Day 1 Arrive in Beijing (D)
Welcome to China! You are met by our guide at the Beijing Capital Airport and hop into our waiting vehicle to begin our exploration of China's most famous city.
Time permitting, we begin our tour of China with some leisurely activities at popular Beihai Park. Beihai is a lively gathering spot where local Beijingers perform fan dances, practice singing traditional Peking opera, and practice tai chi. This evening, we will go for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant with the authentic Northern Chinese cuisine. Overnight in Guxiang 20 Business Club (Boutique Hotel)
Day 2 Beijing (B, L, D)
Today we will explore the differences between ancient royal family life and ordinary people living outside the Forbidden City. In the past, millions people want to go inside this wall and see the life there, and once they are inside, they may want to see what life outside this wall.
In the morning, we set off to visit the Tian'anmen Square, where bustling with visitors, kite-flyers and vendors congregating in the absolute center of the Middle Kingdom. Followed by a tour in the Forbidden City where the morning will be spent touring this vast palace. For 500 years, The Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace for Ming and Qing Dynasty Emperors. The biggest and best preserved cluster of buildings in China, this monumental Palace complex, once strictly out of bounds to the general Chinese public houses up to 800 buildings and, reputedly, 9000 chambers. Our highlights in Forbidden City are the Clock Museum & Treasure Hall. The collections in Clock Museum were the masterworks of all the famous clock makers from many different countries, which witnessed the culture communication in our history, and showed us the highest accomplishment in the field of clock-making industry between 18 century and 20 century. In the Treasure Hall, we have the chance to see some of the curiosa that recently open to the public.
After this morning's explore about royal family life, we take a tour of Old Beijing. Riding in a pedi-cab or on our own bike, we explore the city's traditional neighborhoods, called hutongs (literally, alleyways). Here, we can get an idea of what the entire city once looked like, and experience the traditional way of life. Amongst the hutongs, we can observe elders whiling away the night with a game of Chinese chess or mahjong, shopkeepers selling traditional snacks like jian bing (pancakes) and baozi (steamed buns), and hear calls announcing the arrival of the knife sharpener or cardboard collector. In the evening, we will enter the Red Theatre and follow a young monk's spiritual coming of age in the live performance of "Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu." While kung fu is an age-old martial art form, this contemporary performance showcases a mixture of kung fu, stellar acrobatics and modern dance, as well as contemporary lighting and music. While it is geared towards visitors, it is nonetheless a spectacular, highly-acclaimed display of a mixture of old and new we have observed throughout Beijing. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 3 Beijing (B, L, D)
We venture out of Beijing this morning for an excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a quieter and less-visited spot of the Great Wall. Though the underlying architecture dates from the Ming Dynasty, the original plan for the Great Wall and some of its construction date back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). We take a cable car up or climb to the highest peak, where we see at least a dozen watchtowers snake off in each direction. Depending on your interests, we can either take a cable car back or a leisurely walk along the great wall back to the foot of the wall.
After lunch at School House near the Great Wall, we return to the city, and visit the Summer Palace, located in the Western Hills. It's once a favorite pleasure ground for the Empress Dowager Cixi and it is a beautiful example of Chinese garden architecture. An immense park with scenic lakes, long painted corridors and gracefully arched bridges; the Palace is considered 'a paradise of hills and waters'. We will stroll around the tranquil grounds surrounding picturesque Kunming Lake. This evening, we will go for the famed Peking Roast Duck dinner at a local courtyard restaurant. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 4 Beijing - Datong - Wutaishan (B, L, D)
We start off the day with an early morning flight to Datong. Upon arrival, we drive outside Datong a bit to visit Yungang Grottoes. Yungang Grottoes, one of the five great Buddhist cave complexes in China (the others being Longmen in Luoyang, Mogao in Dunhuang, Maijishan in Tianshui and Kizil in Kuqa), took almost a hundred years to complete, and were commissioned by the royal family and other rich donors. There are many foreign influences in the art, notably India and Central Asia, brought by artisans from those far-off places. The royal family itself was foreign, of nomadic Tabgatch Turk stock, and it embraced Buddhism whole heartedly. The royal patronage of temples, monasteries and grottoes was of the greatest importance in establishing Buddhism in northern China, and this patronage continued even after the capital was moved to Luoyang in 494, resulting in the construction of the Longmen Caves.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will head to Wutaishan via Hanging Temple (Xuankongsi). Hanging Temple is a temple built into a cliff near Mount Heng. Built more than 1,400 years ago, this temple is unique not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it includes Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements in the same temple. Afterwards we will drive to Wutaishan, and check in Wutaishan Huahui Shanzhuang (Local 4-star Hotel)
