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Shanghai-Suzhou-Beijing Tours



Shanghai


Suzhou


Zhouzhuang



Beijing

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from World Expo to Royal Garden to Great Wall

10-day Shanghai-Suzhou-Beijing Impression Tour

Experience the best of China, both old and new!

Highlights:

• Be able to attend the 2010 World Expo, one of the most exciting events of the year, while also seeing the highlights of Shanghai, one of the world’s great cities
• Spending a day in Suzhou, a beautiful city with canals and gardens, is a great way to relax, and is an interesting change of pace from the modernity of Shanghai
• See the wonders of Beijing, China’s capital and most important city

B=(Breakfast) L=(lunch) D=(dinner)  DEPARTURE: Daily

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Tour code:
EXSHSZBJ
Day 1: Airport Transfer

Our English-speaking guide will pick you up from the airport, and from there drive you directly to your hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, a 4.5 star hotel located in central Shanghai. The rest of the day is a free day, and you can spend it at your discretion.

Day 2: Shanghai sightseeing (B/L)


Morning

After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the Yuyuan Garden, a world-famous classical garden. Yuyuan Garden occupies an area of 20,000 square meters (about five acres). However, the small size is not a representative of the attractions of the garden. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders.

Then we will pay a visit to Shanghai Old Street. Hidden behind the modern tall buildings and deep in those squiggly lanes and bystreets where the old fashioned living ways of Shanghai people still exist, Shanghai Old Street southwest of Yuyuan Garden is the one most worth visiting to find the old culture and customs. The street is over a hundred years old. The earliest private banks, jewelry stores, opera towers, hongs, taverns and teahouses in Shanghai were here originally. The restaurants, opera towers and teahouses are the definite highlights in the old street.

Afternoon

After experiencing the charm of the old street, we will take a time machine from old Shanghai into the city’s glittering present and future, which the Jin Mao Tower is a prime example. Being the fourth tallest building of the world and the second tallest building in China, Jin Mao Tower is located in the center of Lujiazui Finance and Trade Districts in Pudong. The architect, Adrian D. Smith, of this skyscraper ingeniously combined the elements of traditional Chinese culture with the newest architectural styles of the time, which makes Jin Mao Tower one of the best-constructed buildings in China. The tower’s observation decks give you an almost bird’s eye view of the city’s rapidly rising skyline.

The Shanghai Museum our next stop today, is a large museum of ancient Chinese art. The museum style and presentation surround visitors with artifacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy. The exterior design of the round dome and the square base symbolizes the ancient idea of a round heaven and a square land. The museum is divided into eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The eleven Galleries cover most of the major categories of Chinese art: Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities. The museum is a wonderful primer on ancient Chinese culture, and is a must-see when coming to Shanghai.

Our next destination today is the jade Buddah Temple. In 1882, an old temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Fortunately the jade Buddha statues were saved and a new temple was built on the present site in 1928. It was named the Jade Buddha Temple. Although the history of the Jade Buddha Temple is not very long, the old-time and classical architectural style makes the temple unique and inimitable in this modern city.

Your first full day in Shanghai will conclude with a walk down Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s premier shopping street. Open-air bars, abstract sculptures, and lingering sounds from street musicians enhance evening strolls. A trackless sightseeing train provides a comfortable tour of the night-transformed pedestrian street. Flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and spangle the night skyline of this lively city.

Day 3: Shanghai World Expo (B)


After breakfast, your guide will take you to the expo site, leaving you free to explore the World Expo at your own pace for the day. The theme of this year’s expo is “Better city-better life”. In terms of gross numbers, this year’s expo is expected to be the most visited in its history. The Shanghai Expo features the participation of over 190 countries. There are five central theme pavilions exploring different aspects of urban life: Urban Footprints, Urban Planet, Urban Dwellers, Urban Beings, and Urban Dreams.

