Mainland China has six main holidays every year in addition to New Years on January 1st which it celebrates in tandem with the rest of the world. The majority of China’s festivals follow the Lunar calendar and are based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases. Of the six holidays, two are labeled “Golden Week” holidays because they last seven consecutive days. The others comprise of one day holiday.
In practice, a unique feature of mainland Chinese holidays that differs from other countries is that weekends are usually substituted with weekdays next to the actual holiday so as to create a longer 7-day “holiday” period when in actual fact workers only get three days off. It is therefore common for staff working in Chinese companies to work during weekends to make up for this. For example, if the 3 days holiday lands from a Monday to Wednesday, the government will give everyone Thursday and Friday off as well, which added to a weekend equals to seven consecutive days off. However, workers will need to work the weekend prior.
Below is a recap of China’s holidays, as well as advice for what which you’ll want to avoid when planning a private luxury tour with Imperial Tours. Note that Hong Kong and Macau observe slightly different holiday schedules, with some festivals inherited from their respective colonial days.
Also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival is one of the most festive holidays in Chinese culture when families gather in the ritual of reunification to send off the old year and greet the new one. Typically an indulgent meal is prepared on New Year’s Eve that includes staples such as dumplings, noodles and fish which are symbolic of longevity. Red clothing is worn, couplets with good wishes adorn doorways, red packets of money are distributed to children, and over the course of the holiday fire crackers are set off to ward off evil spirits (though in recent years the government has limited this due to noise pollution and safety). Spring Festival is one of two ‘Golden Weeks’ where an official “7-day” holiday encourages much of the population to return home, thereby marking the planet’s largest annual human migration with roughly 3 billion passenger journeys taking place, straining transport routes and quite literally reducing the world’s largest economy to a shuddering halt.
Is this a good time to travel? Although temperatures are cold at this time of year, as long as one packs appropriate cold-weather gear and is prepared, it’s a good time to visit China because tourist sites tend to be less crowded.
As its name indicates, this holiday commemorates and shows respect to ancestors. Relatives visit graves, offer food, tea or wine to the deceased, burning incense and offering joss paper (representing money … because one still needs cash in the afterlife). Observed by the Han Chinese, families travel to ancestral burial sites to sweep tombs, remove weeds and add fresh soil. Qing Ming Jie was not ‘officially’ celebrated as a day off in the PRC until about a decade ago. When the communist government took power in 1949, they scrapped traditional holidays from their calendar but when China’s May Holiday Golden Week was scaled back in 2007, three traditional holidays were brought back: Qing Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival (more on all these holidays as you read on).
Is this a good time to travel? Since this is a short holiday, it’s generally fine to travel during this holiday. We might advise that you avoid certain cities where roadways can become congested and affect touring such as in Hangzhou.
The literal translation for “Wu Yi Jie” is May 1st Holiday. Like many other countries, China celebrates May Day to commemorate its workforce. It was officially established and approved as a holiday by the Chinese government in 1949 following the formation of the Peoples Republic of China. During the Cultural Revolution, this day carried political significance and was considered one of the most important holidays in the country and lasted 7 days. At the time, nationalistic rallies and demonstrations were organized to celebrate its workers, however, today the nature of the holiday has evolved, lending to a more cheerful and casual family holiday with just one day off. As mentioned earlier, in 2007 they reduced this holiday to one day therefore freeing days to dedicate to other holidays.
Is this a good time to travel? Yes, generally a good time with ideal weather in most destinations.
This festivity takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar usually falling in June. Although legendary origins of the Dragon Boat festival vary regionally with an over-arching theme of water-related tragedies, they all carry traditions in Chinese culture such as virtue, spirit, loyalty, honor and love. Dragon Boat Racing is the highlight of this holiday with spectators swarming to watch teams competing in wooden boats shaped and decorated in the form of the dragon and manned by 30 to 60 people paddling harmoniously and swiftly to the sound of beating drums. Hong Kong and Hangzhou are where the most lively dragon boat racing spectacles can be enjoyed.
Is this a good time to travel? Yes, it’s a good time and if you are in the right city, you’ll be able to catch some Dragon Boat races.
