Since China re-opened its doors to the world in the late 1970s, it has become a premier destination in the East. Being the fourth largest country in the world and one of the four earliest ancient civilizations, China has more to offer than travelers can experience in a lifetime. This comprehensive 10-day journey showcases China’s top historically significant sights and diverse and rich culture. Begin in Beijing, China’s sprawling capital. One of the oldest cities in the world, it is today a global megacity and home to seven UNESCO Heritage Sites. Then head west to Xian, a city along the Silk Road that saw the rise of the first emperor of China - and kept his terra cotta army a secret until its unearthing in 1974. Get a real taste of fiery Sichuan cuisine and get close to giant pandas in their hometown in Chengdu. Finally, round out the journey in Shanghai. Evocative of jazz-age glamour and mystique, Shanghai remains one of the world’s most important and interesting cities.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Begin your classic China journey in the capital of Beijing. The world's most populous capital city, Beijing is a megacity and global powerhouse renowned for its multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, temples, gardens, tombs, walls and palaces. You will be met upon arrival at the airport and transferred via private vehicle to your hotel. After freshening up, spend the afternoon exploring the Hutongs, a remnant of old Beijing. Hutongs are narrow alleyways, historic residential lanes formed by rows of traditional coutyard homes that once radiated outwards from the Forbidden City. Though most of the hutongs and courtyards have been removed in favor of modern motorways and tower blocks, a few have been preserved while others have been reinvented and renovated. Wander these ancient lanes, on foot or by rickshaw, and get a glimpse of what life used to be like when proximity to the Forbidden Palace indicated one's social status.
Begin the day at one of Beijing's star attraction, the Forbidden City, home to 24 of China's emperors. The Forbidden City is the largest and best preserved ancient palace complex in the world and listed as a World Heritage Site. Once 'forbidden' for ordinary people to enter, now everyone is welcome to explore the opulent complex and see its treasures. Then, visit the adjacent Tiananmen Square. It contains the National Museum and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, and has seen numerous political events, the best known in recent history being the protests in 1989. Afterwards, head to the nearby Wangfujing pedestrianized shopping street to browse the popular outdoor market. Mixed in with large modern department stores are smaller side streets packed with market stalls and snack carts offering a range of local fare from favorites to the more bizarre, such as fried insects. Finally, get acquainted with Beijing's artistic and modern side at 798 Art District, a cluster of creative spaces showcasing emerging Chinese artists, quirky fashion boutiques, and chic cafes.
Today, drive out of the city to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China. Sections of wall closer to the city are more heavily visited and renovated, while further sections remain more authentic. We recommend walking along Mutianyu or Jinshanling sections of the wall, both well preserved with many watchtowers and view points. Take the opportunity to have a private lunch at the wall, set up especially for you in a quiet area, whether an intimate picnic basket or white tablecloth with chairs and servers. Adventurers and history buffs will want to opt to explore the Jiangkou section with an expert. This unrepaired part of the wall is built on narrow dramatic ridges with steep cliffs on both sides. In the afternoon, drive to the Summer Palace and meander through beautiful gardens and airy pavilions as the imperial families once did. Turn in for the evening at Aman at Summer Palace, a peaceful retreat just steps away.
If you wish, rise early and slip out of Aman's secret entrance to the Summer Palace grounds for morning tai chi under the willow trees around Kunming Lake with local earlybirds. After breakfast, head to the airport for a flight to Xian. This historical city marks the eastern end of the Silk Road and is home to many preserved ancient structures. Upon arrival, enroute to the city, see the tomb of Emperor Jing and his Empress Wang at the Han Mausoleum. The earliest traces of tea known to date were discovered here, indicating tea was drunk as early as 2nd century BC. Continue to Xian and take a walk along the great city wall. Then, head to the warren-like Muslim Quarter where vendors crowd the narrow lanes. On walking tour of the area, see the Great Mosque, ancient architectural buildings, and taste the fresh snacks. Persian heritage intersects with Shaanxi region cuisine here, resulting in pita bread soaked in mutton soup, sizzling skewers of lamb over charcoal grills, persimmon doughnuts, and more.
This morning, visit the Terracotta Warriors Museum, another UNESCO-listed site. Since its discovery in 1974, this extraordinary underground treasure has become the main draw. See up close an entire army of life-size terracotta soldiers and horses, funerary art belonging to the first Emperor of China. For an even closer look and further insight, have an expert guide you around the museum and tombs. Afterwards, visit the Shaanxi Museum of History for an overview of ancient cultures dating back thousands of years. Nearby, make a stop at the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist brick tower.
