Tibet Tour from Beijing Beijing-Chengdu-Lahsa-Xi’an-Shanghai-Suzhou-Hangzhou 16 days 15 nights luxury tour package
- Beijing and Xi'an probably have the most cultural attractions in all of China. Beijing, having 500 years, and Xi'an having 1500 years of history, these two cities are a must-see on any trip to China. On this tour you will also visit Shanghai to see the stark contrasts in this new and western city compared to the two Chinese capitals, new and old
- Going to Tibet is an unforgettable experience no matter which part. But Lhasa, the spiritual city, is the main stop as it is the entry point into Tibet as well as the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Be prepared though, as it is very high in altitude and cold at night. But it is all worth it if you go there. As it is high altitude and on a plateau, the sunset and sunrise here is astonishing
- To cap off your luxury tour, you will go to Suzhou and Hangzhou, and both are renowned for their relaxing and calm environment. Suzhou has world famous Chinese classical gardens and Hangzhou has the one and only West Lake.
(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Day 1 Arrive in Beijing
Upon arrival at the Beijing airport, you will be me by your local English-speaking guide, and he/she will take you to your hotel, the Beijing International Hotel, a 5 star hotel located in downtown Beijing. If time permits, we can get started with some sightseeing, but if not, you are free to spend the night at your own leisure, and resting up for the days ahead.
Day 2 Beijing (B, L, D)
After breakfast in the hotel, we’ll make the short drive outside the city to the Great Wall at Badaling. Badaling was the first section of the Great Wall to be opened to the public in 1957, and is therefore the best known among visitors. Badaling was the site of U.S. President’s Richard Nixon’s visit to the Great Wall on his historic trip to China, and is a popular choice for celebrities, foreign dignitaries and leaders (U.S. President Obama visited Badaling in November of 2009). Badaling also offers incredible views of the wall winding and twisting along the hills. After a delicious lunch we will make the short journey by minibus to the Ming Tombs.
The Ming Tombs, about 50 km/31 miles from Beijing, are where 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) are buried. This site was carefully chosen for its feng shui principles by the third Ming emperor Yongle (who also moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing and began construction on the Forbidden City). The tomb we will visit, Dingling, is the tomb of the Wanli Emperor. It is the only one of the Ming Dynasty Tombs to have been excavated. It also remains the only imperial tomb to have been excavated since the founding of the People's Republic of China. After viewing the tombs, we will head to the “Shenlu”, or the Spirit Way. The Spirit Way leads into the complex, lined with statues of guardian animals and officials, with a front gate consisting of a three-arches, painted red, and called the "Great Red Gate". The Spirit Way, or Sacred Way, starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying at the front of the area. Constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, this archway is one of the biggest stone archways in China today.
For the evening you will enjoy a delectable dinner o Peking Duck, Beijing’s signature culinary dish. Then, for the evening’s entertainment, you will be able to watch Beijing Opera (sometimes known as Peking Opera). Beijing Opera of China is a national treasure with a history of 200 years. In the 55th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1790), the four big Huiban opera Troupes entered the capital and combined with Kunqu opera, Yiyang opera, Hanju opera and Luantan in Beijing's theoretical circle of the time. Over a period of more than half a century of combination and integration of various kinds of opera there evolved the present Beijing Opera. Beijing Opera is the most significant of all operas in China, and it has a richness of repertoire, great number of artists and audiences, that give it a profound influence in China and plays a large role in Chinese culture.
Day 3 Beijing (B, L, D)
After breakfast in the hotel we will head over to the center of Beijing, Tiananmen Square. The largest public square in the world, Tiananmen Square is seen as China’s political center. Its grounds have seen some turbulent moments, from the May 4th Movement of 1919 to the political turmoil of 1989. The south of the square is marked by the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, while the center of the square is dominated by the Monument to the People’s Heroes, an imposing 10-story granite obelisk. To the east is the National Museum of China, and to the west is the Great Hall of the People, home to China’s legislative bodies. The north of the square is dominated by the Gate of Heavenly Peace, known for its iconic portrait of Mao Zedong, and is the national emblem of China.
After walking across the street, we will enter what is perhaps the greatest attraction in China, the Forbidden City. After walking across the square we will enter the Forbidden City (known in Chinese as Gu Gong), the largest surviving palace complex and the former home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Forbidden City is one of the greatest attractions in the world. Built by the third Ming emperor between 1406-1422, the Forbidden City served as the official residence to the Emperor of China until the last emperor, Puyi, was forced to evacuate in 1924. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Consisting of 980 buildings and with 8,707 bays of rooms, the Forbidden City is the best example of classical Chinese architecture in the world, and is a wonder to behold.