Several varying myths surround the genesis of the Mid Autumn Festival. According to one legend, the moon goddess Chang’e overindulged on an elixir and flew to the moon with her rabbit companion. Another tale says that Chinese emperors in the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BC) worshipped the moon to bring a bumper harvest the following year. Whatever origin one might believe, this festival is marked by not only distributing moon cakes to family members and colleagues, but also eating them, of course. The densely packed pastries often presented in gorgeous packaging traditionally come with all sorts of fillings such as salty egg yolk (perhaps an acquired taste?), lotus, red been or date paste. Now with a bit of creativity it’s rather common to find moon cakes filled with butterscotch, ice cream or chocolate!
Is this a good time to travel? Yes, very good weather at this time of year.
On October 1st 1949, in front of a crowd of 300,000 people in Tiananmen Square Chairman Mao declared the People Republic of China’s National Day. Called guoqqingjie, the ‘Golden Week’ holiday celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party. Large-scale military displays and parades are held to mark major anniversaries; the last impressive military display took place for the seventieth anniversary of the PRC founding in 2019 resulting in road closures in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Is this a good time to travel? If you can avoid it, it is advisable not to travel domestically during the week around October 1st. Since it is a popular time for domestic tourists to see the country, tourist sites are packed with local travelers.
(These are the official 2020 dates released by the China State Deparment)
– Nadia is one of Imperial Tours’ itinerary designers.
“With just three days until Chinese New Year, faced with the gradually spreading coronavirus epidemic, my husband and I decided to refund our New Year’s Eve train tickets to his home and to cancel plans to reunite with my in-laws for the ‘Spring Festival’, China’s most important holiday. Our family of three would stay in Beijing instead. Except for a meal with parents and sisters who were in Beijing for the Spring Festival, we could not visit restaurants or shopping malls, and could not meet with other relatives or friends. We wanted to relax, but our wandering minds couldn’t help but pay attention to news of the epidemic’s developments and to the extraordinary and heartbreaking efforts of medical staff in Wuhan – watching them was like wondering when a hanging heart would finally fall.
But life must go on. The Beijing city government encouraged employees to work from home and postpone visiting the office. My husband and I were uncertain when this 24/7 balancing act would end, so we set up a home office and with a baby to look after started the new Spring Festival holiday life.
Our five-year-old daughter doesn’t have a habit to sleep during the day, but hardly going out during the day, how could she consume all her energy at home and still fall asleep early in the evening? This was an issue that my husband and I discussed often. How long could the novelty of an indoor trampoline last? My husband and I took turns hopping with her before dinner to make it more fun. As children like to imitate adults, my husband and I followed an exercise app on our tablet for yoga and aerobics with our daughter. But in the end, my husband undusted the Xbox, having left it untouched for several years. Among the games, the dancing, skiing, and active themed ones became our family’s staple evening entertainment. Was this enough for our daughter to burn all her energy to be able to get to sleep early each evening? Not at all. Don’t even think about it! We relented and let her sleep later, so long as it didn’t affect daytime activities.
Family tensions did occasionally run high, but my daughter gradually submerged ever more deeply into her world of Lego and Peppa Pig dolls, curating themed and innovative scenes for them, arranging their respective characters for intense playtime. And when you grow tired of playing and start to get angry with your child, out come the fruit snacks to save the day. Free online children’s courses and newly acquired hobbies such as calligraphy and painting have become part of our lives. If your child is having a good time, then we adults can take advantage of the opportunity to do our own thing. After so many days of having “nowhere to escape”, I found the parent-child relationship remained mostly a mother-and-child bond. This cornerstone having been laid, it allowed my husband and I to run our household smoothly.
During the holiday, my frequent discussions of the virus and epidemic with my husband did not escape my daughter’s ears. We found a newly produced cartoon on viral sciences to watch and explain what was happening to our daughter. Gradually, she learned why our vacation had become so long without the resumption of her kindergarten; why her dad had to video conference from home; why she couldn’t play with her classmates; and why the courier couldn’t deliver direct to our home, but that an adult had to go downstairs to a special desk to collect deliveries. We had to explain why she couldn’t accompany her mother to the supermarket to choose her favourite snacks, not to mention hearing about the ‘uncle’ wearing protective clothing at the supermarket entrance taking everyone’s temperature before they can enter. My daughter would suddenly say: “Mom, I hope you can also be a doctor in the hospital.” Funnily enough, not long ago her kindergarten arranged a ‘virus prevention’ painting activity. My daughter’s piece was of ‘mother in the kitchen making tasty pies’, which she would eat to ‘strengthen her resistance’.
