Beijing & Great Wall - A Different Perspective

We bring you a totally refreshing and different perspective of Beijing - capital city of China and the famed Great Wall of China without crowds. Get away from the cookie-cutter sightings and experiences and see the real Beijing and Great Wall like an insider. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in boutique charming lodge close to the Simatai Great Wall

Experience a unique stay in boutique "Hutong" hotel in Beijing

Experience the Simatai section of the Great Wall without crowds

Enjoy insiders experiences in the traditions of the "Old Beijing"

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE  BEIJING

Arrive Beijing Capital Intl Airport and make our visit of the impressive UNESCO-listed Summer Palace, reputed to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, built by Emperor Qianlong in 1750 during the Qing Dynasty with opulent arched bridges, pretty promenades, decorated corridors and gardens. Explore the different sections of the palace divided into administration, living quarters and leisure and recreation. Relive interesting stories of the imperial court as you walk by the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity where notorious Empress Dowager Cixi held court. Walk on the famed Long Corridor, a 2,500 foot structure decorated with 14000 paintings along its ceiling, depicting scenes of Chinese literature and folklores. Gain an understanding also of the destruction of the palace during the Second Opium War and how Cixi's decision to rebuild her extravagant palace became a major political conundrum of China's future. 

 

 

Thereafter, we continue into the heart of Beijing and have a glimpse of life of the Beijingers at atmospheric Houhai, adorned with restaurants, bars and pubs where locals come here for dining and chilling after work. A short drive later takes us to the charming and boutique "hutong siheyuan-styled" hotel, the Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, former residence of Qing Dynasty courtier, Gongsuoli. After settling down, we head to a boutique and contemporary restaurant for a Welcome Peking Duck Dinner prepared with a different twist to the usual style of cooking. 

Overnight: Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, Beijing

Meals: Welcome Peking Duck Dinner

DAY 2: BEIJING

Begin the day with an insightful visit of perhaps Beijing's most iconic site, the UNESCO-listed Forbidden City, a 180-acre imperial palace that housed 24 emperors since 1420. Join your guide in exploring the inner complexes and experience the hidden treasures such as the Treasure Gallery and the Clock Exhibition Hall with a dazzling collection of royal exhibits. Be sure to head to Jingshan Hill, the highest point in Beijing for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. Continue next on a tour of Beijing's famous "hutongs" - ancient labyrinthine alleyways where much of the "Old Beijing" lifestyle still thrives. Join a local hutong resident on a walk and hear interesting stories of life in the neighbourhood, visit a museum exhibiting artifacts of hutong life. We will also visit some local characters and artisans specializing in the art of Chinese paper-cut, cricket-fighting

 

This evening, we head to the Hugang Guild Hall to watch a wonderful Peking Opera. Built in 1807, the theatre is one of Four Great Theatres in Beijing and home to many famous opera performers. Before the show, we go behind the backstage to interact with the performers on the art of facial painting and gain an insight into the many different characters depicted in Chinese Literature. 

Overnight: Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, Beijing

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 3: BEIJING 

Today, we visit the UNESCO-listed Temple of Heaven on an intriguing visit of the cultural wonder and gain fascinating insights into the 15th Century complex, built in 1420 by Emperor Zhu Di during the Ming Dynasty as a solemn ground of prayers to worship heaven for good harvest. Visit the Circular Altar - the most iconic site in the temple complex as well as the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. Do take a moment too to watch locals practice Tai Chi and traditional fitness sports, locals playing a game of Chinese Chess - an interesting experience to learn about the daily lives of the people. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and in the evening, consider a visit to the famous Donghuamen Snack Night Market to savour the local flavours and snacks of Beijing. 

Overnight: Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, Beijing

Meals: Breakfast

 

DAY 4: BEIJING / GUBEI WATER TOWN

We leave Beijing today to the beautiful Gubei Water Town, regarded as the "Wuzhen in Beijing" (2hrs drive). Gubei Water Town is a rare natural old town with a combination of mountains, water canals and ancient villages. With a history of thousands of years, the town possesses an old-fashioned simplicity and elegance with rows of old houses, quartzite streets and long hutongs giving its character. Visit some local artisans including the Sima Liquor Distillery for a glimpse of traditional wine-making, gain insights into the art of ancient cloth printing and dyeing. Worth a visit is the Yinghua Academy where many Confucian classics, historical records and philosophical writings have been collected. We then check in into the charming Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel which infuses traditional Chinese design with modern contemporary aesthetics. 

Overnight: Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel, Gubei Water Town

Meals: Breakfast

 

DAY 5: GUBEI WATER TOWN (EXCURSION TO SIMATAI GREAT WALL)

Make a visit today to the less-crowded section of the Great Wall of China, the Simatai Section. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty featuring 34 beacon towers and 16 watch towers, the Simatai Great Wall retains its original appearance. Begin your hike from Gubei Water Town (3hrs hike) or take a cablecar to the viewing tower to begin your hike. To descend, you can take a zip line down to the town. This is a day of self-discovery of the Great Wall at its best.  

Overnight: Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel, Gubei Water Town

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: DEPART GUBEI WATER TOWN / BEIJING

Today, be transferred to Beijing Capital Intl Airport for your onward journey. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, the former Xinghua Mansion, was home to Gongsuoli, an administrator during the Qing Dynasty. Located in Xinghua Hutong, the hotel is a 10mins walk from Ping An Li Station and a short drive to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Rooms are designed according to concepts from the Forbidden City fused with modern contemporary comforts. The hotel's restaurant serves both Western and Chinese dishes. 

Shichahai Sandalwood Boutique Hotel, Beijing

Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel is situated in the quaint Gubei Water Town offering cozy rooms. Infusing traditional Chinese elements, all air-conditioned rooms are fitted with parquet flooring, a wooden bed and flat-screen tv. 

Wuzhenhui Boutique Hotel, Gubei Water Town

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