Visit China and you can see the sights. Explore China's contrasts and you get to feel the country, from the compelling contradictions to the harmony of old-world traditions. This signature tour connects yesteryear with tomorrow, revealing the atmospheric balance between iconic history and contemporary innovation. It explores the best of the country, covering a series of famous highlights, along with destinations and experiences that love to surprise. Nature, culture, ancient capitals, colorful cities, serene river journeys...these 17 days open all your senses.
This signature tour connects China's classic destinations and unique experiences. You'll start in Beijing, city of icons, both old and new. Travel to Xi'an, where you wander the early-Ming city walls and admire the terracotta army behind the scenes. On day six you connect ancient Shaanxi with modern Shanghai, just one example of how this tour celebrates the country's wonderful contrasts. Spend a day amidst cobblestone bridges and labyrinthine waterways in Zhujiajiao, then relax into the opulence of a four-day cruise on the Yangzi River. Guilin continues your journey into remarkable nature before the 17-day tour concludes in Hong Kong, a city that you can explore from many contrasting angles.
Some of China's iconic sites need little introduction: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, an emperor's army of Terracotta Warriors. Yet they don't feel like museum pieces. As this signature tour explores the historical highlights, you're slowly immersed in the atmosphere of a distant time. Hear your footsteps echo through the Temple of Heaven, explore the mythology of Guilin's limestone pinnacles, and discover ancient hutongs (alleyways), where locals natter besides fragrant tea stalls.
So much tradition lives on and at the archaeological sites you'll find a surreal connection with the past. This signature tour cover over 5000 years of history and the expert local guides help you make sense of all its subtleties. These aren't merely photogenic sights, but stories as elegant and endearing as the local calligraphy.
China loves to innovate and cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong feel like odes to tomorrow. Yet journey beneath the forests of neon and you discover that these cities are about so much more than famous, panoramic skylines. Uncover boutique markets and sprawling antiques stores. Wander through colonial history, then find ambient markets just steps from glistening city lights.
Contemporary art, floating communities, stalls of traditional medicine, acrobatic shows, operatic performances...China's cities have always made their own way and specialist guides ensure you experience the hidden corners, those that only the locals know about. And when this tour takes you to ancient capitals and cute old towns, you'll also find distinctive examples of innovation. When wandering millennium-old streets, you can feel how they were also once the destinations of tomorrow.
This tour celebrates China's contrasts. Yet one destination isn't just contemporary and the next focused solely on tradition. Each destination has been handpicked as it can reveal many different stories in one place. History, culture, nature, famous sights and surprising experiences...these 17 days will uncover China's remarkable tapestry, covering 5000 years and all the creativity of a country leaning towards future. It celebrates the feeling of a country that can only be understood when you're immersed in its atmosphere.
Welcome to Beijing, a city of icons that's lit up on the transfer from the airport. History stands untouched at its heart, legacies left behind by over five centuries of Ming and Qing dynasties. Odes to the future dominate the sky, the innovation of modern China rising proudly across the city's sprawling suburbs. Luxury and indulgence connect the contrasts, your China experience starting with a palatial hotel that's rooted in tradition, then enhanced by the contemporary. Settle in, explore our handpicked dining recommendations, and savor Beijing's sense of surprise.
The remains of Beijing's history introduces a world undaunted by time. The Forbidden City, centerpiece of culture, masterpiece of imperial excess. The Temple of Heaven, pioneer of perfection, icon that even the emperors bowed their head before. Stalls at the open-air Panjiayuan Antiques Market are laden with history's forgotten trinkets, while those in Hongqiao Market celebrate the atmosphere of traditional trade. And as time stands still you stroll across Tiananmen Square, the enduring symbol of a country that can be understood in so many different ways. World-famous Peking duck completes the day, feasting the senses with its time-honored tradition.
