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China Discovery: Beijing-Datong-Wutaishan-Taiyuan-Pingyao-Xi'an- Kunming-Lijiang-Dali-Guilin-Suzhou-Tongli-Shanghai (22 days)
"Venice of the East" Tongli ShanghaiChina is said to be the country with the oldest cultural heritage – more than 4,000 years. Despite huge political events and the implementation of an economic reform in the past decades, China preserves its traditions. You will see enchanting temples and gardens standing beside towering skyscrapers. Our aim is to show the big contrasts within the country - concerning both the landscape and the culture –to you.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Beijing   Best Western Hotel****

Arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport. Greetings by your tour guide and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal.

Day 2: Beijing B/L/D Best Western Hotel ****

Temple of Heaven Beijing Visit the Badaling Great Wall in the morning. You can climb up to the wall through a scarped staircase and enjoy the scenery from above. Afterwards go to the Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan) by minibus. It is one of the imperial gardens, where the Chinese gardening is perfectly reflected. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A suggestion for the evening: Peking Opera.

Day 3: Beijing / Datong B/L/D Train

In the morning, you walk at the historic Tian'anmen Square (Tian’anmen Guangchang), the world-famous largest square in Beijing. Walk through the Tian’anmen Square Gate to the palace of the emperor (Gugong), which the Chinese officials call the Palace Museum (better known as the Forbidden City). This palace is of the Ming and Qing time and it is on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. It is a masterpiece of Chinese palace architecture and it demonstrates the integration of traditional architecture in ancient northern China into the art of palace building. Afterwards visit another landmark of Beijing, the Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan), where the Ming and Qing Emperors worshiped the heaven and prayed for good harvests. It is also on the World Heritage List, because it is a unique expression of the Chinese concept of the relationship between heaven and earth. In the evening, you go to Datong by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 4: Datong B/L/D Yungang International Hotel****

Yungang Buddhist GrottoesArrival in Datong in the early morning. During the Northern Wei Dynasty in the 4th and 5th century, Datong has been the capital city of the northern China. After breakfast, visit the Buddhist Yungang Grottos, which are located at the north side of the Wuzhou mountain, 16 km south of the city. It consists of three cave systems with altogether 53 caves, which were strarted building in the year 450. More than 51,000 sculptures were found there. They are excellent examples of the development of the Buddhist art and the religious beliefs in China. You can see the influence from India and Central Asia as well as the typical Chinese characteristics, which helped forming the Chinese Nation. The grottos are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
After the return to the city, you will visit the Nine Dragons Wall (Jiu Long Bi). The so-called “Ghost Walls”, which hamper the sight through the gate into a courtyard, are a common part of the four-sides courtyard. Besides screen, their primary function is to deter the ghosts, which, as is generally known, can not walk around the corner. Afterwards visit the Huayan Monastery (Huayan Si), named for the Buddhist Huayan sect. The monastery has its roots in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), on which some of its characteristics are based.

Day 5: Datong / Hengshan / Wutaishan B/L/D Yindu Hotel***

After breakfast, visit the Wooden Pagoda at Yingxian, 70 km south of Datong. The 67m high pagoda is the oldest preserved wooden pagoda in China, built in 1056. It has eight corners, with a caliber of 30 m at its base. It withstood many earthquakes. Afterwards go to Hengshan, one of the five Daoist holy mountains by minibus. At the southern mountain, there are numerous temples and monasteries. One of them is the so-called Hanging Monastery. The breath-taking construction is located at a steep rock face, 30 m above the ground. The monasteries and gazebos were built on the natural prominences of the wall in the 6th century. Then go to Wutaishan (Five-Terrace Mountain), a place of pivotal significance for the Buddhists in East Asia. There are more than 50 sacral buildings.

