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Ethnic Minorities & Giant Pandas

B-109B: 21 Days China Tours from Brussels Belgium to Beijing Chengdu Lijiang Dali Kunming Shanghai
  • Itinerary
Day 1 Brussels - Beijing
When planning a China tour from Belgium, the first thing one should consider is the international flight. We would like to suggest you choose Beijing as your first destination since there are some direct flights from Brussels to Beijing every week. According to the current flight schedule, the flight HU492 1340/0555+1 from China Hainan Airlines and its code-shared flight SN4115 1340/0555+1 from Brussels Airlines are available every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You will arrive at Beijing Capital Airport after 10 hours and 15 minutes' flight. If you happen to travel on Monday or Wednesday, you may first take Finnair flight AY812 1140/1515 to Helsinki, have a stopover there for 3 hours, and then transit to the flight AY051 1820/0655+1. In this case, you will spend 13 hours and 15 minutes for the whole journey. For people come from Bruges, Antwerp, Oulu or Gent, they can travel to Brussels and then take a flight to Beijing.
Day 2 Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Upon landing at Beijing Capital Airport, you should find a way to the hotel you booked before, and the 4-star Days Inn Joiest near the Qiaowan subway station of line 7 is recommended by us. From the airport, you can take the shuttle bus line 7 to Qianmen Dajie Nankou, and then walk east for 550 yards, you will reach the hotel. The bus fare is CNY 24 per person. Alternatively, you can get to the hotel by taxi directly, and the cab fare may cost you around CNY120. 

If it's too early for check-in, you may deposit your luggage in the reception center of the hotel and then have your lunch in a nearby restaurant. Besides, you can get familiar with the surroundings like the streets, roads, bus stops and subway stations at your convenience. After lunch, start your Beijing tour from Belgium with the Summer Palace. Walk east for 200 yards to take subway line 7 from Qiaowan Station to Caishikou, and change to line 4 to Beigongmen Station. Take Exit D and walk west for a couple of minutes to enter the park from its north gate. After the visit, you can reverse the trip back to the hotel and have a good rest. 

Accommodation Suggestion: Days Inn Joiest Beijing
Day 3 Beijing
For today's backpacking China itinerary, we suggest you visit the top attractions in the city center, including Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Jingshan Park

After the breakfast in the hotel, take a taxi to the Tiananmen Square directly with a fare of CNY15. Wandering around the square, you can see the Great Hall of the People, Monument to People's Heroes and National Museum of China as well as Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao. Facing the north, you will see the Tiananmen Tower, through which you will get to the entrance of the Forbidden City. Before entering, we suggest you buy a map so that you will easily find your way in the large palace museum. Besides, both multi-language tour guides and audio guides are available at the Tourist Service Center, and you can hire either for your preference. Generally, touring along the central axis is the best way to explore the museum, and the entire sightseeing may take 2 - 3 hours.

Leaving from the North Gate, the Gate of Devine Prowess, you will see the entrance of the Jingshan Park across the road. At the top of Jingshan Hill, you can have a full view of the Forbidden City. Exiting the park from the west gate, you will reach the West Jingshan Street. A great deal of restaurants gathers there, and you can select a decent one for your supper. At last, return to the hotel by taxi at cost of CNY20.
Day 4 Beijing
Jinshanling Great Wall
Hiking along the Great Wall will be a lifetime experience in your China tour from Brussels Belgium. Besides the famous sections of Badaling and Mutianyu, we strongly recommend you the Jinshanling Great Wall, which is located about 80 miles northeast of downtown Beijing. 

Take subway line 7 from Qiaowan Station for one stop to Ciqikou, and then transfer to line 5 to Datunlu East Station, where you can connect to line 15 to Wangjing West. Take Exit C and go across the road, you can take the special tourist bus to Jinshanling Great Wall directly. There is only one bus available, leaving at 08:00 and returning at 15:00. The bus ride is about two hours. If you miss the bus, you can take a bus to Luanping at the same bus stop, and when you arrive at Jinshanling Service Center, change to a free shuttle bus to Jinshanling Great Wall. When you finish the hiking, please get back to the parking lot in front of the Great Wall by 15:00, when the last shuttle bus returns to Jinshanling Service Area. Get on a coach back to Beijing at the service area and then take subway back to your hotel.
Day 5 Beijing
Today, you are going to continue exploring the spots in downtown Beijing, and the attractions like Temple of Heaven, Yonghe Lamasery and Hutongs are highly recommended by TravelChinaGuide. The Temple of Heaven is about 1,000 yards from your hotel, so you are suggested to make your way there on foot. From the hotel, walk eastwards along the Zhushikou East Street for 650 yards, and at the crossing you should turn south to Qi'nian Street. For another 500 yards' walking, you will reach the north entrance of the park. In the morning, there are a lot of seniors doing their daily practice, such as Tai Chi, sword playing and square dance. 

