Be greeted by your guide in the lobby of your Beijing hotel at 8:30 am before driving to The Temple of Heaven, an excellent example of Ming architecture. In the past this was a place of prayer and ceremony, a place where Chinese Emperors came to pray for good harvests. Morning is an especially good time to visit the temple as it is at this time of day that one is likely to catch a glimpse of senior citizens exercising, so a rare glimpse into Beijings citizens life. After an hour or so walking around the site the tour moves onto Tiananmen Square.
Tiananmen Square at 440,000 sq. meters, the largest public square in the world, is a location that has witnessed some dramatic chapters of Chinese history. Stroll through the square and enjoy its size and its places of interest. Youll visit some of the halls that flank both the east and western sides of the Square, the Great Hall of the People, (Renmin Dahuitang), located at the western edge of the Square and used by the PRC for legislative and ceremonial activities, Chairman Mao's Mausoleum and Tiananmen Tower also known as The Gate of Heavenly Peace.
Your visit then takes you through the Meridian gate, the formal entrance to the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, formally known as The Chinese Imperial Palace, where youll spend a couple hours exploring this impressive and historically important complex, the largest palace complex in the world. Over a period of 500 years 24 emperors lived and ruled from here, starting with the Ming dynasty and ending with the Qing.
After a couple of hours visiting The Forbidden City youll be taken to lunch to enjoy one of Beijings most famous dishes, Peking Duck. There arent many dishes that can claim a royal lineage going back more than 700 years. Peking Duck can. The restaurant itself is somewhat special, in that its a cosy, non-tourist Peking Roast Duck haunt.
After lunch travel to The Summer Palace situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing, the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China and spend a leisurely hour strolling through the beautiful grounds, enjoying such sites as the Seventeen-arch bridge, Longevity Hill and the Tower of Buddhist Incense to name a few. The construction of the Summer Palace commenced in 1750 and was built as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It became the main residence of royal family members towards the end of the Qing Dynasty.
On the way back to your Beijing hotel, theres a possible photographic opportunity to snap some of the main buildings, of the Olympic Village. If desired, your driver will make a brief stop on the bridge to the west of the Water Cube, considered one of the best locations for a photographic view.