China is the most populous country in the world and one of the largest with a long and glorious history. The country was home to one of the earliest civilisations and led to the Chinese Emperors who ruled for millennia. Today, luxury China tours are the best way to see the history and stunning landscape of the country.
Beijing is the capital of China and the world’s third most populous city. In the northern part of the country, it is a global power city and second largest in China after Shanghai. It is also home to many famous historic sights including the Forbidden City royal palace complex.
Forbidden City Ticket
The Forbidden City is one of the most iconic locations in all of China and a must-see if you are in and around Beijing. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was home to 24 of the Chinese emperors – and you needed their permission to even enter it! Now, you just need a ticket and you can pass through Tiananmen Gate and tour around the 1,110,000 square metre complex. Check out the yellow buildings, the colour of the royal family along with paintings, ceramics and calligraphy from the imperial periods.
Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Transfer with Options
Mutianyu is the section of the Great Wall closest to Beijing so if you want to experience the wonder of it, this tour is perfect. The bus leaves from the city and there is an option for a cable car ride as well. You will have 4-5 hours of time on the Great Wall to see sights such as the 20th Watchtower and its amazing views. Take your own version of those famous photos on the Great Wall before returning to the city.
From Beijing: Jinshanling Great Wall Hike
This luxury China tour takes you to see the Jinshanling Great Wall in an air-conditioned vehicle. Located about 130km from downtown Beijing, this section of the Great Wall was built by General Xu Da in the Ming Dynasty period. The wall section is around 10km long and has watchtowers with amazing views. It is one of the finest sections of the Wall and a great place for taking photos. You also have your own English-speaking guide accompanying you.
Beijing: Skip-the-Queue Yonghe Lama Temple Ticket
Yonghe Lama Temple is the most well-known Buddhist temple outside of Tibet and was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after previously being a residence of Emperor Yong Zheng. This ticket lets you skip the queue and see the best of the temple including the 4 Heavenly Kinds, larger than life bronze statues of Tsong Khapa as well as the 18 meters high Maitreya status made from just a single sandalwood tree. The temple is home to the tallest Buddha statue made from a single tree – which even features in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Historic China Tours
China’s long history means there are many things to see and do for history fans. These tours give you a few ideas both around Beijing and further afield.
Terracotta Warriors Museum Ticket
The site of one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century is the subject of this tour – the Terracotta Warrior Museum. It’s one of the best Xian Tours. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a large collection of the life-sized terracotta statues in their battle formation as guards to the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the 1st United Chinese dynasty.
The tour involves visiting the citadel complex with gardens and stables, seeing the bronze ritual vessels and jade jewellery before touring three pits where the warrior stand guard. You will also visit the Exhibition of Bronze Chariots where you can see the detail of the warriors up close – each has unique facial features!
Beijing Great Wall & Forbidden City Full-Day Group Tour
This Beijing tour is perfect if you are only in the Chinese capital for a short time and want to spend a day seeing the most important sights. The tour begins with a visit to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and a two-hour hike around the site with an option to take the cable car up to the highest point.
Next take a traditional Chinese lunch near the Ming tombs before going to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world. Finally, visit the Forbidden City, the former Royal Palace which is the largest royal palace anywhere.
Mutianyu Great Wall & Ming Tombs Bus Tour
This is a luxury China tour that covers two of the key historic locations around Beijing in an air-conditioned bus. The tour starts with the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and there is a chance to take the cable car to the summit of the surrounding Yanshan Mountains – better than climbing the 1400 steps!
Then you will visit the Ming Tombs on the southern slope of the Tianshou Mountains. Here, thirteen of the Ming emperors are buried and there is also the Ding Mausoleum which is home to many historic items from this period. The tour finishes with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
Luxury China tours
If you are visiting other parts of China and want to see the best sights and locations, these luxury China tours will be perfect.
Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha Tour
This tour combines history and conservation. It starts with a visit to the Chengdu Research Base, a research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. With its panda cribs, playground, museum and swan lake, it is a great place for animal lovers.
After lunch, you will then visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, overlooking the spot where three rivers meet and the tallest rock Buddha statue in the world was created. Dating from the Tang Dynasty, it is a World Heritage Site. You can either walk to it or take a boat ride.
Shangri-La Area Private Day Tour
This tour takes in the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan province and is also known as the ‘Little Potala Palace’. It was built in 1679 and is the most important monastery in south-west China. Next, you will visit Napahai Lake, over 3000 metres above sea level with its ancient Tibetan town of Dukezong on the edge.
Hangzhou Private Half–Day Tea and Gardens Tour
This tour from Hangzhou includes a boat ride on the West Lake to see some of the most stunning attractions in the region such as Spring Dawn at Su Causeway and the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon. Next visit Gui’s Villa, a private village built in the 1850s with its classic Chinese gardens. Try the origin place of China’s famous green tea, the Dragon Well Green Tea in Meijiawu Tea Village before stopping at Qinghefang Imperial Street, the best-preserved part of Hangzhou.
And Finally…What to Pack for Travelling in China
Remember to look at the season and weather before travelling, and consider this when packing. Climate will be dependant upon summer or winter and North or South. Check if the area you are travelling to will be snowy if travelling in winter. In summer, in warm parts of China there are essentials that you should bring including suncream, sun hat and a head scarf (particularly if you are visiting temples). You can read some excellent China Packing lists here.