The Grand China Discovery Tour provides the opportunity to enjoy many of China's picturesque landscapes, historic monuments and modern-day architectural triumphs. From the bustling streets of Beijing and Shanghai to the beautiful and shining Li River, you will experience the ever-changing urban and rural cultures throughout the country. Climb the Great Wall of China and visit the Xian Terracotta Warriors. Shop in the economic heart of Shanghai and gaze at enormous pagodas and colorful Chinese gardens. The Grand China Discovery will truly astound you.
Arrive in Beijing after your flight, where we will greet and escort you to your hotel.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 city began to become more modernized. Explore the authentic traditional homes as you ride a pedicab through the zigzagging hutongs. Then, we'll make our way 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 dumplings. Dumplings are one delicacy served as a banquet dish that can come in a variety of delectable styles that create a plentiful cultural experience. They can be steamed, boiled, fried or roasted and come with an assortment of fillings in different kinds of shapes. Enjoy a spectacular performance with the Tang Dynasty Show , which showcases the ancient music and dance that originated during the Tang Dynasty more than a thousand years ago.
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 approximately 7,300 warriors, horses and chariots arranged in battle formations within 3 different pits. Each warrior is uniquely created with such intricate craftsmanship that it's hard to believe these Terracotta Warriors were built over 2000 years ago. Their purpose was 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 which collapsed, but was later rebuilt in 704 AD with 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 pagoda is located is filled with beautiful gardens and stunning architecture.
Xian is one of the few old 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 and is one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The massive city wall measure 12 meters high, with a width of 12 - 14 meters at the top and 15 - 18 meters at the base. The ancient City Wall features a series of watchtowers, turrets, crenels and gate towers, all of which are surrounded by a moat. It is rare for visitors to not be impressed by the size and simplicity of the Ancient Wall.
Visit Shanxi Provincial Museum before departing our flight to Guilin. The Shanxi 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 documents the history of China over a million years, from prehistoric times to about 1840 AD. It focuses on the highlights of the 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 make your way to the airport for your flight to Guilin.
Guilin has maintained its reputation as one of the world's most beautiful places for hundreds of years and its idyllic scenery draws tourists from near and far by the hundreds of thousands each year. The translation of the popular Chinese saying, "Guilin shanshui jia tian Xia" is "Guilin's mountain and water scenery is the best under heaven". They believe that this place is second to none and you'll witness why first hand. See the beautiful Li River on a Li River Cruise which flows north to south through Guilin. The center of Guilin lies on the western bank of the Li River. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, 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. From there, 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. A benefit 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. Sit back and relax as you watch an exciting performance displaying theatrical folk dancing, singing and music with occasional acrobatics.
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 shape of the hill portrays the image of a huge elephant stretching its trunk and drinking water, hence the name. Elephant Trunk Hill is the symbol of Guilin and its astonishing landscape. Between the elephant's trunk and its body is a round cave which resembles a full moon drifting on the water and is called Water Moon Cave. On a moonlit night, the glittering lunar light on the river wavelets forms a fantastic scene, which has been adored by poets and painters over Guilin's history. Visit the Reed Flute Cave, a fascinating gallery of natural sculpture (limestone cave formations) now enhanced by multicolored lighting, which has been one of Guilin's many interesting attractions for over 1200 years! It rates as one of the top four tourist sites in the city. The natural design of this cave is absolutely poetic. The cave got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside. These verdant reeds are used to make flutes. We welcome you to explore inside this cave and the spectacular world that awaits. Explore and enjoy the beauty of nature!
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. Tiger Hill is great place to sightsee, where you can find pagodas, temples, canals, gardens, ponds, bonsai collections and more. Enjoy the rich history and legend. Legend says that King He Lu was a collector of the finest swords and it is believed that 3,000 swords were buried along with him. 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 classical Chinese garden. It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning natural landscapes, flowers, temples and pagodas which blend harmoniously together. Also, visit 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 begins 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 in history by more than 6,000 years to raise silkworms and weave silk. Following the tour, return to Shanghai. If you would like us to arrange your evening entertainment, we recommend a Shanghai harbor cruise or Shanghai Acrobat Show at additional cost.
