Ancient Wonders of China
||Discovery - Culture - History
|No. of days:
||9 days - 8 nights
|First & Last Cities:
||Beijing - Shanghai
||Great Wall (Mutianyu) - Xi'an (Terracota Warriors)
Day 1: Beijing
Upon arrival at the Beijing airport, please proceed to the luggage area to claim your checked bags. Our local DA representative will assist you to board deluxe air-conditioned vehicle waiting outside the terminal building and transfer you to your hotel.
Beijing, the capital of China, lies just south of the rim of the Central Asian Steppes and is separated from the Gobi Desert by a green chain of mountains, over which The Great Wall runs. Modern Beijing lies on the site of countless human settlements that date back half a million years. Homo Erectus Pekinensis, better known as Peking man was discovered just outside the city in 1929. It is China's second largest city in terms of population and the largest in administrative territory.
The name Beijing - or Northern Capital - is a modern term by Chinese standards. It first became a capital in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), but it experienced its first phase of grandiose city planning in the Yuan Dynasty under the rule of the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, who made the city his winter capital in the late 13th century. Little of it remains in today's Beijing. Most of what the visitor sees today dates from either the Ming or later Qing dynasties. Huge concrete tower blocks have mushroomed and construction sites are everywhere. Bicycles are still the main mode of transportation but taxis, cars, and buses jam the city streets.
Day 2: Beijing
The day starts with a visit to the Temple of Heaven. This tranquil park is often a favorite stop for visitors to Beijing, as it provides them with an authentic look into local life in this city. On any given day, it is possible to see enthusiastic groups of Beijingers practicing Tai Chi, playing traditional instruments, or singing Peking Opera. The grounds consist of a sequence of buildings and altars set in beautiful groves of cypress trees. Learn more about the fascinating history behind this massive, circular structure and see local life unfold before your eyes in this very special visit to the Temple of Heaven. For lunch, enjoy Old Beijing Noodles at local Chinese restaurant. Beijing Noodles (Zhujiangmian) with Soybean Sauce is a treat not to be missed. Although customarily made from diced pork fried in a thick brown bean sauce, most restaurants now just use ground pork. The noodles should be hand rolled. Delicious and filling for a snack or a meal, this dish is a favorite in Beijing homes. Then, head to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of one of the world’s largest public squares, measuring in at 440,000 square meters (over 109 acres). As you walk from the southernmost part of the square all the way down its length, you will pass several monuments, including the mausoleum that houses Chairman Mao’s remains. The northern gate of the square features a portrait of the PRC’s founding father, and is also the gate through which you will enter the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was completed in 1420, and was home to 24 emperors, the last of which left Beijing in 1924. The entire imperial complex is reputed to have 9999 rooms, which at its peak housed up to 10,000 people, including the imperial family, 3000 eunuchs, as well as maids and concubines. Discover for yourself why the 170 acres were forbidden to common people as you stroll through what is arguably the best-preserved example of classical Chinese architecture in the world. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the best Peking duck restaurants in the city. This local delicacy is made using a recipe from China’s imperial era, and is prized for its crispy, rich skin. The meat is rolled into thin pancakes with scallions, cucumber and sweet and salty bean sauce. Don’t worry if your chopstick skills need some work, as these tasty creations can be eaten by hand! [B/L/D]
Option  Palace Museum Porcelain Collection
The Palace Museum’s Chinese porcelain collection is one of the finest in the world. Located in the Wenhua Hall in the Forbidden City, the collection covers a floor space of 1,770 square kilometers. Over four hundred of the most remarkable antiques have been selected from nearly 350,000 pieces, spanning thousands of years from the Neolithic Age to modern times.
Option : Kung-Fu Show.
