Beijing, Lijiang, Hangzhou, Shanghai
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Experience the fascinating diversity of China by getting a taste of beautiful cosmopolitan cities and stunningly picturesque rural areas while immersing yourself in history during this captivating tour of the Middle Kingdom. Let your eyes sparkle in the bright lights as your mind becomes mesmerized in the shadows of some of the largest buildings in the world as you tour Shanghai and Beijing. Visit China’s most famous landmark: The Great Wall. Explore age-old temples and palaces. Walk the cobbled...
Beijing – Arrival in the Forbidden City
Offload your bags and unwind from your flight in the luxury surroundings of your premium hotel. Unpack a good amount of your luggage, as you will be exploring the fascinating surroundings of the country’s capital for the next four nights. You can make the decision whether to head out for the evening and get your first glimpse and taste of the bustling streets and its restaurants and bars or dine in your hotel if you are still feeling a little jetlagged. At your request, you will have reservations at some of the top restaurants in the city – whether it’s local Beijing cuisine or dishes that you’re more used to eating at home – your needs will be catered for. You will want to get your head down on that pillow at a reasonable time to recharge those batteries for the following day’s wonderful private tour of the city.
Beijing – Tour of the Forbidden Palace and Temple of Heaven
Prepare yourself for a day of fascinating history and stunning hilltop views as you embark on the first day of your private tour. Begin with the serene Temple of Heaven – a fascinatingly mystical building dating back to 1420 AD, where emperors visited to worship the heavens. In the surroundings of the temple, you will see the older generation partaking in their relaxing and gentle tai chi early-morning exercises - adding to the wonderful bliss this unique area possesses.
It’s afternoon, and time to visit the strikingly beautiful and historical Forbidden Palace – which was the home of many emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its name derives from the notion that individuals were not allowed to enter the palace without authorization from the emperors. This imperial palace is now known as the Palace Museum – and is one of the world’s most admired attractions.
After taking a break, you will make your way to the hilltop of the nearby Jingshan Park: one of the most beautiful yet little-known scenic spots of the city. It offers astounding panoramic views of the Forbidden City and the surrounding areas – and will truly take your breath away as the sun sets majestically over the imperial palace.
Beijing – Private Excursion to the Great Wall and Peking Opera Performance
The Great Wall of China: perhaps the most famous piece of man-made history in the world. Throughout today, you will have the opportunity to walk along the various sections of the magnificent structure while also soaking up the endless breathtaking views it has to offer. Begin at the Mutianyu section, the most restored part of the Wall, before moving onto one of the glorious forts: Juyongang.
Later in the evening, prepare to be dazzled as you head to the theater and witness the alluring and wonderful Peking Opera Performance. This glamorously unique show is cherished by the nation and dates back over 200 years. Sit back and let the performers astonish you in their traditional make-up and costume, with dancing, singing, acrobatics, and mime. Many of the stories told in the show relate to famous historical moments in ancient Chinese history, featuring emperors and generals.
Beijing – Summer Palace, Markets, and Contemporary Art Galleries
Begin the day in perhaps the most serene setting in Beijing - the Summer Palace. This imperial garden is widely regarded as the finest conserved in the world and is the largest of its kind in the Middle Kingdom. You will be enchanted by the waterways surrounded with beautiful arched bridges, luscious natural scenery, historic palace buildings and temples. There are market streets, waterside shops, and ancient theater stages that make up the different sections of these unforgettable gardens.
Later in the afternoon, you will have the chance to experience the famous Beijing Markets –getting a real taste of what it is like to barter with locals for whichever goods you desire. Visit silk, antique, pearl, and jewelry markets, among others, and indeed, you may scoop yourself some real bargains.
To finish the day, you will have the opportunity to visit Beijing’s contemporary art scene, which is gaining a well-respected worldwide reputation. There is a wide range of these galleries and centers that will undoubtedly keep your head tilt and turn, and your eyebrows rise as you make your way to each exhibition.
Lijiang – Fly to Yunnan Province
Unwind and reflect on your time in Beijing as you head south, to the city of Lijiang, in Yunnan Province. You will arrive at your luxury resort, with traditionally designed Chinese buildings amongst peaceful courtyards - situated at the foot of the mountains.
Lijiang – Jade Spring Park, Old Town, and Naxi Music Performance
Wake at the crack of dawn as you take a trip to the peaceful Jade Spring Park – with its pristine waters, dotted with singing birds and beautiful flowers. The surroundings are truly spectacular: temples, snow mountains and bridges grace your eyes as you make your way to this glorious area. You will visit the enchanting Longshan Temple, which sits at the center of the Spring Park.
Spend the afternoon taking walks along the mazy ancient cobbled streets and alleys of Lijiang Old Town, surrounded by peaceful canals glittered with flowers, water wheels, quaint teahouses and marvelous gift shops. Make your way to the top of the town and you will catch jaw-dropping picture-perfect rooftop views of the ancient buildings with an unforgettable backdrop of snow-tipped mountains. You can enjoy all of this while dining in one of the town’s restaurants. As the night sky descends, you will witness each and every narrow alley come alive with beauty as traditional Chinese lanterns illuminate the buildings and canals with shades of red.
