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Beijing Taiyuan Pingyao Xi'an Huashan Luoyang Tour - 10 Days

Destination: Beijing Taiyuan Pingyao Xi'an Huashan Luoyang
Duration: Ten Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle & Train
Best Travel Time:All Year
Price From
US$2500/persons
 
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Discover China's most famous historical wonders from the luxury of the country's most modern mode of transport - the bullet train. This 10-day tour speeds guests from the wonders of Beijing, including the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China, to the ancient city of Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Army, in the comfort of an ultra-modern high-speed train. A stop in the medieval city of Pingyao rounds off this incredible journey, which combines the very best of ancient and modern China.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2500/persons 2500USD/Person

Day 1 : Arrive in Beijing
Your guide will pick up you from Airport and transfer to hotel.

Welcome to Beijing, capital of the ¡°Middle Kingdom¡±!This fascinating place has become a thriving metropolis in recent years, and was brought back to the attention of everyone on the world stage in 2008 when it hosted the Olympic Games.

As you enjoy the ride to the hotel, you will notice the ¡°Bird's Nest¡±, the modern stadium now recognized as one of the symbols of modern China and a triumph of architecture and the involvement of Ai Weiwei, the well-known Chinese artist. It still stands as the site of the unforgettable 2008 Opening Ceremony and the majestic 100m final when Usain Bolt flew down the track during the Games.

After stopping at the hotel, you will visit the famed hutongs (narrow alleys and streets of Beijing) near Houhai Lake. Then you will visit the Gulou, the Drum Tower where during the Ming Dynasty, the city marked the hours of the day with the rumbling of drums. The tower faces the Zhonglou, the Bell Tower, and gives visitors a glimpse of ancient Beijing.

Moving along, you will meet a bicycle repairman, whose job exemplifies perfectly the urbanization of the city itself. You can ask any question! Some could be: how quickly the car has surpassed the notorious Beijing bicycle, how the youth today move around or if the bicycle has become fashionable or preferable again.

Sooner or later you will probably assist in a mahjong party, a social get-together around Chinese Chess or card games. The number of elderly swells around these very popular games, a gathering where bystanders often come to watch and your guide can help explain the rules.

Afterwards, you will finish your day with a refreshing change of decor and ambiance in the Wangfujing neighborhood, home to the famous Wangfujing road, the most commercial area of the capital. While you are there, you will get the opportunity to witness how modern China has become and how its fierce consumerism continues. Next door, the Donghuamen Market offers a delightful taste of the night markets in the city. No one in the whole world yells as loud as the wonton vendors in Donghuamen.

Once you have had enough of the market, you will return to the hotel for a rest.

Overnight in Beijing

 

Day 2 : Beijing (B)
This day will begin very early, but you may forget this inconvenience when you enter the Temple of heaven. At this time of the day, you will see the various activities the Chinese do in the morning. Tai Qi, Kung Fu, sabre practice, meditation, tango, and gymnastics are just some of them. The Chinese like to prepare for their day with physical exercises that they consider essential for their health. As well, some Chinese practice calligraphy with giant brushes and water on the park's flagstones that esthetically pleases for as long as the water evaporates.

Next, you will discover the Temple itself and its simplicity in structure. Its hidden symbolism hints at beliefs even more ancient than Buddhism and Taoism and to a time when the Emperor was considered the direct authority on earth from the heavens.

We will then head over to the Forbidden City.

Most Chinese buildings face south, which according to ancient beliefs symbolized the barbarian threat and potential invasion from the north. This explains why the main entrance to the Forbidden City faces south towards Tiananmen Square, the third largest city square in the world.

The construction of the City was finished in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle, and served as the Imperial administrative centre throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties until the fall of the Empire in 1911. According to legend the Forbidden City is made up of 9999 different rooms.

You will then climb the artificial Coal hill just behind the Forbidden City provides a spectacular view of the entire site and lets you get a grasp of the layout of the whole of Beijing.

Option: Enjoy on the evening the Kung Fu show in Red theater! The Red Theater is originally known as Chongwen Worker's Cultural Palace Theater. After the renovation, the stage facilities have been dramatically improved and now the theater specializes in traditional Chinese performances, such as "The Legend of Kung Fu".

