Gourmet & Garden Tour

Inclusions:  air & rail transportation in China as described in the itinerary in economy or standard class, accommodation in 4 star hotels, services of local English-Speaking guides, Guest Lecturer – Brian Holton, tour manager, use of private coach for sightseeing,  breakfast throughout, main meals as referred to in the itinerary, porterage, pre-tour information pack, advice on obtaining your visa

Not included: international flights to and from Beijing, travel & cancellation insurance (this is essential), alcoholic drinks with meals, tipping (suggested budget £5.00 per person per day), visa fees , laundry, personal expenditure, some main meals (see itinerary), airport transfers in Beijing and Macau.

How to Book: Please read our terms & conditions booking conditions and e-mail info@.com for a booking form.

Gourmet & Garden Tour

Beijing – Xian – Chengdu – Shanghai – Suzhou – Macau

17 – 30 October 2014

This visit to China has been planned for lovers of Chinese cuisine and encompasses the four culinary regions of China :Beijing – representing the north – where the food is ‘rich in flavour & well-seasoned’ , the lower Yangtze with its abundance of fish and judicious use of cooking oils, Sichuan which is renowned for being ‘hot and peppery’ and Guangdong cuisine which is ‘sweet & lightly cooked’ (but no pineapple, please..).

Seeking out the best restaurants and latest eateries in each town, we plan to savour the most typical regional and seasonal dishes, homestyle cooking, street food, and some of Chinese ‘nouvelle‘ and fusion cuisine, with a lesson in Chinese cookery for good measure. We have chosen to finish our tour in Macau for the unique  fusion of Portuguese and Chinese customs and cuisine and its chilled atmosphere.

It won’t only be about the food though – if this is your first visit to China, we will make sure that you see the most important sights, with a strong emphasis on the gardens of China in Suzhou, visits to the best museums, and the less frequented parts of the Great Wall.

We will also make use, where possible, of the new high speed train network, which allows the first-time visitor to see China at eye-level: journeys which used to demand an overnight in a sleeper are now accomplished in a matter of hours.

The tour will be led by Brian Holton, sinologist, translator, poet, musician, and  dedicated eater. He has a profound knowledge of Chinese history, art and literature.

Day 1 Depart Home Airport

Depart UK – on flight (own arrangements)

Day 2: Arrive Beijing

Most flights from Europe arrive in Beijing during the mid-morning. On arrival go through customs and immigration. Own transfer to the Beijing International Hotel .(more information with final pack) Afternoon free. Meet Brian Holton and brief introduction to programme, followed by Hutong Tour & dinner in one of the restaurants in the thriving Hou Hai area. D

Day 3: In Beijing

After breakfast guided visit to Forbidden City, National Museum of China and Temple of Heaven. Light lunch – own arrangements in Drum Tower area
Dinner at Da Dong Beijing Duck restaurant. B,D

Day 4: Beijing

Visit to Great Wall at Mutianyu. Lunch at local restaurant The Home of the Great Wall  with terrace overlooking Great Wall.
Return to Beijing,  via the Ming Tombs – visit Chang Ling, stop at a Jade Carving Factory and make a photo stop at the Olympic Park for the Birds Nest Stadium.
Dinner hotpot at Dong Lai Shun. B,L,D

Day 5: Train to Xian

After breakfast, transfer to Beijing West railway station for the high speed train to Xian, journey time 4 hours & 42 minutes. On arrival meeting by local guide and transfer to the Grand Noble Hotel , visit to Drum and Bell Towers, and City Wall. Dinner in local restaurant within walking distance of hotel. B, D

Day 6: Xian

In Xian – visit the Terracotta Army site at Xian Yang, return to city centre for light lunch and in the afternoon visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum with its Tang frescoes.
Dinner in one of the restaurants near the Great Wild Goose Pagoda. B, L, D

Day 7: Xian - Chengdu by air

After breakfast, check out of hotel.  En route to airport, visit Han Yang Ling tombs and  excavations. Continue to airport for flight to Chengdu. Own arrangements for lunch – at airport. Arrive Chengdu, visit the Tang Poet Du Fu’s ‘thatched cottage’  set in an extensive park and stay in Buddha Zen Hotel for two nights. In the evening enjoy a Sichuan style meal. B, D

Day 8: Chengdu

Today visit the Ancient irrigation system masterminded by Li Bing in 256BC at Dujiangyan outside Chengdu, Sichuan homestyle cooking for lunch and visit to Qing Cheng Daoist Mountain and also see some Sichuan Embroidery. Evening free. B, L

Day 9: Chengdu - Shanghai

In the morning visit the excavations at San Xing Dui – bronze masks and sculptures, gold and jade, believed to be up to 5000 years old. Return to the airport for the flight  to Shanghai, – from the heart of China to the Eastern seaboard. On arrival meeting and transfer to the Sunrise on the Yangtze Hotel  Dim sum Dinner at Ding Tai Feng near the Yu Yuan Garden and Old City Temple area. B, D

Day 10: Shanghai

Half day Chinese cookery session and enjoy the results of your lesson for lunch. In the afternoon, free time to visit Shanghai Museum or to visit Nanjing Road and a pearl market. Dinner at one of the fashionable Western Style restaurants either Willys or one of the Bund Restaurants. B, L, D

Day 11: Suzhou

Early morning departure by high speed train to Suzhou. Visit the Garden of the Master of the Nets, and Lingering Garden. Take a short ride on the canals of Suzhou and visit Suzhou Museum. Light lunch and dinner in local restaurant (fish).
Stay at the Aster Hotel for 2 nights. B, L, D

Day 12: Suzhou

Visit to  Garden of the Humble Administrator, Tiger Hill and Hanshan Temple (depending on weather),  own arrangements for lunch in Suzhou, farewell dinner in the evening. B, D

Day 13: Suzhou - Shanghai - Macau

Morning transfer to Shanghai Pudong Airport for flight to Macau, on arrival transfer to Grand Emperor Hotel (or similar)for a two night stay. Meet for dinner in a local restaurant. B, D

Day 14: Macau

Relax in Macau or take Jetfoil to visit Hong Kong Island. Meet for dinner. B, D

Day 15: Depart Macau

Our journey ends today, Hong Kong Airport is an easy Jetfoil ride from Macau

Note on restaurants: In the months before departure, we will research the most interesting and authentic restaurants to eat in, based on our own experience, personal recommendation and top web-sites. A restaurant list will be sent out prior to departure, we will also leave one or two gaps – so we can be impromptu once we are on the spot, because these can often be the best experiences.

Booking information

Dates : Commence 17 October in Beijing, end 30 October in Macau

Cost :  £2288.00  (land arrangements in China & Macau)

Single room supplement : £458.00

Deposit : £150.00 (non-refundable)

Minimum numbers : We need a minimum of 14 people to operate at the published tariff