Marvel at how the Great Wall of China cascades, rolling onwards over the hills. The steps are steep and they never seem to end, majestic blocks of stone covering a thick green landscapes in the middle of nowhere. Explore the panoramas then listen to your footsteps, the guide leading you away from the amassed crowds into spaces that are adorned with detail. It's not just the Great Wall. So many other treasures occupy the north of Beijing, from Ming Tombs to the Spirit Way, where statues stand guard beneath willow trees. Back in the capital city, later in the afternoon, the guides continues to find new angles to uncover. We will intimately tailor the local experience to your interests, from contemporary art to operatic classics, modern design to cooking classes in Beijing's ancient alleyways (hutongs).
Cruising across Kunming Lake is Beijing's timeless escape, introducing you to the vacation habits of China's imperial rulers. The Summer Palace stands resplendently above the lake-water, leading the eye across a wealth of halls and pavilions, temples and bridges. You explore these late-Ming “Gardens of Nurtured Harmony” (颐和园) then journey back in time, a domestic flight transporting you to the early-Ming City Walls of Xi'an. This Middle Kingdom city is China's showpiece ancient capital and the city walls are a celebration of both its scale and detail. Wander around them, discovering the turrets and gates where the Great Silk Road originated. Savory dumplings are on the menu later, one of those insatiable treats passed down through the centuries of emperors that ruled from Xi'an.
An army fit for an emperor, buried beneath the ground. Imagine the shock when a farmer stumbled across the statuesque figures of terracotta with his hoe. And imagine the atmosphere that emanates from these life-sized models, with their contrasting expressions and alert stares. Discover all the exquisite details at the Chariot Museum then go beyond closed doors with exclusive access to the Tang dynasty murals. The Terracotta Warriors are a work of harmony, a site of congruity however bizarre they initially seem. The other sites you see today reveal contrast, such as the elegant Great Mosque and the unusual Small Wild Goose Pagoda. The Terracotta Warriors are Xi'an's unmissable highlight but there's so much more to find in this remarkable city.
Perhaps no day epitomizes the journey through Classic China more than this one. Shaanxi Provincial Museum stitches together the tapestry of the past, encompassing all the legendary names that were first spelt out by a master calligrapher. Nowhere else in China holds as much history and as many stories in one place. That's the morning. Now the afternoon. Shanghai doesn't look back, the waterfront skyscrapers symbolizing the design of tomorrow. It's big, bustling, and bafflingly futuristic at times. Yet look between the lines and you'll see that there are apparitions beneath both the tapestry and skyline, sights and attractions that show how nothing is completely clear cut in China.
Beneath the famous skyline comes surprise. Wander the lanes of the Old Town, where men natter in tea houses and steam rises from dumping carts. Getaway into the elegance of Yu Yuan garden, pervader of serenity amongst the sprawl. Lose yourself in classical art, where deft brushstrokes remain as vibrant as ever. And watch the city glimmer with pride, from towers reflecting in the water to the old-world grandeur of the French Concession. This day explores the highlights of Shanghai. In the morning you are seeing the city. By the afternoon and evening you're feeling its unique ambiance, one that directs you towards a unique Chinese acrobatic show and some sumptuous dining.
Photogenic cobbled bridges flow over the labyrinthine waterways of Zhujiajiao, the historic river town an hour's travel from Shanghai. Some call it the “Venice of the East.” But it dates back many millennia, so it's more accurate to call Venice the “Zhujiajiao of the West.” Rice stores are housed in crumbling stone buildings, spice stalls send fragrant scents across the waterways, and a wealth of old architecture can keep your camera occupied for hours. Back in Shanghai there are also areas that have escaped development, areas that continue your immersion in the China of yesteryear. But then what about the future? What about that expression of contemporary innovation? Ascend the world's third tallest TV tower and watch the city lights turn on, the start of an evening that leans into tomorrow.
A Yangzi River Cruise is both the quintessence of, and interlude from, the classic China experience. You drift along the iconic waterway, nestled within the opulence of the river's finest vessel. Tranquility reigns, the sense of escapism heightened by the grandeur of the Three Gorges. Natural excess takes over and you watch the world float by. This is a getaway within a getaway, four days to rest and recuperate, plenty of time to gaze out from your deluxe cabin.
