Tibet Tour for Tibet Culture Beijing-Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse-Chengdu-Guilin-Yangshuo-Shanghai 19 days 18 nights Luxury tour
- This luxury tour, along with the best hotels and dining possible, will take you to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and home to the Potala Palace and the Jokhang monastery (which is the holiest monastery in Tibet). You’ll also Gyantse and Shigatse. They are more remote than Lhasa, but because of its remoteness, they can offer the grand scene and nature of the Tibetan Region. How wonderful it is to be on top of most of the world!
- A two-thousand-year history leaves Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan with numerous historical places of interest. Fertile lands and a favorable climate endow the city with picturesque surrounding scenic landscapes. During your stay in Chengdu you will get to visit a sanctuary of that emblem of China, the Giant Panda
- Cruise down the Li River, China’s most picturesque and serene river, while also taking in the natural wonders and the local fisherman and farmers doing their daily chores
- This tour also includes a visit to the two top cities of China, Beijing and Shanghai. Beijing, China’s capital city, is home to the Forbidden City as well as much of the Great Wall, and Shanghai, China’s biggest city is China’s window to the west as well as one of the most vibrant places on earth!
(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 of 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 the Bifeng 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-Gyantse (B, L, D)
Following breakfast we will make our way to Gyantse, which is 254 km southwest of Lhasa. The drive will be anything but dull though, as we’ll stop for a quick visit at Yamdrok Lake, one of three sacred lakes in Tibet and is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams.
Then we’ll stop at the Karola Glacier before reaching Gyantse. Although now it is a mid-level town, Gyantse used to be the third largest city in Tibet, but now there are at least ten cities bigger.
For the evening we will stay best hotel available, and dinner will be made up of the local cuisine.
Day 10 Gyantse-Shigatse (B, L, D)
After breakfast we will make the short drive to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, where the region’s most fertile land can be found. When we reach Shigatse, we’ll visit the Palcho Monastery (aka the Pelkor Choede). Pelkhor Choede enjoys a high status in Tibet Buddhism history because it houses three sects - Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa together. Those three sects get along well with each other though they once quarreled and fought. The Bodhi Dagoba, the Main Assembly Hall, murals and Zhacang (hall for the monks) in the monastery are the most renowned.
The Bodhi Dagoba about 32 meters (105 feet) high is a nine-tier building which has 108 gates, and 76 chapels and shrines. It is the symbol of the Pelkhor Choede. In Tibetan, the Bodhi Dagoba is called 'Kumbum'. It also has another name 'Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda'. About ten thousand figures of Buddha are celebrated in the chapels, shrines or as murals in the pagoda, hence its name. The pagoda comprises nearly one hundred chapels which overlap one another. People call this kind of structure 'tower upon tower'.
The Main Assembly Hall has a history of about five hundred years. In Tibetan, it is called 'Tshomchen'. It is a three-storied building. On the first floor are the Main Chapel, Eastern and Western Chapels, and the cloister. In the Main Chapel is the bronze statue of Sakyamuni with a height of nearly eight meters (26 feet). It is said that about 14,000 kilograms (30,865 pounds) of copper were used to build the statue. Built with 48 columns, the chapel is decorated with numerous silk 'Thangkas'. On the second floor, Manjusri Bodhisattva, White Tara and Arhats are enshrined in the chapels. The eighteen-Arhat clay sculptures in the Arhat chapel are renowned in Tibet. On the third floor, Amitabha Buddha, Dakinis and esoteric Buddhism murals are displayed in the chapels.
Murals in the Monastery are also well known. These murals mainly relate to Esoteric and Exoteric Buddhism, and stories about the Buddhas. Tourists will find them almost everywhere in the monastery. Zhacang refers to the rooms where the monks live. Each sect has their own Zhacang in the monastery.
For the evening, we will stay in the best hotel that Shigatse has to offer.
Day 11 Shigatse (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we’ll set out on a full day of exploring this wonderful and charming little city. Our first stop will be at the Tshilunpo Monastery, which is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse city. It represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit. The monastery attracts thousands of Buddhists and tourists from domestic and abroad to travel and worship every year. Driving on the road far away from Shigatse, from the west city you can see the gold roof of Tashilunpo Monastery shinning under the sunshine. Experiencing five centuries, it still maintains the magnificent vigor. Tashilhunpo Monastery (meaning auspicious) is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in China and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area. Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse.
