This trip takes us on a journey through time and cultures. Join us as we explore Chinaâs glorious past, and todayâs amazing developments. This diverse trip takes us to places such as Suzhouâs ancient trade streets and canals, all the way to the mega-trade city of Shanghai. We visit the ancient capital of ChangâAn, and also the current vibrant capital, Beijing. As well as the urban landscapes of Chinaâs metropolis, we will also be walking through the countryâs natural landscapes in Guilin. Here we realize the contrast between the countryâs urban societies and the lives of traditional farmers in the villages by Yangshuo. Without a doubt, this extensive 14 days trip reveals that China is a country far more complex than what is portrayed in the western media.
DAY 1. ARRIVAL IN BEIJING
Arrive in Beijing, the fascinating capital of the worldâs most populated country. The city mirrors the whole of Chinaâs fast-growing economy and the peopleâs struggle to make it through another day. Skyscrapers rise up only a few steps away from the ancient hutongs; the latest cars glide past rickshaws; and traditions thousands of years old continue to be observed alongside new market rules and a new way of life. All these, and much more, make Beijing one of the worldâs most impressive cities to visit. Upon arrival, and after immigration formalities, meet the local guide and drive to the hotel to recuperate from the long flight (note: check-in at 1400. Early check-in depends on room availability, or an early check-in supplement). At the afternoon take a first orientation tour of the city, visiting the hutongs, which are living evidence of how Beijing looked during imperial times. With families living around central courtyards, sharing their toilets, water, and other facilities, this way of life dates back hundreds of years. Take a rickshaw ride through the calm lanes of the hutongs and get a glimpse of the life of ordinary Beijingers. Then proceed to Houhai, a huge artificial lake which used to be an exclusive lakeside garden for royals, and now a nightlife hotspot, busy with trendy restaurants and pubs. In the evening walk through Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, where, behind some of the worldâs largest shopping malls, visit the night food market. For the brave at heart, a delicious meal of various insects cooked in several ways awaits.
DAY 2. EXPLORE BEIJING
Begin the day with a walk along Tiananmen Square. It is the worldâs largest central city square and it is said that no one could rule China without first gaining control of the square. It is surrounded by important buildings, among them the National Museum and the Great Hall of the People (the Chinese parliament). At the heart of the square there is a mausoleum for Chairman Mao, who reshaped the country, leading the Peopleâs Republic of China from its foundation in 1949 until his death in 1976. Then proceed on foot to the Forbidden City. A common belief in China is that the ancestral spirits in heaven use 10,000 halls on different occasions, so, to show his recognition of the superiority of heaven over earth, the emperor had only 9999 halls built in the Forbidden City for his own use. The compound was forbidden to all but the Imperial Family and their servants, and has been the place from which the emperors of China ruled the country for hundreds of years. Stroll between the halls and the gardens surrounding them and stop at some of the more significant halls. Leave the Forbidden City to the Coal Hill. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, this was the highest observation point in the center of the restless city, offering a great view over the Forbidden City and the whole of Beijing (assuming it is a clear day). In the evening attend the Golden Mask Show, which like anything Chinese is greater than life. This ancient love story of the queen and king who fell in love with each other, and the queen that sacrifice herself and her love to the king for the sake of her people is being performed by a troop of more than 200 dancers and actors in the magnificent OCT theater which was built specifically for this show prior to the 2008 Olympic Games. After the show drive to the hotel for a second night in Beijing.
DAY 3. EXCUSRION TO THE GREAT WALL
Drive out of the city to the famous Great Wall, probably Chinaâs most prominent landmark. What we in the West know as the Wall is actually a system of walls that was built over centuries by different emperors. The Wall is considered to be some 2700 kilometers in length, but if we include all the sections that were built throughout its history, there are some 10,000 kilometers of this enormous man- made structure. Take a round-way cable car for a walk on part of the Wall and hear about its history and how it failed to fulfill its main goal of stopping the Mongols from invading the country. On the way back to the city stop at the Ming Dynasty Tombs at Changling. This site is where most of the Ming Emperors have been buried, after the Ming Emperor Yongle has moved the imperial capital from Nanning, in southern China, to Beijing in the north. Keeping a similar theme, proceed to the Sacred Road. The name derives from the fact that the Chinese believed that a road with several gates leads the souls of the âheavenly familiesâ back to the sky. Arrive back in town and drive to Zone 798, a modern art compound, in which artists from all over the city create and exhibit their work. Here, at the galleries, one can engage in conversation with some of the artists, hearing from them about what it is like to express yourself in a country where self-expression was taboo until not so long ago. Wrap up the day walking through âThe Villageâ. The story of this ultra-modern shopping and entertainment area reflects the story of its developers, the wife and husband that founded SOHO group. With both being born into impoverished families, they have turned into an icon of the reemerging China with net worth of well over 10 billion US dollars. And as such, so is âThe Villageâ- from a sleepy neighborhood of communist era residential blocks, this has turned into one of Beijingâs most prestigious places for the upper-class youth to hang out at.