Explore Shanghai by visiting the Yu Yuan Garden in the 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 numerous classic rock and tree garden areas, ponds, bridges and pavilions. In the Old Shanghai District, a great number of small streets and lanes are present, where vendors sell their traditional Chinese products and goods to locals and tourists. Stroll through the Old District and experience the vibrant 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 the rate of seven meters (almost 23 feet) per second. Enjoy the modern architecture style buildings and spectacular views of Shanghai. On a clear day, you can 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 an epitome of Shanghai's modern history. Stroll through this colonial riverside of Old Shanghai and view the dozens of historic buildings lining the Huangpu River. 52 high rises of all styles in the west showcase the art of world architecture and history of contemporary Shanghai. Then visit Nanjing Road, China's premier shopping street stretching 3.4 miles long. Enjoy the 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!
Enjoy a free morning in Shanghai before taking a flight to Hong Kong. Once you arrive in Hong Kong, we will transfer you to your hotel. Hong Kong is one of the world's most desirable destinations from elaborate cultural festivals to captivating attractions. Like Manhattan, Hong Kong's stunning skyline appears to leap straight out from the sea. The city is crowded, yet peace can be found within a park's quiet corner or atop a splendid mountain top vista. Within its 420 square mile radius is a myriad of shopping centers, banks, museums, restaurants, parks (including Mickey's newest Disney themepark), monasteries, and of course, those cathedrals of commerce: the skyscrapers! Explore the wonder of this city by shopping, sightseeing and immersing yourself within the entertainment district.
Enjoy a half-day city tour of Hong Kong, which includes visiting Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Aberdeen Fishing Village, and a jewelry shop. Paris has its Eiffel Tower, New York its Empire State Building, Rio its Corcovado and Hong Kong¡K its Victoria Peak. The 1,811-foot (552m) Victoria Peak still, barely, tops the tallest buildings in the skyline it overlooks. Visit Victoria Peak and view the millionaires' mansions lining the upper roads. Your reward for making the trip, besides the glorious views, is the Peak Tower, a collection of shops and cafes, a Madame Tussauds, and a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Enjoy the spectacular views of Hong Kong. Visit Repulse Bay, a sun-drenched bay located in a wealthy residential area. This relaxing resort-like bay is popular with locals and visitors alike. The crescent-shaped beach stretches on with pristine azure blue waters gently lapping the soft golden sand shore. The Repulse Bay area is one of the most expensive housing areas in Hong Kong. Continue your tour and explore the charming and quaint Aberdeen Fishing Village, the traditional fishing village and harbor that is home to hundreds of people living on fishing junks. Although the fishing village is not far from the hustle and bustle of the modern high-rise community, you can find rows of old-fashioned junk boats and house boats, in which families still live. Visit a jewelry shop where dozens of display cases showcase jewelry of all shapes, sizes and styles. Find various jade items, diamonds, sapphires, opals, pearls and more. Take the opportunity to see the craftsmen fashion meticulous works of art from gold and compare their detail to other countries' jewel craftsmanship.
Enjoy your free day to explore Hong Kong. When it comes to world-class cities, nowhere in Asia quite compares to Hong Kong. Here, east meets west in a city where shopping days include high fashion as well as street markets like Temple Street that date back to the administrative Region (SAR). Not only a city of skyscrapers, Hong Kong also boasts a lush countryside and small rural communities. Enjoy this free day to explore Hong Kong and visit and enjoy many attractions, shopping and fine dining.
Enjoy your last day in Hong Kong before we escort you to the airport for your flight back home.
They include a local guide, hotel accommodations (double occupancy), meals (as indicated), transfers, ground transportation and plenty of sightseeing. Prices do not include connecting flights to/from these cities. Please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the complete itinerary and availability as certain blackout dates may apply.
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