It is now the “Spring Equinox” season of the Chinese lunar calendar, where the weather outdoors begins to get warm and there is a feeling of summer approaching. As the fear of the virus recedes, the number of children playing downstairs in the community area is slowly increasing, and more and more restaurants around the city will gradually open for business. I believe our 24 hour ‘home life’ will soon be over.”
– Fiona is an accountant at Imperial Tours.
–Translated from Chinese by Terence Parker. You can read Fiona’s Chinese version here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2017
Contact: Jacqueline Soto, 480-430-7511, Jacqueline@slentertainment.com
Guy Rubin, +86 10 8440 7162 email@example.com
IMPERIAL TOURS GREAT WALL PRIVATE BANQUET RECOGNIZED AMONG TOP TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
Scottsdale, AZ – An experience offered by Imperial Tours was recognized as one of the top experiential travel offerings at the inaugural CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, a first-of-its-kind travel initiative that annually lists the top 25 travel experiences or products throughout the world. The winners were announced in a special interactive event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on August 13 in front of leading travel professionals.
Chad Clark, principal and owner of Chad Clark Travel Ventures, is a travel industry expert and self-described, “experience junkie,” who has spent years seeking out top-of-the-line travel experiences and services. Now, he is providing a platform for the best in travel to share theirs.
Clark aims to set the industry standard for luxury travel with the inauguration of the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, an elite list of the world’s most prestigious, authentic and unique travel experiences or products. Great Wall Private Banquet was among the first recipients of this prestigious honor.
“We are humbled and overwhelmed by the immense number of submissions we received from travel providers across the globe,” said Clark. “It is an honor and a thrill to unveil the very best in luxury travel through the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25. This initiative provides travel suppliers with an opportunity to have their premium experiences recognized and promoted in an innovative way, while simultaneously connecting travel advisors, and ultimately travelers themselves, with exclusive, thoroughly vetted travel experiences that have an industry seal of approval.”
About the Great Wall Banquet
When we hear these days of the daunting logistical and financial challenges of building a wall across the southern border of the US, it brings home the magnificent achievement of the Chinese in resolving exactly these issues many centuries before as they built successive fortifications across their northern frontier to protect their agricultural heartlands from aggressive nomadic invaders from the north. These fortifications are known to us today as the Great Wall of China. The incredible experience we are presenting is the opportunity to walk the Great Wall with the British conservationist who was instrumental in developing the law to protect it, and then to enjoy a white linen banquet in a guard tower.
What astounds visitors about the Ming dynasty Great Wall (1368-1644) is its surprising beauty. Whereas the sections closest to Beijing are the largest with the most tourists, more remote sections benefit from fewer visitors and less renovation. The centuries-old 5 meter high “wild wall” – as conservationist William Lindesay calls it – these days does not dominate its surrounding landscape so much as delineate, define and embellish it. William will introduce his thirty year association with the Great Wall, starting with being the first foreigner ever to walk its entire length, to now when he is known through China as the Guardian of the Wall. After a thorough introduction to his efforts to improve its conservation, you will be taken to a remote spot to enjoy a remarkable banquet on the Great Wall of China.
About Chad Clark Travel Ventures
A self-proclaimed “experience junkie,” Clark gave up corporate life to follow his love for food, wine, culture, destinations, a.k.a. extraordinary travel experiences, and turn it into a business that helps people make the absolute most of their most precious commodity – their time.
Whether traveling with friends, family or alone on a research trip, Clark is all about the experience – and when he finds one he is passionate about, he just has to share it with his clients and friends. He and his company have the contacts, relationships and dedication necessary to ensure his clients have the best possible experiences. Clark has dedicated his life to travel and is amassing an ever-growing “Experience Journal” that he shares online through social media. Viewers can follow Clark through Rome, Sydney, Paris and even in his own backyard golfing in Scottsdale, Arizona. Clark and his team are committed to sampling, connecting, building relationships and, in essence, helping his clients live their next big adventure.
Chad Clark Travel Ventures works with people who recognize that the types of trips they want require more than time and planning – they require knowledge, experience and connections, all of which Clark and his team can provide.
Chad Clark Travel Ventures, an independent affiliate of Camelback Odyssey Travel – a Virtuoso® Member.
For more information on CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, please visit www.chadclarkcertified.com.
