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zChina Sampler (2019 Itinerary)

10 days

Never more than 16 guests

Overall Rating
based on 104 Reviews

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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

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Day
1

We’ll be at the airport to escort you to the luxurious Fairmont Beijing Hotel

Day
2

In and around Beijing with your Trip Leader

The Fairmont - Beijing, China

Your expertly guided, full-day exploration of China’s vibrant capital begins in Tiananmen Square. Covering more than 100 acres in the heart of the city with a scale reminiscent of Moscow’s Red Square or the Piazza San Marco in Venice, it ranks as one of the grandest public plazas in the world. Then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty emperors as you explore the magnificent palaces, courtyards and pavilions of the sprawling Forbidden City. It is said that there are 9,999 rooms within these imposing walls and although you won’t see everyone, your guided tour offers a fascinating look into the splendor of Imperial life centuries ago.
 
Then explore by rickshaw through the narrow lanes of a Hutong – one of the city’s few remaining enclaves of traditional, centuries-old courtyard homes. Spend time with a resident family in the home they’ve occupied for generations and learn about the challenges and rewards of their life here in the bustling Chinese capital. Tonight’s festive Peking Duck banquet is accompanied by wine and local beer.  Meals B+L+D

Day
3

The Great Wall + Summer Palace

The Fairmont - Beijing, China

Juyong Pass was recognized very early in China’s history as a site of great strategic importance and indeed this section of the thousands-mile long Great Wall is one of only three that were recognized by military leaders as being practically impregnable. Today, as you walk atop this ancient defensive structure, your expert guide will be on hand to enrich your exploration with dramatic stories and legends of the great battles that were waged here. Continue to the lovely Summer Palace, erstwhile retreat of China’s royalty. Tour its landscaped grounds and the picturesque pavilions that surround Lake Kunming before returning to your hotel. The 5-star Fairmont offers a variety of outstanding restaurants including The CUT, known for its outstanding steak and seafood, and Lunar 8 – a stylish venue with authentic Chinese and Asia cuisine prepared and presented with modern flair.  Or take advantage of your hotel’s city-center location to sample one of Beijing’s many fine restaurants. Our in-the-know guide would be happy to offer personal recommendations and assistance.  Meals B+L

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Xian, China’s ancient capital for 13 dynasties. On arrival, you’ll be met and transferred to the Hilton Hotel, ideally situated within the old defensive walls of the city. Then join an engaging city resident to explore a colorful local market. Evoking the ancient rhythms of the fabled Silk Road, this bustling collection of vendors and market stalls is filled with an amazing range of products – from exotic foods and daily staples to traditional crafts and even souvenirs. Accompanied by insightful stories from our special resident guide, this lively tour offers authentic insight into daily life and China’s enduring cultural ways. This evening, you’ll sample savory dumplings – a regional specialty and favorite.  Meals B+D

Day
5

The Terra Cotta Warriors + Ancient City Walls

Hilton Hotel - Xian, China

Farmers stumbled upon the site while digging a well in 1974; today the Terra Cotta Army is still regarded as China’s greatest archaeological discovery. Set out this morning to visit the excavation site and marvel at the exquisite details of these clay warriors buried 2,000 years ago to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. It has been estimated that more than half a million laborers and craftsmen worked for nearly 40 years to complete the tomb - and the thousands of terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots that were to serve the Emperor in the afterlife. After lunch, you’ll visit the ancient defensive walls of the city before returning to your hotel.  Meals B+L+D

Day
6

Marco Polo fell in love with Hangzhou... You will too!

JW Marriott Hotel - Hangzhou, China

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Hangzhou, where you’ll be escorted to the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel. Hangzhou is revered as one of China’s loveliest cities, as evidenced in an ancient Chinese proverb, “Above there is Heaven; below there is Hangzhou.” Indeed, these landscapes have inspired artists and poets for centuries, and today you’ll have a chance to experience its enchanting scenery for your self – beginning with a guided boat excursion across the tranquil waters of West Lake. Later, we’ll take you to an authentic working tea plantation where you’ll spend time with the farmers amidst the lush fields. From preparing the soil to picking the tea leaves, this hands-on experience is a fun way to learn about the ancient techniques that ensure the high quality of the region’s esteemed teas.  Meals B+L

Day
7

Onward to Wuzhen + The Garden City of Suzhou

Shangri-La Hotel - Suzhou, China

Set along an ancient canal that stretches north from Hangzhou toward Beijing, Wuzhen is an enchanting water town famous for its centuries-old homes and shop-houses, now splendidly restored Ancient stone railings, picturesque courtyards and arching bridges of wood and stone add to the evocative ambience. Not only the architecture, but the rhythms of daily life have also been preserved here – making Wuzhen a veritable living museum. Departing Hangzhou this morning, you’ll travel to this ancient town for a guided tour – and a step back into what life was like during the Ming Dynasty! Continue onward to Suzhou and check in to the first class Shangri-La Hotel, where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Tour the exquisite Garden of the Master of the Nets. Originally laid out during the Song Dynasty 1,000 years ago, this classic Chinese garden is one of the city’s most refined with landscaped waterways, pavilions, meandering pathways and a delicate footbridge a mere 12 inches wide.  The diminutive Inner Garden was the model for the Ming Hall Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Explore other facets of Suzhou’s ancient history as you stroll along Pingjiang Road, graced with fine examples of Song Dynasty architecture. Then experience a popular Chinese pastime as you join city residents to fly a kite at the historic Panmen Gate. Learn how silk is made at a local workshop before traveling to Shanghai where you’ll check in to the landmark Fairmont Peace Hotel.  Meals B+L

Day
9

Today’s full-day sightseeing begins at the Shanghai Museum, highly regarded for its expansive collection encompassing thousands years of Chinese arts and culture - including ancient bronzes, celadon pottery, precious jade, Buddhist sculptures and exquisite Ming Dynasty furniture. Along the elegant waterfront Bund, you’ll learn about the impressive landmarks built more than a century ago by Japanese and European trading companies. Then fast-forward to the 21st century as you marvel at the iconic skyscrapers that dominate the vibrant Pudong District – including the soaring Jin Mao Tower and the futuristic silhouette of the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Later stroll through Xintiandi's pedestrian only streets and explore the inviting galleries, shops and cafes of this historic district, where ancient stone buildings have been restored and given new life. This evening, you’ll gather with your fellow travelers for a congenial farewell dinner featuring Shanghai’s fine regional cuisine.  Meals B+L+D

Day
10

Depart Shanghai

Your transfer to the airport is included. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

The Allure of Hong Kong

4-Day Pre-Tour Extension from $1,199

Enhance your travels through China and Asia with our signature Private Touring in Hong Kong. We include your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, chauffeured transfers when you come and go, and our exclusive Hong Kong Insider sightseeing tour with your own personal guide.

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Day
1

Welcome 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 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 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

Be A Hong Kong Insider

Our resident guide will take you around town like a savvy insider to discover facets of Hong Kong which few visitors ever glimpse! We include transfers, a choice of fine city-center hotels, our exclusive Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day private tour, and more!

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.

Kyoto

Our 3-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast and city sightseeing.

China MapSearch

Act Now...  

  • Free Companion Air in Economy
  • $1,000 Off Companion Fares in Business and Economy Plus
  • Solo Travelers Save $500 on air

Pay in full at booking by 11/30/19
+ Travel anytime through 2021

Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking.

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Prices are per person, double occupancy, and may vary during holidays and trade shows. Additional surcharges and blackout dates may apply.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

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!

Free Companion Air

Available for Economy Class travel when you pay in full at booking by Nov 30, 2019 for any 2020-2021 departure. If you prefer Economy Plus or Business Class, take $1,000 off your companion’s airfare. Solo travelers enjoy $500 savings on air! Applies to new bookings made between Oct 1 and Nov 30, 2019 and cannot be combined with our ongoing pay-in-full discount. Any airline charges for advance seat assignments are not included. Cancellation penalties and other requirements and conditions may apply.

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