★ 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadiums Bird’s Nest, Water Cube
★ Tiananmen Square - the largest square in the world
★ Forbidden City - China Emperors ruled and lived
★ Wild Goose Pagoda - a landmark of Tang Dynasty
★ Guilin - Crystal Palace and Spine Rice Terraces
★ Yangshuo - rice paddies and bamboo groves
★ Suzhou - the Chinese as
★ Shanghai - Yu Garden, Old Bazaar shopping district
Take an international flight to Beijing, the Capital of China. Meals provided on board.
Arrive Beijing and be greeted by our warm and professional tour guide at the Beijing Capital Airport, and then transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day will be free for your own leisure.
On our first day in China, we have designed a light itinerary so we can get used to the new time zone and not rush into visiting the major sightseeing spots. Photo opportunities of the exterior of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadiums “Bird’s Nest” and “Water Cube” will be provided . Visit the adorable Pandas of Beijing Zoo (In Depth Program TM-Cultural). Travel back in time in a rickshaw, ride through the narrow maze of the ancient Hu Tong alleys. Re-live history as we are hosted by a local Hu Tong courtyard family. The rest of the day will be free for your leisure.
Now that we are ready, let’s start by take a morning stroll on the historical Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world. While walking through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, experience the grandeur of the most powerful political center in ancient China where generations of Emperors ruled and lived, within the confines of the red walls, known to the peasants as “Forbidden City”. Next stop is the Summer Palace, a most elaborate royal garden resort for the most powerful female ruler in the last Dynasty of China, Empress Dowager Ci Xi. Enjoy an incredible Kung Fu Show in the evening.
Revere the spiritual Temple of Heaven, regarded as the focal point where heaven meets earth, the place where Ming and Qing Dynasty Emperors prayed for good harvest and fortune. Experience the Echo Wall and Worship Hall, a beautiful wooden structure built without a single nail! Today’s highlight is the majestic views of the Great Wall of China at Bada Pass, the man made structure on earth that can be observed with the naked eyes from the moon. After the walking the Great Wall, we recommend an optional therapeutic foot and leg massage, at bargain prices. Savor the Peking duck dinner in the evening. Enjoy an acrobatic show after dinner.
Fly to Xian, a capital of China during the golden age of China, known as the Tang Dynasty. By retracing our steps along the ancient walls, we are embarking on the first steps of the legendary Silk Road, where many artifacts reach as far as Ancient Rome. Be welcomed by an exclusive private ceremony (In Depth Program TM-Cultural) called “Enter the Ancient City Gate”, where performers dress up and recreate the traditional reception for foreign dignitaries.
Meet the most powerful ancient elite warriors face to face! Over 8000 life sized replicas of the actual army, hidden underground for over 2000 years, meant to guard the first Emperor Qin for all eternity. (A proof to the statement: “You CAN take them with you.”) Indulge ourselves in a recreation of the Tang Dynasty music and dance performance for the Emperors. Enjoy a local specialty the dumpling feast for dinner.
Visit Wild Goose Pagoda, a landmark of Tang Dynasty where the Buddhist sutras brought back from India was stored and translated. This event inspired the famous Chinese ancient literature: Journey to the West. Visit Yao Dong, the cave dwellers of ancient China which is still occupied till this day. (In-Depth Program TM-Cultural) Fly to Guilin in the afternoon, and relax in the hotel surrounded by beautiful countryside scenery, a nice break from a week of touring the cities. We rest for the next two days in this mystical oasis of rural China.
Tour the Reed Flute Cave, Nature’s subterranean wonder filled with amazing rock formations highlighted by colorful spectrums. Marvel at the grand chamber Crystal Palace, a must see awesome spectacle. Head to Long Sheng’s spectacular Dragon Spine Rice Terraces. For centuries, the Zhuang and Yi minorities have chiseled 2,000 feet peaks with incredible step-like terraces for growing rice on the serene hills of rural China. (In-Depth TM-Cultural) Mingle with the local minorities and set foot onto their villages where life has remained unchanged for eternity!
Embark on the Li River Cruise, and enter the surreal living paintings known as “Gui Lin”, named after the aroma of the Osmanthus trees. The beautiful mystic green limestone pinnacles rise from the water, like mountains floating on an imaginary sea. Be immersed in this picturesque landscape surrounded by unique rock formations, sprinkled with quaint villages, rice paddies and bamboo groves untouched by time. Spend the evening in Yangshuo. Optional singing & lighting evening show “Liu Sanjie” may be attended if weather permits. (Directed by Zhang Yimou who also choreographed the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympics.)
“I have visited more than 80 countries and over 100 cities. I have found that no city can surpass the beauty of Guilin. Guilin is really a bright pearl in China.”
- by former U.S. President Richard Nixon
“No place in China is more evocative of the beauty of your country than Guilin.”
- by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Fly to Shanghai in the morning for Suzhou, the water village known to the Chinese as “Venice of the East”. In this city of ancient water ways, we can see the Grand Canal, which forms the vital links of silk production center with the rest of China. Suzhou turned into a boom town which inspired wealthy merchants to build classic water gardens, now made available for public enjoyment. An inspirational hub for many poets and artists alike, the old sections of Suzhou was made the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, a priceless piece of history frozen in time for all to enjoy.
We start the day with a cruise on the Grand Canal. Then we get to see how silk was made in the silk factory of Suzhou, a favorite for silk lovers. Enjoy a silk fashion show before lunch. Head to Shanghai and visit the Yu Garden, and the Old Bazaar shopping district of Shanghai. You may also take a walk in the bustling shopping district of Nanjing Road. Relive the height of Western influence of old Shanghai where architectural styles from all over the world left their marks and forever changed Shanghai Skylines. Take a romantic evening stroll on “The Bund” by the Huangpu River with the city lights and skyscrapers as the back drop. Optional boat cruise on Huang Pu River not included.
Enjoy a free day in Shanghai to spend and explore on your own, maybe practice your newly learned Chinese from brochures provided by Joy Holiday with the locals!
Return home with everlasting memories of a lifetime, or continue on with our other add-on trip options.