Then we will head on over to the New Palace of Panchen. It is famous as the summer palace of the tenth Panchen Lama (1938-1989). It majestically blends both traditional and modern architectural styles.Green plants cover the palace, creating a natural and peaceful environment.
There are three gates of the New Palace of Panchen.The first gate has four red poles supporting the eaves.Noted for their great artistry and beauty, they are adorned with carvings of Buddhist stories and figures including images of fierce wild beasts, flying dragons and a variety of floral patterns.After passing through the first gate you will continue on a gravel path to the second gate which spans a quadrangle. After traversing the second gate you will see the magnificent palace.Entering the third gate, visitors can view the palace interior, including the Panchen Lama bedrooms, drawing rooms, sutra hall, Buddha hall and Buddhist Guardian Hall. The palace houses a number of precious cultural relics including spectacular frescos. The most famous fresco is 'Phakpa Meeting Kublai Khan', depicting Lama Chogyal Phakpa (1235-1280 AD) joining the court of Kublai Khan (1215-1294 AD) as imperial spiritual teacher.
We’ll cap off our time in Shigatse with a stroll through the Gyangtse Carpet Factory. Made from the pure Tibetan wools that are especially thick, strong and resilient, the heat-preserving, waterproof and durable carpets are a necessity for the cold plateau climate there. They are very delicately made and always feel soft to touch. The color is gorgeous and does not easily fade. The patterns and flowers on the carpets are especially beautiful. The traditional designs mainly replicate the murals in temples, including dragons, phoenixes, flowers, grasses, birds, animals and landscape pictures. Recently, embroideries of some great projects such as the Potala Palace, Mt. Everest and Great Wall of China have been added. So it is no wonder many of these carpets are collected and displayed as curios.
Day 12 Shigatse-Lhasa-Chengdu (B, L, D)
In the morning we will make the drive back to Lhasa, and from there you’ll be taken to the airport, where you will fly on to Chengdu, the capital of neighboring Sichuan province.
Upon arrival in Chengdu you’ll be met by your local English-speaking guide, and you’ll be taken to your lodging, the 5 star Jinjiang Hotel.
Day 13 Chengdu (B, L, D)
Today we will take a short drive outside of Chengdu to visit Mt. Emei. We will spend our day here. It is one of the most well-known summer destinations in China thanks to its pleasant weather, congenial atmosphere, the inspiring natural scenery and the influence of the Buddhist culture. The mountain is characterized by lofty ancient trees, impressive waterfalls, pristine brooks and numerous Buddhist temples. Mt. Emei is a sacred Buddhist haven. It is one of the four most divine Buddhism Mountains in China. This Buddhist legacy mainly contained in the numerous temples and the buildings bears witness to the unusual historical role of the mountain in Buddhism development since the religion was introduced to China over 2,000 years ago.
Here are some of the highlights we will experience on Mt. Emei:
Baoguo Temple: The Baoguo Temple at the foot of the Mt. Emei is the largest temple on the Mt. Emei and the starting point for taking a tour of the Mt. Emei. The temple was built during the years of Wanli period in the Ming Dynasty. The horizontal tablet of "Baoguo Temple" was written by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. It is the place where the Mt. Emei Buddhist Society is located. The Baoguo Temple is originally named Huizong Hall, which has the meaning of blending the three religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism into one. Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty granted the name of "Baoguo Temple", which adopts the meaning that dedicating to the service of the country comes first in "repaying four kindness" in the sutra.
Gold Summit: The number of the Buddhist temples dotting the mountain is quite inspiring but the views from the Golden Summit at an elevation of 3,077 meters above sea level steals the glory. The Gold Summit is an extravagance of natural wonders and Buddhism spiritualism, which comprise of four marvelous spectacles of Sunrise, Cloud Sea, Buddhist Light and sacred lamp. The scenery of a red glowing sun dancing over the sea of clouds in the east is fabulous. A few lucky visitors will encounter the Buddhist Light which only occurs 14 times a year. On these occasions, your shadow is cast before you in the mist and a colorfully glowing lights circle you as if you are attained enlightenment.
Fuhu Temple: At the foot of Fuhu Hill, Fuhu Temple is located one kilometer west of Baoguo Temple and is one of the largest in the mountain area. It was rebuilt in 1651, the eighth year of the reign of Qing Emperor Shunzhi. It covers an area of 13,000 square meters and isaccessible from the highway. "Crouching Tiger Monastery", as it is known in Chinese, is sunk in the forest. Inside is a seven-meter-high copper pagoda inscribed with Buddhist images and texts. Fuhu Temple, the biggest Buddhist temple on the mountain, has 13 halls. In the temple, a 6-meter 17-storeyed bronze tower made in the Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368) has some 4,700 engraved Buddhist figurines on it. The 20,000-character Huayan Sutras are well preserved in the temple.
