You are currently viewing the website in desktop version.

Back To PenCities

Pride of Private Guides

January 11, 2016
Context Tours 

With tourist numbers down post-holiday season, now’s the perfect time of year to visit Beijing’s most famed sites, including the Forbidden City and Great Wall. But don’t brave it alone – join one of LUXE’s favourite private tour operators, Context Travel, to learn about the architecture, symbolism, and discover the history behind the mythologies. 

Historians, PhDs, and sinologists from local universities act as docents for in-depth jaunts, leading small groups that cap at six (or you can arrange bespoke). Opt for a three-hour tour covering imperialism via the Forbidden City; or follow the story of the Qing (the last dynasty) by visiting the Summer Palace. Alternatively, you can dedicate a whole eight hours to tour the blissfully crowd-free Jinshanling section of the Great Wall.

For broader sweeps, sign up for ‘A History of Chinese Thought’, which distills the history of this country’s theology from Confucianism to Buddhism, and visits Lama Temple, the Temple of Confucius, and the Altar of the Earth. Or if you’re more interested in modern day politics, there’s ‘Tiananmen and the Making of Modern China’, explaining modern, communist, C.20th and C.21st China and the importance of the iconic landmark.

Meanwhile, gallery enthusiasts and art buffs will enjoy the ‘Is It Art?’ walk, winding through the famed 798 District with stops at prominent galleries; and culture vultures can join ‘Hip Hutongs’, detailing the transformation of the historical hutong communities into the modern, cultural and retail enclaves they are today. 

Whatever you choose, you can expect to learn a lot from the experts – and with your eyes firmly on the sights, rather than buried in a book.

Call +1 800 691 6036 / book online at