China's Cultural Signature

13 days from $7,475 per person*
  • Explore Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and an exclusive palace inside the Forbidden City on a private Beijing tour.
  • Walk a scenic section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu and meet Xi’an’s Terra-Cotta Warriors on a private tour.
  • Discover the small villages and karst formations of the Li River on a Yangshuo cruise.
  • See some of Shanghai and Pingyao’s hidden sights on privately guided city tours.
  • Stay at a handpicked selection of premium accommodations.
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Chinese culture has dominated Asia since the dawn of time itself. From the earliest imperial dynasties to the modern age, China has held firm to its traditions and preserved them as both reminders of its storied past and inspiration for the future. This revealing journey retells China’s gripping national epic through the historic landmarks, sacred temples, and UNESCO-protected sites that continue to inspire travelers year after year.

We begin in Beijing, a city of the future built atop the foundations of China’s ancient past. With a private guide and driver, you’ll spend a day exploring some of the Chinese capital’s most historic places, including Tiananmen Square (the world’s largest public square), the grand Forbidden City (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the rarely-glimpsed Shu Fang Zhai Palace, and the magnificent Temple of Heaven. Later, step back in time on a journey into the past, starting at the majestic 12th-century Summer Palace, a UNESCO-protected treasure on the shores of Kunming Lake, then explore a restored (and less busy) section of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a scenic stretch of the mountainous Huairou District.

The time-traveling continues in Pingyao, a 2,700-year-old walled city that rose to prominence throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. Marvel at the city’s immaculately preserved fortifications, Taoist temples, lantern-lined streets, the beautiful Song-era Shuanglin Temple, and the compound of a powerful family from China’s feudal past, all in the company of a private guide. Your next stop is Xi’an, home to imperial dynasties dating back to 221 BC. Here, you’ll explore the sacred Big Wild Goose Pagoda and meet the city’s most famous citizens, Qin Shi Huang's 7,000-strong Terra-Cotta Warriors on a private tour before continuing south to Yangshuo, a quiet town on the Li River. After dinner and a viewing of the must-see “Sister Liu” light show (the creation of Academy Award-winning director Zhang Yimou), spend a full day hiking the banks of the Li and marveling at its fascinating karst formations from a traditional bamboo boat.
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The adventure comes to an end in Shanghai, but not before getting the most out of this exciting city on the Yellow Sea. First, explore a side of town rarely seen by outsiders on a private walking tour of the winding alleyways of Shanghai’s colonial past, with stops at the Catalpa Garden, the Secluded Library, and the Confucius Temple. Finally, bid China farewell in grand style via a private cruise through the famous Venice-like canals of nearby Zhujiajiao and a sumptuous final-night dinner inside Yu Garden, an oasis of serenity amid one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

