Day 1 - Fly to Beijing
Depart on your overnight flight from the UK to Beijing.
Day 2 - Welcome to Beijing
Upon arrival you will be greeted by your guide at the airport, who will assist you with your luggage and will take a private transfer to your hotel for a four night stay. You will have the remainder of the day free to rest and recover from your flight and perhaps explore the local area near your hotel.
Day 3 - Special tour - Beijing's past & present
Our special tour of Beijing has been designed to give you a comprehensive overview on the history and modern day life of the Chinese capital. We will journey through the Dynastic and Communist history of China, before exploring two of its main philosophical systems to better understand local culture.
We start in the vast Tiananmen Square to learn about its historical significance and appreciate its communist style architecture and monuments. Generations of Chinese families line up to have their family portrait with Chairman Mao's image at one end, whilst his immense mausoleum sits at the other.
From here we will walk into the Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties for nearly 500 years. Throughout are sumptuously decorated palaces, gates and halls, linked by landscaped gardens, traditional pavilions and spacious courtyards. This is the best place in the city to learn about China's imperial roots.
We continue along the central axis of Beijing, heading north to climb Coal Hill, man-made to provide good Feng Shui for the Forbidden City. From here we get a panoramic view across the city and also appreciate the special architecture of central Beijing; the yellow rooftops of the imperial city, the large lakes and gardens amid which emperors relaxed, the grey roofs of the city's hutongs and the surprising abundance of verdant trees.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will head to the little-visited Confucius Temple, dedicated to the philosopher whose ideas continue to play a key role in Chinese society. The quiet grounds are filled with beautiful structures and it is here that we can best understand how Confucius defended his ideas, how they eventually gained prominence and why they are still valid today.
Nearby is the Lama Temple, the largest Buddha temple outside of Tibet. This is a great place to see how Buddhism has once again gained acceptance in Chinese society, learning more about its teachings and belief system and how it fits together with Taoism and Confucianism.
If there is time and you wish to see it, we could catch the last Drum Show performance at the Drum Tower.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 - At leisure or optional tours
Today you will either enjoy a day at leisure in Beijing, or you could choose optional activities according to your particular interests. We have a number of different half and full day excursions to choose from, including:
- Summer Palace & Old Summer Palace ruins
- Temple of Heaven, local life & lesser-visited Beijing
- Behind the scenes Hutong tour
- 798 Art District
- Beijing's Museums
Meals Included: Breakfast