Come alive to the best of China, including its gorgeous national treasure, the giant panda. Immerse yourself in luxury at every stage of this tour which kicks off in Beijing, China’s modern capital. With seemingly everything done on a grand scale, Beijing offers a remarkable number of travel bucket list highlights: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, not to mention the visually stunning Jinshanling Great Wall, inner cities hutongs, Confucius Temple and more. With each offering insights to the China’s past and present, your time spent here is only enhanced further by unique experiences like staying overnight at the Aman Summer Palace Hotel or dining on the finest Peking Roast Duck. Travel to Xi’an, a city synonymous with red lanterns, ancient walls, and the Terracotta Army. Make beautiful travel memories in Chengdu visiting the world class Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas and learn how these endangered creatures are being cared for to help their population to grow. Your final destination on this best-of tour is Shanghai. Deservedly named Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai blends ancient tradition, old world glamor, and contemporary class. Explore the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, and XinTianDi for a taste of Shanghai style. A tour that is rich in unique experiences only available to our luxury tour customers, such as our Luxury Tour Advantage service, you love the inclusion of the exceptional five star accommodation choices, vehicle transfers in Mercedes Benz, and attentive local English-speaking guides. Now could be the perfect time to dive into a little luxury and discover real China.
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Land at Beijing Capital International Airport or Beijing Daxing International Airport where you’ll be met by your dedicated tour guide and driver. Commence this delightful luxury travel adventure in total comfort and style, enjoying the trip to your hotel, learning about the highlights and history of China’s political capital on the route. Once checked in at The Peninsula Beijing, you’re free to relax, settle in, and spend the rest of the day exploring. Guests are welcome to make their own way or enjoy the convenience of our Luxury Tours Advantage service by relying on our local guide and driver to provide transport and advice about things to do or places to eat before beginning exploration in earnest tomorrow.
Make the most of your free day and enjoy one of the many wonderful local dining options. Your guide is a rich source of local knowledge and will advise you on the best options for where and what to eat. If required, your guide can also assist with ordering meals so you can relax and savor every aspect of creating beautiful food memories while you’re our guest on tour.
A full day of touring awaits as you experience the distinctly different lives of Emperor and commoner in a single day. Your Beijing adventure starts immediately after breakfast this morning with a visit to the world’s largest city square, Tiananmen Square. Enormous, even by China’s standards, as China’s political heart Tiananmen Square is auspicious, immediately conjuring a sense of formality and seriousness. It is flanked by other significant monuments – the Great Hall of the People, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, and the National Museum of China. Lines of giant red flags flutter here as guards march by.
From the square, your guide will lead you across the road to the awe-inspiring Forbidden City. A culturally historic landmark in Beijing and indeed in China, the Forbidden City seems to go on and on as you step over threshold after threshold. The detailed planning, ingenious construction, and symbolic representation of every part of this former residence of Chinese royalty is a marvel. Be prepared to walk in wonder and admiration, especially when guided through the remarkable exhibitions found in Gallery of Clocks, Treasure Gallery and Changyinge. With viewings only available via special arrangement, you’ll appreciate the treasures offered up here.
After the Forbidden City tour, the tour changes tempo from royalty to real life with a visit to a Beijing hutong. Wander through the hutong and observe the daily life of Beijingers who retain the lifestyle and traditions for which the hutong is famous. If time and opportunity permits, relish visiting a quaint miniature theater where a traditional Beijing folk art show can be found here. Incredibly, the theater’s owner – and solo performer – is the only remaining family member to practice this traditional art form. If good fortune prevails, the show’s star – now an elderly man – may perform, sing ballads and tell stories in the tiny 10-meter square theater.
A final stop at the Drum Tower follows. Located at the northern end of the central axis of the Inner City, there will be a chance to climb the tower and see the boundary between east and west of the hutong area. Return to the hotel for a short break before enjoying Beijing’s must-have meal, Peking Roast Duck at one of the city’s most famous restaurants, Da Dong. With numerous wins as “Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year” in the Beijinger’s annual restaurant awards, eating here is a food memory to savor.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner
Note: Your tour guide may adjust your itinerary due to the closure of the Forbidden City each Monday.
Start today with a visit to the remarkable Temple of Heaven, where emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties performed ceremonies and rituals to pray for good harvests and blessings for the country. From Temple of Heaven, it’s just a short drive to Liulichang Culture Street, a road that’s been home to local craftsmen and women for over 300 years. It’s here you’ll find Chinese artworks, antiques, and importantly, the Four Treasures of the Study, namely calligraphy brushes, ink, paper and inkstone. With many genuine treasures to be discovered among the street vendors and tiny boutiques, it’s the ideal place to immerse yourself in traditional culture and perhaps collect an authentic memento or two.
