IMPERIAL CHINA AND THE LAKE COUNTRY 12 DAYS
BEIJING, XIAN, SHANGHAI, ZHUJIAJIAO, SUZHOU, WUXI
Day 1. Los Angeles-Beijing
From Los Angeles LAX to Beijing International Airport
Arrive in Beijing from LAX. Bus to hotel where the group will stay for three nights. Lodging at
Olympic Hotel or equivalent.
Day 3. Beijing
The group will visit Tian¡¯anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) and
The Palace Museum, more commonly known as the Forbidden City. Tian¡¯anmen was and is considered the center of Beijing, not
only because of its location but also because it is a symbol of power. Tian¡¯anmen is the front gate of the Forbidden City,
the gate leading to
the supreme power in imperial times. The Tian¡¯anmen Square, the largest of its kind in the world,
covers an area of 400,000 square meters. The Palace Museum is the largest imperial palace ever built in the world, concealed
from public view for 500 years, features more than 800 buildings with over 9,000 rooms, resplendent gold-glazed roofs, red
lacquered pillars and vermilion walls. Lunch included in tour.
We will visit Beihai Park and Jingshan Park. Beihai Park
or the Winter Palace is an ancient secondary palace dating to the 10th century. Now it is a popular park, including a lake,
a classical Chinese garden, pavilions, halls, temples, and covered corridors. Jingshan Park contains 5 pavilions. From the
middle one, visitors have a broad view of the Forbidden City. Weather permitting; one can view the entire city of Beijing.
This is an ideal place to photograph the Forbidden City and the city. Acrobatics show at night.
Lodging at Olympic Hotel
Day 4. Beijing
After breakfast, board bus and visit The Great Wall. We will explore the
Badaling section just north of Beijing. This section has quick, easy access from the car park. The Wall was built in 1571
and is 10 meters high. Along the Wall are many beacon towers, some connected to the Wall and others far away, which were
used as a means of communication to warn of an enemy advance. In the 16th century warnings were sent with smoke during the
day and fire at night.
After lunch, time permitting, we will visit the Ming tombs built from 1409 A.D. to
1644 A.D. and where the 13 emperors of the Ming (1368 ¨C 1644) and their empresses and concubines are buried. We will focus
on exploring Dingling, the tomb of Emperor Wanli (1573 A.D. to 1620 A.D.), the 13th Ming emperor, and his two empresses.
This excavated tomb is famous for a magnificent underground palace, which consists of five stone chambers. The underground
palace lies 27 meters below the surface and occupies a floor space of 1,195 square meters. Among the precious treasures buried
with the emperor are a gold crown and four phoenix crowns.
Time permitting, we will visit a jade-producing mill
and drop in on the famous Fair of Replicas, finally visiting Wamfujing Avenue, a commercial boulevard.
Day 5. Beijing-Xian
The group will depart in morning for Xian by airplane.
Day 6. Xian
Today we visit the Eighth Wonder of the
World, the Terracotta Warriors excavation site. Containing more than 7,300 sculptures crafted 2,000 years ago to honor China
first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. We also visit the Big Goose Pagoda and the Ancient City Wall.
Day 7. Xian-Shanghai-
The group will depart in morning for Shanghai by airplane.
Shanghai, the most important
port in China, its largest and most cosmopolitan city, has a recorded history of approximately 400 years. We will visit Chenhuan
Temple located in the Yu Yuan Gardens, shop on the famous Nanjing Avenue, visit the Witan (the ¡®Bund¡¯) along the Huangpu
riverfront, an historic relic of European mercantile activity. We will observe and experience the vibrancy, dynamism, and
energy of this world-class city.
Two nights at the Brightness Hotel or equivalent.
The group will enjoy a
coach ride through Shanghai on its way to the ancient canal town of Zhujiajiao where we stroll the backstreets, cruise the
canals and absorb the charming old world atmosphere. Back in Shanghai we have a chance to explore the old architecture of
the French Concession area.
Day 9 and 10. Suzhou.
The group boards a coach for an excursion through the
countryside to Suzhou for a three-night stay at the Grand China Garden Hotel or equivalent.
Suzhou is an ancient
city with a history of more than 2,500 years. Once a vacation getaway for emperors, Suzhou retains a rich cultural heritage
with subtle and spectacular scenery, especially its gardens. The earliest gardens of Suzhou can be traced back to the Spring
and Autumn period in the 6th century B.C. Laid out within a limited area by the house, a classical garden of Suzhou is a microcosm
of the world made of basic elements of water stones, plants, and different kinds of buildings with literary allusions: beautiful
The group will visit Tiger Hill which is surrounded by rivers and covered with pine and plum trees and
contains many attractions, including the Sword-Testing Rock, the Nodding Rock, the Thousand Man Rock, each with its own astounding
story. Tiger Hill contains Suzhou¡¯s oldest pagoda built almost a thousand years ago.
On Tiger Hill lies Jianchi
Pond, under which the tomb of the King of the Wu State, He Lu, was built during the spring and Autumn Period (770 to 476 B.C).
Also of interest is the Garden For Lingering In, the most famous garden in Suzhou. This garden is an excellent example
of how gardens are designed in Suzhou in classical Chinese style.
We will also visit a silk factory and watch the
employees coax strands of silk from the cocoons of silkworms. The factory has a store with a wide variety of silk products
for purchase. Fashion show, time permitting.
Day 11. Wuxi
After breakfast, we board a bus for a 2 hour scenic
ride through the countryside to Wuxi and Tai Lake which are famous for beautiful scenery, the ancient culture of the Wu region,
the view of islands and bridges, the idyllic life and the delicious local cuisine. Xishan, a local town and the Guangfu Temple
are both well-known in China. The grand architecture in the regions temples are very famous. A few well-know temples are the
Copper Kwan-yin Temple, the Baoshan Temple, the Shengsi Temple, the Guangfu Temple, Additional scenic locales, time permitting
are the Tai Lake Bridge and the Plum Garden and a visit to Tai Lake, which is famous for its landscape of natural beauty combining
hills and water.
Day 12. Shanghai
After breakfast, we head to the airport in Shanghai for our direct flight
to Los Angeles.