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Despite China’s 21st century emergence as a major economic power, a lot of the country still remains hidden behind closed doors . . . but not for long. On September 23, Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific launched brand new China Experience tours designed by local experts to provide unparalleled VIP access to normally off-limits attractions. Starting at $3,000 a pop, these all-inclusive, ultra-exclusive expeditions offer behind-the-scenes peaks of protected heritage sites scattered throughout Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai – like The Forbidden City’s Imperial Palace tea room, Xian’s national treasure vault, and Pit #5 of the famous Terracotta Warrior Museum (normally only open to archeologists). In addition to dining with locals in a traditional courtyard (“hutong”) and taking private tai-chi lessons, visitors can explore the better-known Great Wall and Tiananmen Square (pictured).
With six packages to choose from, there’s a trip for every type of traveler – including a volunteer option and two brief stints (in either Beijing or Shanghai) inclusive of business class airfare and 3 sweet nights’ slumber at your pick of a Grand Hyatt or Ritz. An upcoming World Expo tour is in the works for May 2010, when Shanghai will host China’s first world’s fair – expected to draw the largest number of visitors in the event’s 150-plus-year history.
U.S. flights depart from LAX/JFK/SFO (the price does not include transportation to these airports from other cities). To book a China Experience tour, call 877-324-4623 or visit www.cathaypacific.com/us/chinaexperience.