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|Itinerary at a Glance|
|5||Shanghai & Xi'an|
|7||Xi'an & Beijing|
|8||Great wall of China|
|Highlights||Shanghai, Xi'an, Beijing, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the 2,200 year old Terra Cotta army.|
|Travel Style||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
With these great deals on tours to China, it's your year to visit this dream destination. You won't want to miss this wonderful opportunity to see China's most popular three cities at an amazing tour price. China has become one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. You'll find impressive modern achievements within an ancient and incredibly rich culture whose recorded history dates back 5,000 years. Beijing, China's capital and, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and Shanghai, often called the "Paris of the East," are probably the most dynamic cities in the world. And Xi'an, which at first glance looks like any other large industrial city, is actually the site of one of the world's most important archeological treasures: the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers including more than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots and horses buried there to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor.
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Day 1 - Wednesday, Mar 27: Depart USA. Depart just after midnight aboard your Air China flight to Shanghai, via Beijing. You must check-in no later than 9pm of the night before your scheduled departure.
Day 2 - Thursday, Mar 28: Shanghai. Arrive today in Shanghai, China's most modern city, often called "Paris of the East." Transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Then, visit one of Shanghai's oldest attractions, the Yu Garden. Time permitting, indulge in some silk shopping after lunch. Accommodation: Broadway Mansion Hotel Shanghai. Lunch provided.
Day 3 - Friday, Mar 29: Shanghai. 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 Lingering Garden. Explore the local market where food and goods are sold for average local Chinese. 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. After a boat ride through Suzhou's lovely canals and a visit to the local market, conclude your tour at the Water Gate, one of the eight gates of Suzhou built by Wu Zixu. Breakfast and lunch provided.
Day 4 - Saturday, Mar 30: Shanghai. View 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. Continue to the Jade Buddha Temple, which houses two exceptional Buddha statues, each exquisitely carved from a single piece of white jade. The temple's architectural design is also very impressive. Other stops on this optional tour include the lively Xintiandi Bar Street and the picturesque French Concession. This evening, take advantage of dinner followed by an exciting acrobatics show. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Day 5 - Sunday, Mar 31: Shanghai & Xi'an. After breakfast, transfer by Maglev train to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. Traditional Chinese welcoming ceremony at the City Gate, and then explore the ancient city wall by bikes. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure for independent exploration.
Optional Excursion: This evening, enjoy an optional Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty dance performance ($48 per person). Accommodation: Grand Noble Hotel Xian. Breakfast included.
Day 6 - Monday, Apr 1: Xi'an. Today, board your touring coach and drive to the site of the famous 2,200-year-old Terra Cotta army, among the most important archeological discoveries of modern times. More than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots and horses have been uncovered, but it's 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. Learn more about this fascinating site during your visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum. Other stops on today's tour include the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, followed by an included lunch. Time permitting, you'll also enjoy a chance to shop for ancient Chinese furniture or paintings. Breakfast and lunch provided.
Day 7 - Tuesday, Apr 2: Xi'an & Beijing. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Beijing, China's historic and cultural capital. Afternoon free for shopping at a mall or one of the silk markets. Accommodation: Beijing International Hotel. Breakfast included.
Day 8 - Wednesday, Apr 3: Great wall of China. Depart after breakfast on a full day included excursion to the only man-made structure visible from the moon, the Great Wall of China. En route, view the Olympic venues, the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, and enjoy a visit to the jade factory with a presentation and some time for shopping. The Great Wall follows a ridge of barren hills and stretches at least 3,750 miles (6,000 km). 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. Complimentary group photo at the Great Wall.
Optional Excursion: 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 ($53 per person) Breakfast and lunch included.
Optional Excursion: You can also choose an optional full day tour to the Hutongs of Beijing, followed by the Temple of Heaven with lunch included. For those who want to explore the way the Chinese live and have lived for centuries, a jaunt down the intricate maze of Beijing's Hutongs is essential. These ancient, labyrinthine alleys or lanes are still an important feature in the urban landscape of Beijing, where houses along Hutongs still occupy one third of the total area, providing housing for half the population and providing yet another example of Beijing as an ancient yet modern city.
The Temple of Heaven, the most holy of Beijing's Imperial temples, is the place where Chinese Emperors came to worship heaven and to pray for a good harvest, since a bad harvest could be interpreted as the Emperor's fall from heavenly favor and threaten the stability of his reign. The 6-meter-high walls surrounding the temple take a square shape to the south and a semi-circular one to the north. The main buildings in the temple are circularly shaped. This pattern represents an ancient belief that heaven was round while earth square, and this pattern is quite architecturally unique. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress trees, expressing a harmonious atmosphere as if heaven and earth are integrated into one. You will also pay a visit to the famous DIY shopping place of the Pearl Market. ($65 per person, including lunch).
Day 10 - Friday, Apr 5: Beijing/USA.
Enjoy your final day in Beijing at leisure.
This was our second tour with Friendly Planet, the first being India 3 years ago. We just got back from China and wanted to tell you how amazing the trip was and what a great time we had. Our guide David was fantastic and all the accommodations were perfect. We are so glad that we went and we will do more tours with Friendly Planet in the future.
— O.R. Nasseri, San Diego, CA