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China Ancient Capitals Discovery Tour / 12 Days

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 12 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 10 people
Destination(s): China  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Archeology/History  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1175 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3405 US Dollar (USD)

During this 12 days tour you will travel from Beijing, China’s capital in the past and present, to Xian the seat of government in the Tang Dynasty and then to Nanjing which held this honorable title in the Song Dynasty. Before the tour ends in Shanghai which is worldwide known as China’s financial capital you will have the opportunity to enjoy the picturesque classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou. Experience the old and good preserved imperial buildings which are today appreciated as Chinese and world cultural heritage.

Your Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive at Beijing. Arrive at Beijing, the capital of China. To be met at the airport then transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 2: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City / Temple of Heaven. Depart from your hotel in the morning to have city tours to visit the Tiananmen Square, the symbolical heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people. Have a free walk there, imagining the great historic events of the 20th century that took place there. You will also see legendary landmarks including the Great Hall of the People and the towering 125 foot granite obelisk, Monument to the People's Heroes, honoring those who died in revolution. Walking across the Golden River Bridge, enter the Forbidden City, the inner sanctum and palace where for centuries Chinese emperors ruled their world. It has a 9000-room maze of courtyards, palaces, and ceremonial halls, where 24 emperors used to live. The Forbidden City was indeed a forbidden place, where commoners were kept out for nearly 500 years. Tour the palace and imagine the mystery, intrigue and incredible power that reigned here. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Temple of Heaven. It was built in the 15th century, a sacred site for ancient Beijing, where the emperor and his 1000 member entourage would retreat twice a year for religious ritual. Surrounded by enormous grounds designed in accordance with fengshui, the Temple complex consists of the Celebrated Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail. It is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture.

Day 3: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall / Ming Tombs / Spirit Way. Depart from your hotel after breakfast. Spending about 1.5 hours to be transferred outside the city to the surrounding countryside to visit the Badaling Great Wall, one of the most remarkable feats of mankind, built over 2,000 years ago. You will be able to climb and walk one of the best preserved sections of the ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountain scenery. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the fabled Ming Tombs, the resting places of thirteen emperors and their splendid treasures. Passing down the Spirit Way, a road lined with statues of dignitaries, as well as huge elephants, lions, camels and horses, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors. Visit one of the spectacular tombs-Dingling-featuring an underground palace.

Day 4: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Hutong Rickshaw Tour / Xiushui Street. In the morning, visit Hutong by rickshaw. Hutong are a kind of ancient city alley or lane that is typical in Beijing. Most of them are found around the Forbidden City, and many were built during the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing. Today, the Hutong are a living museum of Beijing history showing the traditional lifestyle of Beijing people. Tricycles hold two people and are peddled by an experienced bicyclist. Stops are made to visit a local family and see first-hand how the people of Beijing live. After having lunch at a nice local restaurant, visit Xiushui Street. It is a market near the embassy area where you can find a number of duplicates of clothing in traditional Chinese style such as clothes, caps and gloves. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 5: Beijing - Xi'an (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Xian - Shaanxi Provincial Museum / Old City Wall / Bell Tower. Check out and depart from your hotel. Take morning flight to Xian. To be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. Have city tour to visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in the province. It is also the fist national-level grand museum equipped with modern facilities. It exhibits primarily historical relics of past dynasties and displays precious art treasures and stone carvings of the Han and Tang dynasties. Walking through the exhibits in the museum is like walking through 3,000 years of Chinese history. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Old City Wall. It is the most complete surviving city wall survived in China as well as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Finally visit the Bell Tower before end your trip today. The Bell Tower is the most well-preserved and best-known one among many ancient cities of China. Originally built in the Yingxiang Temple in 1384, at the intersection of West Street and Guangji Street, it was moved to its present pivotal position in 1582, in the very heart of the city at the junction of four main streets extending to the east, south, west and north, for rebuilding and later restorations. With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.