Experience a Chinese Kung Fu evening show, one of the top attractions in Beijing. Marvel at the skill of some of China’s top Kung Fu practitioners. Includes hotel pick-up and drop off and the services of an English-speaking guide
Day 3: Beijing, Great Wall (Mutianyu), Beijing
In the morning travel to the less visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the great wonders of the world (with cable car up and down). The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world. In fact, the length of all Chinese defense walls built over the last 2000 years is approximately 31,000 miles, while the Earth’s circumference is less than 25,000 miles! Explore the much quieter Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which was first begun in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557) and finished in the 17th century. The 1.5-mile stretch of the Wall allows you to walk along its storied length for over an hour and visit twenty-two watchtowers, should you so choose. Not only will you walk along this wonder of the world yourself, but you will also see it from above during a breathtaking cable car ride to the top. Lunch at School House Restaurant. Transfer back to the city. On the way, if traffic allows, stop to take in the view of the iconic “Bird’s Nest”– the Beijing National Stadium–and “Water cube” –National Aquatics Center, host to many spectacular events of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Dinner is on your own arrangement. Overnight in Beijing. [B/L]
Day 4: Beijing, Xi’an
This morning, visit the Imperial Garden one of the largest and best preserved in the world. In the 18th century, Emperor Qianlong enlarged and embellished it, only to abandon it a few years later. The grounds today are stunning, as is the lovely Kunming Lake, which occupies more than three quarters of the total area. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake before walking the Long Corridor, a 2000-foot hall featuring 8000 paintings collected by the Emperor during his travels around the country. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant that includes one soft drink or non-alcoholic beverage. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the railway station to take the high-speed train to Xi’an. Upon arrival, you will meet your guide and will be transferred to your hotel. Unlock the secrets of China’s ancient civilizations in a city that countless emperors once called home. See the rows upon rows of Terracotta Warriors with your own eyes, and walk along the glass floors of the Hanyang Tombs to see the treasures archaeologists have unearthed below. Dinner on your own and overnight in Xi’an. [B/L]
One of the world’s greatest archaeological finds, the Terracotta Warriors were discovered quite by chance in 1974 by a group of peasants digging a well outside of Xi’an. These sculptures of soldiers, chariots and horses were funerary statues made to accompany China’s first emperor to the afterlife more than 2100 years ago. Legend has it that it took 100,000 men 38 years to create the soldiers, which all vary in rank, posture, height, uniform and facial features. It is believed that there still are thousands of warriors and hundreds of horses and chariots buried in the three pits discovered so far. However, further excavations have been halted while researchers try to find a way to preserve the colorful paint that covers the statues from disintegrating once exposed to air.
Day 5: Xi’an
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, which includes one soft drink or non-alcoholic beverage. In the afternoon enjoy a relaxing walk on Xi’an City Wall. The city walls of Xi’an are some of the oldest and best preserved in all of China, and can be dated back to the 2nd century BC, when Xi’an was the capital of the country. The existing walls were completed in 1370 AD, and are about 9 miles in length and are still surrounded by a deep moat to this day. Since 1993, the Xi’an city walls have played host to a world-famous marathon where participants run along the entire length of the wall several times; however, on this tour we’ll take a more leisurely pace to appreciate the spectacular views and rich history of this ancient structure. After, take a walk through the Muslim Quarter. For over 1300 years, Muslims have been an integral part of the community in Xi’an. The city’s Hui ethnic group traces their roots back to Persian and Arabic traders, who settled here at the eastern end of the Silk Road. Stroll through this unique and fascinating area of the city, and see the ways in which Central Asia has influenced the development of Mainland China. Built in 742 AD, the Great Mosque is still used today as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims. Its construction and architectural style is almost indistinguishable from a Chinese Buddhist temple, but look closely and you will see the Arabic script and Islamic motifs that decorate the mosque. The main axis of the mosque is aligned in a very non-Chinese east to west direction in order to face Mecca. Transfer back to your hotel and dinner on your own. Overnight in Xi’an. [B/L]
Option : The Tang Dynasty Show