Yet a Yangzi Cruise is also China in all its untrammeled glory. Admire the life along the riverbanks, gaining insight into a world that isn't broadcast beyond the walls of the Three Gorges. Take in the enormity of the dam, how it redefines notions of scale and design. Join the chef and take a dumping lesson, explore the sensual art of tea, and learn the curves of local calligraphy. These four days are filled with excursions and on-board activities, allowing you to escape while maintaining your immersion in the country.
Chongqing keeps extending, suburb after suburb after suburb. Chaos defines the impression at first glance. However, like all things in China, there's a nuance to uncover when traveling beneath the surface. Hidden temples, historic tales, traditions undaunted and modernity redefined, there's so much to experience on your Chongqing city tour. When there are 33 million people in the vicinity, there's always something to satisfy the most idiosyncratic of tastes. You just need to know where to look, which is where the guide comes in. After lunch you travel onwards, back into the serenity and surreal landscapes, into the hypnotism of Guilin.
Every Guilin panorama tells a story. Each of the pinnacles comes with a legend and every limestone cavern holds its own mystery. On a private Li River cruise the guide reveals more of the area's unique narrative, the vessel elegantly takes you through nature's extravagance. There's the history provided by geologists, one that mentions baffling figures like 200 million years. But then there are also the local myths, those more suited to Guilin's appearance. When you're surrounded by limestone peaks, and consumed by nuances of green, these contrasting tales come together in harmony. Other stories also feature today, like those of the traders you meet in Yangshuo's traditional market, or of the farmers that dot the region's iconic rice paddies.
In a world of magical scenery there is no wrong place to be. A final morning in Guilin gives you time to explore more angles, from ethereal caves away from the crowds to legendary vantage points with 360-degree panoramas. There's also no wrong place to be in a world of color and charm. Fly to Hong Kong this afternoon, where the narrow streets of Kowloon submerge you in the endless poetry of details. Hawkers bartering traditional medicines, stalls spilling jewelry and jeans onto the alleyways, designer boutiques hiding in skyscrapers. Our recommendations help you navigate Hong Kong's forest of neon, right down to where to find the best Dim Sum on the planet.
Explore Hong Kong today. But which Hong Kong? Perhaps the city of influential art galleries and chic antiques? Maybe the street feast of food and drink? It could also be the photogenic visuals, from the tram ride up Victoria Peak to the towers glistening in the bay. This city of islands exudes both the iconic and the original. It can pull you in so many directions, then push you towards the land of the ethereal, for nothing is quite as it seems when you explore beneath the skyline. The day's tour is carefully tailored to your interests, providing an in-depth exploration of Hong Kong's distinctive scenes, while also ticking off the icons you deem to be unmissable. A sampan cruise into a floating community? Michelin-starred dining on the top floor? Temples and markets and Hollywood Road?
A final morning and time to celebrate. Bask in the opulence of the hotel, recounting the other handpicked accommodation choices that have graced your journey. Recall the icons and recollect the surprise, from the tradition that resists change to the culture that moves with the times. Somewhere in there is the moment that tied China's contrasting experiences together, the single snapshot that embodies your experience over the last 17 days, the feeling that stitches together the icons of yesteryear and tomorrow.
"We were pleased that Indochina Travel was small enough to provide the things larger companies cannot, yet with all the benefits of using a larger one. In Saigon, we were honored to visit our guide's family. The BEST parts of our trip were the PEOPLE we met, especially the real, local people, not just the famous ones (though they were fascinating as well). Cuong made this possible throughout our time with him."
—Ric Haas, Menlo Park
"Chris and I had a wonderful journey. Thanks to you, everything was flawless. All of the guides were superb (especially Thiha in Burma). The accommodations were top-rate in most cases, the special activities and personal service much appreciated!"