DAY 4. FROM BEIJING TO XIAN BY BULLET TRAIN
With an early morning start, drive to the Temple of Heaven. This used to be where the emperor, considered to be directly descended from heaven and representing the heavenly spirit on earth, asked for blessings for the Imperial Family and for the entire nation. He asked for good crops, good weather, and prosperity for all. The ceremony lasted for three days during which he did not leave the compound. Nowadays the grounds surroundings the temple are filled with Beijingers of all ages, who come to practice tâai chi and dancing, and indulge in all kinds of recreational activities. Then drive to the train station to board a fantastic bullet-train ride at 300 km/h (186 mph) to Xian. Upon arrival in Xian, meet the guide and driver, and transfer to the hotel. En route, stop for a walk along the old City Wall. This fortified wall, with its massive guard towers and arrow slits faithfully depicts the reality of an ancient capital that had to retain the powers of the newly-made emperor against war-lords that tried to regain control over the territories that has recently been conquered and assimilated into the empire which is now known as China.
DAY 5. BY FLIGHT TO GUILIN
Driving out of the city center, head towards the Terracotta Army Site. Discovered accidentally in 1974 by two farmers plowing their plot, one of the most amazing historical discoveries of our time was made. An entire army made of terracotta, each of the soldiers with different characteristics and fully armored, was created to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor. Explore this breathtaking site and then visit the nearby museum to see the permanent exhibition displaying the rare artifacts found in the site and telling the story of its discovery, excavation, and the ongoing restoration works. Leaving the Terracotta Army site, visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, with its magnificent display of archeological findings that goes back all the way to prehistoric times, with emphasis on the Golden Era of the city, when it was literally âthe center of the worldâ. Precede to the Muslim Quarter. The Muslims settled in Xian during the glory days of the Silk Road, which connected East and West for trading purposes. Originating in Central Asia, the Muslims arrived to trade in the exotic goods they brought to the then capital of the Chinese Empire. Over time, a huge community of Muslims became assimilated into the population and has recreated its traditional way of life. They brought with them their delicious food, their clothes and customs, and built a beautiful Mosque at the heart of the once cosmopolitan capital. Roam the colorful market and visit the Great Mosque, which is a blend of Chinese style and Muslim architecture. At the evening transfer to Xian airport for the flight to Guilin. Arrive in Guilin, meet the local guide, and transfer to the hotel.
DAY 6. FROM GUILIN TO LONGSHENG
Famous for its wonderful scenery, rivers and karst peaks covered in lush greenery, Guilin has a long history as the most beautiful place in China. Actually, the regionâs beauty is so renowned, that an old Chinese scholar once said, âit is better to see Guilin once than to be an angel in heavenâ. Leave the hotel and drive to the Reed Flute Cave, which sheltered the locals from aerial bombardments during World War II, and which contains an amazing display of stalactites. From there drive to Longsheng. The Dragon Ridgeback Mountain features one of the worldâs largest manmade phenomena. In the mountainâs endless slopes, the local peasants have carved with their bare hands thousands and thousands of terraces to capture water streaming down the mountain and use it for crop cultivation. The region is also known for its diverse ethnic groups living there. Hike along the terraces and visit minority villages en route. Then proceed to Pingâan, a traditional village of the Zhuang minority, featuring traditional Zhuang architecture. From the car parking, take a 40 minutesâ walk through the villageâs narrow roads amidst ancient buildings, to the hotel located on a hill overlooking the beautifully carved terraces.
DAY 7. AMIDST MINORITIES AND RICE TERRACES IN LONGSHENG
Spend an entire day walking along rice terraces, stopping at beautiful viewpoints scattered around Pingâan, and pause with local farmers as they cultivate their rice paddies and vegetable plots. Visit nearby minority village, less known to most travelers to the region, and enjoy a traditional lunch. Return in the afternoon to enjoy the magnificent vista of the sun setting over the terraces, and spend a second day in this secluded and tranquil location, away from the hustle and bustle of the big Chinese cities.