Marketing China has never been more exciting, easy and profitable. As you may know Imperial Tours has partnered with Peninsula Hotels to bring you Peninsula Private Jet Tours Through China. Through this collaboration we have developed three bespoke travel experiences through China: Culture & Heritage, Family and Culinary. But what you may not know is that we have also developed a marketing plan designed to help you get the word out about these itineraries. Our Marketing Plan gives you the tools you need to promote and share Peninsula Private Jet Itineraries through multiple mediums. The idea behind sharing our marketing plan with you is to take the guesswork out of promoting these experiences. Essentially, let us do all the work for you and all you need to do is share!
These itineraries are packed full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If they are booked privately, itineraries can be further customized for alternative dates or embellished with different destinations, and if wished they can also be booked on commercial flights.
Our Marketing Calendar (click to download) is complete with step-by-step instructions on how to market and capitalize on each itinerary. All you have to do is follow five easy steps and let Imperial Tours do the rest.
Click to download our Marketing Calendar made especially for you. This calendar provides you with a detailed, easy to follow, marketing campaign that you can print out and follow to promote these tours. Additionally, our Marketing Calendar provides you with easy to follow instructions on how to repost and share from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and E-blast.
Over the next 3 months, starting in November 2016, we will be sending out 3 e-blasts relating to a specific Peninsula Private Jet Itinerary; Culinary, Family and Culture & Heritage. Each e-blast will be created so that you can forward the information to anyone you think might be interested in one of these amazing experiences.
Each one of our 3 e-blasts will have a social share button that allows you to share each itinerary on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Simply click the social share button for each social icon and share!
After generating interest in each tour contact us to help you book one of these amazing journeys. Note: private tours based on these scheduled departures can fly commercial and be further customized.
Our Culinary Voyage e-blast will be sent shortly after American Thanksgiving. This one of a kind itinerary provides opportunities for your clients to try their hand at creating traditional Chinese dishes such as Peking duck, Dim Sum and even noodle throwing. China is a “must-eat” destination for all foodies; our Culinary Voyage is a 10-day tour highlighting the best eats China has to offer. Our culinary tour is ideal for groups of 8 or less. Tours are approximately USD$26,050* per person based on double occupancy. To view a detailed itinerary click here.
Our Family Tour e-blast will be sent in early December, in time for Christmas as the perfect once-in-a-life-time holiday gift for the whole family. This 11-day tour showcases the best of China in a safe and family-friendly interactive setting. This tour is ideal for small to medium sized families who are looking for a unique holiday experience and enjoyment for the whole family. Tours begin at approximately USD$102,120* per family of 4. To view a detailed itinerary click here.
Our Culture & Heritage itinerary will be sent out after the New Year and is equipped with unparalleled access to some of China’s most significant cultural artifacts as well as leading creative minds shaping China’s artistic landscape. This 10-day tour will introduce you to private collections and VIP access to China’s cultural treasures. This tour is ideal for clients who are looking for exclusive access to all that China has to offer. This tour is suitable for small groups as well as families. Pricing begins at approximately USD$25,530* per person based on double occupancy. To view a detailed itinerary click here.
*Price is subject to change based on fluctuating exchange rates.
Imagine exploring three of the worlds most dynamic and fast paced cities from the comfort and convenience of a private jet. Imperial Tours has partnered with Peninsula Hotels, renowned for flawless service and quality, to provide you with the ultimate China experience, Peninsula Hotels’ Private Jet Tours. We have crafted three themed itineraries – Culinary, Family and Culture & Heritage – each designed with immersive experiences to captivate you while introducing the rich culture, cuisine and history of China.
Experience a journey like no other on a Peninsula Private Jet Holiday
For many people, the thought of visiting China sparks a sense of wonder and excitement for the mysterious culture of the East. As one of the most populated and diverse countries in the world, China provides a cornucopia of experiences engaging all the senses. While this temptation to discover the East is an enticing lure it can also be overshadowed by fear of the unfamiliar. With Peninsula Hotels’ Private Jet Tour itineraries you will experience the reassuring comforts, anticipatory service, and soothing attention to detail of legendary hotelier, Peninsula Hotels. In this way, the exoticism and mystery of the East can be enjoyed from the reassuring platform of some of the world’s leading hotels.
Each tour provides access to one-of-a-kind bespoke experiences only available as a result of the partnership between Imperial Tours and Peninsula Hotels. For example, you will explore a seafood bazaar in Hong Kong with the Executive Chef of the Peninsula Hong Kong and learn to paint with the Peninsula Beijing’s resident artist. Alternatively, try climbing aboard Peninsula Shanghai’s private yacht for an architecture tour of its future cityscape from the Yangzi River. Each itinerary features unique hotel experiences in China born of the collaboration between Peninsula Hotels and Imperial Tours.
