Beijing Spotlight Experiences
Discover a living Forbidden City by discerning the happiness and sadness in the stories of famous royals.
Immerse yourself in a cultured town at the foot of the Great Wall, and soak up the atmosphere on the northern frontier of ancient China.
Walk into a local neighborhood to observe the lives of local people.
Be a happy foodie and understand ancient Beijing with your stomach.
Our Beijing spotlight experiences extend beyond the surface of the sites, and will present you with an old, authentic and cultured Beijing!
Discover the Forbidden City Via Our Emperor's Tour
Duration: 2.5 Hours+
The Forbidden City is the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial architectural complex in the world, having been home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1420–1911).
Your tour guide will help you explore 12 carefully-selected palaces in the Forbidden City, while other group tours often visit only 6-8 spots briefly.In addition to giving some background on the city's architecture, history, fengshui and art, your guide will lead you to explore some spots related to famous figures during the 2 dynasties.
These figures will include the most hardworking emperors, the most longevous empress dowager and the most talented concubine. Your guide will explain to you their stories so you can imagine what they must have experienced in the city.
Climb up the corner watchtower normally skipped by other tourists and let the yellow roofs of the palaces impress you again at the end.
The 600-year-old Forbidden City has witnessed the rise and decline of the dynasties. Every brick and tile tell what has happened here. We combine the history and the figures to present you with a "living" Forbidden City.
A Taste of Chinese Culture
Duration: 2-3 Hours+
Located in the north of Miyun County, Beijing, Gubei water town surrounds a beautiful lake reservoir and leans against Simatai Great Wall. It used to be an important pass to Mongolia. Most buildings in the town have been reconstructed in traditional courtyard style, based on five ancient villages and a water resource.
If you are interested, try a Chinese cultural experience. We'd be happy to arrange a "one-out-of-three" experience in Gubei water town (about 45 minutes) -- Tie-Dyeing, Kite-Making or Buddhist Text-Tracing.
Tie-Dyeing: Choose whatever pattern you like or design a unique one. The expert will teach you how to tie and dye. You will eventually receive back your own tie-dyed handkerchief.
Kite-Making: In the Gubei Kite Museum, you will see traditional Chinese kites in different styles. You can also make your own kite, with the assistance of the inheritor of traditional kite-craft. You can choose to make either a swallow kite or a butterfly kite.
Buddhist Text-Tracing: If you are interested in Buddhism, tracing a Buddhist text will be a unique experience to help you understand the religion. Wash your hands, worship the Buddhas, and then a monk will bring an incense burner to help you gain inner peace before writing.
Take Pictures at the Most Chinese Places in Town: We selected 5 places in Gubei water town which highlight Chinese style. Your guide will show you these places and help you take the most Chinese pictures, if you like.
Beijing-Life Discovery Walk
Duration: 2.5 Hours+
What is it like to be an ordinary person living in Beijing? The answer is not to be found in the hutongs where the tourists ride rickshaws. You will explore a neighborhood to discover the ordinary people's lives from their religious beliefs, daily food, hobbies, housing issues and situation in retirement.
Your discovery will start with the religious beliefs of the local people. Your guide will show you around Tianning Temple, with the oldest pagoda in Beijing, telling the temple's stories and explaining the religious activities people like to engage in.
Observe people doing their daily shopping, in a market next to Tianning Temple. It is full of life.
Understand more about housing development in Beijing, while walking through a residential community built in the 1990s. Sample the locally popular pancake for breakfast, if you wish.
Visit a pretty park where senior citizens do their exercises. Retired life in China may be quite different from that in your country.
End your tour by visiting a hutong where there are no other tourists. This is a place where you can witness authentic hutong life.
The Old Beijing of A Foodie
Duration: 3 Hours+
Understand Beijing by tasting its traditional food, including doornail meat pie, fried dumplings, traditional yogurt, Peking roast duck, noodles with fried soybean sauce and royal court desserts.
We select small restaurants loved by locals, and restaurants with time-honored reputations, rather than a night market or a snack market full of tourists. Your guide will walk with you and stop at 4 places. You will try 8 kinds of traditional Beijing food/snack and 2 kinds of popular local drink.
Enjoy the delicacies. Learn the stories behind the food. Admire the traditional cooking skills. This will be a memorable night during your stay in Beijing.
Hotel pick-up and drop-off are included. The total walking distance on this tour is about 2 km.
About China Highlights
Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"
A great tour
Our trip to Beijing was brilliantly organised and stress free. As usual with China Highlights our guide Ivy was really well prepared, knowledgeable and dealt with all the security, covid checks and tests etc. It made the trip really easy. more