Day 6: Wutaishan B/L/D Yindu Hotel***

Full-day hiking and sightseeing in the Wutaishan (the Five-Terrace Mountain), one of the holy mountains of Buddhism. Wutaishan is associated with the Boddhisattva of Wisdom – Manjushri, in Tibetan language Dschampeiyang and in Chinese known as Wen Shu. He is the special guardian of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism. And also under the political influence of the Emperor Yongle in the Ming Dynasty, you will find many Tibetan and Mongolian elements and lots of monks from Tibet with their distinctive red robes among the pilgrims from Tibet and Mongolia. At length, visit the Xiantongsi monastery and Tayuansi monastery as well as Pusading (Boddhisattva-Pinnacle).

Day 7: Wutaishan / Taiyuan B/L/D Eden International Hotel****

Go to Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province by bus in the morning. Visit the Jinci Temple, which is located 25 km southwest of the city. The vestiges date back to the Zhou Dynasty. The temple is very famous, since it is one of the old ancestral temples, which are relatively rare in China. The temple is dedicated to Tang Shu Yu (1122-771 BC), the founder of the Zhou Dynasty, built by his ancestors in order to honor his achievements. The large Hall of the Sacred Mother is a tribute to Tang Shu Yu's mother, which is regarded as the model of noble motherhood in feudal Chinese society. It houses a large statue of her, surrounded by 44 life-sized and painted Terracotta figures from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), which are sculpted in a vivid and natural way. Afterwards visit the Shuanglin Monastery, which was first on record 1500 years ago. There you can find more than 2,000 painted statues made of terracotta and wood from Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. These lifelike figures range from Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heavenly Kings, supernatural beings, to all kinds of mortals from the human world.

Day 8: Taiyuan / Pingyao / Xi'an B/L/D Train

Pingyao old town Go by minibus (70 km) to Pingyao, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. The urban structure reveals the development of the architecture and the urban planning in the imperial China over five centuries. Of particular interest are the imposing buildings for banking. The banks in Pingyao were leading the banking system all over China in the 19th and early 20th century. That’s why Pingyao is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This unique inimitable environment was the setting for Zhang Yimou's famous film "Raise The Red Lantern". After returning to Taiyuan, go to Xi’an by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 9: Xi'an B/L/D Jianguo Hotel ****

Arrival in Xi’an. Transfer to the hotel and breakfast. Visit the Army of TerraCotta Warriors, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The excavations are located close to the subsurface tomb system of the first emperor of China. Besides thousands of life-size TerraCotta Warriors and Horses watching over the Tomb, you can see two bronze models of horse carriage and warrior. Afterwards return to Xi’an and visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Da Yan Ta) in the Dacien temple built in 652 A.D., which is considered as Xi'an's landmark.

Day 10: Xi'an / Kunming B/L/D

Kunming Hotel****

In the morning, visit the Bell and Drum Tower square (Zhong Gu Lou) and the Muslim Old Town with its numerous small shops and restaurants. And then the Great Mosque (Qingzhen Si; or Hua Jue Si), which is built in the typical Chinese temple architectural style. In the afternoon, go to Kunming by plane. Arrival in Kunming and transfer to the hotel.

Day 11: Kunming / Stone Forest B/L/D Tianqi Ashima Hotel***

In the morning, visit the Bird and Flower Market and go for a walk through the reconstructed Old Town with the Jinmabiji Arc of Honour. In the afternoon, go by bus to the Western Hills with the Dragon Gate and a series of temples in the caves carved into the cliff. They are connected by narrow but secured paths, all located outside Kunming. There you can have a wonderful view over Kunming city and the 40 km long Dian Lake, which is near the hills. Afterwards travel to the Stone Forest. Overnight stay at a hotel close to the sight.

Day 12: Stone Forest / Kunming / Dali B/L/D Train

Stone Forrest 1 Kunming YunnanIn the morning, go for an extensive walk through the Stone Forest before other tourists arrive. The Stone forest is located in the Lunan County, the autonomous area, where the Yi minority group live. It is a particular collection of karst formations and it consists of rocks with sharp-edged fluting, numerous manifold valleys, caves, and subsurface rivers. Return to Kunming after lunch. Transfer to the train station in the evening. Go to Dali by train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 13: Dali B/L/D Landscape Hotel*** (in the Old Town)

Arrival in Dali and breakfast. Dali is the administrative centre of the autonomous region, where the Bai minority lives. Take a walk in the well-preserved Old Town of Dali. There are mighty city walls and watchtowers dating back to the Ming dynasty. In the picturesque lanes, there are handicraft products made of the famous Dali marble everywhere. It is a white marble, which contains layers of colors, such as red, light blue, green and milk. The name of the city became the common term for marble in China. Afterwards visit the beautiful white Three Pagodas (San Ta Si), which are built in the typical style of the Tang dynasty. The pagodas are located close to The Chongsheng Temple, not far from the city.

