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(Beijing, Xi'an, Yangtze, Shanghai, Hangzhou)
On this exclusive tour you will visit the major highlights of China, feast on local delicacies and enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Yangtze from onboard your 5 star cruise. Start in Beijing, with the Great Wall and Peking Duck. Head to Xi'an where you will visit the Terra Cotta Warriors. Fly to Chongqing to board the Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer, for 4 days of relaxed cruising down one of the world's most famous rivers. Arrive in Shanghai where you can stroll the bund. Take a side trip to Hangzhou, a popular and peaceful vacation spot with some of the most luxurious properties available in China. All with private guide and driver, top tier local cuisine, and 5* hotel.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
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.
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 Peking Duck dinner at Dadong restaurant. Voted by locals as the best Peking Duck in Beijing.
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.
Enjoy a private deluxe dinner at a fine local restaurant. After a delicious meal you will be picked up and transferred by private car to the Liyuan Theatre, where you have VIP seats for the Peking Opera. The Liyuan Theatre is one of the most prominent in Beijing and is located in the Qianmen Hotel. Old Beijing can be found in many objects within the theater; for example the performers’ distinctive make-up, the outdated 8-seaters tables (Baixian Table), attendants serving tea in Tang suits (Chinese garments), and the old-styled stage. The venue is well equipped for international tourists, offering simultaneous translations for English and Japanese speaking guests as well as English subtitles to help follow the story line.
Fly from Beijing to Xi'an.
Enjoy a two hour evening walking tour in Muslim Cultural street in Xi'an - a fascinating area of the city which juxtaposes old against new. Nowadays this district is divided into three parts namely, Beiyuanmen Street, Xiyang Market and Huajue Lane, and gets its fashionable name "Muslim Street". The Drum Tower is to the southern end and the Great Mosque is to the northern end of the district. The mixture of ancient culture and modern style along with the prosperous scene and tantalizing smells will give you a great insight into the pulse of the city. You'll also get to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda evening music fountain during your tour and enjoy a deluxe dumpling dinner.
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.
Enjoy a full day private guided city tour with the first stop on as 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. 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 defences are still around. 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. 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 Chongqing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This evening, enjoy a one and half hour walking tour in French Concession & Xintiandi. A deluxe dinner at Jessie Restaurant in XinTianDi will be prepared and served to you.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Transfer from Shanghai to Hangzhou via the high-speed Bullet Train.
Located in the scenic area of West Lake in Hangzhou, the Impression West Lake Theatre is considered by many one of the most beautiful metropolitan theatres on the planet, boasting a natural backdrop of pristine, clear water and magical, natural mountains. Staged on the mellow West Lake, this performance dives into the myths and legends of this diverse area. The special concealable auditorium provides a wide, birds-eyed view of the show. A sophisticated sound and light system only add to the magic of this wonderful dramatic masterpiece. This show plays all year long, and creates a unique experience across all four seasons in Jiangnan.
Combining centuries of tradition with chic contemporary style, Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake invites you to discover a tranquil enclave woven with ponds, streams, lagoons, and the promise of impeccable Four Seasons service. The most spacious in Hangzhou, guest rooms start at 63 square metres. Most of their accommodations open to a terrace conservatory and boast stunning views of the forest glades, traditional gardens or alluring West Lake. Choose between 81 guest rooms – including five suites – or select one of three opulent, residential-style villas for families and larger parties.
Cruise on the West Lake which is situated on the west edge of Hangzhou city. West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou as well as one of the most beautiful sights in China. Next stop is the Lingyin Temple/ Monastery of the Hidden Souls. Lingyin Temple is one of the ten most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China. It also houses various Buddhist literature and treasures situated in front of Lingyin Temple. It is famous for its more than 470 stone carvings of Buddhist figures, which dated from the 10th to 14th centuries. And finally the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. It is one of the most famous brand in China, in this Tea Plantation, you can try to pick the tea leaves, taste a nice cup of tea and learn the history and processing procedure of tea. Private vehicle, lunch and driver included.
Transfer by train from Chengdu to Chongqing.
Transfer between Shanghai's domestic (PVG) airport and Shanghai train station.
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!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
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