China Discovery - 9 Days / 8 Nights
TOUR CODE TD 2014
Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai
Day 1 Beijing
Arrive in Beijing after your flight and we will escort you to your hotel.
Day 2 Beijing (AB, L, D)
Today, you will begin your journey by visiting the sites of the 2008 Olympic Games, including the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube for outside viewing. The intricately built Bird's Nest
cost, approximately $480 million to build and seats roughly 91,000 spectators. The stadium was built with massive steel structures overlapping and intertwining each other, creating an image of a gigantic bird's nest which embraces and nurses human beings. The Water Cube
, originally home to the swimming events during the Olympics is truly a fascinating sight. Its translucent color-shifting building combines modern technology with traditional Chinese values. Now, one part of it has been turned into an indoor water park, where swimmers can shoot down colorful tubes into large pools. Popular Science magazine named the Water Cube as the Best of What's New in 2006. After your visit, check-in to the hotel.
After a short break, enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace
and Pearl Factory
. The Summer Palace, located in the northwest suburban part of Beijing, is the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. Its Chinese name, YiHeYuan translates as "Garden of Nurtured Harmony" or "Garden for Maintaining Health and Harmony".
The Summer Palace is a virtual museum of traditional Chinese garden arts with its natural landscape of hills and open water, combined with rocks, trees, pavilions, palaces, temples, paths and bridges to form a harmonious and poetic ensemble of outstanding aesthetics. Then, visit the Pearl Factory and discover the beauty and importance of these delicate gems in Chinese culture. Pearls were valued for four thousand years in China and the people in China have been culturing and harvesting quality pearls for more than two thousand years. Take a look around and observe these lustrous elegant pearls in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Day 3 Beijing (AB, L, SD)
Today you will visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Tiananmen Square
is located at the center of Beijing and is the largest square in the world. There, the national five-starred red flag flutters high above the mid-point of the square's north side. Every day, at dawn and dusk, the guards march in unison to the foot of the flagstaff to hoist or lower the National Flag, saluted with eyes by the on-lookers. Explore the Forbidden City
, which is translated from "Gugong" and was the imperial palace and center of the kingdom throughout the reign of 24 emperors. 14 in the Ming and 10 in the Qing dynasty resided and ruled from this palace for 491 years until Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty and of China. It is now the largest and most well preserved ancient architecture in China.
Next, visit the Temple of Heaven, often considered the quintessential Chinese temple as it incorporates some of the finest architectural talents found anywhere in the nation, without even using a single nail! After dinner, enjoy a spectacular Kung Fu show for evening entertainment. Chinese Kung Fu, also called "martial arts", is a traditional Chinese sport developed with an impressive historical timeline. Having been developed over thousands of years, it has become a precious cultural treasure harnessing the ideas of the art of attack and defense in a series of intricate hostile body movements.
Day 4 Beijing (AB, L, SD)
Today you will journey to the Great Wall, followed by the jade factory. The Great Wall
(Wanli Changcheng) literally means the "ten thousand mile" wall, and was a great fortification in ancient China. The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world that was built by various dynasties over 2000 years ago to protect China's northern boundary. The imposing Badaling Great Wall climbs up and down, twisting and turning along the high mountain ridges to make up one of the eight great wonders of the world.
The Ming and Qing imperial tombs are another outstanding testimony to a cultural and architectural tradition that for over 500 years dominated this part of the world. Under the guidance of traditional Chinese Fengshui (geomancy), the whole process from site selection to the designing of the tombs ensured that special attention be given to maintain harmony between tomb architecture and the surrounding mountains, rivers and vegetation to embody the philosophical view that man is an integral part of nature.
The next stop on the list will be to the Jade Factory. The precious green stone has been present in Chinese art, culture and history for longer than 9,000 years. These milky green stones were used for personal adornment for kings and the imperial guard, as well as for utilitarian and ceremonial objects. View a vast collection of fascinating beautiful jade pieces. Following this, we'll make our way over to a local restaurant for lunch. Then you will return to the city to shop for souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy a special Peking Duck Banquet. This can be replaced with alternative meals if you'd prefer.
Day 5 Beijing íV Shanghai íV Zhouzhuang íV Suzhou (AB, L, D)
ng íV Suzhou (AB, L, D)
Take a hutong (a neighborhood) tour in the morning before catching an afternoon flight to Shanghai. People say that the real culture of Beijing is the culture of the hutong and courtyards, and how true that is. Hutongs are traditional narrow streets or alleys most commonly found in Beijing that, along with the courtyard homes, once covered all of Beijing before the city became more modernized. Explore the authentic traditional homes as you ride by pedicab through the zigzagging hutongs. Make your way to your flight to Shanghai and upon arrival, board your coach to the city of Zhouzhuang
, one of the most famous water townships in China noted for its profound cultural background. This city, elegantly known as the "Venice of the East", has well preserved ancient residential houses, vast water views and is known for embracing strong, colorful local traditions and customs. Following dinner, we head off to the Classical Gardens of Suzhou
íV masterpieces of Chinese landscape and garden design in which art, nature and ideas are integrated perfectly to create ensembles of great beauty and peaceful harmony, and where the gardens are integral to the entire historic urban plan. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens' meticulous design reflects the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture. Come, see and be amazed!
