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zAAA Vacations® - China Sampler

11 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

Small Group Discoveries

+ Sit down to lunch with a Beijing family that’s lived in their hutong for 3 generations. You’ll gain personal insight into the challenges and rewards of balancing traditional ways with modern life.
+ Feel the ancient rhythms of Xian as a savvy city resident guides you through the exotic and colorful local market.
+ Spend time with tea farmers near Hangzhou, joining them in their fields for a hands-on learning experience in the ancient art of tea cultivation.
+ Delight in traditional Chinese pastimes at Suzhou’s bustling markets and then join local residents to fly your own kite near the ancient City Gate.
+ Includes 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites c

2015 Itinerary2016 Itinerary

Show all itinerary details

Day
1

An Extra Night in Beijing

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a free extra night in Beijing before your tour at the 5-star city central Fairmont Beijing.

Day
2

Welcome to Beijing

Enjoy a free day in Beijing at the 5-star Fairmont Beijing. Meals B

Day
3

In and around Beijing with your Trip Leader

Start your day with the Sofitel’s Bistro Buffet breakfast, featuring a tempting selection of Asian and Western cuisine, and then tour Tiananmen Square and the magnificent Forbidden City cAAA Engaging Experience: Explore by rickshaw through the narrow lanes of a hutong and sit down to lunch with a local family in their home here in this traditional city neighborhood. This congenial encounter promises genuine insight into the challenges and rewards of balancing ancient traditions with modern city life. This evening, savor a bountiful Peking Duck banquet. Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Great Wall & Summer Palace

Journey into the mountains north of the capital and ascend by cable car to walk with your guide atop the Great Wall c - an unforgettable experience! Then tour the lovely Summer Palace c, erstwhile seasonal retreat of China’s mighty emperors. Meals B,L

Day
5

Fly to Xian, ancient capital of thirteen dynasties

Fly to Xian where you’ll be met and escorted to the Hilton Hotel, perfectly situated within the ancient walls of the city. AAA Engaging Experience: Join an in-the-know city resident to explore a colorful local market, popularly known as the Muslim market. He’ll be at your side guiding your discovery as you peruse the wide variety of products and sample exotic fare from the many vendors. Tonight’s dinner features savory dumplings. Meals B,D

Day
6

The Terra Cotta Warriors c

Tour the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Army, China’s greatest archaeological discovery, and visit the ancient defensive walls of the city. Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Above there is Heaven. Below there is Hangzhou

Fly to Hangzhou and transfer to the stylish JW MarriottAAA Engaging Experience: Cruise on beautiful West Lake and then spend time with tea farmers in their fields outside of the city. From preparing the soil to picking the tea leaves, this hands-on experience is a fun way to learn about the generations-old techniques that ensure the esteemed quality of the region’s fine teas. Meals B,L

Day
8

On to Wuzhen and the Garden City of Suzhou

It’s off the beaten path but this morning’s visit to Wuzhen, a 2,000-year-old town, reveals some of China’s most finely preserved Ming Dynasty homes. Continue on to Suzhou and check in to the first class Renaissance Hotel. Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Discover Suzhou

Tour the exquisite Garden of the Master of the Nets c and stroll with your guide along historic Pingjiang Road, graced with splendidly-preserved Song Dynasty architecture. AAA Engaging Experience: Learn about traditional Chinese pastimes as you join city residents to fly your own kite at the historic Panmen City Gate. Learn how silk is made at a local factory before continue on to cosmopolitan Shanghai where you check in to the city central Fairmont Peace Hotel. Meals B,L

Day
10

Out and about in Shanghai

Tour the vast collection of the Shanghai Museum and enjoy a guided stroll along the historic waterfront Bund. Marvel at the iconic 21st-century skyscrapers of the dynamic Pudong district and explore the ancient lanes of Tianzifang, now home to some of the city’s most popular boutiques and studios. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner of fine regional cuisine. Meals B,L,D

Day
11

Depart Shanghai

Your program with us finishes after breakfast. Meals B

Day
1

An Extra Night in Beijing

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a free extra night in Beijing before your tour at the 5-star city central Fairmont Beijing.