Kensington Tours creates private trips from the world’s finest ingredients. Tailor-made with care by your personal Destination Expert, your personalized trip is always a one-of-a-kind experience made just for you. Expert local guidance and 24/7 service come standard.
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Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Beijing
    Beijing
    • Airport Meet & Greet
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )
  • Day 2 Beijing
    Beijing
    • Private Tour - Tiananmen, Forbidden City with Private Access to Shu Fang Zhai Palace & Temple of Heaven with Lunch - Vehicle/Driver/Guide
    • Activity - Dinner Reservations & Car Service (3 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )
  • Day 3 Beijing
    Beijing
    • Private Tour - Great Wall Mutianyu & Summer Palace with Lunch (8 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )
  • Day 4 Beijing to Pingyao
    Beijing to Pingyao
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Train - Beijing - Pingyao [Bullet Train (4 hrs) ] - 1st Class
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Pingyao
    Pingyao
    • Private Tour - Full Day Ancient City of Pingyao with City Wall with Lunch (7 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Pingyao to Xi'an
    Pingyao to Xi'an
    • Private Tour - ½ Day Shuanglin Temple and Wang Family Compound with Lunch (4.5 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Train - Pingyao - Xi`an [Bullet Train (3 hrs)] - 1st Class
    • Private Transfer - Train Station - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
  • Day 7 Xi'an
    Xi'an
    • Private Tour - Full Day Discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors & Big Wild Goose Pagoda with Lunch - Vehicle/Guide/Drive
  • Day 8 Xi'an to Guilin to Yangshuo
    Xi'an to Guilin to Yangshuo
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Air - Xi`an - Guilin [(1.5hrs)] - Economy
    • Private Transfer - Guilin - Yangshuo [[Airport (1.5hrs)]] - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Activity - Dinner & Impression SanJie Liu Show - Presidential Seats
    Breakfast
  • Day 9 Yangshuo
    Yangshuo
    • Private Tour - Li River Bamboo Boat & Riverside Hike with Lunch (5-7 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Breakfast
  • Day 10 Yangshuo to Guilin to Shanghai
    Yangshuo to Guilin to Shanghai
    • Private Transfer - Yangshuo - Guilin [Airport (1.5hrs)] - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Air - Guilin - Shanghai [(2.5hrs)] - Economy
    • Private Transfer - Airport (PVG) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Activity - Dinner Reservations & Car Service (3 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )
  • Day 11 Shanghai
    Shanghai
    • Private Tour - Walking Tour through Shanghai’s Hidden Doors with Lunch (6-7 hours) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )
  • Day 12 Shanghai
    Shanghai
    • Private Tour - Zhujiajiao Canal Boat Ride & Yu Garden With Lunch (7 hrs) - Vehicle/Boat/Guide/Driver
    Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )
  • Day 13 Shanghai
    Shanghai
    • Private Transfer - Airport (PVG) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
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  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

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Day 1: Beijing

To ensure a seamless experience, your guide will be waiting for you outside the secure customs area with a sign with your name on it. The guide will assist you in meeting up with your private driver and accompany you to your accommodation.

Enjoy a private transfer between the airport and your hotel with an English-speaking guide.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )

Blending contemporary luxury, unequaled service, and exotic Oriental charm, the Waldorf Astoria Beijing offers a timeless experience in the heart of Wangfujing. A dramatic copper building, offering a refined sanctuary in the downtown business district of Beijing. This distinctive hotel boasts an ideal location near extensive shopping options and culturally significant Siheyuan - traditional courtyard residences. This opulent hotel in Beijing offers spacious and sumptuously appointed guest rooms and suites, some featuring courtyard views and furnished terraces. Gastronomes will be impressed with two lavish restaurants: a stylish brasserie and an elegant Chinese restaurant. The sophisticated Peacock Lounge provides a chic, welcoming space to savor signature Waldorf Astoria dishes and an extensive selection of premium beverages. Discover a sense of balance and well-being in the tranquil spa featuring a range of signature treatments that blend traditional Chinese medicine philosophies with innovative, modern techniques to attune the body and relieve a tired mind.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Beijing
Beijing
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Waldorf Astoria Beijing
Waldorf Astoria Beijing

Day 2: Beijing

Spend the day exploring three of Beijing’s most photographed sites with your private guide and driver, and enjoy exclusive access to Shu Fang Zhai Palace while visiting the Forbidden City. Head to the center of Beijing and begin with a walk across the sprawling expanse of Tiananmen Square. Built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty and serving as the front door to the Forbidden City, the present square is one of the largest in the world, stretching a vast 44 square hectares. Here, walk past and featuring the Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and the Mao Zedong Memorial. Many historically important moments have unfolded in this public setting.

From here, cross the street and enter through the towering gates of the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the largest number of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The expansive palace complex is comprised of 9,999 buildings spread across 74 hectares and protected by a 19-foot deep moat and a 32-foot tall wall, divided into two parts. The Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation, while the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Twenty-four emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties reigned over China from the Imperial Palace here until 1924. During your visit to the Forbidden City, enjoy an exclusive visit to Shu Fang Zhai Palace, a section of the Forbidden City that is not open to the general public. The Palace was the study of Prince Qianlong in his youth, and later became used as a banquet hall when he became Emperor Qianlong. The visit to Shu Fang Zhai Palace will enhance guests appreciation of ancient Chinese palace architecture, the life of Emperor Qianlong and the history of the Qing Dynasty.

