A Tale of Two Cities: Beijing And Xian

Duration: 8 days

Highlights: A tale of two cities – Beijing and Xian – steeped in history, civilization and the promise of tomorrow.  Enjoy a comprehensive introduction to two of China’s most important cities.

Beijing, past imperial capital and now the national capital and driving force for China’s rise to the future.  Xi’an, cradle of early Chinese civilization and a name synonymous with archaeological wonders.  No matter how many times you have been to China this two-city itinerary is an insightful and engaging look at China past, present and future.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Beijing

Capital of China for over 700 years Beijing is your gateway to the many wonders of the country.  Today, a thriving metropolis of over 20 million residents, Beijing is the political and culture heart of the nation. 

Upon arrival today you will be met and transfer to your elegant hotel, ideally located in the city centre within close proximity to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Overnight: The Peninsula Beijing

 

Day 2 - Beijing

This morning meet your guide and set off on an orientation tour of Beijing that starts at the magnificent Temple of Heaven.  Considered the jewel of Ming period (1368 – 1644) architecture, the temple grounds also draw scored of local residents who come to sing, dance, meet friends and enjoy this wondrous site.

Continue to the Hongqiao Market, a bustling kaleidoscope of commerce that features a stunning array of goods on sale.

Following lunch in a local restaurant visit Tiananmen Square the true heart of the city.  Here the past, present and future of China merge in this monumental symbol of national unity.

From the Square you will walk into the Forbidden City once the centre of imperial power for the last two dynastic periods of Chinese history:  the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) dynasties.  Since 1925 the palace has served as the National Palace Museum, the world’s largest museums of Chinese art and antiquities.  More than 1.2 million treasures are held in the galleries and vaults of the Forbidden City.

This evening enjoy a dinner at one of the city’s finest and most authentic Peking Duck restaurants.

Overnight: The Peninsula Beijing

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 3 - Beijing

This morning meet with a noted Chinese art and architecture expert and spend the day exploring and learning about the wonders of today’s Beijing.  Your morning will focus on the history of architecture in Beijing drawing on the city’s most iconic ancient and contemporary buildings.

Following lunch in a local restaurant you spend the afternoon with your expert discovering the power of China’s burgeon contemporary art movement.  Visit Factory 798 the epicenter of contemporary Chinese art where you visit select galleries and artist studios learning about the remarkable trajectory of today’s art movement.

Following your day of art and architecture you return to your hotel.

Overnight: The Peninsula Beijing

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 4 - Beijing

This morning meet your guide and transfer overland to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall (note this section of the Wall is located 154 kilometres or 96 miles) which is located in Hebei province.  Jinshanling remains relatively free of crowds the overtly commercial activities of other Great Wall sites and offers the visitor the most unobstructed views from atop the wall.  With your guide leading the way hike a section of the Jinshanling Great Wall taking in the stunning panorama of the Northern Chinese countryside.

Return to Beijing and your hotel later this afternoon.

Overnight: The Peninsula Beijing

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 5 - Beijing - Xian

Spend the morning at the magnificent Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan) once the favored residence of the Empress Dowager, Cixi (1835 – 1908) who would spend most of her time here.  An ethereal setting of cool pine glades, gardens, and pavilions built along the shores of Kunming Lake, the Summer Palace is the finest realization of Chinese Daoist ideals, where man and nature coexist in harmony.

Following lunch board your high-speed bullet train to Xi’an – the new high-speed trains have transformed travel within the country.  Your train will reach top speeds of 300 kilometres per hour (185 miles per hour) whisking you across the changing face of the Chinese countryside.

Late this afternoon you arrive into Xi’an where you are met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: The Sofitel Legend, Xian

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 6 - Xian

The morning is spent at one of the single greatest archeological sites on earth, the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Excavation often said to be the most important archeological discoveries of the 20th century.  Visit the three excavation pits as well as the Bronze Chariot Museum which showcases two bronze chariots which were part of the funerary objects buried with the Qinshihuangdi, the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (221 BCE – 210 BCE).

Following lunch at a restaurant near the archaeological site transfer to the city where, this afternoon, you first visit the beautiful Great Mosque of Xi’an and the surrounding old city quarter with its bustling food stalls and shops.  You then visit the Small Wild Goose Pagoda a historic landmark dating to the Tang dynasty (618 – 907) considered the “Golden Age” of ancient Chinese history.   Your afternoon ends with a visit to the Ming period City Wall, one of the only extant city walls left in China.

Overnight: The Sofitel Legend, Xian

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 7 - Xian

This morning visit the Han Yangling Excavation which is often said to be the equal of the Terra-Cotta Warriors & Horses excavation site.  Located to the west of the city the site marks the burial area of the fourth emperor of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE – 8 AD), Han Jingdi (died 141 BCE).  Since it was first excavated in 1989 the site has yielded more than 80 satellite tombs containing approximately 100,000 artifacts including silks, gold, bronzes, pottery, and thousands of terra-cotta warriors one-third life size but more exquisitely fashioned than the early Terra-Cotta figures of the Qinshinhaungdi. 

Return to Xi’an and visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum recognized as the finest museum of Chinese art and antiquities in China.  Opened in 1990 the museum is designed in the style of a Tang dynasty (618 – 907) palace and houses a collection that spans more than 1 million years of history from the earliest humans to the end of the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911).

Overnight: The Sofitel Legend, Xian

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 8 - Xian - Beijing - International Departure

This morning you fly back from Xi’an to Beijing where, on arrival, your are met by your Beijing guide and assisted with the transit and check-in for your international departure flight.

Overnight: 

Meal Plan: B

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