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China High Speed Train Tour - 14 Days

Destination: Beijing - Xian - Jinan - Tai'an - Qufu - Shanghai
Duration: Fourteen Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle & Train
Best Travel Time:All Year
Price From
US$3950/persons
 
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Packed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the itinerary introduces participants to China¡¯s largest cosmopolitan centres of Shanghai and Beijing as well as off-the-beaten-path towns of Qufu (Confucius¡¯ hometown) and Tai¡¯an (sacred Mt. Tai). Highlights of the luxury tour include the fabled Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Army, and exciting evening cultural shows. This is a journey to the cradle of the Chinese civilization, an extravagant feast of culture and history.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$3950/persons 3950USD/Person

Day 1: Beijing
Welcome to Beijing! Meet your guide on arrival in late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.

 

Day 2: Beijing
Capital of China, Beijing is a world-class cultural and educational centre with a population of 21 million (2013), ranking it China's second largest city behind Shanghai. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates, treasures that make it the most popular tourist city in China.

Beijing was already a strategically important city in northern China for centuries when Kublai Khan decided to move his capital here from Karakorum in Mongolia. With the collapse of the vast Mongol empire in 1368 AD, Beijing, known as Da Du or Grand Capital at the time, lost its status as the country's capital but soon regained it when the imperial court of the successive Ming Dynasty moved here from Nanjing. Beijing continued to serve as China's capital after Manchu tribes dethroned the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 and established the Great Qing Empire (Qing Dynasty), which lasted till 1911.

Our first stop is the Forbidden City located in the centre of Beijing. Also known as Palace Museum or Gu Gong in Chinese, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties lived and carried out their administration. Construction of the Forbidden City took 14 years (1406-1420) to complete. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares or 180 acres. It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Lunch is at a family restaurant in a hutong neighbourhood. Hutong refers to an ancient alleyway with siheyuan or ''4-sided courtyard house" on both sides. The name hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368 A.D.). According to some experts, the word originated from the Mongolian language, in which it is pronounced as hottog and means "well." In ancient times, people tended to gather and live around wells. So the original meaning of hutong should be "a place where people live around".

Afternoon sightseeing at the Summer Palace, a well preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The imperial resort was first named Garden of Clear Ripples, which was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860 during the Second Opium War (referred to as Arrow War by the British). Reconstruction started 25 years later and was completed in 1895 when the name was changed to Yi He Yuan (Garden of Good Health and Harmony). The design gives prominence to Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, south of the hill. The sprawling complex covers an area of 290 hectares and the buildings inside consist of over 3,000 bays.

Today we enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of the top rated Beijing roast duck restaurants. (B/L/D)

 

Day 3: Beijing
Morning sightseeing takes us to historic Jingshan Park for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from above. The park to the north of the Forbidden City was part of the imperial palace in the old days, serving the royal families as a convenient site for farming, recreation and ancestor worshipping. The man-made hill (46 meters above ground, 89 meters above sea level) overlooks the Forbidden City and provides a great spot for bird's-eye view of the surrounding area.

We then proceed to Tiananmen Square. Located in the heart of Beijing, the square is 880 metres from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west. Said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, Tiananmen Square has the capacity to hold one million people. Tiananmen (Heavenly Gate) Tower sites at the north end of the square while the Monument to the People's Heroes dominates the centre. The square is flanked by The Great Hall of the People (west) and the National Museum of China (east). Chairman Mao's mausoleum and Qianmen (Front Gate) sit in the south of the square. Considered one of the top 16 tourist attractions in Beijing, Tiananmen Square is also the witness of the Chinese people's great struggles for democracy and personal freedom since 1919.

Afternoon sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in southeastern Beijing the Temple of Heaven is China's largest extant sacrificial temple where, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors conducted the elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed to "the Supreme Ruler of the Universe." Construction of the temple started in 1406, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and took 14 years to complete. The temple was expanded under the Qing emperors Qianlong (1736-1796) and Jiaqing (1796-1820). Occupying 2.73 square kilometres (roughly 1,700 by 1,600 metres), the area of the Temple of Heaven is more than twice that of the Forbidden City.

The famous Hongqiao Pearl Market, the largest of its kind in the world, sits right across from the Temple of Heaven. The market is recommended in various guidebooks as a good place to buy fresh water pearls, a market segment dominated by the Chinese. If you are interested, please ask the guide to drop you off there. However, you'll need to get back to the hotel by taxi, which costs about 50 yuan or $8. (B/L)

 

Day 4: Beijing
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to the legendary Great Wall at Mutianyu, 75km northeast of the city. Zigzagging over 6,000 kilometres from east to west along the undulating mountains, the Great Wall was built to hold off tribal invaders from the north. Construction of the earliest sections of the Wall started in the 7th century B.C. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today in Beijing is almost exactly the result of this effort. (B/L/D)

 

Day 5: Beijing - Xian
Free morning to relax or explore on your own. We board the new high-speed train for Xian following a light lunch. The four-hour-forty-minute rail journey cuts through fertile farmland dotted with villages, providing the visitor an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The track we travel on is part of the new 2,298 km high-speed railway connecting Beijing and Guangzhou, the longest high-speed rail line in the world. The Chinese for the past 20 years have been on a building spree expanding the country's rail network and upgrading existing railways. This new rail service rivals France's TGV and Japan's "shinkansen" in terms of speed, comfort, cleanliness and onboard facilities. (B/L/D)

 

Day 6: Xian
Eastern terminus of the fabled Silk Road and one of the ancient capitals of China, Xian is home to the world famous Terracotta Army.

