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Check out our new China Delight tour.
|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Yu Garden, West Lake, Hangzhou Chinese Pharmacy, People’s Park of Chengdu, Giant Panda Research Center. Optional Xi'an extension.|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
Friendly Planet has put together an exceptional tour package at a fabulous price. We enjoyed so many of China's offerings and the information our guides gave us enhanced our appreciation. (You cannot appreciate the importance of what you are seeing without background information.) I preferred joining the organized events, but we were allowed plenty of time if you enjoy exploring on your own. I joined the tour alone, but my fellow travelers were so wonderful, I never felt alone.
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Children up to age 11 save $500 or more off the prices above on family-friendly departures.
Check approximate costs to depart from other U.S. cities.
China is one of the world's oldest nations, with recorded history dating back 5,000 years. At the same time, it's a modern dynamo, a fast-rising star on the world stage. It boasts the world's fastest high speed train, which is outpaced only by its amazing economy.
Join our China Delight tour and experience China's most iconic cities, Beijing and Shanghai, and their fascinating sites. You'll visit the amazing Great Wall of China, imposing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Temple of Heaven as well as the Yu Garden and other sites of Shanghai. Then, you'll go "off the beaten track" with a visit to gorgeous Hangzhou, often called the "Venice of China" because of its lovely canals and romantic West Lake, where, like Marco Polo, you'll have a chance to see, touch and even buy some gorgeous silk. Visit Chengdu and its Giant Panda Research Center and fabulous People's Park, a wonderful gathering place where locals sing karaoke, dance, play cards, drink tea, even practice Tai Chi. But don't wait too long to reserve your spot. At prices this low, our China travel package will sell out quickly!
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey begins as you board your Air China flight to Beijing.
Day 2: Beijing. Arrive today in Beijing, China's historical and cultural capital. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy the balance of the day and evening at leisure. Accommodations: Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing.
Day 3: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace. After breakfast, board your touring coach for a full day of sightseeing. Start with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a World Heritage Site. In ancient China, the Emperor of China was regarded as the "Son of Heaven", who administered earthly matters on behalf of, and representing, heavenly authority. Next visit Tiananmen Square, which was originally built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty. At 440,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square is the largest open square in the world. It was here that the People's Republic of China was proclaimed by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949. Continue on to the Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing, where it served as the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and Qing Dynasties. Known as the Palace Museum today, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage site in 1987.
After lunch at a nearby local restaurant, continue to the Summer Palace, literally translated as the Garden of Nurtured Harmony, originally called the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Here artisans lovingly reproduced the architectural garden styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The garden served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, and in December 1998 it became another World Heritage Site in Beijing, with UNESCO declaring it an "outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole." Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Peking Duck Dinner and Kung Fu Show, $53. Tonight, enjoy an optional Peking Duck dinner followed by the Legend of Kung Fu show, a special Shaolin Kung Fu stage performance that blends music, martial arts, and a moving story.
Day 4: Great Wall of China. Depart after breakfast on a full day excursion to the only man-made structure visible from the moon, the Great Wall of China. En route, enjoy a visit to a jade factory with a presentation and some time for shopping. The Great Wall follows a ridge of barren hills and stretches at least 13,000 miles. Construction of the Great Wall, which spanned more than two thousand years, began between the 7th and 6th century BC and continued through the Ming Dynasty. The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth, but during the Ming Dynasty, bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs or by donkeys, mules and even goats, which had bricks tied to their heads before being driven up a mountain.
Conclude your visit at the Sacred Way, an ancient road linking the Ming Tombs, the burial site of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. A massive stone archway, built in 1540 at the southern end is decorated with designs of clouds, waves and divine animals. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Chinese Foot Massage & Dinner, $45. After a long day exploring Beijing, relax tonight with a traditional Chinese foot massage. Let a massage therapist soak and kneed your worries away. Conclude the evening with a set menu dinner. Price includes dinner.
Day 5: Beijing & Shanghai. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China's most modern city, often called "Paris of the East." Today you will visit one of Shanghai's oldest attractions, the Yu Garden, which was constructed between 1559 and 1577 and is a beautiful example of a classical Chinese garden. Continue to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a unique architectural addition to the Shanghai cityscape and one of the largest radio and TV towers in the world. Have lunch at a local restaurant, and then transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure for independent exploration. Accommodations: Jin Jiang Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Acrobatics Dinner Show, $48. Tonight, enjoy an optional acrobatics show with dinner, an award-winning performance including the talents of China's best acrobatic artists.
