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China Photography Tour - 14 Days

Destination: Shanghai - Suzhou - Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) - Xi'an - Beijing
Duration: Fourteen Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle & Flight
Best Travel Time:All year
Price From
US$3650/persons
 
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This tour visits some of the most photogenic spots in China. Trip highlights include Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), the Terracotta Army, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.The trip is suitable for both professional photographers and travellers with little experience in photography. Participants will receive a 23-page travel photography manual containing practical tips and advice from Ross. Besides pre-tour orientation, photography workshops will be held during the tour.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$3650/persons 3650USD/Person


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

 

Day 2:  Shanghai
Before 1949, Shanghai was widely known in the West as a city of quick riches and paradise of the adventurers. After four decades of anemic growth in a state planned economy, Shanghai is roaring back to recapture its position on the world stage. With a population of 23 million and rapid economic expansion in the last 20 years, Shanghai has again become a leading global city with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport.

Today's schedule takes in Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden in the old town centre, and a leisurely walk on the Bund - a waterfront promenade famous for its landmark neoclassical buildings of European style. Enjoy an evening of dazzling acrobatic show following dinner. (B/L/D)

 

Day 3: Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Suzhou. Eighty kilometers to the northwest of Shanghai, ancient Suzhou is most famous for its gardens, canals and silk industry. In late 13th Century a Venetian named Marco Polo visited Suzhou and he was very impressed by what he saw. He vividly described the prosperous silk making trade and dubbed Suzhou Venice of the East due to the small waterways crisscrossing the city. Our schedule today takes in historic Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator's Garden and a short cruise on the Grand Canal. If time permits, we'll stop by the silk spinning mill before returning to Shanghai.

Tiger Hill has been a popular tourist destination for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, as is evident from the poetry and calligraphy carved into the rocks on the hill. The hill is so named because it is said to look like a crouching tiger. Another legend states that a white tiger appeared on the hill to guard it following the burial of King Helu. The highlight here is the brick pagoda constructed between 959 and 961 AD as part of Yun Yan Buddhist temple. Because of its unintended tilt to one side (2.34 meters off towards northeast), the pagoda is also called by some China's Leaning Tower of Pisa, except this one is 200 years older than the bell tower in Italy.

The traditional Humble Administrator's Garden is a masterpiece listed by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site with a style in sharp contrast to the Yu Garden of Shanghai. (B/L)

 

Day 4: Shanghai - Huangshan
Free morning to explore on your own. Our recommendations include Jinmao Tower and a walking tour of French Concession (extra-jurisdictional territory from 1849 to 1946).

Transfer to the airport for mid-afternoon flight (1 hour) to Huangshan or Yellow Mountain. Known as 'the loveliest mountain of China', Huangshan is a mountain range composed of material that was uplifted from an ancient sea during the Mesozoic era, 100 million years ago. The mountains themselves were carved by glaciers during the Quaternary. Vegetation on the range is thickest below 1,100 metres (3,600 ft), with trees growing up to the timberline at 1,800 meters (5,900 ft). The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly shaped granite peaks, pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's major tourist destinations. (B/L/D)

 

Day 5: Excursion to Yixian County
Drive to Yixian County, 54km away from the city of Huangshan, to visit Xidi and Hongcun, two villages collectively known as Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui on the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List. These two traditional villages represent a type of non-urban settlements that largely disappeared or was transformed during the last century. Their street plan, architecture and decoration, and the integration of houses with comprehensive water systems are unique surviving examples. Return to the city later in the day. (B/L)

 

Day 6: Huangshan Scenic Area
After breakfast, we drive to the mountain and then reach one of the peaks by cable car, thus beginning our full day exploration of the mountain. Located in the southern part of Anhui Province, Huangshan is a marvel: within an area of 154 square kilometers there are as many as 72 peaks, whose names indicate the shapes they resemble. In 1990, the UNESCO inscribed Huangshan a World Natural and Cultural Heritages Site. The beauty of Huangshan lies in its "four wonders": pine trees with shapely foliage, rocks in a hundred and one images, an ocean of clouds, and hot springs.

First of two nights at Xihai Hotel. Located at the entrance to spectacular Xihai Grand Canyon, this hotel sits 1,600 metres above sea level. (B/L/D)

 

Day 7: Huangshan Scenic Area
Our sightseeing atop Huangshan continues. There'll be lots of walking and stair climbing. One of the highlights for today is watching sunrise. (B/L/D)

 

Day 8: Huangshan - Xian
After breakfast we descend by cable car and then drive to Shexian County to visit the Tangyue Archways. Board evening flight to 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. (B/L/D)

 

Day 9: Xian
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 a 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 10: Xian - Beijing
Morning sightseeing begins at Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The modern, well-organized museum was completed in 1992 and traces the history of Xian from prehistory to the 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.

We board the new high-speed train for Beijing in early afternoon. 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 past Zhengzhou 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/D)

 

Day 11: 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.

Morning visit to the Forbidden City. 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.

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. (B/L)

 

Day 12: 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.

The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. Unlike many other sections of the Great Wall, Mutianyu was built mainly with granite. (B/L)

 

Day 13: Beijing
Morning sightseeing begins with historic Jingshan Park where we'll enjoy 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.

After a visit to the Temple of Heaven, we have the rest of the day to explore on our own. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of Heaven situated in southeastern Beijing 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.

Tonight we enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at one of the top rated Peking roast duck restaurants. (B/L/D)

 

Day 14: Beijing
Spend the morning packing and relaxing. Transfer to the airport to board return flight departure. (B)

 

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