Cathay Pacific's Private China Tours
There's a great option for traveling in China if you don't choose to be a groupie. Lots of people are used to traveling alone, but when it comes to China, they feel obliged to join a group. If you are a little intimidated by traveling in China on your own, Cathay Pacific's China Experience Tours could be the answer. Unlike many group tours, at each location you get to see the sites but a neat extra is that you will have special access to some sort of experience that's next to impossible to arrange on your own.
Here are just a few examples. In Xian, where more than 7,000 terra-cotta lifelike soldiers have been discovered, you will have a chance to observe the painstakingly work of assembling fragments of the soldier statues who once stood guard over the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China. On a private visit to the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute, (carefully supervised) you will be able to handle artifacts that could be more than 1,000 years old. Another highlight is the chance to meet with the Chinese and German scientists who are working to restore the newly excavated relics in Xian province.
Every visitor to Beijing marvels at the Imperial Forbidden City, first established in 1644, the sacred center of the empire for five hundred years. Now known as the Ancient Palace Museum, you will tour the vast inner and outer courts, but also visit an ornate reception room, recently renovated, usually reserved for heads of state of visiting dignitaries. Another Beijing encounter will be lunch with a family in one of the rapidly disappearing Hutongs, the traditional courtyard houses where some people are still lucky to live. (Most of the old neighborhoods in Beijing were destroyed to make way for the 2008 Olympic buildings.)
As a rule, the Experience Tours are 10 days and include economy class air travel, ground transportation, hotels, meals, and the all-important travel insurance. Throughout your tour, whether you are a couple, a family, or a few friends, you will be accompanied by your own private, English-speaking guide. The tours offer four pre-set itineraries which include Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, and a city near Tibet in Western China, but keep in mind that limited adjustments can be made to suit your individual preferences. For itinerary specifics, go to http://us.cathaypacific.com/offers/ChinaExperience/index.aspx.