Overnight in Beijing

 

Day 3 : Beijing (B,L)
Even though we like to falsely say that it is visible from the moon, the Great Wall is one of the most important symbols of the country and must be visited. In doing so, we must retrace our steps back to the Qin Dynasty (more than 2000 years ago) to find the first traces of the defensive walls. During the Ming Dynasty, workers restored and expanded the Wall to its height, width and length we recognize today.

Placed on the highest ridges, the wall offered an excellent view to the north and permitted the guards of the lookout towers to watch out for alarm fires down the wall in case of barbarian intruders. The Wall sufficiently prevented Mongolian cavalry from easily progressing on the wall and forced them to dismount from their horses before attacking.

At its peak of condition, the Wall extended over more than 6000 kilometers of ancient Manchuria until the fort of Jiayuguan (where the Gobi desert begins to the west). At a point in history, the government used to ban criminals to this desolate location.

Bright and early in the morning, you will depart from your hotel to visit the Mutianyu section of the Wall. Once you are there, you can benefit from the early morning sunrise in your photographs.

If the hiking seems too long after a while, you and your companions can ride the toboggan (optional) down the wall or have a picnic on the Great Wall. You may take some time and admire the wonderful rugged scenery.

Soon after, you will return to Beijing and visit the Summer Palace. Otherwise a simple Imperial garden, the site was completely renovated by Emperor Qianlong during the 18th century to become one the most important sites of the capital. Back in the day, the members of the Imperial Court would flee the summer's insufferable heat in Forbidden City to lounge on Palace's immense lawn. Harmonious in nature, a variety of traditional Chinese temples, pavilions, lakes and gardens comprise the Palace. The Long Corridor, Marble Boat, 17-Arch Bridge, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill are the cornerstones of the site.

Afterwards, you will return to the capital.

Overnight in Beijing

 

Day 4 : Beijing - Taiyuan - Pingyao (B)
Transfer to Beijing railway station for a high speed train to Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province.
(Expected departure time:  08:30 am     Expected arrival time: 11:00 am)

Your local guide and driver will welcome you and transfer you to the Jinci, a remarkable building constructed in honour of Prince Shuyu who founded the Jin state (772-403 B.C). The term ¡°Jinci¡± is made up of the words ¡°Jin¡±, name of the Jin kingdom, and ¡°ci¡± which means ¡°ancestral temple¡±. This visit will give you an insight into ancestor-worship, a fundamental practice of Chinese culture that has endured to this day.

The Hall of the Holy Mother (Shuyu's mother and to whom this site is dedicated), is a perfect example of its type. Take time to examine the superb wooden dragon sculptures that surround the temple, often only found in imperial places of worship.

Transfer to Pingyao, the best preserved medieval city throughout the whole of China. A collection of paved alleyways, lined with traditional courtyard style homes lit with red lanterns and surrounded by perfectly conserved reinforced city walls. The town is a perfect example of the traditional China that most people have in their minds. Pingyao prospered under the Ming Dynasty when it was established as a market town; however, it was during the Qing dynasty that Pingyao developed into the incredible walled city that we know today when it was established as the nation's first financial centre.

Explore the city walls by walk, to get a real sense of the layout of the streets below. Measuring 6km long, 10 metres high and numbering 72 watchtowers (each of which houses a piece of Sunzi War artwork) the town walls ensure that Pingyao is almost impenetrable to any invading force.

Pingyao is attracting a growing number of tourists, and as a result some of the 4000 Ming and Qing homes have been transformed into little restaurants, boutiques and quaint hotels. It's in one of these hotels that you will spend the night maybe sleeping on a traditional kang, which is a bed made of bricks and heated by a small fire beneath.

Overnight in Pingyao

 

Day 5 : Pingyao (B)
After breakfast you will head off to explore some of the other main interests of the region, the merchants' houses and cave dwellings.

Many local merchants amassed immense fortunes during the Ming and Qing dynasties and built themselves huge palatial homes. A perfect example of one of these homes is the Wang Family Residence, which is made up of an imposing labyrinth of courtyards, small gardens, temples and narrow stairways.

