Expert Guided Tours to the Great Wall of China

 

 

 
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An Inspired Journey

A very special luxury guided tour of China with Duncan Hewitt

This exclusive journey winds between the towering skyscrapers of Beijing and Shanghai and out into the open countryside of the Great Wall and beyond. We’ve arranged an eclectic mix of leading historians, wall specialists, chefs, artists and local villagers to open their doors and allow guests to get under the skin of some of the highlights of China. Not missing world-renowned sites such as the Terracotta Warriors, this adventure also visits remote villages and towns by vehicle (or on horseback for any riders). Along the way we have arranged a stay in the very best properties in each region to give an enticing balance of luxury and real life in China.

China is a complex country with a rich past and an intriguing future and it’s only through the eyes of people who have dedicated their lives to understanding its culture that visitors can be given a true account of what really makes this country so special. Guided by Duncan Hewitt, a writer and journalist, who has lived in China for the past 15 years you will be given a backstage pass with private access to some of the country’s most important museums and cultural sites.

"It’s only through the eyes of people who have dedicated their lives to understanding China’s culture that visitors can be given a true account of what really makes this country so special."

At cazenove+loyd we have always understood the importance of getting the basics right first and then embellishing them with special touches to make the overall experience feel effortless and completely magical. This adventure has been carefully thought out in order to give you a full and comprehensive experience of China with time to take it in at your own pace and relax in the knowledge that someone is one step ahead with what comes next. The private cocktail parties, fine dining and VIP access will ensure exclusivity and comfort without losing a sense of place and tradition.

17th October

Arrival into Beijing

No matter what time you arrive, a VIP arrival service will meet you as you exit from the plane and assist you with Immigration Procedures through the Express Lane. Once you’ve cleared customs a car and driver will be waiting to take you to The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in the heart of the city. We believe this is the very best hotel in town and we’ve left the rest of the day free for you to relax in the comfortable surroundings after your flight. Let us know in advance if we can book any spa treatments or private excursions into town. In the evening, Duncan will host a private dinner at the Peninsula’s Huang Ting restaurant.

Arrival into Beijing

18th October

Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Hutongs and a Family Meal

This morning Duncan will drive you to Tiananmen Square, home to China’s Parliament. Walking through The Gate of Heavenly Peace, from where Mao declared China as the People’s Republic in 1949, you will step into The Forbidden City, the former home to many of China’s Emperors. Here you will have VIP Access into Chonghua Gong (The Palace of Double Brilliance), where Emperor Qianlong lived as a young man before his accession to the throne. This area is normally off-limits to the public and offers a rare and private opportunity to absorb a beautifully renovated part of one of the world’s largest former palaces. After a leisurely lunch at the Capital M Restaurant, with its sweeping views over Tiananmen Square, you will visit the Hutongs, the small lanes and former courtyard houses of Old Beijing. Here you will enter a family home for an introduction to daily life in Beijing and some truly delicious, authentic cooking. In the family kitchen you will learn to make a selection of dumplings, which you can enjoy together in the open courtyard. This evening we have booked a private peking duck banquet at the fabulous Duck de Chine Restaurant. For those with stamina your guide will then take guests to explore the weird and wonderful world of the Night Food Market, which we highly recommend.

Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Hutongs and a Family Meal

19th October

The Great Wall

William Lindesay is arguably the world’s leading expert on The Great Wall of China. His interest began in his young days exploring Hadrian’s Wall and he has not looked back since. Today he will take you to visit the Great Wall at Jinshanling as, being further from the city, it is not so crowded. Weather permitting, we will arrange a gourmet sit-down lunch on the wall itself so you can enjoy the exceptional views over a delicious three course meal. For those that are feeling active, there are some good hiking spots here with even more breathtaking views to reward the extra effort. There will be time in the afternoon to rest back in Beijing and in the evening we have made a reservation at the highly regarded Green T House Restaurant.

The Great Wall

20th October

Emperors and their Palaces

This morning, Duncan will meet you at the magnificent Temple of Heaven, where illustrious Emperors came to pray for good harvests. Today local residents come for an interesting mix of Tai Chi and Ballroom dancing. The journey through Beijing then continues to the Forbidden City, where, once again, you can marvel at the opulence in which the Emperors once lived. Your driver will then take you to the excellent Aman Summer Palace Resort for an overnight stay. The property has private afterhours access to the Summer Palace to give you an up close and personal view away from other visitors. We’ve left the afternoon free for you to explore at peace or rest in the grounds of this stylish hotel. In the evening we have arranged a special cocktail party for you to come together and discuss the trip so far and what’s to come. This is followed by a private dinner in the Aman restaurant.

