of midnight we will take a prized position our hotel bar. Ring in the new year with plenty of lights, ice and ‘local Maitai firewater spirit’. Before the stroke of midnight we will take a prized position in our hotel bar. Ring in the New Year with plenty of lights, ice and local ‘Dragon Fire – Spirit’.
Harbin – Beijing. Happy New Year. We spend the day at leisure enjoying the festivities at the Harbin Snow and Ice World. Imagine sliding down a 100m ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China. You can pick up some serious speed if wearing a slick winter coat. Climbing to the top of a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers, guard house, moat and seven ached bridge or sail away on Empress Dowager Cixi’s ice marble boat. Living up to its name the ‘Ice World’ is totally beyond imagination, unusual, enchanting, inspiring and down right bizarre.
Arrival into Beijing, hotel breakfast and onward departure transfer to the airport.