After sightseeing in the temple, you are supposed to leave from the eastern gate of the park. There you can take subway line 5 to Yonghegong. Use Exit C, and enter Yonghe Lamasery from its west gate. Two hours is enough to have a thorough sightseeing inside the lamasery. Get out from the north gate, take subway line 2 to Gulou Dajie, and transfer to line 8 to Shichahai Station. There are many old courtyards and alleys scattered in Shichahai Area, and the best way to tour is to rent a man-powered rickshaw to get around those hutongs, such as Mao'er Hutong, Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street, and Fangzhuanchang Hutong. You can have your dinner in a fancy restaurant there. At last, take a taxi back to the hotel at a cost of CNY25.
Day 6 Beijing - Chengdu
The next destination of your China holiday tour is Chengdu City, the hometown of giant pandas. Check out with luggage in the morning, and take a taxi to the airport for the onward flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival in Chengdu, find the way to the hotel. We suggest you the Holiday Inn Express Chengdu Wuhou located at Erhuan Road. You can take a taxi from the airport to the hotel directly at a cost of around CNY50. 

After check-in, you can make your way to the nearby Wuhou Temple and Jinli Street. From the hotel, walk southeast along the Erhuan Road for 200 yards, and turn east to Shengqiao Road for another 130 yards, you will get to the Hongpailou bus stop. There you can take bus No. 1 to Wuhouci directly. After alighting, you will see the Wuhou Temple across the road. After visiting the temple, you can explore the adjoining Jinli Street. The street is lined with snack vendors, restaurants and craft shops, and you can taste local food there. After pampering your stomach, take a taxi back to the hotel at a cost of CNY15.

Accommodation Suggestion: Holiday Inn Express Chengdu Wuhou
Day 7 Chengdu
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is always the most popular attraction for most visitors. According to our experience, the best time to visit the pandas is 08:30-10:00 during their breakfast time when they are very active. We advise you get there before 08:30 to select a good position to take photos. You can walk to Hongpailou Bus Stop to take bus No. 1, get off at Zhaojue Henglu, and cross the road to take bus No. 87 to Xiongmao Jidi. Head east along the Panda Avenue for 240 yards; you will arrive at the ticket office. A taxi ride from your hotel to the panda base costs around CNY65, and it should be much easier and timesaving. 

After visiting the pandas, please take Bus No. 87 to Dongwuyuan, and right at the bus stop, you can connect bus No. 64 to People's Square. Alighting from the bus and walking northwest for another 300 yards, you will get to the entrance to the Wide and Narrow Alley. As a historical and cultural block, Wide and Narrow Alley brims with quaint buildings and time-honored brands. There you can have a glimpse of the traditional local lifestyle and also find an authentic Sichuan cuisine restaurant for supper. When you get tired, you can stop to have a relaxation in a SPA, bar, tea or coffee house in the alleys. Finally, take a taxi back to your hotel with a fare of around CNY20. 
Day 8 Chengdu
Our recommendation for today is visiting Jinsha Site Museum in the morning, shopping and tasting local delicacies in and around Chunxi Road in the afternoon. Starting from your hotel, you may get to Jinsha Site Museum by taxi at a cost of about CNY20. A general visit takes 2-2.5 hours. Then get out from the north gate of the museum and walk northwards along Tonghe Road to Yipintianxia Subway Station to take line 2, via seven stops, to Chunxi Road. After enjoy yourself well on Chunxi Road, you can hail a taxi back to the hotel with a fare of CNY25. 
Day 9 Chengdu
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang
Photo by our client Mr. Paul Mort
Today we advise you make a side trip to Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Mount Qingcheng by intercity high speed train. There are dozens of trains from Chengdu to Dujiangyan daily. The trip takes about 40 minutes for a single way. After the breakfast in the hotel, you can take a taxi from your hotel directly to Chengdu Railway Station, which costs around CNY35. Then buy a train ticket to Dujiangyan. When you arrive at Dujiangyan Railway Station, take bus No. 4 to Lidui Park Station. Getting off the bus, you will see the entrance of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System Scenic Area. After that, take bus No. 101 from Lidui Park bus stop to Mount Qingcheng directly. The bus ticket is CNY2 and the bus ride is about one hour. After the visiting, you can get back to Qingchengshan Railway Station by taxi with a fare of CNY10 to take a train back to Chengdu. Upon arrival, hail a taxi back to your hotel. 

