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Beijing-Ethnic Minority Villages-Li River Cruise Package Tour


Great Wall, Beijing


Kaili, Guizhou Province


Miao Village


Dong Girls


Longji (Dragon's Bone)


Guilin


Yangshuo


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Beijing-Ethnic Minority Villages-Li River Cruise

China Cultural Heritage Tour (11-day)

Highlights:

• Explore the remote and charming villages of the Miao and Dong minority ethnic groups, which are largely untouched by the modern world
• Cruise down the stunning Li River (Lijiang), one of the top attractions in all of China, and explore the hidden lush region of Yanagshuo, a melting pot of cultures from all over Asia
• Visit Beijing, China’s most important city. There you will see the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square, among other top sights

Standard Tour and Luxury Tour Packages Available.

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

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Tour code:
P-BEL
Day 1: Airport Transfer

When you arrive in Beijing, we will meet you and drive you to your accommodation, a 4-star hotel in the heart of Beijing, The rest of your day is up to your discretion.

Day 2: Beijing-Tian’anmen Square+Forbidden City+ Temple of Heaven +Lama Temple (B, L)

Our guide will meet you at your hotel between 7:30-800am, and from we will start our sightseeing. Our first stop is at Tian’anmen 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 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.
We will then 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! If you’d like we can join in for their exercises, known as Tai Chi.

After visiting the Temple of Heaven we will go to visit the Lhama Temple. Other than the temples in Tibet this is the best Buddhist temple in China. Work on the Lhama Temple originally began in 1694 during the Qing dynasty. It served as an official residence for court eunuchs. It was then converted into the home of the Prince Yong, a son of the Kangxi Emperor and himself the future Yongzheng Emperor. It was converted into a lamasery after his ascension to the throne in 1722. Today the Lhama Temple still functions as a monastery and temple of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. Walking through the temple your senses will be enveloped by the incenses and the chanting of the visiting monks and other followers. The rear Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses features a 26m tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha cared from a single piece of white sandalwood. It is one of three artworks in the Lhama Temple that were included in the Guiness Book of World Records, and it is not to be missed on your visit.

We will then drop you off at your hotel, and the night is up to your discretion.

Day 3: Beijing-Mutianyu Great Wall-Ming Tombs-Spirit Way-Olympic Green (B,L)


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.

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.

On our way back to the city 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).
After walking the Olympic Green we will take you back to your hotel, completing the day’s travels. The night is at your discretion.

Optional: If you’d like, you can choose one of our 1 day Great Wall hiking tours and do that instead for today.

Day 4: Beijing-Guiyang (by air) (B, L)

You will be drive to the airport, and from there you will fly to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, in southwest China. You will be met at the airport by out English-speaking guide, and you will then be taken to your hotel for the evening. The rest of the night is to be spent at your discretion.

Day 5: Guiyang-Kaili (B, L)

In the morning we will head for Kaili, a region of Guizhou where 25% of the Miao ethnic group live. Here we will explore the Miao ethinc minority villages.The Miao ethnic group is both mysterious and exciting. The Miao people are identified by their dialect, dress, location and other customs. In dress there are Long Skirt Miao, Short Skirt Miao, Black Miao, Flowery Miao and Long Horned Miao. By location there are River Miao and Mountain Miao. The villagers in Langde wear long skirts, hence they are "Long Skirt Miao". The Miao style houses "Diaojiaolou" and its featured and creative festivals will make you spellbound.

First, we will go to the Shiqiao Village, and learn about the Miao’s traditional way of making paper from the back of the mulberry tree, and then at the Qiaomen Village, where we will watch how the Miao people produce the cloth for their colorful outfits.

We will spend the day in a local inn, and dinner will included some basic Miao cuisine, which involves lots of deep-fried foods.

Day 6: Kaili-Rongjiang (B, L)

In the morning we will travel to Rongjiang, about 170 km (about 106 miles) from Kaili. It serves as the base to visit the surrounding Dong and Miao villages.

We’ll head first to the Jidao Short Skirt Miao Village, which is well known in the region of the silver ornaments produced by the craftsmen here. Jidao Short Skirt Miao village is set in idyllic surroundings and populated by ethnic Miao people. Village life is simple and children play as their parents tend fields of lush, organically grown vegetables surrounded by towering pine forests. Elderly women stoke fires in traditional wooden houses, some hundreds of years old. It is so poor, mountainous and remote that the tranquility here is not yet broken by a flood of rich Chinese tourists and foreign visitors. Then we’ll go to the Datang Short Skirt Miao Village. You will be greeted by its friendly villagers and drink the block way wines before entering the village. Its silver ornaments will leave you a deep impression.

Then we’ll explore the Chejiang Dong People’s Village, They are three villages of varying size, among which Zhanglu village is the most well known as the cradle of standard Dong dialect. We will spend the night at an inn in Rongjiang.

