After hotel pickup, start your adventurous day at China’s Great Wall, an approximate 1-hour drive from downtown Beijing. One of the greatest engineering feats in human history, the Great Wall was built more than 2,500 years ago to protect Chinese civilization from fearsome northern tribes. The expanse of the wall winds over deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching a staggering 5,550 miles (8,850 km) across China.
Your guide will stop to purchase steamed buns from a favorite street stall before leading your small group on an engaging hike along the Great Wall. This experience takes you away from the tourist crowds to the Mutianyu section, one of the wall’s oldest parts that hasn't been fully restored from its authentic state beyond safety measures. Explore the monumental walkway with virtually nobody else in sight on an easy hike that is suited to varying abilities with plenty of rest stops along the way.
You’ll see at least a dozen impressive watchtowers that snake off in various directions over the horizon. From within one of these well-preserved watchtowers, sit down for your lovely gourmet picnic lunch – a unique experience that’s only available with this exclusive tour. Under the shade of the secluded rampart, enjoy views over the countryside as you sip chilled sparkling wine, beer from Beijing microbreweries or excellent ‘Great Wall’ wine from local vineyards, paired with popular delicacies made by well-known local chefs. Delight in regional foods full of subtle and sophisticated flavors! (See sample menu, subject to produce availability, in Itinerary below.)
Glean historical insights from your guide, who will describe other functions of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty, including its border controls and regulated transport of people and goods along the Silk Road. After your tour and lunch at Mutianyu, your guide will transport you back to your Beijing hotel.
As an alternative, ask your guide to drop you off at the Art District 798, a labyrinth of warehouses comprising art galleries and studios, boutiques, museums, bars and cafés. Here, you'll find cutting-edge, contemporary Chinese art along with quirky clothes shops and bookshops to add to the mix. You can enjoy a drink or have dinner at a local restaurant before making your own way back to Beijing.
Gourmet Picnic Sample Menu:
Fresh salads such as crisp duck, pumpkin salad and plum salad
Appetizers such as Tingling prawns
Fresh noodles with scallops and clams
Poached pork and garlic chive dumplings
Ginger prawn dumplings with ginger sauce
Sesame seed pocket ‘pita’ bread with chicken
Chinese custard tarts
White or oolong tea
Your choice of Sparkling wine from Shanxi Province; Great Wall wine; or Great Leap or Slow Boat microbrewery beer