Day 5 Wutaishan (B, L, D)
Today we spend the whole day exploring the Wutaishan. Being one of the China's four sacred Buddhist Mountains, Wutaishan (3,058 meters) is located at the highest elevation point in the province. With its tranquil monastic community set against beautiful alpine vistas, a visit here makes for a pleasant retreat and one that is still relatively unexplored by most travelers. Spend the day visiting Pusading Monastery, Xiantong Monastery and Tayuan Monastery, Longquan Monastery and Puhua Monastery in the mountain. Our Lunch will be arranged in a local famous Vegetarian Restaurant. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 6 Wutaishan - Taiyuan - Pingyao (B, L, D)
In the morning, we will drive from Wutaishan to Pingyao. On the way we will stop for lunch in Taiyuan. Followed by a short visit to the new Shanxi Museum complex with its huge cultural relics collection. There are over 200,000 pieces of precious relics. The main building is shaped in a combination of two Chinese cooking vessels, a Dou (kind of measuring implement in ancient China), and Ding (an ancient cooking vessel with two loop handles and three or four legs). Thereafter, we continue to drive another 1.5hrs to reach Pingyao. Overnight in Yide Hotel (Boutique)
Day 7 Pingyao (B, L, D)
After breakfast at the hotel, we walk on the ancient city wall, which is marked with a watchtower every 50 meters (164 ft) and visit several of the ancient courtyards and a complex of old private houses exhibiting their collections of art and furniture, all converted into museums. In addition to appreciating the ancient architecture, we learn about how banking started in China over a century ago here in Pingyao. Of particular interest is the Qing Dynasty yamen, or county magistrate's complex. Rishengchang Exchange Shop (Piaohao) was established in 1823 of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it is the first private financial organization of China majoring in deposit schemes, loans and remittance services.
For the rest of the day, we will head to Jingsheng Village in Lingshi County. A world apart from old commercial centers at Qixian and Pingyao, Jingsheng, though once an affluent merchant town, holds a quaint and unique charm. Jingsheng is famous for its well-preserved Qing dynasty architecture and the heritage of wetitlehy bankers that inhabited the area. The main attraction of the village is the Wang's Residence, the former living quarters of a prosperous local family. We spend two hours wandering around this enormous, but little known mansion, exploring its nooks and crannies. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 8 Pingyao - Taiyuan - Xi'an (B, L, D)
Today, we will depart early in the morning, heading out Pingyao a bit to visit the 1,300-year-old Shuanglin Temple, which houses over 2,000 Buddhist terracotta sculptures.
Arrive in Taiyuan airport, and catch an afternoon flight to Xi'an. Then transfer to the Muslim Quarter, which is 1,300 years old. Muslims have been an integral part of daily life in Xi'an at the eastern end of the Silk Road, with the city's Hui community tracing their roots back to Persian and Arabic traders. We go for a stroll with our guide through the Muslim Quarter, where the way of life derives as much from the ancient cultures of Central Asia as it does from mainland China. Then, we go to a popular local dumpling restaurant for dinner. Xi'an is considered the birthplace of China's dumpling tradition. While dumplings may be construed as a simple, basic food, dumplings here have become so popular and sophisticated that they are now considered as much a tasty morsel as a work of art. An endless array of delicate sweet or savory dumplings is presented in the shape of flowers, animals, nuts and vegetables. After dinner, we will check in at Tang Paradise Xi'an, a nice boutique hotel at the beautiful Furong Lake.
Day 9 Xi'an - Shanghai (B, L, D)
In the morning, we make our way to Shaanxi History Museum. As the cradle of Chinese civilization and the home of several Chinese dynasties, Shaanxi is a treasure trove of Chinese historical and cultural artifacts. Through well-chosen paintings, sculptures, and relics, the museum takes us on a tour of China's traditional history, starting with its unification under the first emperor to the end of the last dynasty. The highlight of our museum visit is access to the underground murals, many of which portray the imperial and aristocratic lifestyles of the flourishing Tang Dynasty. The highlight of our museum visit is access to the underground murals, many of which portray the Imperial and aristocratic lifestyles of the flourishing Tang Dynasty.
