12 Day China Educational Tour to Hangzhou and Wuzhen

Highlights:

  • This 12 days tour is specially tailor-made for foreign travelers who are curious about what kind of life the ordinary Chinese people are living. The tour offers you an opportunity to step close to a typical Chinese family and get to know about multiple aspects of their life: education, custom, traditions, marriage, family and life concepts
  • Hanghzou, a beautiful lake city and one of China’s Seven Ancient Capitals (it was the capital of the Song Dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries), is especially known for West Lake. Held on three sides in the embrace of hilly peaks, this water wonderland has been an attraction for centuries and it is small wonder that it was a favorite imperial retreat.
  • You’ll receive interactive instruction and lessons on a wide range of Chinese subjects: calligraphy, music, tea, cooking, silk, martial arts, and paper making, etc.
  • Pay a visit to the water township of Wuzhen, and take a cruise through the city’s canals, seeing the daily lives of the inhabitants and the remains of the town’s ancient history as you go by.

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1 arrive in Hangzhou (D)

You will fly into Hangzhou, and upon arrival you will be met by your English-speaking guide. hen Marco Polo came to Hangzhou in the 13th century, he declared it to be “the most beautiful and elegant city in the world". There is a popular saying: "Above there is heaven, below there are Hangzhou and Suzhou." Hangzhou's "heavenly" beauty attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to its exquisite West Lake (Xi Hu) area each year to enjoy the placid lake, beautiful gardens, reflecting pools, lavish temples and lakeside teahouses.

You will then be taken either to your home-stay family or your hotel. Later on, a welcome dinner will be served at the host family or Fortune House (Zhi Fu Men). Fortune House is in the European style, and the restaurant also features delicious Chinese foods.

Day 2 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

Following breakfast, you will take a lesson in Tai Chi on the shore of West Lake, which will be taught by a professional instructor. Tai Chi is a sophisticated method of fighting based on the reconciliation of dynamically interacting forces. Daily practice of Tai Chi promotes mental clarity and a healthy body, assists with balance and helps the circulation of the blood. Tai Chi is also a vehicle for the realization of surpassing beauty. After the class, you’ll enjoy a half-hour biking tour along Su Causeway named after Su Shi, a famous poet in Song Dynasty (960~1279 AD), who wrote many good poems. Many of them have been included in Chinese textbooks.

We’ll then have lunch at Zhi Wei Guan Restaurant on Renhe Road. Be sure not to miss the Zhiweiguan's Steamed Buns and Cat's Ear Noodles in the restaurant. e will then embark upon a cruise of West Lake. West Lake is a man-made lake and is created after the Chinese love for garden style parks for recreation. Hangzhou's West Lake Scenic Area, in the southwest of the city, covers 60 square kilometers (23 square miles), of which West Lake itself occupies 5.6 square kilometers (2.2 square miles). West Lake is a place of tranquility where urbanity becomes a silhouette on the northeast horizon and mountains near and far surround it on the other three sides. The occasional pagoda and Chinese-style arched bridge add atmosphere to the tree-lined walkways, verdant islands and hills.

We’ll take our boat to Fairy Island in order to visit “Three Pools Mirroring the moon”. Three miniature stone pagodas, which act like beacons, built over 800 years ago and 2 meters in height, are the centerpieces of the scenic spot called "Three Pools Mirroring the Moon". On the night of the Mid-Autumn festival, when the moon shines full and bright in the sky, a candle is lit inside each of the pagodas. The light from the holes and the moon cast their reflections on the water, hence the name.

Before being transferred back to your lodging, you will pay a visit to Guang Xing Tang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There you will learn about Chinese medicine and its concept. You may see how people are treated with traditional Chinese medication.

We’ll cap off our day with dinner at theNew Unicor 4F Dining Room (Xin Qi Lin Ge), which features an open balcony where you may have the opportunity to experience the charming Hangzhou night. After dinner you will be transferred back to the host family or the hotel.

Day 3 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

Following breakfast you’ll again engage in Tai Chi lessons with your instructor. This time your lesson will be near Yellow Dragon Cave Park. After the class, we’ll have a leisurely walk inside this park where you may appreciate Yue Opera, a popular local art form, in the open air.

