Your day starts with pickup from your centrally located Beijing hotel by air-conditioned coach and a short drive to Lama Temple, one of Beijing’s most famous monasteries.
Lama Temple boasts five large halls that are decorated with colorful carvings, murals, ceremonial objects and statues of the Buddha in various incarnations. Your guide takes you through the stunning complex, explaining the significance of the items that you see. Admire one of the temple’s highlights, a towering statue of Maitreya Buddha that stands 59 feet high (18 meters) and was carved from a single piece of white sandalwood.
Next up, visit the Beijing Zoo to see its beloved residents, the giant pandas. The endangered panda bears are native to China and considered a national treasure. Watch the pandas munch on bamboo, play and lounge in their large enclosures, which resemble their natural habitat.
After enjoying the panda antics, relax while eating a Chinese-style lunch. Then head to the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.
Originally built in 1750 as a summer retreat for the emperor, the UNESCO heritage-listed Summer Palace was razed twice by foreign armies and completely rebuilt. Enjoy great photo ops as you follow your guide around the grounds, which boast ornately decorated temples, pavilions, gardens, bridges and covered walkways. Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake take up most of the 1.1 square mile (2.9 square kilometer) site. Your guide points out highlights such as the Marble Boat, a lakeside pavilion that was restored in 1893 for Empress Cixi.
Wrap up your day with a stop at pearl store where you have the option to shop for high quality pearl, as well as a tea cenemony before your guide returns you to your hotel to end your tour.