B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Saturday, 13 April - Arrive Beijing (D)
Welcome to the People’s Republic of China! On arrival in Beijing, you will be met and transferred to your hotel based on arrival times. Meet your local guide at 6:30 in the hotel lobby and walk to dinner at a local restaurant.
China is the world's largest country in population with over 1 billion people—about 20 percent of all the people in the world. It is the third largest country, in area, and one of the world's oldest countries, with a rich history that stretches over thousands of years. During this tour, you will marvel at the contrasts and the mysteries waiting to be discovered. Overnight: New Otani Hotel (4 nights)
Sunday, 14 April - Beijing (B,L,D)
At 8:00, depart your hotel for a full day tour of Beijing, which begins at the Tian’anmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world. Visit the Forbidden City, built by more than 200,000 workers in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty and home to the 24 Emperors of the Ming and Ch’ing (Qing) dynasties. After a vegetarian lunch at Gongdelin Restaurant, you will proceed to the centuries-old hutongs (including a rickshaw ride), the ancient quarters of Beijing, for a fresh insight of Beijing’s local life. Enjoy the dinner at a local restaurant, which is specialized in Shandong style food before traveling back to your hotel.
Monday, 15 April - Beijing (B,L,D)
At 9:00, rejoin your guide and coach and visit the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of Ming Dynasty architecture built for important rituals for the emperors. From here proceed to join a Taichi master and practice this ancient Chinese exercise. Found in the mid-1600, Tai Chi, or T’ai Chi Chuan (supreme ultimate fist), is designed partly to provide relaxation in the process of body-conditioning exercise. It employs flowing, rhythmic, deliberate movements, with carefully prescribed stances and positions.
After a Beijing style snack lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit the Summer Palace, a royal garden and summer retreat of Empress Dowager Cixi. Travel back to your hotel for a short rest before dinner at a local restaurant.
Tuesday, 16 April - Beijing (B,L,D)
You will depart the hotel at 8:00 for one of the highlights of the tour: visiting the Great Wall. You will drive past and enjoy the view from your coach the Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium, and the Water Cube, the National Aquatics Center. Next you will stop at the sacred Path of the Ming Tombs for a view of the beautifully carved statues of real and mythical animals and guardians. Proceed to a jade carving factory before having lunch at a local restaurant. Your last but not the least stop will be the Mutianyu Great Wall, (with round trip cable rides) the only man-made object visible to the naked eye from space. The Wall was built in the fifth century BC to protect China from the aggressive northern Tartars and winds 6000 kilometers through Northern China. After dinner at a local restaurant you will travel back to the hotel.
Wednesday, 17 April - Fly to Xian around 12:00 PM (B)
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for the flight south west to Xian, one of the ancient capitals of China. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Huxian Farmer’s Village, where you will be greeted by lion dance followed by a Chinese painting lesson.
Huxian Village is famous for its style of Chinese painting. It is instantly recognizable, mainly for the bold, exaggerated forms and excessive use of color. Every inch of the canvas is filled with scenes from daily rural life.
You will travel to Xian and your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. The dinner will be on own arrangement. At 7:30, join your guide for an evening Muslim market tour. Overnight: Titan Times Hotel, 4 star (2 nights)
Thursday, 18 April - Xian (B,L,D)
At 8:30 this morning depart your hotel for another major highlight of your China tour – the Terra Cotta Warrior and Horse Museum (the Eighth Wonder of the World). Before arriving at the Museum, you will visit a terrace cotta replica factory to see how the artisans there made the terra cotta warriors. On arrival at the Museum, visit over 6000 life-size warriors and horses guarding the tomb of the first emperor of China. After lunch continue your visit of the Museum. Travel back to your hotel for a short break before enjoying the Tang Dynasty Dancing and Singing Performance with dinner at the Tang Yue Gong Palace.
