There will be a notice advising the time and location of the introductory group meeting. Spend the day resting or taking in the local surroundings, and in the evening there will be a welcome meeting with the tour leader and fellow travel companions followed by a scrumptious Beijing Duck Dinner!
We get an early start today, and travel two hours outside bustling Beijing by private bus to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is over five hundred years old. We spend time exploring the towers, views, and the magnificent structure of the wall and enjoy a lunch in a local restaurant or al fresco weather permitting. We also learn the basics with an introductory language lesson with our guide.
Today we will delve into the history of Beijing, visiting the dramatic Forbidden City and the immense Tiananmen Square. Hear the tales of the emperors and their concubines, a long crafted culture and rich tradition. We'll see for ourselves how ancient Chinese customs are still valued today, blended with the modern technology and western influence. We also visit the Temple of Heaven and its surrounding grounds offering a chance to see locals whiling the hours away, practicing water calligraphy and Tai Chi, playing cards and walking pet crickets, with the colorful Temple of Heaven in the background. After, we will have time to prepare for our overnight soft sleeper train journey to Xi’an, which we will board in the evening.
Our train pulls into the station early this morning and we enjoy a guided tour of the famed Terracotta Warriors built by Emperor Qinshi Huangdi over 2000 years ago, discovered by a local farmer in 1974. In the afternoon we will visit Wild Goose Pagoda before there is some free time to explore on our own. Optional activities can include: biking around the original city walls, wandering the bustling Muslim Quarter, trying street food vendors, shopping, and the Great Mosque.
We take the morning flight to Hangzhou, one of China’s most popular destinations, for locals and visitors alike. The Chinese call Hangzhou Heaven on Earth, and in the center of town is the sparkling West Lake, which is featured on the back of the one Yuan note. We walk along West Lake to see famous landmarks such as the music fountain, Broken Bridge, White Causeway, Xiling Bridge, Su Causeway, Mausoleum of Yue Fei, Wine-making Yard and Lotus Pool and Yanggong Causeway In the afternoon, we will venture out to Longjing Village home of the famous Longjing tea and enjoy the plantation views while learning about ancient tea production and have the opportunity to taste some fresh brewed tea.
Today we journey by a private bus to Wuzhen Canal Town where the canals function for transportation as well as creating a mystical charm over the city. This town is close to the bustling metropolis of Shanghai, and we'll note the difference just a short distance can create in dynamic China. After a delicious lunch, we will head out to Shanghai and after settling into our comfortable hotel, we take our first walk on the Bund and admire the futuristic skyline.
Start the day with an informal tai chi session along the historic Bund. We have an included visit to the Shanghai Museum to peruse the enormous collection today, and then take some free time to explore the City. In the evening, a performance by the flexible and precise world famous Shanghai Acrobats is a perfect wrap to the day followed of course by some Shanghai cuisine.
Depart at leisure.