Day
2

Welcome to Beijing

Enjoy a free day in Beijing at the 5-star Fairmont Beijing. Meals B

Day
3

In and around Beijing with your Trip Leader

Start your day with breakfast, and then tour Tiananmen Square and the magnificent Forbidden City cAAA Engaging Experience: Explore by rickshaw through the narrow lanes of a hutong and sit down to lunch with a local family in their home here in this traditional city neighborhood. This congenial encounter promises genuine insight into the challenges and rewards of balancing ancient traditions with modern city life. This evening, savor a bountiful Peking Duck banquet. Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Great Wall & Summer Palace

Journey into the mountains north of the capital and ascend by cable car to walk with your guide atop the Great Wall c - an unforgettable experience! Then tour the lovely Summer Palace c, erstwhile seasonal retreat of China’s mighty emperors. Meals B,L

Day
5

Fly to Xian, ancient capital of thirteen dynasties

Fly to Xian where you’ll be met and escorted to the Hilton Hotel, perfectly situated within the ancient walls of the city. AAA Engaging Experience: Join an in-the-know city resident to explore a colorful local market, popularly known as the Muslim market. He’ll be at your side guiding your discovery as you peruse the wide variety of products and sample exotic fare from the many vendors. Tonight’s dinner features savory dumplings. Meals B,D

Day
6

The Terra Cotta Warriors c

Tour the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Army, China’s greatest archaeological discovery, and visit the ancient defensive walls of the city. Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Above there is Heaven. Below there is Hangzhou

Fly to Hangzhou and transfer to the stylish JW MarriottAAA Engaging Experience: Cruise on beautiful West Lake and then spend time with tea farmers in their fields outside of the city. From preparing the soil to picking the tea leaves, this hands-on experience is a fun way to learn about the generations-old techniques that ensure the esteemed quality of the region’s fine teas. Meals B,L

Day
8

On to Wuzhen and the Garden City of Suzhou

It’s off the beaten path but this morning’s visit to Wuzhen, a 2,000-year-old town, reveals some of China’s most finely preserved Ming Dynasty homes. Continue on to Suzhou and check in to the first class Renaissance Hotel. Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Discover Suzhou

Tour the exquisite Garden of the Master of the Nets c and stroll with your guide along historic Pingjiang Road, graced with splendidly-preserved Song Dynasty architecture. AAA Engaging Experience: Learn about traditional Chinese pastimes as you join city residents to fly your own kite at the historic Panmen City Gate. Learn how silk is made at a local factory before continue on to cosmopolitan Shanghai where you check in to the city central Fairmont Peace Hotel. Meals B,L

Day
10

Out and about in Shanghai

Tour the vast collection of the Shanghai Museum and enjoy a guided stroll along the historic waterfront Bund. Marvel at the iconic 21st-century skyscrapers of the dynamic Pudong district and explore the ancient lanes of Tianzifang, now home to some of the city’s most popular boutiques and studios. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner of fine regional cuisine. Meals B,L,D

Day
11

Depart Shanghai

Your program with us finishes after breakfast. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Hong Kong Insider Extension from Shanghai

4-Day Small Group Extension from $1,399

This affordable easy-to-add Tour Extension includes your flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong, 3 nights at our stylish city-center hotel, daily breakfast, lunch, and our unique Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day tour.

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Day
1

From Shanghai to Hong Kong

On arrival in Hong Kong, you’ll be warmly greeted and chauffeured into the heart of this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Complimentary water and a refreshing towelette will be provided as your personal guide introduces you to their native city and answers any questions you might have. Upon reaching the city center, you’ll check in to your choice of hotel.

Day
2

Be a Hong Kong Insider

This morning your private guide, a savvy city resident, will be waiting to show you the highlights and hidden facets of their hometown. Your exploration begins as you board the iconic Star Ferry! Cross Victoria Harbor and take in the impressive city skyline as your in-the-know guide shares information and insight. Step off on Hong Kong Island for a walking tour through Central, the city’s bustling business and financial center. Marvel at striking architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s China Bank Tower and learn how ancient Feng Shui principles still guide Hong Kong’s urban planners and architects.
 
Hop aboard one of the city’s double-decker trams, an essential part of island life for more than a century, and then explore by foot in Sheung Wan where you’ll see traditional herbal markets and learn about Chinese medicine. Continue along world-famous Hollywood where generations-old shop houses have been transformed into some of the city’s trendiest cafes, galleries and boutiques. Visit Man Mo Temple, one of the oldest in Hong Kong, and then sit down to a traditional Dim Sum lunch in one of your guide’s favorite restaurants. Delve into layers of architectural and cultural history at the unique PMQ Complex, and then join city residents along Graham Street. For nearly 200 years, this is where locals have come to buy their daily staples – everything from fruits and vegetables to preserved tofu, duck eggs and condiments. At one of the many markets, you’ll pause to refresh with a glass of freshly-pressed sugar cane juice. End your sightseeing on a high note as you ride the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak – where you’ll have breathtaking views of the city skyline, Victoria Harbor and distant vistas of green hills and offshore islands. After sightseeing, you’ll be escorted back to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon and your evening are at leisure to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
3

