Belfast Telegraph

Win the trip of a lifetime to China: Your chance to go on an incredible Oriental holiday with Belfast Telegraph Travel

By Una Brankin

For the much-travelled Danielle Farrell, meeting the man responsible for one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century was an experience she'll never forget.

Farmer Yang Zhifa, now 75, made the accidental discovery of the iconic Terracotta Army in 1974 when he was digging a well near the tomb of the first emperor of China.

"The Museum of the Terracotta Army was a must-see on my trip to China and Mr Zhifa was there signing books about his discovery," says Danielle, a travel blogger from Dublin.

"I felt it was a real honour to meet him and to see that huge collection of terracotta sculptures, depicting the armies of the Qin Emperor, was mind-blowing."

With no western street signs in Xi'an, home of the museum, Danielle was glad of the local guide organised by the Belfast Telegraph Travel Department.

"There's no western influence anywhere - even Facebook and apps are blocked by the political system in China, so a guide is essential," says Danielle.

"After spending seven days visiting Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, I believe the biggest benefit of travelling with Travel Department is the invaluable knowledge and expertise that local guides can provide. They're all so passionate about their jobs and love working with groups from Northern Ireland.

"As well as having a tour leader for the duration of your time in China, you will also have local guides in each city. You can rest assured that every detail of your trip will be taken care of so you can relax and enjoy your time in China. You will also see many things you might miss if you were on your own."

Danielle travelled to the 14th century city of Beijing with the Belfast Telegraph Travel Occasions Holiday. Upon arrival in Beijing, you are met by our local representative before being transferred to your opulent hotel, where there's an opportunity to join fellow travellers in a 'welcome drink', followed by your evening meal.

This holiday of a lifetime kicks off with a full-day excursion to Tiananmen Square and the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City. Off limits to most of the world for 500 years, the vast square is the best preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China. Finish your day with a stroll down Qianmen Street, Beijing's favourite shopping district.

The well-organised day excursions on this special trip include the Great Wall of China, a fascinating jade jewellery and sculpture factory, and the Sacred Way, leading to the Ming Tombs, where 13 emperors are buried.

The Summer Palace, the Olympic Village and Beijing Zoo - with its famous pandas - are among the myriad highlights of your Oriental visit.

After a free day to enjoy your hotel's leisure facilities, you will take a trip to the Yonghe Temple, a monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, followed by a rickshaw tour on a warren of narrow streets and ornate houses.

After lunch, there's time for shopping at the huge Sanlitun Village shopping centre and the Yaxiu Market, a silk and cloth market and a tourist's favourite for faux designer bargains. Then, it's back to the spiritual, with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a stunning complex of religious buildings symbolising the relationship between earth and heaven.

Combining ancient traditions and fascinating culture, this is a holiday that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Belfast Telegraph Travel is offering the chance to win this holiday, click here to enter, open until Saturday, April 30.

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