Private access to world renowned cultural sites is merely a starting point for our Culture & Heritage tour. Apart from meeting with some of the most influential leaders in China’s arts and culture sector, you will also view rare art collections normally closed to the public. For instance, you will tour meet and enjoy lunch with the founders of China’s leading home-grown auction house and also tour private galleries in Beijing and Shanghai with gallery owners. In Beijing, you will not only enjoy a private lunch al fresco on the Great Wall of China but also meet with the conservationist responsible for the law protecting it.
Culture & Heritage Tour, uncover the mysteries of the east from the comfort you can only experience with Peninsula Private Jet Tours
A family vacation by private jet not only eases the stresses of traveling with a family; it also provides a relaxing environment to connect and spend quality time together between destinations. Enjoy the ultimate family vacation in China with experiences ranging from a Chinese cooking lesson with a Peninsula Chef to painting lessons with the resident artist in Beijing’s Peninsula property to playing table tennis with a former Chinese Olympian. Other highlights on our Family Tour include, hand-feeding pandas and enjoying VIP access to the newly opened Shanghai Disney. We have curated only the best experiences to ensure that each member of the family is captivated and entertained, providing you with a relaxing, memorable and safe vacation abroad. Make your next family vacation one filled with unforgettable experiences sure to entertain, bring you closer together as a family and introduce your children to the magnificence of China.
Family Tour, give your family an experience they will never forget from the safety and comfort of a Peninsula Private Jet Tour
China is a “must-eat” destination for foodies everywhere and our Culinary Voyage private jet tour offers the best China has to offer. Given our destinations of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we focus on three main schools of cuisine; Imperial, Huaiyang and Cantonese from the perspective both of fine dining and home-style cooking. Together with Peninsula Hotels we have created a tour that provides exclusive access to Peninsula’s private kitchens as well as opportunities to learn, shop and cook with the best. For example, the Executive Chef of the Hong Kong Peninsula accompanies you on a traditional junk to his favorite island seafood bazaar. Alternatively, a TCM qualified nutritionist introduces you to China’s leading farm to table organic restaurant specializing in traditional cooking techniques. You will be introduced by experts to the art of preparing and cooking some of China’s most famous dishes from Peking duck in one of Beijing’s top duck restaurants to hand thrown noodles and dim sum. No matter your palette, our culinary tour will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the range and art of Chinese cooking.
Culinary Voyage, learn the art of creating some of the most iconic dishes in Asia with Peninsula Hotels & Imperial Tours
Flying on a private jet not only enhances your comfort, it also allows you to see and do more in a shorter amount of time. These itineraries are so enriched with eye-opening activities and unusual experiences that you will be captivated from beginning to end.
Please join these scheduled departures, if you can. However, if are not able to make those departures but wish to take advantage of these itineraries, please do enquire. Not only can we supply various sized planes according to group, but we can tailor itineraries to visit other destinations. For example, a Culture and Heritage group might wish to add Hangzhou or Dunhuang, a family might be interested in Guilin and a culinary group might want to check out Chengdu to find our more about Sichuanese cuisine. Additionally, each itinerary is adaptable to include commerical flights instead of flying via private jet.
No matter what you wish to see and do in China, Imperial Tours together with Peninsula Hotels will endeavor to make your dream vacation a reality. Consider China a world undiscovered, a place rooted in an ancient history with a trajectory leaping into the future. Let Imperial Tours together with Peninsula Hotels help you uncover the mysteries of the East from the luxury, security and comfort of a private jet tour.
Experience the great outdoors of China. Breathe in the crisp clean air and stand in awe over her beauty. While we guarantee your China experience will be one of culture, cuisine, and wonderment, it can also be filled with breath taking scenery and dramatic landscapes. China’s natural landscapes offer experiences for all types of travelers. To help showcase some of China’s outdoor experiences we have compiled in this article the best natural destinations.
So when packing your bags, be sure to include some comfortable shoes, hydration gear, and of course – a camera.
