(Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai)
Embark on a dramatic & action packed odyssey through 2 of the world’s most epic ancient civilizations. Led by expert private guide tour glittering Tokyo, culturally decadent Kyoto, ancient wonders of Beijing, Xi'an & futuristicShanghai. Featuring bike rides, boat cruises, rickshaw rides, all the legendary highlights, scenic rail journeys, 4* hotels, driver, internal flights & more.
Welcome to Japan!
An English speaking assistant will meet and assist you on arrival at the airport and take you to meet your driver and waiting car.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
Take a day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide, making use of Tokyo’s comprehensive and user friendly public transport system. The day begins with a visit to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, a broad tree lined avenue home to the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands. Head across town to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of old Tokyo. Visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Take a boat cruise on the Sumida River passing under 12 bridges. Disembark in Hamarikyu garden, an Edo Period Japanese garden surrounded by the Shiodome district’s futuristic skyscrapers, a great example of how Japan is the land of contrasts, where you will stop for a cup of steaming matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea house on a small island in the park’s lake. Please note that with this tour you will have a private guide, but rather than travelling by private vehicle, you will make use of Tokyo’s efficient local transit system.
You will be transferred between the train station and your hotel, using a local taxi with the assistance of an English speaking guide.
Transfer by train from Tokyo to Kyoto. The train ride is approximately 2.5 hours.
The Granvia Kyoto is located directly above the Japan Rail train station. After exiting your train, please follow the below instructions to reach your hotel. This is a very short walk, and done easily on your own, so no guide service has been included.
When using the Shinkansen bullet train: Exit via the Shinkansen Main Exit, turn right and walk straight through Nanboku-Jiyu-Tsuro (North-to-South main corridor) until you reach the escalator to the hotel entrance on your right.
When using the Haruka Express from Kansai International Airport: Exit via the JR Chuo Main Exit and take the escalator on your right to the Lobby on the 2nd floor of the hotel.
Transfer from your hotel to Nara by train (45min) with a local guide. For 74 years during the 8th century Nara was Japan’s capital and many of the temples and shrines built at that time still remain. Visit Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden building and home to Japan’s largest Buddha. Next stop is Nara’s most celebrated shrine, Kasuga Taisha, established in 768 AD and famous for its hundreds of bronze and stone lanterns which have been donated by worshipers. Take a wander through Nara Park, called Deer Park by locals due to the large population of more than 1,000 tame deer living there.
Today you explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilizing Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will start your day with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request, and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples. Nijo Castle is an ornamental castle and was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors, and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. Take a walk down Nishiki Market, a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, and sushi. Final stop is Kiyomizu (Pure Water) Temple. From the 13 metre high veranda jutting out from the Main Hall you can enjoy amazing views of the whole of Kyoto, while pondering the fact that both the Main Hall and Veranda were built without the use of nails or any kind of joiners.
Flight is required, currently not included in the quote.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Enjoy this half day private guided tour of the Hutongs of Beijing. The word "hutong" originates from "hottog" which means "well" in Mongolian, and means a lane or alley - or in fact the passage formed by lines of siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents live. Beijing's hutongs are inequable ranging from a few feet to over 30 feet wide. The longest has more than 20 turns, though most have a slant, half turn, or are cul-de-sacs "blind hutongs". The gray-tiled houses and identical criss-crossing deep alleys give you the impression of being in a maze - fun to walk through, but be careful not to get lost. Includes a deluxe lunch with a local family. This tour includes exploration of the hutongs with a tricycle/rickshaw. Our suggestion is to finish the tour at the bar/restaurant cluster of Houhai rather than return to the hotel.
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 8m walls and 5m wide at the top, it is notable for its 22 watchtowers. Lunch is included.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
The first stop is of this private guided bicycle tour is 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 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. The tour continues on to the imposing ancient city wall. The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers from one of the oldest and most complete city defences are still around. They were built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city center. The last leg of the tour is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is 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 Shanghai. Flight time is approximately 2 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 is 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
Experience a full day private guided tour of Shanghai visiting the Shanghai Museum, Urban Planning Museum, Nanjing Road, the Bund, cruising on the Huangpu river and enjoying the views from the Oriental Pearl Tower. The museum is an authentic treasure house of ancient Chinese art and holds around 120,000 precious relics. Bronzes, pottery, paintings and calligraphies are distinctive features of the museum's collection. The nearby Urban Planning Hall is a fun and informative introduction to Shanghai’s exciting past and future. Strolling down Nanjing Road, which was once listed as one of the most interesting streets in the world, you will arrive at the historic Bund. Enjoy a cruise on the Huangpud river that divides old Shanghai from the futuristic Pudong, before venturing across the water for a trip up the Oriental Pearl Tower to view the city from above. The majority of this tour is best to be done by foot.
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 Hotel Tokyo is ideally situated in Shiodome, a flourishing center of business and culture. This luxury business hotel in Tokyo provides a superior level of service to satisfy the needs of all international clientele. A member of the design hotels TM group, Park Hotel Tokyo offers an extraordinary level of service and coordinated interior designs. Each room at Park Hotel Tokyo is decorated with Monique Le Houelleur's natural artwork and features color coordinated curtains and bedcovers. With its Atrium, Restaurants and Travel concept, ART, the hotel is also unique in not only offering traditional Japanese hospitality throughout the year, but also stimulating the aesthetic senses of its guests.
Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an integral part of the JR Kyoto Station Building, the visually striking architectural masterpiece which also includes a department store, museum, musical theater, and a vast underground shopping mall. From this convenient location, hotel guests have direct and easy access to and from Kansai International Airport and major metropolitan destinations across Japan. With its elegant accommodations, including beautifully appointed guestrooms, there is simply no better place to stay in Kyoto. The inclusion of 12 restaurants and bars and fitness facilities makes Hotel Granvia Kyoto the premier destination for international travelers.
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.
Board your overnight train bound for Xi'an. Choose either the standard soft sleeper, which is a cabin of 4 berths (two upper bunks, two lower bunks) or opt for the private 2 person berth (two lower bunks only). Comfortable bedding and good quality pillows are provided. Each bunk is equipped with a small reading lamp. Temperature controls are installed alongside the door. Generally speaking, the facilities include a clothes rack, slippers, a clothes brush, stainless steel thermos, a fine porcelain teacup, a trash can, and a wall socket. Travel time is approximately 11-13 hours.
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.
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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