Hotel Luxury, city excitement, ancient heritage Tour Overview
From the Great Wall, to the 'Roof Top of the World' in the Himalayas, Ming dynasty palaces to the Grand Canal of Shanghai. Our 10 day express tour provides an incredible contrast of modern and ancient China. Visiting the sophisticated new global hubs of Beijing and Shanghai coupled with the ancient Tibetan capital and its Buddhist way of life amidst the world's highest mountain ranges provides some truly incredible travel experiences. We'll stay at the Beijing Ritz Carlton Hotel, the Shanghai Waldorf Astoria and the Saint Regis Hotel in Lhasa to deliver an unparalleled opportunity to see 'new' sights of ancient civilizations with a real touch of luxury.
We'll begin our grand tour in Beijing. Beijing is the political and cultural center of China, marked by monumental imperial architecture and a labyrinth of neighbourhoods rich in quirky character. Navigate the brick 'Hutong' alleyways amidst awe-inspiring palaces, people's squares and holy temples. Life in China is east meets west and old meets new. The strikingly modern is evident in technology and commercial wealth whilst life in the picturesque countryside surrounding Lhasa has changed little for the peasants and artisans, often carrying on thousand year old traditions. This exclusive trip offers you an intimate glimpse into both worlds. This itinerary truly embodies our 'luxury and local' ethos with our excellence in service, the warmth of hospitality from local Tibetan families, and the excitement of Beijing and Asia's new star capital - Shanghai, whilst staying in flagship properties of the Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria and St Regis Hotel Groups.
Insider Experiences & Highlights:
Tiananmen Square, The Bund and Canals of Suzhou, The Forbidden City, the Tibetan Capital of Lhasa, Potala Palace (former residence of the Dalai Lama), ancient Himalayan Monastaries, Shanghai's glamouress Tianzifang, the beautiful Yuyuan Gardens, local cuisines and more.
Beijing Ritz Carlton Hotel; Shanghai Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and the Lhasa St Regis Resort pictured above. VariArts delivers you outstanding value in these truly impressive properties which have been selected as they offer some of the best standards of rooms, exciting bars and restaurants and ideal locations to be found.
Accomodation/Hotel, Private Driver Transfers, Private Tour Guides, Museum & Heritage Buildings Entrances, Culinary Excursions with daily lunch and two evenings where we have selected restaurants highlighting excellent local cuisine.
Duration: 10 Days
Price: $ 4570 USD pp
Day by Day: Your grand Beijing-Lhasa-Shanghai itinerary...
Day 01 Welcome to Beijing! Check-in, local dining and sights
As soon as you arrive in Beijing it is impressive. Sir Norman Foster's Beijing Capital International Airport is among modern China’s most stunning architectural achievements and evokes the traditional dragon motif throughout its design. As China’s political nerve center for centuries, Beijing is defined by monumental imperial architecture radiating outward from the Forbidden City, forming a labyrinth of courtyards and colored eaves which grandeur is reflected in even the humblest hutong home. Rest at the Ritz Carlton Beijing, situated in the heart of the capital’s business, shopping and diplomatic districts – the hotel of choice for the most discerning traveler.
Day 02 The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & Temple of Heaven
Rise to meet your master for a Kung Fu class at the Temple of Heaven, a massive complex of imperial structures where the emperor ritualistically made sacrifices to the gods. Stylistically similar to the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven today is a greener, more open area now open to the public for group activities, outdoor games, or a peaceful stroll. After lunch, we stroll through historic Tiananmen Square to the adjacent Forbidden City. Located at the precise center of Beijing and as the seat of the Son of Heaven (the center of the cosmological universe), the buildings set the standard for imperial architecture namely sloping eaves, carved marble balustrades, and deep crimson walls.
Day 03 The Great Wall, local guides through Beijing's Hutongs
In the morning, bear witness to one of China’s greatest architectural and engineering feats: The Great Wall. Stretching for thousands of miles, the Wall is truly a wonder of the world. Climb the steps between ancient guard towers, if you are travelling with your family kites will be prepared for children to have fun on the wall. After returning to Beijing, walk the historical historic alleys of the old Beijing Hutongs with staff from a local NGO. Learn not only the history of the buildings, but also how their architecture is used to both preserve memory and the activities of daily life. For dinner, enjoy a timeless classic: Peking Duck, as served by an old brand family Beijing restaurant.
