15 Day Epic Journey to India (2017)
Our Beijing stopover program features two-night hotel accommodations, including breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers. We also recommend our optional full-day Beijing tour of the Great Wall and Forbidden City, which includes a sumptuous Peking Duck dinner.
This tour is only available to Air China travelers.
After a hearty breakfast, we take a scenic drive through the countryside and mountains to visit China's most renowned monument—the Great Wall. The wall was begun in the 5th century BC to keep out foreign invaders. Construction continued for centuries, eventually linking up the walls of the former independent kingdoms. The Great Wall meanders through China's northern mountain ranges from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert—a distance of over 3500 miles! Chairman Mao once said "You haven't walked on the Wall, you haven't been a good Chinese". Today, you will have time to walk on the wall and experience it splendor.
In the afternoon, we continue to visit the royal Forbidden City, the symbolic center of the Chinese universe and a lasing monument of dynastic China, from which 24 emperors of the Ming and the Qing Dynasties ruled the Middle Kingdom for nearly 500 years (1420-1911). Completed in 1420, the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world's largest palace complex and China's most magnificent imperial architecture, consisting of many buildings with 9,999 rooms, on a 250-acre compound, protected by a 20-foot-wide moat and a 32-foot-high wall. Now known as the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City was the exclusive domain of the imperial court and dignitaries where outside visitors were forbidden for 5 centuries. Here you will explore the imperial treasures in the grand palaces and pavilions, exquisite courtyards and gardens in what was once the residence of China's rulers.
Tonight, we enjoy a dinner of specially prepared Beijing Duck, cooked to crispy perfection.Please note that the Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. Therefore, on these days we will visit the Summer Palace instead. The sprawling grounds of the Summer Palace served the Qing Dynasty as an imperial retreat from the stifling summer confines of the Forbidden City.
Surrounded by the high mountain peaks the Kathmandu Valley includes three fabled cities: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Each one formerly the capital of a small kingdom and home to an exposition of graceful temples, beautiful countryside, brick-paved courtyards, and quaint streets. Several UNESCO World Heritage sites grace the valley region.
On this extended trip, we get opportunity to see and learn about Newari people and their culture, ancient temples and impressive Buddhist stupas, smiling people and beautiful villages. We also have an opportunity to take a flight and get up close to the most majestic peaks of Everest - also referred by many as the "rooftop of the world"
This tour is only available to Air China and Land Only travelers.
We drive to Nagarkot for lunch, the best place to view the spectacular Himalayas. Situated about 32 km east of Kathmandu, this city is a popular hill station for the sunrise and sunset, commanding one of the broadest views of the Himalaya (subject to weather conditions) in all directions. After spending some time we drive back to Kathmandu.
Visiting Bhutan feels like a privilege, an opportunity to gain a rare insight into a lifestyle and culture that is very different from anything that you will experience elsewhere. Comparatively few tourist visit each year and tourism is carefully controlled to ensure that the impact onto the local populace is minimized. This means that accommodation options are limited and standards of service may not match those which you would expect in other countries. However, for those prepared to put up with some minor inconveniences the country rewards the intrepid traveler with a distinct and rewarding experience.