If you don't have much interest in natural scenery, you may make another trip to Happy Valley. The recommended transportation is to take a taxi from your hotel, and the cab fare is about CNY40. 
Day 10 Chengdu - Lijiang
Please check out and take a taxi to the airport for your onward flight to Lijiang. You are supposed to reach the airport about 2 hours before the flight's departure. Upon arrival, you are recommended to check into the Liwang Hotel located in the Lijiang Old Town. You can hail a taxi from the airport to the south gate of the old town at a cost of CNY80-100, and then walk north for 100 yards to find your hotel. Please note that you will be asked to pay the historical area maintenance fee at the hotel when you check in, which is CNY80 per person. Please keep the receipt well, since it will be required at most of the tourist attractions in and around Lijiang Old Town.

You may spend the rest of the day leisurely in the town visiting some attractions like Mu's Residence, Square Street and Naxi Residential Houses, and relaxing in a café or bar and taking some photos for your memory.

Accommodation Suggestion: Liwang Hotel
Day 11 Lijiang
Local villages, Lijiang
Our suggestion for today is to visit the nearby Baisha Village and Shuhe Ancient Town. Walk to the south gate of Lijiang Old Town, and you may find several bike rental sites near the Nanmen Parking Lot. Visiting the village and town by bicycle may give you an opportunity to better enjoy the scenery along the way. The rent charge is CNY15-20, with a deposit of CNY150-300. Another way is hiring a car through your hotel, which costs around CNY500 per day. 

Next day, you are recommended to spend a whole day exploring Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Generally, there should be a lot of visitors waiting in line at the entrance of the snow mountain for the ropeway tickets. We suggest you buy them on Square Street one day ahead to avoid the long-time waiting at the scenic area. Normally, the next day's tickets will be sold from 12:00.
Day 12 Lijiang
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, is worth a visit. Walk to Nanmenjie Bus Stop near your hotel to take Bus No. 3, via three stops, get off at Red Sun Square, and then transfer to Bus No. 7 that can take you to Hongshanping Parking Lot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. You may also hire a car, and it costs CNY300-400 for a round-way journey. It should be noted that if you are suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease, please just spend some time at the foot of the mountain and don't climb too high. 

You can take ropeways to make your trip easier. There are three ropeways in the scenic area. One can take you to the Glacier Park with an altitude of 14,800 feet (4,500 meters); the second leads to Spruce Meadow which is 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) above the sea level; the upper station of the last ropeway is the Yak Meadow at 12,100 feet (3,700 meters) in elevation. If you didn't purchase the tickets in advance, please get to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as early as possible to avoid queuing for a long time.
Day 13 Lijiang - Dali
Three Pagodas, Dali
Check out of the hotel after breakfast and then take a taxi to Lijiang Coach Station with a fare of CNY7. There you can take a direct bus to Dali after about 2.5 hours' drive, and the bus ticket can be purchased in advance through your hotel. The bus will arrive at Xiaguan District finally, but the driver will also make a stop at Dali Ancient City, and you should get off there. We suggest you live in the Fairyland Hotel located at the bustling Huguo Road, also known as the Foreigners Street, in the Dali Ancient City

After a short rest in the hotel, you are advised to visit the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple for the rest of the day. Please walk west along Huguo Road for 200 yards and turn south for 100 yards to Renmin Lukou bus stop. There take Bus Santa Special Line to Three Pagodas Park directly. Finishing the visiting, you can go back to your hotel by the same bus. 

Accommodation Suggestion: Fairyland Hotel
Day 14 Dali
Today, we suggest you extend the trip to Xizhou Ancient Town, which is about 12 miles from Dali Ancient City. From the hotel, you can walk west along the Huguo Road to its end, and then turn north for 160 yards' walking. You will reach the Cangshan Gate of the old town, and on the north side of the gate, you can take a direct bus to Xizhou. The bus fare is CNY5 per person, and it takes about 30 minutes. If you are interested, you can also hire a bike from your hotel and cycle all the way to the ancient town. 

