China Delights

14 days introduction to Chinese culture, history and natural beauty

China Delights

China

  • Active Adventures
  • Asian Delights
  • Walking
  • Culture
14 Days
3 Flights
Child friendly

Recommended dates for the trip: March & April, September & October (please refer to the list of Chinese national holidays below during which these rates do not apply)

Next Departures

Itinerary

This trip takes us on a journey through time and cultures. Join us as we explore China’s glorious past, and today’s amazing developments. This diverse trip takes us to places such as Suzhou’s ancient trade streets and canals, all the way to the mega-trade city of Shanghai. We visit the ancient capital of Chang’An, and also the current vibrant capital, Beijing. As well as the urban landscapes of China’s metropolis, we will also be walking through the country’s natural landscapes in Guilin. Here we realize the contrast between the country’s 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

  • Dinner

We arrive in Beijing, the fascinating capital of the world’s most populous country. This city mirrors the whole of China’s fast-growing economy. Some of its inhabitants are benefiting, and yet there are still people in the cities and rural areas who have to 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 thousands of years old traditions continue to be observed alongside new market rules and a new way of life. All these, and much more, make Beijing one of the world’s most impressive cities to visit. We meet our guide at 14:00 at the airport meeting point, and then drive 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). From there, we visit 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. We take a rickshaw ride through the calm streets of the hutongs, and get a glimpse of the life of ordinary Beijingers. In the evening we walk through Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, where, behind some of the world’s largest shopping malls, we visit the night food market. For the brave at heart, a delicious meal of various insects cooked in several ways awaits. After checking in at our hotel, we enjoy a traditional Beijing roast duck dinner. Overnight in Beijing.

Day 2. Beijing

  • Breakfast

We begin the day with a walking tour around Tiananmen Square. It is the world’s 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 People’s Republic of China from its foundation in 1949 until his death in 1976. We 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. We stroll between the halls and the gardens surrounding them and stop at some of the more significant halls. Leaving the Forbidden City, we continue to the Summer Palace. Built during the Qing Dynasty as a resort exclusively for the Imperial Family, this enormous site comprises various temples, the world’s longest decorated corridor, and today offers Beijingers a place where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In the evening we attend the Golden Mask Show, which, like anything Chinese, is larger than life. This is an ancient love story of a queen and king who fall in love, and the queen who sacrifices herself and her love to the king, for the sake of her people. It is 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. Overnight in Beijing.

Day 3. Beijing

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive out of the city to the famous Great Wall, probably China’s most prominent landmark. What we in the West know as the Great 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. We 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 our way back to the city, we pause at the Sacred Road, where the Imperial Families were given their last resting place. The name derives from the fact that the Chinese believed that a road with several gates, leads the souls of the ‘heavenly families’ back to the sky. We then stop for a view over the famous Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, the two main venues of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In the late afternoon we stop by Zone 798, a modern art compound, in which artists from all over the city create and exhibit their work. We get to talk to 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. Overnight in Beijing.

Day 4. Beijing - Xi’an

  • Breakfast

With an early morning start, we 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 would not leave the compound. Nowadays the grounds surroundings the temple are filled with Beijingers of all ages, who come to practice t’ai chi and dancing, and indulge in all kinds of recreational activities. We can’t depart Beijing before paying a quick visit to Panjiayuan Market, also known as the farmers market. Here we wander amidst bustling market booths, where both foreign visitors and locals arrive to purchase anything from fresh vegetables and food produces, all the way to Tibetan souvenirs. We then drive to the train station, from there we take a fantastic bullet-train ride at 300 km/h to Xian. Upon arrival in Xian we meet our guide and driver, and drive to our hotel. Overnight in Xian.

Day 5. Xian

  • Breakfast

Known as ‘The Eternal Peace’ during the Tang Dynasty, Xian was the center of the ‘old world’. It was also the center of the first Chinese Empire, after the first Qin emperor conquered the nearby feudal kingdoms, and laid the foundations of the great united Chinese empire. Driving out of the city center, we 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. It was created to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor. We explore this breathtaking site and then visit the nearby museum to see the permanent exhibition there. Here are displayed the rare artifacts found in the site and also descriptions of its discovery, excavation, and the restoration works. Leaving the Terracotta Army site, we make our way to the bustling 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 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. We roam the colorful market and visit the Great Mosque, which is a blend of Chinese and Muslim architecture. In the evening we enjoy a Tang era concert of dancing and singing. For dinner we’ll experience a traditional dumpling dinner, followed by a visit to the South Gate of the ancient City Wall, which dates from the Ming Dynasty. Overnight in Xian.

