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India & China; Past, Present & Future

21 days from £9,800 per person

This itinerary is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Cultural Holidays.

India and China; two of earth’s largest countries and home to the oldest living civilisations. Often seen as polar opposites, we believe that there are a surprising number of similarities between these great nations; both home to examples of the world’s finest temples, largest historical empires, exciting cuisines, greatest cities, spectacular landscapes, oldest religions, diversity of experience and from the Western perspective, the personification of the exotic, the unfamiliar, the enchanting and the beguiling. Combined, they immerse travellers with an unparalleled richness of experience.

This itinerary traces both countries’ histories; their ancient capitals, holiest sites and modern metropolises. Although just scratching the surface, this epic journey will give an insight into the past, present and future of these two important nations. Shanghai and Mumbai possess rich heritages, including British and Jewish, but are also pioneers in global finance, international art markets and Michelin-starred restaurants. Delhi and Beijing both combine the ancient and the contemporary; home to multiple bygone empires and a collection of simply incredible historic sites. In China visit the former capitals of Hangzhou and Xi’an; Xi’an renowned for the world-famous Terracotta Army, and the beautiful lake city of Hangzhou celebrated in Marco Polo’s travelogues. India and China are also home to the birthplaces of major religions. This itinerary will take you to a range of sacred centres and to where the countries’ most beautiful religious art is preserved. Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges River is considered the holiest place on earth by Hindus, and nearby Sarnath is a major art centre where Buddha preached his first sermon. In Mumbai the exquisite Elephanta Caves, and the spectacular Ellora and Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad, are known for their Buddhist murals and Hindu carvings. China’s Dunhuang Caves display their own examples of ancient Buddhist murals, and provide a fascinating glimpse into archaic Chinese art and history.

As with all our itineraries, this is purely a suggestion and can be amended in any way to your preferences. If you'd like to see similar trips, take a look at our Epic Journey and Family Holiday collections; as well as our favourite Ultimate LuxuryActive and Multi-Country itineraries.

The hotels we have suggested provide a culturally relevant and luxurious base to this incredible tour. All are either the most charming, or the best in their location; and often both. Your first stop will give you the opportunity to stay at Mumbai’s ‘Grand Dame’, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, built in 1911 to welcome King George and Queen Mary. Part of the family-run Tata brand, the Palace was supposedly built after Jamsetji Tata was refused entry to Watson’s Hotel in 1903. Delhi’s first luxury hotel The Imperial, built in 1931 by an associate of Edward Lutyens, provides the perfect setting for a taste of Raj-era opulence. Patiala Peg, the hotel’s bar, was also the location of the historical meeting between Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten to discuss partition. The Aman Summer Palace in Beijing is the only hotel in China built within a historical palace complex, making any stay here a memorable experience. Atmospheric rooms are located within traditional Ming Dynasty inspired courtyards and a secret passage way leads directly into the Summer Palace complex.  The Sofitel Legend in Xi’an opened as a state-run guesthouse in 1953, but now is the city’s best luxury hotel. Located within Xi’an’s historical walls, both the modern city and historic sites, such as the Bell and Drum Towers and the Muslim Street, are within walking distance. The world-famous Peninsula Hotels Group presents the Peninsula Shanghai, located on the historic ‘Bund’ with jaw-dropping views over Shanghai’s iconic Pudong financial district.