Morning visit to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Built on the excavation site, the museum is located 30km east of the city. Designed to follow the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) into eternity, the Terracotta Army represents one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th Century.

After lunch we return to the city for a stroll on the ancient city wall. The wall, declared national treasure by the State Council in 1961 under the premiership of Zhou Enlai, was started in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, encircling an area of 14 square kilometres. The wall runs 13.7 kilometres long and measures 12 metres in height and 15 to 18 metres in thickness at the base.

Tonight we enjoy a spectacular music and dance show reminiscent of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a period generally considered a golden era of the Chinese civilization. Depending on the season, the theatre could substitute the show with one re-enacting the life of Emperor Qin Shi Huang - the first emperor who unified China. (B/L/D)

 

Day 7: Xian
Morning sightseeing begins with Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The extensive galleries and exhibitions offer the visitor an excellent introduction to the area that greatly improves understanding of the numerous historical sites in and around the city.

We then visit the ancient grand mosque in the old town centre and the adjacent Muslim bazaar. The mosque was established in the 8th Century but the majority of the complex was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was further expanded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, this mosque is completely Chinese in its architectural style. It has neither domes nor traditional style minarets. (B/L)

 

Day 8: Xian - Jinan
Free morning to explore on your own. We recommend Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. You can reach both by Subway Line 2, which has a stop right next door to our hotel. Bell Tower is 3 stops away (8 minutes). The pagoda is 7 stops away plus a short taxi ride at the other end which costs about 15 Yuan (less than $3).

Late afternoon flight or evening flight to Jinan, capital of populous Shandong Province. Depending on flight availability, we may need to fly to Jinan in the morning or early afternoon. In that case, sightseeing will be arranged in Jinan that includes Baotu Springs Park. (B/L)

 

Day 9: Jinan - Tai'an - Qufu
After breakfast, we drive 85km to Tai'an, the city at the foot of Mt. Tai or Taishan. We spend the rest of the day exploring the historic mountain, the most revered of the five sacred Taoist mountains of China. Since the dawn of Chinese history, Mt Tai has been a great source of inspiration for poets, writers and painters. In 1987, the UNESCO designated Mt. Tai a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site. We ride the cable car to midpoint and then walk for about an hour to the summit for a rewarding view of the surrounding countryside. Please be forewarned that the hour-long walk includes strenuous stair climbing. The energetic may choose to skip the cable car and conquer the entire 6000 steps on foot. The climb can be hard work but the central route's bewildering catalogue of bridges, trees, towers, statues, inscribed stones, caves, pavilions and temples combine to take your mind off your aching calves.

We descend in late afternoon and drive 100km to Qufu for the night. (B/L)

 

Day 10: Qufu
Qufu is hometown of Confucius whose philosophy, known as Confucianism, played and continues to play a vital role in the evolution of the Chinese civilization. Although Confucianism is in itself a school of philosophy, for centuries it has been followed by almost every Chinese as a code of conduct and practiced by many as religion. The influence of Confucianism reaches far beyond the borders of China as evidenced in countries like Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

We visit the mansions inhabited by Confucius' descendants (now a museum), the sage's last resting place at Confucius Forest (cemetery), and finally the massive Confucius Temple which features a series of impressive gateways, clusters of twisted pines and cypresses,  inscribed steles and tortoise tablets recording ancient events. The UNESCO World heritage Site refers to the Temple, the Cemetery and the Kong Family Mansion, all included in our itinerary. (B/L)

 

Day 11: Qufu - Shanghai
The morning is set aside for you to explore on your own. You may also use the time for some well deserved rest and relaxation in the hotel. The exquisite Shangri-La hotel is a sanctuary that even the most discerning guests find impressive.

We transfer to the train station in mid-afternoon to travel to Shanghai. The high-speed train arrives at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in three hours. (B/L)

 

Day 12:  Shanghai
Today's schedule takes in Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden in the old town centre, and a walking tour of French Concession (extra-jurisdictional territory from 1849 to 1946). Evening entertainment is a dazzling acrobatic show. (B/L/D)

 

Day 13: Shanghai
Today is a free day to explore on your own. Our recommendations include Jinmao Tower and the popular evening cruise on Huangpu River to enjoy the city's spectacular neon-lit skyline. The new bullet train system has made it possible to explore a number of popular tourist destinations near Shanghai, such as Hangzhou and Nanjing, without overnight stay. If you need assistance on this, please ask your guide. (B)

 

Day 14: Shanghai - Home City
Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport by Maglev train to board return flight. (B)

 

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