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Beijing Nanning Hanoi Tour - 12 Days

Destination: China Vietnam
Duration: Twelve Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All year
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Travel between two of Asia's most breath-taking destinations, the Great Wall of China and Halong Bay, with this spectacular 12-day railway adventure. Starting in Beijing, this incredible itinerary takes guests on a journey through some of China's most stunning scenery.  Explore ancient natural landscapes, sacred caves, beautiful waterfalls and traditional communities, all from the ultra-modern carriages of China's high-speed trains. Truly a journey through history.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$1800/persons 1800USD/person


Day 1 - Beijing arrival

Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel.

According to your flight schedule you'll be able to visit Temple of Heaven which is notable for its architectural simplicity and its symbolism reflecting early Buddhist and Taoist beliefs. Here, emperors would forge the link between the round sky and the square earth through sacrificial rituals based on the founding principles of this ancient civilization. 

Overnight in Beijing

Day 2 - Beijing (B)

Most Chinese buildings face south, which according to ancient beliefs symbolized the barbarian threat and potential invasion from the north. This explains why the main entrance to the Forbidden City faces south towards Tiananmen Square, the third largest city square in the world.

The construction of the City was finished in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle, and served as the Imperial administrative centre throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties until the fall of the Empire in 1911. According to legend the Forbidden City is made up of 9999 different rooms.

Lovingly restored for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Forbidden City has regained the youthful and vivid colours of its former glory. Take your time during this visit to such an unforgettable destination, and make sure you spend some time in the more serene surrounding courtyards and rooms. Climbing the artificial coal hill just behind the Forbidden City provides a spectacular view of the entire site and lets you get a grasp of the layout of the whole of Beijing.

Visiting the Forbidden City can take several hours. The rest of your day will be dedicated to walks around Beihai lake where young couples come for romantic boat trips and the more lively Houhai lake which is encircled by Hutongs. Hutongs are the famous Beijing alleyways home to traditional courtyard style homes, many of which have now been converted into pedestrianised streets boasting charming little restaurants and bars.

Your walk will then lead you to the Drum Tower. Here you can attend a demonstration of how, during the Ming Dynasty, the passing of each hour was marked with a drum roll. From the top you can also admire the rooftops of the neighboring Hutongs and the Clock Tower just opposite.

Overnight in Beijing

Day 3 - Beijing (B,L)
Although, contrary to popular myth, the Great Wall cannot be seen from the moon, it is nonetheless one of the most famous symbols of China and should not be missed. You have to go back to the Qin Dynasty over 2000 years ago to find the first traces of defensive walls that were slowly unified and linked under the greater restoration project of the Ming Dynasty and created the Wall we know today.

The Wall stretches for over 6000km from ancient Manchuria to the fort at Jiayuguan at the edge of the Gobi desert in the west, one of the world's most hostile environments to where criminals were banished in ancient China.

Running along high ridges, the Wall offered an excellent vantage point to the north allowing watch tower guards to raise the alarm on any potential threat from invading barbarian hordes. The wall was also high enough to slow the progress of expert Mongol Cavaliers who were forced to dismount in order to continue their attack.

You will visit Mutianyu section (2 hours from Beijing) .If you feel like the long walk up to the Wall is too much, you can take the cable car.

Depending on time, you will also be able to have a picnic on the Great Wall whilst admiring the stunning, rugged scenery all around.

Once back in Beijing, you will visit the Summer Palace. At one time a simple imperial garden, the site was totally redesigned by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th Century becoming one of the capital's major sites. The Imperial Court used to relocate to the Summer Palace during the summer months to escape the stifling heat of the Forbidden City. A mix of temples pavilions, lakes, pagodas and gardens make up this harmonious representation of Chinese culture and architecture. The Long Corridor, the Marble Boat, Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill are the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens.

Transfer back to your hotel (Summer Palace is located around 45 minutes from city center).

Overnight in Beijing

Day 4 - Beijing / Luoyang (B)
You will be transferred to the train station for a high speed train to Luoyang.