Day 6. Xi’an ✈ Chengdu – Leshan - Emeishan

  • Breakfast

We take the first available flight, and head to Chengdu. It lies at the heart of a fertile land, commonly known in China as the “Country of Heaven”. Chengdu has been a significant location to various cultures for more than four thousand years, and it is known as “Nature’s Storehouse”. As such, the city is a fusion of cultural and religious influences, which have left their mark on every street corner. Upon arrival, we visit one of the world’s largest wildlife rescue operations, the Panda Research and Breeding Center. Here researchers from all over the world have joined forces to save this rapidly declining species. We shall learn about the rescue efforts and get to see these friendly, playful bears. We then head towards Leshan. On our arrival, we take a short boat trip to see the Giant Buddha, the world’s tallest statue of a seated Buddha. It is believed that the statue, carved into the mountain, was built by ancient sailors to protect them from the turbulent waters of the swiftly flowing rivers. Indeed, once the statue was built, the turbulence stopped, and, when we are on site, we shall understand how this mysterious change came about. From Leshan, we go on to Emeishan. Overnight in Emeishan.

Day 7. Emeishan – Chengdu ✈ Guilin

  • Breakfast

Emeishan is one of China’s four sacred peaks. The history of this famous pilgrimage site goes back to the Eastern Han Dynasty, when construction of some of the many temples that once dotted the mountain began. However, the majority of these temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and massive reconstruction efforts are now under way. We take a cable car to the Wanniansi Temple and then walk down the mountain, enjoying the tranquil scenery and visiting some of the temples along the way. On reaching the bottom of the mountain, we drive back to Chengdu, from there we take a flight to Guilin. 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 region’s beauty is so renowned, that an old Chinese scholar once said “it is better to see Guilin once than to be an angel in heaven”. As we land, we meet our driver and guide, and drive to our hotel for the night. Overnight in Guilin.

Day 8. Guilin – Longsheng – Yangshuo

  • Breakfast

In the morning we drive to Longsheng. We visit the Dragon Ridgeback Mountain, which features one of the world’s largest manmade creations. In the endless slopes of the mountain, 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. We climb to the top of the terraces to take in their enormous extent and to enjoy the great view over the beautiful landscape. The region of Longsheng is also known for the diversified ethnic groups living there and we stop at some of their villages to learn about their traditions and customs. Late in the afternoon we drive to Yangshuo, considered by many as the true jewel in the crown of this magnificent region. After checking in at our hotel, we enjoy a relaxing evening along West Street, which in the evenings becomes lively and vibrant with travelers from all over the world, gathering in the shops and cafes spread along it. Overnight in Yangshuo.

Day 9. Yangshuo

  • Breakfast

We leave Yangshuo on a 2 hour drive to the ancient town of Fuli. After a walking tour around the city’s old streets, we embark on a boat ride along the Li (Crystal) River, as we head towards the town of Yangshuo. Along the way we get a glimpse of life on the river banks. In the small villages, the locals depend totally on the river to sustain their way of life. The river is not only their main mean of transportation but also the source of water for their fields, washing their clothes, and even drinking. On arriving at Yangshuo, we take our time to climb the 800 steps of the mountain path, leading to the top of Moon Hill for an outstanding view over the rocky surroundings. In the afternoon we take a trip by bicycle throughout the rural area of Yangshuo, where we get to see up-close the lives of the villagers who work their rice paddies and small terraced fields. In the evening, we enjoy the unique “Yangshuo Impressions” performance directed by the same director that was responsible for the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2008, when hundreds of actors performed in the world’s largest outdoor theater, with the waters of the Li River serving as their stage. This breathtaking show is not to be missed. Overnight in Yangshuo.

Day 10. Yangshuo - Guilin ✈ Hangzhou

  • Breakfast

Leaving Yangshuo, we head back to Guilin. Here we visit the famous Reed Flute Cave, which sheltered the locals from aerial bombardments during World War II, and which contains an amazing display of stalactites. We then continue to Fubo Hill, a rock massif, half of it over the land, while the other half is in the Li River. We don’t leave Guilin without paying a quick visit to the city’s own landmark, the Elephant Trunk Hill. We then drive to the airport, from there we take our evening flight to Hangzhou. Serving as the Imperial Capital from the time of the Southern Song Dynasty in the early 12th century, and until the Mongols conquered China in the late 13th century; Hangzhou was once home to many significant government buildings. However, a series of fires in the 12th and 13th century destroyed much of these historic monuments. If time permits, we will take a stroll through Hefang Street, Hangzhou’s lively pedestrian street, well known for its vibrant atmosphere and for showcasing ancient Chinese traditions. Overnight in Hangzhou.

