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Follow in the footsteps of the ancients – up the ornate steps of the Forbidden City and to the ramparts of the Great Wall, snaking its way across the rolling countryside, and through the winding ancient alleys of Beijing’s hutongs to learn about Chinese traditions over a home-cooked lunch.
Launch your discovery of China in its cultural heart. Transfer to your Beijing hotel where you’ll meet your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers this evening.
Delve into Beijing’s rich imperial heritage, beginning your encounter with the remnants of centuries-old dynasties in the world’s largest public space, Tiananmen Square. Tread in the footsteps of emperors, passing through the south gate to the UNESCO-listed Forbidden City, the imperial palace for emperors and their households for over five centuries. Immerse yourself in the ancient rituals, traditions and history of this palace complex before lunch. Continue to the tranquil Temple of Heaven, another UNESCO Heritage Site, once visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to pray for good harvests and divine guidance. This evening, the salty, sweet flavours of succulent Peking Duck take centre stage during a Regional Dinner.
We leave the city behind, bound for the iconic Great Wall of China at Juyongguan. Standing on its ramparts, we look down on the Chinese countryside which its walls successfully defended against marauding nomadic invaders. Watch it snake thousands of miles into the distance as you imagine how these man-made fortifications were built and rebuilt from the 5th century B.C. to the 16th century. Then, walk the Sacred Way past the imposing stone statues that guard the Ming Tombs and remains of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty.
A leisurely start to our morning sees us embark on a rickshaw tour around the ancient narrow alleyways of the courtyard Hutong residences. We Connect With Locals, joining a family for a delicious meal of traditional Chinese cuisine at a Be My Guest lunch, followed by a visit to a tea house, where a Local Specialist prepares and serves tea, explaining the historic tea-making ritual. This afternoon, we’ll indulge in a relaxing foot massage at the Foot Reflexology Centre.
Visit and have lunch with a local family in their home in one of Beijing's hutongs and gain a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lifestyle.
Included in Trip
Indulge in a foot massage at the Foot Reflexology Centre.
Included in Trip
We fly to Xi’an, which reveals its role as the ancient departure point of the Silk Road. Visit the Great Mosque, one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved mosques in China. According to historical records it was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty and is a combination of Islamic art and traditional Chinese architecture.
Descend into Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s subterranean tomb to see his terracotta army for the afterlife, another UNESCO-listed site. For lunch, enjoy a traditional meal of Chinese noodles, then continue with a visit to a Jade factory, the favoured stone of emperors and more precious to the Chinese people than gold.
This morning, your choice of activities gives you an opportunity to mimic the graceful movements of a skilled T’ai Chi Local Specialist, or consider joining a cycle tour around part of the ancient City Wall of Xi'an. We Dive Into Culture at a local restaurant, watching a demonstration in the art of making dumplings, with an opportunity to sample these for lunch. Savour the juicy flavours of these boiled, steamed and fried treats, transporting you back to ancient China, before transferring to the airport for our flight to Shanghai. Ascend to the 88-storey Jinmao Tower for panoramic views of the skyscrapers that loom over the most populous city on earth.
Discover the traditions and techniques of dumpling making, indulging in an opportunity to sample them.
Included in Trip
Stroll down Shanghai’s famous ‘Bund’ with a Local Specialist, admiring the neoclassical colonial buildings that have lined this city’s renowned waterfront since the early 1900s. Learn how this marshland was transformed into one of the world’s most important trading hubs. Then, continue to the winding streets and vibrant markets of Old Shanghai to discover the how the customs and traditional lifestyle of this area have remained relatively unaltered. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping in the Old Town before we Dive Into Culture during a visit to a silk museum. This evening, indulge in a performance by the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.
Spend a day exploring the Paris of the East on your terms – shop for delicate Chinese ceramics, or consider joining an Optional Experience to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town founded more than 1,700 years ago. In its heyday, Zhujiajiao was a bustling market town. Today, old historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing Dynasty post office can still be found as you stroll down its ancient streets and wander across the many stone bridges that crisscross its canals. This afternoon, you’ll have some free time at leisure before joining your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner.
Our mystical encounter with China at its end, take a transfer to Shanghai Airport for your onward flight.
Sign up on tour for additional experiences that have been curated by your Travel Director from their own in-depth local knowledge.