—Ann & Chris McMurray, Alexandria, VA
"Overall, we had an excellent trip! Don and I both loved Bhutan and Myanmar. Both countries are beautiful, each in their own way. Our main comment would be to say how wonderful our guides were. As we've discussed in the past, it's really the difference between a good trip and great one. It was really nice to have the same guide for the entire itinerary, you really get to establish a rapport and they get to know us. We thought both guides were very professional, knowledgeable and personable, and we learned a lot from both."
—Irene Ing and Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Boating - "Thank you for an amazing adventure, we were delighted at every turn and the activities and people we met were thoroughly fascinating. We really the appreciated the authentic experiences we shared. Our girls are still talking about the trip, please give Linh and Duc our best!"
—The Anderson Family
Halong Bay Kayaking - "This was our fourth trip with you guys and it couldn't have possibly been any better. Your crew is outstanding in every way-well prepared, attentive, and professional. Again, you planned some very special things for us which we really enjoyed. Thank you for another amazing experience."
Tokyo and Kyoto, such remarkable contrasts between the ancient capital and the futuristic icon. This custom Japan tour explores both, handpicking the destinations and experiences that best symbolize the contrasts. In Kyoto you wander through Zen gardens, hear monks chanting in World Heritage temples, discover the ancient tradition of tea ceremonies, and learn the secrets of Kaiseki cuisine. Beneath Tokyo's forest of neon you uncover vibrant subcultures, mesmeric modern design, the art of sushi and the contemporary allure of a rapidly changing art scene. These experiences are just the start as this one-week tour journeys through all the hidden sites that make these two capitals so special.
Start with four nights in Kyoto, then take the bullet train towards three nights in Tokyo. But that's just our suggestion for this tour. All our luxury Japan tours are completely tailored to your interests and can also include other ancient and modern attractions. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan doesn't hibernate through the winter. Falling snow accentuates the country's dramatic natural beauty, while plummeting temperatures lead to some extraordinary experiences. Huddle with the monks on Mount Koya, admire hundreds of astonishing ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival, then find Japanese snow monkeys bathing in natural thermal baths. Nights are spent beneath the stars, your muscles warmed by the soothing, steaming waters of outdoor onsen spas. You take a journey through the glaciers on an ice breaker cruise, travel into tradition in Japan's World Heritage villages, and follow the wintery footsteps of the Geishas.
Away from the unique winter wonderland, this Japan luxury tour also enables you to explore the world-famous sites without the crowds. You'll have temples all to yourself and find a country in its most relaxed state. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications, with unique experiences dependent on when you travel. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan has always done things a little differently. But it's sometimes a challenge to see this uniqueness, as famous names like Geisha and Samurai have become major tourist attractions. This exclusive private tour explores the most unique of Japan's customs and cultures, immersing you in a world that's as strange as it is sublime. Explore Islands of Art, get lost with cats, try the forest bathing practice of shinrin-yoku, forage for ingredients then help prepare a traditional kaiseki multi-course dinner. Meet the locals as you get guided around an art gallery by the creative director, spend an afternoon with an award-winning chef, and drink tea with a master of calligraphy. Taking you completely off the beaten track, this iconic tour unravels the pure authenticity of Japan.
All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications. We know hundreds of unique experiences that can help you uncover the depths of the country. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
A Zen garden hidden from the world, an ancient sanctuary that's blossomed without pause for many centuries. A lost temple in Kyoto, where the red robes of monks contrasts the elegant sloping roof of history. A castle from the time of the Samurai, imbued with legendary tales. Few countries have a heritage that can rival Japan's, where there's something wonderfully evocative about every piece of culture. This handcrafted two-week tour celebrates this heritage, exploring a wide range of national treasures. Kyoto is the centerpiece and we know some outstanding guides, narrators on 17 World Heritage Sites and more than 2000 temples and shrines. But this famous city is just the start as this unique Japan luxury tour explores the breadth of Japan's tradition.