Day 6 Suzhou íV Hangzhou (AB, L, D)
Enjoy your day by visiting Lingering Garden Silk Factory No.1, Grand Canal
and Tiger Hill
in Suzhou before returning to Shanghai in the late afternoon/early evening. Next, take a stroll through the Lingering Garden
. As one of Suzhou's classical gardens and one of the four most famous gardens in China, you'll see why it reflects the ancient Chinese proverb that says: "in Heaven there is Paradise; on earth, Suzhou." That proverb is indicative of the ancient Chinese desire to create a version of Heaven here on earth, by controlling and perfecting nature. The "bonsai" or Chinese "Penjing" is the ultimate manifestation of this desire to control and mimic nature. The Lingering Garden truly appears like heaven on earth.
Next, you'll take a visit to Silk Factory No. 1.
Suzhou is a city with a long history of silk culture. It has a tradition of mulberry planting, silk worm raising, and silk reeling and weaving. China is the earliest country to raise silkworms and weave silk with a history of more than 6,000 years. After, take a boat ride along the longest canal, or artificial river, in the world: the Grand Canal
From there, we head off to Tiger Hill
where ancient legend speaks of King He Lu, a collector for the finest swords, who is believed to have 3,000 swords buried alongside him there. Legend has it that on the third day after the burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb; hence the name Tiger Hill. There is little doubt that Tiger Hill is a land that will never cease to amaze and enthrall you with its heritage. It stands at 118 feet in height, covers over 3 acres, and is home to the National Embroidery Institute. Though man-made to be the burial place of a king, it has become another wonder of China. Afterwards, board your coach to the wonderful city of Hangzhou
, renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It has become known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities. Upon arrival and check-in at your hotel, enjoy a free evening at your leisure.
Day 7 Hangzhou - Shanghai (AB, L, D)
In the morning, we visit a Tea Plantation
and the Lingyin Temple
(the Temple of Soul's Retreat). With its abundant lakeside areas and hills, Hangzhou's tea culture is second to none in China, noted for its exceptionally green color and intoxicating fragrance. Almost all tea plantations
in Hangzhou have become popular destinations for locals as well as travelers. Lingyin Temple
is a Buddhist temple of the Chan, it is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China, and contains numerous pagodas and Buddhist grottoes. It was originally founded in 326 AD, but has been rebuilt no less than sixteen times since then.
In the afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on beautiful West Lake
íV a freshwater lake located in the area of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang providence in eastern China. Enjoy the picturesque lake, surrounded by plenty of temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands. Afterwards, continue on your journey toward the city of Shanghai. Upon arrival, enjoy a free evening to explore the city as you please.
Day 8 Shanghai (AB, L, D)
Today we will visit The Bund
- Shanghai's famous waterfront. The Bund is located on the edge of the Huangpu River and contains impressive modern and historic buildings. The 26 various buildings consist of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. Within the last century, the 1,859 yard-long flood-control wall was once the most romantic corner in Shanghai and known as "the lovers' wall". Standing by the rails you can view the scenery of Pudong Area and Huangpu River. We will also visit Yu Yuan Gardens
, a place of peace and comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai. The garden dates back to the fabled Ming Dynasty which enjoys its reputation as "the crown of beauty in southeast China". Most exquisitely decked out, the garden offers charming and pleasant views with noble flora and exotic rocks that perfectly complement one another. It truly serves as the ideal model of the "famous garden of Jiangnan" with its numerous rock and tree garden areas, ponds, dragon-lined walls and zigzagging bridges that separate various garden areas and pavilions.
Next, we visit a Silk Rug Factory
and, afterwards, head off to the Old Shanghai District
, the traditional urban core of Shanghai, China. With the advent of foreign concessions in Shanghai, the Old City became just one part of Shanghai's urban core but continued for decades to be the seat of the Chinese authority in Shanghai. We continue on with a stroll along Nanjing Road
íV China's premier shopping street and the world's longest shopping district, around 6 km long. It attracts more than 1 million visitors daily. As the saying goes, "You have never been to Shanghai unless you go to Nanjing Road". Later, you can enjoy the optional tour entertainment with an amazing Shanghai ERA Show or Shanghai Harbor Cruise at an additional cost.
Day 9 Shanghai (AB)
After breakfast, board your coach to the airport to catch your international flight back home.
||This itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control including: weather, airline schedules, cruise itinerary changes, boat changes, etc.