The Legend of Kung Fu Show is a mix of traditional martial arts and modern theatre. It is presented by a group of marvellous Kung Fu artists from all over China whose average age is only 17 but they have studied Chinese Kung Fu for many years. The story tells of a young boy who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master and attaining enlightenment. He takes the path of a monk in which he must face many obstacles both from this world and his own mind to overcome his fears and to become a true master of Kung Fu. During the 80-minute show, the artists do not speak but perform daring acrobatics and Kung Fu dance but there are English subtitles above the stage explaining the story line. Transfers to and from the Red Theatre are included. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
Enjoy a sumptuous Tang dumpling banquet followed by a wonderful performance of ancient music and dance which has graced the region for centuries. The show consists of 8 parts filled with vibrant costumes, colourful dances and traditional music. Under the ruling of the Tang Emperors from 618 to 907, China became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. During this time the economy, politics and military strength reached an unprecedented level which influenced the culture of its neighbouring countries. It was during this flourishing and peaceful period that exquisite Tang imperial feasts with music and dance emerged and developed. Step back in time and enjoy the delightful hospitality and performances of the Tang Dynasty. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
In the morning, drive to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town in the suburbs of Shanghai. With a history that goes back more than 1,700 years, the town is the best preserved among the four ancient towns of Shanghai. Today, historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found. The town is also blessed with small rivers shaded by willow trees, bubbling streams and traditional houses with ancient courtyards. The town has 36 bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, differing in shape, style and structure; from wooden to stone and marble. Take a paddle boat ride along the water to admire the distinct bridges, and then enjoy some free time to stroll through the narrow alleys and small food shops. The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soy beans and Zarou (lotus roots) as well as homemade candy and braised pork leg. There will be an opportunity to try some local food during the included lunch, before returning to Shanghai. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.
China passport, visa, and entry requirement information for US citizens.
China's weather and climate vary widely due to its vast size and diverse geography. In general, China experiences a continental climate with distinct seasons. The northern regions, such as Beijing, have hot summers and cold winters, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. The southern regions, like Guangzhou, have a subtropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers. Western China, including Tibet, has a high-altitude climate with cool summers and extremely cold winters. Coastal areas, such as Shanghai, have a maritime climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers. China also experiences monsoon influences, resulting in heavy rainfall during the summer months, particularly in the southern and eastern regions.
On-Tour Luggage & Carry-On Bag Size Limits for Asia Tours
Luggage: Each guest traveling may bring one suitcase no larger than 30” x 18” x 10." For internal flights within Asia tours, there is generally a 44-lb luggage allowance.
Carry-On Bag: *Restricted to one piece per person, not to exceed 12” x 11” x 6”
So your driver and any hotel porters can safely lift and transport your suitcase throughout your vacation, we strongly recommend that you test the weight of your baggage prior to travel. You should be able to lift and comfortably transport it for short distances.
Baggage allowances vary from airline to airline, and you should check with your chosen carrier for details prior to travel.
Packing Tips for Your Tour
When going on a guided tour of Asia, it's essential to pack smartly to ensure you have all the necessary items without burdening yourself with excessive luggage. Here's a limited packing list that covers the basics for your trip:
Medications and First Aid:
Remember to pack light and versatile items that can be mixed and matched for different outfits. Consider the specific cultural norms and dress codes of the countries you visit to ensure respectful attire. Adapt this packing list to your specific needs and the duration of your trip, and you'll be well-prepared for your guided tour of Asia!
Most Asian countries run on 220-240 volts at 50Hz AC (Alternating Current) electricity. However, there are some exceptions in certain regions. Here are some voltage variations for specific countries or regions in Asia:
Always verify the voltage and frequency for the particular country you'll be visiting, as using incompatible devices can lead to damage or malfunction. If you plan to bring American appliances or electronics to Asia, you will likely need a voltage converter and a plug adapter. Here's what you need to know:
It's essential to check the voltage and plug type requirements for the specific Asia country you plan to visit, as they might vary slightly from one country to another. Some modern electronic devices, like laptops and smartphones, are often designed to handle a wide range of voltages, so they might only require a plug adapter.
Before your trip, verify the compatibility of your appliances and devices. You can find this information on the labels or tags of your electronics or in the user manuals. If in doubt, consult with the manufacturer or a qualified electrician.
We suggest buying an adapter with a voltage converter to help reduce the number of things you have to pack. Additionally, it's essential to get any required adapters or converters for your electronic devices before embarking on your guided tour and bringing them along. It's crucial to be cautious when using electrical devices in foreign countries, as using incorrect voltage or plugs without the right adapters can cause damage to your devices or even pose a safety hazard.
Hair Dryers in Your Hotel
In many hotels across Asia, hairdryers are commonly provided in guest rooms or available upon request. However, the availability and quality of hairdryers can vary depending on the hotel's star rating, location, and amenities.