Walks guided by monks and nuns, nights spent in historic temples, drinking tea with Geishas...our private Japan tours do more than just reveal the sights: they immerse you in tradition. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Spring ushers in Japan's most enchanting colors, a thousand red and pink nuances filling the avenues and parks. Cherry Blossom season is the most popular time to visit Japan and the phenomenon stretches from bustling cities to remote villages. Visit from late March to early May to witness the transformation, when adorable landscapes emanate delicate beauty and alluring serenity. We've intimately followed the bloom for over two decades and this tour connects a huge array of sites, from world-famous spaces to parks tucked away in forgotten villages. Cherry blossom provides the focus on this handcrafted tour, something to sit and admire each afternoon. You'll also discover Japan's iconic and unknown destinations, each day of exploration taking you deeper into a country that always surprises.
The cherry blossom doesn't bloom in a single city or region of Japan. This is a country-wide sensation and this cherry blossom tour can be intimately customized to your wishes and preferences. We like to keep you away from the major crowds that can impact on the enchantment of the colors. Like all our luxury Japan tours, we'll handcraft an itinerary just for you. Contact us to receive your full and personalized itinerary.
Oh how Japan loves to inspire, the exoticism of its culture exciting those of every age. This two-week tour provides something for everyone, along with shared adventures into the idiosyncrasy of Japan. Visit Manga cartoon stores and meet those who paint the comics. A master artisan shows you how to make a Japanese sword while a Samurai and Geisha reveal all about their culture. Spend a day at signature theme parks and relaxed evenings in traditional ryokans, sleeping on tatami mats and resting in onsen spas. Including cycling tours, bullet trains, meetings with monks and Japan's anime mecca, this private tour creates lasting memories from the most unique of countries.
Of all our Japan tours, it's trips with families that offer the greatest room for customization. There's so much that can be individualized; just let us know what you and the rest of your family are interested in. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan is defined by an unshakable self-possession and obsession with quality. It's pursuit for perfection is found in presentation, nature, aesthetics and the subtleties of all things. This unique tour explores the highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, along with the art and architecture that has defined a nation over the centuries. You'll meet artists and craftsman working in a variety of mediums, gain an insider's perspective on Japanese culture, and be immersed in the immense varieties and rituals of cuisine, from the serenity of a tea ceremony to famous sushi bars.
This tour takes you far off the beaten track, incorporating pottery festivals, ceramic and porcelain towns, art islands and a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art. It's completely customizable and can explore any of your niche interests. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary that responds to your preferences.
The giant Torii Gate seems to float on the sea, standing majestic besides Itsukushima Shrine on World Heritage Miyajima Island. It's a remarkable insight into tradition, complemented by a tea ceremony and an elaborate cha-kaiseki dinner at your ryokan. This unusual island is the starting point for this tour through Japanese highlights that cover al corners of the spectrum: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Heian Jingu Shinto Shrine, Tentyuji Temple, Nishiki Market, Asakusa and Akihabara. Spread over nine days, this luxury Japan tour goes in search of the different icons that define Japan.
It's not quite a best of tour, more a celebration of the country's most unique treasures, connecting everything from cuisine to culture to colorful neighborhoods. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications, so the highlights on this tour are just a suggestion. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan doesn't have a single defining image. The icons come from across the centuries and this exclusive tour go in search of them. Sleeping on tatami mats in charming ryokans, deep in the mountains. Meeting Buddhist monks and finding temples hidden amongst bamboo forest. Getting lost in the flashing lights of the futuristic cities and the wooden lanes of heritage towns. During 12 days of luxury Japan travel you're yxploring the legacy of the Edo Period, speeding around on the Shinkansen, and uncovering regional gastronomy.
All the experiences on this tour feel completely different from the last. But they are not completely distinct. Over these 12 days you explore how the Japan of today is intrinsically energized by historical traditions and customs. And like all our Japan tours, the itinerary can be fully tailored to your interests, incorporating all the icons you want to explore. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.