(Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shanghai)
One of China's great symbols awaits - watch pandas at play in their natural habitat on this adventure through Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Chengdu. Book this Kensington classic itinerary as is by December 1st, for travel anytime before the end of 2015, and save $1000 per couple!
But pinch yourself as much as you like, because a close encounter with China’s shyest native animal at Chengdu is just one experience on this unforgettable trip. Begin in Beijing where your private tour guide will reveal the secrets of the Forbidden City, usher you through the gates of the Temple of Heaven and tell the tales of Tiananmen Square. Take a bullet train to Xi’an where you’ll stand toe-to-toe with the Terra Cotta Army. Then it’s on to Sichuan province for a taste of the region’s famously spicy cuisine. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen and to a local teahouse in traditional Chengu for an ancient tea ceremony with all the trimmings.
Accommodation is a mixture of centrally located hotels and authentic cultural experiences that add a richness to the trip that reaches well beyond the postcard image.
Enjoy this Kensington favourite, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
This is one of our most popular itineraries. Our Destination Specialists have tweaked it to perfection and, for a limited time, we are offering this set itinerary at a tremendous savings.
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 meter high walls and 5 meters 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 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.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Transfer from Beijing to Xi'an via the high-speed Bullet Train. The train ride is approximately 6 hours.
Enjoy a full day private guided city tour with the first stop at the Terra Cotta Army. Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. Continuing with the tour is another visit to the Ancient City Wall. The walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers from one of the oldest and most complete city defenses are still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city center you can walk, rent a bike or take an electric cart around the full 14 kilometer circuit, with great views of the city on either side. The last leg of the tour is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.
Fly from Xi'an to Chengdu. Flight time is approximately 1.5 hours
Enjoy a lovely evening out in Chengdu starting with a Hotpot dinner at Huangchenglaoma, and walking through Broad and Narrow Street.
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.
This evening you will be picked up by a private car to enjoy a deluxe dinner and then watch the spectacular performers of an acrobatic show. The impressive acrobatic feats are hardly credible and are a result of early professional training, starting as young as six or seven. Most performers have a minimum of twenty years experience.
Enjoy your private tour of the Oriental Pearl Tower, Yu Gardens, Jade Buddha Temple, and a cruise along the Huangpu River. The tower, surrounded by the Yangpu Bridge in the northeast and the Nanpu Bridge in the southwest, creates a picture of 'twin dragons playing with pearls'. The entire scene is a photographic jewel that excites the imagination and attracts thousands of visitors year-round. This 468 meter high tower is the world's sixth and China's second tallest TV and radio tower. The Huangpu River is not only the mother river of Shanghai, which divides the city into east and west parts, but also assembles the splendid attractions of the city. Situated on the east bank of the Huangpu River, the Bund is the symbol of Shanghai. The cruise ride is about 1 hour. The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in Shanghai. The White Jade Buddha’s were brought here from Myanmar in the nineteenth century. The temple also has some impressive images of the Heavenly Kings. The Yu Gardens are the largest of Shanghai's ancient gardens with Ming and Qing architectural styles. The garden has six areas, each with its own style. The Grand Rockery, in the center of the garden, is the most renowned sight. Near the garden, there is the City God Temple, where several local snack shops and streets are scattered around.
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.
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.
Discover unmatched hospitality, an unbeatable location and luxurious amenities at the new Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Center. Located in the heart of downtown, our Shanghai hotel is within walking distance to Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, People's Square, the Bund and the metro station. Premier among Shanghai hotels, we are the perfect place to unwind when traveling for business or leisure. Enjoy international cuisine and local favorites from our chefs as they prepare various choices at our five restaurants and lounges. After a day in the city, take a dip in our indoor pool, visit our fully equipped gym or have a relaxing massage at our spa. Among hotels in Shanghai, amenities include a business center, 24-hour room service and concierge. More than 2,000 square meters of dedicated event space await with two pillar-free ballrooms and seven additional meeting rooms.
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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