It is important to keep in mind that the voltage of the hair dryer provided by the hotel will match the local electrical standards of the country where it is located. If you would like to use your own hair dryer, you will need a voltage converter (transformer). Before using your hair dryer or any electronic device, it is essential to verify voltage compatibility and use the appropriate plug adapter if necessary. Although many modern hair dryers are designed to be dual voltage, meaning they can work on both 110 volts and 220-240 volts, it is always recommended to double-check the label or user manual to be sure.
If you are unsure about the electrical compatibility or amenities provided by a specific hotel, you can contact them directly before your trip to inquire about the availability of hair dryers and other electrical considerations for international travelers. If you need a hair dryer during your trip but cannot find one in your hotel room, you can inquire with the hotel staff. Many hotels will be able to provide a hair dryer upon request, either at the front desk or through housekeeping.
Regardless of where in the world your tour visits, we do our best to ensure your transportation is as comfortable as it can be.
Coach travel on Asia Tours
Transfers will depend on the trip you choose and vary among destinations. In general, if you are joining or departing your guided vacation on the first or last day, return transfers between the airport and hotel are included. You’ll find specific information on your itinerary page.
To enable you to personalize your tour experience, you will find a number of Optional Experiences designed to complement the itinerary. These are designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture and character of the areas to be visited and provide some wonderful highlights to your travels. The optional program is designed to let you experience more of what interests you and to get the most from your vacation without replacing or overlapping with anything included in an itinerary.
The majority of Optional Experiences will be offered to you by your Travel Director at the beginning of your trip. Some may be subject to change, depending on the time you are traveling or local circumstances, including weather and days of the week. Your Travel Director will provide further information.
Usually, most Optional Experiences will be priced in the local currency, but please read through the details of individual optional experiences for specific information. Exact payment options will be advised locally by your Travel Director/Local Representative for each Optional Experience, but in many cases, cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are all accepted.
Traveling to Asia on a guided tour can be an exciting and enriching experience. Staying informed, prepared, and cautious will go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable travel experience. Always stay in touch with your Travel Director and always follow their recommendations.
Here are some health advice and recommendations for travelers heading to Asia:
Visit the Doctor: Before embarking on your trip, schedule a visit with a medicine specialist or your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized health advice based on your medical history, current health status, and the specific countries you'll be visiting.
Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuations, and trip cancellations.
Personal Medications: Bring an ample supply of any prescription medications you require, along with a copy of your prescriptions. Keep them in their original containers. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with medications.
Vaccinations: While there are no vaccine or testing requirements, travelers should ensure that all routine vaccinations are up to date. Commonly recommended vaccinations for travelers to Asia may include:
Malaria Prevention: Malaria is present in some parts of Asia, especially in rural or forested areas. Consult with your healthcare provider about the appropriate antimalarial medications and mosquito bite prevention measures (e.g., insect repellents, mosquito nets) for your specific destinations.
Insect Bite Prevention: Protect yourself from insect bites, as they can transmit diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Use insect repellents containing DEET or Picaridin and wear long-sleeved clothing and pants to reduce the risk of bites.
First Aid Kit: Carry a basic kit with essential items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, antidiarrheal medication, and any prescribed medications.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially in hot and humid climates, to prevent dehydration.
Hand Hygiene: Carry hand sanitizers and use them frequently, especially before eating or after touching surfaces in public places.
Respect Local Customs: Be aware of and respect local customs and traditions, as some practices may have health implications.
Avoid Street Food if Unsure: While trying local cuisine is a highlight of travel, be cautious about eating from street vendors or in places with questionable hygiene standards.
Prior to traveling, please notify GET of any disability requiring special assistance or any specific dietary needs that you may have, and we will strive to accommodate these.
When traveling with GET, baggage handling at hotels, service charges, and tips for hotel wait staff (for included meals) will all be taken care of by your Travel Director. There are, however, a few instances where individual tipping is welcome.
It is customary to show appreciation for the insights, stories, and know-how shared with you by the Local Specialists, and we suggest a gratuity equivalent to $1.00-$2.00 USD per person per half day.
Your Coach Driver and Travel Director
The trip cost does not include gratuities for your Travel Director and Driver. At the end of your trip, you may express appreciation to your Travel Director and Driver for their excellent service and the personal attention you received. Gratuities are given at the discretion of each guest, and a suggested amount per person/per day is listed in your travel documents.
For your convenience and ease, there is an option to pre-pay gratuities for the Travel Director and Driver at the time of booking.
It is customary to tip hotel staff for room service delivery if the charge has not already been added to the bill. Where ice machines are not available, and you receive ice from the bar, a small tip to the bartender is always appreciated.
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