Expected departure time: 10:05 am

Expected arrival time: 14:01 am

You will be welcomed by your local guide and driver and be transferred to Longmen Grottoes (which literally means ¡°Dragon Door¡±) located 13km from Luoyang, the ancient capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty!

 At the end of the Han Empire (206 BC- 220 AD) and towards the beginning of the third century AD, the region became the home of various small kingdoms. After some time, the Tuoba, a Turkish-speaking people from the north who were often considered by the Chinese as barbarians, unified the area, founded the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD), installed their first capital in Datong and moved in 494 AD to Luoyang. Now, locals and tourists can admire the remains of this Dynasty in both cities.

In the fifth century, the Wei converted to Buddhism and adapted to the traditional Chinese roots of the area. This later gave birth to the creation of the Yungang Grottoes and Longmen Grottoes, now UNESCO listed and considered as a perfect example of Chinese Buddhist rock art of the period.

The caves are spread over a kilometre on both sides of the Yi River. They started to be sculpted during the Northern Wei Dynasty, and then this was continued in the Sui and Tang dynasties that followed.

You will see ¨C amongst others ¨C the Cave of 10,000 Buddhas on the west bank, and on the east bank the Ancestor Worshipping Cave, in particular known for its 17 metre tall seated Buddha.

Note: you can benefit further from your time in the region and take in both the White Horse Temple, built in the 1st century AD and taken to be the main Buddhist Temple in China, and the world-famous Shaolin Temple which is located between Luoyang and Zhengzhou, a true home of Chinese martial arts. Consult us for more information.

Overnight in Luoyang

Day 5 - Luoyang / Zhengzhou / Guilin (B,L)
Transfer with your driver and guide to Zhengzhou (located 135km/84 miles away and taking two hours to reach), from where you will take the express train to Guilin.

Expected departure time: 10:53 am

Expected arrival time: 6:18 pm

Note: a packed lunch will be given to you by your guide before taking the train. Nonetheless, we advise you to additionally buy sufficient provisions at the train station before boarding.

Your local guide and driver will meet you and transport you towards the city upon arrival.

Welcome to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region! This region is best known for its numerous minorities and its fantastic countryside of rocky peaks bordering the Li River, uncountable caves, the Longsheng terrace paddy fields and the Detain waterfalls. This portion of your voyage will be the nature portion.

Overnight in Guilin

Day 6 - Guilin / Longsheng / Guilin (B,L)

Transfer to the Longsheng area, and more precisely to the Huangluo Yao village, located around 85km from Guilin and taking around two hours to reach (dependant on traffic). The village is inhabited by people of the Red Yao minority, one of the many branches of a complex ethnic family. Yao women are characterised by their long black hair which they, according to tradition, don't have the right to cut until they are 16, at which age it is reckoned they are ready to find a husband. The grandmother keeps the cut-off hair, which she then gives to the family of the girl's future husband as a form of souvenir. Competitions take place in the region to honour the woman with the longest hair, the most recent of which was won by a woman whose hair had reached 1.75m in length! Walk in the village.

Visit and soft walk on the ¡°Dragon's Backbone¡± (Longji), as it is commonly known, one of the most beautiful stretches of rice terraces in the country. Today the region looks like a succession of humongous staircases, along which sit various small villages typical to the Dong, Miao, Yao, and above all Zhuang minorities. You will visit through two villages particularly worthy of note, Zhongliu and Tiantouzhai (from where you get one of the most spectacular panoramas of the surrounding area).

Note : Part of the cultivation process means that the rice paddies are saturated with water, shining like millions of little mirrors during the month of May and through part of summer. In September they are a dazzling green up until the start of the harvest in October, from the start of autumn taking on a wheat colour. It is not advised to travel here between December and March, during which time the snow and fog can spoil the spectacle.

Transfer back to Guilin.

Overnight in Guilin

Day 7 - Guilin / Nanning /Mingshi (B)

Transfer to Guilin train station for a high speed train to Nanning

Expected departure time: 10:20 am

Expected arrival time: 1 pm

Arrival at Nanning train station, transfer with your guide and driver to Mingshi (200km, taking approximately a four hour drive). The first part of the drive will follow a highway, before you then take a superb national road bordered by ¡®sugarloaves' and rice paddies.