Lunch will be served at the restaurant of Lily Hotel, which provides both Chinese or Western food. After lunch, you’ll be driven to Da Guan Primary School. The school is the most famous local primary school in Hangzhou city, mainly for its traditional methods of teaching kids Chinese traditional musical instruments. You will be guided around the school and talk with the teachers and students there. A musical performance will be put on as a warm welcome to you.

Dinner will be at the Be For Time Restaurant, which is a Hong Kong tea restaurant offering nice Hong Kong-style snacks. You’ll then be transferred back to your host family or the hotel, and the rest of the evening can be spent at your own leisure.

Day 4 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

After breakfast you’ll take your Tai Chi lesson on Wushan Hill. We’ll then arrive at the Southern Song Dynasty Guan Kiln Museum. This museum is built over the remains of Jiaotanxia Guan Kiln and is the first museum with pottery and porcelain as its subject in China. Among many beautiful works of art, the museum displays the products of the guan kilns of the Southern Song Dynasty, highlighting their charm and delicate beauty. You’ll also get to spend time doing pottery yourself and plate Paintings at the Pottery Bar.

We’ll have lunch at Hong Ni Sha Guo Restaurant, which is the epitome of a 'Hangzhou Big Restaurant' with a reputed 400 staff, 1000 settings and a huge menu showing off all of Hangzhou's culinary favorites.

Then it’s off to the National Silk Museum. The museum is in an appropriate location, as this region of the country is China’s historical center for silk production. The museum is a showcase for the origination, evolution, variety of silk and the evolution of the Silk Road with its social implications and influences. The museum is divided into different halls with different functions. The Evolution History Hall displays photos and various silk antiques that reflect the 5000 years’ evolution and the advanced technology; the Silkworm and Mulberry Hall gave you some insight into the mysterious process of silkworm raising and silk making; the Dying and Weaving Hall composed of various buildings with strong ethnical features holding various dying and weaving devices like looms on which you can try your hands at it if interested. The Modern Accomplishment Hall showcased the accomplishments and technological breakthroughs in the silk production and trade.

After the visit you will be guided to the former residence of Mr. Hu Xueyan, an extremely successful merchant in the 1870s. He is considered the richest man at the end of Qing Dynasty. His former residence is a huge garden-style architectural complex covering an area of 7200 sqm. Its construction took over 3 years and cost around 500,000 silver taels by estimation. Mr.Hu lived here together with his 13 wives. By visiting it, you will be told about his life stories and why he ended up poor and miserable.

We’ll then head to Hefang Street, a well-designed old pedestrian street, which is the epitome of old Hangzhou. The original street has been ruined and it recently takes on a completely new look after lager-scale of restoration. Shops selling art crafts, souvenirs, silk, teahouses, and restaurants line on both sides of the street. Many famous century-old shops including Hu Qing Yu Tang, and Wang Xingji can be found along the street. Hefang Street is otherwise known as Snack Street for the diverse food it serves. The street clearly concentrates food from all around the country, while at the same time highlighting the local flavors.

Dinner (including unlimted soft drinks) will be at the Butterfly Laguna Restaurant. After dinner our guide will take you to Nanshan Road, a famous bar street in Hangzhou. Road. Then you will be transferred back to the host family or the hotel.

Day 5 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

After breakfast you will have a look at a typical English corner in Hangzhou. Located throughout China, English corners are little informal groups for those looking to learn English. As a rule, only English is spoken, and topics can range from anything, so be prepared!

After that your Tai Chi class will commence at No. 6 Westlake Park. You’ll then have lunch at Xian Tian Yuan Restaurant, which specializes in dishes from China’s northeast. You will go to our well-selected Chinese cooking school to learn the Chinese style of cooking. A private chef will give you face-to-face demonstrations, and you will be instructed how to cook 2 or 3 traditional Chinese family dishes. Moreover, the dishes cooked will be served to you as dinner. Following your cooking lessons, you’ll be taken back to your lodging.

