Day 1-2 - Welcome to Beijing - The private tour departs on a direct overnight flight from London, or via an alternative route at one of the major regional airports in the UK if you prefer. Arrive in Beijing in the morning and be welcomed upon arrival for transfer to your hotel. You will receive a walking orientation tour around your hotel with our guide, familiarising you with the surroundings and answering any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax, or you may prefer to add an afternoon tour.
Day 3 - Special tour: Beijing's Past & Present - Our special tour gives you an in-depth view of the the city's history, culture and modern life. We start amid the Communist-style buildings of Tiananmen Square and walk into the mythical Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese Emperors. Here you can learn about China's dynastic past, before climbing Coal Hill for an overview of the central Beijing landscape. After lunch in a traditional hutong, enter the Confucius and Buddhist temples to understand China's two most important belief systems and their role in daily life. (B,L)
Day 4 - Temple of Heaven & Summer Palace - We start at the Temple of Heaven, considered by UNESCO "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design", to learn about Chinese philosophical beliefs, cosmogony, art, dynastic politics and sacrificial rituals. We visit early to gain wonderful insights into local life, as large groups of elderly Beijingers gather to take communal exercises, sing, socialise and play musical instruments. We continue with a visit to the grand Summer Palace, set amid peaceful landscaped parkland that feels a long way from the noise of downtown Beijing. The park is dominated by the huge Kunming Lake, whilst the palace buildings themselves sit on Longevity Hill. A visit here gives you the chance to learn more about the infamous Empress Cixi, who restored the palaces in the 19th century and spent a lot of her time here. (B,L)
Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall - We drive two hours north of Beijing to access the iconic Great Wall of China to hike a wild section away from the crowds. Here we can truly appreciate its full majesty and savour stunning views of the surrounding mountains, taking the cable cars down from the restored part at Mutianyu, allowing you a look at the Wall in its original state. (B,L)
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Day 6 - Welcome to Hong Kong - Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Hong Kong, where you will be met upon arrival and taken to your hotel. Hong Kong offers a great mix of exoticism and familiarity. It is perhaps the easiest city for western travellers to get about it, travelling on the efficient MTR underground system, which reaches as far as some of the outlying islands. You will enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to perhaps take the iconic Star Ferry across the water to Hong Kong Island and ride the tram to The Peak, for one of the world's great urban vistas, especially as the sun goes down and the light's begin to twinkle at dusk. (B)
Day 7 - Special 'local life' Hong Kong tour - We start in the thriving markets of Mong Kok; the bird market, where locals often gather to socialise with their birds sat next to them in cages, then the goldfish market to admire the amazing colour and detail of the tropical fish on sale here, often at extremely high prices. Next is the Chinese Jade Market and the fruit market, followed by a visit to the Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, revered by fishermen and those who spend their working lives at sea.
We then drive to the south of Hong Kong Island to the Aberdeen fishermen community, where fishing junks are juxtaposed against the skyscrapers. We take a short sampan boat ride to learn more about their ways of life and enjoy a dim sum lunch aboard the famous Aberdeen Jumbo Kingdom. Next up is the Central business district and the world's longest continuous escalator system. Hollywood Road in westernised district of SoHo is next, known for its antique shops. Finally, we finish at the Man Mo Temple, one of Hong Kong's oldest and most important and where giant incense coils hang from the ceiling, imparting a fragrant, smoky haze. The temple is dedicated to the God of Literature and the God of War. (B,L)
Day 8 - Hong Kong at leisure - Today you might like to cross the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong to visit Macau, whose Portuguese heritage is mixed with Chinese influences. Reached by a one hour high speed catamaran from Hong Kong. Macau’s colonial buildings, grand churches and intricate azulejos tiling will transport you to the streets of Lisbon. But since the former colony was handed back to China in 1999, the two cultures have converged to create a unique city, where East meets West.
The highlights of the city include the Ruins of St. Paul - a Roman Catholic Church destroyed by fire in 1835, the Senado Square and its typical colonial architecture and Portuguese paving, the 400 year old A-Ma Temple and the peninsula's famous casinos and tower.
Alternatively, tropical and tranquil Lamma Island can be reached by boat from Aberdeen fishing harbour in the south. Closer yet is Lantau Island, famed for its large seated Buddha and temple, reached by a panoramic cable car. At the far end of the island, Tai O is an immensely charming and timeless fishing village, whilst one of the region's best beaches can be enjoyed a short bus ride away at Cheung Sha. (B)
Day 9-10 - Time at leisure & return flight to UK - An evening flight gives you the morning and afternoon at leisure in Hong Kong. You will be transferred to the airport and helped to check-in for your overnight flight to the UK, arriving on Day 10. (B)
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This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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