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Perhaps nowhere else in the world do ancient culture and modern energy collide so beautifully as in Hong Kong and Beijing. Spend a week exploring these iconic cities without having to worry about obtaining a visa. Come face-to-face with the old and new through insightful guided excursions.
Forget the hassle of dealing with a visa by taking advantage of free 72-hour passes for Beijing and Hong Kong.
Explore iconic sites like the Great Wall and Forbidden City as well as vibrant art districts and the traditional hutongs.
See the mix of traditional markets, gleaming skyscrapers, pristine beaches and ancient pagodas that make Hong Kong so unique.
Beijing, Hong Kong Visa-Free City Escape - 7 Days / 6 Nights
Begin this visa-free Beijing to Hong Kong visit with an arrival into Beijing’s international airport; a guide will be there to welcome and provide private transport to the hotel.
Depending on arrival time (being cautious to not overstay the 72-hour limit), there may be just enough time to pay a visit to the Temple of Heaven, known for its architectural simplicity and its symbolism reflecting early Buddhist and Taoist beliefs. It was here that emperors would forge the link between the round sky and the square earth through sacrificial rituals based on the founding principles of this ancient civilization.
After this intriguing visit, transport will be provided back to the hotel.
The better part of the morning and midday will be spent exploring the Forbidden City and nearby Tiananmen Square, the third largest city square in the world.
The construction of the Forbidden City was finished in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle, and served as the Imperial administrative center throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties until the fall of the Empire in 1911.
Restored for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Forbidden City has regained the youthful and vivid colors of its former glory. Plenty of time is set aside to explore this unforgettable destination, so be sure not to miss the surrounding courtyards and rooms. Climbing the artificial coal hill just behind the Forbidden City also provides a spectacular view of the entire site and offers a good grasp of the layout of the whole of Beijing.
Note: Access to the Forbidden City is limited to 80,000 pax/day. Passport copies must be provided at least 11 days in advance for personal registration (preferably 2 weeks in order to assure a successful booking). Visitors are required to bring their passport for security check upon their visit to the monument. Forbidden City is closed on Mondays, except July and Aug.
After exploring the Forbidden City, the rest of the day will be dedicated to walks around Beihai Lake and the more lively Houhai Lake, encircled by hutongs. Hutongs are the famous Beijing alleyways, home to traditional courtyard style homes, many of which have now been converted into pedestrianized streets boasting charming little restaurants and bars.
Continue the walk onwards to the Drum Tower. Enjoy a demonstration of how the passing of each hour was marked with a drum roll during the Ming Dynasty. From the complex’s top, there are also excellent views of the surrounding hutong rooftops and the Clock Tower just opposite.
Optional (with driver only): End the day with a rooftop terrace dinner overlooking traditional Chinese courtyard-style housing (also known as Siheyuan.)
Though not visible from space (contrary to popular belief), the Great Wall is one of the most famous symbols of China. Over 6,000 kilometers long, this grand structure stretches from ancient Manchuria in the east to the edge of the Gobi desert in the west.
The trip will begin with an early morning departure from the hotel, offering spectacular photo opportunities of the Wall in the morning light.
For those who’ve been exhausted from the walk up the wall, there is an option to either cable car back down or take a toboggan ride to the bottom (a child’s favorite option!)
There will also be an opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch on the Great Wall whilst admiring the stunning, rugged scenery all around.
Once back in Beijing, pay a visit to the Summer Palace. At one time a simple imperial garden, the site was totally redesigned by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th Century, becoming one of the capital’s major sites. The Imperial Court used to relocate to the Summer Palace during the summer months to escape the stifling heat of the Forbidden City. A mix of temples pavilions, lakes, pagodas and gardens make up this harmonious representation of Chinese culture and architecture. The Long Corridor, the Marble Boat, Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill are the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens.
After the visit to the Summer Palace, there will be transport provided back to the hotel.
Begin the morning with a visit to the capital’s art scene: Dashanzi’s 798 art district. 798 is made up of a number of abandoned factories, which were renovated in the 90s by Chinese artists in a style similar to that seen in Berlin. ‘798’ as it is known locally, has become the mouthpiece for Beijing’s most popular contemporary artists and is probably the most vibrant art district in the whole of Asia. The famous Ai Weiwei had his first exhibitions at 798 and a number of other artists have followed in his footsteps. At the time of its opening 798 was noticeably influenced by the Maoist era whilst these days the collection has become much more eclectic. ‘Dashanzi’ as it is known, is becoming ever more popular. Cafés, restaurants and specialist boutiques selling clothes by exciting young designers, homeward pieces and pottery have grown in number over the past few years. Spend the morning wandering 798’s narrow alleyways, browsing the shops, stopping to enjoy a coffee, etc.