Emperors and their Palaces

21st October

Xian and the Silk Road

We’ll arrange an early hot cup of tea and light breakfast this morning before your transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Xian (flight times to be confirmed). On arrival you’ll be met and driven to the Sofitel Hotel for a 2 night stay. After a rest and lunch at the hotel, you will be taken into the Old City of Xian, where Duncan will lead you through the streets of the city and bring to life the town’s association with the mighty Silk Road. Duncan studied here as a student in his younger days and he knows all its secret nooks and crannies. You will pass by the old city walls, The Islamic Quarter and also the Great Mosque, which is a beautiful site in the midst of tranquil gardens. This will end with a specially arranged traditional Welcoming Ceremony at the City Wall’s North Gate. This evening you will enjoy a delicious dumpling banquet at Defachang Restaurant.

Xian and the Silk Road

22nd October

The Army of Terracotta Warriors

One of the highlights of any visit to China is to explore the legacy of the Terracotta Warriors. This warrants a full day to take in the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang and enough time to absorb the history of the Warriors. We have also included a special visit to the private Lower Viewing Gallery. After a simple lunch you will explore the impressive Shaanxi Museum with private access to the Treasure House. This is normally closed to the public for preservation purposes and you have an exciting opportunity to view their stunning collection of mausoleum frescoes dating from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 907). This evening, we have made a reservation at the hotel’s excellent restaurant and after supper we have booked tickets to an entertaining dance performance by the Tang Dynasty Dance Company at the Grand New World Theater.

The Army of Terracotta Warriors

23rd October

Fly to Lijiang and Warriors of the Han Dynasty

Before returning to Xian’s Airport a visit to the fascinating Terracotta Warriors of the Han Dynasty is arranged. These statues date from about 80 years later than the better known Warriors visited yesterday. Here we have included very privileged access into the Curator’s Restoration Room. Then fly onwards to Lijiang via Kunming (flight times to be confirmed). On arrival you will be met and driven to the exclusive Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort for a 3 night stay. This evening, we have booked dinner at the hotel’s excellent restaurant.

Fly to Lijiang and Warriors of the Han Dynasty

24th October

Black Dragon Pool and Dayan

This morning, those who wish, may like to visit Lijiang’s fascinating Old Town, Dayan, where Duncan can explain the region’s history and its indigenous Dongba culture. From here you can visit the beautiful reflective waters of Black Dragon Pool before returning to the hotel. We’ve left the rest of the day and evening free as Banyan Tree has a stunning spa and grounds for some R&R.

Black Dragon Pool and Dayan

25th October

Mountains, Lakes and Naxi Traditions

After a good rest yesterday we have arranged a full day trip into the countryside. The journey can be taken by road or horseback over the mountains to Wenhai Lake, which is rarely visited. The small villages in this area have remained untouched for hundreds of years and they are a living example of the magic of rural China. A simple picnic lunch beneath the shade of a tree is offered in Baisha Village and, this afternoon, you will stop in Yu Hu Village, the former home of renowned naturalist, Dr Joseph Rock and where the more traditional Naxi way of life continues. After discovering Naxi traditions by speaking to the locals and hearing their stories through a translator, this evening we have arranged a performance by the excellent Naxi orchestra.

Mountains, Lakes and Naxi Traditions

26th October

Lijiang to Shanghai

We have left much of the day free for you to explore or rest as you choose before your flight to Shanghai. On arrival you will say goodbye to Duncan before being driven to The Peninsula Shanghai Hotel for a 2 night stay. Shanghai is a fascinating city to discover at your own pace and we have left the evening free for you to do just that. We will be very happy to make and recommend any restaurant reservations and you will be provided with a detailed list of events scheduled this evening in case you would like us to book any tickets in advance.

Lijiang to Shanghai

27th October

Shanghai's Past and Future Inspired by Peter Hibbard

This morning Peter Hibbard, a charismatic local historian and writer will take you to the city’s famous Bund, flanked by magnificent buildings previously owned by the great trading houses and banks of the early 1900’s. Peter specializes in the history of the foreign communities who helped make this cosmopolitan city what it is today. Focusing on the area surrounding the Bund, Peter will help you to understand the contrast and colour of Communist and Modern China. You will also visit the Yu Gardens, Shanghai Museum and the inspiring, if unimaginatively named, Urban Planning Centre. We have booked a traditional Shanghainese lunch at Din Tai Feng Restaurant. This evening a very special Farewell dinner is offered at the M on the Bund Restaurant.

Shanghai's Past and Future Inspired by Peter Hibbard

28th October

Departure from Shanghai and farewell to China

Today we will arrange transfers to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport according to your flight departure time.

Departure from Shanghai and farewell to China

17th October – 20th October

Peninsula Beijing Hotel

The Peninsula is one of the leading hotels of Beijing and a slick but friendly base from which to explore the city. The rooms are impeccably designed with a local style in keeping with the modern surroundings of the city. From here you are within walking distance of some of the highlights that make Beijing such a remarkable place to visit.

