Example Itinerary

Classic China

Duration
10 days / 9 nights
Price Per Person
From $8,100
Interests
UNESCO, Heritage
Destinations
China
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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.

Highlights

  • Global Landmarks: Visit the country’s most storied and globally-recognized landmarks: the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden Palace. Stroll atop the winding stone wall and explore the hallowed grounds of the former imperial palace with an expert to truly appreciate the magnificence and history of these structures.
  • Unearthed Legacy: A discovery that stunned the world in 1974, the buried vaults in Xian revealed thousands of life-like terra-cotta warriors that still captivates scholars today. Get a close up look at the Terracotta army on a VIP tour with an expert involved in the ongoing excavation work.
  • Panda Encounter: Head to the hometown of the endangered Giant Panda to become a volunteer caretaker and learn just what it takes to care for these lovable creatures within their private enclosures.

Day-by-Day

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.

Beijing
Beijing

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.

Xian
Xian

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.

Chengdu
Chengdu

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.

Shanghai
Shanghai

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.

Day 10

Map

Departure

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.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

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.

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