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Fantastic China Architecture Tour

Day 1 Arrive in Beijing
Depart on your flight bound for Beijing, the capital of People's Republic of China. Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel.

Day 2 Beijing
After breakfast you begin with a tour to the world's largest and renowned public square where many historical events once took place - Tian'anmen Square. Around the vast square, you can see The Great Hall of People, holding the congress of the Communist Party and National People's Congress, History Museum, Military Museum and Monuments to the People's heroes. Under the famous Mao's portrait, which is positioned at the center of "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" entrance, you will walk into the Forbidden City (also known as Imperial Palace), which holds 9,999 rooms. Experience the intricate architecture and exquisitely designed layout of these grand buildings once housed by Chinese Emperors who ruled during the period of the Qing and Ming Dynasties for almost 500 years (1420-1911). In the afternoon, you will take the traditional rickshaw ride to explore the fascinating ancient Hutong neighborhoods. The oldest Beijing Hutongs were constructed during Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Four quadrangles or houses are often built around a quadrangular courtyard; they are often regarded as the main buildings of the Hutongs. Your tour will lead you through some of the best-reserved Hutong neighborhoods that most represented the history, culture and lifestyles of old Beijing.

Day 3 Beijing (B, L, D)
Today you will begin the morning by setting out to the Great Wall of China, also considered as one of the greatest wonders of the world. This massive wall stretches well over 4,000 miles and once was used as the soldier's safeguard to protect the Chinese empire's northern borders against invaders. You then have the opportunity to climb up the mammoth sized wall at your own pace. Be sure to take in the experience and enjoy the breathtaking view from the top of one of the greatest achievements of civilization. Later on, we'll be visiting the Ming Tombs and the Sacred Way. The Ming Tombs lie in Changping County, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest from the urban area of Beijing. It is actually a tomb cluster of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), including thirteen emperor's mausoleums, seven tombs for concubines and one grave for eunuchs. This cemetery is world famous because of the thirteen emperors buried here. Sitting at the foot of Mt. Yan and occupying an area of more than 120 square kilometers (29,653 acres), it appears extremely spectacular. It was listed in the World Heritage List in 2003. In the evening, we'll have Peking Roasted Duck Dinner. On the way back to the city, you will have a photo stop at the Olympic Stadium, nicknamed Bird's Nest and the National Swimming Centre, also known as the Water Cube. Tonight enjoy the fantastic Kung Fu Show.

Day 4 Beijing - Pingyao (B, L)
After breakfast, explore the imperial gardens of the Summer Palace originally built in 1750 and rebuilt in 1886. Located in the western outskirts of the city, the Summer Palace is the leading classical garden in China and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant nearby before exploring China's largest temple and titlear at the Temple of Heaven Park (Tiantan Gongyuan) with the Hall of Prayer for good harvest; the attraction is often depicted as the symbol of Beijing. Built in 1420, Ming and Qing emperors prayed there frequently for good harvests; the temple complex was added to UNESCO's world heritage site list in 1998. Then you will be transferred to the railway station and board the overnight soft-sleeper train to Pingyao.

Day 5 Pingyao
Arriving in Pingyao this morning, after a short rest and breakfast in the hotel, you will start the exciting trip to this ancient town, which is still well preserved the same as when it was the county seat of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Originally constructed during the Zhou Dynasty (256 BC), Pingyao is among the four ancient Chinese cities that remain intact. You'll start visiting Pingyao's city wall which is known as "Turtle City" because of its six gates: two each at the east and west gates, and one each at the north and south gates. Pingyao is also regarded as the birthplace of modern banking system of China and you will see the remains of ancient stores, walls, family houses, etc. You stay overnight at the Xieshunlong Hotel, which is famous for its authentic Ming Dynasty antique furniture and excellent location within the city of Pingyao.

Day 6 Pingyao - Taiyuan - Xi'an
In this morning, you will be transferred to the airport and fly to the ancient capital city of Xi'an via Taiyuan. Known as Chang An during ancient times, Xi'an was the capital of China for 13 dynasties (around 1,062 years). Visit the ancient city wall today. Built during the early Ming dynasty with a core of mud covered by three layers of bricks, the city wall of Xi'an is the only one that remained intact. Time permits, you'll then visit the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum for an in-depth look at China's extensive history and 2,000 exhibition displays. Overnight in Xi'an.