Friday, 19 April - Fly to Chengdu at 13:00 (B,L)
At 9:00 this morning travel to Beilin Museum, the Forest of Stone Tablets, and see how the ancient Chinese preserve their thirteen classics of filial piety, the Confucius classics and other calligraphy works. After lunch you fly to Chengdu, which is most-well known for having the giant pandas. On arrival, we will transfer to our hotel with a stop and go through a tea house at a local park enroute, and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Situated in the province of Sichuan known for its spicy cuisine, Chengdu is rated by several Chinese media as the nation’s second-most livable city. It is also China’s fifth-most populous city and has a history of over 2000 years and managed to preserve the atmosphere of how China might have been sometime in the past. Overnight: Jin Jiang Hotel (1 night)
Saturday, 20 April- Panda Breeding Research Center; Fly to Guilin – 16:00 (B,L)
Leave your hotel at around 9:00 and travel through the countryside before arriving at the Panda Breeding Research Center. Located just 10 km (6miles) away from Chengdu, the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre imitates the Pandas' natural habitat in order that they might have the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. Giant Pandas, lesser Pandas, black-necked cranes, white storks as well as over 20 species of rare animals are fed and bred here throughout the year. At a hotpot lunch at a local restaurant you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Guilin. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Guilin, a cultural city with a history of over 2,000 years, is world famous for its serene landscapes, mysterious limestone formations, mist covered hills and bamboo groves. The region boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and offers one of the most photographed areas of China. The city of Guilin is located on the Li River, surrounded by the exotic geographic formations that seem to evoke a mystical feeling in all who travel here. Although it is a small, slow-paced town, Guilin has a highly developed tourism infrastructure. It is the breathtaking beauty, peacefulness, and tranquility in such a magical setting that rewards those who visit Guilin. Accommodation: Bravo Hotel (2 nights)
Sunday, 21 April - Morning tour the Reed Flute Cave; Afternoon at leisure in Guilin (B)
At 9:00 depart your hotel and visit Reed Flute Cave, a spectacular world of various stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations created by carbonate deposition. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Monday, 22 April - Li River Tour & Chinese Cooking Lesson (B,L,D)
At 8:30 you will be transferred to the wharf for your boat cruise along the Li River. (Your checked luggage will be stored at Bravo Hotel. You will need to bring a small overnight bag for tonight.) The cruise down the Li River is 50 miles with opportunities to see the breathtaking panorama of the misty “karst” scenery (limestone formations along the river banks). You will observe feathery bamboo plants, picturesque villages as you sail along this calm, serene river. At around 4:00 PM this afternoon, join a local chef and visit a local market prior to starting your cooking lesson to learn how to cook some of China’s unique dishes. Enjoy the dinner before traveling back to your hotel. Accommodation: Green Lotus Hotel (1 night)
Tuesday, 23 April - Morning at Leisure; Fly to Shanghai (B)
Morning at leisure. This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport, where you will see your check luggage. On arrival at Shanghai airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Evening at leisure.
With a population of more than 12 million, Shanghai is China’s largest urban center. In the 19th century, Shanghai was jolted from being a quiet commercial backwater to a thriving financial metropolis. The Treaty of Nanking in 1842 opened Shanghai as a free port to western trade and influence. Even today, we can still see the foreign (mainly European) concession areas distinctly visible to this day. Overnight: Ramada Plaza Gateway (2 nights)
Wednesday, 24 April - Shanghai (B,L,D)
At 9:00 this morning, begin your full day tour of Shanghai at the old quarter near Yu Garden. Proceed to Yu Gardens, which was built in 1577 and hidden behind carved brick walls decorated with undulating dragon walls and lovely lotus pools. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by a visit to Shanghai Museum and the old French Concession. Built in 1994, the stunning museum can be seen as a completely new approach to museum design in China. The exhibits in ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, jade, Ming and Ch’ing (Qing) dynasty furniture, coins and ethnic art are fantastic. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant followed by an Acrobatic show performance. You will be transferred back to your hotel.
Thursday, 25 April - Travel by road to Suzhou (B,L)
At 8:30, you will travel by coach to Suzhou. Upon arrival, visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the largest of Suzhou's gardens and linked by zigzag bridges, the maze of connected pools and endless hills. From here, you will enjoy a sampan ride at the Grand Canal followed by a lunch at a local restaurant. After visiting a local furniture and sandal wood fan museum, the rest of the day will be at leisure.
With over 100 gardens of various sizes, Suzhou is one of China’s most beautiful cities. We visit two of Suzhou’s gardens: the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Ornamental Garden. Unlike Western gardens, these are not places of lawns and flowers but of rock conglomerations, water reflecting intricate pavilions and architectural tricks. Here scholars would think, paint, write poetry and debate with their colleagues. Overnight: Holiday Inn Jasmine Suzhou (2 nights)
Friday, 26 April - Suzhou (B,L,D)
Blended with the movements of Taiji and other martial arts and dances, Taiji Fan is an exercise or dance practiced by many people early morning at parks. At 8:30 travel to a local park and learn from a group of local Taichi Fan dancers for this ornamental and artistic dance (subject to weather and availability). Stop at a silk spinning factory to see how the whole process of silk making is done followed by a calligraphy lesson at a local park. Travel back to your hotel at 3:00 PM and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure before the farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Saturday, 27 April - Travel to Shanghai Pudong International Airport for the flight home (B)
Today you will be transferred to the airport for the flight home. There will be one transfer for all flights. Make your return flight no earlier than 12:00PM (noon).