With your eyes glistening from the night decorations, you will be treated to a unique experience with an ancient music performance from the native Naxi people. This extraordinary show consists of talented individuals playing ancient Chinese musical instruments, including the plectrum and flute – while dressed in their traditional costume. It is said this type of music might soon become extinct as only the older generation of men can perfect the techniques. So be sure to embrace this perhaps once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lijiang – Mu’s Residence and Baisha Village
Begin the day visiting the magnificent Mu Residence – belonging to the Tusi (Tribal Leader) Mu - who ruled Naxi from 1271 until 1911. During the family’s ruling, their home was the hub of ancient Naxi’s financial prosperity, politics, and authority. Reconstructed in 1996, this wonderful palace provides a fascinating insight into how the family lived over generations. As you make your way through the residence, which covers eight acres of land, you will see gloriously decorated halls and pavilions, with the magnificent Shizi Mountain overlooking the establishment.
The afternoon will allow you the opportunity to get a real up-close insight into how the native Naxi people live today – as you visit the peaceful Baisha Village. Less commercialized than Lijiang Old Town, this village possesses a genuine feel, with a laid-back atmosphere created by the locals. You will catch a glimpse of famous murals - depicting the Buddha, plants, and animals, among others – dating back to 1644.
Hangzhou – Fly to Hangzhou
Kick back and relax as you board the plane and head east to the beautiful city of Hangzhou. Once described by the famous traveler Marco Polo as “The City of Heaven.” You will be situated at a tranquil five-star Hotel, wonderfully placed on the famously beautiful West Lake.
Hangzhou – Tea Plantation, Buddha Caves, and Cruise on West Lake
Morning tea, anybody? Today you will begin with a visit to the tranquil Longjing Mountains of Hangzhou, where China’s most highly regarded green tea is produced. As you explore the wonderful Longjing Village, you will witness local workers collecting tea along the near 800 acres of flawless grassy terraces that look truly breathtaking in their mountainous surroundings. The mazy walk through the village will charm you as you pass picturesque teahouses and slender staircases into the plantations. You will even get the chance, if you wish, to stand alongside the locals and pick your own tea.
After sipping your hot beverage, you will make your way to the spectacular Peak Flown From Afar. This gigantic limestone structure is made up of caves and outstanding carvings featuring hundreds of statues of Buddha, incredibly dating back to 907 AD. The sheer history and beauty of the Peak Flown From Afar will leave you in awe long after you have finished this stage of the tour.
Continuing with the theme of history, but with an utterly contrasting experience, you will visit the Song Dynasty Town. This spectacular theme park fantastically recreates the culture of the Song Dynasty era with theatrical performances (acrobatics and dancing), traditional customs (including matchmaking proposals where women would throw a ball into a crowd of men, who fought to capture it and therefore wed the lady!), ancient activities (torch and water-splashing festivals) and much, much more.
To perfectly conclude the day, you will take a boat cruise down the quaint West Lake. As you venture along, the stunningly beautiful gardens, pagodas, and temples will absorb your eyes, while your ears will be massaged by the peaceful sound of water gently splashing the side of the boat. Shadows of the willow trees along the waterside become stretched, and the glow of the fish dim as the night sky descends before the enchanting Impression West Lake Show begins.
Witnessing the West Lake Show is the perfect parting gift from Hangzhou. The beauty of the lake and its magical surroundings, combined with the setting of the stage on the fringes of the crisp water, creates a magical experience. Dancers appear as if they are gliding and jumping on the lake as the delightful music and lights are in tandem with their every move. The beautiful love story unfolds as perfectly as the flowers that grace the backdrop of its setting; making a memorable end to your stay in this serene city.
Shanghai – Tour of Xitang
Before hitting the bright lights of Shanghai, you will visit the heavenly ancient water town of Xitang. This delightful area, despite being a neighboring town to Shanghai, will appear a world away from the big city. Whether you make your way around by boat or foot, Xitang’s adorable features will seduce you. Hundreds of narrow lanes and picturesque bridges link rivers, canals, streets, and houses together. Locals’ homes, shops, and fishing boats line each side of the waterways as you travel downstream and hear traditional folk songs echoing around the town.
Still dazzled from the tranquility of Xitang, you’ll make the short trip to Shanghai. Here, you will stay at another five-star luxury hotel that spectacularly overlooks the wondrous bright lights of the city.
Shanghai – Sites of the City
Finish the tour in real style as you spend a day exploring the ins and outs of China’s largest and most populous city. Begin by strolling along The Bund, a glamorous promenade that stretches alongside the Huangpu River, boasting an abundance of stunning Western-style architecture. Glance across the river and you will see the world’s second-tallest building, the Shanghai Tower, with a backdrop of other magnificent skyscrapers.
Next, explore the stylishly renowned area that is the French Concession – where you may well believe you are, in fact, walking the streets of Paris. This extremely admired region is one of the most popular in the city among both natives and expats. Western-style houses, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants line the charming streets, which are hard not to fall in love with as you make your way around. There are historic buildings and neighborhoods featuring lavish mansions and villas – the most famous buildings have details displaying their intriguing history.