Peninsula Beijing Hotel

20th October – 21st October

Aman Summer Palace Resort

For anyone who has been lucky enough to experience the Aman brand elsewhere in the world, they will not be disappointed by the Summer Palace Resort. This feels like a world away from the bustling streets of Beijing with peaceful gardens and rooms in which to rest and unwind. Renovated from pavilions which date back over a century, The Summer Palace retains a profound sense of Chinese culture so guests never lose a sense of where they are.

Aman Summer Palace Resort

21st October – 23rd October

Sofitel Hotel

It couldn’t be easier to explore the highlights of Xian using the Sofitel as a base. With longer distances to cover here, we know the importance of making travelling as convenient as possible. What the Sofitel perhaps lacks in local charm it makes up for in its unblinkingly efficient service and immaculate rooms. The restaurants are also exceptional and we can say with confidence that this is the best property in town.

Sofitel Hotel

23rd October – 26th October

Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort

With an award-winning spa, distant views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and an array of gardens and koi ponds, this is a place to truly unwind and switch off. Banyan are experts in keeping service effortless without ever being intrusive and we have chosen this property not only because we believe it is the best but also as a place to rest when you are not exploring the beautiful countryside.

Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort

26th October – 28th November

Shanghai Peninsula Hotel

Like its sister property in Beijing, The Peninsula in Shanghai is one of the very best hotels in town with a privileged location. The rooftop bar has sweeping views over the river and at night it’s spectacular with the twinkling lights of the city’s Bund below and beyond. This is the perfect place to end your journey to China and from which to explore one the world’s most exciting cities.

Shanghai Peninsula Hotel

Duncan Hewitt

Duncan Hewitt is a journalist and writer who has lived in China for the past 15 years. He has a degree in Chinese from Edinburgh University and spent his first year in the country as a student in Xi’an from 1986-7. He later worked as a translator and editor of Chinese literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong before joining the BBC World Service, where he produced and presented programmes on Asian current affairs. From 1997 – 2002 he was a BBC correspondent in China, based first in Beijing and later in Shanghai, where he opened the BBC’s new bureau. In recent years he has written for Newsweek and other publications from Shanghai, focusing in particular on society, media and culture. His book on social change in China, Getting Rich First: Life in a changing China (Vintage, 2008), looks at the upheavals in ordinary people’s lives over the past decades of rapid economic transformation, and was serialized as a BBC Radio 4 ‘Book of the Week’.

He has also contributed to publications including the Economist, the Guardian, and the Asia Literary Review, and is an Adjunct Professor of journalism and Chinese media at New York University in Shanghai. In 2012 he wrote and presented a two part series on the impact of the Internet and social media on China for the BBC World Service. He recently completed a research project on perceptions of China in the western media at the Reuters Institute, Oxford University. He has also written widely on Shanghai’s urban heritage, and in his spare time leads historical walks in the city. His most recent literary translation, of He Jiahong’s crime novel Hanging Devils, was published by Penguin in 2012.

Duncan Hewitt

William Lindesay

In the autumn of 2011 William Lindesay led an expedition deep into the Gobi Desert in search of a lost and nameless wall. What he discovered, in fact, was a section of the Great Wall itself, which was last recorded the a 12th century atlas of Genghis Khan’s battles. This discovery has since rewritten the history of The Great Wall of China and opened a whole new debate for the world to follow. His expertise and knowledge is unsurpassed and our special Inspired Journey has the privilege to meet him at one of the most scenic spots of his beloved Wall in China to hear the fascinating stories that have come from a lifetime dedicated to this research.

William Lindesay

Peter Hibbard

The true nature of Shanghai’s past and future development and growth is a difficult one to grasp and Peter Hibbard has spent many years researching this very topic alone. His findings have lead to a number of books and articles on the subject and he is considered a leading expert in his field. His passion and knowledge are a unique way of getting under the skin of a city that is otherwise very hard to penetrate and we are delighted to have him on board as an inspiration in this special discovery of China.

Peter Hibbard

Flights

For those travelling from the UK we recommend the following flights with British Airways

London Heathrow to Beijing departs 16:40 (overnight) arrives 09:30 Flight BA 39

Shanghai to London Heathrow departs 10:55 arrives 15:35 Flight BA 168

Please contact us for a quote including these flights.

We can also include flights from the United States so please do let us know where you are travelling from and we will send you the best flight routes with a quote.

Pricing Information

Prices per person, based on two people sharing:

£7670
€ 8487
$12120

The price quoted includes the following:

All accommodation on a full board basis

All road transfers as specified

Domestic flights in Economy Class

Guiding and excursions as specified

Park fees and other entry fees

 

The price quoted does not include:

Scheduled International flights

Travel insurance

Drinks at mealtimes (except those mentioned in the itinerary)

Tips

Visas

Vaccinations

Any other extras

Single supplements (please contact us for details)

where you will go on the trip