You will be met at the gate of Shanghai's International Airport by airport VIP staff who will lead you through immigration, baggage claim and customs. Your China Host will then meet you after you have claimed your luggage and passed through customs. The China Host will accompany you during the remainder of your stay in China (our China Host acts as a personal concierge to you throughout your stay in China, allowing you to make changes as you see fit…this may mean adding a site or taking out a site, changing a restaurant or booking a foot massage!).
Shanghai will take your breath away. Since the early 80’s this city has been growing like no other, the Pudong waterfront becoming as emblematic of economic prowess as that of Manhattan or Hong Kong. Last century considered to be the most Western of Chinese cities, Shanghai, should now be thought of as its most futuristic. Before dinner, you will have a chance to walk or drive along the Bund, taking in some of the loveliest buildings in the city.
Your tour of Shanghai begins with a lecture/tour on colonial architecture in Shanghai given by a member of the Shanghai Historical Society. This tour will take you into some of the most important buildings along the Bund and French Concessions including the former Hong Kong Shanghai Bank.
[Optional – Alternatively, we can arrange a tour elucidating Jewish history in Shanghai; from the Iraqi Sephardi Jews, who traded opium between Bombay and Shanghai in the 1880’s, to the European Ashkenazi’s for whom Shanghai was the only refuge in the Holocaust, Shanghai has long had an intimate relationship with Jewish people. This is a story that can be told on site visiting Shanghai’s remaining synagogues, Jewish areas and great mansions.]
After lunch we will visit the Shanghai Museum, one of the most modern in the country. Arranged by category rather than according to a chronology, its collection introduces and elucidates the gamut of Chinese arts from ceramics to jade and ivory carvings to paintings. Time allowing, we will travel along sycamore-lined boulevards into the heart of the French Concession. This section of the “Paris of the Orient” now hosts many arts-based businesses and art galleries that we can visit if you so desire. The afternoon will be spent discovering some of Shanghai’s great shopping treasures. This might include a contemporary ceramics shop, the studio of a woman who designs cashmere handbags for Harrods or a fantastic Tibetan carpet shop. After dining at one of Shanghai's chic new restaurants, you will enjoy the marvelous stunts of an Acrobatic Show.(B, L, D)
[Optional– If you’re interested in learning the secrets to preparing a perfect Chinese meal, we can arrange for a cooking lesson inside of an old French Concession home. Here you will learn to prepare dishes that one would eat in a typical Shanghainese home.]
A day trip takes us to Suzhou, a port on China's Grand Canal. Silk manufacture in the fourteenth century spawned many fortunes here, and with them the advent of a famously libertine sub-culture. Its legacy is Suzhou's elegant private gardens whose tall white perimeter walls might once have blushed at their owners' hedonism. After touring the intimate garden of the Master of the Nets, we will enjoy the extravagance of the one ironically named after its former owner, the Humble Administrator.
[Optional – We will organize a private opera performance for you during your visit to Suzhou.]
We'll return to Shanghai for dinner at one of our favorite Shanghai restaurants, boasting a magnificent view over the Bund and Pudong waterfronts. (B, L, D)
[Optional – Should you wish, we can also arrange a private dinner – catered by Jean Georges – inside the cupola of an Art Deco building on the Bund with a magnificent view over the harbor. This set-menu meal will be designed and catered by Jean Georges.]
Please note that B, L, D denotes Breakfast, Lunch Dinner.
City tours are arranged on a private basis only. Visitors interested in a group tour of China, should view our frequent Imperial Tour itinerary. The above is a sample itinerary for Suzhou. All private tour itineraries can be modified to meet your travel schedule and specific interests.