They profoundly changed Beijing and reshaped the map of Asia, but who were the Manchus? While their empire is now a part of history, the Manchu culture and people have left an indelible mark on China. Their stories live on in documents, inscriptions, and in the tombs of China’s last emperors.

Spend a spring weekend with writer and historian Dr. Jeremiah Jenne (Beijing by Foot) and local expert Yue Xiaohong for an unforgettable exploration of Manchu tombs, history, and culture in the heart of Hebei Province.

On this springtime weekend adventure, we’ll visit old fortress towns where the people are the direct descendants of the men who guarded the tombs for the emperor. We’ll get hands-on with traditional inkstones, and learn more about the Manchu people, their history, and how they managed to rule China for over 260 years. Along the way, we will also experience the glorious Chinese countryside in the spring, taking in the crisp air and beautiful scenery. At night, stay in a beautifully remodeled Manchu-style courtyard and dine on regional specialties.

Just a short ride from Beijing, a world of history, culture, and adventure awaits you!

Our weekend excursion costs 2,350 RMB per person, and includes:

– Round trip coach transfer from central Beijing to Yixian

– Expert tour guides, including Dr. Jeremiah Jenne (Beijing by Foot)

– 1-night twin-share accommodation at the local Manchu Guesthouse

– Meals, drinks, and snacks

– Inkstone-carving  workshop

– Tour of Western Qing Tombs, Inkstone Museum, and historically-significant Manchu village

– Scenic morning hike near Yi Lake


The Last Tombs of the Manchu Empire will run on Saturday, April 8th and Sunday, April 9th, 2023. To book your spot email travel[at]thehutong.com


Saturday, April 8

Morning

– Depart 8:30 AM from Beijing (allow 2 – 2.5 hours bus transfer)

– Every official had on his desk the Four Treasures of the Scholar: The brush, the paper, the ink stick, and the inkstone. Connoisseurs past and present considered the inkstones from this region to be among the finest in all of China. Our first stop on our adventure is to learn how these incredible treasures were made and to learn how to carve our own designs. The master carvers will guide us through the process and then teach us a few of the brush skills needed for elegant calligraphy.

Afternoon

– A lunch of local specialties served nearby the Inkstone Museum

– Then it’s on to our first set of tombs! Local expert Yue Xiaohong, who grew up among the tombs, will guide us through the final resting places of four of the Qing emperors, their families, and their concubines. Jeremiah will share with us his research on the emperors and their lives and we’ll also be sure to hear the fascinating stories behind the tombs of the last two emperors: The Guangxu Emperor, poisoned in 1908, and his successor the boy emperor Puyi!

– Exploration of historic Manchu village, home of the imperial mausoleum keepers. Learn the rich and fascinating history and culture of the families who have populated this village over the past three hundred years (and still live here to this day!).

Evening

– Dinner: Savor local specialties and unique flavors during a delicious Manchu feast.

– Check into our beautiful, traditional guesthouse accommodation and wind down the day with some beverages and a trivia pub quiz.

Sunday, April 9

Morning

– Breakfast at Guesthouse (including coffee and tea)

– Hiking the Hebei countryside. Here, we’ll learn the history of the area, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and stretch our legs along a hillside path.

Afternoon

– Brunch and Discussion

– Return to Beijing with an ETA sometime in the later afternoon on Sunday