This 10-day luxury tour showcases China’s must-see sights - the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, the Forbidden City, the West Lake and many more. Starting from Beijing, you’ll see all the major landmarks with the guidance of a local expert, you’ll sample delicious local cuisine and stay in a fantastic luxury hotel every night. One optional extra on this tour is a helicopter tour over the Great Wall of China - certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
|Beijing’s big-ticket sites: the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Great Wall The Terracotta Army of Xian Luxury shopping in Shanghai and a tour of the French Concession A cruise of the West Lake’s Ten Scenes||
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You’ll start your journey in Beijing, where the first port of call will be the Temple of Heaven, a sacrificial altar built in the Ming Dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage site features the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests - a three-gabled wooden building constructed without nails. From ancient to futuristic, it’s off on a tour of Beijing’s stunning contemporary architecture, visiting sites like the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube and the Alien Egg. In the evening, enjoy a sound night’s rest in a top Beijing hotel. We recommend the heritage-style Aman at Summer Palace, or the modern, minimalist Opposite House.
Today you’ll tour the Forbidden City, built in the Ming Dynasty. This UNESCO-listed site was home to a succession of emperors and their families over the span of 500 years, and today its palatial architecture serves as a spectacular historic record, now housing imperial art and artifacts. After exploring adjacent Tiananmen Square, you’ll be chauffeured around traditional hutongs in a pedicab, or rickshaw. Hutongs are narrow alleys with stone shophouses and courtyard mansions, best explored at a leisurely rickshaw pace. Return to your luxury hotel in Beijing tonight.
Check out the 798 art district today and see the works of some of China’s most brilliant emerging artists. A guide will take you on a tour of the area, characterized by its Bauhaus architecture. Next you’ll enjoy a bespoke shopping tour, visiting Beijing’s abundant luxury boutiques before taking a trip to the Panjiayuan "Dirt Market,” a massive antiques and curios market with more than 3,000 dealers. Head back to your luxury hotel for the evening.
A sightseeing tour in China would not be complete without a trip to the Great Wall. Today you have the opportunity to hike along this amazing monument with the guidance of a historian, stopping for lunch out of a gourmet picnic hamper. There’s the option to get a bird’s eye view of the Great Wall on a scenic helicopter flight - undoubtedly the best way to grasp the scope and scale of China’s most famous landmark. In the afternoon, head to the sprawling Summer Palace and enjoy sunset views over Kunming Lake. Return to your luxury hotel for the night.
Today, it’s a morning flight to the ancient walled city of Xian, home to several historic landmarks of note and the last city on the Silk Road. A short drive from the city center is the excavation site of the Terracotta Warriors, built by the first Emperor of China in the third century BC. After touring the mausoleum, head back to Xian, where you can ride a bicycle around the city walls, more than 50 feet wide in places. In the afternoon, visit the Shaanxi Xian Archaeological Institute where you may gain private access to displays usually closed to the public. Check into your luxury Xian hotel this evening - the Shangri-La Hotel, Xian is an excellent choice.
China presents a bounty of fascinating archaeological sites thanks to millennia of uninterrupted civilization. Today you’ll visit the Han Mausoleum, featuring the tombs of the Han emperor and empress, and more than 81 satellite tombs, plus tens of thousands of burial items. You’ll also gain insight into Xian’s cultural history with a visit to the Great Mosque and a walking tour of the colorful Muslim quarter with its fantastic vegetarian and Halal street food. Spend another night of luxury in your Xian city hotel.
Continue your journey south with a flight to Shanghai today, and begin with a historic tour of the city’s Art Deco architecture. Amid the skyscrapers and shikumen warehouses are the Art Deco buildings of the French Concession, with well-preserved European architecture and picturesque tree-lined streets. Here you’ll do a walking tour of local art studios, cafes, boutiques and crafts stores, before visiting the Shanghai Expo 2010 site, where more than 70 different pavilions were constructed. In the evening, settle into your luxurious hotel - we recommend The Peninsula Shanghai.