Depart Xian by high-speed rail south to Chengdu, home of pandas and famed fiery cuisine. Get to know the city and its history with a walking tour along Jinli ancient street. Dated as early as the Qin Dynasty, this street was a bustling commercial area famed for elaborate textiles. Visitors can still admire the traditional-style buildings which now house tea houses, shops, and hotels, and try local snacks. Kuan Zhai alley is another popular ancient street lined with restaurants, pubs, and handicraft stores. The alley also hosts folk culture exhibitions and performances. In the evening, get ready to get a taste of the classic numb and spicy hallmarks of Sichuan food. Explore old neighborhoods and sample snacks, streetfood, and family style dishes such as dan dan noodles, mapo tofu, and chili oil wontons.
While it is widely known that wild giant pandas can only be found in China, they are actually even more limited to only a few regions, mainly Sichuan. It is estimated there are only a couple thousand left in the wild. You will have the special opportunity to go behind the scenes at a panda base and spend the day up-close with these endangered creatures. Hand-made panda treats, sweep the enclosures, and learn all the things panda keepers do to take care of the animals. In the evening, if you wish, see a performance of Chengdu's popular face-changing opera.
Continue your journey south with a flight to Shanghai today, and begin with a historic tour of the city’s Bund, a waterfront area along the western bank of the river lined with grand buildings. Under a protected port treaty, foreign nations installed banks and trading houses in the settlement area, creating a rich and powerful center of foreign commerce. Admire the many different architectural styles in the dense area, including Gothic Revivial, Renaissance Revivial, Neo-Classical and Art Deco. Then, continue your walking tour in a more modern area of the city, along nearby Nanjing Road shopping street. Traditional stores have since been replaced with international brand shops, modern shopping malls, theatres, and international hotels. However, century-old food stores can still be found selling traditional Shanghai treats including moon cakes with meat fillings, sweets, smoked fish, and mud snails.
Start the day with a trip to Yu Gardens within the City God Temple. This is a classically-styled Chinese garden from the Ming Dynasty with beautiful old pavilions, carp-filled ponds, bridges, and rock statues. Then, head over to the former French Concession to admire the Chinese-European Art Deco buildings and leafy tree-lined boulevards that still stand. Once a premier residential area and center of Catholicism in Shanghai, this area has been repurposed into a trendy commercial space with lots of boutiques and restaurants. Stop at the nearby Propaganda Poster Art Center, a small and hidden space showcasing a curated collection of Chinese propaganda posters from 1949 to 1979, charting post-war history. Spend the afternoon strolling through the Shanghai Museum, one of China's first world-class modern museums, which houses an impressive collection of ancient Chinese art. Round out the day at the Tianshan tea market where you can find all kinds of local teas, including flower teas, green, red, and black teas. Here you can discover more about tea culture and pick up final souvenirs.
Enjoy a leisurely final morning on this last day of your journey through China. Have some tea and dumplings for breakfast, and take one last stroll along the river or Nanjing road if you wish. When it is time, take a private transfer to the airport for your flight onward.
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: Michelin-starred Jing Yaa Tang is known for its Peking duck and dim sum; Frasca offers wholesome Italian dishes; Superfly is a modern mix of Sichuan plates, creative cocktails and craft beers; while UNION is all about the welcoming hospitality along the Silk Road. 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.
Situated in the Central Business District of China's bustling capital city, this luxurious hotel offers some of the most spacious rooms in Beijing. The opulent designs of the rooms, with plush amenities and gorgeous artwork, extend to the restaurants, which are not only gorgeously decorate but also feature gourmet dishes as prepared by experienced chefs, ranging from traditional Chinese dishes to international flavors. An expansive spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, and magnificent pool solidify the hotel’s status as a premier destination.
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).
A stunning hotel with harmonious architecture blending French and Sino-Russian touches, a true heritage feel exudes from the detailed exterior. Step inside and the lofty ceilings, ornate mouldings and coving, art deco influences along with state of the art technology make this an incredible hotel befitting of the name Legend. The overtone of luxury is hard to miss. Everything from the service, the detailed inlaid floors, chandeliered ceilings and air of elegance places this hotel in a league of its own. Set in ornate gardens with flowing waterfalls and incredible gazebos, entering the hotel is like entering another world, a world of pure opulence and indulgence. With 37 suites, each designed with attention to the smallest of details, the minimalist design oozes luxury and comfort, striking an almost impossible balance. The signature Italian restaurant whisks guests away to the heart of Italy, or dine in comfort and privacy with food delivered to the suites.
Blending the traditional with the modern just like the city it stands in, The Temple House is a masterclass in elegant design. Guests enter through the lovingly-restored courtyard, dating back to the Qing dynasty, and the historic style is integrated into many of the building’s features. The hotel’s service, though, is slick and up to date, with paperless systems ensuring an effortless check-in so guests may relax in their elegant room, apartment or suite in no time. From local and international cuisine to tea and cocktails, the dining options are comprehensive and delicious, and with a spa, indoor pool, steam and sauna facilities and a state-of-the-art gym on site, every whim is taken care of.
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.