Day 6: Xian (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tours to Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses / Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Today will be your highlight in Xian. Depart from your hotel after breakfast. To be transferred outside the city to visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. It has been regarded as The 8th Wonder Of The World! Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in search of immortality, ordered the construction of a vast army of 8,000 life-sized Terra-cotta warriors and buried them with him to protect his empire after his early death. They were discovered accidentally in 1974 by farmers digging a well. For history lovers, the sight is truly breathtaking. After coming back to the city, have another tour to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of Xi'an, as one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist temple Da-Ci-En Temple, the pagoda is one of the most distinctive and outstanding landmarks of Xi'an. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 7: Xian - Nanjing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Nanjing - City Wall / Zhonghua City Gate / Confucius Temple / Qinhuai river. Check out and depart from your hotel. Take morning flight to Nanjing. To be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. Then visit the City Wall. It is the longest ancient city wall in the world and is 0.7 kilometers longer than Beijing's city wall and 1.7 kilometers longer than the wall in Paris. Then visit Zhonghua City Gate. This "gate" is actually one of the preserved ancient Chinese castles, and the biggest and most splendid city gate of the Nanjing city wall. The gate was built from 1366 to 1386. The whole structure was built with huge bricks and special cement which is extraordinarily strong. Follow with the Confucius Temple. Situated on the north bank of the Qinhuai River, consisting of 3 architectural complexes, the Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) was originally built in 1034. It has been the center of culture, commerce and life for the citizens of the city since then. Today, the entire area around the temple consists of a series of tourist shops, snack bars, restaurants and entertainment arcades all done up in "Ming" and "Qing" style architecture. The area is great fun and a very pleasant part of the city to walk around. It is particularly interesting in the evenings when a lively street market sets up in the district, and locals and tourists take part in the bargain hunting! Before dinner, visit the Qinhuai River. a branch of the Yangtze River. The inner branch of the river used to be the most flourishing place of Nanjing since it was the red-light district famous throughout the nation. Be transferred to back to your hotel.

Day 8: Nanjing - Suzhou (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Nanjing - Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum / Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge. Full day private tour to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. It was built for Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who has been respected as the Father of Modern China since he fought unyieldingly against the corrupt Qing government and led the 1911 revolution to end the feudal system and to found the Republic of China, leading the Chinese people into a new era. He was born in 1866 in Xiangshan County (now part of Zhongshan City), Guangdong Province, and died on March 12, 1925, in Beijing. The mausoleum is situated at the foot of the second peak of Mount Zijin. Construction of the tomb started in 1926, taking three years. He was buried here on June 1, 1929. Reclining on a mountain slope, the mausoleum looks majestic and sublime. It has become a must for all visitors to Nanjing. Then visit the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge. It was the first double deck and double track highway and railway bridge designed and constructed by Chinese themselves. The upper highway bridge is 4589 meters long and the lower railway bridge is 6772 meters long. Each arch of the main bridge spans 160 meters. Having turned the deep chasm into a thoroughfare, the bridge stands grand and magnificent. After lunch, take the afternoon train to Suzhou. Be met and transferred to the hotel.

Day 9: Suzhou (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Rickshaw Ride / Grand Canal cruise / Panmen City Gate / Lingering Garden. Depart from your hotel after breakfast to take a 30 minute Rickshaw ride to see the local people's life. Sitting on the rickshaw through the old town of Suzhou, you will see the small Hutong, the open markets and the local people's life. Then cruise on the Grand Canal.It ranks alongside the Great Wall of China as the country's greatest engineering achievement and it is the longest man-made waterway in the world. Follow with the Panmen City Gate, the oldest city gate in existence in Suzhou. It used to be one of the eight city gates during the Spring & Autumn Annals (770-476 BC) when Suzhou was the capital of the Wu Kingdom. The current gate was reconstructed in 1351. It consists of Water and Land Gates, a city gate tower, and city walls at both sides. After having lunch at a nice local restaurant, visit the Lingering Garden. It was first built in 1522, one of the four most famous classical gardens in China. The garden is separated into the middle, eastern, northern and western parts connecting with beautiful corridors 700 meters long. The whole garden features artificial mountains, unique limestone, beautiful pavilions and a number of attractive buildings.