On the way back to Pingyao we will stop in Zhangbicun, a small village famous for its underground tunnels. An incredible network of defensive tunnels was constructed during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) in order to prepare for any attack by the Tang. Unfortunately however they failed in their purpose and the Tang ruled from 618-907. The tunnels are built 30m underground and extend for around 1500m. This small town on the surface also offers a lot to visitors who can enjoy its mix of paved streets and houses constructed during the Chinese Middle Ages.

This trip will also enable you to explore some of the Cave Dwellings that the region is famous for. Even though we can't give an exact figure, it's thought that around 30 million people in China still live in cave dwellings that are built into the loess sedimentary rock (according to an article published in the Los Angeles Times on 18th March 2012). These types of loess cave dwellings are primarily found in the 3 provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Henan which are often considered as the cradle of Chinese civilisation. Even though the conditions in these cave homes are very basic, with no running water and mains electricity supply, they have their advantages. The temperature inside the caves remains at a constant all year round, protecting the inhabitants from the bitter cold winds in winter, and keeping them cool and fresh in the hot summer months.

Your day will end with a visit to the Shuanglin Buddhist Temple (literally Temple of the Double Forest) which is just outside Pingyao. Founded during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the temple is well known for its finely sculptured statues which have been very well preserved and still retain their original colours.

Upon returning to Pingyao you will be able to enjoy the evening discovering the narrow streets of the old town which are lit by red lanterns hanging from doorways, typically associated with Northern China.

Overnight in Pingyao

 

Day 6 : Pingyao - Taiyuan - Xi'an (B)
the city streets outside fill with the sights, sounds and smells as people on bikes and vendors fill the streets selling a promising (or not) breakfast.

After your morning stroll, you will head off to explore Rishengchang, who started off as a small dye store in the 17th century and grew into China's first bank, opening branches throughout China. A true success story, Rishengchang helped to contribute to Pingyao's success and establishment as China's first financial centre.

After you will visit the local yamen, which during Imperial times was home to the administrative centre, courthouse and sometimes even a prison. The accused would present themselves in front of a judge who had the power to sentence them with punishments ranging from a simple fine, to amputations.

Transfer back to Taiyuan for a high speed train to Xi'an.(Expected departure time: 12:20am  Expected arrival time: 15:56pm)

You will be welcomed by your local guide and driver and will get transferred to Xi'an city center.

Now you are in Shaanxi Province, the place often considered where Chinese civilization began. The capital of the Empire three times, Xi'an played a decisive role in the history of the country. On the Silk Road, the city was an administrative site and a hub of commerce. The city exported silk and local products to other countries. During the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Emperor of China (who unified the different provinces in 221 BC), the city had over a million people. Later, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 BC) the city became the most populated city in the world.


Afterwards, you will take a bike tour (or for an additional charge a cart tour) for about one hour to discover and glide through Xi'an without traffic jams and crowds. You can even test out a tandem bike for something with a little more jazz. During your tour, you will see the impressive Xi'an ramparts built during the Ming Dynasty. Today, they stand restored and reconstructed and are a part of the fortifications still visible in China.


Overnight in Xi'an

 

Day 7 : Xi'an
Visit of the Terra Cotta Army.

In 1974, a few farmers stumbled upon the Warriors by accident. Now, we can only wonder what those original farmers felt when they first laid eyes on the thousands of soldiers lined up in battle formation. They had just discovered one of the greatest archeological finds in history!

Incidentally, we now have this wonder to view because of Qin Shi Huangdi's fear of malevolent spirits. Qin Shi Huangdi built a mausoleum to have his immense army of infantrymen, archers, and cavalry riders to protect him in the Afterlife. Each one of the Terra Cotta Warriors has a different face from a soldier during the Emperor's life. Historians theorize that the Emperor may have wanted to rule the world from the Afterlife.

The statues you can view are separated in three pits. You will begin with the pits number 2 (that is still being excavated) and number 3 (that shelters the majority of items).  You will end with pit number 1, the most impressive one with about 2000 warriors.

Otherwise there is a small museum on site that houses two splendid bronze chariots found in 1980 west of the mausoleum. You can now see them on display along with other artifacts.

