7 Day Eastern China Educational Tour to Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Wuzhen Watertown
- On this trip you’ll explore the eastern seaboard of China, the engine spurring the country’s dramatic growth. Along with visiting the cities of Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou, you’ll get interactive lessons in calligraphy, China’s education system, the production of tea and silk, and China’s science and technology industry.
- Described by Marco Polo as “Heaven on Earth”, explore the beautifully preserved classical gardens and temples of Suzhou, which some consider to be a sort of “Chinese Venice”.
- 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.
- 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)
Day 1 Shanghai-Suzhou (D)
You will fly into Shanghai, and upon arrival you will transfer to the bus station where you will take a train (bus is also possible) to the nearby city of Suzhou. Don’t worry about the transfer, because before your trip we will go over with you in detail about how to get to Suzhou. The city is renowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. It is widely known as the “Chinese Venice”.
After you arrive in Suzhou you will be met by your English-speaking guide, who will take you to your hotel in the downtown area of the city.
Day 2 Suzhou (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, we’ll head to Suzhou’s famed landmark, Tiger Hill. The 36-meter-tall Huqiu (Tiger Hill) stands outside the Lumen Gate to the north west of Suzhou. It was where the King of the State of Wu( a small state in the Spring and Autumn Periods over thousands of years ago) Fu Chai, buried his father-Helu along with 3,000 swords. Legend has it that on the third day after the burial, a white tiger appeared to guard the tomb, hence the name of the hill. The Yunyan Temple, another key attraction on the hill, is one of the most famous Buddhist land in this part of China. Even Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty could not resist its peaceful ambience so he decided to make the temple his temporary residence during his Suzhou trip.
Following our trip we’ll visit one of Suzhou’s famed gardens, The Garden of the Master of the Nets. This is the smallest garden yet supposed to be the most delicate one in the city. The 0.6-hectare garden is an elegant structure of a typical official's residence in the Qing Dynasty. The present garden is found on the former site of a Song dynasty official's mansion. Its owner, an early Qing-dynasty official Song Zongyuan, gave its present name based on the earlier one, "Fisherman's Retreat".
Also known as the “land of silk”, Suzhou has long been famed as China leading center of silk producing and manufacturing, and even hosts a silk festival every year. We’ll head for the No.1 Silk Factory to see the technical process of how silk is made, from silk swarm rasing, cocoon sorting, cocoon boiling and cocoon reeling, rewinding and packing. The high-grade silk produced in this factory is the best raw material for the product of high-quality silk fabrics.
Following our visit we’ll have dinner at a local restaurant, and the rest of the evening can be spent at your own discretion.
Day 3 Suzhou-Wuzhen-Hangzhou (B, L, D)
This morning, we’ll visit the Suzhou Museum. Founded in 1960, and originally located in the Zhong Wang Fu palace complex, the Suzhou Museum has been a highly regarded regional museum with a number of significant Chinese cultural relics. A new museum was designed by the world famous architect I.M.Pei (who designed the pyramids at the Louvre), in October 2006, covering over 10,700 square meters and located at the cross of Dongbei Street and Qimen Road. The design of this new museum visually complements the traditional architecture of Zhong Wang Fu. The new museum houses over 30000 cultural relics --- most notably for excavated artifacts, Ming and Qing Dynasty paintings and calligraphy, and ancient arts and crafts.
We’ll then drive to the water township 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.
After our visit to Wuzhen we’ll then drive on to Hangzhou where we’ll check into our hotel for the night.
Day 4 Hangzhou (B, L, D)
When 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.
In the morning, we will visit a local school to witness the day’s flag raising ceremony and subsequent lessons. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the educational methods used here and in the schools of your youth. Also. Witnessing the culture and lifestyle of the school will be an extremely fascinating comparison in East and West.
We 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.
We will then cap off our day with a visit to the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei. Yue Fei (1103 - 1141) was a great general famous for wars against the Jin Dynasty in the Song Dynasty. After he joined the army, he and his troops continuously won wars against the Jin. The Mausoleum of General Yue Fei was built in memory of this great hero.
Day 5 Hangzhou (B, L, D)
In the morning, we will visit the Hangzhou Children’s Palace. The Children’s palace is sort of an after-school program for young children, and here they engage in all sorts of positive activity, such as calligraphy, dancing, singing, and instrumental practice. We will see a performance of some of the children, and afterward we will attend a lesson on Chinese calligraphy. 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.
Following our lesson we’ll set out to learn more about Hangzhou’s vibrant tea culture. 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. We will go to Longjing village, where we’ll visit a traditional tea farmer’s house, where we’ll learn about the ancient methods of making tea.
Day 6 Hangzhou-Shanghai (B, L, D)
Following breakfast we will make the short drive to the metropolis of Shanghai, China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Following lunch, we’ll visit the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. The museum is an important base in Shanghai for scienctific education and spiritual construction, with "Nature-Mankind-Technology" as its theme. For the purpose of promoting scientific and cultural knowledge throughout, the museum has integrated participation with demonstration, education with scientific research, cooperation with exchange, collection with production, leisure with tourism, so as to popularize scientific and technological education for your enjoyment.
We’ll then take a nighttime walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s iconic landmark. he Bund is a waterfront embankment and has been regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It affords marvelous views across the river of the Pudong district and its numerous towers. The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 52 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.
Day 7 Shanghai-departure (B, L)
In the morning we’ll take a walk along Shanghai’s famed Nanjing Road, the city’s premier shopping street. pen-air bars, abstract sculptures, and lingering sounds from street musicians enhance evening strolls. A trackless sightseeing train provides a comfortable tour of the night-transformed pedestrian street. Today Nanjing Road is a must-see metropolitan destination attracting thousands of fashion-seeking shoppers from all over the world. Today over 600 businesses on Nanjing road offer countless famous brands, superior quality, and new fashions.
Following lunch, you will be taken to the airport, where you fly on to your next destination, ending your tour with us.