Harbin Ice Lantern Festival

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Tour Duration: 9 day(s)
Group Size: 11 - 99 people
Specialty Categories: Railway Trips/ Culture Journery
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No

Now a communist state, a nationwide land reform wiped out the landlord class and divided the land among the peasantry. Until very recently, trips to China, outside the main cities and tourist areas were something to be endured and few would contemplate a visit purely for fun. Times and attitudes, if not the political order, in China are rapidly changing which has allowed for an incursion into the delights China has to offer.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Beijing

International arrivals. Time permitting, there will be a short tour of the city before we board the private China Orient Express this afternoon and settle into our cabins for the start of our adventure.

Day 2: Lushun, Dalian

A morning arrival in Lushun, a quiet town, largely unchanged from its colonial past as Port Arthur. It was here that in 1904 the Japanese shocked the world by defeating the Russians in a naval battle. There is now a prison camp turned museum that commemorates those who were interned here before heading the 40km north to the city of Dalian. We have time to walk around and explore the many sights and sounds of this vibrant cosmopolitan city situated on the Yellow sea. Evening departure aboard the China Orient Express.

Day 3: Shenyang

After breakfast we arrive in Shenyang, Capital of Liaoning province. A full day here allows time to explore the fashionable shopping district, visit China’s second Forbidden City, constructed by Manchus before their takeover of the Ming dynasty in the seventeenth century, or visit the largest Provincial museum in the North-east. We enjoy lunch at one of China’s most famous ‘dumpling’ restaurants. Dinner is also served in the city.

Day 4: Tiefa Coalmines Administration

Our day is spent viewing a large working deep-mine coalfield, something that has long-since disappeared in the west. The mining administration maintains a purpose built tourist train and this will take us around the mining area hauled by some of their remaining steam locomotives, which also still haul the miners works trains. We will have the opportunity to go down one of the mines before we rejoin the China Orient Express in the evening.

Day 5: Changchun, Jilin

Morning arrival into Changchun; a sprawling town famous for its colleges and the ‘Number One Automobile’ factory. Our city visit includes their famous square (the second largest in the world, after Tiananmen) which was once the site of a Japanese Palace. Our afternoon is spent in the neighbouring Jilin where we will visit the promenade along the Songhua River, which splits the Provincial Capital in two. The trees along the river are coated in thick frost, a phenomenon caused by condensation from the Songhua hydro-electric dam and is Jilin’s main attraction along with a minor winter Ice Festival. Evening departure on the train.

Day 6: Harbin

Today is dedicated to the Harbin’s Ice & Lantern Festival. The city makes the most of its freezing winters by hosting the world famous ice festival. Blocks of ice and snow are carved into the shapes of buildings and animals and lit from within to provide a glittering spectacle in the evening. There's little chance of the artworks melting, as Harbin's location near the Russian border provides icy temperatures for most of the winter. Dinner in the city and late evening departure.

Day 7: Beijing

Overnight we head directly back to Beijing, where we arrive in time for dinner after transferring to the Peninsula Palace or similar for a two night stay.

Day 8: Beijing

After breakfast in the hotel we embark on a city tour of China’s thriving capital city taking in all the famous landmarks including the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Lunch and dinner in the city.

Day 9: Beijing

After breakfast transfers to Beijing’s Capital Airport for international departures.

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