(Beijing, Xi'an, Yangtze, Shanghai)
Voyage in style with this epic private guided journey fit for ancient emperors. Experience the exotic beauty of China while exploring some of its famed monuments and locations including the Forbidden City, Terracotta Army, spiritual temples, and enchanting lakes. Featuring mouth-watering cuisine, 5* hotels, private guides, chauffeurs, internal flights & more.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
This full day of private guided tour explores Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven with a stop for a deluxe lunch. Tiananmen Square was built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty and stretches a vast 440,000 square meters. The Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex with 9,999 buildings. The Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty reigned here until 1924. The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 AD during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven.
Enjoy a private guided tour of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, located 45 miles northeast of Beijing. This section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles and holds a prominent place in Chinese military history. Construction started in the northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 577) and was restored in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). There is an abundance of natural springs, which feed a great variety of verdant plants and ancient trees. Built mainly from granite with 8 metre high walls and 5 metres wide at the top, the wall is notable for its 22 watchtowers that suggest a significant military importance. Next, you will visit The Summer Palace, a sprawling suburban compound used by royalty as their summer retreat and best known for its stunning grounds around Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace occupies an area of 294 hectares (726.5 acres) of which three quarters are water. Classically designed as an archetypal Chinese garden, it is ranked among the most noted gardens of the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Lunch is included.
Fly from Beijing to Xi'an. Flight time is approximately 2 hours.
This half day private guided city tour takes you to some of the highlights of 3,100 year old Xian, which is besides Rome, Athens and Cairo one of the four ancient capitals. Start with the Shaanxi History Museum which is with its 370,000 exhibits one of the nation's best. The next stop is the Xi’an City Wall, which is the most complete to survive in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers still stand ready to repel attackers. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, you can walk, rent a bike or take an electric cart around the full 14km circuit, with great views of the city on either side. Finish this tour with the Great Mosque, located in the heart of Xi'an's Muslim quarter. The Mosque is one of the largest in China. Remarkable for the melding of Chinese architecture with Islamic practice, the courtyards align from east to west facing Mecca. The pavilions, halls and gateways are wonderfully decorated. This is an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travellers.
Take a full day private guided tour of the Terra Cotta Army, Banpo Museum and the Buddhist Wild Goose Pagoda with a deluxe lunch. China's greatest archaeological excavation - over 7,000 terra cotta life size warriors and horses arranged in battle formations symbolically guard the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of the Qin dynasty (246-209 BC). The Neolithic Banpo Village has nearly 10,000 production tools and the remains of 45 houses on display.
Fly from Xi'an to Chongqing. Flight time is approximately 1 hour.
Transfer between the airport and the pier with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
This evening you will board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer for your cruise to Yichang. After settling into your cabin, the ship will set sail on its downstream course through the Three Gorges region. The total length of this cruise is 660 kilometers (402 miles) and is considered by most Chinese to represent the single most scenic area in all of China. Later in the evening, a documentary about the Three Gorges Dam Project will be shown in the Tang Theatre.
Start your morning with traditional Chinese exercise and work up an appetite for the buffet breakfast. After breakfast, discover the authentic method to preparing tea in China and afterwards learn to make dumplings from a specialized chef.
After lunch, there will be a shore excursion to Fengdu. Mingle with the locals and see how school children receive their early education.
In the afternoon, enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea with pastries in the Explorer Bar, before a lecture presentation introducing the Yangzi River. There is also an optional tour to the Captain's Bridge.
This evening, you will have the opportunity to meet the Captain and other guests onboard, at the Captain's Welcome Reception which will be followed by the Welcome Dinner.
Early this morning, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer will enter Qutang Gorge and after breakfast, you will enter Wu Gorge and then cruise Shennong Stream. Disembark from the ship at Badong and board a ferry to a local longboat (sampan) poled by Tujia boatmen.
After lunch, there will be a presentation by an expert on the Three Gorges Dam Project. Following afternoon tea, view Xiling Gorge and later, try Chinese brush painting and calligraphy.
Tonight, enjoy a "A Taste of China" Dinner and afterwards, take in an evening of well-prepared entertainment by the crew members.
After breakfast, you will arrive at the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Centre. The Three Gorges Dam Project was started in 1992 and building was completed in 2009. The dam will be the largest dam on Earth, 1.2 miles wide and 600 feet in height. The dam's 26 generators will generate enough clean energy to reduce China's reliance on coal but it will also submerge 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,352 villages and over 600 industrial factories, more than 1,200 archeological projects and the 1.2 million people that will be resettled as a result of the flooding.
You will disembark the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer at around midday in Yichang.
Meet your driver for an airport or pier transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Fly from Yichang to Shanghai. Flight time is approximately 2 hours.
Enjoy a private guided tour of Shanghai taking in the Urban Planning Museum, Nanjing Rd & Bund area, a cruise on the Huangpu and the character of Yuyuan Gardens. Start with a short visit to the Urban Planning Hall, a fun and informative introduction to the exciting city of Shanghai past and future. Strolling down Nanjing Rd, once listed as one of the most interesting in the world, you will arrive at the historic Bund. Enjoy a cruise on the Huangpu river that divides old Shanghai from the futuristic Pudong before venturing to the old quarter and Yuyuan gardens. Much of this tour is best done by foot.
Fairmont Hotel in Beijing is within a short driving distance to Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square, the Embassy District, Oriental Plaza or Wangfujing, and China World Trade Centre. The hotel offers natural-lit rooms with floor-to-ceiling-windows that are furnished in contemporary Chinese style. The gate-form architecture showcases natural light-filled interiors accented by contemporary Chinese artworks, creating a sense of space and luxury living in the heart of China.
Shangri-La Hotel Xian has the very best of the city right on its doorstep such as the finest in shopping and entertainment. The hotel is just a 30-minute drive from Xian International Airport, and is within easy reach of many top tourist attractions. The hotel’s 386 guest rooms and suites set a new standard for deluxe accommodation in Xian and offer four trendsetting designer restaurants. With luxurious spa treatments and a fully equipped health club with heated pool, it's the perfect place to soothe mind, body and soul. Whether you're traveling for pleasure, Shangri-La Hotel, Xian offers exceptional levels of hospitality to further enhance your enjoyment of this magnificent city.
The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is a more intimate and luxurious style of cruising that is new China. With the largest cabins and suites on the river, all the private balconies, as well as the highest crew to passenger ratio on the river of 1:1, this is a Yangzi cruise unlike any other. The Yangzi Explorer carries 124 passengers, compared to other cruise ships and offers the finest and most personalized service on the river. Onboard facilities include a la carte dining, a luxury spa, an observation deck, 24 hour room service, a 2 floor theatre, library, and beauty and fitness facilities. A doctor also travels onboard. The ship also has the most spacious and indulgent spa on board this vessel.
Opening in late 2009, the ninth property in The Peninsula Hotels' portfolio fronts the historic Bund with spectacular views of the Bund, Huangpu River, Pudong and the gardens of the former British Consulate, and blends with the historic architecture of its landmark neighbors along the Bund -- a UNESCO-designated Modern Heritage Site.
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on, from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
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