Day 6 Hangzhou-Longmen Town-Hangzhou (B, L)

After breakfast you will take a day excursion to Longmen Town in Fuyang County. It is about 50 km away from Hangzhou. It is an age-old town where most of the houses and buildings are well preserved through centuries and still retain their original ancient architectural style. A great number of them can be traced back to Ming & Qing Dynasties (1368~1911 AD). You will be shown around the town by your guide, who will share with you tidbits of knowledge and history about Longmen. The town showcases one of the most perfect examples of Qing or Ming Dynasty architecture with little more than 30 intact ancient buildings. Except these, you will pay a visit to the Mr. Sun temple, Yi gate, Shanle hall, Hundred Lions Hall and Mingzhe Hall.

You’ll also taste local dishes at the Happy Farmer's House. After lunch you’ll continue your visit by going to the nearby China Ancient Paper-making and Printing Culture Village. There you will see how paper has been made for over a thousand years as you follow the step-by-step process from screening the bamboo pulp to stringing up the books and packaging them for shipping (in fact, paper was first invented in China). You can even make a little paper and do a little woodblock printing yourself.

We’ll then drive back to Hangzhou, where you’ll be dropped off at either your hotel or home-stay.

Day 7 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

After breakfast today you will take your Tai Chi class near the Broken Bridge. Broken Bridge is well known to all Chinese because it has witnessed the legendary love story between Lady White Snake and the young man Xu Xian. After class we’ll stroll along Beishan Road by the West Lake, thought to be the most romantic road in Hangzhou.

Lunch will be at Grandma's Kitchen on Hushu Road, which is most people’s favorite here in Hangzhou, and features Chicken in Green Tea Flavor pot. After lunch, you’ll visit the Hangzhou School for Senior Citizens. It is founded for the older local residents aiming to enrich their retired life and fulfill their needs for further education. In the school you will have a chance to learn the traditional Chinese painting with brush pen. Chinese painting has a rich history as an enduring art form and is well known throughout the world. Traditionally, Chinese painting is done on rice paper or thin silk, using a variety of brushes, Chinese ink and dye. Chinese painting covers a variety of subjects: portrait, landscape, flowers, birds, animals, and insects.

Traditional Chinese painting is known as “guo hua”. Like calligraphy, the painting is done using a brush dipped in black or colored ink, usually on paper or silk. The finished work can be mounted on scrolls and hung. Traditional painting has also been done on walls, porcelain, and lacquer ware. The two main techniques of Chinese painting that you will be learning about are:

“Gong-bi” or meticulous attention to detail, referring mainly to portraits, and

“Xie yi” or freehand, referring mainly to landscapes.

After that you will visit the Zhangxiaoquan Scissors Factory and Wangxingji Fan Factory. These two factories are home to China's time-honored brands for scissors and fan manufacturing. You will be guided to their work shops and have a look at the entire manufacturing process. Dinner will be arranged at Lu Gang Cha Yu Restaurant, which features Taiwan style dishes. The Stewed Chicken with Three Cups Sauce is a must. Never miss it! After dinner you will either head for Hangzhou Theater to listen to a live concert according to availability, or go to the downtown center to experience the local shopping atmosphere in Hangzhou. Then you will be transferred back to the host family house or your hotel.

Day 8 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

After breakfast you’ll begin your Tai Chi class at Solitary Hill Island Park. When the class ends, you will go to Solitary Hill and have a stroll along the Bai Causeway, which is named after Bai Juyi, a great poet of Tang Dynasty (618~907 AD). You’ll enjoy a lunch of Hangzhounese cuisine at Jiu Jiu Yuan Farmer's Restaurant.

This afternoon you will pay a visit to Lingyin Temple, one of the ten most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China. It also houses various Buddhist literature and treasures situated in front of the Temple, and is famous for its more than 470 stone carvings of Buddhist figures, which dated from the 10th to 14th centuries. We’ll then move to Dragon Well Tea Plantation to taste the finest green tea. Tea culture is an important part of Chinese tradition. Alongside social development and progress, tea has not only played a role in driving the development of the economy, but has also remained a feature of people’s lives. Moreover, tea drinking has gradually developed into a resplendent tea culture and become a bright pearl in the social life of Chinese civilization.