Day 7: Rongjiang-Zhaoxing (B, L)

After breakfast in the inn we will make our way to Zhaoxing and the Basha Miao Village Zhaoxing is home to some of the largest villages in Guizhou. Basha is a very special and old Miao ethnic village. The villagers still practice their unique traditions dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). Basha Village is almost untouched by China’s rapid modernization. Residents there still live in their wooden houses, practice centuries-old customs and have their own unique beliefs. Basha is a relatively big village with 2,140 residents, but they rarely connect with the outside world. They live in their community and lead a self-sufficient life in their mountainous surroundings.

Then we will learn more about the Dong minority ethnic group at the Dong People Village, which is also in Zhaoxing. The Dong ethnic minority lives primarily in the border regions between Guizhou, Hunan and Hubei Provinces, and it was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), that this minority separated from the mixed minority 'Bai Yue', naming themselves Dong. The Dong people work on agriculture, forestry and the industrial arts. The women are adept at spinning and embroidering and on the brocade. The staple food of the Dong ethnic minority is rice, millet, corn, wheat sorghum and glutinous rice. Oil tea is their favorite drink, which can also be their breakfast, whose ingredients include peanuts, sesame, soybean, tea leaves, and so on.

There are five sections which make up the village, namely ren (meaning benevolence), yi (meaning justice), li (meaning courtesy), zhi (meaning wisdom) and xin (meaning faith). One clan lives in every section, and every clan has built its own drum tower. A street runs from east to west in the village. The houses are typical Dong dwellings with stilts and roofs of black tiles. The features of the Dong architecture are also demonstrated in the five wooden drum towers, the four magnificent wooden roofed flower bridges and five performance stages.

We will stay in an inn in the village, and you can spend your night further exploring the village.

Day 8: Zhaoxing-Sanjiang (B, L)

In the morning we will drive to Sangjiang to visit the Tang’an Dong Village. The village is renowned as the “most primitive Dong Village" in China. The village is 5 km (3 miles) from the Zhaoxing Village. The country road stretches to the village, which is located on a mountainside and is surrounded by paddy field and lush greens. There are about 800 people and 160 households in the village. The village has a long history, though it hasn’t got any written records of its history. There are village gate, drum tower, drama tower, ancient graveyard, ancient well, and water-powered roller for grinding grain, barns and the pit to worship the female ancestors of Dong people. There are also ancient stone paths and wood houses in the village. All of these make it a perfect place for people to return to nature.

Another highlight of Sanjiang that we will explore is the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge. It was built in 1916, and it is the best one among the wind and rain bridges in Dong stockade villages. At present, it is the largest wind and rain bridge. We will spend the night at an inn in Sanjiang, and you can spend the evening at your own leisure.

Day 9: Sanjiang-Longsheng-Guilin (B, L)

After an early wake-up we will make the drive to Longsheng. By foot we will walk up and down the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces. A vast region of rice terraces stretches layer upon layer, coiling around from the base of Longji (the dragon's backbone) Mountain to its summit; this is the most amazing terrace in China. The Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces is a beautiful natural picture. The linked together rice terraces vary from season to season. In spring, the water is irrigated into the fields and the terraces look like great chains or ribbons hung on the hillsides. When the onset of summer, green waves rush continuously down the mountainside from the heaven. The theme of autumn is the harvest, with the mountainside decorated with the gold of ripened millet. Coming into winter, the whole mountain will be covered with white snow, just like dragons playing with water.

Dotting all along the rice terraces are the peoples and villages of the Zhuang and Yao minority groups. The women dress in unique and colorful costumes, singing and dancing. Guests also can join in with them to enjoy the original Zhuang life and culture, and even stay with local families enjoying both the Longji tea and the Longji wine.

We will stay here most of the day in order to better understand the Zhuang’s and Yao’s fascinating way of life. In the late afternoon we will drive back to your hotel in Guilin.

You can use your free time at night to walk down Guilin’s streets and catch the folk dancing and singing going on all around you.

Day 10: Guilin-Yangshuo (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 includes minority 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. To cool off after our ride, we will float on bamboo rafts down the Yulong River. The languid river is surrounded by a primitive, but pure, natural landscape, along with green bamboo forests and rolling hills. Visitors to the area will delight in the picturesque scenes of simple rural life: bamboo waterwheels irrigating the paddy fields; village girls hand washing clothes outside of their cottages with smoke curling upward from the chimneys; old men fishing in the river; flocks of ducks swimming in the pond.

The night is up to you, but we recommend spending some time at West Street, the oldest street in Yangshuo, and features an interesting mix of traditional shops and modern bars.

Day 11 Yangshuo-Guilin-depart Guilin (B)

You will be driven back to Guilin, and from the Guilin airport you will home or to your next destination, ending your tour with us.

Stuff to bring:
• Sturdy shoes or boots, sunglasses and sunscreen
• Bug spray and any other items needed in dealing with the tropical heat
• Tips for a job well done by your guides and drivers, money for any personal expenses not mentioned

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