Stop for a 3-course lunch at TRB Forbidden City, a Beijing-inspired spin on European fine dining.

Next, drive to the Temple of Heaven, a serene space set amidst expansive gardens, and a popular spot for locals and travelers alike. With your private guide and driver, head to this urban oasis UNESCO World Heritage Site, originally constructed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty to offer a sacrifice to Heaven in exchange for a bountiful harvest. The most magnificent buildings are The Circular Mound Altar (Yuanqiutan), Imperial Vault of Heaven (Huangqiongyu), and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (Qiniandian), which are connected by a wide bridge called the Sacred Way. The park grounds surrounding the park are a popular local mingling spot, and it is quite common to see people practicing Tai Chi amidst the green space.

Today’s tour involves a fair amount of walking at a leisurely pace. Comfortable walking shoes and adequate protection from the sun are highly recommended.

 

With food being such a prominent part of Chinese culture, there is a wide range of cuisines that must be experienced when visiting China. From groundbreaking fusion dishes to traditional delicacies, Beijing has it all. Be sure to try out the local favorite, Peking duck. Tonight, you will be able to indulge in an unforgettable gastronomic experience accompanied by a private guide. Reservations will be made in advance at the restaurant of your choice, and round-trip transportation in a private vehicle will also be provided. Our Destination Experts can provide top recommendations for anything from fine Chinese dining to high-end international restaurants.

Please note: Your meal is not included and will be paid for on location. Reservations are confirmed at the time of booking and are subject to availability.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Forbidden City
Forbidden City
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Chinese Cuisine
Chinese Cuisine

Day 3: Beijing

Spend the day exploring two of Beijing’s most visually captivating sites with your private guide and driver. Start the day with a visit to the Summer Palace, which dates to the 12th century, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vast imperial encampment of temples, ornate pavilions, and halls set in a park around Kunming Lake. Occupying an area of 294 hectares, three-quarters of which is water, the compound features a sprawling archetypal Chinese garden that is ranked amongst the most noted gardens in the world and a truly picturesque setting to explore. The Long Corridor is a must-see – this covered walkway is decorated with more than 14,000 lavish paintings.

Then drive out of the city to take in the awe-inspiring Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, located 45 miles northeast of the city. By far China’s most iconic architectural wonder, it captivates the imagination of generations of travelers intrigued by this feat of engineering. This well-preserved section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles and holds a prominent place in Chinese military history. Construction began during the 6th century Northern Qi Dynasty, and it was restored in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (spanning from the 14th to 17th century).

An abundance of natural springs in the area give this section of the Great Wall a lush verdant ecosystem, and the rolling forested hills make for an impressive panoramic photo regardless of the time of year. Take a cable car to the top of the hillside to explore the 26-foot-high granite walls. The 22 watchtowers stretch along the top of the mountain ridge as far as the eye can see, an impressive military barrier against invading forces from the north. Today’s lunch will be had at a local restaurant near the Great Wall. If you are interested and traffic permits, it is possible to stop for a quick photo at the 2008 Olympic sites of the Bird's Nest and Water Cube along the drive.

Today’s tour involves a fair amount of walking at a leisurely pace. Comfortable walking shoes and adequate protection from the sun are highly recommended.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe )
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Great Wall at Mutianyu
Great Wall at Mutianyu

Day 4: Beijing - Pingyao

Enjoy a private transfer between the train station and your hotel with an English-speaking guide.

Transfer from Beijing to Pingyao via the high-speed bullet train. The train ride is approximately 4 hours.

Enjoy a private transfer between the train station and your hotel with an English-speaking guide. The transfer includes use of a golf cart from the hotel to the Old Town Gate.

