Beijing tour: top guide, luxury hotel, fine food, no forced shopping stops, free bottled water…
Foreign travelers transiting through Beijing have up to 144 hours transit visa exemptions. This policy gives passengers enough time to have a proper multi-day tour of Beijing without getting a normal visa.
Day 1: Forbidden City – Hutong – Summer Palace (lunch included)
Capital of China, Beijing is a world-class cultural and educational centre with a population of 21 million (2013), ranking it China’s second largest city behind Shanghai. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates – treasures that make it the most popular tourist city in China.
Beijing was already a strategically important city in northern China for centuries when Kublai Khan decided to move his capital here from Karakorum in Mongolia. With the collapse of the vast Mongol empire in 1368 AD, Beijing, known as Da Du or Grand Capital at the time, lost its status as the country’s capital but soon regained it when the imperial court of the successive Ming Dynasty moved here from Nanjing. Beijing continued to serve as China’s capital after Manchu tribes dethroned the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 and established the Great Qing Empire (Qing Dynasty), which lasted till 1911.
Meet your guide in hotel lobby at 9:00 AM. Our Beijing tour begins with Forbidden City located in the centre of Beijing. Also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres, It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Lunch is at a family restaurant in a hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ”4-sided courtyard house” on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means “well.” In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be “a place where people live around”.
Afternoon sightseeing at the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.
The Beijing roast duck dinner is optional.
Day 2: Jingshan Park – Tiananmen Square – Temple of Heaven (lunch included)
Morning sightseeing takes us to historic Jingshan Park for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from above. The park to the north of the Forbidden City was part of the imperial palace in the old days, serving the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 meters above ground, 89 meters above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.
We then proceed to Tiananmen Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square is 880 metres from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west. Said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, Tiananmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. Tiananmen (Heavenly Gate) Tower sites at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People’s Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum of China (east). Chairman Mao’s mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) sit in the south of the square. Considered one of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people’s great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.
Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China’s largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.
The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, sits right across from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in various guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by the Chinese. If you are interested, please ask the guide to drop you off there. However, you’ll need to get back to the hotel by taxi, which costs about 50 yuan or $8.
The evening Peking opera show is optional.
Day 3: Great Wall at Mutianyu (lunch included)
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall at Mutianyu, 75km northeast of the city. Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort.
If you like, you may hike the Wall for up to three hours. We won’t rush you because unlike so many operators we won’t take you to tourist stores or factories before or after the visit to the Great Wall. If you are in perfect shape and wish to turn the excursion into a full blown hike, the guide can hike with you all the way to Jiankou section but the you’ll need to leave the hotel before 7:00 AM and pay $50 to $100 extra per person depending on the number in your party. The hike would last up to six hours through challenging terrain.
We return the the city after a late lunch. Your 3-day Beijing tour with us ends with your arrival back to the hotel.
If you wish to book the tour, you’ll need to put down 10% of the applicable cost as deposit at the time of confirmation. Bookings made within 30 days of arrival are subject to a 10% surcharge. The price for the 3-day tour with a private guide and driver including everything listed in the itinerary is:
$980 for a single
$500 per person for two
$400 per person for three
$350 per person for four
$300 per person for five
$260 per person for six
$240 per person for seven
$220 per person for eight
$200 per person for nine
Parties with 10 or more please contact us.
The prices are in US dollars applicable to all seasons.
The prices do NOT include:
1) international airfare
2) hotel accommodations at luxury Sheraton Dongcheng
3) travel insurance
4) gratuities at your discretion
5) any item not specified as included in the itinerary
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.