Another Day in Hong Kong

This entire day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Your hotel’s central location, surrounded by shopping, dining and cultural attractions, makes it easy to explore at your own pace. If you prefer additional guided sightseeing, you can choose from a wide variety of available tours including these:
 
Kowloon Markets: This half-day tour takes you through the back streets of Kowloon to experience facets of daily life glimpsed by few visitors. Venturing through the busy streets of the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok neighborhoods, you’ll join ordinary citizens and professional florists as they browse and shop in the colorful flower market. Strolling in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, you’ll see men and their bird cages – and learn about this popular hobby. Accompanied by our in-the-know guide, you’ll also explore the Goldfish Market and the Ladies’ Market – a great place to shop for fashion and accessories. Finish up at Tin Hua Temple and the Jade Market where hundreds of merchants specialize in jewelry and carvings made from this revered green stone as well as fresh-water pearls.
 
Treasures of Kowloon: Spend a half-day with our expert guide delving into Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. Focusing on some of the principle landmarks and attractions in the Kowloon district, this guided tour includes Wong Tai Sin, a popular temple known for its fortune tellers. You’ll also explore Walled City Park, set on the site of a 19th-century Chinese garrison, and visit the Chi Lin Nunnery, an impressive Buddhist temple built in Tang Dynasty-style.
 
Hong Kong Island Foodie Tour: A must for culinary aficionados, this guided tour takes you down colorful side streets in the Hong Kong Island neighborhoods of Central and Sheung Wan. With our expert guide at your side, you’ll stop at a half-dozen places to sample authentic regional specialties like barbecue pork and wonton noodles. Along the way, you’ll learn how the area grew from a tiny fishing village into an international center for finance and trade. Tour begins and ends in Central on Hong Kong Island and lasts about 3.5 hours.
 
Cheung Chau Island: You’ll be met at your hotel and escorted to the pier to board the ferry to Cheung Chau Island. With no motorized vehicles allowed, Cheung Chau offers a chance to experience traditional village life away from the 21st-century rhythms of Kowloon and the bustling districts on Hong Kong Island. Fishing boats ply the harbor of Cheung Chau and the waterfront promenade is alive with local shops, seafood restaurants and family-run grocery stores. This 6-hour tour includes a tasting of Cheung Chau’s culinary specialties.
 
Curated Arts of Hong Kong: Accompanied by our specialist guide, this exclusive tour takes you to some of the city’s most highly-regarded galleries and artists’ studios where professional staff and gallery managers will offer insightful introductions to their current exhibitions and artists. This tour also visits Duddell’s, an innovative dining venue that brings in rarely-seen contemporary art work – most on special loan from private collections. This 3-hour tour includes roundtrip private transfers from your hotel.
 
Heritage Tour: This unique tour explores the legacy of the five great clans that played such an important role in the early days of Hong Kong - with some of the families, like the Tangs, tracing their arrival in the area to the 12th century. Tucked in amongst the modern apartment towers and busy highways of Kowloon and the New Territories, you’ll discover a virtual living museum where historic sites offer a glimpse into the life and culture of these long-ago, once-powerful families. Among the highlights, you’ll visit the walled village of Shan Ha Wai, tour the Tang-styled Buddhist temple at the Chi Lin Nunnery, and see the stately home built in 1865 by a descendent of the Man clan. A final stop at the Hong Kong Museum of History offers a great wrap-up of the history you’ve explored on this fascinating half-day tour.

Day
4

Depart Hong Kong

Your car and driver will take you to the airport or cruise ship terminal for your onward journey.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Guilin

Our 3-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, full day sightseeing with Li River cruise and private car airport transfers.

Tokyo

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, city sightseeing and airport transfers via the convenient Airport Limousine Bus.

Chengdu

Our 2-day FreeStyle Travel package includes 1 night in your choice of city-center hotel with breakfast, dinner, chauffeured airport transfers, privately guided sightseeing and our exclusive Encounter a Panda program at the Panda Breeding & Research Station.

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Prices are per person, land only. Holiday surcharges may apply. We offer air on Cathay Pacific or United. Add extra nights. A single entry China visa is required for U.S. citizens.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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