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Fascinating China – Pandas, Culture & History

Description

For those with limited time, this 16 Night China itinerary was designed so you can easily combine (6) destination modules together to extend your holiday and experience the best China city highlights at an enjoyable pace!

Shanghai|Hangzhou|Beijing|Xian|Chengdu|Hong Kong

SHANGHAI– 4 Days / 3 Nights

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN SHANGHAI
You will be met by local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel.

Dinner at leisure.

Optional Dinner- Ye Shanghai for Shanghai food
Situated just a leisurely stroll away from Fuxing Park lies this temple to Shanghai cuisine. Flickering lights, warm interiors, live ’20s-Shanghai style jazz music on weekend nights and an old wooden door make this a find for first dates or wining and dining visitors on xiaolongbao, mango pudding and sweet and sour pork. Half portions of dishes are also available for light eaters and solo diners.

With links to 110 cities in 48 countries, the commercial, trading and transportation hub of Shanghai is the gateway to China for many travellers. Though rich in cultural heritage, the city’s prime calling card is its urban charm. The People’s Square and the banks of Huangpujiang River offer great sightseeing, business and shopping opportunities. You can shop in high-end venues for designer items or cruise through the backstreets to hunt for interesting trinkets, including a myriad of traditional Chinese handicrafts.

Suzhou, Tongli, Sheshan Mountain, Dingshan Lake, Yangshan Deep Water Port and Chongming Island are great choices for day-trip escapes. The city enjoys a pleasant northern sub-tropical maritime monsoon climate with four distinct seasons.

DAY 2: SHANGHAI
After breakfast at hotel, the tour begins with a walking tour to French concession.

Alternatively, suggest an Optional 2-hour Shanghai Sidecar Tour including a visit to the French concession, Xintiandi, Tianzifang.  This 2-hour tour offers customers not only the sidecar experience, but will also give you the opportunity to learn about the history of the city and go explore streets and local buildings with an Insider Guide. A sidecar tour is able to cover more distance than on foot!   This is another good reason to choose a city tour in a sidecar vintage vehicle!  (Sidecar Tours can be booked for 1-hour, 2-hours or 4-hours) side car on the bund

Each sidecar seats 2 passengers: one on the back of driver (pillion) and one in the sidecar.

Ride under leafy archway of plane trees in the French Concession, admire Normandy style cottages and relive the atmosphere of “Paris de l’Orient”. Shanghai is a treasure trove of art-deco buildings scattered all over the city, with the more stunning apartment buildings in the Former French Concession.

Visit Yu Garden and old bazaar. Yuyuan Garden occupies an area of 20,000 square meters (about five acres). However, the small size is a representative of the attractions of the garden. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas here: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders.

Yuyuan Garden – A famous classical garden in South China, the Yuyuan Garden was built 400 years ago during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) by a Sichuan minister of finance named Pan Yunduan. Since the establishment of the People ’s Republic of China, it has been renovated several times and now enjoys state protection. The garden is divided into scenic sections with equally-as-scenic names, such as ‘Mountains and Forests in the City’, ‘Magnificent Woods and Beautiful Valleys’, ‘Historical Relics of Heralding Spring’, ‘Water and Rockery Scenery’, ‘Tops in the World’ and the ‘Inner Garden’.

Xintiandi – A car-free shopping, eating and entertainment hub of Shanghai. It’s composed of an area of restored traditional shikumen (stone gate) houses built upon narrow alleys, which now support a modern shopping mall, a cinema complex and some adjoining houses serving as book stores, cafes and restaurants. Most of Xintiandi’s cafes and restaurants feature both indoor and outdoor seating. The area has an active nightlife on weekdays as well as weekends, although the scene tends to be more chilled out and romantic than raucous. Xintiandi means ‘New Heaven and Earth’ and is known as one of China’s first lifestyle centres.