Accommodation: Jing`s Residence

Jing's Residence has 19 rooms and is nestled amongst dusty curio shops and bustling restaurants in the old walled city of Pingyao, a small boutique hotel that is located in a nicely-renovated old mansion. The design of the hotel fits in harmoniously with the traditional surroundings of this ancient city. The Residence is ideally located in the heart of the old town and encompasses a series of grey-brick pavilions built around a set of four courtyards in the authentic architectural style of northern China. Tables and chairs are located outside each pavilion where guests can relax while reading, drinking tea, or soaking up the historical atmosphere. In addition to the luxurious accommodations, the Residence also features a dining room where guests can enjoy an extensive menu of international and local favorites. The Residence also provides an exclusive meeting space, a cozy library and a bar that make it the perfect home-away-from-home for discerning travelers.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Ping Yao
Ping Yao
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Jing's Residence
Jing's Residence

Day 5: Pingyao

The Ancient City of Pingyao is the most authentically preserved walled town in China, and a delight to discover. Spend the day exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site with your private driver and guide. The iconic Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture, picturesque red lantern-lined streets, well-preserved courtyards and latticework of ancient houses and lanes give the city a unique atmosphere – this is the China of yesteryear that many travelers long to find.

Start with an orientation walk along the ramparts of the Old City Wall. Standing 39-feet tall, the wall has 72 watchtowers and 6 gates: one each in the north and south walls, and two gates each on the east and west wall giving the city the aerial appearance of a giant turtle. From here, continue to the Temple of the City God of Pingyao, a well-preserved Taoist temple constructed during the Song Dynasty. The temple features elaborate woodcarvings, stone sculptures, and murals and covers an awe-inspiring 8,733 square yards. Stop for your included lunch at a local restaurant.

Next visit the Yamen County Government Office, the former government offices dating back to the North Wei Dynasty from 386 to 534. Offering a unique look into the former feudal nature of Chinese society, the compound includes a trial hall and former prison on its grounds. From here, head to Rishengchang Exchange Shop, considered to be the first draft bank in China’s history. At its peak in the 19th century, the bank controlled almost half of the Chinese economy. The exchange shop is now home to a museum delving into the Shanxi commerce system.

End the day by strolling along Ancient Ming-Qing Street, lined with stone and brick homes flanked by granite thresholds. The street was ancient China’s answer to Wall Street, home to major traders and a wide range of shops. The modern version of the street is a vibrant pedestrian arcade lined with red lanterns and a wide range of restaurants and shops, courtyard guest homes and local markets. At the end of the day, transfer back to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Jing`s Residence
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Pingyao Courtyard
Pingyao Courtyard

Day 6: Pingyao - Xi'an

The outskirts of Pingyao hold a treasure trove of ancient sites that will appeal to guests interested in Chinese Buddhism and luxurious Qing Dynasty architecture. With your private guide and driver, start with a visit to the Wang Family Compound, one of the Four Families of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Shanxi Province, located in Jingsheng town approximately 22 miles from Pingyao. The grandiose compound is typical of the Qing Dynasty Shanxi courtyard home. The former residence of the descendants of the Wang Family, the structure is decorated with stone, wood and brick sculptures and serves as a fantastic museum of architectural art. The collection includes furnishings, old coins, porcelain, rare stones and jade carvings, and it is also possible to wander through the various homes on the compound and take in the opulence characteristic of the Qing Dynasty from 1644-1911 in Shanxi Province.

Next visit the Shuanglin Temple, located in Qiaotou Village approximately 4 miles from Pingyao. The temple is home to more than 2,000 color ancient painted sculptures dating to the Song Dynasty and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Buddhist imagery at Shuanglin Temple includes numerous sculptures of Bodhisattva, more commonly associated with Mahayana Buddhism found in India and the sub-continent. A local lunch is included before returning to your hotel.

Enjoy a private transfer between the train station and your hotel with an English-speaking guide. The transfer includes use of a golf cart from the hotel to the Old Town Gate.

Transfer from Pingyao to Xi'an via the high-speed bullet train. The train ride is approximately 3 hours.

Enjoy a private transfer between the train station and your hotel with an English-speaking guide.

