Yes, China has a history stretching back thousands of years, and is in plain sight today in every temple, palace and museum. But it's China's modernity, its breakneck pace of progress, and its overwhelming optimism that make it a hot destination today. In this itinerary, we explore the silver jungles of skyscrapers that make up the country's modern pride. In Shanghai you will witness the international influence on China more than anywhere, with European architecture on the streets and international flavors in the food. In Beijing, you will see China's coming out party in motion, from the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square, and the Olympic stadiums. Just outside the city, the Great Wall still stands tall in memory of past accomplishments. Hong Kong is truly one of the world's great cities, a testament to ingenuity and progress unlike any other. No traveler's passport is complete without stamps from these cities.
In the afternoon, you will be picked up at the airport in Shanghai and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
One can see Shanghai's stories in its architecture. From art deco buildings that were all the craze in the 20's and 30's, to silver skyscrapers that baffle the mind, to tight streets leading through local hoods, it's plain to see. Shanghai has been growing strong, and it does not show signs of slowing down any time soon. As one of China's economic motors, Shanghai shows off a dramatic blend of businesses and business people, and everyone is pursuing the Chinese dream of prosperity that the city reflects so well.
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
Today, you will go on a full day and comprehensive tour of Shanghai, beginning at Yuyuan Garden located in the center of the city's old quarter. This was a private garden built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, with typical Chinese classic architecture and style. The garden is surrounded by a busy market place selling everything from local snacks, to handicrafts and antiques.
Next you will visit the Bund. This 1.5-kilometer-long embankment runs along the western bank of Huangpu River. On its west side it is the "architecture gallery" with 52 well-preserved old European style buildings. Once the major trading and commercial center of old Shanghai, the Bund has now taken on new vitality, with futuristic developments, chic restaurants, top end shops and bars offer plenty to see and do-and by night it's magic!
Following the Bund, you will head to Jade Buddha Temple. Built in 1918, Jade Buddha Temple is a very popular Buddhist temple among local people. The main treasures are two statues of Buddha imported from Burma by sea. They were carved from rare single blocks of white jade adorned with precious stones. The temple is a hive of activities with monks, worshippers and visitors.
You will also visit the Shanghai World Financial Center, reaching a height of 1,615 feet, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and the Jiangnan Silk Shop. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today, after breakfast, you’ll enjoy a tour of Zhujiajiao Ancient Town.
Shaped like a fan, Zhujiajiao Water Town has hundreds of years of history. Thousands of examples of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty architecture lie on the sides of the lakes and the 36 stone bridges retain their ancient style. The tour includes four attractions: Tongtianhe (an ancient pharmacy), the historic Post Office, Yuanjin Temple and Kezhi Garden. You will also have an opportunity to take a 20 minutes cruise on the river through the ancient town.
Today you will also visit Shikumen, where 80% of Shanghainese were born and raised before the 90's. Now with the economy developing, Shikumen has changed a lot, turns into a gathering place with bars, tea houses and entertainment centers. However, you still could take a glance at Wu Li Xiang, which is a small exhibition of the old Shanghainese’ home furnishings. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Shanghai and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Beijing. Upon arrival in Beijing, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
This is it. All of China's industry, culture, people, and history come together here, and the result is Beijing. The beating heart of the great machine is thriving, and as China evolves so does Beijing. One can see this in the food. It's quickly becoming more international and modern while still retaining its Chinese roots, and the world's best chefs are flocking to open restaurants in the city. One can see this in the locals, who are eating out more than ever before, and doing so wearing post-modern fashions and talking on the market's latest cell phones. The Olympic stadiums in all their modern glory are a short drive away from the ancient Great Wall, and the Forbidden City looks out over new skyscraper constructions. If you want to experience the new China and can only visit one city, Beijing is your destination.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning after breakfast, and take you on a full day tour of the city, including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Jingshan Park and more.
The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911. This "city within a city" is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest and the best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world, with great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters.
Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.