Day 14: Dali / Lijiang B/L/D

3Sanhe***

Make a boat trip on the Erhai Lake in the morning. Erhai is the second largest plateau lake and the seventh largest fresh water lake in China. It is located at the foot of the snow-caped Cang Mountain with a height of more than 4,000 m. Enjoy the spectacular scenery there. Afterwards visit a Bai family and get to know their everyday life and the architecture of their house. In the afternoon go to Lijiang by minibus. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of mountains and rivers along the road. Visit the Xinhua Village of the Bai minority on the way.

Day 15: Lijiang B/L/D

Sanhe***

children of Bai minority Yunnan After breakfast, go on an excursion to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan), which is located about 15 km north of Lijiang. A cable car brings you up to the 4600 m alp, beneath the pinnacles of the mountain, which is covered by a glacier. This area is famous for its enormous biodiversity. The surroundings of the mountain are a sanctuary for rare animals and plants. After that, visit the Baisha's Frescoes. There are 53 groups of paintings dating back to the Ming Dynasty. They are spread over several different temples. The paintings are a mixture of Daoism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and the local Naxi Dongba culture. They illustrate the everyday life in religious images. You can enjoy the ancient Naxi music in the evening. It is a kind of old Chinese folk music, which has its roots in Taoist and Buddhist ritual music of the 13th and 14th century, and was very popular at that time. The orchestra with its musicians, who are partly more than 80 years old, will show the great musical art of the Nanxi minority to you.

Day 16: Lijiang / Kunming B/L/D

Kunming Hotel ***

Reach the picturesque Dayan Old Town in the morning. It is an ancient town, famous for its well preserved city structure – a harmonious blend of elements from different cultures and an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still works effectively today. The Old Town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the afternoon, you will walk along the Black Dragon Lake (Heilongtan). You can see the 5,600 m high snow covered Jade Dragon Mountain massif in the distance. They are reflected in the water of the lake. Transfer to the airport and fly back to Kunming in the evening.

Day 17: Kunming / Guilin B/L/D Park Hotel ****

Fly to Guilin in the morning. Make a round trip of the city, which is located amid karst cones mountains. You will visit the Stalactite Reed Flute Cave (Ludiyan), the city's landmark - the Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangbi Shan) and the Fubo Hill, where you can get a beautiful view over the city and the surrounding hills.

Day 18: Guilin / Yangshuo B/L New Century Hotel***

Guilin Li river 5 Transfer to the wharf outside the city in the morning. Go for a cruise on the picturesque Li River through the bizarre karst landscape to Yangshuo. It will last for about 4 hours. Have lunch on the boat. You will be bewitched by the scenery. Enjoy a romantic southern China there. After the arrival in Yangshuo, you can explore the impressing karst landscape by bicycle or make a round trip by electrical minibus through the villages, rice fields and mountains.

A suggestion for the evening: Impression Liu Sanjie, directed by the famous Chinese film director Zhang Yimou. He will be the leading director of the opening and closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The evening performance is a wonderful presentation of local dance and singing.

Day 19: Yangshuo / Guilin / Shanghai B/D Ocean Hotel ****

The day is at your disposal. Enjoy a beautiful and relaxing day that few travelers can experience. Wander through the narrow lanes and saunter at the market. Explore the impressing karst landscape by bike or tricycle. Hike in the mountains, through rice fields and the villages along the Li River and the Yulong River, where life has hardly changed for centuries. You can visit the lanes and courtyards by yourself. In the afternoon, transfer to Guilin Airport and fly to Shanghai in the evening.