Start the day with a trip to Yu Gardens in Shanghai’s Old City. This is a classically-styled Chinese garden from the Ming Dynasty with beautiful old pavilions, carp-filled ponds, bridges and rockeries. Next you’ll pay a visit to Shanghai Museum where you will see a rare collection of Chinese art and antiquities, spanning more than 5,000 years. In the afternoon, enjoy a spot of luxury shopping, then embark upon a private tour detailing Jewish history in Shanghai, a little-known aspect of the city you can discover with the guidance of a local expert. Return to your hotel in Shanghai for the night.
Today you’ll travel the final leg of your luxury China itinerary by taking the bullet train to Hangzhou. Along the way, you’ll pass through the tea plantations of Longjing, enjoying lunch in the exclusive Longjing Restaurant and sampling locally-grown tea. Hangzhou is also famous for the magnificent West Lake, and you’ll enjoy a private boat tour of the some of the lake’s famous Ten Scenes, known for their remarkable beauty. With a guide, you’ll also visit a selection of Buddhist Temples, including Lingyin Temple, one of the country’s most important Buddhist sites. Return to your top-tier hotel in Hangzhou this evening.
Enjoy a leisurely gourmet breakfast at your hotel this morning before heading to Suzhou’s Historic Gardens. Dating back to 770 BC, the Classical Gardens of Suzhou were mostly built by scholars, and feature key design features such as pavilions, pagodas, hills and rivers. After wandering these tranquil grounds, you’ll be immersed further in Chinese history with a trip to Suzhou Museum, housing ancient art, craft, calligraphy and more, in a complex designed by legendary architect I. M. Pei, which is a work of art in itself. Return to your luxury hotel for the final night of your tour.
Aman at Summer Palace, which opened in fall 2008, is located just outside the east gate of the palace, and meticulously designed to harmonize with the graceful architecture of the former retreat of China's emperors. A series of century-old guesthouses, built for guests awaiting an audience with Empress Dowager Cixi, have been transformed into a hotel with 18 rooms and 25 suites. With their trademark sensitivity to historic properties, Aman has decorated the interiors with period furniture and rich fabrics that evoke the grandeur of the palace itself. There are three restaurants: The Grill; The Chinese Restaurant, which has an elegant Ming Dynasty interior; and Naoki, helmed by chef Naoki Okamura and specializing in his trademark "French Kaiseki", which combines the best of French haute cuisine with Japanese artistry. Other amenities include a bar, a library, and the Aman Club — a spa and fitness-center complex including a large pool, located underground to preserve the harmonious aesthetic of the architecture. The Aman is a 45-minute drive from central Beijing and a 45-minute drive from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
Located in Beijing's stylish new Village at Sanlitun shopping and entertainment complex, the Opposite House is a unique small hotel designed by noted Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. While the exterior is clad in squares of varying hues of vibrant green, the 99 rooms and suites are soothing, decorated in warm, neutral tones and fitted with pale wood furniture and crisp white linens. Kuma says he intended for the blend to create the calm of an "urban forest." The hotel's name is derived from the Chinese term for the guest house in a traditional courtyard compound, which was located opposite the main house. There are a variety of restaurants and bars to choose from, in keeping with the hotel's Sanlitun location: Sureño faces on a sunken tree-filled courtyard and serves mediterranean cuisine; Bei (which means north) specializes in the cuisine of Northern China, Japan and Korea; Mesh is a dark and cozy lounge and bar, with excellent cocktails and an extensive wine list, while Punk, a "mini-club" is edgier and hosts local and international djs. There is no business center, but wi-fi is available in all rooms and public spaces. There is also a high-design spa surrounding a large and visually striking stainless-steel-clad pool, which offers massage therapies, a steam room, sauna and fitness center. Opposite House is 40 minutes from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
The timeless Peninsula Beijing sets the bar for elegance and luxury even higher, as it completes a full renovation, and emerges even more palatial. In the heart of China’s fast-paced capital, the hotel combines imperial architecture and ancient culture with contemporary style and luxurious modern conveniences. From the hotel’s own fleet of chauffeur-driven custom Rolls Royce Phantoms, to decor featuring masterpieces by internationally-renowned Chinese artists, every detail is attended to. Fully overhauled rooms and suites feature sleek decor in cool, tranquil hues, decked out with every conceivable convenience and comfort. From afternoon tea in the iconic lobby to world-class cuisine crafted by well-traveled chefs, diners will be delighted, and both business and leisure guests will find relaxation amid the spa and wellness facilities.