Jingshan Park was a part of the Forbidden City until the early 1900's when the walls were pulled down and a road cut through it destroying several gates and buildings between the park and the rear entrance of the palace. The hill in Jingshan Park was made with the earth removed to create the palace moat. It is well worth the climb on a clear day for spectacular views of the Forbidden City and Beijing. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will visit two of China's most impressive engineering feats, one old and one new! After breakfast, your guide will accompany you to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. This less-crowded section of the Great Wall is about a 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift.
You will also visit the Temple of Heaven today. Built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties visited for annual ceremonies of pray for good harvests. Located in the south of Central Beijing, it covers an area of 273 hectares. Temple of Heaven was enrolled as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.
You will then visit the Beijing Olympic Stadiums. Located at the north end of the central axis of Beijing City, with a large area of 1215 hectares, this complex includes the national museum, exhibition area, Olympic Village and Olympic competition avenues. Approximately 31 venues were used in the Beijing Olympics, including the National Stadium, the Bird's Nest and National Aquatics Center. You will explore the park, but today's tour won't include going inside the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
Before your overnight train to Xian this evening you will enjoy some more sightseeing in Beijing. Begin with a Hutong Tour in Xicheng District.
Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards.
Next visit the Lama Temple. The colorful Yonghe Lamasery is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's still very active, and the beautiful halls and courtyards are thronged with devotees come to worship or seek good luck. You can see the world's largest wooden statue (the Matreiya Buddha) and Tibetan exhibitions.
Lastly, visit Houhai. Houhai is a lake in central Beijing, one of the three parts of Shichahai. In recent years it has become famous for nightlife because it is home to several popular restaurants, bars, and cafes.The area is especially popular with foreign tourists visiting Beijing, but is also often visited by the expatriate community and younger locals.
Enjoy lunch at the Courtyard 7 Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the evening, you will be picked up at your hotel in Beijing and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Xian. Upon arrival in Xian, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
As the Eastern tip of the Silk Road, the caravans from the west brought their culture and customs, and the result is Xian, a unique city in China with deep history. Make no mistake, Xian is a modern city, but Ming Dynasty-era city walls are still intact, and the Muslim Quarter remains as a hub of merchant activity as it has for centuries. The Terracotta Warriors, outside the city, have been the main draw for tourism to Xian. Many people fly in and out to observe their ancient faces, but history enthusiasts can find a reason to stay much longer.
This morning, you will first visit the Terracotta Warriors & Horses site. Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits, which are protected inside huge hangars.
Later in the day, your excursion will lead you to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. A major Buddhist site, this simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals. Lunch will be served today at the Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
Visit Shaanxi History Museum. The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed. Most of the item labels are in English, although some other information on the exhibitions is not, but your guide can help here. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
Next visit the Ancient City Wall on a bicycle. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, it is a major landmark, and the best preserved, as well as the oldest and largest of the city defense systems in China. We operate this with bicycle. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.
Enjoy lunch at Qianzhou Restaurant. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Xian and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Hong Kong. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
What can be said about Hong Kong that has not already permeated popular culture? Among modern metropolises, it ranks among the highest for culture, nightlife, food, complexity and fun. Hong Kong locals routinely set themselves apart from "mainlanders" in China, and one can quickly see why. British colonialism kept Hong Kong open to an international community while the rest of China stayed closed off, and the results are undeniable. The world's celebrity chefs compete for the best dining experience, the world's best musical performers count the nights until their tours reach Hong Kong, and fashion trends that emanate from here reach every corner of the world. Yes, a vibrant Chinese culture still lives strong throughout the city; anyone can see that. But we wouldn't blame you for observing Hong Kong and thinking that the rest of China is just trying to catch up.
Today, you will embark on a 5 hour tour to explore the picturesque Lantau Island. To begin, you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the start of the excursion, accompanied by your expert local guide. En route throughout the tour, your guide will offer interesting facts, unique insight and creative character to your exploration. Included with a round-trip cable car ride in Ngong Ping, you will have the chance to visit Po Lin Monastery and Bronze Giant Buddha or Wisdom Path, throughout the day. This tour is full of Buddhist culture, and your guide and driver will choose the best route for the tour on that specific day, in order to ensure that you are able to get the most out of the experience. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Hong Kong and transferred to the pier for your speedboat transfer to your hotel in Macao.
