CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing Logo China (1)
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Beijing

Shanghai may signify China's future and Xi'an its past, but Beijing serves as the best experience of China's present. It has been China's capital since the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368 AD), Beijing's past, present and future are forced together in the crowded neighbourhoods and streets of the city. But despite a divide between new and old, one thing about Beijing has remained constant for centuries: hard-handed political power, as well as thriving intellectual and artistic thought prominent in Beijing, continues to influence China and the world. After cycles of destruction and reconstruction, Beijing's mix of new and old is truly unique. Ancient 'hutong' lanes and traditional courtyard homes are sewn neatly between the web of bold skyscrapers and vast avenues paving their way into the city. Historical sites pepper the city with scenes from the past: such as the iconic portrait of Mao Zedong looming over the gates of Tiananmen Square, in which lies his mausoleum. The Forbidden City is another huge draw and of the most impressive sites in the country. Tourists are free to roam the courtyards of the over 800 buildings and 9,000 chambers of the Forbidden City. It is a life preserved in chambers, where emperors ruled, empresses and concubines strolled in the gardens, and palace staff lived for centuries behind the towering red walls. Other top sights of interest include the Summer Palace, built around Kunming Lake, another man-made body of water that required an army of over 10,000 laborers to complete. Beijing is also the best place to spend the day exploring the Great Wall of China from.

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We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
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Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
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So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
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