Xizhou Ancient Town has a history of over a thousand years, and it is renowned for the well-preserved folk house complex from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911). Among all the spots in the town, you are supposed to explore further in Yan's Compound and Yang's Compound. After you return to Dali, you can visit more attractions in the ancient city, such as Wuhua Tower and Wumiao Temple. You may also take a relaxing stroll on the Foreigners Street, Renmin Road or Fuxing Road and have your supper in a local restaurant.
Day 15 Dali - Kunming
Tie Dyeing in Xizhou, Dali
Besides Dali Ancient City, Mt. Cangshan and Erhai Lake are other must-see attractions. We advise you put these two sights on this day's itinerary. Since you will take an overnight soft sleeper train to Kunming today, please check out and leave your luggage at the hotel after breakfast. 

Take a taxi at a cost of CNY15 to the Mt. Cangshan lower station of Zhonghe Ropeway to the Zhonghe Temple, and on the way you can have a bird's eye view of the Mt. Cangshan and the Erhai Lake. After getting down, take a taxi back to the hotel and pick up your luggage, then still take a taxi to Dali Railway Station. You can store your luggage at the train station after arrival, and then walk east for 200 yards to Fuhai Road. Trek north straight along the road, you will get to the south entrance of Erhai Park. Take a walk around the park to closely appreciate the Erhai Lake inside and the Cangshan Mountain in a distance. 

At last, stroll back to the railway station for the onward train to Kunming, and please note that you are supposed to reach the railway station at least 45 minutes before the train's departure. 

Accommodation Suggestion: Overnight Soft Sleeper Train
Day 16 Kunming
After reaching Kunming Railway Station, please check in the Greenlake View Hotel recommended by TravelChinaGuide. From the railway station, you can take bus No. 2 to Baihui Shangchang stop. After you get off the bus, walk south along the West Dongfeng Road for 250 yards, and turn east for another 100 yards forward, you will find the hotel on your left hand side. The earliest bus departs from the railway station at 6:00. If you get there before that time, you can take a taxi to your hotel at a cost of CNY15. 

If it's early for check-in, just leave your luggage at the reception center of the hotel, and find a nearby restaurant for your breakfast. After that, start your exploration in Kunming. From the hotel, walk north along the Qianju Street for 100 yards, you will reach the South Cuihu Road. The Green Lake Park is just about 400 yards east of the crossing. You can enter the park without paying admission fee, and there you can encounter local seniors doing their morning exercises. You should leave the park from the East Gate, and then walk northeast along the South Cuihu Road for 100 yards. Turn to Yuantong Street and stroll east for another 500 yards, you will reach the Yuantong Temple. After the sightseeing, walk east along Yuantong Street for 300 yards, and turn north to enter Qingnian Street. For another 250 yards forward, you can take bus No. 4 from Yuantongshan stop to Jinmafang. Head west for 100 yards, you will reach the famous Jinma and Biji Archways. You may select a restaurant there to have your meal. 

Afterwards, walk north along the Sanshi Street for 300 yards, you will reach the hustling Nanping Pedestrian Street, where you can shop some crafts as gifts. At last, take a taxi back to your hotel at a cost of CNY10. 

Accommodation Suggestion: Greenlake View Hotel
Day 17 Kunming
Stone Forest
Our advice for today is to visit the Stone Forest, which is known as the 'First Wonder of the World'. Please have enough breakfast at the hotel and take some snacks to allay your hunger during the visiting, for the food near the scenic area is said to be very expensive. Opposite your hotel, you can take bus No. 237 from Xiaoximen Bus Stop to Kunming East Coach Station to take a direct bus to Stone Forest. The bus leaves frequently, and takes about 2 hours on the way. Please feast your eyes on the natural stone masterpieces inside the scenic area, and then take a bus before 18:00 back to the East Coach Station. Then still transfer to Bus No. 237 back to your hotel to have a big meal nearby. 

In the evening, we advise you go to watch the Dynamic Yunnan performance at 20:00 in Yunnan Art Theater, which is only one stop away by Bus No. 98 from your hotel. If you are not that tired, you may ask the exact directions from the hotel receptionist, and walk to the theater after supper.
Day 18 Kunming - Shanghai
Check out of the hotel, and walk northwards for 500 yards to the West Inn at West Dongfeng Road, where you can take the shuttle bus to Kunming Airport for a flight to Shanghai. You may arrive at either Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport. Upon arrival, you are advised to live in the Jinjiang Inn Nanjing East Road Street Branch. 

From Pudong airport, you can take subway line 2 to East Nanjing Road with a transfer at Guanglan Road. Take Exit 1 and walk west for another 500 yards, you will find the hotel on your right hand side. From Hongqiao Airport, just take subway line 10 to East Nanjing Road and then walk to the hotel. 

After check-in, you may have a good rest in the hotel. Alternatively, you can stroll on the nearby Nanjing Road. It is a very popular commercial street clustered with restaurants and shops, and you can choose one to have your dinner and then go shopping. 

Accommodation Suggestion: Jinjiang Inn Nanjing East Road Street Branch
Day 19 Shanghai
The suggested itinerary for today is Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Bund and the Huangpu River night cruise. 

From your hotel, walk west along the East Nanjing Road all the way to People's Square, and turn south to head along Middle Xizang Road for another 350 yards, you will find the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall on your right. A general visit in the hall may take about 2-3 hours. Afterwards, you can take subway line 2 from People's Square to Lujiazui Station. After leaving from Exit 1, you will see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in front of you. Climbing the tower, you can have a panorama view of Shanghai City. At the south side of the TV tower, you can experience the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. The tunnel connects the TV Tower on the east bank of Huangpu River and the Chenyi Square in the western Bund Area. You will be impressed by the visual and audio performances when going through the under-water tunnel. The fare is CNY50 for a single trip. 

You will land at the Bund Area, so take the chance to stroll around and savor the modern glamour of Shanghai City. If you make a stop, you can choose a fancy restaurant for dinner or just enjoy a cup of coffee by the river. Keep wander south along the Bund, you will reach the Shiliupu Wharf, where you can take a night cruise ship to enjoy the night view of the Huangpu River and the Bund. At last, take a taxi back to the hotel at a cost of CNY20.
Day 20 Shanghai
Shanghai Bund
Today, you are going to visit the following attractions, Yuyuan Garden, Old City God Temple, Xin Tian Di and Tianzifang

After having breakfast in a nearby restaurant, you can take a taxi at a cost of CNY20 to the Yuyuan Garden. Owned by a celebrity in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), it used to be a private garden, which is delicate and exquisite in design. The recommended visiting time is about 2 hours. When you get out of the garden, you can pay a visit to the nearby Old City God Temple area, and in the bustling snack quarters you get a chance to taste local foods. After that, go west along Fuyou Road in front of Yuyuan Garden to take subway line 10 from Yuyuan Station to Xintiandi. Take Exit 6 and walk north along the Madang Road for 300 yards, you will reach Xin Tian Di Block, which holds the historical and cultural legacies of the city. 

Afterwards, take a taxi to Tianzifang at a cost of CNY15. It is an art quarter clustered with tea houses, bars, restaurants, crafts shops as well as art galleries. After supper, you can also select some boutique gadgets for souvenirs. At the end of the tour, walk to Dapuqiao station to take subway line 9 to Lujiabang Road, and then transfer to line 8 to People's Square. Use Exit 20 and walk back to the hotel.
Day 21 Shanghai - Brussels
Your memorable independent China tour comes to an end today, and you will take a homebound fight back to your country. You can take subway from East Nanjing Road to either of the two airports in Shanghai. If you take a taxi, the fare is CNY150 to Pudong Airport and CNY60 to Hongqiao Airport. You are expected to reach the airport about three hours prior to the flight's departure.

Since there is no direct flight from Shanghai to Brussels, you need to make flight connection at other cities. You can go to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to take flight CA1516 1855/2110 or MU5123 1900/2115 back to Beijing, and then connect the flight HU491 0120/0555 or SN4116 0120/0555 to Brussels. What you should note here is that the flight from Beijing to Brussels is not available on every Monday and Wednesday basing on the present flight schedule. Alternatively, you may go to Shanghai Pudong Airport to take flight to Vienna, Moscow or Munich and then connect your flight back to Brussels.
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If the above route does not meet your requirements, you could DIY an itinerary by choosing daily guided tours, free days, hotels, trains and/or flights freely. Our estimated quotation can be a reference for your independent travel.
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