Indulge in China’s traditional mouth-watering cuisine while exploring the country’s most astounding historical and cultural areas during this 13-day luxury culinary tour. Test your culinary skills with private cooking classes in the Middle Kingdom’s most famous cities. Learn the history and curative powers of customary dishes in a variety of regions. Enjoy serenity while cruising down picturesque rivers and observing peaceful pagodas. Explore the ins and outs of cities, including Beijing and Hong...
Beijing – Arrival
Touch down in Beijing and head to your five-star hotel via private transfer. You’ll be staying in the capital for three nights, so unpack your bags and relax.
You can spend the evening however you wish: maybe dine in a fancy restaurant before taking a stroll along the streets to get an early glimpse of the city under its bright lights. Consider learning more about the China tour operators who will help craft your dream China tour, and see how they can expertly handcraft your itinerary to your particular interests and desires.
Your mind will be buzzing with anticipation and excitement of what the following days have in store – so relish your well-earned rest.
Beijing – Cooking Lessons, Tour of Forbidden City and Markets
Begin this tour for your taste buds in befitting surroundings as you head to the kitchen of an esteemed culinary establishment for some early morning cooking lessons. Expert chefs will show you the secrets of making China’s most well-known traditional dishes – before you put your newly-learned skills into practice and produce some (hopefully!) delicious food. Staff will also focus on teaching the cultural significance and history of the dishes. Finish the lesson with some additional delectable food prepared by the chefs, and, if you wish, a glass of wine or bubbly.
After filling your belly with all of the delightful food, spend the afternoon touring the cultural highlights of Beijing. Begin with the stunning and historic Forbidden City – one of the five palaces regarded as the most important in the world. Home to emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasty, this incredible area is formed of almost 1,000 buildings and over 8,000 rooms. Its name derives from the belief that only those who had permission from the emperors were allowed to enter the hallowed grounds.
Spend the late afternoon and evening exploring the world-famous Beijing markets, where food, silk, jewelry and pearl-selling stands will catch your eyes. Locals will be negotiating costs with you, and our guides will be there to help get you the best price if you’re not accustomed to the unique price-haggling traditions of the Chinese.
After an enthrallingly busy day, you’ll be wanting to get some shut-eye and prepare yourself for tomorrow’s adventures of the capital.
Beijing – Summer Palace and the Great Wall
A day of choices today – both options boasting extraordinary man-made beauty for those eyes to feast on. Maybe spend your morning visiting one of the world’s finest conserved and beautiful gardens: the Summer Palace. That before exploring the art and shopping districts of the city in the afternoon. Alternatively, take a day trip to the legendary landmark that is the Great Wall of China.
The Summer Palace is the most renowned and largest imperial garden in all of China – possessing pure serenity. Stroll around pagodas, pavilions, and uniquely structured buildings amid graceful gardens. Picturesque lakes encompass historical paintings while elegant bridges connect the imperial beauty together. This truly enchanting palace was originally built as a place for emperors to play and relax during the Qing Dynasty – and is today considered one of the must-visit attractions in Beijing.
Following the Summer Palace experience, you will explore Beijing’s unbelievable selection of shopping malls and markets that line the streets, before checking out the highly regarded contemporary art scene.
The Great Wall is one of the greatest man-made constructions on the planet, and after a two-hour private transfer from central Beijing, you will be able to witness this magnificent structure. Built over 1,400 years ago, the Mutianyu section of the wall has been fully restored and boasts fantastic architecture. 23 outstanding watchtowers dot its pathway– while varieties of tranquil trees make up the surroundings. Cable cars are the most popular method of travel from the ticket gate to the wall – this is also a brilliant way to witness panoramic views of the spectacular scenery surrounding the area.
Whether you’ve spent the day exploring the serene Summer Palace or walking the wondrous Great Wall, your stomach will be longing for some food. This evening, you will visit one of Beijing’s acclaimed traditional restaurants for some exquisite food of the city. Later, head back to your hotel for a much-needed rest.
Xi’an – Tour of Terracotta Army and Dumpling Feast
Head to the airport and fly south to Xi’an, a wonderfully historic city. Drop your bags off at the luxury hotel and visit one of China’s most famous attractions: the Terracotta Army. These incredible life-size sculptures that are over 2000-years-old and were discovered by farmers in 1974 portray the warriors of an emperor named Qin Shihuang. They are regarded by many as one of the greatest archaeological findings ever to be recorded –and you will be able to witness the huge number of ceramic statues with your own eyes in this incredible museum.