DAY 8. TO YANGSHUO
Depart Longsheng and take the beautiful ride along fields and rural areas towards Yangshuo, which is the true jewel in the crown of Guilin region. Before arriving in Yangshuo, take a walk up to Xianggong Hill which is very rightfully considered to be one of the best viewpoints over the Guilin typical karst landscapes. The magnificent birdâs view over this region is an apt prologue for a trip through this region. Continue driving to Fuli old town. After touring through the old townâs streets, embark on a boat ride over the Li (Crystal) River. Disembark the boat and take the time to climb the 800 steps in a mountain path leading to the top of Moon Hill for an outstanding view over the rocky surroundings. In the evening, enjoy the splendid âYangshuo Impressionsâ performance directed by the very same director who was responsible for the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2008. See hundreds of actors performing in the worldâs largest outdoor theater—with the waters of the Li River serving as their stage. This breathtaking show is not to be missed.
DAY 9. EXPLORING YANGSHUO AND THE SURROUNDINGS
Begin the day with a tâai chi session, conducted by a local master, at Yangshuo Park. Here, join local residents who come to celebrate the connection between body and mind, practicing this ancient martial art. Then take a guided tour with a local chef through the colorful fresh produce market to get an idea of what the locals grow and what they eat. Leave the market and head to Chaolong Village for a Chinese cooking class. In the afternoon take a slow Bamboo Raft ride down the picturesque Yulong River. From the place of disembarkation, it is a short way to the Banyan Tree. It is said that this formidable banyan was planted during the Jin Dynasty era and is famous for its age and towering beauty. Back in Yangshuo stroll through West Street, the main street which in the evenings becomes lively and vibrant with travelers from all over the world gathering in the shops and cafes scattered along it.
DAY 10. BY FLIGHT TO SHANGHAI
Check-out the hotel and drive via the highway directly to Guilin airport for the late morning flight to the city of Shanghai, Chinaâs fastest growing metropolis, and probably the place that best tells the story of the emergence of China as a world super-power, rising from a mere fishing village in the 12th century into todayâs status of the worldâs most populated city. Arrive in Shanghai, meet the local guide, and transfer to Yu Yuan Garden and the Chinese market surrounding it. Perfectly maintained to present day, the gardens were built by a Chinese mandarin in the 16th century in honor of his beloved parents. With their six very distinctive areas, these gardens are a true marvel and a great escape from the cityâs hustle and bustle. From here take to Nanjing Road. With more than 600 shops extending over 5.5 km, this is probably Asiaâs busiest trading street, visited daily by more than 1.5 million people—locals and tourists alike—looking for a good bargain, and here one can see the best of the Chinese trading and bargaining customs as they take place. Then precede to the Bund. Since the middle of the 19th century, this street has played a major role in opening up China to the rest of the world. Built on the bank of the Huang Pu River, the Bund served as the main trading area for merchants coming to Shanghai from all over the world to trade for exotic goods and take them to their native countries. It is still a bustling street that offers a great view of the magnificent historic buildings along the river, and a view over the cityâs modern skyline across the river. Wrap up the day with a relaxing cruise on the Huang Pu River, from which hundreds of thousands of lights are seen, making Shanghai the âVegas of the Eastâ.
DAY 11. THE YELLOW MOUNTAIN
Leave Shanghai by bullet train to the city of Tunxi. Upon arrival, take the one-hourâs drive to the foot of the Yellow Mountain. The Mountain, Huangshan in Chinese, considered to be one of the most scenic mountains in China due its natural characteristics of needle-like peaks and uniquely shaped pine trees. Take a cable car up the mountain. From the upper cable car station, take a walk along a scenic trail to the hotel for the night. En route pause at different viewpoints for marvelous views over the mountainâs dramatic scenery, and enjoy the mesmerizing view of the sun setting over its peaks.