To continue our theme of imperial royalty, we’ll go from the Forbidden City to the royal family’s retreat from the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace. Being northwest of the city center, the Summer Palace has the largest royal park and being well preserved, the Summer Palace is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, UNESCO listed it as one of the World Heritage Sites. Like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force of 1860 and was destroyed by fire. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it for her own benefit, changing its name to Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). She spent most of her later years there, dealing with state affairs and entertaining.
Highlights not to be missed are climbing Longevity Hill, viewing the Empress Dowager Cixi’s extravagant Marble Boat, and talking a walk down Suzhou jie, a canal meant to resemble the beautiful river city of Suzhou.
Day 4 Beijing-Chengdu (B, L)
Following breakfast we’ll make the short drive to the Temple of Heaven park. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The Temple of Heaven park is best known for the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an iconic building famed for its magnificent triple-gabled circular roof. You will also have an opportunity to walk the same imperial walkway that the same emperors walked hundreds of years ago in their holy rites. You will also see Beijing’s senior citizens using the park grounds for everything from tai chi and ballroom dancing to bullwhip practice!
In the afternoon, you’ll be taken to the airport, and you will fly on to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China. Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by your local English-speaking guide. For your stay in Chengdu you will be lodging at the 5 Wangjiang Hotel.
You will be able to get in a little touring after you arrive, and we’ll drive a little bit outside the city in order to visit the Sanxingdui Museum. Sanxingdui is a large archeological site of a recently discovered enigmatic Bronze-age civilization. Chinese archeologists discovered this civilization in 1986. The site is located in Sichuan province about 40 kilometers northeast of Chengdu and about 10 kilometers east of the city of Guanghan.
The site is important archeologically. The civilization had high bronze casting technology, and they were able to make unusually large and finely crafted bronze objects. Task Rosen of the British Museum in London considered the bronze relics to be more outstanding than the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. The world's oldest life-size standing human statue that is 260 centimeters tall and weighs 180 kilograms was unearthed there with a bronze tree with birds, flowers, and ornaments that is about 4 meters tall. Sanxingdui Museum was opened in 1997. It is a large, modern archeological museum with an exhibition area of 4,000 square meters. Visitors to the archeological site and the museum will see artifacts discovered at the site that date from the Neolithic age of 6,000 BC through to the Shang and Zhou periods of 1,600 BC until 700 BC, and they will learn about the various peoples who had lived there.
Day 5 Chengdu (B, L)
Sichuan is home to the world’s cutest and most beloved endangered animal, the Panda, and no trip to Chengdu is complete without seeing these national treasures. After an early morning start, we will visit theBifeng Gorge Panda Reserve. In the May 12th 2008 the Wenchuan Earthquake dealt the pandas a crushing blow and over fifty giant pandas living in captivity became completely homeless. In order to save these national treasures, the Wolong National Natural Reserve has, since May 15th, carried out an evacuation plan. Twenty-seven giant pandas were transferred in batches to Chengdu, Fuzhou and Beijng, and the rest were moved to Bifeng Gorge Base of China Panda Protection and Research Center, located in the northern suburbs of Chengdu.
The pandas are assured of healthy growth in their new home, and good news continually flows from Bifeng Gorge Base. In the morning on July 6th, 2008, the panda "Guo Guo" gave birth to the first twin cubs in the base. Guo Guo, the great panda mother, came to the base on June 24th when she was 119 days pregnant. She was really strong and brave to have these baby pandas after surviving the big earthquake, overcoming the difficulties of bumping and shaking on the long journey, and adjusting herself to the new environment. The center is divided into the giant panda breeding zone, baby giant panda care zone, research center, bamboo woods and office area.
The rest of the night is up to your own leisure. From traditional teahouses, theaters to modern pubs and clubs, Chengdu people know how to enjoy the night. Every corner in Chengdu offers the warmest welcome, and you are sure to find something to pique your interest during your time on the town.
Day 6 Chengdu-Lhasa (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, you’ll be driven to the Chengdu airport, and you’ll make the short flight into the neighboring region of Tibet, where you’ll fly to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. Upon arrival you’ll be met by your local guide, and you’ll be driven to your hotel, the 5 star Brahmaptura Hotel, which is the best hotel in Lhasa (and all of Tibet). The altitude here is at 3,650 meters above sea level, so you might want to use the day to relax and adjust yourself to the sharp change in altitude. For dinner, a famous local restaurant will arrange for you an a la carte dinner of Tibetan cuisine.