Continue feasting your eyes on Xi’an’s historic sights as the tour makes its way further into the heart of the city. See the incredible wall that forms a square around the old section of the city. Originally built as a safeguard during the Ming Dynasty, the unmissable structure stands 12 meters high, 15 meters wide and 14 kilometers long – placing itself among an elite group as one of the biggest, oldest and finest preserved walls in China. Astonishing, then, that to this very day it protects the city from invasion of another kind: construction of modern buildings. Skyscrapers are not allowed to be built inside the wall – maintaining the authenticity of this ancient part of the city – separating it from modern Xi’an.
Within the city, there are many fascinating examples of ancient architecture – one of them is Xian’s most famous landmark: the Big Goose Pagoda. The stunning structure towers above its surrounding buildings and is representative of the Tang Dynasty era with its square design. Built in 652 AD, this holy construction is encircled by water squares that beautifully capture the reflection of the pagoda and its nearby gardens. As the sun goes down, the structure lights up and looks over the city like an emperor standing proudly over his soldiers - creating a magical scene. Less famous, yet possessing more tranquility than its bigger brother, is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. Also built in the Tang Dynasty era, this structure is also called the Jianfu Temple Pagoda; the ‘Small Wild Goose Pagoda’ name derives from the concept that it looks similar to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda but is reduced in size. Xi’an Museum adjoins to the temple, and it’s here where you can learn more about the city’s history and witness many fascinating ancient relics.
Time for a food-filled evening, beginning with a dumpling feast fit for an emperor. Tuck into an enormous assortment of stuffed and steamed dumplings, full of flavors, both sweet and savory, that will have your taste buds jumping for joy. Then sample hybrid flavors amid a vibrant atmosphere in the Muslim quarter of the city. Sizzling BBQs and bubbling pots of ingredients appear in every nook and cranny along the streets, producing Middle Eastern tastes, complemented by traditional Chinese cooking techniques. It really does make for unique and delicious flavors, taking your palate to places it has perhaps never been before. Explore the city’s other wide selection of night food markets – where you will get a more traditional taste of Xi’an’s customary cuisine. And if your stomach is a little full of the evening’s previous encounters, perhaps purchase some snacks for the following day.
Hangzhou – Into the Middle Kingdom
Time to visit a more rural area of the Middle Kingdom: the beautiful city of Hangzhou.
After you’ve touched down at the airport, head to your luxury hotel where you’ll be staying for two nights.
Hangzhou – Tea Plantations and Tea Tasting
Begin your day with a cruise down the dreamlike West Lake. Located in the southwestern region of the city, this spectacular area is regarded as one of the most picturesque wonders in the Middle Kingdom. Floating down the lake, you will see willow trees and colorful blossoms hovering over the water, gently caressing the surface as the cool breeze peacefully ripples across. Serene pagodas and gardens surround you while two beautiful mountains watch over the lake as their peaks touch the clouds. Birds flutter around the surrounding trees and delightfully sing melodies that echo around the beautiful area. This will make you believe that indeed there is a heaven that exists on Earth.
The afternoon will continue with serenity as you head to the Longjing Mountains and visit the luscious green fields of Longjing Village. Explore its 800-acre tea garden that is surrounded by quaint teahouses and homes of the locals. See the workers pick China’s most famous green tea amid the stunning mountainous backdrop and charming streams – even have a go at picking your own leaves. Learn the history of the village when watching storytellers perform upon small stages within beautiful teahouses, while sipping back on wide varieties of the hot beverage.
Shanghai – Into the Bright Lights of the Big City
Leave the tranquil mountains and historic lakes of Hangzhou for the bright lights of Shanghai.
After a short trip to the famous city, you’ll arrive at your five-star hotel, which will be your home for the next three nights.
Shanghai – Highlights of the City
Wake up in the stylish city of Shanghai and head straight for its heart. Take a private tour of The Bund, a riverside walkway that is fantastic for witnessing some of the highlights in the city. Walk atop colorful tiles, admiring beautiful vintage European-style architecture just feet away and towering skyscrapers on the opposite side of the Huangpu River, including the Shanghai Tower. The river acts somewhat as a divide between modern and a bygone Shanghai, which adds to this area’s beauty.
This city is renowned as one of the most stylish on the planet – and there is no area that possesses more panache than the French Concession. Walking down the streets on this afternoon, you will admire age-old villas amid tree-lined avenues, quaint Western-style cafes, and restaurants nearby chic fashion shops, not to mention a stunning cathedral that overlooks the district.
