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|Itinerary at a Glance
A Taste of China & Hong Kong
|5||Shanghai & Xi'an|
|7||X'ian & Beijing|
|8||Beijing & Great Wall of China|
|10||Beijing & Hong Kong|
|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Shanghai, Xi'an, Beijing, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the 2,200 year old Terra Cotta army and Hong Kong.|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness|
With these great deals on vacation packages to China and Hong Kong, 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. Spend a few more days in the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong. But don't wait too long to reserve your spot. At prices this low, our Taste of China & Hong Kong tour will sell out quickly!
We just got home and I thought I'd write a little note about how fantastic our tour of China worked out to be. We were a little apprehensive at first - letting someone else take the "driver's seat" on our vacation - but going with a group tour for China is the way to go. Our tour guide, Vivian, was patient, informative, and absolutely made our trip unforgettable. She was flexible about letting us add a few things to the itinerary - such as a quick trip by a snack food market in Beijing so we could get pictures of our friends eating scorpions and other nasty critters. She even went the extra mile to make sure there was a cake for my husband's birthday. We went ahead and did almost all of the optional tours on the itinerary, and it was really a great way to see everything because they thought of things I probably wouldn't have. Can't wait to book the next one!
Michelle Wahlberg, Long Beach, CA
Also check out our Taste of China tour.
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You must check-in no later than 9 PM of the night before your scheduled departure.
Also check out our Taste of China tour.
Day 2: 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. Accommodations: Broadway Mansion Hotel Shanghai. Lunch provided.
Day 3: Shanghai. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Shanghai to explore on your own.
Optional Excursion: 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. 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 ($85 per person, includes lunch). Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Shanghai. Spend a final day at leisure in Shanghai.
Optional Excursion: Begin at the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, which possesses 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. 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 optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($60 per person, includes lunch).
Optional Excursion: This evening, take advantage of an optional dinner followed by an exciting acrobatics show. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($35 per person). Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Shanghai & Xi'an. After breakfast, transfer by maglev train to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. 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). Accommodations: Grand Noble Hotel Xian on departures through Mar 26, 2013. Grand Mercure Xi’an on departures starting Apr 9, 2013 and onwards. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: 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 and City Wall, followed by an included lunch. Time permitting, you'll also enjoy a chance to shop for ancient Chinese furniture or paintings. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Today's tour begins at historic Tiananmen Square. Afterward, continue 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. End your tour with a visit to an exquisite pearl factory and enjoy an included dinner. Accommodations: Beijing International Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8: 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.
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.
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. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($53 per person). Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Beijing. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore on your own. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of Beijing, close to major attractions, restaurants and shopping.
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, includes lunch).
Optional Excursion: This evening, take advantage of a very special and unique optional tour to Gaobeidian Village, a picturesque community where you will visit a local market, the People's Commune Museum, and a street filled with fascinating antique furniture stores. Later, visit a typical Chinese school or kindergarten to see for yourself how children are taught in China. The highlight of this very special tour is an opportunity to join a village family in preparing and sharing a traditional Chinese dinner. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($45 per person). Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Beijing & Hong Kong. Enjoy your final day in Beijing at leisure.
Optional Excursion: Enjoy some time at the Summer Palace, the quintessential Chinese garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site ranked among the most noted classical gardens of the world. Continue your optional tour to the Panda Zoo, dedicated to the preservation of this endangered (and adorable) species of bear, of which only about 2000 remain in the wild. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($40 per person, includes lunch).
Later today, bid farewell to Beijing as you transfer to the airport your flight to cosmopolitan Hong Kong. You'll be transferred to your luxurious hotel located in the bustling heart of Kowloon, near the scenic harbor and the "Golden Mile," Hong Kong's famous shopping district. Accommodations: Park Hotel Hong Kong. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Hong Kong. Your morning tour of Hong Kong Island features a ride to the top of Victoria Peak for a magnificent city and harbor view. Descend and continue to Repulse Bay and Aberdeen fishing village, a community of some 600 colorful floating homes. Conclude your tour with some time for shopping. The afternoon is yours at leisure for independent sightseeing in the city.
Tonight, we recommend an optional dinner cruise aboard the Hong Kong Bauhinia, where you'll enjoy a fabulous buffet dinner, live music, and stunning nighttime views of the glistening harbor. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Hong Kong. Enjoy a full day at leisure to take in the sights and sounds of Hong Kong on your own or s hop to your heart's content.
Optional Excursion: Take advantage of a unique optional excursion to the former Portuguese colony of Macau, situated on a corner of the Pearl River Delta. Although it was officially returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, Macau maintains a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. You'll see in the European-style architecture, pastel-colored buildings, open air plazas, and abundance of Portuguese wine. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Hong Kong/USA. Your final day in Hong Kong is at leisure for shopping, strolling or taking photos. Later, transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the U.S. via Beijing. Your memorable journey to China comes to an end as you arrive in Los Angeles later today. Breakfast provided.
To take full advantage of your visit to China, we offer a special discount package of optional excursions to other "must-see" sites. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels—all our optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only.
Optional Excursions Package Includes:
Package Price: $165/per person if booked and prepaid before final payment.
If you prefer not to book in advance, the individual optional excursions will be available from your guide once you arrive in China, at prices posted in our itinerary ($198/person for all three). Other optional excursions, mentioned above in our itinerary, will also be available to you in China. Payment for optionals purchased in China must be made in cash (U.S. or equivalent in Chinese currency).
We regret that we cannot accept bookings for the pre-paid optional excursions package within 75 days from departure or after final payment has been received.
For Optional Excursions not included in the Optional Excursions Package: You will need to decide while in Beijing which of these tours you want to participate in and pay for. Payment should be made by cash (U.S. dollars or RMB Yuan). Credit cards will not be accepted for payment.
Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.
No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on our China tours. In all three cities, you'll stay in Superior First Class, centrally located hotels that are noted for their amenities and service.
Included Features: Your transfers as well as important visits to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Army in Xi'an and the Yu Garden and Temple of the City God in Shanghai are all included, not expensive extras as in other tours.
Credit Cards or Cash: Whether you pay by check, money order or your favorite major credit card, your tour price on this tour is the same. No extra cost to charge your dream vacation to China.
Personal Service: Most important of all, the extra ingredient that makes our tours stand apart from others—the wonderful, personal attention you'll receive from our friendly staff in the USA and our representatives in China —is completely free of charge. Compare our China programs to others, feature for feature. You'll see for yourself that ours are the very best value for money you'll find anywhere.
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