Day 04 Lhasa, the Himalays, St Regis Butler Service to die for...
Fly to Lhasa, the secluded city at the 'roof of the world'. Rest at the St. Regis Lhasa Resort while admiring the view of the surrounding Himalayas and being pampered by the legendary St. Regis Butler service. Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture, long off limits to foreigners and influenced by ancient rites and customs mysterious and amazing, all from the luxury and comfort of St. Regis Lhasa.
Day 05 Potala Palace, Tibetan hospitality and culture
Enjoy a private half-day tour to the Potala Palace, the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet and former residence to the Dalai Lama. The massive structure pierces the sky and holds thousands of shrines and is truly a wonder to behold. Afterward visit a local Tibetan family, taste their home-made Barley wine and learn how to cook Tibetan buttermilk. In the evening, relax and enjoy the Tibetan local flavor with a dancing show.
Day 06 Tibet's most sacred Jokhang Temple, local NGOs
Visit the gilded Jokhang Temple, considered the most sacred and important temple in Tibet by most Tibetans. The style of architecture is a unique blend of Chinese, Nepalese, and Indian influences, and has remained a center of Buddhist pilgrimage for centuries. Your tour will also bring you to a local handicraft NGO’s workshop, who have dedicated themselves to protecting traditional Tibetan handicrafts.
Day 07 Shanghai, 'The Paris of the East',
Transfer to the airport and fly to the booming coastal megacity of Shanghai. Once the “Paris of the East,” Shanghai has reclaimed its cosmopolitan title and now boasts impressive international influences from around the world, from architecture to cuisine. Be entranced by the impressive Pudong skyline from the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, which embraces a vibrant mix of culture and business. Enjoy a bowl of handmade noodles, local boutique luxury stores, incredible bars and international vibrancy. Shanghai is Asia's new 'it' place to be!
Day 08 Yuyuan Garden, old town bazaars, the Bund, Nanjing Road
Explore old Shanghai with a leisurely stroll through the Yuyuan garden, one of the finest and most lavish gardens in the region. Buy local gifts at the old town bazaar nearby, a remnant of old Shanghai still active today, and have a meal of iconic dim sum at a traditional tea house. In the afternoon, have a walking tour of the scenic Bund waterfront, as well as lively Nanjing Road.
Day 09 & 10 The Canals of Suzhou, a legendary dinning experience
Travel to Suzhou, the largest, most famous, and most modernized canal town in China. Notable since the days of Marco Polo, the iconic gardens of Suzhou are designed with and inspired by the intricacies of traditional Chinese prose. Take a boat tour of the Grand Canal, and view the dreamlike scenery of the city. Return to Shanghai in the evening and have a farewell dinner at the Revolving Restaurant at the tip of the Oriental Pearl Tower, with a bird’s eye view of the Huangpu River.
The following day enjoy the Maglev magnetic train journey to the airport ending a magnificent and varied perspective of China, the new and ancient.
Further Details: Accommodation, food, weather, inclusions ...
The Ritz carlton Beijing, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai (pictured right) and St. Regis Resort Lhasa (pictured above) are famous for their standard of service and luxury, with every stay commissioned to meet guests’ every demand and refined to capture the unique atmosphere of that location. The level of sophistication established by property is renowned, their location, room amenities and excellence in service are truly impressive and the reason we've selected them for this journey across China.
Apart from the international flair and distinguishing dishes of Beijing and Shanghai, from Peking styled duck, dumplings, dim sum to homemade noodles, this trip also provides us some hospitality from local Tibetans. Tibetan food shows a major influence of Indian and Chinese methods of cooking but the ingredients that are used are mainly of the mountain areas. The main staple consumed is barley, meat and yak dairy products. For the less adventurous St Regis' grill and bar has incredible Chinese, Sichuan and western styled cuisine also common to modern Tibetan culinary offerings. St Regis also serves up the most wonderful Bloody Mary this side the Great Wall, having invented it at its NY flag ship property in 1934 you can bet they've mastered it.
What to pack? What's the weather like?
Trying to predict the weather is always difficult, especially in a country as large and diverse as China. Please keep in mind that the temperatures and rainfall amounts we provided are only averages. We encourage you to pack clothing you can layer to allow you to adjust to changing climates.Tibet by virtue of altitude will be cool to somewhat brisk all times of the year.