• This tour takes you through the center of the old imperial city, taking you to the center of China, both past and present. You’ll walk through the monumental (and infamous) Tiananmen Square, before going on to a tour of the Forbidden City, the home of China’s emperor and royal entourage for over 400 years. You’ll then go on to Beihai Park, the Emeperor’s former hideaway and one of China’s best-preserved royal garden. Afterwards you’ll go on a tour of Beijing’s Hutongs, giving you a taste of old Beijing, before going on a walk through Nanluoguxiang, a restored Hutong and one of Beijing’s most fashionable spots.
• Lunch is included on this tour, as is pick-up and drop-off from your hotel. You will be back no later than 6pm, allowing you to have a full evening of activity on Beijing.
• You will be accompanied on your tour by a professional English-speaking guide, which will make your tour informative, fun, and worry-free!
1. You will be picked up from your hotel at around 8:00am, and by private van we will proceed to visit Tiananmen Square. The largest public square in the world, Tiananmen Square is seen as China’s political center. Its grounds have seen some turbulent moments, from the May 4th Movement of 1919 to the political turmoil of 1989. The south of the square is marked by the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, while the center of the square is dominated by the Monument to the People’s Heroes, an imposing 10-story granite obelisk. To the east is the National Museum of China, and to the west is the Great Hall of the People, home to China’s legislative bodies. The north of the square is dominated by the Gate of Heavenly Peace, known for its iconic portrait of Mao Zedong, and is the national emblem of China.
2. After walking across the street, we will enter what is perhaps the greatest attraction in China, the Forbidden City. After walking across the square we will enter the Forbidden City (known in Chinese as Gu Gong), the largest surviving palace complex and the former home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Forbidden City is one of the greatest attractions in the world. Built by the third Ming emperor between 1406-1422, the Forbidden City served as the official residence to the Emperor of China until the last emperor, Puyi, was forced to evacuate in 1924. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Consisting of 980 buildings and with 8,707 bays of rooms, the Forbidden City is the best example of classical Chinese architecture in the world, and is a wonder to behold.
3. From the north gate of the Forbidden City, we’ll make the short walk across the street to visit Beihai Park. Beihai (North Sea) Park is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved ancient imperial gardens in China. This ancient garden, with over 1,000 years' history, is not only a classic combination of the grandiosity of the northern gardens and the refinement of the southern gardens in China, but also a perfect integration of magnificent imperial palaces and solemn religious constructions. In the middle of the lake and on the central axis of the whole park lies the Jade Flowery Islet, topped by the imposing White Dagoba which is the landmark of Beihai Park. Besides the Jade Flowery Islet, the park has four main scenic areas: the Eastern Shore Area, the Northern Shore Area, the Botanical Garden and the Circular City near the north gate.
4. After our tour of Beihai Park, we’ll take a break for a Chinese lunch. After lunch we’ll head to the Houhai area behind Beihai Park for the Hutong tour. Hutongs are courtyard homes grouped together around narrow alleys, and served as the lifeline and center of everyday life in old Beijing. The hutongs were a critical component in the development and evolution of Beijing folklore and culture. Going on this hutong tour, you will feel like you have traveled back in time to a far different China, one where there was still an emperor sitting in the Forbidden City, and where there was still enough time to enjoy the simple pleasures of common life.
5. Our tour will conclude around the old Drum tower, and from there we’ll walk towards Nanluoguxiang. Nanluoguxiang is one of the best-preserved historical areas of downtown Beijing, as well as being one of the most chic and trendy places to hang out in the afternoons and evenings. The 768-metre-long south-north central lane, with 16 hutong branching off the central lane, is full of interesting craft shops, relaxing cafes and trendy bars. The area has a history of over 700 years and is one of the oldest hutong neighborhoods in the city.
6. After our walk through Nanluoguxiang, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel, at no later than 6:00pm, allowing you to have time for dinner and anything else you’d like to do in the evening.