Accommodation: Sofitel Legend People`s Grand Hotel

Originally established in 1953, the legendary Xian People's Hotel embraced in a beautiful landscaped garden and located right in the heart of Xian was refurbished into a luxury hotel. Reopened in 2014, Sofitel Legend People's Grand Hotel Xian features an Italian restaurant, bars, cigar lounge, spa, and state of the art facilities. The hotel is only 45 minutes to the airport and Terracotta Warriors, and is within walking distance to many famous historical sites.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Shuanglin Temple
Shuanglin Temple

Day 7: Xi'an

The Terra Cotta Warriors are the most iconic site in Xi’an, an impressive marvel that went undiscovered until 1974. With your private driver and English-speaking guide, spend the day visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors and enjoy a unique opportunity to spend a half hour with Mr. Yang Xinman, the local farmer who accidentally discovered the warriors while drilling a series of water wells. The incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin’s tomb since 210 BC. Incredibly, each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits, protected inside enormous hangars specially constructed for the archeological dig. From here, visit Mr. Yang’s home and spend a half hour chatting with him about how he and other farmers made this incredible discovery. Mr. Yang does not speak English, but your guide will be able to translate for you. Stop for a local lunch before returning to the city center to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. An important Buddhist site, the simple and elegant Pagoda is housed on 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 world-famous 16-year pilgrimage to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals. At the end of the day, return to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Sofitel Legend People`s Grand Hotel
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Terra Cotta Warriors
Terra Cotta Warriors
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Xi'an
Xi'an

Day 8: Xi'an - Guilin - Yangshuo

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

Board a flight with direct service from Xi'an to Guilin. Approximate flight time is 1.5 hours.

Transfer from Guilin airport to Yangshuo with a private vehicle and English speaking guide. The transfer is approximately 1.5 hours.

Enjoy a deluxe local dinner followed by the Sister Liu Show. This spectacle was created by the Oscar winning Zhang Yimou and presents the local culture through a cavalcade of lights and cast of 500 using a private bay as the theatre and local mountains as the backdrop. This is sure to be one of the most memorable activities of your trip.

Accommodation: Alila Yangshuo

The Alila Yangshuo opened in 2017 and is a luxurious retreat set against a dramatic backdrop of hills overlooking the beautiful panorama of the Li River and surrounding limestone karsts. Once a working sugar mill, this hotel is now a modern retro heritage resort, combining stylish simplicity, tandem with its picturesque setting. Designed by Don Gong of Vector Architect, the vision for Alila Yangshuo is to integrate the new with the old, paying homage to the unique history of these heritage buildings. All rooms and suites are modern in design and feature simple yet strong lines and a combination of local stone and bamboo in the perfect balance of hard and soft. All tastes are catered for at the resort's all-day dining restaurant, Sugar House. While 1969 Bar, featuring an in-house rum distillery, provides the perfect place to relax and socialize. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, Spa Alila, Alila Living boutique, (an events center hosting up to  200 guests) and a private pier. The hotel was listed as the #2 New Aesthetic Hotel Hot List by Conde Nast Traveler China in 2017.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Impression Liu Sanjie show
Impression Liu Sanjie show
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Yangshuo
Yangshuo

Day 9: Yangshuo

The Li River meanders gently among the dramatic karst peaks of Yangshuo, making this area one of the best places to witness China’s natural splendor at its finest. Today, accompanied by your guide, get an opportunity to fully take in the beauty of this fairy tale land on a private tour. Begin by transferring to the village of Yangdi where you will board a bamboo boat and float down the river towards the Nine Horse Fresco Hill. Feel mesmerized by the otherworldly landscapes around you and try spotting all of the horses in the majestic rocky face of this storied mountain. From here, take a scenic hike towards the village of Xingping. Today’s journey is a blend of walking and short cruises, allowing you to truly experience this fascinating part of China; it also offers an alternative view of this famous river, as well as the rural landscapes and local community.

Accommodation: Alila Yangshuo
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Li River
Li River

Day 10: Yangshuo - Guilin - Shanghai

Transfer from Yangshuo to the Guilin airport with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide. The transfer is approximately 1.5 hours.

Board a flight with direct service from Guilin to Shanghai. Approximate flight time is 2.5 hours.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

With food being such a prominent part of Chinese culture, there is a wide range of cuisines that must be experienced when visiting China. From groundbreaking fusion dishes to traditional delicacies, Shanghai has it all. Be sure to try out the local favorite, delectable soup dumplings. Tonight, you will be able to indulge in an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Reservations will be made in advance at the restaurant of your choice, and round-trip transportation in a private vehicle will also be provided accompanied by a private guide. The guide will help you get settled into the restaurant and can assist with navigating the menu, but will not be joining you for dinner. Your Destination Expert will provide top recommendations for anything from fine Chinese dining to high-end international restaurants.

