All tours include transportation to and from the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center.
All prices are in USD.
Sunday, 26 March
AM Tour: 4 Hours without Lunch
Hutong Visit by Trishaw and Tea Ceremony at Local Tea House
HouHai is situated between QianHai and XiHai, just north of QianHai. HouHai is in the center of the traditional hutong area of central Beijing. The ancient Drum and Bell Towers are nearby. This unique tour will be by pedicab (3-wheeled bicycle).
The word hutong was from Mongolian, which mostly built during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. They are the narrow networks of lanes created by closely built quadrangular homes. The houses and courtyards, hidden away and boxed in, are themselves closed off with wooden gates that often have carved characters intended to bring good fortune to the house owner and his trade. You will ride through the narrow alleys to visit a home for tea and meet a typical family. The residents, who have lived through great changes, interesting and sometimes difficult times, are delighted in answering questions.
PM Tour: 4 Hours without Lunch
Historical exploration to Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. It has long been a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. On the north side of the square is Tiananmen Gate (the Rostrum). It was from the balcony of the Rostrum on October 1, 1949 where Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party, proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. Mao gazes from a huge portrait on the south side of the gate onto Tiananmen Square.
The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), directly behind the Rostrum, was home to 24 emperors beginning with its creation by Emperor Yongle in 1420 until the last Qing emperor, Puyi, left in 1924. The entire complex consists of 8,706 rooms in which an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people lived including 3,000 eunuchs, as well as maids and concubines, all within 170 acres.
Wednesday, 29 March
Wednesday Tours Only:
Attendees will not be able to participate in both tours
AM Tour: 7 hours with Lunch
Great Wall Excursion-Badaling section
One of the wonders of the world, and the only man-made structure that can be seen from the moon, the Great Wall is an early testimony of the human power to build in the harshest of terrains. As you stand on the top tower and look at the wall snaking its way across the tops of the mountains, close your eyes for a moment and see in your mind's eye the ancient armies locked in combat, and hear the whistle of arrows and the clang of striking swords. It is a place to reflect upon the past the wonder about the future.
The Chinese name for the Great Wall is Wan Li Chang Cheng, or "the Long Wall of Ten Thousand Li." The first sections were built as early as the fifth century B.C. when a number of Chinese states in the north were fighting against each other and occasionally against the northern "barbarian". It was not until the unification of the empire under Qin Shi Huang Di in B.C. 221 that the various sections of the Wall were linked up. It is said that more than 300,000 men worked for ten years to complete it. The wall has a pounded earth interior with stone facing walls and stone roadway along the top. It was built wide enough to allow a brace of five horses to gallop between the battlements and was thus used to convey soldiers, arms, and food with great speed to various parts of the northern frontier.
From the sixth century to the fourteenth the wall abandoned and fell into disuse but after the Mongols took China and were repulsed eventually by the Ming in 1368. the emperor decided to rebuild the wall. The rebuilding and restoration continued up until the sixteenth century. However, when the Manchu armies captured China and the Qing Dynasty ruled (1644 - 1911), the wall was again abandoned and fell into ruin. It has now been restored at three famous passes and you may visit one of them, Badaling, located about 40 miles from Beijing.
PM Tour: 4 Hours without Lunch
Shopping Safari Silk Factory and Pearl Market
Having a long history, Chinese Silk is perfect craftsmanship and is renowned at home and abroad. At the Silk Factory, you could see the work of art and fine silks with exquisite skill, you can learn how silk is made from silkworms to cocoons at a local silk weaving factory and see beautiful bedding and garment made out of silk. With careful selection of materials, meticulous designing and skillful workmanship, the silk produced in the factory are of strong tensility, high elasticity, exquisite patterning and great durability.
The Pearl Market is housed in a multi-level building and offers clothing, luggage, and jewelry including, of course, pearls. Chinese pearls are not as round as Japanese pearls but one needs to look hard to notice. Prices start at about $25.00 a strand; $120 will buy a nice strand with good luster and color. Parking is not possible at the Pearl Market but a guide can be stationed outside to direct participants to the motor coach.