• This is a great way to get around and see all of the can’t-miss sights, and on this tour you’ll get a good mix of culture and history both old and new, with visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Summer Palace, along with trips to markers of Beijing’s sparkling present and future, the Olympic Green and the ExploraScience Museum
• Extra treats on this tour included a Peking Duck Dinner and an evening’s entertainment at the Kung Fu show
• To maximize comfort and convenience, for your 4 day’s tour you’ll have your own professional English-speaking guide, driver, and car
Day-by-day detailed itinerary:
Day 1 arrive in Beijing
You will fly to Beijing, and upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by your English-speaking guide. From the airport you will be taken to your hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Temple of Heaven, which is located in the heart of the city. You will have the rest of the day to unpack and unwind from your flight.
Day 2 Beijing (L)
Following breakfast in your hotel, we’ll make the short drive to Tiananmen Square. The largest public square in the world, Tiananmen Square is seen as China’s political center. Its grounds have seen some turbulent moments, from the May 4th Movement of 1919 to the political turmoil of 1989. The south of the square is marked by the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, while the center of the square is dominated by the Monument to the People’s Heroes, an imposing 10-story granite obelisk. To the east is the National Museum of China, and to the west is the Great Hall of the People, home to China’s legislative bodies. The north of the square is dominated by the Gate of Heavenly Peace, known for its iconic portrait of Mao Zedong, and is the national emblem of China.
After walking across the street, we will enter what is perhaps the greatest attraction in China, the Forbidden City. After walking across the square we will enter the Forbidden City (known in Chinese as Gu Gong), the largest surviving palace complex and the former home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Forbidden City is one of the greatest attractions in the world. Built by the third Ming emperor between 1406-1422, the Forbidden City served as the official residence to the Emperor of China until the last emperor, Puyi, was forced to evacuate in 1924. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Consisting of 980 buildings and with 8,707 bays of rooms, the Forbidden City is the best example of classical Chinese architecture in the world, and is a wonder to behold.
After a Chinese lunch, we’ll head to the Beijing Sony ExploraScience, a Science and technology museum, an interactive educational center for the promotion of science and education. Watch industrial robots perform a flawless taichi sword routine, follow a Maglev train gliding along a stretch of track or test out a bulletproof vest with a sharp pointy thing. The Beijing Sony ExploraScience museum offers diversions for boffins, both young and old.
Afterward, we’ll set out for the Temple of Heaven. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The Temple of Heaven park is best known for the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an iconic building famed for its magnificent triple-gabled circular roof. You will also have an opportunity to walk the same imperial walkway that the same emperors walked hundreds of years ago in their holy rites. You will also see Beijing’s senior citizens using the park grounds for everything from tai chi and ballroom dancing to bullwhip practice!
For the evening you will enjoy a delectable dinner of Peking Duck, Beijing’s signature culinary dish. After dinner, you’ll get to witness an entertaining spectacle of Chinese martial arts, better known as Kung Fu. You’ll then be taken back to your hotel.
Day 3 Beijing (L)
After breakfast we will take a short drive outside of Beijing to explore China’s most famed attraction, the Great Wall. Our tour will be at the Mutianyu section. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved.
Compared with other sections of Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are connected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall. To get on and off the wall, a round-trip cable car ticket is included.
Our hike on the Great Wall will take about 2-3 hours, and once we’re done we’ll have lunch. We will then drive back to Beijing, with the Beijing Zoo being our point of interest. At the Beijing Zoo we’ll first head to the Panda House. Unlike other zoos in China, the Beijing Zoo has the distinct look of a classical Chinese garden. Initially an imperial manor during the Ming Dynasty, the grounds was converted into a zoo in 1908 with the original name being The Ten Thousand Animal Garden. The Beijing Zoo exhibits the wild and rare animals of China. Outside of traveling to Sichuan, this is the best place in China to view the Giant Panda. Dinner is included.
Day 4 Beijing-depart Beijing ( L)
Following breakfast, we’ll get started on our sightseeing with a visit to the Summer Palace. 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.
We’ll then drive over to the Olympic Green, the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008, and is where a majority of the Olympic events took place. The highlights that you will see today include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympic’s end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events ranging from opera to a ski park.
The site of Michael Phelps’ Olympic triumph, the Water Cube design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design’s central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. The National Aquatics Center's design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements. The National Aquatics Center looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. The Water Cube is blue in order to reflect sunlight. The National Aquatics Center shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside of the National Aquatics Center, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles.
After our time at the Olympic Green, you’ll be taken to the Beijing airport, and you will fly on to your next destination, ending your tour. If you would like to extend your stay in China, then head to our China package tours page to find out more about our great destinations and tours all over the “middle kingdom”!