Catering to today's ultra-luxury travelers, Capella Shanghai is situated in the city’s Xuhui District cultural preservation zone, carrying on the rich tradition of the Jian Ye Li estate. Originally built in the 1930's by a French real estate company (Foncière et Immobiliere de Chine), the property features 22 rows of shikumen (stone gate) townhouse lanes, connecting over 200 two-story houses. Painstakingly restored by a team of experts, today the Capella Shanghai showcases Shaghainese traditional courtyard living with a touch of Parisian flair. The Jian Ye Li estate encompasses 55 shikumen villas and 40 residences. All villas are designed by Jaya International Design, each featuring luxurious king and twin beds, premium bath amenities by Acqua di Parma, personal assistant service, and other cutting edge technological gadgets. The expertly designed rooms marry French-accented furniture with Chinese artwork and accessories. Meals are served from the kitchen of renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire at le Comptoir, Capella Shanghai’s own restaurant providing elegant French cuisine. Additionally, guests enjoy round-the-clock in-room dining services, 24-hour gymnasium facilities, and a former water tower renovated to providebeautiful views of Shanghai's skyline.
Urban sophistication and class become one at The Middle House hotel and residences located in the heart of downtown Shanghai. Designed by renowned Italian architect Piero Lissoni, The Middle House offers 111 guest rooms and 102 serviced apartments — The Middle House Residences — all of which feature a luxurious, yet simple and elegant, style of décor. Further adding to the ambience is an exquisite collection of artistic pieces including porcelain and ceramic works, paintings, photography, and more, which serve to complement Lissoni’s overall design concept of “dignity and refinement”. The Middle House is also service-oriented, with available options for guests such as house vehicles and a hassle-free, paperless arrival and departure system. A multifaceted Spa and Wellness Center with an extensive retail space, juice bar, and 24-hour gym facilities, among other amenities, affords Middle House guests the ability to relax in a tranquil setting after busy days spent in the thick of the city’s hustle and bustle.
Stroll along one of the world’s wonders, the Great Wall of China, when you embark on this 8-day luxury train journey through Beijing and Lhasa. It’s a step back in time with ancient sites and breathtaking natural features, and a thrilling trip along the world’s highest train journey to the Tibetan Plateau.
Travel through the spiritual heart of Asia to Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka focusing on wellness, mindfulness and the diverse cultures of these four fascinating countries.
Journey through China’s most picturesque landscapes on this exciting 13-day luxury journey. You’ll hike through the stunning Yellow Mountain and Jiuzhaigou National Park, tour Tibetan villages of the Zharu Valley, and play with Pandas in Chengdu, while staying at luxury hotels like Amanfayun or Banyan Tree.
Journey across China’s ancient trade route, meandering from Shanghai, to Xian, Dunhuang, Urumqi, and Kashgar. You’ll stay in hotels fit for aristocrats as you learn about what life was like for traders at sites like the Bund, the Terracotta Warriors, the City of Sands, White Horse Pagoda, the Grand Bazaar, and more.
Immerse yourself in the different faces of China in this exciting journey of cities and slopes. Split your time in this magnificent country between the bustling metropolis of downtown Beijing and the peaceful winter wonderlands offered by the area’s best ski resorts.
Travel through the remote, stunning corners of Northwest China on this colorful journey that will take you from Beijing to undiscovered Zhangye Danxia and Jiayuguan. Your camera will be challenged to capture the real life epic beauty at sites like Jiayuguan Fortress, the Danxia landforms, Bingguo Rock area, and more.
Step back into China’s indelible past on this insightful 4-day journey through Datong and Pingyao. This luxury tour will take you to ancient monasteries and UNESCO-listed sites, including the Yungang grottoes, Shanhua Monastery, and the Nine Dragon Screen, while staying at the luxurious boutique Jing’s Residence.
Soak up the culture, history, sights and sounds of Canton on this six-day exploration of southern China’s most stylish province. From the bright lights, art galleries and markets of Hong Kong, immerse yourself in beautiful Conghua, where golf, hot springs and historic artifacts await amid gorgeous mountain scenery.
Meander in luxury down Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze, on this phenomenal 4-day boat journey that passes by some of China’s most stunning landscapes and fascinating cities, moving from Chongqing, past the Three Gorges Dam Project, and on to Xiling Gorge, being rocked to sleep at night aboard your cruise ship.
Embark on the world’s most famous overland journey from Moscow to Beijing, delving deep into the Siberian wilderness along the way. Cross three countries and two continents - accumulating almost 3,500 miles, all whilst bunking down for the night in the train, waking up to an ever-evolving landscape each morning.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
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.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
From the Cultural Revolution and Chinese millennials to the Kangxi Emperor and hutongs, this list of books to read on your trip through Beijing will keep you entertained, informed, and enlightened.
In Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and beyond, the unique landscapes and cultures of the Himalayas are a paradise for travelers looking for peace — from the wildlife and mountains to the history and spirituality.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.