Lunch will be taken at Lv Bo Lang Restaurant, located by nine-twist-bridge at Old City God Temple, has an archaic, elegant and peaceful surrounding matching the elegance of Mid-Pond-Pavilion tea house next door. It is well-known for carefully selected raw materials and meticulous preparations, highly praised by gourmands from home and abroad.

After lunch, visit Shanghai museum and free time at the Bund.

The Bund – As a living gallery of world architecture, the Bund is a true symbol of Shanghai. Its dozens of historical buildings light up at night to make a dazzling spectacle.

Dinner at leisure On the Bund. After dinner, optional visit to see Shanghai Acrobatic show in Era with VIP SEAT and return transfer service from hotel /Era.

DAY 3: SHANGHAI-TONGLI-SUZHOU-SHANGHAI
After breakfast at hotel, drive to Tongli about (50km, 1h), visit Tongli water town.

Tongli, the demonstration of the water township, is worth of your visit. With a history of more than 400 years, Tongli has been known as “township and the island”, characterized by the picturesque water-county scenery- a perfect combination of exquisite bridges, limpid river lets and quaint houses
There are more than 40 bridges dotted in the ancient county, most of them have hundreds years history, special style and auspicious names.

After the visit, continue the drive to Suzhou (70km, 1.5h) for lunch at a local restaurant.

Visit The Master-of-Nets Garden, The garden has earned its fame as a masterpiece of classical residential garden. The architectural device of the embankment along the pond is the most successful along Suzhou’s gardens. Buildings of varying sizes are carefully erected by the water.

Cruise on the Grand Canal can range from a three-hour boat ride between Suzhou to Wuxi to a four-day Grand Canal cruise aboard modern, air-conditioned cruise ships. Taking a boat ride on the old Canal can give one a full view of the landscape of a typical river town in southern China including age-old dwelling houses, stone bridges of traditional designs and historical relics. A peep into local customs and habits can offer much delight to the traveler.

Suzhou is located in southern Jiangsu Province in the center of the Yangtze Delta. Shanghai lies to the east, Zhejiang Province to the south, Wuxi City to the west and the Yangtze River to the north. The city is divided by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal from north to south. Since 42% area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, it is praised as the ‘Venice of the Orient’. Built in 514 BC, this is an ancient city with over 2,500 years of history. The unique characteristics of the past are still retained today. The double-chessboard layout of the city, with ‘the streets and rivers going side by side while the water and land routes running in parallel’, is preserved intact.

The mild climate makes the city a desirable destination all year round. Touring the wonderful ancient water towns in the vicinity or lingering in the exquisite classical gardens in the downtown area, you will truly know the charm of a ‘paradise on earth’. As the saying goes – ‘Gardens to the south of the Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them’. These gardens attain their high reputation not only for their vast numbers, but also for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. At present more than 60 gardens are kept intact in the city, and some of them have been listed in the World Heritage List.

Tongli Town – Originally named Futu (meaning a rich land), Tongli is an age-old but very well preserved water town with a history of more than 1,000 years. Located on the eastern shore of Taihu Lake, just 11 miles (18 kilometers) from Suzhou City, the town is 24 square miles (63 square kilometers) in area and has a population of over 33 thousand. True to its reputation, Tongli is a really wonderful travel destination where you can spend a marvelous holiday or experience traditional Chinese culture.

After  your water town visits, you will be taken for a visit at the silk factory before returning back to Shanghai.  Suzhou and Hangzhou’s silk products have found their way to all over the world ever since Tang Dynasty.

Dinner at leisure.

DAY 4: SHANGHAI – HANGZHOU DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to Shanghai train station.

High Speed Train: SHANGHAI/HANGZHOU

HANGZHOU – 3 Days /2 Nights

On arrival, Pick up at Hangzhou station by local English speaking guide, one way transfer from Station to city.

Lunch at local restaurant in Hangzhou.