The Great Wall of China
One of the many views on the Great Wall
We have all heard of it, with its impressive 20,000km length, The Great Wall of China is one of the most monumental manmade structures in the world. Built throughout different dynasties, beginning in the 3rd century B.C, the Great Wall was originally built to prevent an invasion from barbarian nomads. Today, the Great Wall of China is one of the most visited attractions in the world. And for nature lovers hoping for a remarkable and less touristic hike, you will be happy to know that the Great Wall has many sections that have been left virtually untouched and tourist free. These ‘off the beaten trail’ areas provide picture perfect wild sceneries, where more adventurous travelers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Great Wall surrounded by nature.
Biking & Hiking in Huangshan
In the Southern area of Anhui Province, just three hours by high-speed train from Shanghai, you will discover the Huangshan Mountain range. The Huangshan Mountain range, featured in the blockbuster movie Avatar, is also frequently referred to as the Yellow Mountains. Huangshan is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its beautiful scenery, breath taking sunrises and sunsets, and of course the almost magical sea of clouds that sweep throughout the mountains. With more than 50km of footpaths and trails, as well as cable cars to help ease tired legs, you can spend the day hiking the various trails and viewing the dramatic scenery. After your day on the mountain, ease your tired legs at the beautiful Banyan Tree located just off the mountain.
Sunrise from above the clouds in the Yellow Mountains
After your night of relaxation, spend the next day discovering the Ancient Villages of Hongcun and Xidan. Both villages have long history and splendid Anhui Culture as they remain untouched since they were built in the 14th century. Be transported to another era walking through the unique alleyways and ancient buildings, all the while being wrapped in the delicate aroma of hand picked local tea and fresh flowers.
View of the Ancient Village of Hongcun
Guilin & Beyond
Located in the South of China, consider Guilin as your jumping off point to experience some of China’s most beautiful natural environments. There are many unique scenic places located only 2 hours or less from Guilin. However, two of the most beautiful locations, ones that will leave you speechless, are Longsheng and Li River.
Long Ji Rice Terraced fields
In Longsheng you will find the iconic Long Ji (Dragon’s Backbone) Rice Terraces fields. Featuring more than 66 square km of terraced fields, within mountains 800m above the sea level. If you’re wondering when to visit, the best time of the year to visit the Longsheng fields is May, when irrigation starts, and the fields are filled with water reflecting the image of the sky, creating a unique effect.
Fisherman on the misty Li River
During your adventure in the Guilin area, you can also experience sailing on the Li River. As you cruise along the river banks you will discover the dramatic landscape of the Li River with its green hills, clear water, peculiar stones, caves, and famous mist that give the river its iconic look.
Hike to Ganden Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet
Only 40km away from the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa, settled on the top of a 4200m-altitude mountain, you will discover Ganden Monastery. In addition to being one of the largest monasteries in Tibet, Ganden Monastery is also one of the 3 Great Temples along with the Sera Monastery, and Drepung Monastery. However, Ganden Monastery is the only monastery of the 3 where you can take inside photos, for a reasonable fee. Despite the beauty of the Monastery, the must-do highlight is to hike around the Monastery. The kora, or holy pilgrimage route around the Ganden monastery, is truly one of the most magical and inspiring places in the world. Not only are the views breathtaking, the experience of prostrating pilgrims and monks walking along with you, is something we cannot begin to put into words.
Lhasa Valley & Ganden Monastery
Formerly known as Zhongdian city, Shangri-La is one of the most beautiful places in China. Described as a mystical and harmonious earthly paradise by British novelist James Hilton, in his 1939 “Lost Horizon” novel, Shangri-la is truly a place of wonderment. Located at the meeting point of the Tibet, Yunnan, and Sichuan provinces, Shangri-La has an eclectic mix of ethnic groups, but is mostly inhabited by Tibetans. Its isolated location 3,000m above the sea level, offers travelers the opportunity to discover and learn from the Tibetan culture and lifestyle, while experiencing the vast natural landscapes of China. Shangri-La is a city surrounded with culture, history, and natural wonders. For the nature loving traveller, Shangri-La is a must.
Experience the vast nature of Shangri-La
While the image of Hong Kong may bring skyscrapers and crowded streets to your mind, what you may not know is that three quarters of Hong Kong’s landscape is countryside and 40% of its territory is protected for nature conservation. So after experiencing one of the most exciting metropolises in the world, escape the streets of Hong Kong and head outside to experience great hikes and outdoor activities for travelers and locals alike.