Arrival at the hotel (either Mingshi Mountain Village or Art Hotel). Mingshi Mountain Village (deluxe category) is perfectly located alongside the Mingshi River and at the foot of an imposing rocky peak. ¡®Art Hotel' (superior category) is located approximately 200 meters away on the other side of the peak, along the road. Clients staying at Art Hotel can benefit from all the services available at Mingshi Mountain Hotel.

Night in Mingshi.

Day 8 - Mingshi (B)

Transfer with your driver and guide to the Detian waterfalls, located around 40km away and taking a little more than an hour to reach by a road offering some stunning vistas¡­ 40 meters high, 200 meters wide and split over three levels, these are the biggest waterfalls in Asia and are shared between China and Vietnam. Against a backdrop of the waterfalls, Karst Mountains (sugarloaves) rise up on the Vietnamese side, making Detian one of the most beautiful sites of the province.

A soft walk of around two hours allows you to admire the waterfalls and all of their intricacies. You can also arrange a short raft trip (optional) if you wish to get a closer look.

Transfer back to Mingshi. Afternoon at leisure. You will have then two options:

Relaxing option: go for a dip in the swimming pool, found at the river's edge; use the outdoor Jacuzzi; or enjoy the spa (the rooms are dotted all around the swimming pool, services are not included in the price). Relax in one of the restaurants bordering the river and take in the peaceful surrounding countryside¡­

The region is also well known for raft trips along the Mingshi River (price not included, make inquiries with your guide).

Fishing sessions are also organized for amateurs.

Sporting option: you can book one of the hotel's bicycles (price not included), and set off with your guide on one of four proposed routes departing from the hotel (there are excellent maps available from reception):

- Luck Line (6.8km): a simple but pleasant loop that twice takes you across the Mingshi River and passes through several villages, of which Longleng and Naguan are just off the main route.

- Happiness Line (13.7km): this route snakes around sites of natural beauty with original names such as ¡°the Wedding Night¡±, the ¡°Phoenix looking at the Sun¡± or the ¡°Kiss of the Heavenly Lion¡±. It also crosses the river twice and passes through several villages away from the main route.

- Hero Line (20.5km): the longest of the four options and which does not cross the river, instead taking you through surrounding areas with a wide variety of plant life comprising, amongst other things, bamboo, maples, silk-cotton trees (also known as ¡°ceiba¡± or ¡°kapok¡±), and fields of sugarcane. You will pass through the town of Kanxu and several villages.

-Discovery Line (18km): while the three other itineraries have some sections in common, this one is entirely different which makes it the perfect complement to those three for anyone wishing to extend their route.

Walking routes are also well marked who would prefer to walk.

Night in Mingshi

Day 9 - Mingshi / Friendship pass / Lang Son / Halong (B)

Transfer by car to Youyiguan Scenic Area Parking lot (located 150 km away, it will take around 3 hours depending on the traffic) where you will takes a shuttle bus (it will take less than 5 minutes) to the Chinese border.

Upon arrival at the Lang Son Border, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to Halong Bay (190 km, 5h).

Halong Bay is one of the wonders of the world with over 1,500 km2 and 3,000 islets. Many tales have been woven about the creation of Halong Bay, or Bay of Descending Dragon. Folk law describes that, the Bay's islands and islets were created when dragons, sent by gods, spat jewels and jade into the area to protect the people of Vietnam from invaders.

Arrive in Halong City, check in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Halong City.

Day 10 - Halong Bay (B,L,D)
This morning, after breakfast check out at your hotel and arrive at your jetty towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat's itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight on Halong Bay.

Day 11 - Halong Bay - Hanoi (B)

Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi (150 km, 4h)

Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Arrive in Hanoi and check in at your hotel.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 12 - Hanoi - Departure (B)

After breakfast, you will embark on a half-day city tour to discover the charming and historical sites in this thousands years old city. Depart your hotel for Hanoi's Old Quarter also known as the ¡®36 streets'. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. Stop at Ngoc Son temple. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.

Continue to the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam's past.

Finish by a visit to the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president's house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading to Noi Bai International Airport for your onward flight.



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