The tour continues at Yonghe Lamasery (Lama Temple), considered the most revered Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It was once home to the prince who became Yongzheng Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Take time to appreciate the symbolism reflected in the temple’s color palette of red and yellow. Found only within the Forbidden City itself, Lama Temple was painted in these colors as patronage to the two Qing Dynasty emperors who were born here. You will see that even today, locals and travelers from all over China visit the Lama Temple to pray for good health and wealth such is its importance in traditional culture.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Yonghe Lamasery, discover another iconic highlight, the Confucius Temple. An unassuming street frontage belies the quiet and peaceful temple and its grounds, famous for its namesake who worked there and has inspired centuries of students. Learn how the tradition continues today as aspiring hopefuls return to pray for entry into their preferred university course.
If time permits, walk through the Wudaoying hutong where the daily life of locals can be observed between visiting quaint shops and enjoying a coffee.
Meals included: Breakfast
China is home to many iconic historical structures and monuments, however, few are as remarkable as the Great Wall. Today you’ll come face to face with the section of the wall that retains more of its original elements and construction than any other when you visit Jinshanling Section, albeit in somewhat less pristine condition. Located about two hours from Beijing, you can enjoy the drive, taking in the countryside along the way, and once there, savor the incredible panoramic views of vast natural landscapes visible from the cable car round trip, watch towers and sloping walkways of the Wall. Add a whole new meaning to the dining room with a view when you rest after exploring and enjoy a light picnic with the Wall and surrounds as the backdrop.
Return to Beijing in the afternoon and check into the Aman Summer Palace, an exclusive boutique retreat located just steps away from the Summer Palace. The hotel reflects traditional Chinese Imperial architecture and interior design, with the original complex once used by guests waiting for an audience with Empress Dowager Cixi. A delight in every way, the hotel offers a truly unique experience of the luxurious life enjoyed by emperors, their courtiers, and guests. This evening you’ll enjoy dinner at the famous royal-style restaurant in the Summer Palace. Located in the Ting Li Guan (Oriole Listening Hall), this is where Empress Dowager Cixi herself enjoyed Chinese opera and musical performances. Apart from the remarkable surroundings imbued with elegant design, fascinating history, and imperial traditions, you’ll have the chance to see calligraphy originally written by Empress Dowager Cixi – truly travel memory to treasure.
Meals included: Breakfast, Great Wall Picnic and Dinner
Note: This morning you will check out from this hotel and be transferred to the Aman Summer Palace after your return from the Jinshanling Great Wall.
Note: Herbal spa and aromatic baths are available at Aman Summer Palace. Please let us know if we can book a treatment for you during your stay.
Start today by feeling the intrigue of imperial court life when you access the Summer Palace from a private hotel door. Quite literally you’ll feel this is your own private Summer Palace garden, just as Empress Dowager Cixi did. Wander at leisure towards Western Dam, past the Marble Boat, Long Corridor, Tower of Buddhist Incense (the very best place for a panoramic view of the Summer Palace grounds). Finally, arrive at the Garden of Harmonious Pleasures, considered the quintessential example of Summer Palace perfection with its balance of natural and built forms. Appreciate the beautiful gardens and imagine the lifestyle of royalty who enjoyed this summer resort during imperial times.
You will be checked out from the hotel and transferred to the Beijing West railway station. Your guide will assist with checking in and boarding the high speed train to Xi’an. The trip, which is approximately five hours traveling at 300 kilometres per hour, provides the opportunity to relax and watch the diverse landscape slip by. On arrival at Xi’an North Station, the local guide and driver will meet you and then transfer you to the inner city luxury hotel selected for this destination, the Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xi’an.
Meals included: Breakfast
Note: Please be aware our Luxury Tour Advantage service is available to you in Xi’an.
Start your visit to Xi’an with an exploration of the ancient City Wall, currently the largest and best-preserved wall of its type in China. Enclosing China’s former capital city and almost 14 kilometres long, enjoy your free time by exploring on foot or by cycling the full perimeter. You’ll then be led to Shuncheng Alley and Shuyuanmen Street. Well known for highlighting the rich cultural and historical spirit of Xi’an, you’ll find curios and mementos that will make for beautiful travel memories.
For a change of pace, take in the quiet of Xi’an’s Great Mosque, located in the middle of the city’s old block. Built mid seventh century, the Great Mosque is the oldest and largest Islamic mosque in China and reflects the diversity that emerged through Xi’an’s place as the Silk Road’s starting point. Mix with locals and find food of every flavor in Muslim Quarter, which is bustling with authentic street food and inexpensive souvenirs.
