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Xian Discovery - 9 Days / 8 Nights


Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Suzhou

Xian Discovery - 9 Days / 8 Nights

Day 1 Beijing

Arrive in Beijing after your flight. We will greet and escort you to your hotel.

Day 2 Beijing (AB, L, D)

After arriving in Beijing, visit 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 embracing and nursing the human beings inside. 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 Chinese traditional 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 a short break, enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace and Pearl Factory. The Summer Palace, located in the northwest suburban Beijing, is the largest and most well 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 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. Take a visit 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 shape, sizes and colors!

Day 3 Beijing (AB, L, SD)

Today you will visit the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. 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, saluted with eyes by the on-lookers. Explore the Forbidden City Imperial Palace, also known as "Gugong", which was the imperial residence 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 best preserved ancient architecture in China. Visit the Temple of Heaven, often considered the quintessential Chinese temple as it incorporates some of the finest architecture found anywhere in the nation without having to use a single nail! Observe this extraordinary temple, as you capture awing photos of the best preserved ancient architecture in China on this day. In the evening, be treated to 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 morning Hutong (a neighborhood) Tour in the morning before catching an afternoon flight to Xian. Hutongs are narrow streets or alleys most commonly found in Beijing around courtyard homes, and they once covered all of Beijing before the modernization of the city. Take a ride through the zigzagging narrow alleys or hutongs by pedicab as you explore the authentic traditional homes. Make your way for our flight to Xian. In the evening, expect to enjoy a special Chinese dumpling banquet followed by a traditional Tang Dynasty Show with ancient music and dance that originated during the dynasty's reign more than a thousand years ago.

Day 6 Xian (AB, L, D)

Your day is sure to be exciting as you visit the Terracotta Warriors excavation site, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in the world and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. 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 warrior is uniquely created with the intricate craftsmanship. Hard to believe these Terracotta Warriors were built over 2000 years ago to guard the First Emperor to protect his afterlife. Continue your day by visiting the Big Goose Pagoda and Ancient City Wall. The Big Goose Pagoda was built in 652 AD and originally had five stories which collapsed and was rebuilt in 704 AD, adding two additional stories. The Big Goose Pagoda 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 Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang. The temple complex in which the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located is filled with beautiful gardens and stunning architecture. The temple's grounds, gardens, architecture and the Big Goose Pagoda are absolutely incredible. Xian is one of the few ol cities in China where the original city walls are well-preserved and still visible. Enjoy your evening at your leisure!

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

We make our way to the airport to catch our flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, 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. The 1,859 yards long flood-control wall, known as 'the lovers' wall', was once was the most romantic corner in Shanghai in the last century. Standing by the rails, you can view the scenery of Pudong Area and Huangpu River. After, we will explore Nanjing Road - China's premier shopping street that spans 3.1 miles. We will also visit Yu Yuan Gardens -It is believed to have been built in the Ming Dynasty, more than 400 years ago, with a beautiful layout and beautiful scenery. With numerous rock and tree garden areas, ponds, dragon-lined walls and zigzagging bridges separating various garden areas and pavilions. The garden has a total area of five acres with more than 40 attractions. It contains of some halls and other buildings of interest. The antiques on show include century-old furniture, calligraphy and paintings from famous artists, clay sculptures, and brick carvings as well as some inscriptions and couplets. Jade Rock is one of the focuses of the garden. It is a 5-ton, porous, beautifully-shaped rock, which is said to have been carried from Tai Lake in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. An interesting legend is that the rock was found some 1000 years ago, and was originally one of Song Emperor Huizong's private collections before it ended up in Yu Garden. The surrounding marketplace area has good shopping opportunities for traditional Chinese products, gold, and jewels. Later explore the Old Shanghai District.

Day 8 Shanghai Suzhou (AB, L, D)

Today we make our way to Suzhou where you'll enjoy your day by visiting Lingering Garden, Tiger Hill, and the Silk Factory No.1 in Suzhou before returning to Shanghai in the afternoon/evening. First, take a stroll through the Lingering Garden. As one of Suzhou's classical gardens, 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 is truly heaven on earth. Next we head to Tiger Hill where an ancient legend speaks of King He Lu, a collector for the finest swords and who is believed that the 3,000 swords were buried along with him. 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 wonderful sight, a land that will never cease to amaze and enthrall you with its heritage. Though man made to be the burial place of king, it has become another wonder of China. 'It is a lifelong pity if having visited Suzhou you did not visit Tiger Hill'- Su Shi (Song Dynasty poet). This epitomizes the general opinion of those who have seen this local beauty spot with its many attractions that we have endeavored to describe for you. Then we take a boat ride along the longest canal or artificial river in the world, the Grand Canal on our way to visit the Silk Factory No. 1, on this tour; you will learn the whole life cycle of the silkworm. Silk is a delicate fabric elaborately made of natural protein fibrin of pods. The fascinating silk-making process is that the silkworm creates its cocoon out of a single silk thread that is continuous for approximately 3,600 feet. China is the earliest country raising silkworms and weaving silk with a history over 6,000 years. Return to Shanghai, if you would like us to arrange your evening entertainment, we recommend a Shanghai harbor cruise or Shanghai ERA Show at an additional cost.

Day 9 Shanghai (AB)

After breakfast, we will escort you to the airport to catch your flight back home.

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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