The Shangri-La Hotel in Xian is located in the heart of the Gaoxin hi-tech district, just a stone’s throw away from the ancient city walls of the old city. Each of the hotel’s 390 guest rooms and suites features floor-to-ceiling windows and chic modern decor, as well as complimentary Internet access. Dining options include: traditional Thai cuisine at Siam Garden; pan-Chinese cuisine at Tian Xiang Ge; and International cuisine at the Yi Cafe. The hotel also has a state-of-the-art health center, a luxurious spa, and a swimming pool with sauna and steam room. The Shangri-La Xian is approximately 30 minutes by car from the Xianyang Airport (XIY).
Located on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River, the Peninsula Shanghai has fabulous views of the Bund, Pearl Oriental Tower and other historic and modern architecture along the Pudong side. Befitting its location in the Pearl of the Orient, the Peninsula’s style is modern while retaining a chic stylistic nod to the city’s Art Deco past. There are 235 guestrooms and suites, which all feature plasma TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, iPod docking stations and wifi access, lending a residential feel to the hotel. Four themed suites – the Astor, Majestic, Palace and Peninsula – set new standards in luxury living. For fine dining within the hotel, Yilong Court for Cantonese cuisine or Sir Elly’s for Western fare in a beautiful setting with views of the Bund are excellent options. The Compass Bar, Lobby and Salon de Ning are lovely places for a night cap. There is a Peninsula spa by ESPA, which offers the brand’s award-winning treatments in a neo-classical setting , indoor pool and fitness center with a DVD library such that gym goers can watch their favorite programs while using the cardio machines. The Peninsula is 40-60 minutes’ drive from the airport, depending on traffic.
Opened in Spring 2010, the Amanfayun is the second Aman property to open in China and is situated in the outskirts of Hangzhou, surrounded by tea fields, natural forest, quaint villages and a pilgrimage circuit of five significant Buddhist temples. All accommodations and common areas have broadband Internet connectivity and are decorated with calligraphy and woven bamboo accents. There are four restaurants, which serve a variety of dishes, from homemade dumplings in the casual Steam House to refined Western cuisine in The Restaurant. Aman’s legendary spa service is also available here; the spa consists of eight treatment rooms, a reflexology room, a fitness center, a room dedicated to tai chi, yoga and meditation, and a finishing salon. Amanfayun is a mere 20-minute drive from the city center and 50 minutes from the Hangzhou airport (HGH).
Overlooking the scenic West Lake and minutes from Lingyin Temple, the Four Seasons Hangzhou blends traditional design with contemporary style. Set among the property’s winding streams and lagoons, the 81 guest rooms, suites, and villas, all effortlessly fuse Chinese art and tapestries with clean modernist furnishings, and the latest in-room technology for business and entertainment. Each of the villas features a private swimming pool and landscaped garden. For health and relaxation, the hotel offers a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a cutting-edge designer spa with nine private treatment rooms. Jin Sha, the hotel’s feature restaurant, with 11 stand-alone pavilions surrounding a garden lagoon, serves fine Shanghainese, Cantonese, and local Hangzhou specialties. Other dining and drink options include WLB for all-day Asian and Western cuisine, the Lobby Lounge for traditional tea service, and The Bar for a dynamic nighttime atmosphere. There is also a business center with a meeting and function space. The hotel is a 45-minute drive from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport.