Example Itinerary

Classic China

Duration
10 days / 9 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Heritage, UNESCO
Destinations
China

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

Day 1

Map

Beijing

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 courtyard 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.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Wellness Facilities: Wellbeing is at the heart of the Rosewood experience, with restorative amenities including Sense, A Rosewood Spa's six treatment rooms and two spa suites for overnight stays, an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness studios for workouts and yoga sessions.

Dining Diversity: The Rosewood Beijing boasts six restaurants and lounges, offering a variety of fine dining experiences, from French Bistro casual to authentic Chinese hot pot; and from northern Chinese specialties to Cantonese favorites.

Luxury Touches: All accommodations provide Frette 600 thread-count linens and bespoke Rosewood bathroom amenities by Lorenzo Villoresi, while 24-hour personalized butler service attends to your every need.

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Rosewood Beijing Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

History: Santilun area has a culture of its own, and a long-standing reputation as a hub for Beijing's arts crowd.

Service: Knowledgeable English-speaking hosts are on hand 24/7 to provide assistance or advise travelers about local sites.

Location: Located on Santilun Street adjacent to Santilun Village complex, it's in a great position for experiencing Beijing's bar scene.

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The Opposite House Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

History: First opening its doors in 1989, the Peninsula Beijing has undergone a comprehensive renovation, setting a peerless new standard.

Location: A stone’s throw from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the Peninsula is at the heart of Beijing, located among its most iconic landmarks.

Service: Guests can enjoy the quality and attention to detail for which Peninsula is renowned throughout the world.

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The Peninsula Beijing Preferred Hotel

Day 2

Map

Beijing

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

Day 3

Map

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 viewpoints. 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.

Day 4

Map

Xian

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 the local early birds. 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, en route 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 warrenlike Muslim Quarter where vendors crowd the narrow lanes. On a 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.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

History: Xi’an once served as one of China’s ancient capitals and is the former home to 13 imperial Chinese dynasties. Guests of The Ritz-Carlton Xi’an can experience some of this history visiting the Terracotta Warriors, Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and the old City Walls.

Attention to Detail: Guests should expect to want for nothing during a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Xi’an, as befitting the prestigious brand.

Dining Experiences: The hotel's quintet of dining venues offers International cuisine, fine dining Cantonese fusion, Japanese teppan grills, signature afternoon tea, and creative cocktails paired amazing views from their rooftop bar.

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Ritz-Carlton Xi'an Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Set in lush landscaped gardens, the Shangri-La Xian offers tranquility with quick access to the city sights.

History: This ancient capital is replete with historic remnants, including its immense city walls.

Views: All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering great views of the city.

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Shangri-La Xian Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Located within the Xian City Walls on the former Imperial Palace grounds, the hotel is close to all the main famous historical sites on offer. History: This heritage building opened its doors in 1953 as the legendary Xian People's Hotel and in 2014 was completely refurbished into an ultra luxury hotel.

Service: Five-star service and experiences including the signature Sofitel MyBed as well as extra luxurious touches including pillow menu, silk robes and Hermes amenities.

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Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian Preferred Hotel
Xian
Xian

Day 5

Map

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 Xi'an Museum 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.

Day 6

Map

Chengdu

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 the ancient street of Jinli. 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, street food, and family style dishes such as dan dan noodles, mapo tofu, and chili oil wontons.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

History: Named for nearby Daci temple, the hotel reflects the sensibilities and landscapes of the ancient city.

Location: Right in the center of fascinating Chengdu, The Temple House is the perfect base from which to experience city life.

Service: Priding itself on personalized service and unparalleled local knowledge, the staff are more than happy to help with anything guests may require.

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The Temple House Preferred Hotel
Chengdu
Chengdu

Day 7

Map

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.

Day 8

Map

Shanghai

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 Revival, Renaissance Revival, 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.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Bespoke Service: The resort prides itself on the quality of its services, and true to this name it makes sure to contact guests before arrival to make sure their stay is tailored to their every need.

Style: The painstakingly restored prosperity perfectly captures the marriage of Shanghainese and Parisian aesthetics indicative of the Paris of the East.

Location: Situated in the heart of Shanghai’s former French Concession, the surrounding neighborhood is an enchanting, tranquil area of tree-lined streets and traditional architecture. That said, guests are still just a short distance from some of Shanghai's most vibrant and iconic areas.

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Capella Shanghai Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Lissoni’s Vision: The Middle House Shanghai, with its bold, clean lines and striking silhouettes adorning its public spaces, guest rooms, and residences, is an architectural triumph crafted by Lissoni Architettura.

Relaxation Amid Activity: Whether passing through Shanghai for business or for pleasure, The Middle House’s spa and wellness offerings abound. Try one of the luxurious treatments by CHA LING, or take an evening dip in the expansive indoor heated pool, to unwind after a busy day.

Culinary Variety: Guests may experience the height of dining in Shanghai without even stepping foot off hotel grounds. The Middle House’s three restaurants, Café Gray Deluxe, Frasca, and Sui Tang Li, serve gourmet dishes that are inspired by regional and culinary traditions and paired with expertly selected wines and cocktails.

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The Middle House Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Architecture: Located centrally on Shanghai's world-famous Bund, the newly-built Peninsula Shanghai was designed to evoke the opulence, grandeur, and Baroque aesthetics of the colonial buildings of the late nineteenth- early twentieth century.

Location: Like all other Peninsula properties, the Peninsula Shanghai boasts top-notch service and a stellar, central location.

Views: The Peninsula Shanghai also features sweeping vistas of the Bund, Pearl Oriental Tower, and the busy, historic Huangpu River.

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The Peninsula Shanghai Preferred Hotel
Shanghai
Shanghai

Day 9

Map

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.

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