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Golden China Discovery - 12 Days / 11 Nights


Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Shanghai, Suzhou

Golden China Discovery - 12 Days / 11 Nights

Day 1 Beijing

Arrive in Beijing after your flight, where we will greet and escort you to your hotel.

Day 2 Beijing (AB, L, D)

Begin your journey today in Beijing by visiting the sites of the 2008 Olympic Games such as 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 shoot down colorful tubes into pools of water. Popular Science magazine chose the Water Cube as the "Best of What's New" in 2006. After, enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace and Pearl Factory. The Summer Palace, located in the northwest suburban 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 a 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 astounding aesthetics. We then venture to 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 over 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. The Tiananmen Square is located at the center of Beijing and is the largest square in the world. The Five-Star 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, which is saluted by its on-lookers. Explore the Forbidden City - Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City or "Gugong". It was the imperial residence and center of the kingdom during 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 best preserved ancient architecture in China. 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 in its construction. Observe this extraordinary temple, as you capture awing photos of the most well preserved ancient architecture in China! In the evening, enjoy a Peking Duck Banquet. This can be replaced with alternative meals if preferred.

Day 4 Beijing (AB, L, D)

Today you will visit the Great Wall followed by the jade factory and the Lama Temple. The Great Wall (Wanli Changcheng) literally means the Ten Thousand Mile Wall and is the greatest fortification in ancient China. The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world. It was built by various dynasties over 2000 years ago to protect China's northern boundary. The way the imposing Badaling Great Wall climbs up and down and twists and turns along the high mountain ridges helps make it one of the eight great wonders of the world. Then, explore the Jade Factory. Stretching 9,000 years back, jade has been present in Chinese art, culture and history. These milky green stones were used for personal adornment by kings and the imperial, as well as utilitarian and ceremonial objects. View a vast collection of beautiful and fascinating jade pieces. From there, make your way to have lunch at a local restaurant. Then, return to the city to visit the Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple). The Lama Temple was built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so it became the national centre of Lama administration. After dinner, enjoy a spectacular Kung Fu show for some evening entertainment. Chinese Kung fu also called "martial art" is a traditional Chinese sport developed over a long history of time. Having been developed for a thousand years, it has become a precious cultural treasure displaying the art of attack and defense in a series of intricate hostile body movements.

Day 5 Beijing - Xian (AB, L, SD)

Take a Hutong (a neighborhood) Tour in the morning before catching an afternoon flight to Xian. Hutongs are traditional narrow streets or alleys most commonly found in Beijing. Old traditional alleyways and courtyard homes once covered all of Beijing before the modernization of the city. Take a ride by pedicab through the zigzagging hutongs as you explore the authentic traditional homes. Then we'll make our way over to our flight to Xian. In the evening, enjoy a Special Chinese Dumpling Banquet followed by a Tang Dynasty Show. Xian is well-known for its dumplings. Dumplings are one delicacy that is often served as a banquet dish that can come in a variety of beautiful styles. Dumplings can be steamed, boiled, fried, roasted and come with various fillings and different kinds of shapes. The delicious tasting experience culminates in a plentiful cultural experience as well. Enjoy a spectacular Tang Dynasty Show performance with ancient music and dance that orientated in the Tang Dynasty of Chinese history more than a thousand years ago.

Day 6 Xian (AB, L, D)

Spend an exciting day as you visit the Terracotta Warriors excavation site, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in the world. The site measures 16,300 square meters and contains 7,300 warriors, horses and chariots arranged in battle formations within 3 different pits. View these fascinating warriors, each uniquely created with intricate craftsmanship. It's hard to believe these Terracotta Warriors were built over 2000 years ago to guard the First Emperor to protect him in the afterlife. After lunch, continue your tour by visiting the Big Goose Pagoda and the Ancient City Wall. The Big Goose Pagoda was built in 652 AD and originally had five stories before it collapsed and was rebuilt in 704 AD with two additional stories. It is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China and is filled with ancient artifacts. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the traveling Buddhist translator Xuanzang. The temple complex in which the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located is filled with beautiful gardens and stunning architecture. Xian is one of the few cities in China where the original city walls are well preserved and still visible. Visit the Ancient City Wall, which encircles and protects the ancient part of Xian. It is one of the largest ancient military defense systems in the world. The massive city wall measures 12 meters high, with a width at the top of 12 - 14 meters and a width at the base of 15 - 18 meters. The ancient City Wall features a series of watchtowers, turrets, crenels and gate towers, all surrounded by a moat. Visitors rarely fail to be impressed by the grandness and simplicity of the Ancient Wall.

Day 7 Xian - Guilin (AB, L, D)

Visit Shaanxi Provincial Museum and the Muslim Square before departing our flight to Guilin. The Shaanxi Provincial Museum is the first modern national museum and one of the four largest museums in China. Built in 1983, the museum vividly displays 370,000 exhibits and displays the history of over a million years from prehistoric times to about 1840 AD. It focuses on the highlights of Shaanxi culture and depicts the development of Chinese civilization. Take a step back into history as you stroll through the museum and observe relics and ancient collections from all periods. Then, we make our way to the airport for our flight to Guilin. The Muslim Square was built and renovated in later periods (especially during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty). It remains a popular tourist site of Xi'an, and is still used by Chinese Muslims (mainly the Hui people) today as a place of worship. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi'an is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations, for the mosque has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets. Then, we make our way to the airport for our flight to Guilin.

