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The Many Faces of China

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China has been called an enigma. It is a massive country with many faces--from the adrenalin-pumping metropolis of Beijing to the silent, terraced hillsides of Guangxi Province. For the first-time visitor to the Middle Kingdom, this is a two-week tour you will definitely want to consider. It will reveal the history, the culture, and the lifestyles of China from many diverse perspectives. Your senses will be on full alert and we guarantee you will be talking about this trip for years to come.

Trip Highlights

Our tour will start in Beijing, as most of our tours do. We will spend the better part of four days here, to help you get acclimated to the new culture and to take in the many sights. We will then make our way to the south of the country. Our tour will end in Hong Kong.

  • Touring Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and Mao's Mausoleum. Hiking the Great Wall at a special location. And of course, sampling the mind-blowing Chinese cuisine.
  • Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a perfectly preserved walled city of the Ming Dynasty, and is the birthplace of China's modern banking system. We will stay in a converted Qing Dynasty house.
  • Xi'An. The starting point of the old Silk Road and home to the Army of Terracotta Warriors, also a World Heritage Site.
  • The Dragon Back Rice Terraces in Guangxi Province are simply spectacular. Although they have been "discovered", the villages are still essentially the same as they were 700 years ago.
  • Many travelers consider Yangshuo the highlight of their trip to China. The karsts-lined landscape and the beautiful Li River are the backdrop for many movies filmed in China.
  • Shenzhen is the showcase of the Economic Miracle of modern China. The city is less than thirty years old.
  • Finally Hong Kong. It is truly one of the unique cities in the world.

Overnight train (soft sleeper when available), public and private bus, domestic airlines, subway, taxi, boat, and bicycle.

Tourist class hotels, sleeper trains, converted family house in Pingyao, and a family guesthouse in Guangxi (at the Dragon Back Rice Terraces).

As indicated on itinerary. Allow $5-$9 per person, per day for those not indicated.

Optional Costs
Allow $40-$60 per person for optional activities during the trip.

Walking (sight-seeing), hiking the Great Wall, and cycling in Yangshuo.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive and transfer to hotel. We will get together in the evening to outline the next few days' activities and learn some key phrases in Mandarin, (with a native speaker of course).

Day 2 Explore Beijing day--the Forbidden City*, Tiananmen Square*, and Mao's Mausoleum*. For dinner, we will visit an old Beijing noodle house. It's crowded, noisy, and the food is delicious. (And you'll probably be the only foreigners there!) (Meals: B and D)

Day 3 Today we visit the Great Wall* at one of the "better" locations. (Meals: B, L, and D).

Day 4 Today is the Summer Palace* in the morning and a little free time for you in the afternoon. That evening, we  will sample the Beijing's specialty; Peking Duck. (Meals: B and D).

Day 5 We set aside today for shopping or more sightseeing before we board the overnight train to Pingyao. (Meals: B and D)

Day 6 Pingyao is a city best enjoyed by getting lost. Wander down the narrow streets of the old city. Visit the many museums. You'll sleep tonight on a traditional kang of northern China. (Meals: B and D)

Day 7 Today is a good day to get outside the old city and explore the countryside. In the morning we will visit an old Buddhist temple* in a small village. The afternoon is free.  That evening we'll catch a train to Xi'An. (Meals: B and D)

Day 8 Today is spent visiting  the many attractions of this old city. That night, we'll venture into the Muslim Quarter for some unique Xi'An cuisine. (Meals: B and D)

Day 9  In the morning we will visit the Army of Terracotta Warriors* and then we're off by plane to the south of the country. We fly to Guilin and transfer to our hotel in Yangshuo. (Meals: B, L,  and D)

Day 10 Today can be spent wandering this small town or better yet, touring the countryside. Optional trips include cycling around the countryside, rafting, caving, or climbing some of the karst peaks for panoramic views of the small villages and farms that dot the countryside.  (Meals: B and D)

Day 11 In the morning we will take one of the local's boats on a cruise of the beautiful Li River*. The afternoon is free. (Meals: B and D)

Day 12 We travel in the morning to the Dragonback Rice Terraces* north of Guilin. We explore the terraces and view a lifestyle essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. (Meals: L and D)

Day 13 Today is a travel day as we make our way to Hong Kong via Shenzhen. Shenzhen (less than 30 years old) is right across the border from Hong Kong and is a modern city in every sense of the word. We escort you to your hotel in Kowloon (included in trip price), get you situated and then say our good-byes. (Meals: B)

* Entrance or activity fee included in trip price.

(rev 6/2009)