DAY 1 - FLIGHT
Board your overnight flight, bound for Asia.
DAY 2 - BEIJING
Arrive in Beijing
Welcome to Beijing! After clearing customs, you’ll meet your full-time tour director and the rest of your group. Beijing is changing at a mile a minute, quickly moving from its storied past into its very big future. Things are definitely different here; from the sights to the markets to the restaurants, this is an entirely new culture.
DAY 3 - BEIJING
Sightseeing tour of Beijing (local guide)
A local guide introduces you to China’s capital. See Tiananmen Square, the biggest public square in the world and the infamous spot where a student rebellion was put down in 1989. You’ll also visit the amazing Forbidden City, surrounded by a moat and a protective wall. Inside the walls, check out the golden-roofed Imperial Palace, first built during the Ming Dynasty.
Peking Duck dinner
Celebrate your first full day with a feast of northern China’s most famous dish. Learn about the ritual preparation and savory side dishes that go so well with the regional specialty.
DAY 4 - BEIJING
Excursion to the Great Wall of China
Head to Badaling, where you’ll walk on the famed Great Wall. The Chinese started building the Wall in the 5th century B.C., as a defense against the Mongols. All told, 3,000 people worked on it, and many of them are buried within it. Today the Wall extends across mountains and valleys for more than 3,000 miles.
Rickshaw tour of hutongs
Ride through ancient alleyways and lanes called hutongs in a traditional rickshaw taxi. Hutongs were common in ancient Beijing, and today they’re used to access dwellings for half the total population of the city.
Optional Kung Fu Show ($35 pre-booked)
Chinese martial arts originated as far back as 5,000 years ago, and tonight you can see them in action. Watch some of the country's best kung fu artists, as they kick, punch, flip, and dance their way through a traditional Chinese story.
DAY 5 - BEIJING
Temple of Heaven Park
Walk through this huge outdoor park, which is full of historical relics and locals doing their morning Tai Chi exercises.
Visit the Summer Palace, an imperial retreat centered around Kunming Lake. The Palace grounds bring in huge numbers of visitors each year, drawn by the Qing-style pavilions, bridges, walkways, and gardens.
DAY 6 - SHANGHAI
Fly to Shanghai
Fly to Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city. Shanghai is changing even faster than Beijing. There’s development everywhere you look, and the people are always up on the latest trends, fashions and technology. A lot of action, great restaurants, fun nightlife.
Shanghai World Financial Center
Enjoy awesome views from China’s tallest building, the third tallest in the world (and the one with the highest point accessible to visitors). The building just opened in 2008.
DAY 7 - SHANGHAI
Sightseeing tour of Shanghai (local guide)
See the highlights of the city with a local guide. Visit the Jade Buddha Temple, with its incredible sculpted Buddhas brought over from Burma more than 100 years ago. Also walk through Yu Yuan Garden, a cool classical Chinese landscape dating back to the 16th century.
Evening acrobatics show
Tonight, sit back and watch traditional Chinese acrobats tumble through the air.
DAY 8 - SHANGHAI
Walk along the Bund, once considered the “Wall Street of the East.” Take in the great views of the city as you make your way along the landscaped promenade overlooking the water.
This colorful road is lined with all kinds of interesting shops. Spend some time browsing the crafts and delicacies.
DAY 9 - HONG KONG
Fly to Hong Kong
Take the short flight to Hong Kong. This is a city with a lot of neon, a lot of people, a lot of modernity, but also plenty of quieter places to find. It’s a very international city, with influences from all over the world.
Star Ferry harbor cruise
After dinner take a ferry cruise across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon. Take in the amazing views of the Hong Kong skyline from the deck of the historic double-decker Star Ferry. The Star Ferry’s heyday was back in the 1920s, when it was the main mode of transportation across the harbor. Nowadays, it serves as a throwback mode of harbor cruising so people like you can enjoy great views. Relax inside or hang out on deck and enjoy the breeze.
“A Symphony of Lights”
This is one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-appreciate-it things. More than 40 buildings on either side of Victoria Harbour light up to a choreographed display of colored lights, lasers and searchlights, all synchronized to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong. You’ll watch the spectacle from the Avenue of the Stars, Hong Kong’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
DAY 10 - HONG KONG
Sightseeing tour of Hong Kong (local guide)
A local guide brings Hong Kong into focus. Ride the tram up to Victoria Peak for great views of the city, harbor and neighboring islands. See Repulse Bay, Hong Kong's popular beach, and Aberdeen Harbor, world famous for its floating restaurants. Take a bus over to Stanley Market, a traditional street market on Hong Kong Island, and finish up at Man Mo Temple—this old and famous incense-filled temple is dedicated to two gods (one civil and one military).
Dim Sum tasting
Enjoy the local tradition of dim sum. Dim sum gives you the chance to sample an amazingly diverse range of Chinese specialties, some more exotic than others.
Optional Sunset Cruise ($65 pre-booked)
See amazing panoramic views of Victoria Harbor aboard a dinner cruise. Eat a delicious dinner buffet and do some dancing, all while sailing past the twinkling lights of Hong Kong. See City Hall and the Bank of China Tower on the way to Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, where you can watch people at work on their traditional fishing sampans.
DAY 11 - HONG KONG
Free time in Hong Kong (day)
Top 5 free time suggestions:
1. Ocean Park – This large amusement park has roller coasters, rides, and a marine park with dolphins and killer whales.
2. Shopping – Shopping is practically a national pastime here; Tsim Sha Tsui is a very popular area to browse and buy.
3. Hong Kong Science Museum – Check out more than 500 exhibits on all things science, many of them good hands-on fun.
4. Kowloon Walled City Park – Relax among the ponds, turtles, goldfish and beautiful flora.
5. Hong Kong Museum of Art – See some classical Chinese art, including paintings and calligraphy.
For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Hong Kong.
Optional visit to Lantau Island ($105 pre-booked)
Take a full-day trip to Lantau Island, the biggest and most popular of Hong Kong’s many nearby islands. Lantau is a land of dramatic mountainous peaks, pristine beaches, and Hong Kong Disneyland. You’ll visit the Po Lin Monastery, originally constructed by three Buddhists in 1924. Climb nearly 268 steps for a close look at the world’s tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. This big guy is 75 feet tall and weighs more than 200 tons. Also walk to the lesser-known Wisdom Path, where the Heart Sutra Wood Inscription is carved into a series of tree trunks.
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) over farewell drinks with the group.
DAY 12 - FLIGHT
It's time to say your goodbyes. Head to the airport for your flight back home.