Itinerary details

21 days from £9,800 per person

India To China 7 India To China 7
India To China 2 India To China 2
India To China 16 India To China 16
India To China 6 India To China 6
NORTH INDIA - Ganges, Varanasi NORTH INDIA - Ganges, Varanasi
India To China 14 India To China 14
India To China 1 India To China 1
India To China 11 India To China 11
NORTH INDIA - The Imperial Delhi North India The Swimming Pool NORTH INDIA - The Imperial Delhi North India The Swimming Pool
India To China 10 India To China 10
India To China 12 India To China 12
CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2 CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2
CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing
CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2 (1) CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2 (1)
Beijing 19 Beijing 19
CHINA - Aman at Summer Palace - Cultural Room CHINA - Aman at Summer Palace - Cultural Room
CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing
India To China 8 India To China 8
India To China 17 India To China 17
CHINA - The Forbidden City, Beijing 2 CHINA - The Forbidden City, Beijing 2
India To China 3 India To China 3
CHINA - The Great Wall, warriors CHINA - The Great Wall, warriors
China Case Study The Great Wall Of China 2 China Case Study The Great Wall Of China 2
India To China 13 India To China 13
India To China 18 India To China 18
CHINA - Xian, terracotta army CHINA - Xian, terracotta army
CHINA Small Recontructions Of The Teracotta Army In Xian China CHINA Small Recontructions Of The Teracotta Army In Xian China
CHINA Terracotta Warriors Xian Clay Statue Of Chinese Qin Dynasty Soldier CHINA Terracotta Warriors Xian Clay Statue Of Chinese Qin Dynasty Soldier
India To China 4 India To China 4
CHINA - Hangzhou, monks CHINA - Hangzhou, monks
CHINA Shanghai Skyline CHINA Shanghai Skyline
CHINA Peninsula Shanghai Sir Elly Terrace CHINA Peninsula Shanghai Sir Elly Terrace
CHINA - Park Hyatt, Shanghai CHINA - Park Hyatt, Shanghai
India To China 15 India To China 15
I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.
George Bernard Shaw

Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
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!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
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!
- Leslie Siben, India
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.
- Mr David Wallace, North India

From our Instagram

From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
#SriLanka has just been awarded the title of #WorldsBestIsland by @travelandleisure 🇱🇰
We couldn’t be happier that this spirited country is getting the recognition it deserves!
Travel with us to get under the skin of this spectacular country 
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Perched up high in the Himalayan Kingdom, the new #SixSenses lodges sit in prime positions in #Bhutan
Our favourites are the sleek properties in #Paro and #Thimphu, for these offer phenomenal sweeping views over the pristine valleys below to the mountains beyond, which sit perfectly at eye-level
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
✨Beautiful Udaipur✨
A pleasure palace built in the 1700s, the location for Octopussy and many a love story, @tajlakepalace is so magical, you can’t quite believe your eyes
📸 @the_adventuresofus during their whirlwind tour of India 🧡🇮🇳
One of our #Cambodia specialists, Simon, has just returned from the wonderful #ShintaManiWild & couldn’t recommend it more! 🇰🇭
Overlooking a crashing waterfall & immersed in rugged jungle, this luxury camp genuinely lives up to its name 🍃
Swipe to peek inside the tents, designed by one of our favourite designers #BillBensley & get a striking bird’s eye view of the camp...
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
#Milaidhoo is magic at all hours - be it in broad daylight, at sunset or under a starry sky - as our General Manager @emilyjanegillman witnessed last week!🏝
The ultimate beach destination, the #Maldives can easily top or tail a tailor-made Ampersand tour & makes for a perfect honeymoon 🇲🇻
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Peek into the Himalayan Kingdom of #Bhutan & discover its extraordinary natural beauty with us 🇧🇹
Vibrant hues compliment earthy tones at every corner, especially within the hotly-anticipated #SixSensesBhutan lodges & at the beautiful @gangteylodge 🍂✨
📸 captured by @jamesjayasundera along his @sixsensesbhutan journey
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
The exhilarating city of #Tokyo has a world-renowned culinary scene & rightfully so! 🇯🇵
Be tempted to join ‘salarymen’ for an evening drink and #yakitori in restaurants and bar likes this 🏮🏮
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Spot mighty lions in #SouthAfrica’s game reserves with the help of our expert guides 🐾 🇿🇦
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience #KrugerNationalPark #SabiSands #Madikwe
(📸 @chris_fischer_photography)

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