Hiking the Dragon’s Back Trail in Hong Kong
One of the best and most popular hikes in Hong Kong is the 8.5km-long hike along the Dragon’s Back ridge. The name of the ridge comes from the dragon like shape of the path that connects Wan Cham Shan hill and Shek O peak. Gentle slopes will guide you along the trail while you enjoy unbeatable views of the South China Sea and the coastal buildings of Hong Kong Island. When you reach the end of your trek, relax in the sandy and blue sea beaches in Shek O village or Big Wave Bay.
Chinese Pink Dolphin in the waters of Hong Kong
Finally, a must do on your visit to Hong Kong, is to see the famous Pink Dolphins. These unique dolphins are a subspecies of Indo-Pacific dolphins that only appears along the Chinese coast. Their unique pigmentation comes from blood vessels close to the surface of their skin. Unfortunately, as a result of loss of habitation, they are classified as endangered. However, they are always happy to receive and show off for visitors, which incidentally make for amazing photo opportunities. To see them in their natural environment, join a day tour of dolphin watching and experience an unforgettable moment within these unique inhabitants in the waters of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a great family destination. You can take a boat ride to see pink dolphins, go on a helicopter ride, take a yacht to Tai-O for lunch, learn martial arts or simply hike along the numerous trails that circle the islands – ending with a dip at Repulse Bay beach or at your hotel swimming pool. Then of course there’s Disneyland – but is it worth a day out of your itinerary when there is so much else to see and do in Hong Kong? We asked Imperial Tours’ newly installed Hong Kong manager, Terence Parker, his thoughts on Hong Kong Disneyland.
Q. When did you first go to Hong Kong Disneyland?
A. I went to Disneyland when it first opened in 2005.
Q. What did you think of it?
A. It was very small then, but has expanded since. However, it’s still only half the size of what Shanghai Disneyland will be! It’s around two-thirds the size of LA’s Disneyland (which I visited last year).
Q. How does it compare to the Disneyland in LA?
A. Compared with LA, I wasn’t overwhelmed during my visit. Still, it was a fun day out and nice to get lost in fantasyland. Particularly the attention to detail, down to screws having Mickey Mouse heads on them …
Q. Do you think it would be of interest to kids from overseas?
A. Sure – it’s fun and, it has some “Hong Kong flavor” to it versus LA. For example, with the meals served, or the fact the park itself is designed according to Feng Shui principles.
Q. How does it compare to Ocean Park in Hong Kong?
A. Personally, I think that Ocean Park represents Hong Kong much more. It doesn’t aim to be Disneyland, but has a good combination of rides and educational activities, such as a huge aquarium, aviary, other forms of wildlife, and of course the pandas (you can even become an honorary panda keeper for the day there). Hong Kong Ocean Park has thrived for not trying to be Disneyland (well, it pre-dates Disneyland) – and it has worked well.
For more information and ideas on what to do in Hong Kong and China with families please contact us. We also have a Family Group Tour of China departing in June, visiting Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai. You can read more about this tour here. Imperial Tours offers luxury private tours of China and luxury small group tours of China.
Testing the young Shaolin monk's skills at a private kungfu performance
Trips with children can be challenging both in planning and in execution. Buy they don’t have to be. When done right, they can be one of the most rewarding, memorable and influential of experiences. This June 19th-30th, Imperial Tours is offering a Family Tour of China that focuses on fun for all family members in an environment that offers a look at China’s culture, history, technology, government and complex beauty.
While often not the first destination people think of for family holidays, China provides invaluable insight, global exposure and unforgettable moments. You will get not only a glimpse back in time but also a peek at the future while on this unforgettable trip most suitable for families with kids between the ages of 4-10. Noodle making is an art, karate can be spiritual, ping pong is a National Sport, health is seen as tangible, and technology is constantly evolving. Where else can these disparate sides of a culture come together so seamlessly?
Find out for yourself what’s really going on in the big cities of Beijing and Shanghai which are constantly showing up in the news. You also explore historical and beautiful towns and landscapes that aren't as often named in the Western media, namely Xi'an and Guilin. While visiting these four cities, you and your family will have opportunities to have dinner on the Great Wall while enjoying the amazing feats of martial arts by Shaolin monks, to engage behind the scenes with the prestigious Peking Opera, to float through the countryside on a bamboo raft, or to explore open air markets that feature exotic delicacies (those not faint of heart may even want to sample!). The best part is that you can relax and enjoy all of this stress and hassle free. Your China Host, guides and drivers take care of all the details and manage all aspects of the trip while you sit back and savor your family time.