The Urban Footprints pavilion portrays the growth of cities as a decisive factor for human progress over the ages. The Urban Planet pavilion, located in the expo’s central exhibition building, addresses the complex processes marking urbanization. The Urban Dwellers pavilion showcases six families and how they relate to a city’s sustainable development. The Urban Beings pavilion examines the growth of modern infrastructure of modern cities, presenting the perplexing networks of both traffic and of water energy supply as core elements in the urban “organism”. The Urban Dreams pavilion involves an imagined voyage into the future adopting an optimistic view of opportunities for developing hospitable cities via a combination of technological progress and tradition.

Your guide will pick you up from the expo site late in the afternoon, returning you to your hotel. The evening is up to your discretion.
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Day 4: Shanghai World Expo (B)


Like Day 3, you will spend a full day exploring the Shanghai World Expo. The evening is at your discretion.

Day 5: Shanghai World Expo (B)


Like Days 3 and 4, you will spend this day touring the World Expo site. The evening is at your discretion.

Day 6: Suzhou tour sightseeing (B/L)


Morning

After breakfast we will make the short drive to the city of Suzhou, which is just outside of Shanghai. Famous for its numerous classical gardens and canal towns, Suzhou is often known as a “Chinese Venice.” First, we will visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Due to its unique designs and ethereal beauty, the garden has garnered many special honors. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site it is considered as one of China's four most famous gardens. No other classic garden in the country has been honored more than this one. The garden consists of Eastern, Central and Western sections as well as some residences of the former owners. The resident houses are typical of the style of Suzhou Local Residences, whose feature can be seen in the famous water township Zhouzhuang not far from Suzhou City. The site of the residences has been rebuilt as the Garden Museum now.

Afternoon

After strolling through the garden, we will make our way to the monument to Suzhou’s famed export, silk, in the Silk Museum. The entire museum design is dignified and elegant - yet unconventional - combining a sense of ancient civilization with modern style. The Suzhou Silk Museum is divided into several parts: the Introductory Hall, the Ancient Exhibit Hall, the Silkworm-Rearing Room, the Silk Weaving Workshop, the Neoteric (1840 - 1919) Exhibit Hall, and the Modern (1919 - 1949) Exhibit Hall. There are also retail stores for purchasing silk.

We will then head over to the Panmen Gate. Lying to the southwest of Suzhou, Panmen Gate was built on the base of some historic sites by using the architectural structure of classical gardens. It is famous for its numerous historic relics and abundant human landscapes and has been listed as the National AAAA Tourist Area. Now, Panmen Gate has become a tourist resort showing the unique historic and cultural features of Suzhou. The scenery area, which is centered on Panmen City Gate consists of many scenic spots. Amongst them, Ruiguang Pagoda, Panmen City Gate and Wumen Bridge are praised as 'three fine sceneries'.

We will cap off day in Suzhou with a cruise on the Grand Cana of the Jiangsu Riverl. The river houses and red lanterns along with the calm water and sounds of crickets will transport you back in time to a far simpler and remote China. We will then make the short drive back to your Shanghai hotel.

Day 7: Shanghai-Beijing (B/L) by air


Morning

After breakfast, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Beijing. Upon arrival, you will be met by our English-speaking guide and taken to your centrally located 5 star hotel.

Afternoon

Your first stop on your tour of Beijing will be Tiananmen Square. The largest public square in the world, Tiananmen Square is seen as China’s political center. Its grounds have seen some turbulent moments, from the May 4th Movement of 1919 to the political turmoil of 1989. The south of the square is marked by the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, while the center of the square is dominated by the Monument to the People’s Heroes, an imposing 10-story granite obelisk. To the east is the National Museum of China, and to the west is the Great Hall of the People, home to China’s legislative bodies. The north of the square is contains the Gate of Heavenly Peace, known for its iconic portrait of Mao Zedong, and is the national emblem of China.

