City-Hopping Tour of China's Ancient and Modern Marvels
Beijing's Forbidden City was completed in 1420 after about 15 years of construction carried out by more than a million workers. China's emperors ruled from this palatial fortress, which was closed to the outside world for more than 500 years. You can step behind the palace walls during this nine-day China tour, which includes nonstop roundtrip flights from Los Angeles as well as luxury hotel accommodations, transportation to all tour points, and some meals. Click here to see a full day-by-day itinerary.
Days 1–3: After arriving at Beijing Airport, you’ll meet your English-speaking tour guide and head to the Four Points by Sheraton Beijing, where you can rest up after the long plane ride. The second day of the trip is set aside for self-guided exploration of the city. Day 3 covers some of the most popular sights during a full-day tour with stops at Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace, which was built along Kunming Lake in the 18th century. Its imperial grounds are filled with Qing-style pavilions, grand temples, and elaborate gardens.
Day 4: Your last day in Beijing includes a hike along the Great Wall. Despite popular belief, the ancient structure is actually made up of several separate segments. You'll walk along Juyongguan Pass, which once played a vital role in China's military defenses. After exploring the wall, the group will head to the Beijing Zoo, home to thousands of exotic animals, including several giant pandas. The evening winds down with a traditional peking-duck dinner and a live kung fu show.
Days 5–6: An early-morning flight takes you to Shanghai, a glittering mega-metropolis and a testament to China’s staggering growth. A peaceful respite from the city's nonstop bustle can be found at the Jade Buddha Temple, named after a pair of Buddha statues carved from thick slabs of white jade.
Then it's off to the 2,500-year-old city of Suzhou, nicknamed the "Venice of the East” for its labyrinthine canals lined with stone sculpture gardens. The next day begins with a stop at Suzhou's Lingering Gardens , where centuries-old pagodas stand amid tranquil pools bordered by limestone outcroppings. A detour to the city of Hangzhou includes a boat trip on West Lake, a serene waterscape dotted with islands and weeping willows.
Days 7–8: After stopping at a traditional tea house, the group returns to Shanghai for a visit to the famous Bund District. Set along the Huangpu River, the area features futuristic skyscrapers and classic examples of baroque and Gothic architecture. The next day, you're free to explore Shanghai at your leisure. Consider paying a visit to the Old Town Bazaar to stock up on souvenirs at the thousands of booths hawking everything from pan-fried dumplings to bamboo handicrafts and traditional Chinese garb.
Day 9: Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the States.
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