The tourist attractions for the whole day include: Macau's most famous landmark and the symbol of the city--the Ruins of St. Paul's, one of the three oldest temples in Macau with a history of more than 500 years--A-Ma Temple, Leal Senado Square, Penha Hill and souvenir shop.
Next visit the Macau Wine Museum. The wine museum covers a space of approximately 1,400 square-meters, including the Historical Information, Wine Cellar, and Exhibitions. The whole wine production process is explained and wine tasting is also available.
The Macau Grand Prix Musem is next to the wine museum, and was built to celebrate the annual event – The Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix. The museum gives the history and development of Macau Grand Prix and also displays many kinds of racing cars used in the event over the year.
Then visit Macau Tower. The Macau Sky Tower was officially opened on December 19, 2001, and measures 338 m in height from ground level to the highest point. A visit to the observation platform gives a bird’s eye view of Macau. Besides being used for observation and entertainment, the tower is also used for telecommunications and broadcasting. It has been accepted as a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Macao and transferred to the pier for your speedboat transfer to your hotel in Hong Kong.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Hong Kong and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
The distinguished boutique hotel brand Les Suites arrives in Shanghai in a prime Bund location, offering sweeping views of the Huangpu River, Pudong skyline and 16th century Yu Gardens. While the boutique hotel stands at the heart of Shanghai's most celebrated thoroughfare, it features a discreet entrance that blends seamlessly into the historical landscape. Guests come and go in complete privacy, without sacrificing the conveniences of a central location.
Upon entering the red gates of Hotel Cote Cour Beijing you will leave the often hectic atmosphere of Beijing and enter the more warm, welcoming side of China. A boutique hotel, its 14 rooms, its lounge, and its courtyard captures the spirit of "East meets West" fusing contemporary amenities with traditional Chinese designs and architecture. Located in a historically protected Hutong area of "Old Beijing" which served as the traditional home for dancers and musicians of the Imperial courts, this courtyard mansion was restored embodying the passion and creativity of it's proprietor. With an ideal location and facilities to match, the Hotel Cote Cour SL really checks off all the boxes for a great boutique hotel.
Set within the ancient walled city of Xian, the unique Hilton Xi'an hotel combines contemporary design and Tang Dynasty artwork and is just a short walk from a wealth of major cultural and entertainment attractions. With its convenient downtown location and range of amenities, this hotel in Xi'an is perfect for both the business and leisure traveler.
The Peninsula Hong Kong has long been hailed as one of the finest hotels in the world. Created nearly 80 years ago in the glamorous 1920s, the legendary "Grande Dame of the Far East" continues to set hotel standards worldwide, offering a blend of the best of Eastern and Western hospitality in an atmosphere of unmatched classical grandeur and timeless elegance. The Peninsula Hong Kong offers the ultimate in luxury accommodations with the most spacious hotel rooms and suites in Hong Kong. Each one of the hotel's opulent guest rooms is comfortable and stylish and equipped with advanced technology for the convenience of hotel guests - underlined, of course, by the world-famous Peninsula service.
If Macau is Asia’s Sin City, the $2.4 billion Venetian Macao resort is the ultimate ode to China’s consumer culture. Like its Las Vegas counterpart, the 3,000-suite Venice–themed hotel complex has three indoor canals (complete with singing gondoliers), no fewer than 30 restaurants, and a million square feet of shopping. The cavernous lobby is packed with day-trippers, who stroll in awe along the vaulted mall under a ceiling of faux Renaissance paintings, and through the Grand Canal arcade, lined with Venetian-style shops. Despite the hotel’s over-the-top antics, the suites are quite elegant and comfortable, incorporating antique-look Chinese furniture and wood carvings, canopied beds, and a sunken sitting area. The 550,000-square-foot casino—the world’s largest—is the real highlight, filled night and day with serious-minded gamblers. The hotel stands out not so much for its elegance and pampering as for its embodiment of Macau in all its kitschy, surreal fun.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.