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Katherine in China


This is the plan for Katherine’s (Alice’s mother’s) expedition to China in June 2010, with TravelSphere,

Day 1 : UK/Beijing

Depart on your scheduled flight to Beijing.

Day 2 : Beijing

Arrival in Beijing, where you will be met by our Tour Manager and your Chinese guide and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon and evening free to relax.

Day 3 : Beijing

Beijing is an extraordinary city.  Ancient temples and palaces, with golden curved roofs and exquisite marble and jade, stand proudly beside the vast 20th century civic buildings created by Chairman Mao and his people.  The most modern architecture can be seen with the iconic Olympic buildings. These include the National Aquatics Centre, better known as the Water Cube and the National Stadium, better known as the Bird’s Nest.

Daily life in Beijing is a truly spellbinding sight to the first time visitor. It is a city of millions of bicycles, bustling street markets and food stalls, horses and carts, crowded buses and, above all, warm, dignified and friendly people, eager to welcome and please their visitors.

This morning you will be taken on an introductory city tour. You will see Chang An Avenue and the strikingly beautiful Temple of Heaven. This ornate structure, made entirely of wood, was built in 1420 and is still used as a hall of prayer for good harvests. You then visit the heart of Beijing – Tian an Men Square. It is the largest public square in the world, bordered by the Qianmen Gate, the Great Hall of the People and the Gate of Heavenly Peace. After lunch you go through the gate, which forms the entrance to the incredible Forbidden City, to marvel at the magnificent buildings that house the Imperial Palace from which China was ruled by the imperial dynasties for hundreds of years.  During your guided tour you will see magnificent collections of Chinese bronzes, porcelain, paintings, jade and other treasures.

Day 4 : Great Wall

Please see description of Day 4 of our 8 day China tour on pages 14-15.

Day 5 : Xian

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Xian. On arrival transfer to your hotel where two nights accommodation has been arranged. Dinner on arrival at your hotel.

Day 6 : Xian

Xian, the City of Eternal Peace, was once the flourishing capital of China and the most important city in Asia.  The recent archaeological discoveries near the city have staggered the imagination, for it is here that the first Qin emperor was interred in 200 BC with at least 6,000 life-size terracotta figures representing the individuals of the Imperial Guard. They are grouped in battle order, rank by rank, some mounted on horse-drawn chariots, others armed with spears, swords and crossbows. This dazzling display of ancient Chinese military power is quite simply one of the world’s most remarkable sights. We include a visit to the site of the Terracotta Army at Li Shan Mountain. During the day you will also visit the Han Tombs.  In the evening, there will be the opportunity to attend a Tang Dynasty folklore show.

Day 7 : Shanghai

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Shanghai.  Upon arrival transfer to your hotel for a two night stay.

Day 8 : Shanghai

Shanghai has to be seen to be believed! As the fastest-developing city in China, if not the world, this vibrant and exciting seaport is rapidly recovering its entrepreneurial prominence. Shanghai’s colourful history is embedded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and today this combines with exciting modernity and a glimpse into China’s future.

At its heart is the Huangpu River, with its constant and extraordinary stream of water traffic.  The Bund, the city’s famous riverside boulevard, is lined with magnificent former colonial buildings, which now stand as monuments to Shanghai’s one-time notoriety.  Across the river in Pudong District, a new Manhattan is rising from the former marshlands.

The labyrinth of streets in the Old Town forms a stark contrast with modern Nanjing Road.  Shanghai truly is a shopper’s Mecca.

By night, the city is a culinary delight with all sorts of local and international foods and entertainment that just goes on and on!

Our included sightseeing programme offers the best of Shanghai.  Highlights include the thronging shopping thoroughfare of Nanjing Road, the traditional Old Town, with its ancient Wu Xing Ting Teahouse, and the Yu Yuan Gardens, a classic Chinese garden.  You will also visit the beautiful Jade Buddha Temple and have time to stroll along the Bund. This evening there is an included visit to an Acrobatic Show.

Day 9 : Suzhou

This morning, you will take the train to Suzhou, which is situated on China’s historic grand canal, built in the 6th century to connect Beijing with the east coast.  Two nights accommodation has been arranged in Suzhou.

Day 10 : Suzhou

Suzhou is beautiful. It is famous for its landscaped gardens, narrow canals and traditional Chinese architecture.  Many of the sites of the famous gardens of Suzhou, known as far back as the 10th century, are still intact, and some have been restored to their former glory.  A visit to these gardens will be one of the highlights of your time in China.

Our full programme of sightseeing includes the Lingering Garden, Humble Administrators Garden and also visits to a silk and embroidery factory (Suzhou has been famous for its silk products since the days of Marco Polo).  There will also be time to see the local markets and stroll through the quaint, narrow streets, a must in Suzhou.

You will come to narrow canals with cobblestone walks where rickety wooden houses lean against each other.  Peek into the whitewashed cottages as you walk by and you’ll catch a glimpse of families chatting, cooking and eating.  On the steps to the water, women pound the washing against the stonework. A walk through Suzhou is indeed a rewarding experience.

Day 11 : Nanjing

Transfer to Nanjing for a two night stay.

Day 12 : Nanjing

Nanjing, which has been the national capital several times during the history of China, is situated on the River Yangtze. It is a delightful city of tree-lined boulevards, lively markets and ancient fortifications.  A full day sightseeing tour is included, during which you will see the magnificent Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum with its remarkable stairway, the Confucius Temple area and the amazing Yangtze River Bridge.

Day 13 : Beijing

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Beijing for a two night stay.

Day 14 : Beijing

A short visit will be made to the world-famous Beijing Zoo to see the pandas, before continuing to the outskirts of Beijing to visit the magnificent, 800-year-old Summer Palace, the largest and best preserved of all imperial palace gardens. Here you can admire the famous Marble Boat, the ornately painted long corridor, and simply gaze in awe at the traditional Chinese landscape surrounding the various towers, gardens and pavilions. Your final afternoon in Beijing is free for individual shopping and sightseeing.  You can enjoy browsing amongst the shops and markets for excellent bargains in jade, porcelain, silk and cloisonne.

Day 15 : Beijing/UK

Morning transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.  As you will be flying westwards your arrival is later the same day.

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