Day 7 Lhasa (B, L, D)
Today will be a full day of touring the best sights in Lhasa. After breakfast, we will go to the Potala Palace, which is the most renowned highlight of Lhasa. The world famous Potala Palace is located on Moburi (Red) Mountain, to the west of old Lhasa. It is a huge treasure house of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. The palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddha statues, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry housed within. They are of great cultural and artistic value. In 1994, the Potala Palace was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It was originally built in the 640s, during the reign of King Songtsan Gampo of Tibet. The Potala has been a sacred place for hundreds of years. Thousands of pilgrims from Tibet, other parts of China and abroad come every year to pay homage. Their devotion is shown by the difficult journeys they have to make to reach “the City of the Gods".
Then we will head over to the Sera Monastery, the last of the three principal Gelupka, or Yellow Hat, Buddhist monasteries to be built in Lhasa. The Sera Monastery has been listed as one of the China's National Cultural Relics since 1982. Sera comprises a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks, and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Sera means hailstone in Tibetan, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery.
In the afternoon we will get to visit Norbulingka, Tibet’s Summer Palace. Norbulingka was built in 1755 and became the place where the successors of the seventh Dalai Lama dealt with affairs, held celebrations, spent the hot season, rested and conducted religious activities. In mid-March every year, the Dalai Lama would move here from the Potala Palace, and stay until the end of October, when he would return to the Potala Palace. So, Norbulingka is called the Summer Palace and the Potala Palace the Winter Palace. The garden covers an area of 46 acres (19 hectares) and the palace has 370 rooms of different sizes. In the garden visitors can worship Buddha, relax and study the Tibetan-style palaces.
Day 8 Lhasa (B, L)
Following breakfast in the morning we will visit the Jokhnag Temple. Located in the center of old Lhasa city, Jokhang Monastery is the prime seat of the Gelugpa (Yellow) Branch of Tibetan Buddhism. It was originally built in 647 AD. It is said the site was chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. The princess perceived Wutang, a lake in Lhasa, to be a “devil’s heart”, a source of evil, and had it filled in and the temple built on the site to counteract evil forces. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. Jokhang means "House of Buddha". Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.
A short walk from the Jokhang Temple is the Barkhor Bazaar. The Barkhor (pilgrims’ circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. It is the earliest remaining street in Lhasa. It bustles with activity and is always jam-packed with traders and hawkers. It is a "must" for souvenir-hunting tourists. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits a typical Tibetan life. The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere. Some are monks, and some are businessmen from Kham, a region encompassing East Tibet and part of Sichuan Province. Here you will find people from all over Tibet. You can experience different styles of dress and languages. Even the similar-looking clothes of the monks vary depending on the different branches of Buddhism they practice.
Following our walk through the Barkhor Bazaar we will pay a visit to the unusual and fascinating Tibetan Medicinal an Astrological Institute. The central herbal and traditional medicine centre in Tibet, the Institute treats around 500 patients/day (up to 1000 in winter). This is a fascinating introduction to Tibetan medicine, the ‘tree thangkas’ and traditions over 2000 years old that are still working today.
As you may know, Tibet has had an interesting and turbulent history. We will attempt to learn more about Tibet’s past at the Tibet Museum. An attractive modern building in Tibetan style, there’s a wonderful variety and quality of items on display here illustrating the rich history, traditions and customs of Tibet, both ancient and modern.
Next we’ll browse one of the signature products coming from Tibet, carpets, at the Lhasa Carpet Factory. The Lhasa Carpet Factory produces traditional Tibetan rugs that are exported worldwide through Guangzhou. Although the actual weaving and finishing is done by hand using old-style vertical looms, many of the stages of the process are now mechanized and the dyeing is not done at the factory. It is a modern factory; the largest manufacturer of rugs throughout Tibet employing some 300 workers. Traditionally Tibetan women were the weavers, men the spinners, but both work on the rugs today.
The factory has developed into the most productive in the Tibet Autonomous Region with an annual output of 30,000 miles of carpet. The rugs manufactured in Lhasa are typically smaller with bold designs and bright colors and a deep even, pile -about 60knots per square inch. Rug weaving is an ancient craft in Tibet but because it was not for sacred purposes it is not considered an art. As a result there are no rugs verifiable earlier than 1800.
Day 9 Lhasa-Xian (B, L)
Before you leave for your Li river cruise, you will have a rare treat, a visit to a local Tibetan family! You will be entertained with food, song, wine, and dancing. It is a matter of honor for Tibetans to make their guests visit enjoyable. When you enter the Tibetan family’s home you will be offered wine as a greeting. The food they offer is the same as their daily fare and features all of the staples found at every dinner table. There might even be the singing of traditional songs and dancing. You are encouraged to join in. Usually hesitant at first, those who do yield and join in the dancing end up having so much fun that they hate to see their visit end.
In the afternoon, you’ll be taken to the airport, and you will fly on to Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province in north-central China. Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by your local English-speaking guide. For your stay in Xian you will be lodging at the 5 star Sheraton Hotel.
Day 10 Xian (B, L, D)
Following breakfast you’ll then be taken to Xian’s greatest attractions, and one of the greatest sites in all of China, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum is the result of the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum. Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.
The museum is divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, contains over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976. It is the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
Following our visit with the Terracotta Warriors, we’ll then step back to an even earlier time at the Banpo Neolithic Museum. Located in the eastern outskirts of Xi’an city, the Banpo Museum is the first prehistoric excavation site museum in China. Banpo (half slope) Village was a typical Neolithic Matriarchal community of the Yangshao (Respect Splendid) culture (5000-3000 BC) around 6000 years ago. The Yangshao culture was named after the first discovery of this civilization in Yangshao, Henan Province. About 400 sites of this type have been discovered around the Yellow River Basin, and the Banpo site is the largest one. The site was discovered in 1953 during the construction of a power plant. The excavation work lasted four years, and the Banpo site was first opened to the public in 1958. Since then, two million people have visited it.
For dinner, you’ll have a real treat in store for you in the form of the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance, is a must when you visit Xian. The city, which was formerly known as Chang'an has a very long history, and was the imperial capital during 13 dynastic periods. Of these, the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) was the most prosperous and glorious of all.
The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is an outstanding exponent of this ancient stable and prosperous society, keeping alive its splendid culture and providing an insight into the peaceful life style of the period. As an art form, the show has its roots in folk fetes, when dances were first performed by people as part of rituals of prayer for a good harvest or a better life. Combining poetry with the skilled playing of musical instruments, singing, dancing and also stunning costumes, the modern presentation is certain to give you an impressive view of ancient China including its splendid history, brilliant arts, distinct traditions and customs.
Day 11 Xian-Shanghai (B, L)
After breakfast we’ll make the short drive to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a pagoda surrounded by a still functioning Buddhist temple (named Da Ci’en Temple). The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The Pagoda was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the study of Buddhist scriptures. Although it has been attacked by centuries of weather, war and seismic activity, which destroyed most of the original material of the structure, a pagoda by this name and style still exists on the site. The Tang regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures in an effort to have the then widely renowned Master Xuanzang agree to be the head of the temple. Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk who traveled to India, translated Sanskrit scriptures and developed theories of consciousness, karma and rebirth that were adopted by some later popular schools of Buddhism.
The hallowed pagoda is an architectural marvel. It was built with layers of bricks without any cement. The bracket style used in traditional Chinese architecture was also used in the construction of the pagoda. The seams between each layer of bricks and the " prisms' on each side of the pagoda are clearly visible. The grand body of the pagoda with its solemn appearance, simple style and high structure, is indeed a good example of Chinese traditional architecture.
Then you can unwind a bit by taking a leisurely stroll on the Xi’an City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. Xi'an City Wall was erected in the 14th century Ming Dynasty, under the regime of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. When Zhu Yuanzhang captured Huizhou, long before the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, he was admonished by a hermit named Zhu Sheng, who told him to "build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor." If you like, you have the option of renting a bike or a rickshaw on the wall in order to cover more ground in a shorter time.
You’ll next be driven to the Xi’an airport, where you will fly on to Shanghai. When you arrive you’ll be met by your guide, and you’ll be transferred to your hotel, the 5 star Grand Pacific Hotel.
Day 12 Shanghai (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, we’ll start our day in Shanghai with a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple. The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the richest and most frequented Buddhist Temples in Shanghai. Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai is an active temple, with 70 resident monks at the last count. The 70 monks who live and work there can sometimes be seen worshiping. inside, the centerpiece is a 1.9-meter-high white jade Buddha, which was installed here after a monk brought it from Burma to Zhejiang Province in 1882. The seated Buddha, encrusted with jewels, is said to weigh about one thousand kilograms. A smaller, reclining Buddha from the same shipment lies on a redwood bed. In the large hall are three gold-plated Buddhas, and other halls house ferocious-looking deities. Artifacts abound, not all on display, and some 7,000 Buddhist sutras line the walls.
Afterward you’ll have a chance to stroll along Yuyuan Garden. Yuyuan Garden is a famed classical garden, and even though it may be small, it contains numerous pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters, and 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.
Following a Chinese lunch we’ll cap off our day of touring with a visit to the city premier museum, the Shanghai Museum. The Shanghai Museum is a world famous museum of ancient Chinese art and culture. 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.
In the evening in addition to a splendid dinner if Shanghai cuisine, you’ll be treated to a performance of Chinese acrobatics.
Day 13 Shanghai-Suzhou (B, L)
In the morning you will take a 2 hour train ride to the garden and canal city of Suzhou. When you arrive you’ll be met at the train station by your guide. Youll first stop to unpack your things at your hotel, the 5 star Renaissance Hotel. Then we will drive to 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.
We’ll next arrive at the most famed garden in Suzhou, the Humble Administrator’s Garden. The garden is the best representative of Chinese classical gardens, constructed in the Ming dynasty, which focuses on a central pond with pavilions, terraces, chambers, and towers located nearby, the garden is divided into three parts: the eastern, middle and western parts. At 5 hectares the largest of these beautiful gardens, it is one of the most famous one. It provides everyone with pleasure. Don't miss the Garden Museum - actually don't miss any of this lovely place. You should wear comfortable shoes, as there's a lot of walking here.
To cap your day in Suzhou we’ll explore the Lion Grove (also known as the Lion Forest). Lion Grove is another interesting garden in Suzhou, which is well-known for oddly-shaped rocks and deep caves. Like the Humble Administrator's Garden, this one was also built hundreds years ago in the Yuan Dynasty. A monk called Tian Ru constructed this garden to commemorate his teacher. The garden's name comes from the rocks' resemblance to lions.Occupying an area of over one hectare, Lion Grove is filled with rockeries of various shapes and sizes, which have made the garden the "Kingdom of Rockeries" in China. Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong once paid a visit to Lion Grove and was impressed by the intricate labyrinth of caves there. Delighted, he wrote the inscription "Really Interesting". The buildings in Lion Grove are representative works of the Yuan-dynasty architecture.
The rest of your night can be spent at your discretion, but you may want to walk along the many teahouses and cafes that dot the city.
Day 14 Suzhou-Hangzhou (B, L)
Following breakfast in the hotel, you’ll be taken to the train station and you’ll make the short train ride to Hangzhou. As in Suzhou, you’ll be met at the train station by your guide. Your hotel for the night will be the 5 star Radisson Plaza Hotel. After freshening up in the hotel, we’ll head to the most famous of Hagnzhou attractions, West Lake.
West Lake is man-made and 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). It was originally the center of the city, but now the Qiantang River is becoming the central feature as the south bank is developed in similar fashion to Shanghai’s Pudong District. 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.
Near West Lake is 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.
Then it is off to the Six Harmonies Pagoda and its nearby temple. Located on the north bank of the Qiantang River, Six Harmonies Pagoda was built in 970 to dispel the river's tidal bore, which was thought to be an evil manifestation. Liuhe Ta, Six Harmonies Pagoda, was once a seven-storey stone pagoda, but later a 13-story wooden pagoda was built around the outside enclosing the wooden structure. The top level, accessed by a spiral staircase in the stone pagoda, offers a fine view of the surrounding mountains, the Qiantang River and Qiantang River Great Bridge, which is the largest double-decker (road above, rail below) bridge built by China. The ceiling of each level is carved and painted with flowers, birds and animals in an elegant and delicate style.
Six Harmonies Pagoda is named after nearby Six Harmonies Temple, but it could be said there are six harmonies within the structure itself where the 7-story inner pagoda harmonizes with the 13-story outer pagoda.
The rest of the evening can be spent at your own leisure.
Day 15 Hangzhou-Shanghai (B, L)
In the morning you will be taken to the train station and you’ll make the quick trip back to Shanghai. You’ll be met by your Shanghai guide upon arrival. As in your time here before, you’ll stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown hotel. Your first stop on today’s touring will be the Bund, Shanghai’s most famous and recognizable landmark. The 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.
Across the river we’ll visit he Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the most distinctive landmark of the Shanghai skyline. From the top of the tower you can get marvelous views of the Bund and the east bank of Shanghai.
You will then have free time for the rest of the day. You might want to stroll along West Nanjing Road, which is near the Bund and is Shanghai’s most famed shopping street. In addition to high-street fashion and the usual outlets and stores, open-air bars, abstract sculptures, and lingering sounds from street musicians will enhance your experience. At night flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and spangle the night skyline of this lively city.
Day 16 Depart Shanghai (B)
Following breakfast in the hotel you will be driven to the Shanghai airport, and from there you will fly on to your next destination, ending your tour with the Great Wall Adventure Club.