For the up and coming exhibitions of 798, check their website
From the arts district, a transfer will be provided to the airport (not a far drive) for the flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. A guide will be waiting upon arrival for a transfer to the hotel.
Exploring Hong Kong is a truly unforgettable adventure. Bustling city life, incredibly efficient transport, great entertainment, and some of the best restaurants in the world. Relax for the evening and prepare for the following days exploring the big city.
Overnight in Hong Kong
While Hong Kong is known for being a city of markets, trade, exchanges, and negotiations, it also has a more traditional side that many Western travelers don’t expect. This whole day trip will explore the city on foot and by public transport, offering a real local life experience!
The Hong Kong walking tour will start with a visit to the Bird and Flower markets. Enjoy the colorful surroundings, selling everything from beautiful songbirds to Dutch tulips and exotic orchids; the market strolls are a sensorial wonder.
Continue on to the Goldfish Market, located in Tung Choi Street. Famous for its exotic fish, the market also sells dogs, lizards, spiders, and even snakes... a real zoological museum! The next stop will be Langham Place Mongkok, an impressively designed shopping center with giant metal spiral sculptures; a stark contrast to the city’s other markets.
Continue with a ride on the Star Ferry, an important part of the commuter system between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
One of the most memorable water crossings in the world, this is an ideal place to capture one of the world’s most beautiful skylines. Reaching Hong Kong’s North Point, follow the wet markets of Chun Yeung Street ultimately hitting the final destination of Ko Shing Street. Take in the street’s seemingly endless number of Chinese traditional medicine pharmacies, reminding visitors how much this traditional practice still coexists with modern Western medicine.
Optional: Enjoy dinner along the authentic Temple street night market, offering a wide variety of seafood and local specialties in a lively atmosphere.
Note: The order of the visits may be modified depending on the location of the hotel.
Departure with the guide by public transport (subway) from the next hotel on Lantau Island. More precisely, head to the subway station in the new town of Tung Chung, to embark on the Ngong Ping Cable Car. A 6km trip (taking 25 minutes), this ride provides 360 degree views of the South China Sea, Tung Chung, and the steep hills of Lantau national park.
Optionally: Spice up the experience by electing to take the “crystal cabin”; its see-through bottom gives a complete view of the surroundings! For those interested, it is also possible to reserve a private cabin.
Arrival in the tourist village of Ngong Ping (we strongly advise against visiting) and ascend the 238 steps to the impressive 34m tall Bronze Tian Tan Buddha Statue.
Pay a visit to the 100 year old Po Lin Monastery, one of the major Buddhist sanctuaries of Hong Kong, which for a long time was very difficult to access. Continue down the “Wisdom Path”, a nature trail (taking 15 minutes) that will leads to a cluster of 28 wooden headstones each measuring between eight and ten meters. On the headstones are “prayers” common to Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, all presented in works of calligraphy by the master Jao Tsung-I, and arranged in a “∞” shape, symbolizing infinity.
Continue from Ngong Ping to Tai’O (7km away, taking less than 15 minutes by public bus), a region founded by the Tanka fishermen. The Tanka live above a mud flat in traditional stilt houses constructed many generations ago. Continue on for a walk sampling some of the region’s best Street Food, including local specialties such as dried fish, shrimp, shrimp pâté, and rice cakes. Visit to Kwan Tai temple (also called Kwan Yu), constructed in the 15th century (the oldest temple on Lantau) and dedicated to the world-famous War God of the same name. Top off the experience with a meeting with a local artist, either a Chinese landscape gardener, calligrapher, or contemporary artist, depending on their availability.
Departure by public bus to Cheung Sha. One of the longest beaches in Hong Kong, this 3km stretch is famous for having a range of delicious restaurants such as the famous “Stoep.” Depending on the hotel location, head by public bus and ferry or subway (with the guide) to reach the hotel.
Note: There may be some queues for public buses on Lantau Island – especially during week-ends; we can, however, arrange for an entire day trip.
Enjoy the morning at leisure until the departing flight; transportation will be provided to Hong Kong International Airport.
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All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a China Tour to your individual specifications.
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