Also known as "Music & Dance Dinner Show in Xian" is hosted at the "Tang Dynasty Palace", which is a leading entertainment theatre & dinner restaurant in China. This legendary venue offers visitors an opportunity to indulge themselves in exotic Chinese entertainment and Cantonese delicacies
Day 6: Xi’an, Shanghai
The Shaanxi Provincial Museum is a striking Tang Dynasty style pavilion that houses a collection of 113,000 historical and cultural artifacts unearthed in the Shaanxi province featuring chronological exhibits of cultural relics from most of China’s imperial dynasties. The museum also houses pre-historic and bronze period exhibits as well as a collection of priceless jade imperial seals from the Han dynasty. Note: The museum is closed on Mondays. Than you will enjoy a Dim Sum lunch at De Fa Chang restaurant. The most famous dish in Xi’an is the dumpling, and there are more varieties of this bite-sized delicacy than you have likely ever imagined before. Sample more than twenty different types of dumplings at this banquet meal, and be amazed by the unique and delicate flavors of these tasty treats! In the afternoon transfer to Xi'an Airport to board a flight to Shanghai where, upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Shanghai or Hu for short, is situated on the estuary of the Yangtze River. It is the largest industrial city in China covering an area of 1,433 acres (2,239 square miles). Shanghai has a population of 18.7 million, including 2 million living in floating homes. Originally, Shanghai was a seaside-fishing village and in time its gradual development led to it being granted County status on August 19th, 1291 during the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Hence this day became the anniversary of the founding of Shanghai. Today's Shanghai is a multi-cultural metropolis with both modern and traditional Chinese features. Bubbling Shanghai shows off every aspect of her unique glamour. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Shanghai. [B/L]
Day 7: Shanghai
In the morning meet your guide and visit Shanghai’s Old Town and Yuyuan Garden. Four hundred years ago, a merchant spent almost twenty years—and all his life savings—to build a garden in order to please his parents in their old age. “Yu” means peace and health in Chinese. Over the past several centuries, the Yu Garden has been restored and reopened several times, but has almost always been in disarray. In 1956, the Shanghai city government took it over and restored it to its former splendor, making it a peaceful oasis in the heart of bustling Shanghai. Outside the garden gates, the Old Bazaar is the perfect place to strike a bargain or chat with locals selling a variety of wares and souvenirs. Enjoy lunch and Shanghai’s cuisine at Yu Shanghai Restaurant (near Yu Yuan Garden). In the afternoon visit the tallest building in China, Shanghai WFC, the Shanghai World Financial Centre, fondly called “The Bottle Opener” for its unique rectangular opening at the top of the tower, an instantly recognizable landmark in the Shanghai skyline. It boasts the world’s highest observation deck located above the opening that offers an impressive birds eye view of the city for those brave enough to look down. This evening, enjoy a show at Shanghai Era Acrobatics theatre where we have booked regular seats. “Era – Intersection of Time” - combines traditional Chinese acrobatic arts with cutting edge technology into a multi-million-dollar extravaganza that redefines Chinese acrobatics. A wondrous futuristic world is created through the use of high-tech lighting and sound effects along with elaborate costumes and original live music. “Era” is a meditation on time and a love story told through a spectacular sequence of acrobatic performances guaranteed to leave you enthralled and amazed. Dinner on your. Overnight in Shanghai. [B/L]
Day 8: Shanghai
After breakfast, take a boat ride to the beautiful water town of Zhujiajiao founded over 1700 years ago. Zhujiajiao started out as an ancient water village and bustling market town located at the confluence of several local rivers, and is still home to about 60,000 people today. Stroll along its centuries-old streets and explore the many ancient bridges crisscrossing its canals, or take a boat ride to discover the town’s unique character and charm. Enjoy lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, including one non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. Then discover the Shanghai Museum, one of the best museums in China, containing one of the finest collections of ancient Chinese art and antiques in the world. The distinctive building was designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel, and contains 11 permanent and 3 rotating galleries. The museum has over 120,000 priceless pieces in its collection, including bronze, jade, ceramics, calligraphy, sculptures, paintings, furniture, imperial seals, and ancient coins. After a transfer back to your hotel you are free to continue discovering on your own. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Shanghai. [B/L]
Day 9 ~ Shanghai, USA
The day is free until the appointed time for your transfer to Shanghai Pudong Airport for your flight back home [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner