If you are looking for a destination that is steeped in history, full of biblical stories that you remember from your school days then a Israel & the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) is fascinating. It is a land where stories are brought to life in the ancient remnants and biblical sites scattered throughout. From the modern metropolis of Tel Aviv with its golden beaches and authentic Middle Eastern flavour to Jerusalem with its sacred mountains and history dating back over 3000 years, Israel offers many delights to explore.
Walking through Jerusalem is akin to wandering through the pages of history, where the city holds a significant status for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, with monuments sacred to all 3 religions.
Visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, Nazareth - described as the childhood home of Jesus, the iconic Wailing Wall and relax by the Sea of Galilee. Move onto Bethlehem, visit the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed before taking some time out to be soothed by the waters of the Dead Sea.
With your own personalised tour you can experience a traditional kibbutz and stay overnight, see the excavations at the Crusader city of Caesarea, view the one-time rock fortress of King Herod or take a trip to the desert of Eilat.
Contact us for your own combi of classical and Biblical sites with cosmopolitan Tel Aviv or the cultural and scenic highlights of Jordan
‘At-a-Glance’ Illustrative Itinerary
DAY 1: Depart for Tel Aviv on a direct service from London and then enjoy a relaxing drive through to Jerusalem, about 45 minutes, for the start of your tailor-made itinerary.
The rest of the day is at leisure, take a late afternoon walk through to the old city. Despite having an area of only 1sq.km the number of sites in the city defies belief, with monuments sacred to all 3 major religions.
DAY 2: Enjoy a fully guided tour today. In the morning you will visit the Temple of Heaven – this was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped the God of heaven and prayed for good harvests for the year, square in the world. Continue to the Forbidden City which served as the grand imperial palace for centuries. Your final stop of the day will be at the Hutongs. Here, you can have a personal insight into the everyday life of traditional Beijing citizens.
DAY 3: Today enjoy a short journey out to the northwest of Beijing and to The Summer Palace, a large recreational area which is noted for its gardens, lake and traditional buildings. Join a boat ride across Kunming Lake. This will take you to the decorative Marble Boat from where you may return via the Long Corridor.
in the afternoon visit the Lama Temple, known as Yonghe Temple and one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world.
DAY 4: Today visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a post along the wall offering breathtaking views in a less crowded atmosphere. Or if you are able to enjoy a good walk then go to the base of the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. where it is possible to take a more extended walk than other sections. Please note that in some places the stairs are steep and uneven.
DAY 5: Today catch a bullet train to Xian (approx. 5 hours 30 minutes), sit back and enjoy the journey as you speed through the Chinese countryside.on arrival in Xian the rest of the day will be at leisure, but an excellent short excursion is to rent a bike and cycle around the ancient city walls.
DAY 6: Today your guide will take you to visit the Terracotta Warriors, a stunning collection of ten thousand life size statues of the Chinese army made over two thousand years ago, yet preserved almost perfectly. The next stop, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, where you will explore China’s unique architecture style. The last stop you can visit the Muslim Quarter to see local life in the community
DAY 7: This morning can be relaxed waiting for your transfer and flight to Jiuzhaigou, or Nine Villages Valley. This natural wonderland is located in the mountains of Sichuan, the national park is an idyll of forests, waterfalls and lakes. Viewing the scenery at Long Lake with snow-capped mountains one can easily image in being in the Swiss Alps
DAY 8: Explore Nine Villages Valley National Park. The mountainous region is dotted with numerous sparkling lakes each with its own character. Five-Colour Pond boasts rich shades of green and blue while Five Flower Lake has crystal clear waters through which ancient tree trunks can be seen resting on the lake bed. Between the lakes, the water tumbles over impressive waterfalls with a thunderous roar.
DAY 9: This morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Guilin via Chengdu. The beautiful landscapes around Guilin are renowned for inspiring Chinese poets and artists alike. The mountain views often appear as the subject of ink-scroll illustrations with the meandering Li River weaving its way through the scene. This area is one of the best in China for taking it easy and simply enjoying your beautiful surroundings.
DAY 10: This morning transfer from Guilin city centre to Yangdi dock to either join a small boat cruise that meanders slowly downstream or you can start a full day hiking tour from here as well. Either way, you will not only visit the most classic sceneries of Li River, but also you can experience the local life style.
DAY 11: Explore the colourful local markets of Yangshuo before returning to Guilin by road. Drive through the pretty countryside past local farms and paddy fields.
This area is famous for its cave systems, and one of the best examples is Reed Flute Cave. Walk through the caverns admiring their improbably shaped stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by coloured lights.
DAY 12 (optional day): From Guilin it is worth taking a day tour to Longji Rice Terraces, (about 2 hours from Guilin) also known as Longsheng or the Dragon’s Backbone. Resembling stairs cut into the hillside, the fields were constructed 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty.
Start your walk at the Zhuang village of Ping that clims the steps through the terraces with the panorama gradually expanding until you reach the viewpoint at the top of the ridge. From here you trek around the natural bowl to a second viewpoint where you can drop back down to the village. As you walk look out for the local Yao women who grow their silky black hair to extreme lengths.
DAY 13: Transfer from Guilin to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. the rest of day at leisure or take an afternoon visit to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town with a history of over 1,700 years known as the Pearl Stream.You can expect to see the Ming and Qing Dynasty bridges, two ancient and historic buildings and the Ma family Garden before heading back to Shangha
DAY 14: Enjoy a full day touring of Shanghai by visiting the Yu Yuan Gardens, perfect for the horticulturist; the Jade Buddha Temple; the Shanghai Museum; the Bund and last of all the views from the top of the Shanghai World Financial Centre of the Oriental Pearl Tower for birds eye view of the city.
An evening excursion of dinner on a night cruise could be the perfect end to your China trip and tomorrow (Day 15) will be a transfer to the airport for your flight home.