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Explore China through its regional flavours: from the imperial cuisine of Beijing to the Muslim-influenced food of Xi'an, the spicy Sichuan flavours of Chengdu (a UNESCO City of Gastronomy) and the international melting pot of Shanghai.
Day 1: Chengdu
Chengdu, an officially recognised UNESCO City of Gastronomy, is the capital of the Sichuan province and where we begin this Real Food Adventure. It might be one of China's biggest cities, but Chengdu has preserved plenty of its traditional flavour and visitors can still find famous teahouses, numerous markets and some of the most interesting food in China.
Day 2: Chengdu
Start you adventure with a visit to the markets with a local chef to learn about the building blocks of Sichuan cuisine and to collect ingredients. Next, learn to whip up some classic Sichuan dishes in a cooking class. After feasting on your creations over lunch, take a walking tour through the centre of Chengdu.
Day 3: Emeishan
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, where you're able to witness the conservation efforts being made to save this endearing endangered species.Drive to a family owned tea plantation near Emei mountain this morning (approximately 3 hours). There, one of the skilled workers will teach you how to pick tea leaves (depending on the season). Afterwards, visit the small factory near the house to experience the complete process from picking to drying to drinking.
Day 4: Overnight Train
In the morning, you will have an option to visit the nearby Leshan Buddha, a 71-metre tall stone statue carved from the cliff-face, built during the Tang Dynasty. Leave for Chengdu in the late afternoon, then board an overnight train bound for Xi'an.
Day 5: Xi'an
After you arrive (approximately midday) you’ll have a brief orientation walk then some free time to explore. For dinner you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Muslim Quarter to discover why Xi'an in considered the 'snack capital' of China. Go on a unique food crawl that will have you tasting some of the city's best: beef or lamb kebabs, cold noodles, a sumptuous lamb soup and steaming dumplings.
Day 6: Xi'an
Journey out into the countryside surrounding Xi’an (approximately 2 hours) and visit what is undoubtedly one of the man-made wonders of the world – the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll learn all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered in 1976 by farmers digging a well, after being buried for 2,000 years. For lunch you will have the opportunity to visit a local farmer-owned restaurant.
Day 7: Overnight Train
Get ready for a truly unique insight into one of China's most revered culinary arts today – noodle-making. With a hands-on demonstration you’ll learn a few tips about dough preparation, noodle making and sauce mixing, while gaining an insight into a modern Chinese life. You will travel from Xi’an to Beijing, arriving in the capital the following morning.
Day 8: Beijing
After checking into your hotel, head to the narrow alleyways of Beijing’s historic hutong neighbourhoods. Explore one of the Hutong markets and see steaming fresh tofu and freshly made dumplings while learning about the key ingredients and spices used in Northern Chinese cooking.
Day 9: Beijing
This morning you’ll drive out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall (approximately 2 hours drive from Beijing) and spend some time exploring, taking photos and learning the history of this mighty site.
Day 10: Shanghai
This morning take a fast train from Beijing to Shanghai (approximately 5 hours). As a cutting-edge global city, the food of Shanghai is an exciting blend of traditional and international flavours.
Day 11: Shanghai
This morning is free for you to explore. Perhaps drop into Shanghai First Food, established in 1952 this is the largest comprehensive food store in the world and sells more than ten thousand brands of fresh and dried foods from all over the country and the world.
Day 12: Shanghai
Your Real Food Adventure China comes to an end this morning. There are no activities on the final day and you are free to leave your accommodation at any time.
Chengdu - Market Visit and Sichuan Cooking Class
Chengdu - Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Emei - Tea Farm Visit
Xi'an - Muslim Quarter walking tour
Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors
Xi'an - Noodle-making demonstration
Beijing - Tian'anmen Square & Forbidden City
Beijing - Great Wall Mutianyu
Shanghai - Walking tour
Shanghai - Dumpling cooking class
Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
Transport: Train, Private vehicle, Public Bus, Overnight Sleeper Train
Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (8 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nights)
Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don't include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment's notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.
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