After lunch, visit Hangzhou Six Harmonies Pagoda and climb the pagoda and take a bird eye of Qiantang River, then visit Huqingyutang (The Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine),

Hu Qing Yu Tang was a Chinese pharmacy which began business in 1874. It had won a great fame during its development. People regarded it as the ‘King of Medicine’ in southern China.

Dinner at leisure.

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and the local political, economic and cultural center. As the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the city is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeast China, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 112 mi (180 km) from Shanghai.  The subtropical monsoon climate contributes to varied seasonal sceneries, making Hangzhou one of China’s most popular travel destinations all the year round.

The West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned landmark, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. The “Ten West Lake Prospects” selected from the most frequently visited attractions around the lake give travelers a panoramic view of the city’s highlights. Take a stroll along the causeway by the lake; you’ll feel the peaceful ethos of the city and better understand its time-honored fame as ‘Heaven on Earth’.

DAY 5: HANGZHOU
After breakfast, day at leisure to relax or for optional activities and self-exploration of this stunning lake.

You may choose to spend your day indulging in Spa treatments, or you may choose to rent a bike and tour the lake side, or visit a Silk Museum and Tea plantation. Enjoy a tea plantation and the elegantly fragrant high quality Dragon Well tea, the ultimate product of all kinds of tea.

West Lake of Hangzhou city is like a shining pearl inlaid on the vast land of China, holding high reputation for its beautiful scenery, a multitude of historical sites, brilliant cultural relics and a profusion of native products.

Dinner at  leisure.

DAY 6: HANGZHOU – BEIJING DEPARTURE
After breakfast and  morning at leisure, transfer to Hangzhou Station.

High Speed Train: HANGZHOU/BEIJING

BEIJING – 4 Days / 3 Nights

On arrival late afternoon Beijing Station, you will meet your local English speaking guide and transfer to hotel to freshen up.

Dinner at leisure.

Beijing, the capital of China, has been the political and spiritual center of the Middle Kingdom for more than 500 years.  Located in north China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, it also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry.   As one of the six ancient cities in China, Beijing has been the heart and soul of politics throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore the city’s ancient past and exciting modern development. Now it has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.

DAY 7: BEIJING
After breakfast, take the cruise on Empress Dowager Cixi waterways. Start the cruise from Wanshousi temple port, pass by Xiti of Summer Palace, Nanhu island.

Lunch Hutong style restaurant – De Home.  After lunch, visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

On your first day in the People’s Republic of China you visit will nearby Tiananmen, the largest square on earth. Of Tiananmen, one visitor has written, “an army could be massed, and all the kites in the world could fly.” You roam the square, and then proceed to the vast enclave of the imperial court, the Forbidden City, called Ta Nei, “The Great Within.” The Chinese w ere adept practitioners of Feng Shui, the art of geomancy, and the Forbidden City — all 250 ac res and 9000 rooms of it—is a devout expression of that art: all is placed according to plan, for maximum felicity and effect. The Forbidden City has been supplanted by history, but it retains an ancient and knowing air of utter command.

This afternoon you’ll enjoy some leisurely walks around the more lively Houhai Lake, surrounded by old Beijing’s atmospheric hutongs (small alley ways usually flanked by the gates and walls of traditional courtyard ho uses). Take a short rickshaw. Amongst the hutongs, you can observe elders whiling away the day with a game of Chinese chess or mahjong, shopkeepers selling traditional snacks like jian bing (pancakes) and baozi (steamed buns),

Dinner at leisure.

DAY 8:BEIJING
After breakfast, rise early for an optional Tai chi class at the temple of heaven. Tea or coffee is available afterwards, followed by a visit to the Great wall Mutianyu section (Cable car included, possibility of descent by toboggan). The Mutianyu is located at outside of city about 1.5 hours driving to the North.

