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from Great Wall to Terra Cotta to World Expo

8-day Beijing-Xian-Shanghai Impression Tour

Experience the best of China, both old and new!

Highlights:

• Visit Beijing, the capital and the most important city of China. Highlights you will visit include the Forbidden City, Great Wall, and the Temple of Heaven
• Xi’an, the ancient capital of China is an intriguing city where history comes alive. You will see the Terracotta Warriors, perhaps the word’s greatest archaeological find.
• Explore the Shanghai World Expo, where over 190 countries and countless pavilions will contribute to this year’s theme “Better city-better life”.

B=(Breakfast) L=(lunch) D=(dinner)  DEPARTURE: Daily

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Tour code:
EX
BJXASH
Day 1: Arrive in Beijing, Beijing sightseeing

Morning

Upon arrival at the airport, our English-speaking guide will be there to meet you and take you directly to your 4 star hotel, which is located in central Beijing. We will then embark on a city tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Afternoon

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 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.

You will then be driven back to your hotel, with your evening at your discretion.

Day 2: Beijing sightseeing (B/L)


Morning

After a morning pickup at your hotel we will drive directly to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved.

Compared with other sections of Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are connected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall.

While Mutianyu does get its fair share of visitors, it does not get as packed as Badaling, allowing you to have a peaceful time exploring the wall. After walking around on Mutianyu, you have the option of coming down via walking, taking a cable car, or taking a toboggan ride (lots of fun and highly recommended!).


Afternoon

For the afternoon, we will make the short trip 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 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.

After walking the Spirit Way we will take you back to your hotel, completing the day’s travels.

Day 3:  Beijing sightseeing-Xi’an (B, L)

Morning

After having breakfast in the hotel, we will embark on another full day of touring before your evening flight to Xi’an. Our first stop will be 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!

Then it is off to the Summer Palace, to the northwest of the Beijing city center. Having 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 river city of Suzhou.


Afternoon

Before your flight, we will stop off at one more sight, this one highlighting the more modern aspects of Beijing. The Olympic Green was the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008. The highlights include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympic end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events from opera to a ski park.

Despite its nickname, the Water Cube is not a cube but a cuboid, (a rectangular box). The outer wall of the building is based on the Weaire–Phelan structure, a structure devised from the natural formation of bubbles in soap foam. The complex Weaire–Phelan pattern was developed by slicing through bubbles in soap foam, resulting in more irregular, organic patterns than foam bubble structures proposed earlier by the scientist Kelvin. The Water Cube hosted the swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming events during the Olympics, and was the sight of Michael Phelps’ record breaking Olympic triumph.

You will then be taken to the airport for your flight to Xi’an. Upon your arrival in Xi’an our Guide will meet you to take you to your 4 star hotel.

Day 4: Xi’an sightseeing (B, L, D)

Morning

After breakfast in the hotel, you will get to walk on the Xi’an city walls. 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. Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.

We will then drive to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a pagoda surrounded by a still functioning Buddhist temple (named Da Ci’en Temple). Originally built in 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang. As for the reason why it is called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were two branches, for one of which eating meat was not a taboo. One day, they couldn't find meat to buy. Upon seeing a group of big wild geese flying by, a monk said to himself: 'Today we have no meat. I hope the merciful Bodhisattva will give us some.' At that very moment, the leading wild goose broke its wings and fell to the ground. All the monks were startled and believed that Bodhisattva showed his spirit to order them to be more pious. They established a pagoda where the wild goose fell and stopped eating meat. Hence it got the name 'Big Wild Goose Pagoda'.


Afternoon

Just a 5-minute drive from the Big Wild Goose pagoda is the Shaanxi Museum, which is probably the best provincial museum in all of China. Since Shaanxi, the province Xi’an is in, is the condiered the cradle of Chinese civilization this museum takes on a special importance. The museum is divided into 3 main exhibition halls. The Basic Exhibition Hall is composed of the No 1 exhibition hall, the No 2 exhibition hall and the No 3 exhibition hall, marked by time order. The No 1 exhibition on the first floor hall displays the articles used during the period from 1.7 million years ago to 206 BC of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC). This exhibition contains rough stone tools used by the ape man, the pottery, bronze sacrificial vessels, weapons and terracotta figures. By visiting the No 2 Exhibition Hall on the second floor, you will gain a general understanding of the historical process from 206 BC in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD) to 589 AD in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589). To the west of the Basic Exhibition Hall lies the Theme Exhibition Hall. The exhibitions in this hall are often theme-oriented to show the history or the culture relics of Shaanxi Province, such as the 'Shanxi Bronze Ware Exhibition', the 'Shaanxi Pottery Figure Exhibition' and the 'Buddhist Culture Relic Exhibition'. The East Exhibition Hall, equal in size to the Theme Exhibition Hall, is also on the first floor and to the east of the basic hall. It is used for contemporary exhibitions of high quality. Exhibitions of the frescos, the culture relics, the folkways, the fine arts and calligraphy are conducted continuously.

You will cap off your day in Xi’an with the wonderful Tang Dynasty Music and Dance dinner show.Xi’an, 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. The production has toured many cities in China as well as numerous foreign countries such as Japan, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, and many others

Day 5: Xi’an sightseeing-Shanghai (B, L)


Morning

After breakfast you will be taken to Xi’an most famed attraction, the Terracotta Army Museum. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are 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. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China. 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.


Afternoon

After viewing the Terracotta Warriors, you will be taken to the Xi’an airport, where you will catch your flight to Shanghai. When you arrive you will be met by our guide at the Shanghai airport and taken to the 4.5 star Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in downtown Shanghai.

Day 6: Shanghai World Expo (B)


Morning

After breakfast, your guide will take you to the expo site, leaving you free to explore the World Expo at your own pace for the day. The theme of this year’s expo is “Better city-better life”. In terms of gross numbers, this year’s expo is expected to be the most visited in its history. The Shanghai Expo features the participation of over 190 countries and world organizations. In addition to 45 countries’ own pavilions showcasing their ideas on the future of cities, there are also five central theme pavilions exploring different aspects of urban life: Urban Footprints, Urban Planet, Urban Dwellers, Urban Beings, and Urban Dreams.

The Urban Footprints pavilion portrays the growth of cities as a decisive factor for human progress over the ages. The Urban Planet pavilion, located in the expo’s central exhibition building, addresses the complex processes marking urbanization. The Urban Dwellers pavilion showcases six families and how they relate to a city’s sustainable development. The Urban Beings pavilion examines the growth of modern infrastructure of modern cities, presenting the perplexing networks of both traffic and of water energy supply as core elements in the urban “organism”. The Urban Dreams pavilion involves an imagined voyage into the future adopting an optimistic view of opportunities for developing hospitable cities via a combination of technological progress and tradition.


Evening

Your guide will pick you up from the expo site late in the afternoon, returning you to your hotel. The evening is up to your discretion.

Day 7: Shanghai World Expo (B)


Like Day 6, you will spend a full day exploring the Shanghai World Expo. The evening is at your discretion.

Day 8:
Exit Shanghai

You will be driven to the airport, and from there you will catch your flight to your next destination, thus completing your tour with us. After a whirlwind 8 days of seeing the best China has to offer, you will probably sleep like a baby on the plane ride home!

Tour Inclusions

1. Hotels with daily western breakfasts;
2. Meals in accordance with that listed on the itinerary.
3. professional local guide & driver;
4. Private air-conditioned car or van for transportation;
5. Admission of the first gate.
6.Two bottles of mineral water per day.

Tour  exclusions

1. Tip of the guide
2. Personal costs

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