This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our current tour & cruise packages in China.
Who says you can't afford to visit Beijing, China's most exciting city and host of the 2008 Summer Olympics? Considered one of the best and most fascinating travel destinations of the new millennium, our Beijing Express includes airfare from Los Angeles (including fuel surcharges), transfers, 5-star hotel accommodations, lavish American breakast daily, 2 lunches, and included touring to the Forbidden City, Beijing's most visited tourist site, and a full day visit to the Great Wall of China, the only man-made structure seen from space. Additional inexpensive optional tours are also available. All of this is yours for less than the price of airfare alone, making this one travel opportunity you really can't afford to miss! But don't wait long, because space is definitely limited, and at these prices, it will surely sell out quickly!
Day 2: En route. Cross the international dateline and lose one day in transit.
Day 3: Beijing. Midday arrival in Beijing, China's historic and cultural capital. You'll be met by your guide and then escorted to your hotel in the center of Beijing, within short distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Meet your fellow travelers at a special orientation meeting hosted by your local guide. The balance of the afternoon is yours to unpack, rest from your international flight, or explore on your own. Beijing International Hotel
Day 4: Tiananmen Square/Forbidden City. Start your day with a visit to the famous Tiananmen Square, visit the Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing where it served as the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and Qing Dynasties. Known as the Palace Museum today, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage site in 1987.
After lunch, the rest of the day is yours to explore Beijing on your own. Or, take advantage of a very special and unique optional tour to Gaobeidian Village, a picturesque community where you will find talented craftsmen practicing the ancient art of furniture making as well as other Chinese arts and crafts. You will enjoy demonstrations by various artists and artisans, and you'll even have an opportunity to try your own hand at making an original piece while being tutored by masters.
Later, visit a typical Chinese school or kindergarten to see for yourself how children are taught in China. The highlight of this very special tour is an opportunity to join a village family in preparing and sharing a traditional Chinese dinner. $40 including dinner.** Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Great Wall of China & Ming Tombs. Depart after breakfast on a full day included excursion to the only man-made structure visible from the moon, the Great Wall of China, which follows a ridge of barren hills stretching at least 3,750 miles (6,000 km). Construction of the Great Wall, which spanned more than two thousand years, began between the 7th and 6th century BC and continued through the Ming Dynasty. The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth, but during the Ming Dynasty, bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs or by donkeys, mules and even goats, which had bricks tied to their heads before being driven up a mountain.
Enjoy an opportunity to mount the ramparts of this ancient wonder before proceeding to the Ming Tombs, burial site of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. In over 200 years, between 1409 and 1644, tombs were built over an area of 40 square kilometers. Each tomb is located at the foot of a separate hill and is linked with the other tombs by a road called the Sacred Way. A massive stone archway, built in 1540 at the southern end of the Sacred Way, is decorated with designs of clouds, waves and divine animals. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 6: Beijing. Enjoy a day to explore Beijing on your own. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of Beijing, close to major attractions, restaurants and shopping. Take an optional full day to the Hutongs of Beijing followed by the Temple of Heaven, with lunch included. For those who want to explore the way the Chinese live and have lived for centuries, a jaunt down the intricate maze of Beijing's Hutongs is essential. These ancient, labyrinthine alleys or lanes are still an important feature in the urban landscape of Beijing, where houses along Hutongs still occupy one third of the total area, providing housing for half the population and providing yet another example of Beijing as an ancient yet modern city.
The Temple of Heaven, the most holy of Beijing's Imperial temples, is the place where Chinese Emperors came to worship heaven and to pray for a good harvest, since a bad harvest could be interpreted as the Emperor's fall from heavenly favor and threaten the stability of his reign. The 6-meter-high walls surrounding the temple take a square shape to the south and a semi-circular one to the north. The main buildings in the temple are circularly shaped. This pattern represents an ancient belief that heaven was round while earth square, and this pattern is quite architecturally unique. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress trees, expressing a harmonious atmosphere as if heaven and earth are integrated into one. $55 per person. Tonight an Optional Peking Duck dinner followed by a special Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts demonstration is available. $37 per person. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Beijing. Today enjoy another day at leisure, to continue your exploration of Beijing on your own. Or, take advantage of an optional afternoon tour to the Summer Palace, the quintessential Chinese garden, A UNESCO World Heritage site ranked among the most noted classical gardens of the world.
Continue your tour to the Panda Zoo, dedicated to the preservation of this endangered (and adorable) species of bear. End the day with a visit to the Red Sandalwood Museum, a temple to the world's largest and most valuable collection of Chinese red sandalwood, a timber now so rare that, like certain gemstones, it rates as "precious".Breakfast provided..
Day 8: Beijing/USA. Enjoy a final morning in Beijing. Shop, stroll, and explore a few hidden corners. Later this afternoon, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Your amazing adventure in Beijing comes to an end as you arrive in Los Angeles late this afternoon). Breakfast provided.
To take full advantage of your visit to Beijing, we offer a special, discounted optional tours package to other "must see" sites. These are not "seat in coach" tours that pick up passengers in various hotels. All the optional tours we offer are operated for Friendly Planet groups only and are specially priced.
The special discounted optional tours package price of $99 per person is available when booked and prepaid in the USA.
Optional Tours Package Includes:
**The special Gaobeidian Village visit must be reserved and paid in China, directly to your guide. The tour requires a minumum of 10 passengers to operate.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to China, click here.
My husband and I want to thank you for creating comprehensive, fun packed days of touring in China. We saw all the sights we had on our own lists and the city guides made sure that if possible, they worked in places the group requested. The daily planning, the food, hotels, the shows, and the ease of getting around made this package one of the exceptional values for a once in a lifetime vacation.
— Susan Razenson, Nanuet, NY