Hong Kong and Shanghai are two of China’s most cosmopolitan cities, and their thriving art cultures and complex histories have made them ideal locations for the exchange of ideas between very different worlds. Discover the art and culture of these two cities on this 9-day tour, exploring contemporary art and architecture, gallery districts, culinary traditions and major private 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 commercial galleries showcase their wares.
Art Basel in Hong Kong: the leading art fair in the Asia-Pacific region
Shanghai’s cutting-edge private collections and galleries, such as the Long Museum, The Yun, and the Rockbund Art Museum
Renowned art districts with their fantastic, evolving exhibitions, from the West Bund and M50 in Shanghai to Hong Kong’s new M+ and Tai Kwun
Architecture in Shanghai: Art Deco to contemporary
Hong Kong’s thriving food culture, markets and haute cuisine
A glorious past, including Suzhou’s World Heritage-listed Ming dynasty gardens and Aurora Museum’s private collection of Chinese antiquities
Days 1–3: Arrive in Hong Kong, drinks and dinner with a view over the city skyline. Appreciate world-class art at Art Basel Hong Kong, enjoy Hong Kong’s vibrant food culture, visit Tai Kwun and Hong Kong’s commercial gallery district, as well as Sotheby’s spring exhibition.
Day 4: Visit M+ in Hong Kong. Flight to Shanghai.
Days 5–6: Shanghai’s art and architecture, from traditional art at the Ando-designed Aurora Museum to contemporary and modern art in private collections along the new West Bund art precinct.
Days 7–9: Suzhou’s Ming dynasty gardens. Art Deco Shanghai, including a tour of the Peace Hotel and Bund waterfront.
Start & Finish
The tour starts in our hotel in Hong Kong and ends at the hotel in Shanghai. Qantas offers direct flights into Hong Kong and out of Shanghai from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday 18 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 aperitif and then enjoy dinner. Overnight Hong Kong. (D)
Thursday 19 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. Our walking tour includes visits to galleries and to Tai Kwun, the former police headquarters converted into an art centre by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. After a break for lunch, we visit Art Basel Hong Kong, where well over 200 internationally respected commercial galleries, mostly from the Asia-Pacific, showcase their wares. Your tour leader has extensive knowledge of the work on display and of the Asian art world, enabling you to meet and talk to the artists and curators. After a structured visit, there is time for independent exploration, and you may want to visit some of the other sections of the fair. Overnight Hong Kong. (B)
Friday 20 March: Art in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s colonial past is present everywhere in the city, but the density of the high rise can make it difficult to find. This morning we explore the past and present of Hong Kong by visiting the Asia Society of Hong Kong Center. Today the Asia Society inhabits the former Victoria Barracks, and its main building is the colonial barrack’s magazine. After touring the historic architecture and the visiting the art exhibitions on view, we continue exploring the contemporary art on display in and around Art Basel, including the exhibition Sotheby’s puts on above Art Basel to show off what is about to go up for auction. Evening at leisure. Overnight Hong Kong. (B)
Saturday 21 March: To Shanghai
This morning we explore the local art scene in Hong Kong, before taking a mid-afternoon flight to Shanghai. After checking into our hotel, we tour the local area – a short stroll from the historic Bund district whose art deco and colonial buildings look across to the towers of Pudong, symbols of Shanghai’s rebirth as an international financial and cultural centre. Dinner and overnight Shanghai. (B, L)
Sunday 22 March: 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 China Art Museum, the main state-owned collection of modern and contemporary art to see its collection, including the 27-metre long animated version of the 900-year old Zhang Zeduan’s Along the River During the Qingming Festival. After lunch we contrast the state-owned museum with one of the Shanghai’s many private collections. The Aurora Museum is a five-floor building designed by Tadao Ando to house the chairman of the Aurora Group’s private collection of antiquities, from ancient pottery to Ming Dynasty Porcelain, exquisite works in jade and Buddhist sculpture. The building itself is one of the architectural symbols of Pudong – Shanghai’s financial district – which also includes the twisting form of the 632-metre-high Shanghai Tower and the Pearl Radio Tower. In the mid-afternoon, we return to the colonial city, and tour the Peace Hotel, perhaps the best-preserved art deco building on the Bund. Evening at leisure. Overnight Shanghai. (B)
Monday 23 March: Suzhou
Today we visit Suzhou, the Shanghai region’s most beautiful watertown. The town, once called the Venice of the East for its canals, has thrived as the headquarters of Samsung and Nike, making it one of the richest cities in China. The town is perhaps more prized for its exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Listed gardens, which we visit a selection of, including the splendid Ming Dynasty Garden of the Humble Administrator. The gardens not only give insight into hundreds of years of history of garden design, but they also play an instrumental role in the development of Chinese painting. Returning to Shanghai, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Shanghai (B, L)
Tuesday 24 March: Contemporary art in West Bund
The West Bund used to be home to Shanghai’s heavy industry – power stations, factories and the city’s first airport. The industry moved out more than 20 years ago and the area is now part of the inner city, making it an ideal locale to transform into an arts and leisure precinct. Several kilometres of river front have been converted into a garden lined esplanade, which links together many of Shanghai’s art institutions, such as the Power Station of Art, the Long Museum (part of the largest private collection of art in China), the Centre for Photography and even gallery spaces inside the aviation fuel tanks of the former airport. Each space hosts a broad range of exhibitions throughout the year, and today we visit a selection of what’s on offer. In the late afternoon, we return to the hotel via the Rockbund Art Museum, a contemporary gallery housed in the former building of the Royal Asiatic Society. Evening at leisure. Overnight Shanghai (B)
Wednesday 25 March: Universes in Universes
Shanghai, despite its enormous population and rapid development transformation over the past 15 years, remains a city of neighbourhoods. Perhaps more strangely for a city of this size, they are often quiet and peaceful. We explore some of these neighbourhoods today, starting with M50 Creativity Space. The former cotton mills are now a labyrinth of artist studios and galleries, and the birthplace of the contemporary art scene in Shanghai. We then travel to a different world, when we visit Rong Zhai – an art deco Mansion that has been lovingly restored by Prada. The building preserves the glamour of Old Shanghai, and also tastefully hosts the Prada Foundation’s art exhibitions. After a break for lunch, we enjoy a historical walking tour of the French Concession, whose plane tree-lined streets, laneways and terrace housing reveal an unexpected history. Dinner in a fine restaurant in the French Concession. Overnight Shanghai (B, D)
Thursday 26 March: 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 Anita Archer
A specialist on Chinese art, with more than 20 years’ experience as an auctioneer and consultant in Australia and abroad.
Dr Anita Archer holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her academic knowledge of the Chinese contemporary art market has grown from her distinguished (and ongoing) career as an arts consultant and auctioneer, working in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and London.
Anita grew up in the UK and, after completing her study of art history, trained as an auctioneer and evaluator at Sothebys, London. Anita has led and organised tours for the University of Melbourne as well as for small groups of art collectors in Asia and the Middle East.
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.