Day 1 Arrive in Beijing
Meet our guide upon arrival in Beijing and be transferred to your hoel. The rest of the day is at leisure to adjust the time difference. Accommodation: Xuanwumen Hotel, Beijing (Yue Xiu Hotel, Beijing)
Day 2 Beijing (B, L, D)
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). Thereafter, you will partake in a tranquil visit to the picturesque landscape of the Summer Palace with historic temples, numerous pavilions, marble boat and famous 728-yard Long Corridor, situated on the man-made Kunming Lake. A Peking Duck banquet concludes your first full day activities in China.
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 breath-taking 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. 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.
Day 4 Beijing - Datong (B, L)
In the morning, visit the Temple of Heaven, where dynastic Chinese rulers historically worshipped the Emperor of Heaven and prayed for bountiful harvests. It was a critical task for all emperors to perform rituals and tasks in order for his empire to reap successful harvests and good fortune. This remarkable construction is pledged highest level of Chinese traditional architecture. After lunch, you'll 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. In the evening, private transfer takes you to the railway station and take a train to Datong (2602/2603 23:45/06:47).
Day 5 Datong (B, L, D)
Arrive in Datong early this morning in Shanxi Province. After breakfast, we visit the Yungang Grottoes located at the base of the Wuzhou Mountains, 16 kilometers to the west of Datong City. The four main sites in China that are famous for their stone sculpture are Dunhuang, Longmen, Dazu and Yungang. Among those, the Yungang grottoes are considered first among equals, for their tremendous size, their ancient history, and their relatively complete state of preservation. The grottoes contain 51,000 sculptures scattered throughout 53 rock caves, and the earliest could be dated back as early as 460 AD. Most of the work was finished before the Northern Wei moved its capital to Luoyang in 494 AD although some work continued to the reign of Zheng Guang, 520-525 AD. This is the only complete set of Northern Wei stone carving groups in China. Continuing the tour, you will pay a visit to the spectacular Huayan Monastery, the splendid Nine-Dragon Screen and Shanhua Monastery.
Day 6 Datong - Pingyao (B, L)
Today you will take a 5-hour drive to another ancient city, Pingyao, a well preserved ancient town filled with remarkable ancient Chinese architecture. En route, pay a visit to the extraordinary Hanging Monastery (Xuankong Si) located about 80km south-east of Datong. Precariously constructed on the sheer cliff face above Jinlong Canyon of Hengshan Mountain, the wooden Hanging monastery is more than 1,400 years old. With the aide of natural alcoves and strong beams, its 40 halls and pavilions clung stably to the rock walls. Stairways, corridors and boardwalks were connected to all buildings, hence forming breathtaking views at the valley floor. Numerous bronze, iron, stone and clay statues are enshrined in the monastery. In the Three Religions Hall Buddha, Laotze and Confucius are enshrined together. Thereafter, you will visit the Wooden Pagoda in Ying County. Built in 1056, the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, also named Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple, is located in the Fogong Temple, Yingxian County, Shanxi Province. It is regarded as one of the "Three Pagodas in the World", together with the Eiffel Tower in France and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Accommodation: Yide Hotel, Pingyao
Day 7 Taiyuan - Pingyao (B, L, D)
Arrive in Taiyuan early this morning and transfer to Pingyao. Originally constructed during the Zhou Dynasty (256 BC), Pingyao is among the four ancient Chinese cities that remain intact. After lunch, visit Pingyao's city wall. The city 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. You will explore some antique stores, restaurants and cultural sites the rest of the afternoon. Then stay overnight at the Xieshunlong Hotel, which is famous for its authentic Ming Dynasty antique furniture and excellent location within the city of Pingyao. Accommodations: deluxe hotel.
Day 8 Pingyao - Taiyaun (B, L, D)
Today you will have the opportunity to explore the Wang Family Courtyard (Wang Jia Da Yuan), which is said to be comparable to the Forbidden City in size. While the Forbidden City was designed for the use of the emperor and the royal family, the Wong Family Courtyard served as a resident of a reputable civil official. One special characteristic of the courtyard home is certainly the intricate carved frescoes that decorated many of the building walls. Private transfer takes you to Taiyuan and on the way, visit Jinci Temple, which is a combination of historical cultural relics and beautiful landscape. Then see you off at the airport. Service ends.
||10 Travelers & above|
||2010-03-01 to 2011-02-28
1. Admission fees: to sightseeing spots & activities specified;
2. Meals: as specified above;
3. Tour guides: excellent private English-speaking guide.
4. Accommodations: hotels based on double/single occupancy as specified;
5. Transfers: domestic flights & land transfer with drivers as specified;
6. Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour;
7. Government taxes & fees.
1. International transportation: including flights to/from China;
2. China visa fees;
3. Gratuities to guides & drivers and any expense of personal nature.