• You’ll visit two of the most beautiful and popular attractions in Beijing, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. When you see a photo from the Great Wall of China, chances are it is from the section at Badaling. The portion of the wall at Badaling has undergone heavy restoration, and in 1957 it was the first section of the wall to be open to tourists.
• Yihe Yuan (Summer Palace), with its landscaped gardens, temples and pavilions, were designed to achieve harmony with nature, to soothe and please the eye. The park spreads across the low hills, including Longevity Hill, around Kunming Lake, and is divided into three main zones (administration, living, and relaxation). The wonderful buildings and courtyards wander beside the lake, along the waterways and climb the low slopes of the hillside.
• Lunch is included on this tour, and so is pick-up and drop-off from your hotel. You will be back no later than 6pm, allowing you to have a full evening of activity on Beijing.
1. At around 7:30am you will be picked up from your hotel by your English-speaking guide, and by private van we will drive to the Badaling Great Wall. (1.5 hr drive).
2. We will arrive at the Badaling Great Wall. Badaling was the first section of the Great Wall to be opened to the public in 1957, and is therefore the best known among visitors. Badaling was the site of U.S. President’s Richard Nixon’s visit to the Great Wall on his historic trip to China, and is a popular choice for celebrities, foreign dignitaries and leaders (U.S. President Obama visited Badaling in November of 2009). Badaling also offers incredible views of the wall winding and twisting along the hills.
3. We will begin our drive back to Beijing, and on the way back we will stop at the Bona Jade Factory to learn how this exquisite piece of artwork is made and formed. You’ll also learn about the Chinese art of stone carving. We’ll then have a Chinese lunch before resuming our drive to the Summer Palace.
4. Being northwest of the city center, the Summer Palace has the largest royal park and being well preserved, the Summer Palace is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, UNESCO listed it as one of the World Heritage Sites. Like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force of 1860 and was destroyed by fire. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it for her own benefit, changing its name to Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). She spent most of her later years there, dealing with state affairs and entertaining. Highlights not to be missed are climbing Longevity Hill, viewing the Empress Dowager Cixi’s extravagant Marble Boat, and talking a walk down Suzhou
Jie, a canal meant to resemble the beautiful river city of Suzhou.
5. After our tour of the Summer Palace, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel, at no later than 6:00pm, allowing you to have time for dinner and anything else you’d like to do in the evening.