Hong Kong and Shanghai are two of China’s most cosmopolitan cities, and their thriving arts’ cultures and complex histories have made them locations for the exchange of ideas between very different worlds. Discover the art and culture of these two cities on this new tour, exploring their traditional and contemporary art and architecture, private gallery districts, culinary traditions and major collections. The tour also includes guided visits to Art Basel in Hong Kong, the premier contemporary art event in the Asia-Pacific region, in which more than 200 private galleries showcase their wares.
Get to know
Exceptional modern and contemporary art, presented by many of the world’s leading galleries
The unique histories of China’s most cosmopolitan cities, from ancient pasts to colonial heritage, and their emergence as modern cultural capitals
Traditional Chinese art and architecture, from temples and calligraphy to porcelain and painting
Old meets new: contemporary Chinese art in Shanghai’s commercial galleries, which represent many of China’s most innovative artists
The culinary traditions and fine dining of Hong Kong and Shanghai
Guided visits to Art Basel in Hong Kong, the leading art fair in the Asia-Pacific region
Shanghai’s premier galleries and museums, including the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, and Nanshi Power Station of Art
Exploring renowned art districts, such as the Bund and M50, with their fantastic and evolving exhibitions
Take a step back in time at traditional temples and gardens, including the Po Lin Monastery and Ming Dynasty Yuyuan Gardens
Experience Hong Kong’s thriving food culture, from markets to haute cuisine
Day 1: Arrive in Hong Kong, tour the city by coach.
Days 2–3: Appreciate world-class art at Art Basel Hong Kong, visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha, and enjoy Hong Kong’s vibrant food culture.
Day 4: Fly to Shanghai, tour the city by coach and admire traditional Chinese garden design at the Yuyuan Gardens.
Days 5–6: Explore Shanghai’s art and architecture, including traditional art at the Shanghai Museum, and contemporary and modern art in the Bund and M50 arts districts, home to cutting-edge galleries.
Days 7–8: Take a day trip to a traditional and ancient Chinese water town; departure.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qantas and Cathay Pacific fly daily from Australia. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Thursday 28 March: Arrive
Flights from most Australian cities arrive in Hong Kong in the late afternoon or early evening. We meet in the hotel for an introductory talk and then enjoy dinner. Overnight Hong Kong. (D)
Friday 29 March: Hong Kong and Art Basel
Hong Kong’s extraordinary history, from its early foundations, to its growth as the centre of British trade and finance in Asia and its transfer back to China almost twenty years ago, is evident everywhere. This morning we explore the island’s history and culture through a tour of Central – originally Victoria City – whose architecture ranges from British Colonial through to stunning buildings designed by I.M. Pei and Norman Foster. After a break for lunch, we have a guided visit of Art Basel HK, at which well over 200 internationally respected commercial galleries, mostly from the Asia-Pacific, showcase their wares. After our guided visit, there is time for independent exploration, and you may want to visit some of the other sections of the fair, which are dedicated to large-scale sculptures and installations by international artists. Overnight Hong Kong. (B)
Saturday 30 March: Po Lin Monastery and Contemporary Art
Despite its modernity, Hong Kong retains close links to its ancient culture. This morning we travel by coach to the Po Lin Monastery, a Buddhist temple founded by three monks in the early 20th century. The traditional Chinese Buddhist architecture of the temple is beautifully situated with views across the bay, over which gazes a 34-metre-high bronze Buddha. In the afternoon, we continue exploring the contemporary art on display in and around Art Basel, taking in a selection of the year’s best offerings. Evening at leisure. Overnight Hong Kong. (B)
Sunday 31 March: To Shanghai
This morning take the short flight to Shanghai. After checking into our hotel, we tour the Bund district. This district, where the British, American and French settled as their main point of contact with mainland China, gave Shanghai its reputation as the Paris of the East. After a group lunch, we explore the colonial architecture along the river front is well preserved, and it remains the most fashionable place to be seen in Shanghai, not least for the views it offers across the skyline of Pudong. Our tour concludes with a visit to Yu Garden, the private garden of Shanghai’s 16th-century rulers, and today one of the best examples of Ming-era garden design. The evening is at leisure. Overnight Shanghai. (B, L)
Monday 1 April: Art and Architecture in Shanghai
Shanghai’s museums have collections befitting the cultural capital of one of the world’s largest economies. After a talk in the hotel this morning, we visit the Shanghai Museum, whose collection of ancient art ranges from 10th-century bronzeware, to Ming dynasty furniture, and porcelain and lacquered wood from across the ages. After a break for lunch in the area, we visit the Aurora Museum, the private collection of the Aurora Group’s chairman, housed in the company’s headquarters which was designed by Tadao Ando. After our visit, we take an architecture tour of the Pudong, where teams of internationally acclaimed architects and engineers have given the city its new, futuristic landmarks, such as the twisting form of the 632-metre-high Shanghai Tower and the Pearl Radio Tower. In the late afternoon, there is the option of visiting the Rockbund Art Museum, a contemporary art gallery housed in what was originally the museum of the Royal Asiatic Society. Evening at leisure. Overnight Shanghai. (B)
Tuesday 2 April: Suzhou
Today we visit Suzhou, the Shanghai region’s most beautiful watertown. The town – sometimes called the Venice of the East – is famed for its well preserved traditional architecture and for its extensive canal systems, which were the main form of transport in trading centres along the Yangtze Delta. After touring the town, we have lunch in a traditional restaurant. In the afternoon, we visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed gardens of Suzhou, which in addition to their beauty give insight into hundreds of years of Chinese garden design. Evening at leisure. Overnight Shanghai (B, L)
Wednesday 3 April: Contemporary Art in Shanghai
Art has been central to Shanghai’s growth as a modern cultural capital. Today we explore Shanghai’s fantastic collections. In the morning we visit the China Art Museum, an extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary art. The core of the collection is the old Shanghai Art Museum, which rebranded in 2012 when it moved to the China Expo building – an impressive red structure that resembles a traditional Chinese crown. In the afternoon, we visit the nearby Power Station of Art, whose utilitarian architecture on the banks of the river have been transformed into an excellent venue for temporary exhibitions, followed by a visit to the West Bund Long museum. This museum contains part of the largest private art collection in China. We return to the hotel via M50 – a creative space housed inside a former cotton mill. After returning to the hotel, there is time to relax before we have a farewell meal in an excellent restaurant. Overnight Shanghai. (B, D)
Thursday 4 April: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast in the hotel. If you have booked your international travel through Academy Travel, we will include a transfer for your outbound flights.
Dr Nick Gordon
Has a University Medal and a PhD in History and lectures on European art. Nick is also a practicing painter and brings this passion to the visual arts.
Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.
Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.
Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.
We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”
“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.”
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.