China remains a mysterious and enigmatic destination for many travellers. James Jayasundera shows adventurers how to get closer to the heart of the Middle Kingdom with the top 5 experiences in China.
Over the years we’ve come to realise that many of our clients who love India tend not to be particularly interested in going to China. Yet this nation lays claim to some of the most extraordinary cultural and geological sights on earth, not to mention world-class hotels, perfect for the luxury traveller. From the undulating Great Wall to ethereal mountainscapes and verdant rice terraces, in historic richness, culture, diversity and luxury, China at the very least equals India.
Three times larger than India, there is little doubt of the plethora of experiences on offer, but the difficulty is knowing where to begin. Below are our five favourite experiences that any luxury traveller will be impressed with when they visit China…
A Private Banquet on the Great Wall of China, Beijing
Picture this: 8000 kilometres of Greatness with no-one around but you and pure, ancient history. Words can’t do justice to the Great Wall of China. You need to feel the 2000-year-old mastery beneath your feet to really appreciate its true might. This is a truly unique opportunity to use your chopsticks and indulge in a private banquet on secluded turret atop this wondrous wall.
The Ultimate Bear Hug, Chengdu
China’s very own indigenous bear, the iconic panda, is the most magnificent of creatures, and Chengdu’s Panda Breeding and Research Centre is the best place to see them. Enjoy close-up encounters with these docile beauties, and delight in a heart-warming cuddle with a sooty-eyed panda cub. The ultimate bear hug will warm you to your core and leave you smiling for hours after; a luxury in the luckiest sense.
Avatar’s Imaginary World, Huangshan
The ethereal mountainscapes of the Yellow Mountains in Huangshan are the stuff of legend. It’s no wonder that this location was the inspiration for James Cameron’s Avatar. Vast mountains jut above a sea of clouds, creating floating islands out of rocky peaks; hot springs bubble beneath the surface, their healing abilities the perfect antidote to relax your muscles after a day of climbing; magical lakes and waterfalls lie scattered and pristine. This is a place where you can truly immerse yourself in this seemingly imaginary world.
Artistic and Historic Wonders of the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
Let a world-class expert guide you through the fascinating past of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang. Also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas, a series of several hundred caves (492 to be exact) lays claim to a treasure trove of ancient Buddhist carvings and 41,800 metres of murals and manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 14th century. Surrounded by the ‘roaring’ sands of the Mingsha Dunes, this is a destination of mind-blowing proportions and unparalleled beauty.
A Dowager’s Day Out, Beijing
One of Beijing’s most iconic and historic attractions, the Summer Palace, is truly a pleasure to behold. Dating back to 1153, this ancient wonderland transports you into the realms of the Qing Dynasty. Embrace a day of unique luxuries, once enjoyed by the Empress Dowager Cixi: a secret ‘trap door’ taking you directly into the palace itself, and out-of-hours access to the wonders of the palatial grounds; a private calligraphy class to learn the artistic finesse of the Chinese alphabet; a unique and personalised dim sum meal. This is a sure way to become a member of the Qing Dynasty.
by James Jayasundera
These experiences are designed by Ampersand Travel.
Ampersand Travel specialises in luxury tailor-made travel to the Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia and the Far East, creating journeys that fully engage the senses and constantly surprise and delight. With over 13 years of experience, James Jayasundera and his team understand that everyone is unique, and they place great emphasis on getting to know their clients. They handcraft exceptional luxury holidays for individuals and small groups, combining the perfect mix of experiences and hotels in unforgettable ways.