A visit to the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art will leave you rubbing your eyes in disbelief as you stand meters away from unbelievably historic artifacts. This fascinating museum attracts visitors from all over the world, and possesses over one million objects. You will learn about the history of these captivating artifacts, which include sculptures, calligraphy, paintings, furniture and coins.
Stepping away from the modern buildings and shops, you will pay a visit to the luscious Yuyuan Garden. Originally built more than 400 years ago, it boasts stunning architecture and natural scenery that rivals most gardens in the Middle Kingdom. You will notice the walls are magnificently decorated with dragons as you make your way along the winding pathways.
Your trip to Shanghai will not be complete without visiting the city’s art and shopping districts. You will be inundated with a vast selection of shopping malls, open art studios and markets that are at your disposal. Whether you are looking to spend your time picking up some last-minute souvenirs, get a glimpse of the contemporary art scene or revel in the glitzy fashion retail areas - your needs will most certainly be catered for.
Shanghai – Departure
As you make your way to the airport, you will be looking back at the trip of a lifetime. Perhaps you’ll already be flicking through your photos in a nostalgic manner. One thing is for sure; you will cherish memories of this trip for years to come.
- Tour imperial palaces of Beijing and explore the timeless wonders of the city
- Enjoy a day admiring the unforgettable World UNESCO Heritage Site, the Great Wall of China
- Experience the mesmerizing Peking Opera Performance, which has been performed for over 200 years
- Journey the quaint parks, old towns, temples and villages of Lijiang
- Soak up the ethnic diversity of Yunnan while enjoying a traditional Naxi Music Performance
- Cruise down the West Lake in Hangzhou surrounded by gardens, pagodas, and mountains
- Pick China’s most admired and famous green tea from its beautiful plantation fields in Longjing
- Enjoy the stunning Evening Impression West Lake Performance, a live performance on the lake itself
- Admire the architecture of Shanghai as you stroll down the Riverfront Bund
- Explore the French Concession and tour the art and shopping districts of Shanghai
When you think of China, you may envisage one of its world-renowned political leaders such as Mao Zedong, or you may depict a landmark like The Great Wall of China. Equally as likely, you might picture the bright lights and buzz of a mega city like Shanghai. In contrast, you may think of ancient Chinese towns and cities featuring beautiful temples and pagodas, or picturesque countryside mountains that glisten in the sunshine. This unique and fascinating tour will encapsulate almost anything your mind casts itself to regarding the Middle Kingdom and provide you with an amazing taste of both modern-day and traditional China.
A very high standard of private tours and five-star luxury accommodations are provided throughout this 11-day trip, which will begin in the country’s famous capital of Beijing. During your four-night stay in this historical city, you will visit renowned landmarks such as Tiananmen Square - the largest city square in the world, and steeped in political history – this is where Mao Zedong asserted the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. Visit the significant areas surrounding the square, including the enchantingly beautiful imperial palace, the Forbidden City. Not to mention the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace – which are also of breath-taking imperial beauty.
Weave your way in and around the streets of Beijing, visiting the local markets that offer an incredible variety of food, jewelry, clothes and a wide selection of other spectacular goods. Get a taste of the beautiful and bizarre Peking Opera Performance, which includes dance, acrobatics, music and mime. A one-day excursion to the Great Wall of China will give you a chance to move out of the city and experience a fascinating feature of the world.
Visit the stunning Lijiang of Yunnan Province – a charmingly scenic city encompassing a beautifully historical old town. There are breath-taking parks and monasteries to be admired on the outskirts, which sit closer to the nearby picturesque snow mountains. Besides its scenic beauty, Lijiang is renowned for being among the most ethnically diverse places in China – therefore, you will be able to experience a variety of ethnic minority cultures during your stay, including a spectacular Naxi Musical Concert.
Explore the city of Hangzhou, located in Zhejiang Province. Take a cruise down the quaint West Lake – surrounded by picture-perfect gardens, pagodas, and temples – all of which you will have the opportunity to experience. Visit the wonderfully scenic Longjing tea fields, home of China’s most famous green tea. Take trips down the peaceful rivers in the water town of Xitang – where you will pass residents’ houses and locals on their fishing boats going about their everyday lives. The town is renowned for its 104 bridges, which connect the nine waterways and eight areas together.
The trip will conclude in one of the world’s most exciting cities: Shanghai. Stroll along the Riverfront Bund, which possesses an array of historical foreign buildings and lies adjacent to the spectacular skyscrapers of the city. Head over to the stylishly renowned area that is the French Concession with its Paris-style neighborhoods, shops, and restaurants. The Shanghai Museum is one of the world’s finest, and it’s on the agenda; it displays a titanic amount of ancient Chinese art including sculptures, coins, paintings, and furniture. Take a walk around the glorious Yuyuan Garden, which dates back to 1559; and then explore the city’s numerous other entertaining districts, as this magnificent tour comes to a close.
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$2,695 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.
- In-country transportation
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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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