Day 7 Xi'an
Embark on an amazing historical and cultural adventure today. Begin your adventure by exploring the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987. Created 2,000 years ago to guard the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihhuang, the painted details of the soldiers and horses faded away during weathering, thus showing their original colors. Then visit the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum nearby. Historical records noted that 700,000 laborers spent 36 years building the mausoleum at the bottom of Lishan; numerous treasures that were entombed with Qinshihuang still remain undiscovered.
Then you travel to the Agricultural Development Zone where you will visit the modern farming villages and experience the local farmers' daily life. This evening, you'll have a dazzling Tang Dynasty Show and dinner.

Day 8 Xi'an - Hangzhou
In the morning today, you begin with a visit to the Bell Tower. Originally built in 1348, the Bell Tower in Xian is situated in the very heart of the city and is the most well-preserved and best-known one in China. You will also visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. As one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China and initially built in 589 initially, the pagoda is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion, its simple but appealing style of construction, and its new square in front of the temple. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport and fly onto Hangzhou known as the Oriental Pearl. Arrival and check into the hotel.

Day 9 Hangzhou
Relax on a wonderful cruise of China's most famous Lake, West Lake; it is symbol of Hangzhou as well as one of the most beautiful sights in China. Then visit the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Ascending to the top of the pagoda and looking down, you will have a panoramic view of the beauty of the Qiantang River, feeling as if "standing above the highest level of the sky". In the afternoon, we continue to visit the resplendent 4th century Lingyin Temple, one of the most famous Buddhist temples in China which attracts thousands of visitors daily. In addition, we'll visit Hefang Antique Street in Hangzhou, an attractive place for those Chinese antique fans.

Day 10 Hangzhou - Tunxi - Mount Huangshan (B, L, D)
This morning we drive about four hours to Tunxi and to the World Heritage Site of Mount Huangshan, one of China's most famously scenic mountain landscapes. With its imposing peaks, mysterious clouds, and ancient wind-sculpted pines, Huangshan has inspired painters and poets for centuries. The famed Chinese poet Li Po gave the range its name, Yellow Mountain, in 747 AD. The range has more than 70 peaks, most over 3,000 feet. We'll sightsee the Beginning-to-believe Peak, Lion Peak and Refreshing Terrace after taking cable car up mountain from the eastern steps.

Day 11 Mount Huangshan (B, L, D)
Watch the magnificent sunrise in the early morning. Today, we'll explore for half a day the Grand Canyon where the scenery is just breathtaking. Later, we'll be trekking from the eastern steps to the western steps of Huangshan to explore fully the sublime views of the whole mountain, including the flying-over Rock, Bright Summit, Narrow Cliff, Stone Monk in Meditation, Lotus Peak which is the highest with an elevation of 1864 meters, Sleeping Beauty and Celestial Capital Peak. The "Long March" takes about 4 hours before we reach Yupinglou Hotel where we'll stay overnight.

Day 12 Huangshan - Yixian - Tunxi -Shanghai (B, L, D)
Today we will be visiting Hongcun and Xidi Villages--a world cultural heritage site. Those two villages, which were included into the list of world heritage site by UNESCO in 2001, display to visitors charms of delicate residential houses of the Ming and Qing dynasties in East China, featured by white wash walls and horse-head eves. We advise you to bring with you enough memory cards since those villages are so photogenic. Back to the downtown in the afternoon and have a pleasant stroll along the well-known Old Street, center of the old town section. Leave Huangshan for Shanghai by flight in the evening. Upon arrival, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 13 Shanghai
We'll visit the world renowned Shanghai Bund. Take a glimpse into Shanghai's architecture and see how it looked centuries ago. This landmark known for its distinct neo-classic architecture of 52 European style buildings not only lined the Huangpu River but at one time in the past housed most financial institutions including national banks that were considered part of the "Big Four." Afterwards, we'll explore the magnificent emporium-lined Nanjing Road and the century-old Yu Yuan Garden. Therefore, we pay a vist to the Jade Buddha Temple that is famous for its 2 Jade Buddha. In the evening, you will attend a mesmerizing Shanghai Acrobatic Show which will conclude the night.

Day 14 Shanghai - Hong Kong
Today you will fly onto Hong Kong. Met and transferred to your centrally located hotel.

Day 15 Hong Kong - Macau
Enjoy a private island tour. In the afternoon, you will board the soft-seat ferry to Macau, arrival and check in your hotel.

Day 16 Macau - Hong Kong
After enjoy a half-day city tour to the major attractions, you will return Hong Kong enjoy the free time this afternoon.

Day 17 Depart
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight and complete the most interesting China architecture tour.

Price: USD3100 per person for a group of 2-6 persons

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