On a different note, Xi'an is also a city of many cultures. During the day of the Silk Road, Muslim merchants from Central Asia came to China to do business and left their influence in Xi'an. Several Muslim minorities (totaling 15 million inhabitants) now live in China. The Hui minority is predominant in Xi'an. You will visit the Chinese-style Mosque and the vibrant neighborhood around it housing a number of butcher shops and different sorts of stores where men wear white skull caps and women wear colorful headscarves. At dinner, you will appreciate the unique ambiance of a night market as you dine on the neighborhood's specialties of spiced lamb kebabs, flat bread and mutton soup with noodles.

Overnight in Xi'an

 


Day 8 : Xi'an - Huashan - Luoyang
Transfer with your guide and driver to Huashan. ¡®Hua' means ¡®flower' and ¡®shan' means ¡®mountain' and so ¡®huashan' could be translated as ¡®Flower Mountain' and takes its name from the many different peaks that make up this site. Often forgotten about, Mount Huashan is one of the 5 sacred Taoist mountains and offers superb views of the sharp peaks which are seen throughout China and which have inspired numerous painters, poets and photographers... Couples can come and seal their relationships by attaching locks to the rocks at the summit, whilst devout believers perform their pilgrimage and the elderly challenge themselves physically.

You will firstly head to the Northern Peak (altitude 1615m) by cable and then by foot the Eastern Peak admire the breathtaking views along Blue Dragon Ridge. Once arrived at the peak of the East you can choose to turn back or complete the loop that passes through the South Peak and West Peak to Peak North, where you will take the cable car back down. Be careful trails are narrow, steep stairs and walking is arduous (starting between 3 and 5 hours for the entire loop, depending on your pace). We thus recommend bringing plenty of drinks, snacks and a good pair of walking boots

Picnic lunch (depending on weather)

Optional: This walk can be done by night along with other pilgrims who come to climb Mount Huashan. Every person in the group will carry a lantern or a torch and from a distance the group will quickly begin to resemble a caterpillar slowly climbing the mountain face as you ascend the thousands of steps leading to the summit. Please consult us.

Upon arrival at the foot of the mountain you will be taken back to Huashan train station for a high speed train to Luoyang.(Expected departure time:  17:18 pm   Expected arrival time: 18:31 pm)

You will be welcome by your local guide and driver and will get transferred to your hotel in Luoyang, the ancient capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty!

Overnight in Luoyang

 

Day 9 : Luoyang - Beijing
Transfer to Longmen caves (which literally means ¡°Dragon Door¡±)

At the end of the Han Empire (206 BC- 220 AD) and towards the beginning of the third century AD, the region became the home of various small kingdoms. After some time, the Tuoba, a Turkish-speaking people from the north who were often considered by the Chinese as barbarians, unified the area, founded the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD), installed their first capital in Datong and moved in 494 AD to Luoyang. Now, locals and tourists can admire the remains of this Dynasty in both cities.

In the fifth century, the Wei converted to Buddhism and adapted to the traditional Chinese roots of the area. This later gave birth to the creation of the Yungang Grottoes and Longmen Grottoes, now UNESCO listed and considered as a perfect example of Chinese Buddhist rock art of the period.

The caves are spread over a kilometre on both sides of the Yi River. They started to be sculpted during the Northern Wei Dynasty, and then this was continued in the Sui and Tang dynasties that followed.

You will see ¨C amongst others ¨C the Cave of 10,000 Buddhas on the west bank, and on the east bank the Ancestor Worshipping Cave, in particular known for its 17 metre tall seated Buddha.

Note: you can benefit further from your time in the region and take in both the White Horse Temple, built in the 1st century AD and taken to be the main Buddhist Temple in China, and the world-famous Shaolin Temple which is located between Luoyang and Zhengzhou, a true home of Chinese martial arts. Consult us for more information.

Transfer to Luoayng train station for a high speed train to Beijing. Your guide will stay with you in the train.(Expected departure time:  16:19 pm   Expected arrival time: 20:27 pm)

Welcome by your guide and your driver and transfer to your hotel in Beijing.

Overnight in Beijing

 

Day 10 : Beijing departure (B)
You will be transported to the airport and to your returning flight.

 

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