After walking across the square we will enter the Forbidden City (known in Chinese as Gu Gong), the largest surviving palace complex and the former home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Forbidden City is one of the greatest attractions in the world. Built by the third Ming emperor between 1406-1422, the Forbidden City served as the official residence to the Emperor of China until the last emperor, Puyi, was forced to evacuate in 1924. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Consisting of 980 buildings and with 8,707 bays of rooms, the Forbidden City is the best example of classical Chinese architecture in the world, and is a wonder to behold.

You will then be driven back to your hotel, with your evening at your discretion.

Day 8: Beijing sightseeing (B/L)


Morning

After a morning pickup at your hotel we will drive directly to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved.

Compared with other sections of Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are connected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall.

While Mutianyu does get its fair share of visitors, it does not get as packed as Badaling, allowing you to have a peaceful time exploring the wall. After walking around on Mutianyu, you have the option of coming down via walking, taking a cable car, or taking a toboggan ride (lots of fun and highly recommended!). After meeting our minibus in the parking lot, we will then head back to the city center in the afternoon to the Olympic Green.

Afternoon

The Olympic Green was the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008. The highlights include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympic end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events from opera to a ski park.

Despite its nickname, the Water Cube is not a cube but a cuboid, (a rectangular box). The outer wall of the building is based on the Weaire–Phelan structure, a structure devised from the natural formation of bubbles in soap foam. The complex Weaire–Phelan pattern was developed by slicing through bubbles in soap foam, resulting in more irregular, organic patterns than foam bubble structures proposed earlier by the scientist Kelvin. The Water Cube hosted the swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming events during the Olympics, and was the sight of Michael Phelps’ record breaking Olympic triumph.

You will then be driven back to your hotel with your evening at your discretion.

Day 9: Beijing sightseeing (B/L)


Morning

After breakfast at your hotel you will be driven by our guide to the Temple of Heaven park. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The Temple of Heaven park is best known for the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an iconic building famed for its magnificent triple-gabled circular roof. You will also have an opportunity to walk the same imperial walkway that the same emperors walked hundreds of years ago in their holy rites. You will also see Beijing’s senior citizens using the park grounds for everything from tai chi and ballroom dancing to bullwhip practice!

After visiting the Temple of Heaven we will go to visit the Lhama Temple. Other than the temples in Tibet this is the best Buddhist temple in China. Work on the Lhama Temple originally began in 1694 during the Qing dynasty. It served as an official residence for court eunuchs. It was then converted into the home of the Prince Yong, a son of the Kangxi Emperor and himself the future Yongzheng Emperor. It was converted into a lamasery after his ascension to the throne in 1722. Today the Lhama Temple still functions as a monastery and temple of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. Walking through the temple your senses will be enveloped by the incenses and the chanting of the visiting monks and other followers. The rear Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses features a 26m tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha cared from a single piece of white sandalwood. It is one of three artworks in the Lhama Temple that were included in the Guiness Book of World Records, and it is not to be missed on your visit.

Afternoon

The last stop on your journey through China will be at the Summer Palace. Having the largest royal park and being well preserved, the Summer Palace is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, UNESCO listed it as one of the World Heritage Sites. Like most of the gardens of Beijing, it could not elude the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force of 1860 and was destroyed by fire. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled navy funds to reconstruct it for her own benefit, changing its name to Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). She spent most of her later years there, dealing with state affairs and entertaining. Highlights not to be missed are climbing Longevity Hill, viewing the Empress Dowager Cixi’s extravagant Marble Boat, and talking a walk down Suzhou jie, a canal meant to resemble the river city of Suzhou. After visiting Suzhou you will be able to compare the two and judge its authenticity!

You will then be taken back to your hotel for the evening.

Day 10: Beijing-home destination (B)


After breakfast you will be driven to the airport, ending your stay in China. After all the amazing sights and wonders you’ve seen you will have lots of stories and pictures to show all your friends and family! Maybe they will come back with you the next time you visit!