More than 2,500 years old, the Great Wall was built to protect Chinese civilization from the unruly northern tribes. We can take a cable car up or climb to the highest peak, where we see at least a dozen watchtowers snake off in each direction.   Within one of these well-preserved watchtowers, enjoy a light but nutritious picnic lunch. This daylong hike allows us a unique look at one of China’s most famous monuments, as well as an opportunity to enjoy the fresh mountain air outside of Beijing.

Picnic lunch on the wall.

After hiking and walking on the wall (at least 2.5- 3 hs), one way transfer back to Beijing city.

Evening  dinner of Peking Roast Duck.

DAY 9: BEIJING – XIAN LINTONG DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to Beijing station.

High Speed Train: BEIJING/XIAN

XIAN- 3 Days / 2 Nights

On arrival Xian Lintong, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Afternoon free to enjoy the spa facilities at your hotel.

Dinner at leisure.

Xian, located in central-northwest China, records the great changes of the country just like a living history book. Called Chang’an (meaning the eternal city) in ancient times, it is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization in the Yellow River Basin area. As the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, the city has won a reputation all over the world. More than 3,000 years of history including over 1,100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties, have endowed the city with an amazing historical heritage. Travelers marvel at the numerous historical sites and cultural relics in the city.

Known as the leading city of China’s Western Development Drive Program since 1990s, Xian is an important economic, cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region, providing visitors with modern and convenient facilities.

DAY 10: XIAN
After breakfast, visit Terracotta Army to be the first clients on arrival at attraction.

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, where work is ongoing at the site. UNESCO listed it in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages. The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum.  Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from the site. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.

Lunch at a local restaurant before transfer back to Xian city about 1 hour.

Late evening you’ll visit Xian’s Great Mosque and its surrounding Muslim neighborhood before partaking in the region’s rich culinary tradition when you feast on the dumplings for which Xian is so famous.

Dinner Dumpling Banquet.

DAY 11: XIAN – CHENGDU DEPARTURE
After breakfast, visit Small Wild Goose Pagoda and see a presentation of Chinese calligraphy.

Lunch at local restaurant for noodles.  After lunch transfer  to Xian airport.

Flight: XIAN/CHENGDU

CHENGDU- 3 Days / 2 Nights

On arrival Chengdu, transfer to hotel.

Optional Sichuan Opera face changing show – Face-changing is a special kind of Chinese dramatic art in Sichuan Opera. During the show, Face-changing performers wear multi-colored costumes and facial make-ups. If Clients arrival there half hour early and see the make- up before the show. After the show, transfer back to hotel.

Dinner Free at leisure.

Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwest Sichuan Province, is famed for being the home of cute giant pandas. Located in the west of Sichuan Basin and in the center of Chengdu Plain, the city covers a total area of 12.3 thousand square kilometers (4,749 square miles) with a population of over 11 million.

Benefiting from Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which was constructed in 256 B.C., Sichuan Province is reputed as the Heavenly State, Tian Fu Zhi Guo in Chinese, literally a place richly endowed with natural resources. Chengdu, as the capital, is extremely productive. The Min and Tuo Rivers, two branches of the Yangtze River, connected to 40 other rivers, supply an irrigation area of more than 700 square kilometers (270.27 square miles) with 150-180 million kilowatts of water. Consisting of abundant mineral resources, the land is extremely fertile.

DAY 12 CHENGDU/DUJIANGYAN/SANXINGDUI/CHENGDU
After breakfast, visit Dujiangyan Panda research center.

Joining in the volunteer activities and training including study of feeding, breeding, disease control& prevention, physiology & biochemistry, behavioral ecology, wildness training and reintroduction. In panda research Centre, you will have a course.

OPTIONALPhoto With A Panda
Dujiangyan Panda Base allows a limited amount of people per day to take a photo next to a panda for an extra fee. Visitors are not guaranteed the opportunity because if the panda is not cooperating they will not permit the photo.

Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon, visit Sanxingdui Museum with an expert. The unique Sanxingdui Museum is near the Sanxingdui archaeological site that dates back to 2000 B.C. The site is north of Nanxing Town of Guanghan City in Sichuan Province. Due to its scope, the wealth of its contents, and the rarity and precious nature of its excavated objects, the site was declared a National Key Cultural Relics Protected Unit in 1988.

Optional visit with an Archaeological expert to introduce of the discovery of a large number of the mysterious ruins on site.  In 1986, two large sacrificial pits of Shang Period (1600-1100BC) were unearthed with more than one thousand gold, bronze, and jade objects, shocking the entire country and shaking the world. Among other things, the finds proved that Sanxingdui was the capital of the ancient Shu Kingdom more than 3,000 years ago.

Dinner Hot pot.

DAY 13: CHENGDU – HONG KONG DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to Chengdu airport.

Flight: CHENGDU/HONG KONG

HONG KONG- 4 Days / 3 Nights

Arrival at Hong Kong, you will be met by local English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel.

Dinner Free at leisure.

As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is situated on the southeast coast of China, occupying an area of 426 square miles (1,104 square kilometers). The city is one of the world’s leading financial, banking and trading centers.

It is made up of four parts: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. The prosperous island is the center of economy, politics, entertainment and shopping with its southern part noted for sea shores and bays. Kowloon is another flourishing part where Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok are the most popular destinations. The New Territories and Outlying Islands are ideal places to experience a peaceful and natural holiday.

The city has a population of about 6,970,000 and most people (about 97% of the population) are Chinese and speak Cantonese and English. There are few language barriers, making the city one of the hottest travel destination in Asia.

DAY 14: HONG KONG
After breakfast at hotel, begin Half day Hong Kong Island Tour.  Duration: 4.5 – 5 Hours

It includes a visit to Victoria Peak for a panoramic splendor view of the city, and along the coastal line via Repulse Bay, famous for its long beachfront, clear water, fine white sand and calm sea. There are two traditional Chinese styles huge statues of deities found in the beach, Kwun Yum and Tin Hau, both protectors of fishermen are said to appear to people needing comfort. A stop to be made at Aberdeen Fishing Village, the floating village for fishermen. A community of fishing families lives a unique life aboard their fishing boats. Most are either Tanka or Hoklo people. Many more vessels of all sizes shelter in the Typhoon Shelter during tropical cyclones. You have a chance to experience a boat ride for about 20 minutes on the little “Sampan”, a small wooden boat used by the fisher folks, to cruise inside the village.

Afternoon Lunch and Dinner Free at leisure.

DAY 15 & DAY 16: HONG KONG
After breakfast, you have (2) days at leisure for self-exploration of this magnificent harbor city.

The list of things to see and do in Honk Kong are endless, so ENJOY!

You may wish to hit the street markets, malls and night markets for some shopping therapy, enjoy a Dim Sum lunch at Tim Ho Wan, take the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island or Kowloon (depending on your hotel location), take a side trip to Lantau Island, home of the Tian Tan Buddha, a 202-ton statue of the deity. Sip a cocktail at the worlds highest bar, Ozone Bar on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton, hike the Dragon’s Back or relax away from the city pace at Hong Kong  or Victoria Park’s. Have High Tea at the famous Peninsula Hotel or  at the InterContinental for the floor-to-ceiling glass walls with wonderful views of Hong Kong Island.  For a look at historical Chinese works, go to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which houses more than 15,000 objects. Escape to a gorgeous beach an hour out of the city, Shek O, or the secluded local of Tai Long Wan on the eastern coast of Sai Kung Peninsula, considered to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Hong Kong.  Take a ferry to an outer island,  Peng Chau, Cheung Chau or d Lamma Island. Indulge in some awesome Spa treatments.

DAY 17: HONG KONG – USA DEPARTURE
After breakfast, your morning is at leisure until your afternoon airport transfer.

This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to the USA.

Flight: HONG KONG/USA

Phone one of our Asia Specialists at 1-800-227-5317 to start planning your Asian Holiday now!

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