Then we drive to visit the world-famous Terracotta Warriors. Created to guard the tomb of the first emperor to unite China, Qin Shihuangdi, the Terracotta Warriors are regarded as one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries in the 20th century. Afterwards, we will be transferred to the airport to fly to Shanghai. Transfer to the hotel, when we arrive in Shanghai. Overnight in Jinjiang Tower Shanghai (5-star)
Day 10 Shanghai (B, L, D)
This morning, we are going to enter the Chinese Quarter of Shanghai's colonial past and walk through the Yuyuan Garden, the most celebrated Chinese garden in Shanghai, where each stone, pavilion and stream replicates the Southern Chinese garden style made popular during the Qing and Ming dynasties. Here, rest at the Mid-Lake Pavilion, the most famous tea house in Shanghai. Just outside this classical garden, navigate your way through Cheng Hung Miao Bazaar, a bustling market brimming with Shanghai souvenirs and snacks.
Afterwards, we continue to Pudong, the new financial center of China. We have the opportunity to visit one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, the Shanghai World Financial Center. From the 100th floor viewing deck, take in the view of the contrasting skylines: the colonial buildings of Old Shanghai on the west side of the river, or the Bund, and the modern skyscrapers on the east. The tower houses the Park Hyatt, the highest hotel in the world, you can go to the Living Room on 87th floor for a cup of tea or coffee, or you can head for one of the Park Hyatt's many bars to take a drink on 92 floor. In the evening, we will be enthralled by the dexterity and precision of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe in their "Era Show," heralded as one of the most exciting performances not-to-be-missed in China. Watch as these Cirque-du-Soleil-esque acrobats execute feats of flexibility and strength that are sure to astound. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 11 Shanghai (B, L, D)
In the morning, we go to Fuxin Park, a popular spot for local Shanghai people to do all kinds of morning exercises, here our local master will offer us the Fan Dancing demo and lesson. Then we will have a walking Tour of the French Concession. When confronted with the plethora of dominating skyscrapers, it's hard to imagine Shanghai as anything other than an architectural playground. Step into Shanghai's colonial past in the French Concession where the tree-lined streets and colonial mansions rekindle memories of 1930's Shanghai, also known as the "Paris of the East." Stroll along the charming streets where our guide, who is well versed in the history of the French Concession, will take us to its notable landmarks, including a walk through of the home of Sun Yatsen, the founder of modern China.
After lunch, head to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, which presents Shanghai's past, present, and future from an urban planning perspective. Peruse the beautiful scale models of Shanghai, incorporating models of future skyscrapers, and a testimony to Shanghai's aspirations as it develops into a major international metropolis. Just across the street, the Shanghai Museum where our guide shares the rich history and importance of the museum's collections. Built as a giant Shang Dynasty ding, or ancient bronze vessel, much like the ones in the museum collection, the Shanghai Museum is a world-class institution, housing a unique collection of artifacts dating from the imperial dynasties to the colonial era. While the highlights are its bronze wares, ceramics, calligraphy and painting, the Shanghai Museum also has excellent displays of ancient coins and Chinese name seals, or "chops."
Before dinner, we will take a Huangpu River cruise with sweeping views of the Bund and Pudong skylines. Disembark on the other side of the river, at the Bund, where the great foreign commercial houses and banks built their imposing office buildings in the first half of the twentieth century. Followed by an elegant meal at M on the Bund, we will be offered the best views of the Huang Pu River and the Pudong skyline. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 12 Shanghai - Huangshan (B, L, D)
Free morning. Then we are on the way to Zhujiajiao water town. Zhujiajiao is one of the best preserved of old water towns in Shanghai area, featuring an assortment of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) houses situated amidst a network of canals spanned by many unique classic Chinese bridges. We will take a late evening flight to Huangshan. Overnight in Huangshan International Hotel (4-star)
Day 13 Huangshan (B, L, D)
In the morning we will drive 1.5 hours to take the cable car to save the energy for climbing up.
The misty peaks of Huang Shan, which means Yellow Mountain in English, have inspired Chinese artists for generations, and served as a beacon to tourists for as far back as 1,200 years. Today, the mountain has also achieved World Heritage Site status, and the crowds of visitors are as thick and furious as ever. However, provided one can get away from the queues and tour groups, the chance to watch the craggy spires and gnarled pines of Huang Shan, as they stoically rise above a shifting sea of mist and cloud, makes for memorable moments that border on the divine.