Day 6: Shanghai. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Shanghai to explore on your own or, join an optional excursion to Suzhou. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Suzhou, $95. Enjoy an optional excursion to Suzhou. Suzhou is China's well-known "city of gardens" where the art of gardening has evolved over more than 1,500 years. There were once over 200 gardens in the city, and an impressive 69 of them are still well-preserved today. You'll visit the Master of Nets Garden (1140 AD), which has been duplicated at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Lion Forest Garden (1342 AD), named by Buddhist monks for its jagged rock formations resembling dancing lions. Next, visit a local market and then enjoy a boat ride through Suzhou's lovely canals. Continue to the National Embroidery Institute, established in 1957 to preserve and further the study of silk embroidery, an important activity in Suzhou for more than 1,000 years. Price includes lunch.
Day 7: Shanghai. Enjoy another full day at leisure in Shanghai to explore on your own or, join an optional excursion to see some of Shanghai's most renowned attractions. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Jade Buddha Temple & Shanghai Museum, $55. Begin at the Jade Buddha Temple, containing two jade statues imported from Burma. Next visit the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, which houses a collection of 120,000 precious works. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphy is known throughout the world. Continue on a stroll along the waterfront of the Bund River. Other stops on this optional tour include the lively Xintiandi Bar Street and the picturesque French Concession. Price includes lunch.
Day 8: Shanghai & Hangzhou. Today, transfer to Hangzhou by bullet train. Hangzhou is famous for its natural beauty and has been referred to as the "Venice of China". Hangzhou is also one of China's largest producers of green tea. Today you will visit a tea plantation, and enjoy lunch at a tea farmer's house. Here you will learn about green tea farming, production and its impact on the local economy. Later on, transfer to your hotel for check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure for independent exploration. Accommodations: Wyndham Grand Plaza Hangzhou. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Lakeside Dinner Show, $80. Tonight, enjoy a special optional dinner of local cuisine and experience the Impression of West Lake, a lakeside spectacle of light, music, dance and theatrics.
Day 9: Hangzhou. Today, you will explore West Lake, Hangzhou's most famous scenic sight. Here you will see some of its numerous gardens, temples and pagodas. You will soon understand why this area has been an inspiration to artists and writers for centuries. Next, explore ancient Hefang Street, a well preserved section of Hangzhou that has been a cultural and commercial center for centuries. Enjoy a special presentation on Chinese medicine and have the opportunity to explore an age-old pharmacy, which blends ancient remedies with modern medications. Continue along the Qiantang River to the Six Harmony Pagoda, a multi-story octagonal shaped pagoda, offering striking views of West Lake and downtown Hangzhou. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 10: Hangzhou & Chengdu. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu, considered China's "Land of Milk & Honey". Explore the ancient streets of the city and learn about its rich agricultural and economic history at the Jinshan Museum. Here you'll see the excavation sites where hundreds of relics have been uncovered. After an introduction to Chengdu and China's Sichuan Province, transfer to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Sofitel Wanda Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Sichuan Dinner Show, $80. This evening, enjoy a very special and unique optional excursion during which you will see Sichuanese folklore performances plus a traditional Sichuan dinner. The performance showcases the magic of “Bian Lian", the traditional art of face-changing masks. Sit in amazement as the performers' colorful masks transform within the blink of an eye.
Day 11: Giant Panda Research Center. After breakfast, visit Chengdu's Giant Panda Research Center for a truly unforgettable experience. The research center is China's leading organization in the conservation of endangered species. Enjoy an included lunch and later this afternoon visit Chengdu's famous People's Park, where locals go to unwind, play games and enjoy nature. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 12: Chengdu/USA. After breakfast this morning, bid farewell to China as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Beijing. If your schedule permits, take advantage of an optional extension to Xi'an and see its famous Terracotta Soldiers! Breakfast provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our optional post-tour extension to Xi'an and its Terracotta Army. Passengers taking the Xi'an Extension will return to the U.S. 2 days later than return dates shown on the Dates & Prices tab.
Day 12: Chengdu & Xi'an. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Xi'an. Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an's city walls and fortifications. Have lunch at a local restaurant then transfer to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Grand Mercure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, $48. This evening, enjoy an optional Tang Dynasty show including music, dancing, and a scrumptious dumpling dinner.
Day 13: Xi'an. After breakfast, board your touring coach and drive to the site of the famous Terra Cotta Army, among the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times. Visit the Qin Army Vault Museum, home to the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers unearthed 25 miles (40 km) east of town. More than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots and horses have been uncovered - only a fraction of the total buried there to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor. Each soldier is based on an actual person of the time, and all segments of Chinese society are represented. After a delicious lunch, visit Hu County to see a more rural way of life and visit a studio famous for its farmer paintings. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 14: Xi'an/USA. Today, bid farewell to China as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Beijing. Breakfast provided.
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