Dates: Through December 31, 2015
Trip Length: 15 days, 14 nights
Cost: Starting at $11,385 per person
China is host to the world’s oldest continuous civilization so it’s no surprise that there is an over-abundance of places to explore, treasures to discover and new experiences to dive into. This adventure through China lets you feast your eyes (and all your other senses) on this diverse and magical landscape, and will no doubt leave you craving for more. Your itinerary begins with a bang in Beijing, home to the Forbidden City and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Next you’ll discover the Xi’an Terracotta Army, one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. Stroll quaint canals in Shanghai and Lijiang, and wander through sacred monasteries in Shangri-La. Stunning views in lively Hong Kong round out this unforgettable trip. It wouldn’t be our style without the most divine and relaxing accommodations to recuperate in and impeccable service along the way. Let us be your guide as you journey through time and enigmatic China.
Your Beijing guide will meet you at the arrival hall exit after you collect your luggage. Then you’ll be whisked to the elegant Opposite House, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Beijing’s diplomatic quarter. Accommodation is in a 45 Studio (475 square feet) with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast.
Visit Tiananmen Square, and then continue to the newly renovated history museum. After lunch (included) explore the Forbidden City, take a pedi-cab tour of Beijing’s hutong. Your guide will also take you along the iconic Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, and if interested you may end your hike with an exhilarating toboggan ride downhill. Step into the Temple of Heaven, where past emperors appealed to the heavens for bountiful harvests. Delve into the heart of Beijing’s contemporary art scene at the 798 Art District. Evenings are on your own to explore—perhaps a traditional Peking Duck dinner at a renovated siheyuan (quadrangle).
In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your 2-hour flight to Xi’an. Upon arrival, you will be met by your private guide and transferred to the sleek and comfortable Hilton Hotel, set within the ancient City Wall of Xi’an. The hotel is within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Many of the city’s landmarks, including the Bell Tower, are steps from the hotel. Accommodation is in an Executive Room with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast.
Gaze into the heart of Xi’an as you bike along the Ancient City Wall enclosing the historical city center. Catch a close-up general’s view of the unflinching, eternally-stationed Terracotta Warriors Army. Drift across the countless terracotta figurines and burial objects on overhead transparent glass walkways in Hanyang Tomb. Lunch is included; for dinner you are free to explore the ancient city on your own.
After breakfast, your guide will take you to the airport for your 2-hour flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, you will be met by your Shanghai guide and be transferred to the spectacular Peninsula Hotel. Located on the world-famous Bund, the Peninsula has stunning views of the city. Accommodation is in a Deluxe River View Room with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast. The rest of the day will be free for your own exploration.
Take a walk down the elegant tree-lined streets of the French Concession, awash in old-world residential charm. Enjoy lunch (included) in one of the chic restaurants and cafes of Xintiandi, housed in retrofitted shikumen structures. For history buffs and art aficionados, the Shanghai Museum’s extensive Chinese art collection is sure to impress. Gaze in awe at the ERA Acrobatics show, which fuses traditional Chinese arts and modern technologies for an explosive effect. Explore the antiquated canals and cobbled streets of Tonli water town. Wander the maze of pavilions and arched bridges of Yu Garden, the most complete classical garden in urban Shanghai. Enjoy dinners on your own—Shanghai is famous for dim sum.
In the morning, meet your guide and experience zero turbulence as you zip towards Pudong International Airport at well over 400km/hour via the Maglev for your 7-hour flight to Lijiang. Upon arrival, you will be chauffeured to the exquisite Banyan Tree Lijiang. Built in the local Naxi style, the Banyan Tree abounds with thoughtful touches and quaint local objects d’art. Accommodation is in a Pool Villa with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast. The evening is on your own to rest and relax.
Explore the antiquated lattice of small paths and canals weaving through Lijiang’s Old Town.
Set out for a short hike up to Puji Temple for an open view of the surrounding countryside and then take part in a morning prayer ceremony. Grab a bike or set out on foot to get a closer look at Lijiang’s snow-crowned sentinel, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Take part in a festive dinner party in a local Naxi courtyard home, accompanied by live traditional Naxi music.
Today, you will take the time to hike along the steep ravines jutting out over Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest and most exhilarating river canyons. After a day of hiking (length of hike depends on your interest), continue on to Shangri-la. Upon arrival, check into the breathtaking Songtsam Retreat. Situated right next to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan province, the lodge is housed in a traditional Tibetan dwelling. Accommodation is in a Superior Room with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast.
Meet your guide and wander through the gilded pillars and incense-filled rooms of Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan. Savor an al fresco picnic lunch (included) and then traverse the neighboring Napahai wetland on horseback. Enjoy a festive Tibetan family dinner (included) before retiring to your room.
In the morning, meet your guide and transfer to the airport for your flight to Hong Kong. Upon arrival, your guide will meet you in the arrival hall and transfer to the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. Accommodation is in a Grand Deluxe Harbour View Room with ensuite facilities, and includes breakfast. The evening will be free on your own to explore the neighborhood around your hotel.
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at the hotel and escort you for a half-day of touring. Take the Peak Tram up to the summit of the island for stunning views of the city. Afterward, head to the south side of the island and climb aboard a small sampan fishing boat for a ride to the floating fisherman villages of Aberdeen.
Return to Kowloon and wander through the various markets – take your pick between the Fish Market, Flower Market, or Bird Market, among others. You’ll head back to the hotel in the early afternoon, and the rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure.
Your guide and private chauffeur will escort you to the airport and assist you with check in for your onward flight.
Walk the iconic Great Wall, explore the Forbidden City and experience so much more on this remarkable journey
Starting at $11,385 per person