China has one of the world’s oldest civilizations, dating back over 6,000 years, but the country is rapidly modernizing and gaining power on the world economic and political stage, and is now only nominally Communist. It is also the world’s most populous country, with over 1.3 billion people – about 1/5 of the earth’s population – and over 100 different ethnic groups, including Manchus, Mongolians, Tibetans, Uighurs, Tartars, Bais, and the Dong and Lisu tribal peoples. The contrast between the sparkling skyscraper-filled cities of Shanghai and Beijing and the far-flung villages of Yunnan and Tibet is almost unimaginable. Today’s designer label-clad urban professionals bear little resemblance to their forefathers, who in all likelihood grew up in faraway villages as peasant farmers, which the majority of Chinese citizens remain today. It is a country so massive that any one trip there can show you only a slice of the country and its rich and heterogeneous cultures.
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Western & Silk Road
- 8 days / 7 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $6,800
- 13 days / 12 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $18,800
- 8 days / 7 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $7,000
- 6 days / 5 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $6,600
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).
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).
Located within China’s first and only wetland preserve, the Xixi National Wetland Park, Banyan Tree Hangzhou is just 15 minutes from downtown and the famous West Lake. The resort’s 72 suites and villas are decorated in the traditional Jiangnan style, with dark wood, delicate carved furnishings, and hand-painted silk brocades and embroidered tapestries. All of the suites and villas in the hotel are themed according to the four seasons, with color schemes to match, and include heated floors and wi-fi. For dining, choose between Waterlight Court, an all-day restaurant serving international favorites, or Bai Yun, a grand dining hall offering Cantonese dim sum and delicate, flavorful Hangzhou cuisine. Guests can also relax at Bai Yun’s tea lounge, where they can opt to taste and learn about the famed Longjing green tea picked from the hills of Hanghou; another option is Jiu Xian, a sumptuous bar decorated in reds and blacks. Wellness facilities include a swimming pool, beauty salon, Oriental bath, gymnasium, yoga studio, and 10 indoor spa pavilions that feature Banyan Tree’s signature spa treatments. For business needs, the hotel offers well-equipped, divisible conference rooms and a function and meeting hall. The hotel is a 50-minute drive from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport.
Banyan Tree Lijiang sits just south of the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, with 55 deluxe mountain-view villas. The hotel is constructed in the regional Naxi style of architecture with its distinct rooflines and courtyards. Each villa is decorated in contemporary Naxi style and has a heated pool, jet pool and Internet connection. The Bai Yun Restaurant serves Chinese Cantonese banquet style meals with local musical accompaniment. Asian and Western-style cuisine are offered in a choice of indoor and outdoor settings at the Ming Yue Restaurant. The Spa offers treatments featuring Asian healing and relaxation techniques as well as European rejuvenation therapies. There is a business center with fax and Internet services, a fitness center, yoga room, and tennis court. The Banyan Tree Lijiang is an approximately 40-minute drive from Lijiang Airport (LJG).
Banyan Tree Ringha is in China’s Yunnan province, in a mountainous area that has been officially designated “Shangri-La” by the Chinese government and is part of Greater Tibet, both historically and culturally. The architecture reflects the local Tibetan culture: the 32 spacious lodges and suites are traditional Tibetan farmhouses with intricate woodcarvings, enormous pine pillars, smoky fireplaces and wooden balconies that have valley or river views. There are three restaurants to choose from: Llamo, which serves Chinese and Western dishes, Chang Sa, for Tibetan specialties, and Jakhang, a cozy teahouse with a large fireplace and an encyclopedic collection of teas. The Ringha has a divine Banyan Tree spa and a business center, but no fitness center or pool. The Shangri-La Airport (DIG) is a half-hour drive from the hotel.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
Weather in China
Both spring and fall are great times for pan-China visits, specifically between April and May, and mid-September to October.
- China is the third-largest country in the world with the second-lowest inland depression (Turpan) and some of its highest peaks (Everest and K2 are both partly in China). Its far northeast shares the same weather patterns as Siberia, and its far southwest is in the same subtropical climate as northern Thailand. As a result, you need to plan accordingly for the specific parts of China you plan to visit.
- In the north, early spring and late autumn offer warm, dry days and cool, dry evenings. During March and April, winds blow away the pollution but sometimes bring sand from the Gobi and topsoil from high ground to the northeast of Beijing. Winters are frigid in the north and summers are very hot.
- Throughout much of the south, November to February brings a welcome drop both in temperature and in humidity. Summers in these regions are very hot and humid.
- Central China lacks the sea breezes that moderate the coast’s summers and make its winters more temperate. It has some of the country’s most searing summer temperatures and bitterest winters, but it also escapes the worst of the humidity.
- The northwest has perhaps the greatest range of temperatures, with severe summers and winters alike, but it is also largely dry.
- Air pollution is a reality throughout much of China; however, in recent years it has been better reported, and you can stay up-to-date on current air quality via the website www.aqicn.org. On days with bad air quality, be sure to wear a mask when outside. That said, many hotels and establishments throughout China have installed air purifiers, and in such places you can breathe easy regardless of the air quality outside.
China Goes Well With
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
- Jeremiah Jenne
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