Day 14 Chengdu (B, L, D)
Before leaving for your Li River cruise, you’ll spend another day exploring the sights of the Sichaun capital. After breakfast we’ll head over to the Wuhou Memorial Temple, which is located in Chengdu’s south suburbs. It is the most famous and influential of the temples dedicated to Zhuge Liang who lived from 181 until 234 AD. He is one of China’s famous historic figures, and he was a renowned minister and military strategist for Emperor Liu Bei (161-223) of the Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period in China. The temple is also dedicated to Emperor Liu Bei. It was built during the Qing dynasty in 1672. Because Zhuge Liang was granted the title of “Wuxiang Hou” (Marquis Wuxiang) in his lifetime, this temple is known as the Wuhou Memorial Temple. The temple is one of Chengdu’s major attractions and contains numerous statues to Emperor Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang and other officials of the Shu Kingdom, and there are ancient inscriptions and tablets that are famous in China.
You’ll next learn more about Chengdu’s history at Dufu’s Thatched Cottage, a museum and memorial for Dufu (712-770 AD). He is one of China’s most famous poets, and he lived during the Tang Dynasty. The memorial is located in a 24 acre (97,000 square meter) park by the side of a stream called the Huanhua in Chengdu’s western suburb. Dufu resided in a thatched cottage at the site where he took refuge in Chengdu during a war. The memorial originated as a temple dedicated to Dufu that was built about a thousand years ago during the Song Dynasty. The park contains a recreation of his cottage, what is suspected to be the remains of the original cottage, and ancient temples and structures. A large beautiful garden surrounds the structures.
The evening can be spent at your own leisure, and you can use your time to walk and explore Chengdu’s numerous cafes and teahouses, of which Chengdu is renowned for.
Day 15 Chengdu-Guilin (B, L)
In the morning, you will be taken to the airport, and you will fly to Guilin, the capital of Guangxi province, and the starting point of your Li River Cruise. You’ll be met by your English-speaking guide upon arrival, and you will stay at the 5 star Merryland Resort, which is located downtown.
You’ll get in a bit of sightseeing today by visiting the Reed Flute Cave. The Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) is a fascinating gallery of natural sculpture (limestone cave formations), now enhanced by multicolored lighting, which has been one of Guilin’s many interesting attractions for over 1200 years. It rates as one of the top four tourist sites in the city. The cave is about 240 meters long and a tour lasts about one hour. Along the u-shaped route, you will have ample time see the oddly shaped rocks and stone pillars while the guide narrates interesting stories about them. Illuminated by the colored lights, the cave looks like a dazzling underground palace. That’s why the cave is also known as the Nature’s Art Palace.
Day 16 Guilin-Li River Cruise-Yangshuo-Guilin (B, L)
Today you will be cruising down one of the world’s most stunning rivers, the Li. Gorgeous karst peaks give you surprises at each bend of the limpid river under the blue sky. Water buffalo patrol the fields, peasants reap rice paddies, school kids and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, the scenery along the Li River become one of China's top tourist destinations. Some of the highlights you will see on your 7-8hour cruise will be Elephant Trunk Hill, a hill resembling an Elephant taking water from its trunk, Pagoda Hill, just a few minutes away from the Elephant Trunk Hill, Daxu Town, an ancient river town, and of course you will also see local fisherman and workers over their normal course of work. The cruise down the Li River offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the local population here.
Our cruise will terminate at Yangshuo, a lush and exotic county that is surrounded by mountains and a place that includes ethnic groups from all over Asia. In the afternoon we will rent bikes and ride onto the country roads, lanes, and tracks, through the paddy fields orchards that surround the misty mountains. You will also have the chance to visit the home of a local farmer, and from this you’ll learn about what local life is like in these parts.
In the evening we will make the drive back to Guilin, and you will again stay at the Merryland Resort Hotel.
Day 17 Guilin-Shanghai (B, L)
You’ll be taken to the Guilin 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.
After a bit of relaxing at the 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.
Day 18 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 19 depart Shanghai (B)
Following your breakfast, you’ll be taken to the airport, and you will fly on to your next destination, ending your nearly three week journey through China.