Delve into some ancient history with a visit to the Shanghai Museum. See artifacts thousands of years old that you will find hard to believe are right in front of your eyes, including coins, sculptures, and paintings. A truly wondrous insight into ancient Chinese art, this museum is held in high regard around the world.
Conclude your day in the heart of the city at the charming Yuyuan Garden. This beautiful area is made up of pavilions that sit amid glittering pools of water. Floral wonders and pristine willow trees surround glowing fish touching the pond’s surface. Once inside, it’s hard to believe this 400-year-old garden sits just meters away from the modern sky-high buildings of the city.
Shanghai – Private Cooking Class, Shops, and Galleries
Begin your final day in Shanghai with a private cooking class focusing on the most famous dishes of the city. Once again, you’ll be situated at a high caliber institution – instructed by the masters of Chinese cuisine. One of the highlights includes learning the skills required to produce three different styles of dumplings: boiled, pan-fried and steamed. Of course, there will be much more for you to discover during this culinary-filled morning.
Conclude your stay in style – literally – as you explore the array of shops and galleries on offer within the city. If you’re more inclined to tour the art scene, both contemporary and historic, there’s a chance to visit the wide variety of studios that line the streets adjacent and next to each other. If you’re looking to shop until you drop, then your wish will most certainly be granted. Whether that be acquiring some of the latest fashion trends in glitzy shopping malls, or customary goods among the traditional markets, you’ll most certainly have more than enough choice.
Hong Kong – Travel to Hong Kong
Leave one of the world’s finest cities for perhaps the most famous region of China, as you make your way to the airport and fly to Hong Kong.
Get some rest upon arrival, and prepare for your fascinating two-day stay to conclude the trip.
Hong Kong – Soak in the Sites
Awake to the vibrancy and excitement Hong Kong possesses as you begin your private tour in the lively area of Kowloon. Walk along atmospheric back streets with an unbelievable variety of markets brimming with color. Sample some mouth-watering, refreshing tastes in the Yao Ma Tei Fruit Market. Yuen Po Street provides serene, traditional Chinese sights as the older generation of men accompany their caged birds in the Bird Garden. Let your senses be treated by the wonderful multi-colored flower market. Get a fascinating insight into the lives of locals as you witness senior citizens playing traditional Chinese board games amid the shadows of drooping trees and tranquility of a nearby temple.
See Hong Kong’s finest features this afternoon as you take an amazingly insightful private tour of the region. First, head to the highest point of Hong Kong: The Peak. Make your way up to the vantage point by tram, within which you can appreciate stunning views of the city on the move. You will arrive at the architecturally individual structure that is The Peak Tower and admire magnificent outlooks over the dazzling skyscrapers that stretch across the skyline toward the beautiful Victoria Harbor, and its flock of vessels occupying the South China Sea.
Then take to the waters and travel to the nearby unique community of Aberdeen, which is fascinatingly built upon ancient Chinese ships. Here, you will be able to get an intriguing insight into the city’s fishing community and visit a stunning restaurant replicating the country’s famous palaces. There’s also a serene tea garden and a variety of other spots to dine in this inimitable area.
Staying on a boat, you will explore the southern shore of Hong Kong. This bay area will make it hard for you to believe you’re so close to the hustle and bustle of a city as you admire the beautiful sandy coastlines of Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. In 2015, Forbes stated that Deep Water Bay possessed the wealthiest neighborhood on the planet – with many of China’s rich and famous residing in this area. In both regions, you’ll be able to witness the peaceful gardens that dot the route to beaches, and traditional-style structures amid designer shops.
Conclude your day in the charming village of Stanley, nearby Repulse Bay. Here you will have the opportunity to take advantage of the Stanley Market that features a staggering amount of furniture, jewelry, clothes and much more.
Hong Kong – Private Dim Sum Classes and Tour of Food and Herb Markets
It’s your final day of the tour, and what better way to begin than learning the secrets in creating one of China’s finest foods: dim sum. Veterans in the industry will show you the techniques that make this dish so popular. Preparation is key, and you’ll be mesmerized by the skills your instructing chefs possess as they form and fold different shapes. But next it’ll be your chance to follow in their footsteps, and if you’re feeling truly inspired, the experts will help you produce some fancy animal-shaped creations. Finish the lesson feasting on an array of delicious dim sum dishes prepared by the professionals, as well as your own makings.