Please note: Your meal is not included and will be paid for on location. Reservations are confirmed at the time of booking and are subject to availability.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )

Combining the history and culture of the celebrated Shanghai Bund with a taste for 21st century sophistication, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund offers a heritage ambiance, legendary service, and timeless amenities to make your stay truly memorable and distinct. Housed within the two-building complex are well-appointed rooms and suites, stylish environments for dining and lounging, extensive banquet facilities with stunning views, luxury spa, fully-fitted gym, complimentary Wi-Fi, and more, all crafted onto a picture perfect setting that speaks volume of the grandeur and finesse that is uniquely theirs.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Dim Sum
Dim Sum
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Jin Mao Tower
Jin Mao Tower

Day 11: Shanghai

There is more to Shanghai than a futuristic landscape of high-rises facing off against 20th-century art deco structures across the Huangpu River. Discover a hidden and mostly forgotten side of Shanghai with your private guide and driver, starting off by exploring the deep alleys of an old city neighborhood, where you’ll find ancient carvings hidden behind hanging laundry. The city was a European colonial outpost from the 1840s to 1940s, and much of the city’s classical architecture reflects this European flavor. Visit the historical Fire Tower, built in 1910. Stroll along Qiao Jia street, a popular place for Chinese celebrities to reside on during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Visit the Catalpa Garden, constructed with a combination of Chinese, Gothic, Greek and Japanese architectural influences. Albert Einstein was entertained here in 1922.

Check out the Secluded Library, located inside an ornate home dating back more than 300 years. The original carvings still adorn the windows, gates, columns, and ceiling. Visit the Nine-Rooms Building, the former residence of Xu Guanggi, a remarkable Chinese scholar from more than 500 years ago who first translated and introduced Catholicism, western mathematics, and astronomy to China. Absorb the atmosphere as you explore on foot the narrow lanes and food markets and rub elbows with locals going about their daily routine of shopping, cooking, or even playing Mahjong on the street. Stop by the Confucius Temple, constructed between 1368-1398 to honor China’s great thinker and educator. The temple is the only ancient architectural complex in central Shanghai and a longstanding home of higher learning. Today’s lunch will be at a local restaurant. At the end of the day, transfer back to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Confucius Temple
Confucius Temple

Day 12: Shanghai

Despite Shanghai’s impressive size and modern cosmopolitan identity, there are pockets of traditional Chinese gardens and culture hidden throughout the city and its outskirts. Start the day by heading into the Yangtze River Delta near Shanghai to Zhujiajiao with your English-speaking guide and private driver. The delta area gave rise a collection of historical water towns that crisscross the countryside and have given the region the nickname of the “Venice of the East” due to the prevalence of canals. While modern architecture and infrastructure have all but made these canals obsolete, these villages have thriving centers that haven’t changed for hundreds of years. Zhujiajiao is a scenic water town easily accessible from Shanghai. Drive an hour from central Shanghai, and explore the 1700-year-old picturesque town. Its beauty lies in its lovely streams, which reflect the traditional houses built on their banks. Large and small gondola-like boats in typical Chinese style ply the waters all around the city. Marvel at the architecture during a boat ride through the canals before driving back to Shanghai for lunch.

Dine at NanXiang restaurant and sample NanXiang Xiao Long Bao, a traditional style of Shanghai bun. In the afternoon, visit the Yu Gardens, the largest of Shanghai’s ancient gardens, dating to the mid-16th century. The expansive grounds feature the architectural styles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, with six pavilions each with their own unique design, laid out in the Suzhou style. The Grand Rockery in the center of the garden is a popular photo stop, with replica peaks, cliffs, and caves. The Yu Gardens are a year-round delightful retreat from Shanghai’s frenetic pace, as the changing seasons offer a different experience and a moment of quiet contemplation. Adjacent to the gardens is the City God Temple, surrounded by a network of local snack vendors and souvenir shops that make for a colorful walk into the Yu Garden. At the end of the day, transfer back to your hotel by private vehicle.