Day 20: Shanghai / Suzhou B/L/D Guanyun Hotel****

Shanghai Pudong 4 TV tower Jin Mao Building sun rise 2 In the morning, experience the religious life in the Jade Buddha Temple (Yo Fo Si), with its 2 m Buddha statue made of one single piece of rare white Burmese jade. Afterwards visit the historical Old Town of Shanghai with its labyrinth of narrow lanes and get to know Shanghainese daily life. Then walk to the Bund, the legendary waterfront along the Huangpu River with its European colonial architecture of the 1930's. There you can get a beautiful view over the modern Pudong district at the other side of the river. Afterwards, go up the Jinmao Building, a 421 m high skyscraper, which is a perfect blend of traditional Chinese style and gothic influence. Have a wonderful view from the observation deck down to the fastest growing city of Asia. In the evening, go to Suzhou, the city of silk production, by train. Suzhou is called “Venice of the east”.

Day 21: Suzhou / Shanghai B/L Ocean Hotel ****

In the morning, take a walk through the Old Town to the remains of the old city wall and visit Panmen, the last one of the eight gates in former times. There you can get a beautiful view of the Emperor Canal and its old bridges. Afterwards visit Humble Administrator’s Garden and Garden of the Master of the Nets. They are two of the nine gardens in Suzhou, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the afternoon, return to Shanghai. The rest of the day is at your disposal. You can go shopping or travel by the Transrapid.

Day 22: Shanghai B  

Transfer to the airport after breakfast and fly back home. (You can spend approx. $7 to go to the airport by the Transrapid).

End of the travel.

B:
Breakfast     L: Lunch     D: Dinner

Tour No.: CD
China Discovery

For individual groups
Number of participants
Peak season
Single room extra charge
Shoulder season
Single room extra charge
book
2-5 pers.
2525 USD
445 USD
2445 USD
410 USD

If you are a group with more than 5 persons, you can get more favourable prices. Please note that the prices may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations (RMB to USD) slightly. The prices above were computed by the rates as 1 USD= 7.9 RMB.
Peak season: May, September and October
Shoulder season: March, April, June, July, August, November

The hotels:
Beijing Best West Hotel****
Datong Yungang International Hotel****
Wutaishan Yindu Villa***
Taiyuan Eden International Hotel****
Xi'an Jianguo Hotel****
Kunming Kunming Hotel****
Stone Forest Tianqi Ashima Hotel***
Dali Landscape Hotel***
Lijiang Sanhe***
Guilin Park Hotel****
Yangshuo New Century Hotel***
Shanghai Ocean Hotel****
Suzhou Guanyun Hotel****

Price includes:
-- All overnight accommodation in double rooms shared by two adults with    breakfast.
-- Meals as listed in the itinerary.
-- All transfers and entrance tickets as listed in the itinerary.
-- Inland flight tickets including all fees.
-- Local English-speaking tour guide.

Price does not include:
-- International flight tickets
-- Visa for China
-- Personal expenditures, tips etc.

Note:
-- Children less than 12 years old can be given discounts.
-- The hotels, trains and flights listed in the itinerary may be changed into    the ones of similar category if necessary.
-- The prices do not apply to the Spring Festival, the May Day Holiday (30th     April.– 7th May.), the National Day Holiday (30th Sep.– 7th Oct.), and during the Formula 1 racing period in Shanghai (25th Sep.– 5th Oct. 2006).
-- If you need more information, please contact us.

 

 

 

China Intensive

•Scenery and Culture
•China Panorama
•South China and the   Yangtze
•China Highlights
•China Discovery
•Trekking tour
•Biking tour
•Beautiful Silk Road
•the Complete Silk   Road
•Camel Ride across the   Taklamakan Desert
•Tibet and the Yangtze
•Budget Tour 1
•Budget Tour 2
•Budget Tour 3
•Learning Kong Fu in   Shaolin Temple
•China with Taijiquan
•Taijiquan and Sunbath   Vacation
•Tibet Discovery
•Shangri La Adventure
•F1 Shanghai

 
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