China is a land of history and refinement unparalleled in the world. Attentive visitors are immersed in a sea of visual and cultural experiences unlike any other they may have had elsewhere. Each geographic area in China teems with its own identity as an energetic variation on the great theme of Chinese civilization. You will be amazed at how regions differ vastly yet express similar values and ideas.
This journey begins in Beijing with an exploration of the beauty of the imperial city and meetings with urban Chinese residents. Discover the splendor of China’s glorious past: the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Great Wall; also witness the dynamic and ever-changing life pace in today’s capital of China.
Travel by air to Xi’an, once the largest city in the world. Visit and explore the Terracotta Warriors Museum in homage to Qinshihuang. It is considered China’s preeminent archaeological discovery. Tour other important historic sites in the ancient Tang Dynasty capital.
Board a flight to Guilin, the south China region of picturesque karsts mountains rising from rice paddies and magnificent rice terraces cultivated by ethnic minorities. This is one of the most idyllic landscapes of China, and your cruise down the Li River will reveal its beauties at each bend of the river. Explore the small town of Yangshuo and the surrounding countryside, and ascend to the top of Dragon Spine Ridge in Longsheng for a sweeping view of Longji Rice Terrace.
Wing on to China’s east coast city of Hangzhou, which was described as paradise on earth in ancient times. Enjoy boating on the beautiful West Lake; visit enchanting Buddhist temples; and sip the freshness of Longjing Tea grown on the rolling hills surrounding the city. Spend one relaxing day on your own to be mesmerized by the elegant lakeside pagodas, pavilions, bridges, and gardens among the charming setting. Hangzhou is voted the best livable city in China.
Travel by high-speed train to the garden and canal city of China—Suzhou, where literati gardens remain the way they have been for centuries with bamboo groves, rockery hills and miniature waterfalls splashing into pond-sized lakes filled with colored carp and lotus leaves.Suzhou is also noted for its silk embroidery. Also visit the water village of Luzhi.
The last stop on your tour is Shanghai, China’s most populous city and economic powerhouse. The European Bund still retains the glamour of the colonial era; modern western pubs and bars and boutiques scatter all around the center of Shanghai. Visit the traditional Yuyuan Garden and spend some time exploring Shanghai Museum, the best in the country.
Fly back home from Shanghai or continue on to Hong Kong for an extension.