Accommodation: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River )
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Zhujiajio Water Town
Zhujiajio Water Town

Day 13: Shanghai

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Waldorf Astoria Beijing (B) (Deluxe ): Beijing

Blending contemporary luxury, unequaled service, and exotic Oriental charm, the Waldorf Astoria Beijing offers a timeless experience in the heart of Wangfujing. A dramatic copper building, offering a refined sanctuary in the downtown business district of Beijing. This distinctive hotel boasts an ideal location near extensive shopping options and culturally significant Siheyuan - traditional courtyard residences. This opulent hotel in Beijing offers spacious and sumptuously appointed guest rooms and suites, some featuring courtyard views and furnished terraces. Gastronomes will be impressed with two lavish restaurants: a stylish brasserie and an elegant Chinese restaurant. The sophisticated Peacock Lounge provides a chic, welcoming space to savor signature Waldorf Astoria dishes and an extensive selection of premium beverages. Discover a sense of balance and well-being in the tranquil spa featuring a range of signature treatments that blend traditional Chinese medicine philosophies with innovative, modern techniques to attune the body and relieve a tired mind.

Jing`s Residence: Pingyao

Jing's Residence has 19 rooms and is nestled amongst dusty curio shops and bustling restaurants in the old walled city of Pingyao, a small boutique hotel that is located in a nicely-renovated old mansion. The design of the hotel fits in harmoniously with the traditional surroundings of this ancient city. The Residence is ideally located in the heart of the old town and encompasses a series of grey-brick pavilions built around a set of four courtyards in the authentic architectural style of northern China. Tables and chairs are located outside each pavilion where guests can relax while reading, drinking tea, or soaking up the historical atmosphere. In addition to the luxurious accommodations, the Residence also features a dining room where guests can enjoy an extensive menu of international and local favorites. The Residence also provides an exclusive meeting space, a cozy library and a bar that make it the perfect home-away-from-home for discerning travelers.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Jing's Residence
Jing's Residence
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Jing's Residence
Jing's Residence

Sofitel Legend People`s Grand Hotel: Xi'an

Originally established in 1953, the legendary Xian People's Hotel embraced in a beautiful landscaped garden and located right in the heart of Xian was refurbished into a luxury hotel. Reopened in 2014, Sofitel Legend People's Grand Hotel Xian features an Italian restaurant, bars, cigar lounge, spa, and state of the art facilities. The hotel is only 45 minutes to the airport and Terracotta Warriors, and is within walking distance to many famous historical sites.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Sofitel Legend Peoples' Grand Hotel
Sofitel Legend Peoples' Grand Hotel

Alila Yangshuo: Yangshuo

The Alila Yangshuo opened in 2017 and is a luxurious retreat set against a dramatic backdrop of hills overlooking the beautiful panorama of the Li River and surrounding limestone karsts. Once a working sugar mill, this hotel is now a modern retro heritage resort, combining stylish simplicity, tandem with its picturesque setting. Designed by Don Gong of Vector Architect, the vision for Alila Yangshuo is to integrate the new with the old, paying homage to the unique history of these heritage buildings. All rooms and suites are modern in design and feature simple yet strong lines and a combination of local stone and bamboo in the perfect balance of hard and soft. All tastes are catered for at the resort's all-day dining restaurant, Sugar House. While 1969 Bar, featuring an in-house rum distillery, provides the perfect place to relax and socialize. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, Spa Alila, Alila Living boutique, (an events center hosting up to  200 guests) and a private pier. The hotel was listed as the #2 New Aesthetic Hotel Hot List by Conde Nast Traveler China in 2017.

China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Alila Yangshuo, Guilin
Alila Yangshuo, Guilin
China's Cultural Signature Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Alila Yangshuo, Guilin - Sideview
Alila Yangshuo, Guilin - Sideview

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (B) (Deluxe River ): Shanghai

Combining the history and culture of the celebrated Shanghai Bund with a taste for 21st century sophistication, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund offers a heritage ambiance, legendary service, and timeless amenities to make your stay truly memorable and distinct. Housed within the two-building complex are well-appointed rooms and suites, stylish environments for dining and lounging, extensive banquet facilities with stunning views, luxury spa, fully-fitted gym, complimentary Wi-Fi, and more, all crafted onto a picture perfect setting that speaks volume of the grandeur and finesse that is uniquely theirs.