As a world superpower, China touches so many aspects of modern life, both new and familiar. Introduce and educate your family to all that China has to offer and the culture that reaches its influence around the world.
For a full itinerary, click on Luxury Family Tour of China. Contact your travel agent or Nadia@imperialtours.net for more information or to book this trip. Visit China with Imperial Tours and we’ll take care of every detail while you focus on the bigger family picture.
The importance of the Banyan Tree Yangshuo is that at last overseas visitors have a base to explore the delightful beauty of the stunning rural landscape in this area beyond the limiting urban environment of Guilin. For the sake of its economic viability, this 142-room luxury property strikes a balance between catering to the demands of both overseas and Chinese visitors. Although the nearby village one drives through to get to the hotel is no oil painting, Banyan Tree has done a great job of borrowing the riverside landscape to be the main actor within their property.
Fans of the Banyan Tree Lijiang, their seminal China resort that served both to promote Yunnan province to overseas visitors and to set Banyan Tree as the bar for premier luxury resort brands in China, will understand the genesis of key features of this Yangshuo property. For example, whereas Banyan Tree Lijiang opened with spacious courtyard villas and added more affordable smaller suites a few years later, the Yangshuo resort offers both from the get-go. There are six sets of two bedroom with adjoining one bedroom river-view villas along the banks of the Li River. The next option is a set of 1-bedroom garden view villas in the center of the complex, the views for which are turned in on themselves behind a high surrounding wall. Otherwise, clients can choose either the Garden or Mountain View suites, spaciously apportioned on the lower and upper floors of five sets of two-story buildings, stationed around the encircling perimeter of the property pointing in the direction of the river.
In a central building housing the lobby, bar and terraced café with a sensational view, the hotel offers two dining options, a western restaurant and a Chinese, the latter offering a considerably higher standard of fare. Of course, Banyan Tree is known for its spa and this one does not fail to deliver with a crew of Thai practitioners offering appropriate pressure and skills at prices – approximately US$150 for 60 minutes – that are reasonable by western standards but high for Chinese guests who can find a skilled TCM doctor for a fifth of the price in more mundane surroundings.
What is exceedingly surprising given how well the area lends itself to family stays is the limited size of the one outdoor swimming pool and its adjacent tiny baby pool. Given the tropical climate and that guests are unlikely to hurl themselves into the Li River for a swim, one would have expected both a family and an adult pool in addition to the baby pool. One trusts that should this feature prove popular, this addition will soon be forthcoming. Although swimming is not popular amongst Chinese adults, the younger generations have proven themselves to be absolutely crazy about it.
No plans yet for spring break? Consider China. Whether you’ve always dreamed of going to China, or you’ve visited before and are now ready to introduce your children to the destination, Imperial Tours’ 12 day private Spring Break Tour will amaze you and your family as we welcome you as distinguished guests to The Middle Kingdom…in style.
As soon as you arrive, each child will be given an activity book customized for your particular trip which will include things like treasure hunts and other fun activities. No matter their age, your children will remain engaged, entertained and fascinated by this beguiling country.
Start your adventure in Beijing where you’ll experience the Forbidden City, once home to 24 of China’s Emperors. Learn traditional Chinese paper cutting, visit the Beijing Zoo, and explore the Great Wall of China atop which you’ll be treated to a gourmet lunch while Shaolin Warriors give you a private martial arts performance. If they wish, your kids can participate in the show. Your unique Great Wall experience ends with an egg hunt on the Wall itself!
Next you’ll visit Xi’an to learn about China’s ancient history while visiting the Terracotta Warriors made for China’s first Emperor. From there you go on to Guilin to see the beauty of China’s rural landscape. Here you’ll experience a simpler way of life with bike rides, a bamboo raft ride, and visits to villages where you can meet the locals, wander through rice paddies, and learn how to make soy milk and tofu.
You finish your journey in Shanghai, or the “Paris of the East”, where you will learn to navigate the famous wet food markets while selecting produce for your personal Shanghainese cooking lesson. You go on to tackle Kung Fu with a master who has trained since the age of seven, visit the renowned Shanghai Museum – the best museum in all of China – and be whizzed around the intricate city streets in vintage motorcycle sidecars.
To further customize your trip to China, you may wish to choose from a plethora of optional experiences such as:
Why not spend your spring break seeing what makes China the powerful political, business, and cultural hub it is today? Check out our 2015 Spring Break Itinerary and introduce the next generation to all that China has to offer.