Day 8 Guilin (AB, L, D)

Guilin's reputation as one of the world's most beautiful places has been established over hundreds of years and its idyllic scenery draws tourists from near and far by the hundreds of thousands every year. The popular Chinese saying, "Guilin shanshui jia tian Xia" means "Guilin's mountain and water scenery is the best under heaven". They truly believe that this place is second to none. Visit the beautiful Li River, which flows through Guilin from north to south, by boat on a Li River Cruise. The center of Guilin city lies on the western bank of the Li River. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, it is clear why the scenery along the river has become one of China's top tourist destinations. Enjoy the beauty of nature from lush green vegetation to calm waters. Together, they offer a truly picturesque scenery. Visit Yangshuo free market, where you can find a variety of special local handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, food, spices and cultural items. Stroll along the market and enjoy a time of shopping for trinkets and souvenirs at your own expense. One noteworthy characteristic of the market is that most local sellers speak English, so make sure to bargain for your items! In the evening, attend a Folk Dance and Song Show where you can enjoy a live performance displaying theatrical folk dancing, singing, music and often acrobats. Sit back and relax.

Day 9 Guilin - Shanghai (AB, L)

Explore Elephant Trunk, also known as Elephant Hill located at the confluence of the Li River and Peach Blossom River in the south central area of Guilin. The name came about because the shape of the hill portrays the image of a huge elephant stretching its trunk and drinking water. Its astonishing landscape has made Elephant Trunk Hill the symbol of Guilin. Between the elephant's trunk and body lies a round cave that resembles a full moon drifting on the water, which is why it's called Water Moon Cave. On a moonlit night, the glittering lunar light on the river wavelets forms a fantastic scene, which has been highly regarded by poets and painters throughout Guilin's history. Afterwards, visit the Reed Flute Cave which features a fascinating gallery of natural sculpture in the form of limestone cave formations. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside which many people use to make flutes. Although enhanced by multicolored lighting now, it has been one of Guilin's many interesting attractions for more than 1,200 years! It rates as one of the top four tourist sites in the city. Explore inside this cave and enjoy the beauty of nature!

Day 10 Shanghai - Suzhou (AB, L, D)

Enjoy your day by visiting Tiger Hill, Lingering Garden and Silk Factory No.1 in Suzhou before returning to Shanghai in the late afternoon/early evening. Tiger Hill is the most famous scenic spot of Suzhou, inspiring artists and poets with its marvelous picturesque scenery. Its pagodas, temples, canals, gardens, ponds, and bonsai collections make it a great place to sightsee. Enjoy its rich history. Legend holds that King He Lu was a collector of the finest swords and that when he was buried, his 3,000 swords were buried along with him. It is also believed that on the third day after his burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb, hence the name Tiger Hill.
Visit the Lingering Garden, a renowned classic Chinese garden. It is recognized with other traditional Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its stunning natural landscapes, flowers, temples and pagodas which blend together harmoniously. Also stop at Silk Factory No. 1. On this tour; you will learn the entire life cycle of the silkworm. Silk is a delicate fabric elaborately made from natural protein fibrin of pods. The fascinating silk-making process starts with the silkworm creating its cocoon out of a single silk thread that is continuous for approximately 3,600 feet. China is the earliest country recorded in raising silkworms and weaving silk by over 6,000 years. Return to Shanghai. Then, if you would like us to arrange your evening entertainment, we recommend a Shanghai harbor cruise or Shanghai Acrobat Show at additional cost.

Day 11 Shanghai (AB, L)

Explore Shanghai by visiting the Yu Yuan Garden and Old Shanghai District, followed by a ride up the famous Pearl TV Tower. The Yu Yuan Garden is a famous classical garden, located in the heart of Shanghai's Old District. Considered one of Shanghai's highlights, it was originally built in the 16th century and displays an exquisite layout and beautiful picturesque scenery. Here you will find classical numerous rock and tree garden areas, ponds, bridges and pavilions. In the Old Shanghai District, a great number of small streets and lanes are present making it an ideal place for vendors to sell their traditional Chinese products and goods to tourists and locals. Stroll through the Old District and experience Chinese culture. Without a doubt, Shanghai's most recognized landmark is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The Pearl TV Tower measures at a height of 4698 meters (almost 3 miles) and is the 3rd tallest TV and radio tower in the world. Travel up and down the tower in a double-decker elevator that can hold up to 50 people at a rate of seven meters (almost 23 feet) per second. Enjoy the modern style architecture and spectacular views of Shanghai. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the Yangtze River. After lunch, enjoy a walk along Nanjing Road and the Bund. The Bund is a symbol of Shanghai and the epitome of Shanghai's modern history. Stroll through the colonial riverside of Old Shanghai and view the dozens of historic buildings lining the Huangpu River. 52 high rises of all western styles in the west showcase the art of international architecture and the history of contemporary Shanghai. Visit Nanjing Road, China's premier shopping street stretching 3.4 miles long. Enjoy this modern, vibrant and eclectic street filled with shops, eateries, restaurants and more. Nanjing road starts at the Bund in the east and ends in the west and is a must-see metropolitan destination for shoppers from all over the world!

Day 12 Shanghai (AB)

Spend this last morning in Shanghai at your leisure before we escort you to the airport.

AB:American Breakfast B:Breakfast L:Lunch
D:Dinner SD:Specialty Dinner

This itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control including: weather, airline schedules, cruise itinerary changes, boat changes, etc.

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