Day 10: Suzhou - Shanghai (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Suzhou - Hanshan Temple / Humble Administrator's Garden, Shanghai - The Bund. Depart from your hotel after breakfast to have a city tour to Hanshan Temple. Located in Fengqiao, west of Suzhou, with its history of more than 1400 years, the Hanshan Temple used to be one of the top ten ancient temples in China. The bell in Hanshan Temple rings on the eve of Chinese New Year, bringing good luck to all people nearby. Then visit the Humble Administrator's Garden. Located in northeast Suzhou, the Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest classical garden in Suzhou and one of the four most famous classical gardens in China. It was originally built in 1513 A.D by Wang Xianchen, an imperial censor who had just been demoted and sent back to his hometown. The garden consists of three parts with different types of buildings around streams and ponds. After lunch, take train to Shanghai. Be met at the railway station and transferred to the hotel. Have a city tour to the Bund. No visit to Shanghai is complete without a stroll along the waterfront to experience the smells, sights and sounds of the old "Wall Street" in Shanghai. Banks, trading houses, residences, hotels and clubs all had a view of bustling Huangpu River traffic as they shared in the city's rising and falling fortunes. Many old buildings, such as the Customs House, Bank of China, Peace Hotel and Shanghai Mansions still stand and are very much in use. Free at leisure in the evening.

Day 11: Shanghai (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Full day private tours to The Shanghai Museum /Yu Garden/ Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Depart from your hotel to visit Shanghai Museum. As a museum of ancient Chinese art, the Shanghai Museum possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works of art. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy is specially celebrated in the world. The present Shanghai Museum has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls. After having lunch at a nice local restaurant, visit Yu Garden. This delightfully restored labyrinth of tiny specialty shops, tea and snack houses centered around a Ming-dynasty Mandarin Suzhou-style garden is a fascinating spot to people-watch over a pot of tea, to shop for unique souvenirs and to get a feel for Old Shanghai. It is well worth a meander through the Yu Garden, which has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools and flora, all connected by corridors and passageways. Finally visit Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower. At 468 meters high (1,536 feet), the tower is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the world as well as the tallest structure in Asia. It is the best place to have a bird's-eye view of Shanghai. With its unique and amazing design, it has become the new landmark of Shanghai and a big magnet for tourists. The viewing area is half-way up and offers a splendid unparalleled view of the Bund, the emerging new modern Shanghai. The view of Shanghai from this height fills you with wonder at the beauty that surrounds you.

Day 12: Depart Shanghai for next city (Meals: B). Free at leisure until transferred to the airport for next city.

Price Includes:
- Hotel accommodations with breakfast as specified (but hotels are subject to change to the same category before finally confirmed.
- All meals as specified in the itinerary.
- Transfers among airports & hotels as specified in the itinerary by private car or coach with driver & English-speaking guide.
- Entrance fees for sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary with English speaking guide.
- Domestic flights, trains or buses as specified in the itinerary.
- Domestic airports departure taxes have been charged with the flight tickets.
- Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
- Arrangements for the planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Excludes:
- Any meals which are not included in the "Price Includes."
- Single Room Supplements (as the above quotation for accommodation is based on twin sharing room).
- International air and train tickets for coming to & leaving mainland China. Air tickets or train tickets not specified in the itinerary on the first arrival day and last departure day.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
- Personal expenses: Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips to guides or drivers, FAX, telephone, excess baggage charges, or sightseeing or meals which are not included in the day-to-day itinerary.
- Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
- Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.
- Visa fees.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

* Prices are subject to change without notice.