Day 11. Hangzhou - Suzhou

  • Breakfast

We begin the day with a visit to the Six Harmonies Pagoda, which was built during the Song Dynasty, and is located at the top of Yuelun Hill. It is believed that the pagoda was built to help the locals control the Qiantang River, and also as a navigational aid. From there, we continue to the Hidden Souls Temple, which dates back to the very early Eastern Jin Dynasty. It is said that the temple was built by an Indian monk who believed that the breathtaking scenery could only be the final retreat of all souls. We continue to a tea plantation out of town. Here, and in the nearby Tea Museum, we walk through the plantations, and learn about the delicate process taken to extract the essence of this fragrant plant, turning it into the drink consumed by millions all around the globe. In the late afternoon we go for a boat ride on the West Lake, probably Hangzhou’s most prominent landmark. Leaving Hangzhou, we head to Suzhou. In 1276 Marco Polo, the famous Venetian merchant and explorer, visited Suzhou, and wrote of its people “They live by trade and handicrafts. They make a great deal of silk cloth for clothes. There are great and wealthy merchants.” (The Travels of Marco Polo by L. F. Benedetto). Overnight in Suzhou.

Day 12. Suzhou – Shanghai

  • Breakfast

Known throughout China as the City of Gardens, we begin our tour of Suzhou with a visit to the Garden of the Net Master. First built during the Song Dynasty era, this is the smallest residential garden in Suzhou. However, unique architecture and sophisticated land use gives an impression of a much larger garden. We then continue to Suzhou New Museum. The building housing the museum is an attraction by itself, designed by the award winning architect Ieoh Ming Pei on the grounds of the ancient Prince Zhong’s Mansion. Inside, the museum features a rich display of ancient artifacts alongside more modern art exhibitions. Our next stop is the Embroidery Research Center. Located in the heart of yet another one of Suzhou’s famous gardens, and established back in 1957, this institute is dedicated to the unique art of silk embroidery. With a long history, Suzhou embroidery is characterized by beautiful patterns, elegant colors, and rich and meticulous stitching. We then go riding atop a rickshaw along the ancient streets of Pingjiang Old City, before visiting Shantang Old Street. The street was originally built by Bai Juyi, a famous Chinese poet of Tang dynasty era. As one of the most antiquated communities in Suzhou, the street has retained its original layout for more than 1000 years. Strolling around the street, we are able to see houses with white washed walls and black tiles as well as a canal that runs along the street. Late in the evening we drive to Shanghai’s gigantic metropolis. Overnight in Shanghai.

Day 13. Shanghai

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

We wake up in Shanghai, 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 today’s status of the world’s most populated city. We drive to Shanghai’s old town to visit the Yu Yuan Garden and the Chinese Bazaar. Perfectly maintained to the 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 city’s hustle and bustle. Our next stop is at the Shanghai Museum, which provides a fascinating insight into China’s 5000 years of history, with many rare artifacts on display that have both historical and artistic significance. From here we go 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. It is still a bustling street that offers a great view of the magnificent buildings along the river. A short distance from the Bund we stop at Nanjing Road. With more than 600 shops extending over 5.5 km, this is probably Asia’s busiest trading street, visited daily by more than 1.5 million people, locals and tourists alike, looking for a good bargain. It is also here that you can see the best of the Chinese trading and bargaining customs as they take place. In the evening we proceed to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which rises to 468 meters and offers a great view over the city and its harbor. With its unique design, the tower has become the city’s own trademark. We then enjoy a farewell dinner before attending a breathtaking traditional Chinese acrobatics show, featuring stunning displays of strength and stamina by the young acrobats. Overnight in Shanghai.

Day 14. Departure from Shanghai

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at our hotel, we drive to Shanghai airport for our international departing flight.

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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: Qingming Festival (2-5 Apr), Labor Day Holiday (30 Apr - 3 May), Dragon Boat Festival (9-12 June), Mid-Autumn Festival (14-18 Sep), and National Holiday (30 Sep7 Oct).

[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$3019/ person
6 travelers- US$2813/ person
8 travelers- US$2691/ person

  • Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.

19th May, 2020–1st June, 2020

  • $3,860 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $883 Single Room Supplement

8th September, 2020–21st September, 2020

  • $3,860 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $883 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • 3 Domestic flights as indicated: Xian/Chengdu/Guilin/Hangzou
  • 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

Exclusions
  • International travel to and from China
  • Travel insurance
  • Chinese visa
  • Excess luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not clearly mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • Beijing – Kapok Hotel 4-star
  • Xian – Titan Times Hotel 4-star
  • Emeishan – Hongzhushan 5# 5-star
  • Guilin – Bravo Hotel 4-star
  • Yangshuo – Green Lotus Hotel 5-star
  • Hangzhou – Haihua Hotel 4-star
  • Suzhou – Garden Hotel 5-star
  • Shanghai – 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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