(Beijing, Xi'an, Lhasa, Chengdu, Shanghai)
As you watch pandas interact in their natural habitat, you’ll likely feel the need to pinch yourself to check this is not simply part of an elaborate oriental dream.
While it’s certainly a dream trip, this is an experience firmly rooted in reality. You’ll get up close to China’s shyest native animals at the Panda Research Center in Chengdu, and experience an authentic tea ceremony at a local teahouse before descending on the culinary delights of Chengdu’s fragrant Jinli Street. You’ll also discover the ancient sites of Beijing including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall; stand in awe in front of the 7,000-strong Terra Cotta Army in Xi’an; tour the most significantly spiritual and visually stunning monasteries of Tibet; taste the spicy local cuisine in the home of Szechuan cooking; and discover the modern delights of 21st-century Shanghai.
Your authentic experience of China’s most historically significant sites and Tibet’s profoundly spiritual monasteries is overseen by a team of experienced local guides and private drivers. You’ll stay in a collection of four- and five-star international hotels, and experience the traditional art of Buddhist Zen at a charming boutique property. This is a trip that won’t only fill your sim card, but also your memory for decades to come.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
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 full day private guided tour with lunch at the Great Wall at Mutianyu located 45 miles northeast of Beijing. This section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles. Construction was started in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577) and was restored in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Built mainly from granite with 8 meter walls and 5 meter wide at the top, it is notable for its 22 watchtowers. Lunch is included.
Fly from Beijing to Xi'an. Flight time is approximately 2 hours.
Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city center, experience the full 14 kilometer circuit of China's most intact city wall with great views of the city on either side.
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 Lhasa. Flight time is approximately 3 hours.
Take the afternoon to rest at your hotel to allow your body to acclimatize. Try to minimize physical activity to avoid the effects of altitude sickness.
Enjoy a full day tour of Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Bhakor Street. Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century, Potala Palace was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1645, and became the seat of Dalai Lamas and political center of Tibet. Jokhang Temple is located in central Lhasa and is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. Bhakor is the oldest road in Lhasa that pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into the night. The circular road is also a marketplace for printed scriptures, cloth prayer flags, and religious items. Lunch is included.
Enjoy a full day private guided tour of Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. The Drepung Monastery is the most important monastery of the Gelugpa sect in Tibetan Buddhism. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice, so it was given the name 'Drepung' which in Tibetan means “collecting rice”. The Sera Monastery at the foot of Tatipu Hill is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa City and was built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built, so it was named Sera which means "wild rose" in Tibetan. Lunch is included.
Direct flight from Lhasa to Chengdu.
The Sichuan province is the home of Szechuan cooking. Experience the burning fire of Sichuan's famous Hotpot dish at the Huang Cheng Lao Ma restaurant. The restaurant is accommodated in an artistically impressive brick building with a façade displaying pictures from Chengdu’s past. There are several types of hotpots; the traditional chili pepper-hua jiao red pot, hot and mild spilt version, beer lamb hotpot or bullfrog hotpot. A typical ingredient is offal, but in many restaurants the old tradition has been reinvented and modern versions usually include a selection of different meats and seafood.
Enjoy a full day private guided Chengdu tour, starting with a half-day trip to the Panda Research Center. The center was designed to imitate the pandas' natural habitat in order to provide the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. After watching and observing the pandas, travel to Chengdu's traditional Jinli Street for a local lunch. After your meal, you will visit a local tea house to experience one of the most vibrant and ancient tea cultures in the world. Lunch is included.
Fly from Chengdu to Shanghai. Flight time is approximately 3 hours.
Walk along the famous Nanjing Road and the fabulous Bund area while you listen to your expert local tour guide explain the history and development of China's most cosmopolitan city. Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s major shopping district, is one of the world's busiest shopping streets, packed with bustling stores and food outlets. It's named after the neighboring province’s capital. A large part of Nanjing Road is a pedestrian precinct. The next stop is the Bund, which is Shanghai's famous waterfront. From here you will have spectacular views of the Pudong side of the city
This half day private guided city tour visits some of the most picturesque areas around Shanghai, specifically the Jade Buddha Temple and Yuyuan Garden. The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most popular sights in Shanghai containing rare white jade Buddhas brought from Burma in the nineteenth century. One is seated while the other is in the recumbent position of Sakyamuni symbolizing the Buddha's attainment of enlightenment or nirvana. Yuyuan Garden is the largest of Shanghai's ancient gardens with architectural styles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The garden has six areas, each in its own style and the most popular being the Grand Rockery in the center. A deluxe lunch is included.
Enjoy a transfer from central Shanghai with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide to the Maglev station. From here you will take the train to get to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing showcases the city as a unique reflection of the many changing facets of contemporary Chinese culture, where ancient cultural sites vie for space alongside high-rise buildings and an intricate freeway system. This Beijing lodging is just minutes away from several popular attractions, such as Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, and the Forbidden City. The world-renowned services at the Park Plaza Wangfujing Hotel Beijing ensure that guests enjoy a warm and personalized stay. Enjoy their amenities, including a gymnasium and massage center. The Park Plaza Wangfujing Hotel features three on-site restaurants that offer a range of cuisines. Enjoy Asian dining at Ooodle, international dishes at Bloo Dining, and a menu of light fare at First Lounge Bar.
The heritage of Xian and the classic French hospitality of Sofitel combine to create a stunning hotel welcoming travelers to the heart of the city. Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square is located very centrally within the Xian city walls near many historical sites including the Bell Tower Drum Tower Great Mosque and Forest of Steles. The airport and Terra Cotta Warriors are both a 45-minute drive. All luxury hotel rooms, suites, and apartments indulge with modern conveniences. Explore Mediterranean flavors and Moroccoan Chinese Brazilian and Japanese cuisines in the 5 elegant restaurants in addition to 2 inviting bars and lounges. For more leisurely pursuits, guests can enjoy the services of Touch Spa with the swimming pool Jacuzzi and state-of-the-art fitness center.
Situated in eastern Lhasa city, Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa is on the Lhasa River and faces Jiangsu Avenue. Its location is a 10-minute walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkhorn Street and only an eight-minute drive from the Potala Palace. Experience friendly, honest service as the staff welcomes you to beautiful Lhasa city. Three dining venues provide everything you need to make your stay complete.
Buddha Zen was named by Master Chishan and is the first hotel with the theme of Buddha Zen culture in China. The design of the hotel follows the spirit of Buddha Zen with the combination of traditional Chinese aesthetics. Its interior design is unique and there are a plenty of rare Tangkas, ancient temple paintings and antiques, which include the oldest man-made embroidery of Qing Dynasty in Sichuan.
The Marriot run Renaissance Shanghai Yuyuan is a modern and luxurious property located adjacent to the Yuyuan Gardens and old quarter of downtown Shanghai. With a top-notch spa, 340 contemporary rooms and suites offering breathtaking views across the Shanghai city skyline and a central location within reasonable distance both to Shanghai's traditional attractions and the EXPO 2010 site this hotels offers a great luxury to value proposition well-suited to any trip.
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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