China Cultural Heritage Tour (10-day)
- Visit the two biggest and most famed cities of China, Beijing and Shanghai
- Experience the most beautiful natural scenery China has to offer at Jiuzhaigou Valley and the tropical area of Zhangjiajie, the original of Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.
- Discover the ancient customs and culture of the Miao people at Fenghuang
B=(Breakfast) L=(lunch) D=(dinner) DEPARTURE: Daily
Day 1: Airport Transfer
Our English-speaking guide will pick you up from the airport, and from there drive you directly to your hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, a 4.5 star hotel located in central Shanghai. The rest of the day is a free day, and you can spend it at your discretion.
Day 2: Shanghai sightseeing (B/L)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the Yuyuan Garden, a world-famous classical garden. Yuyuan Garden occupies an area of 20,000 square meters (about five acres). However, the small size is not a representative of the attractions of the garden. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders.
Then we will pay a visit to Shanghai Old Street. Hidden behind the modern tall buildings and deep in those squiggly lanes and bystreets where the old fashioned living ways of Shanghai people still exist, Shanghai Old Street southwest of Yuyuan Garden is the one most worth visiting to find the old culture and customs. The street is over a hundred years old. The earliest private banks, jewelry stores, opera towers, hongs, taverns and teahouses in Shanghai were here originally. The restaurants, opera towers and teahouses are the definite highlights in the old street.
After experiencing the charm of the old street, we will take a time machine from old Shanghai into the city’s glittering present and future, which the Jin Mao Tower is a prime example. Being the fourth tallest building of the world and the second tallest building in China, Jin Mao Tower is located in the center of Lujiazui Finance and Trade Districts in Pudong. The architect, Adrian D. Smith, of this skyscraper ingeniously combined the elements of traditional Chinese culture with the newest architectural styles of the time, which makes Jin Mao Tower one of the best-constructed buildings in China. The tower’s observation decks give you an almost bird’s eye view of the city’s rapidly rising skyline.
The Shanghai Museum our next stop today, is a large museum of ancient Chinese art. The museum style and presentation surround visitors with artifacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy. The exterior design of the round dome and the square base symbolizes the ancient idea of a round heaven and a square land. The museum is divided into eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The eleven Galleries cover most of the major categories of Chinese art: Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities. The museum is a wonderful primer on ancient Chinese culture, and is a must-see when coming to Shanghai.
Our next destination today is the jade Buddah Temple. In 1882, an old temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Fortunately the jade Buddha statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928. It was named the Jade Buddha Temple. Although the history of the Jade Buddha Temple is not very long, the old-time and classical architectural style makes the temple unique and inimitable in this modern city.
Your first full day in Shanghai will conclude with a walk down Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s premier shopping street. Open-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. Flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and spangle the night skyline of this lively city.
Day 3: Shanghai-Jiuzhaigou Valley (by air) (B, L, D)
You will be taken to the airport, and you will catch your flight to Jiuzhaigou Valley, in Sichuan province of southwest China. On arrival at the airport, you will be met by our English-speaking guide and you will be drive to your hotel.
After stopping to freshen up we will go to the Huanglong Scenic and Resort Area, renowned as a “fairy land on earth”. Here we will see snow-clad peaks, colorful ponds, along with glaciers that are at its easternmost point in China. Along with all this is a backdrop of forest as far as the eye can see.
Day 4: Jiuzhai-Zhangjiajie (by air) (B, L)
In the morning we will you will be driven to the airport, and will make the short flight to Zhangjiajie. After stopping at your hotel to get your bearings, we will drive to the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The park’s natural features include caves, lakes and waterfalls. One of the most prominent spots is the Golden Whip Stream. Then we will go by chair lift to Tianzhi Mountain. The popular paths on this majestic mountain include the Yellow Dragon Spring, Teaboard Tower, Lao Wu Chang, Feng Qi Mountain, and Shi Jia Yan.
After a full day of trekking and exploring the parks and mountains, we will return to the hotel for the night.
Day 5: Zhangjiajie (B, L)
Our day starts with a hike of the Yellow Stone Stronghold (Huangshi Zhai). The Yellow Stone Stronghold rises about 800 meters (0.5 miles) above ground and is known for its overhanging cliffs and jagged rocks. The Yellow Stone Stronghold is reputed to be one of the most beautiful canyons in the world. This hike is not for the faint of heart, and can be quite challenging. Visitors will encounter unusual and beautiful sights such as Fir Forest Path, Heavenly Book and Precious Box, A Pillar Piercing the Southern Sky and Pick Star Platform.
The hike will take most of the day, and we will return to the hotel later that afternoon. You are free to use that night to explore the city at your own pace.
Day 6: Zhangjiajie-Fenghuang town (B, L)
Today we will make the drive to the old town of Fenghuang, which is on the Yangtze River. Fenghuan is a bastion of the shrinking Miao minority peoples, and is a perfect place to sample its culture and customs. The most distinctive feature of Fenghuang Town are the Diaojiao which project over the river, and also the special clothing and cultural styles you will see and feel within the town. When exploring the city, you will also see women washing clothes beside the river and the local people carrying bamboo baskets on their backs. We will be able to stroll along the old village houses in the town. This is a bout as authentic experience you can have in China!
That night we will stay in a hostel. You can spend the night to wander about the town some more at your own leisure.
Day 7: Fenghuang Town-Zhangjiajie-Shanghia (by air) (B)
We will begin the day boating on the Tuojiang River, floating along the old city wall, and then head to the East City Gate Tower. East Gate City Tower is one of four city gates in the town. It stands at a height of 11 meters, and has the appropriate touch of magnificence that an entrance to this city should have.
We will then have the opportunity to sample some of the local Miao cuisine (spicy!) and to go to the town market for some traditional crafts and supplies. Afterwards we will make the drive back to Zhangjiajie to prepare for your flight to Shanghai.
You will be driven to the airport, and catch your flight to Shanghai, and when you arrive you will be met by one of our guides and taken to your 4 star hotel, located in central Shanghai. The night is at your discretion.
Day 8: Shanghai (Zhujiajiao Water Town or Suzhou)-exit Shanghai
Today you have two options when in Shanghai You can either make the short trip to the Zhujiajiao Water Town, or to go to Suzhou, a city known for its beautiful canals and classical gardens:
Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. The little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains.
Endowed with another elegant name - 'Pearl Stream' - the little town is the best preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.
The unique characteristics of the past are still retained in present-day Suzhou. The double-chessboard layout of Suzhou, with 'the streets and rivers go side by side while the water and land routes run in parallel', are preserved basically intact. Strolling the streets, you can feel the unique lingering charm of this landscape left by its long history.
As the saying goes - 'Gardens to the south of Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them'. These gardens attain their high reputation not only for their vast numbers, but also for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. At present more than 60 gardens are kept intact in Suzhou, and a series of them have been listed in the World Heritage List, including the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Garden of Master of Nets and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty.
After going on your day’s excursion, you will then be driven to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, where you will catch our flight home or to your next destination, ending your voyage through China.
The Wronka Family, San Jose, CA, USA:
I think me and my family are in agreement about how much we loved our China trip. Shanghai was really a lot of fun, and the kids especially loved the boat rides at Zhujiajiao. Although our kids our young, our tour guide Kevin did a great job helping us out during the hikes at the parks of Zhangjiajie, and really we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. We got some great photos and memories, and we’ll definitely recommend you to our friends. Thanls!