In the afternoon, you’ll spend time admiring the world-renowned Terracotta Army. Considered by historians worldwide to be the largest underground military base in the world, the Terracotta Army defies belief with the thousands of unique life-sized (and life-like) figures, including soldiers, horses, carts and weapons. Return to the city and your hotel for a rest before heading out for a dinner and an evening showcase performance at the legendary Tang Dynasty Palace. A remarkable presentation of Tang Dynasty Music and Dance, you’ll have premium seats that allow you to witness the color and spirit of the evening in all its glory.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner Show
Check out from the hotel after breakfast and join your guide for exploration of the Shaanxi History Museum where over 370,000 relics of Chinese history are housed. Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of two iconic Buddhist pagodas in Xi’an. You may have a chance to enter the top of the pagoda and look out over Xi’an’s 1,400 years of history, then take a contemplative walk through the temple and gardens. Following on from the morning’s activities, you’ll be driven to the railway station for your bullet train journey to Chengdu. On arrival in Chengdu, your local guide will meet and transfer you to your inner city luxury hotel, Waldorf Astoria Chengdu, providing a brief introduction to Chengdu on the way.
Meals included: Breakfast
Note: Your tour guide may alter your itinerary as the Shaanxi History Museum is closed Mondays.
This morning, you’ll visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and experience China’s adorable pandas, ranging in age from babies to adults. Return to Chengdu’s city centre and wander down bustling Jinli Street. Lined with unique regional street food and artisans, you’ll find yourself immersed in typical local culture and have the opportunity to sample traditional food snacks and meet local craftsmen. The final stop today allows you to enjoy leisure time in Wangjiang Pavilion Park where you can amble among the rare bamboo groves and drink fragrant local teas.
Challenge your taste buds when you have the most beloved meal in Chengdu – the Sichuan Hot Pot – at a famous authentic local restaurant. Finally, head to the theatre for a performance of traditional Sichuan Opera and see if you can uncover the centuries old mystery behind the magical Chinese mask changing act.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner (Sichuan Hot Pot)
After breakfast this morning, unleash your inner master chef when you visit the Sichuan Cuisine Museum. Here you will have the chance to fully immerse yourself in a culinary experience with a difference. Learn about the history and culture of Sichuan cuisine and then try your hand at it with a cooking lesson. Enjoy the spoils of your efforts when you sit down to lunch after the class. In the afternoon, your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. On arrival, the local Shanghai guide will transfer you to your luxury hotel at the Bund, the Fairmont Peace Hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch
Commence your tour of Shanghai with a visit to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center where you’ll discover intricate displays presenting Shanghai’s urban planning and development over centuries. Be amazed by the center’s highlight, a large scale model of the urban Shanghai in its entirety.
Enjoy a walk along The Bund, iconic and prestigious, and one of the most well-preserved examples of old Shanghai glamour. Walk Nanjing Road, the busiest shopping precinct in China. If the interest takes you, make your way to the famous Jingdezhen Porcelain Shop. Displaying all types of porcelain craftsmanship, this is the ideal place for learning about the significance of porcelain throughout Chinese history.
Change tempo and visit Yuyuan Garden, where you can marvel at the stunning and thoughtfully designed gardens; then stroll around the nearby Chenghuangmiao bazaars and make a worthwhile detour to visit the Shikumen Museum in New Spot (XinTianDi) for a true taste of old world Shanghai.
Round out the day with a private dining experience at a tiny restaurant housed in an unmarked 1930s colonial villa, complete with glossy wallpaper and chipped mosaic floors. The private dining room is furnished with antiques, cherry-wood chairs and chandeliers. Immerse yourself in the taste and style of Shanghai from another era as you enjoy the delicious local cuisine and a refined 1930s ambiance.
The final highlight on today’s itinerary is ERA Intersection of Time, a magnificent live acrobatic performance that will leave you enthralled just as it has with audiences from all over the world. Return to your hotel to rest before tomorrow’s departure.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner
This morning your guide will collect you at the hotel and drive you to the airport for your departure flight. Depending on your flight time, you may choose to avail yourself of our Luxury Tour Advantage service to do any last minute exploring or sightseeing in fabulous Shanghai.
Guests whose flight departs from Shanghai Pudong International Airport may enjoy traveling to the airport on the Shanghai Maglev (the world’s fastest commercial high-speed electric train). Your guide will accompany you, while the driver will transfer your luggage to the airport by car.
Note: We love helping our customers make the most of their available travel time. Need help to plan your next destination? We can assist. With a network that spans the whole of China, we can take care of every detail and arrange your departure train or flight from anywhere. Simply ask our friendly travel consultants. (A surcharge will apply).
Meals included: Breakfast
Inclusions / Exclusions
- Admission fees: to sightseeing spots and activities specified
- Accommodation: suites in premium luxury hotels; courtyard guest room in a boutique hotel; selection based on double/twin occupancy as specified
- Tour guide: excellent private English-speaking guide
- Transportation: high-speed train of Beijing/Xi’an/Chengdu (Business Class) and domestic flight Chengdu/Shanghai (Business Class)
- Transfers: land transfer with drivers as specified in Mercedes Benz vehicle
- Unlimited Evian bottled water daily and travel comforts
- Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
- Government taxes and fees.