Next, it is off to the China Tea Museum, where you will learn more about tea culture in China. This evening you will go to the famous food bazaar in Hangzhou to taste the local snack and seafood to experience a special nightlife with locals. Then you will be transferred back to the host family house or your hotel.

Day 9 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

After breakfast you’ll take your Tai Chi class in a lakeside park called Orioles Singing in the Willows In the Morning. We’ll have lunch at Kui Yuan Guan Restaurant, which is a famous noodle restaurant in Hangzhou found in 1867.

This afternoon you will visit Dujingsheng Silk Brocade Mill. You will be acquainted with the history of the silk brocade and given an opportunity to watch the silk brocade being woven. Later on you will visit Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum. First constructed at the end of Spring-Autumn Period, in the 5th century BC, the Grand Canal was extended in the 7th century, and again in the 13th century. It has played an important role in the development of water, conservancy and the economic and cultural exchange between the northern part and the southern part of China. The museum is housed with many interesting exhibits and relics that will give you key insight into this marvelous example of human ingenuity.

You’ll have dinner at Qing Teng Tea House, where you can spend your night enjoying tea and snacks, while also listening to the ancient music of China. It is a good place for hanging out at night with friends. Then you will be transferred back to the host family house or your hotel.

Day 10 Hangzhou (B, L, D)

This morning you will take your last Tai Chi class at Long Bridge Park. After class we will hold a certificate presentation ceremony to certify that your hard work and good performance have qualified yourself for Tai Chi practice. Then we’ll visit Nanshan Road and the West Lake Museum.

Lunch will be at the CHAMATE Restaurant. CHAMATE restaurant is not only fashionable designed, but also provides natural, tasty, healthy Chinese cuisine. After lunch you will visit Six Harmonies Pagoda. Dating from 970 and built on the site of an earlier pagoda that served as a lighthouse, the name refers to the six codes of Buddhism i.e. harmony of the body, speech and thought and the renunciation of personal pleasure, opinions and wealth. A climb to the top of the pagoda carries the reward of an impressive view over the surrounding areas.

Then you will visit the Song Dynasty Theme Park. It is a fascinating place where you can see that all the staff there are dressedas they would be during the Song Dyasnty (960-1127). Wandering inside, you may easily feel as if you were transferred to ancient China, and you will have the opportunity to taste Song-era snacks and food.

After dinner, you’ll witness a fantastic cultural and dancing show at the restaurant. Then you will be transferred back to the host family house or your hotel.

Day 11 Hangzhou-Wuzhen-Hangzhou (B, L, D)

Following breakfast we will make the 1.5 hour drive to the water town of Wuzhen. Wuzhen is one of China’s ancient water towns, where waterways thread their way through the flagstone streets and alleys. Wuzhen in North Zhejiang province, is only about a 1.5 hour drive from Shanghai. The name "water town" is especially apt; besides lying on the Grand Canal, the settlement is completely encircled by two rivers - the Dong Shi and a smaller tributary, which meet at a T-junction.

The waterways of Wuzhen are kept topped up with water by the adjacent Hangzhou to Beijing Grand Canal, which is still used to supply the dry north with water from the wet south and local goods transport. It was a major transport artery in times gone by, which led to the rise to prosperity of water towns like Wuzhen. After taking some time to walk along the alleys and byways of Wuzhen, we’ll take a boat cruise through the town’s canals. On the wooden boat you can enjoy the atmosphere of the traditional cultures and the original ancient features of the town that have been preserved intact, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs. You will also visit the traditional Wine Workshops, Dye House, Folk Custom Museum and Shadow Puppet Theater.

Lunch will be at Han Lin Fu Di Restaurant, which contains the best environment and local food. You will be driven back to Hangzhou. At night you’ll have a farewell dinner with your host family.

Day 12 Hangzhou-depart (B)

Following breakfast you will be taken to the Hangzhou airport, where you will fly on to your next destination. Have a safe journey!