DAY 12. TOUR ANCIENT VILLAGES
With a very early morning call, go to a viewing platform to enjoy the sunrise over the mountain. The sunrise of Huangshan is famed for the âsea of cloudsâ- the layer of clouds that lies low below the mountain peaks, creating an illusion that these peaks are rising from beneath the sea. Revert to the hotel for breakfast, and then take another few hoursâ hike through the trails carved along the mountain to enjoy the unique landscape so typical to Huangshan. Around noon time take the cable car âback to earthâ and drive to Hongcun, an ancient village and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its well preserved uniquely designed buildings. The village is said to be constructed at the shape of a water buffalo around Nanhu Lake. The lakeâs water then flow through manmade canals to each of the villageâs houses. The houses are exquisitely carved with symbols typical to the time of construction. Today, from 158 houses dated back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties, some 140 are preserved in excellent condition. Walk through the village streets which served as the location for the famous âCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonâ movie. Late in the afternoon take to the train station for the bullet train ride back to Shanghai. Arrive in Shanghai late in the evening and take an evening tour through Tianzifang, which has transformed itself from legacy residential and industrial zone into an artsy area housing bars, cafĂ©s, craft shops, design studios, galleries and boutiques. It is ardently supported by crowds of yuppies, trend setters, designers and expatriates, who fall for temptation of old Shikumen houses (stone-framed-door houses) and lanes with infinite novelties.
DAY 13. SHANGHAI URBAN TOUR
The day would be dedicated to exploring Pudong- the newly developed part of town. This is the beating heart of Shanghaiâs fast-growing economy. Cross below the Huang Pu River, the cityâs lifeline in the somewhat psychedelic Shanghai Tourist Tunnel, a very unique experience of lights and music. Then go on to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which rises 468 meters above the city. With its unique design, the tower has become the cityâs own trademark. Here visit the Shanghai History Museum- a magnificent display of wax characters and ancient models telling the story of the development the city has seen in the last two centuries. Climb atop Jinmao Tower in the heart of Pudong District. An 88-story building, the Jinmao is a prominent landmark in the city. Take one of the worldâs fastest elevators to the viewing platform at the towerâs top for a view over the city from high above, offering unparalleled vista over the impressive high risers that makes Shanghaiâs skyline, and make the city a bustling financial center. At the afternoon pause by to Kejiguan Market, a great place to get some Chinese souvenirs and some good-priced knock-offs of international brands. Continue to a visit Shanghai Urban Planning Museum. This impressive and uniquely designed building lies right at the heart of the city. It contains a scaled model of the entire city of Shanghai, alongside smaller displays of the cityâs development history. With its unique history as a multi-national city for decades, this is a great place to learn about the different roles Shanghai has played over the years. End the day attending a breathtaking traditional Chinese Acrobatics Show, featuring stunning displays of strength and stamina by the young acrobats. Then revert to the hotel for a last night in China.
DAY 14. DEPARTURE FROM CHINA
After breakfast, leave the hotel and drive back to Shanghai Airport, this time to sat farewell and take the international departing flight out of China.
Dates & Pricing
Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.
- Note: Trip rates are valid all year round, but are not valid for trips that occur (in whole, or in part) during Chinese national holidays:
New Year (1-3 Jan 2021)
Chinese Spring Festival (11-17 Feb 2021)
Qingming Festival (4-6 Apr 2020, 2-4 Apr 2021)
Labor Day Holiday (1-5 May 2020, 28 Apr-2 May 2021)
Dragon Boat Festival (25-27 Jun 2020, 12-14 Jun 2021)
Mid-Autumn Festival (19-21 Sep 2021)
National Day Holiday (1-8 Oct 2020, 1-7 Oct 2021)
[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
Prices are based on twin share occupancy.
Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$3162/ person
6 travelers- US$2960/ person
8 travelers- US$2819/ person
- Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.
1st September, 2020–14th September, 2020
- $3,905 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $981 Single Room Supplement
8th September, 2020–21st September, 2020
- $3,860 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $883 Single Room Supplement
- 2 domestic flights: Xian/Guilin/Shanghai by economy class
- 3 bullet train rides: Beijing-Xian Shanghai-Tunxi-Shanghai by 1st class seats
- Accommodation at hotels selected including breakfast
- Transfer by private A/C vehicle
- Meals as indicated in the program
- English speaking guide for each area as per program
- Entry fees for all sightseeing as mentioned on the program
- All shows as per program
- International travel to Beijing and from Shanghai
- Travel insurance
- Chinese tourist visa
- Excess luggage
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not clearly mentioned in the program
- Beijing â Park Plaza 4-star
- Xian â Grand Noble Hotel 4-star
- Guilin â Jolie Vue Boutique 4-star
- Longsheng- Baike Hotel 4-star
- Yangshuo â Green Lotus Hotel 5-star
- Huangshan- Xihai Hotel 4-star
- Shanghai â Central Hotel 4-star
Note: the listed hotels are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.
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