Enjoy the hiking on the mountain with your own physical condition, if the weather is fine and you are not so tired of walking, watching the sunset is also good choice for you. Tonight, we overnight at the Beihai Hotel atop the mountain. Overnight in Huangshan Beihai Hotel (4-star)
Day 14 Huangshan - Hangzhou - Guilin (B, L, D)
It will be a really early day today. One of the highlights at the summits is the Beihai Sunrise, one of the reasons for overnighting on the summit. Weather permitting, we enjoy the truly breathtaking moment when the first golden ray hits and spills onto the sea of clouds. The Qingliang Tai (Refreshing Terrace), less than 15 minutes from the hotel, is the best place to view the sunrise. titleernatively, the Paiyun Ting (Cloud Dispelling Pavilion) between the Feilai Shi and the Xihai Hotel is the place to catch the equally pretty sunsets.
After the breakfast, we head back to the cable car station to go down. If time permits, on the way back to downtown, we will make several stops, like Hongcun Village, the town where the stunning movie Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon was shot. Said to have some of the best classical architecture in China, the buffalo-shaped village, covers a territory of 30 hectares. Visitors are attracted to the village by its beautiful views and more than 140 well-preserved ancient houses, among which several magnificent clan halls and the celebrities' former residences are the most attractive. Inside these ancient houses, we appreciate the splendid wood carvings on the beams and columns. After our visit, you will conclude that Hongcun's major difference from other villages is that the well-preserved ancient houses get along harmoniously well with her beautiful surroundings. Then there is another 3 hours drive to the Hangzhou Airport for Guilin. When we arrive in Guilin, we will be transferred to the Bravo Hotel Guilin (4-star).
Day 15 Guilin - Yangshuo (B, L, D)
We will take a 3 hours cruise along the Li River, which is considered by many as the most beautiful river in China. Cruising along, it feels as if we are meandering through and around a natural masterpiece where limestone pinnacles are sprinkled amidst terraced rice fields and picturesque villages. The scenery along this stretch of the Li River has been immortalized in numerous Chinese poems and paintings. We pass villages where we may catch glimpses of people as they go about their daily life, perhaps fishing, bathing their water buffalo, washing clothes or just swimming. Our boat will dock in the village of Xinping (may vary depending on water levels), a small town on the Li River famous for its harmonious setting amidst the karst pinnacles. Our guide will point out the bend located close to Xinping that is featured on the 20 RMB currency note.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Fuli is a lovely village with stone houses and cobbled lanes, and a history that dates back 1000 years. Renowned as the hometown of the hand-painted fan, nearly a quarter of Fuli's residents earn their income from making traditional painted fans and umbrellas whose designs are inspired by the stunning scenery of Yangshuo County. We explore Fuli's ancient narrow stone streets and visit the local market, rice wine factory and fan-craft workshops.
In the evening, we sit down to experience "Impression Liusanjie", an outdoor performance with the stunning karst peaks, for which Guangxi is famous, serving as backdrop. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the famous Chinese director who minted stars including Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi and directed the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, this live performance is well orchestrated mixture of dancing, lighting and colors. The show is often compared to the Broadway musical, Aida. Overnight in Yangshuo Resort (Boutique)
Day 16 Yangshuo - Guilin - Hong Kong (B, L)
It is a biking plan for this morning. The route to Aishan Village and Moon Hill, along an old country road, is marked by picturesque where farmers still plant and care for rice fields as they have for centuries. Sharp limestone pinnacles, conical hills and sloping valleys characterize this visually stunning route. If we have energy, we can climb the 819 steps for a bird's-eye-view of the surrounding hills and have a close look at the "Moon", which was formerly the underground river canal.
This route covers 13 kilometers (one-way) on well-paved, flat roads, and should take around one-hour if we choose to go by bike. It is also possible to hike instead of bike to Aishan and Moon Hill. We will stop at several locations to take photographs, and will also have a short break with water and tea. Guests can return to the city by bike on a different return route. Enjoy the last break before we drive to Guilin Airport to take the flight to Hong Kong. When we arrive in Hong Kong, transferred to the Hotel. Overnight in The Park Lane Hong Kong (4-star)
Day 17 Hong Kong (B)
In the morning, we go to take the Star Ferry to cross the Victoria Harbor, and take the Peak Tram, which was built in 1888 and is still the steepest train in the world. Looking down from The Victoria Peak you'll be amazed by the spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, the world-famous Victoria Harbour and Kowloon, towering skyscrapers and peaceful green hillsides, then have a quick visit to Stanley Market and Beach on the other side of Hong Kong island.
Afterwards, we drive back to the hotel. And the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the Women's street or Monkok shopping area. Overnight in the same hotel
Day 18 Depart Hong Kong (B)
After breakfast, we will transfer you to the airport to catch your flight home. Our service ends.
Price: USD3950 per person for a group of 2-6 pax