Imperial Tours: Luxury Tours in China - Blog Slide Image

14 Days in China

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Cover of TravelpulseAn enviable combination of scenic beauty, fascinating heritage, exotic cuisine and unforgettable up close and personal cultural and luxury experiences make this elite itinerary for China a must-try. Travel along our specially designed Silk Road, which takes you in Imperial style from Beijing to Xi’an to Guilin, to Hangzhou, to Shanghai and beyond.

1. Beijing Arrival
Arrive in Beijing and meet your China Host who’ll whisk you to the Park Hyatt Beijing, the tallest tower of the Beijing Yintai Centre in the heart of the city’s Central Business District. Book the 2,583-square-foot Chairman Suite with a large living area, ten-seat dining room, and spacious master bath with granite-slab tub. Dinner tonight is at the hotel’s China Grill on the 66th floor. As the highest restaurant on Chang’an Avenue, 360-degree city views can be spied through the enormous windows. 

2. Beijing Tour
Start off the day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, one of the most important buildings in Beijing, while your local guide imparts history and facts along the way. Built in 1420, its most impressive structure is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, where the emperor of the Ming Dynasty prayed for a fruitful harvest. Afterwards, head to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Gain private access to three inner buildings in the Forbidden City, where Emperor Qianlong used to spend his winters.

3. The Great Wall
Today you’ll climb the nearby Great Wall of China, the 5,500-mile-long fortification constructed of stone and sticky rice, and have a special private banquet lunch on the wall itself overlooking the stunning scenery, complete with silverware and white linen tablecloth, all complements of Imperial Tours.

4. Xi’an Bound
This morning, you’ll visit the Summer Palace where the Dowager Empress Cixi used to vacation. In the afternoon, fly to Xi’an and check into the Sofitel Xi’an on Renmin Square, a totally modern hotel built in the city center. Set up camp in the hotel’s Presidential Suite for the remainder of your stay.  Dinner tonight is a private dumpling-making session before enjoying a dumpling dinner (don’t worry, dinner is prepared by the chef).

5. Buried Treasures
Set out in the morning for the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Lintong to view the fascinating, life-size underground army of over 8,000 that guarded Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb, accidently discovered in 1974 by local farmers as they were trying to dig a water well. Next stop is the Yang Ling Museum, the first underground museum that displays a wide range of mini terracotta figurines including  men, animals and concubines that reveal more about Imperial court life during the era of Emperpr Han Jing Di (156 BC to 141 BC). Then you’ll be led privately to the museum’s Restoration Room, where you can watch archaeologists restore broken figurines and even pick one up yourself – with gloved hands, of course.

6. Xi’an Antiques
Start the morning with a private visit to the Tang Dynasty Murals, dating from 706 AD in the Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an. Professor Wang Jian Qi who has guided former President Clinton through the same works, will lead you through several halls containing about 600 murals in the process of being restored. Recovered from the tombs of royal Chinese rulers, only 100 have been cleaned and restored so far. Afterward, roam around the bustling Muslim quarter and meander through a mosque in the heart of the city. 

7. On to Guilin
Fly on to Guilin, a spectacular region of natural beauty with craggy limestone towers overlooking lush planes of rice fields and fruit orchards. Check into the Hotel of Modern Art, a Relais & Châteaux property, and opt for the duplex Libre Suite with panoramic mountain views on both sides and precious artwork throughout.  Take a tour of the hotel’s contemporary sculpture gardens among the stunning karst formations and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. For dinner tonight, sample an authentic “hot pot” meal in a spectacularly lit, artist-designed limestone cave.

8. River Trip
Begin the day with a ride on a traditional bamboo raft along a less-visited stretch of the Li River. Drift past rice paddies, children swimming in the rippling waters, and fishermen who click signals to their cormorants as they hunt the river bottom for fish. Have lunch al fresco, taking in the river view and surrounding mountains before driving into the heart of this rural area for an exclusive visit to a mountain village, where you can play with the school children, learn to make tofu and soy milk and have the opportunity to talk to the villagers and village head.

9. Next Stop, Hangzhou
In the morning you fly on to Hangzhou, a city dubbed the “most enchanting on earth,” whose scenic hills serve as a backdrop to the man made West Lake. Transfer to the brand new Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, an intimate lakeside village in serenely picturesque setting.  Book the Presidential Villa and enjoy a private pool and tranquil garden views. 

10. Explore Hangzhou
After breakfast, visit Lingyin Temple, one of China’s most famous Zen Buddhist temples, which dates from the fourth century.  After lunch, continue on to the historic center of Hangzhou city, where you will be taken to a local teahouse to view a private Daoist-style tea ceremony and enjoy a tea tasting. Then experience an enchanting private gondola boat ride accompanied by your very own traditional Chinese orchestra.

11. More to Explore
Take a morning bike ride along the shores of West Lake and relish in the breathtaking landscapes and surrounding mountains. Then head over to the Southern Song Dynasty Guan Kiln Museum to see the remains of a Song Dynasty royal porcelain kiln, which had been used to produce celadon wares exclusively for Imperial use, and learn how these were fired.

12. Shanghai Supreme
You’ll drive to Shanghai today and check into the Park Hyatt Shanghai, the highest hotel in the world. Choose the 2,088-square-foot Chairman Suite with pandormaic city views through the soaring windows.

13. Old City Tour
Set out in the morning on a tour of Old Shanghai with a local historical expert. Walk the newly constructed promenade along the Huangpu River and admire the view across to the Pudong area. Then check out the Art Deco and neoclassical buildings along the Bund, wander through the quaint French Concession and get a look at the city’s original lilongs (lane neighborhoods). In the afternoon head to the Hongqiao Pearl Market for some insider shopping with a certified pearl expert.

14. Last Day Luxury
Head out in the morning for a walk in Yu Garden, a formerly private garden built during the Ming Dynasty now open to the public. Afterwards, check out Shanghai Museum’s display of bronze, jade, and other artifacts. End the night with a stunning acrobat show.

© 2010 Elite Traveler.