With our expert Beijing local English-speaking guide and professional driver and our comfortable sedan (Volkswagen) or minivan (Buick), you are exploring China's royal culture:
Forbidden City - the largest royal place in the world
Temple of Heaven - Royal temple to pray for the harvest
Summer Palace - the largest city park in China
At 8:00 am we will pick you up from your hotel and drive directly to Tian’anmen Square. The largest open public square in the world at 440,000 square meters, Tian’anmen has long been seen as the political center of China. It was from the Gate of Heavenly Peace overlooking the square where in 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The Square has seen some turbulent moments, such as the May 4th Movement of 1919 (where Chinese intellectuals protested the transfer of Shandong Province from the Germans to the Japanese), the protests during the mourning for Premier Zhou Enlai in 1976, and of course the political turmoil of 1989.
After strolling across the square we will then visit the Forbidden City (known in Chinese as Gu Gong), the most famous and popular attraction in China, and probably in all of Asia. It was the main imperial palace used by the Ming and Qing dynasties. Originally built between 1406 and 1422 by the third Ming emperor Yongle, the palace complex houses 980 buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms. After the last emperor, Puyi, was finally evicted in 1924, the Palace Museum was established to watch over the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is the greatest example of classical Chinese architecture in all of China and is a can’t miss attraction when visiting Beijing.
After touring the Forbidden City we will drive to the Temple of Heaven park, where Ming and Qing emperors worshipped and prayed for a good and bountiful harvest. The Temple of Heaven is best known for its iconic building the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, with its blue triple-gabled circular roof. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and was described by that organization as “a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the worlds great civilizations.”
We will have a break for a brief lunch by tasting the local specialties of Beijing - dumplings, Chinese quesadilla, noodles with stir-fried sources, or Qingfeng baozi (meat buns), a roadside restaurant chain in old Beijing famed for its succulent steamed buns. Chinese President Xi ordered 6 pork buns and other dishes in this restaurant before and it has greatly improved the reputation of Qingfeng. Qingfeng, in Chinese, means "celebrating the harvest."
After lunch we will drive to the Summer Palace, which starts as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 (under the reign of emperor Qianlong). The Summer Palace has suffered from two major attacks, during the Anglo-French invasion of 1860 and during the Bower Rebellion, only to be rebuilt, and was seen by contemporaries of the late Qing dynasty as a symbol of extravagance and excess. The Summer Palace is dominated in the center by Lake Kunming, built to in imitation of Hangzhou’s West Lake. Highlights not to be missed are Longevity Hill, which overlooks the lake and includes the Tower of Buddhist Incense, the highest building in the Summer Palace, Suzhou Street, an alley of river recreated in imitation of the beautiful Chinese city Suzhou (famed for its canals), and the Marble Boat, commissioned by Dowager Empress Cixi (with the funds originally being designated for the Chinese navy).
After exploring the Summer Palace we will drive you back to your hotel.
Family, youngsters, seniors and veteran discounts available.