Next visit Golden Palace. Stop by the Ethnic Village where the colorful cultures of Yunnan's different ethnic groups are represented. Staying in Guiling, one of China's most beautiful cities visit Fubo Hill for a panoramic view of Guiling and Seven Star Park for its huge caverns and charming pavilions. The cruise along Li river will give you a chance to savor the lovely view of the area's extraordinary limestone peaks. Explore the beauty of Yangshuo's waters and mountains. Visit Suzhou, known as the "Venice of the East". Visit the marvelous Shanghai Museum, a leading attraction of the city since it opened in 1994.
Day 1: Departure from home.
Day 2: Beijing. Arrive Beijing. You are greeted and transferred to your hotel.
Day 3: Beijing. Begin the day with a visit to Tienanmen Square, the world largest. Then move on to the Imperial Palace, also known as the "Forbidden City" that symbolizes the imperial and traditional China. After lunch visit Temple of Heaven, the place where the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped heaven and prayed for peace and harvest. A Peking Duck banquet concludes your first full day activities in China. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Beijing. Visit the enchanting Summer Palace, one of China's largest and best-preserved imperial gardens. In the afternoon visit the Sackler Archaeological Museum on the campus of Peking University and Beijing's Ancient Observatory. Tonight's dinner is the Royal Cuisine at Fangshan Restaurant in Beihai Park. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Beijing. Today's highlight is your visit to the Great Wall, symbol of Chinese civilization. On your way back to the city stop at a mountain village and meet local residents. A short drive away is the statue-lined by Shenlu (Spirit Road) leading to the Ming Tombs to see some marvelous stone sculptures. Rest of the day is free for your own exploration. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 6: Beijing - Xi'an. Before boarding a flight to Xi'an, the famous ancient capital of China, you will take a walk through some old "hutongs", a kind of ancient-city compound, to see traditional style courtyards and locals doing their daily chores. Upon arrival in Xi'an and check in Shangri-la Hotel. Climb up the ancient City Walls and visit the Forest of Stiles Museum, where precious stone carvings and sculptures are kept. Enjoy a characteristic dumpling dinner at a local restaurant. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Xi'an. Begin the day with a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the extraordinary 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors of China's first Emperor, Qin Shihuang. Upon return to the city visit the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the best in China. Rest of the day is free. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Xi'an - Chengdu. Take a short visit to the digging site and museum of Yangling, tomb of Emperor Jingdi of the Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). Fly to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. Check in your hotel. Visit the magnificent Sanxingdui Archaeological Museum in the afternoon. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Chengdu. Today's highlight is to take a full day excursion to Wolong Panda Preserve to get a behind-the-scenes look at the current work underway to preserve the Chinese panda. Meet with Chinese and international experts to learn how they are making efforts to save this endangered species. You will also have a chance of meeting the local Qiang and Tibetan people. Return to Chengdu in the evening. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Chengdu - Kunming. Fly to Kunming this morning. Check in hotel. Take a city tour in the afternoon. Visit Yuantong Temple northern Yunnan's major Buddhist site and an active place of pilgrimage. Next visit Golden Palace, temple structure built later in 1671 with Buddhist statues, inscription boards, beams and pillars, wall-screen and other decorations, all made of copper. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Kunming. Today's excursion takes you to the Stone Forest, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Kunming. Located in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, this area offers visitors a unique landscape of stark limestone pillars twisted and sculpted by the elements. From a distance, these stone pillars look indeed like a dense forest; hence the name of Stone Forest. It covers an area of 81,000 acres, yet only about 400 acres have been developed as scenic landscape open to public. Also explore the local markets and villages of the ethnic Sani people. Return to Kunming in the evening. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Kunming. Today you will have a chance to visit suburban hills of Kunming and feel the intriguing Buddhist art at Qiongzhu Temple. Then visit Daguan Lou (Grand View Pavilion), which was built in 1690. Stop by the Ethnic Village where the colorful cultures of Yunnan's different ethnic groups are represented. Later go to the Western Hill to get a bird's-eye-view of the Dianchi lake. Enjoy a Yunnan flavor dinner this evening. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Kunming - Guiling. Fly to Guiling, one of China's most beautiful cities. Visit Fubo Hill for a panoramic view of Guiling and Seven Star Park for its huge caverns and charming pavilions. Enjoy a Sichuan flavor dinner at a local restaurant. In the evening you will go to the Spring Theater for an ethnic song and dance performance. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Yangshuo. Visit the Elephant Trunk Hill in the morning. Today's highlight is a 4-hour cruising down the Li River, which stretches 83 kilometers from Guiling to Yangshuo. The cruise will give you a chance to savor the lovely view of the area's extraordinary limestone peaks. Get off the boat in Yangshuo, and explore this small county town and its local markets on your own. Check in Paradise Hotel Yangshuo. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 15: Guiling - Hangzhou. This morning you will have some free time to explore the beauty of Yangshuo's waters and mountains. If you like, hire a local fisherman's boat for a float on the charming Li River. Return to Guiling for an afternoon flight to Hangzhou later afternoon. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 16: Hangzhou. Visit West Lake and Huanggang Park. Go to the Lingyin Temple (Temple of the Soul's Retreat) initially built in 326 AD. On the outskirts of the city is the natural wonder of Longjing Quan (Dragon Well Spring) and the lush tea bushes of nearby Longjing Village that produce the highly regarded tea. Also you will visit a Tea Museum located next to the plantation. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17: Hangzhou - Suzhou. Take a morning train ride to Suzhou, a famous garden city, check in hotel. Founded in 514 BC, Suzhou is known as the "Venice of the East". It was so named by early travelers because the town was built around a network of canals and 300 criss-crossing bridges that fanned out from the Grand Canal. The highlight of the day is a visit to two of Suzhou's beautiful gardens - Zhuozheng Yuan and Lion's Grove. A boat ride on the Grand Canal reveals the traditional way of life for the people who have lived here for generations. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 18: Suzhou-Shanghai. You will begin the day with a stop at the ancient Wumen bridge and the relatively under-visited but intriguing Canglang pavilion. You will then visit Suzhou Silk Museum. A short train ride takes you to Shanghai, check in hotel. On the Bund this splendid row of early 20th century European buildings remains the quintessential Shanghai sight. A fabulous acrobatic show concludes your first day in Shanghai. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 19: Shanghai. This morning you will visit Yuyuan Garden. It is a well-restored Suzhou-style garden that was created by a Ming Dynasty official in 1559. Visit the marvelous Shanghai Museum, a leading attraction of the city since it opened in 1994. Wander around the former French Concession, represented by the leafy Fuxing park and the architecture in the area. Tonight, you will enjoy a Shanghai cuisine dinner at the classic Jinjiang Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 20: Shanghai. Enjoy a relaxing day in Shanghai on your own. Great shopping opportunities abound in central Shanghai, and restaurants serving a full range of international cuisine can be found in every part of the town. Includes: (B).
Day 21: Departure. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey
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