Beijing: An Insiders Perspective Tour Overview
The capital of one of the world’s greatest empires for hundreds of years, Beijing has never ceased to capture the imagination of the world. Nearly every major building within the capital has some sort of historical significance, from ornate palaces and imperial temples to the rustic surrounding 'hutong' (neighbourhoods). A city built for power, the structures old and new are meant to dazzle and impress. Beijing itself is intimately connected to China, from the seat of political power to the cultural centrepiece of the nation, a trend continuing to the modern day.
Our itinerary introduces you to an 'Insider's' Beijing - we visit a local Beijing family in a charismatic hutong, which retains the culture and traditions of Old Beijing, then we journey back in time into the Emperor’s Palace and the Forbidden City. Walk along an ancient architectural masterpiece at the Great Wall before seeing the newest developments in art and architecture at the chic 798 Art District. Hosting impressive views of the ancient to the contemporary, a trip to Beijing is sure to instil a sense of wonder with every traveller.
Insider Experiences & Highlights:
The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall of China, The Summer Palace, Expert Historical Guides, local 'hutong', amazing culinry delights and more!
Boutique Chic: Shichahai Courtyard Hotel is the former Xinghua Mansion, located in the Xinghua hutong. Stylish and steeped in history!
Accomodation/Hotel, Private Driver Transfers, Private Tour Guides, Museum & Heritage Buildings' Entrances, Culinary Excursions with daily lunch and one evening where we have selected restaurants highlighting excellent local cuisine.
Duration: 5 Days
Day by Day: Your tailored Beijing itinerary...
Day 01 Welcome! Check-in, local dining and sights
After arrival, your guide will take you through the wide boulevards of the capital towards the Shichahai Hotel - a stunning heritage listed mansion in inner city Beijing, introducing you to the history of the city along the way. After check-in, wind your way through the labyrinthine alleys of the hutong districts to meet with a local family for dinner, diving deep into the lingering culture of old China in a very 'ever-day' type of way.
Day 02 Tiananmen Square, the Grandeur of China State Heritage
For nearly five hundred years, the center of China’s political control laid within one place: Tiananmen Square. Start with a glimpse of the heart of modern China at the largest public square in the world, flanked by museums and monuments dedicated to the Chinese people, before passing through the massive imperial court gate hundreds of years back in time to view the Palace of the Emperors, with over a thousand ornate and extravagantly arranged palaces, pavilions and courtyards. We then move on to a walking tour of Liulichang Antique Street, a restored alley where cultural aficionados and historians have been selling traditional paintings and calligraphy for generations.
Day 03 The Great Wall of China, Beijing Art District, Boutiques & more
Stand guard upon one of the wonders of the ancient world at the Mutianyu Great Wall, built to defend the capital from northern invaders hundreds of years ago. The Wall itself snakes across misty mountainsides as it reaches quite literally from one end of China to the other. Along the way back, see a different side of the city with a banquet at a local farmer’s house providing a taste of tuly authentic home cooked cuisine with wonderful fresh produce. Afterward we'll return to the cosmopolitan and Beijing’s cultural flair with a visit to the 798 Art District, a restored factory complex turned into a showcase of the most famous galleries, artists, and designers alongside swanky boutiques and cafes.
Day 04 The Lama Buddhist Temple, Conufsicous China Heritage
Bow down before the Buddha at the gilded Lama Temple, one of the most important centers of Buddhism within the nation and once the center for Lama stock exchanges within the empire. Be sure not to miss the immense statue of the Buddha along the back of the gardens, it is the largest Buddha carved out of a single piece of wood on the planet. Walk down to the Confucius Temple, where scholars once studied to become high-ranking officials and paid tribute to one of the world’s greatest thinkers. Keeping up with Beijing's charming and sometimes quirky cultural heritage we'll then visit a traditional craft toy maker, who will provide a lesson and help you create a “rabbit father” figure, a symbol of Beijing.
Day 05 The Temple of Heaven, Beijing Downtown & Imperial Gardens
Start your tour with a walk around the Temple of Heaven, an enormous Taoist complex where the Emperor himself would make sacrifices for a bountiful harvest. Today, the center is a common gathering place of local Beijingers, who meet up between the ancient altars to play instruments, traditional games, and sing! Have an afternoon visit to the Summer Palace, a warm weather retreat truly fit for the Emperors. The precariously arranged pavilions, pathways, and ornate temples provide among the best examples of imperial gardens in China, all surrounding the placid Kunming Lake.
Further Details: Accommodation, food, weather, inclusions ...
Shichahai courtyard hotel is located in the former Xinghua Mansion, situated in the Xinghua hutong. Xinghua Mansion was the home of Gongsuoli, the illustrious first tier administrator during the Qing Dynasty.
The hotel is accented with pavilion decor, set in the style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. All of its suites are decorated with tiny leaf motifs, sandalwood and red ebony furnishings. These choices reflect a cultural tradition centered on more than luxury, namely our mission to satisfy travel defined by more unique experiences.
China and food are inseparable in terms culture, sights, sounds, tastes... Beijing cuisine is a combination of all Chinese styles combined - as with any capital of an Empire it reflects its many parts, so to say it caters for all tastes! In addition it has its own local flavor which contains the Han, the Manchu and the Islamic style. The typical dishes, 'Imperial Court Food', and a multitude of various appetizers are part of our tour and will be sure to stimulate your appetite. Truly delicious!
What to pack? What's the weather like?
Beijing's climate is defined as "continental monsoon." The four seasons are distinctly recognizable. Spring and Autumn are the best times to be in Beijing, particularly in the months of April, May, September and October. Autumn is considered to be the most visually impressive time to visit Beijing as the skies are clear and the weather is very comfortable.
All hotel accommodation based on double occupancy. Brilliant hotels known for luxury, charm, hospitality and uniqueness are a hallmark of Variarts itineraries. Fly into town, unwind and know you'll be staying at the best places with truly great value offered via the tours. Every night you spend with us is included in the price of your trip.
All meals as indicated in the itinerary, highlighting the local cuisine including local beer or wine (as selected by VariArts local guides). We include meals where it makes sense, yet we understand that going off on your own to make a great discovery is rewarding, too!
All special events and private tours. Our guides will do whatever it takes to make your trip hassle free. They are equipped with cellphones and on call 24/7. They also happen to be firendly, highly informed, fun ... and they really care you get the most out of each trip!
Services of professional local guides and other staff. Each morning, our guides brief you on the day’s options. We do this one-on-one, so you never get the feeling you’re involved in anything touristy.
Admission charges to all places and activities mentioned in the itinerary.
All transportation from rendezvous to drop-off.
All baggage transportation. Your baggage is transported from one hotel to the next. This is done by local handlers so the guides are free to concentrate on you.
Extra support. Each trip offers the opportunity to dine or lunch independently from the group…and we’ll happily make arrangements for you.
The VariArts difference - it may be intangible but years of experience and exhaustive research on the ground; local knowhow and the countless personal relationships we’ve cultivated which make for a seamless care free travel experience.
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