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Reginald B — April 14, 2019 — Asia

    This was a GREAT tour to Thailand! It exceeded my expectations in many ways (ie. itinerary, flexibility, and customer service). I would recommend this tour and Kensington Tours to family and friends. I will definitely use Kensington Tours for my future travel plans. My destination expert was Ms. Forkan. She expertly tailored my experience to my needs and wants. She filled in all the "unknowns" and ensured a safe, smooth trip/tour. Her professionalism and support was a 10/10. Thank you Ms. Forkan for designing this trip of a lifetime!

  • Ann L — June 05, 2019 — Asia

    Our guides made our whole trip - we will remember them as much as China itself. Jerry immediately put us at ease and made us feel like his best friends - he was sincere and authentic and open. Katy (in Chengdu) had great energy and showed us how people really live. Even though she must see the pandas every other day of her life, she still seemed to genuinely LOVE seeing them. (And, later, when we discovered we'd left valuables in the safe at our hotel, she went WAY above and beyond to take care of things - even after we were already in Shanghai!). Nancy (in Shanghai) was amazing - we truly enjoyed our time with her and she took us to markets and encouraged us to take our time at the places that interested us most. When we'd seen enough temples, our guides communicated with each other to rearrange our tours in coming destinations. We felt like we were on the food tour of China - the meals were wonderful, and it was - really - TOO MUCH FOOD! No part of our day was wasted, but if we wanted to start later or call it a night sooner, plans were easily rearranged. We would absolutely go with Kensington again!

  • Sandra S — February 09, 2019 — Asia

    We had a really interesting trip and your team made it all so easy. Our guides were not only informative, but they took very good care of us. They kept us on schedule with all the city transfers, made the Visa process so quick and introduced us to some of the things they loved about their cities as well as the scheduled sites. There were so many highlights on this trip, but I was especially wowed by the cruise on Ha Long Bay. Our guide in Hanoi went above and beyond on my birthday and arrived to pick us up with some beautiful orchids and a lovely gift. We were very happy with all our accommodations as well.

  • Daryl H. — January 26, 2019 — Asia

    I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the superb attention to detail in fulfilling my requests and my dreams

  • Laura E. — January 08, 2019 — Asia

    One of the benefits was that the guides were very flexible and suggested and accommodated changes to plans based on the weather and other circumstances. They all said they could do this when working with Kensington because Kensington supported it and empowered them with this flexibility. A big advantage in making the trip perfect!

  • Ajitkumar P. — January 04, 2019 — Asia

    The whole trip was well organized and we have recommended using Kensington to our friends.

  • Donna F. — February 03, 2018 — Asia

    Mark was able to put together the perfect tour! Our guide was very knowledge and we really appreciated her being so flexible with the holiday as we were there for Chinese New Year! She was able to take us to all the sights and part of the highlight was eating traditional Chinese food for New Year's.

  • Marjorie H. — October 01, 2018 — Asia

    This tour was so well organized - everything went off perfectly. As two women traveling together in a country where the language barrier was a challenge, it gave us great peace of mind to know that we would be escorted wherever needed. We appreciated not being part of a group - our private tour guides were delightful and the entire trip was very special for my daughter and me.

  • Sandra S. — October 13, 2018 — Asia

    The trip was very enjoyable. We gained new insights into China and the Chinese people. I wish we could have stayed longer. There is so much to see. My favorite sites were the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, White Jade Buddah and the Shanghai night skyline. Cindy was most helpful in planning our trip. She's truly an asset to your company. Kensington Tours met all of our vacation needs.

  • Gina A. — January 09, 2019 — Asia

    I usually don't write reviews but I have to tell you, this was the best vacation. Yuki, our Destination Expert, did an excellent job putting it all together and the guides were excellent. I will be using you guys for my next international vacation.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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