Tour the wide range of fantastic food and herb markets. Sample the street-side tastes produced by the working-class locals, with a wide selection of delicious meats, vegetables, and fruits on offer. Experience some wonderful healing tea – designed to rid the body of excess toxins.
Then conclude your trip with some free time to explore Hong Kong in whichever manner you wish. Perhaps you will want to learn about some history in one of the local museums, admire more of the stunning views, or sample further culinary tastes. One thing’s for sure – you won’t be short of something to do.
Hong Kong – Departure
It’s time to head to the airport and call an end to a trip that will live long in the memory. Your taste buds will be craving some of the delicious cuisines you’ve sampled over the past few days, and you’ll be looking forward to putting your new cooking skills to the test for that Chinese-themed dinner party with family and friends. You’ll have unforgettable memories of the famous landmarks and other sights you’ve seen during this wonderful adventure.
- Learn how to cook customary dishes with the guidance of top-class chefs in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong
- Visit famous landmarks in Beijing including the Great Wall of China and Forbidden Palace
- Taste China’s most famous green tea amid serene plantation fields in Longjing Mountains
- Witness incredible historical sights in Xi’an including the stunning Terracotta Army
- Enjoy spectacular views of Hong Kong from perfect vantage points - both on the sea and high in the sky
- Taste unique and delicious flavors from a variety of wonderful food markets
- Cruise down the blissful West Lake in Hangzhou, surrounded by surreal scenery
- Dine in some of the finest restaurants China possesses
China is frequented by tourists for an abundance of reasons: stunning scenery, imperial palaces, landmarks and big cosmopolitan cities, to name a few. But perhaps its most famous export is the unique cuisine it possesses, which varies drastically across the country. This exclusive tour provides you with both practical and theoretical insight into China’s extraordinarily wide range of traditional food and drink – while overwhelming your tongue with tantalizing tastes. Not only will you taste the cuisine, but you will also relish the opportunity to sightsee the beautiful cities and rural areas, witnessing fascinating historical landmarks. All of this with five-star accommodation, transport and private tours, making for a truly memorable trip to the Middle Kingdom.
Dive in at the deep end and sizzle your way around the kitchen as you take cooking classes led by the professionals in Beijing. You will unlock the door to distinctive techniques and ingredients used to create those famous dishes you’ve been longing to perfect in your own kitchen. Visit the capital’s landmarks and main attractions, keeping your energy levels at a premium as you feast in the city’s foremost traditional and respected restaurants. Decide whether to delve deeper into Beijing or take a day trip to the wonder that is the Great Wall.
Experience the historic city of Xi’an, where you’ll visit some incredible ancient sights, including the spellbinding Terracotta Army sculptures. Let your palate revel in delight as you attend a delectable dumpling-based meal, before tasting a collection of the city’s cuisine and exploring the wide range of inimitable food markets on offer. You'll have time to soak up more of the fascinating wonders Xi’an has to offer, including the unmissable age-old city walls and the enchanting Goose Pagodas, not to mention the range of informative museums.
Discover yourself amid pure bliss in the picturesque city of Hangzhou. Take a journey down the dreamlike West Lake as pagodas, gardens and temples cast beautiful shadows over its peaceful water. Travel to the mountains and visit wonderfully scenic tea plantations, gaining insight into the process of producing delicious green tea. Head to the metropolis that is Shanghai and engage in private cooking classes; create some of the city’s traditionally delicious sweet cuisine before learning the art of making dumplings. Explore Shanghai’s highlights with private tours of areas such as The Bund, a riverside walkway in the heart of the city boasting famous old buildings and sitting opposite stunning skyscrapers. Wander the elegant streets of the French Concession, with its stylish bars and restaurants. Immerse yourself in the city’s history, visiting the Shanghai Museum and centuries-old Yuyuan Garden. And of course, sample the modern and traditional shops and galleries that line the streets.
Make your way to Hong Kong and immerse yourself in a city notorious for its history and passion for food. Learn the process of creating dim sum, one of China’s most renowned dishes, as you partake in an insightful private class guided by the experts. Embrace the smells, sights, and tastes of the wonderful food markets that are dotted around the city. Explore traditional teahouses, eat in dazzling restaurants, see beautiful cityscape views, and visit gorgeous coastline areas nearby.
Click here to browse our other exceptional China itineraries, and gain further inspiration to embark on your dream China tour of a lifetime.
$2,920 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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