China Family Holiday

Duration: 12 days

Highlights: From arts & crafts, martial arts, and culinary surprises this is one of the best ways to experience the many wonders of China

With its remarkable breath of history and exceptional cultural traditions, China is the ideal family holiday.  Enjoy an itinerary rich in hands on experiences that will open the door to the many wonders of China for family members of all ages.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Beijing

Today arrive into Beijing capital of both imperial and modern China for more than 700 years. 

Clear arrival formalities and then meet your guide and transfer to your hotel ideally accessible to the many sights and experiences that Beijing offers.

Overnight: Four Seasons Beijing

 

Day 2 - Beijing

Start the day the Beijing way with a morning tai chi class at the Temple of Heaven. Set within a verdant park, the temple is considered the single most beautiful structures in Beijing.  Your class will be led by a resident Tai Chi master who unlocks the mystery of this popular form of martial art.

Then hop on a pedicab and cycle back in time to the heart of “old Beijing” when you visit a traditional hutong neighborhood.  The word, “hutong” is derived from Mongolian and means “water well” and today it refers to the circuitous alleys and lanes that make up pre-revolution Beijing (i.e., prior to 1949).  Explore the neighborhood and visit a local home where you will take part in a morning dumpling making class that ends with you enjoying a homemade Beijing style lunch.

This afternoon walk through history with a visit to the magnificent Forbidden City, once the palace of residence and administration for the ruling families of China’s last two dynastic periods:  the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) dynasties.  You end the afternoon in Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public plazas and the true heart of the city.

This evening attend a performance of the “Legend of Kung Fu” an engaging tale of the power of martial arts.

Overnight: Four Seasons Beijing

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 3 - Beijing

Meet your guide and transfer out of the city to visit the most celebrated of all wonders, The Great Wall.  You will visit the wall at Mutianyu which offers visitors some of the most beautiful and sweeping vistas of the surrounding region.  Riding the peaks of the Yan Mountains, the first sections of the Great Wall date back to the Spring and Autumn period (780 BCE – 480 BCE) and through history were expanded, refurbished and strengthened to guard the empire from attacks from marauding steppe tribes like the Mongols.  You will have the option to walk or take a cable car up and onto the Wall and then enjoy time walking along its ramparts.  For those with a little adventure in mind you can come down from the Wall via an artificial bob sled track.

Following lunch near the Great Wall return to Beijing making stops to see the historic 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics venues the Bird’s Nest (the National Athletics Stadium) and the Water Cube (the National Aquatics Centre).

This evening enjoy a special dinner in your hotel.

Overnight: Four Seasons Beijing

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 4 - Beijing - Zhengzhou

This morning meet your guide and transfer to the Beijing West Train Station where you board your high-speed bullet train from Beijing to Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s Henan province.

On arrival into Zhengzhou enjoy a city orientation that will include a visit to the Henan Provincial Sports Institute where you meet with a group of elite athletes training for future Olympic glory.  Pick up a paddle and try your hand in a ping pong match with one of these up and coming champions.

You will also visit the Henan Provincial Museum, one of the finest regional museums in China.  The collection spans more than 3,000 years of ancient history introducing visitors to the wonders of early Chinese civilization.

Overnight: Sofitel Zhengzhou

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 5 - Zhengzhou - Shaolin Temple/Zhengzhou

This morning transfer overland (about 90 minutes) to Dengfeng County seat of the Shaolin Monastery one of the most famous Buddhist sites in China.  The monastery has a history of over 1,500 years and is considered to be one of the early centres for the practice of martial arts.  The tales of the fighting monks of Shaolin are now popular around the world and more than 100,000 students (both domestic and international) study martial arts in the many training centres located near the monastery.

Spend the balance of the day touring the monastery as well as visiting a martial arts training school where you will get a first-hand introduction to disciplined training and remarkable skills of the students.

Overnight: Sofitel Zhengzhou

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 6 - Zhengzhou - Xian

This morning you board your high-speed train from Zhengzhou to Xi’an where, on arrival, you visit the Han Yang Ling excavation site and museum, one of the region’s most under-appreciated archeological highlights.   The site marks the burial area of the fourth emperor of the Western Han dynasty, Jing Di (died 141 BCE) and includes more than 80 satellite tombs that have yielded a treasure trove of more than 100,000 artifacts and treasures.  Tour part of the ongoing excavation area as well as the museum.

Following your visit to Han Yang Ling transfer to the city and end the day with a visit to the Ming period city wall (constructed between the years 1374 – 1378) where you enjoy a bicycle ride or take a stroll along its magnificent ramparts.

This evening enjoy a traditional Xi’an style dumpling dinner; dumplings are a culinary tradition and come boiled, steamed or fried.

Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel, Xian

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 7 - Xian

The morning is spent at the Terra-Cotta Warriors & Horses Excavation Site, considered by many archeologists to be the most important archeological discovery of the 20th century.  Visit the three main excavation pits as well as the Bronze Chariot Museum which highlights the remarkable discovery of two exquisite imperial bronze chariots. 

Following lunch visit a local pottery factory where you learn the art of sculpting your own Terr-Cotta Warrior, a wonderful memento today’s visit to the excavation site.

Overnight: The Ritz-Carlton, Xian

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 8 - Xian/Chengdu

This morning transfer to the Xi’an North Train Station where you board your high-speed bullet train to Chengdu, the vibrant capital of Sichuan province.

After arriving into Chengdu you will meet your guide and first enjoy a local Sichuan style lunch before embarking on an afternoon orientation of the city.  With a population of 16.5 million, Chengdu has developed into one of the most exciting cities in China.  A major business centre and the heart of Sichuan, the city exudes an energetic charm.  You will visit People’s Park, the largest in the city, and a wonderful centre for activity drawing local residents who come to sing, dance, practice martial arts and savour a cup of tea at the local tea house.

You will also visit Tianfu Square, the largest public plaza in the city and the Jinsha Museum which highlights the ancient Jinsha culture which flourished in the Chengdu region more than 3,000 years ago.

Overnight: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 9 - Chengdu

Enjoy a morning visit to the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Centre, one of the highlights of any trip to Chengdu.   Opened in the late 1980s the centre is home to over 80 giant pandas and 40 lesser or red pandas, a distant relative of the giant panda and the suggested link between pandas and raccoons.  The grounds include several enclosures where you can enjoy pandas of different ages from young cubs to mature older animals.

Return to Chengdu for lunch and this afternoon explore Jinli Street a historic market area that is rich in activity – this is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the charming energy of Chengdu.

This evening try a taste of Chengdu’s most celebrated culinary creation, the Sichuan hot pot before attending a performance of Sichuan Opera that features the stunning “face changing” performance a secret art known to only a handful of Sichuan opera performers.

Overnight: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 10 - Chengdu - Guilin - Yangshuo

Today you fly from Chengdu to Guilin where, on arrival, you meet your guide and transfer overland to the lovely town of Yangshuo.  After checking in and freshening up enjoy a bicycle ride to the charming village of Fuli.  The village retains a traditional atmosphere with its Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911) buildings and rich sense of tradition. 

Enjoy a class in one of the traditional handicraft arts of Fuli either fan making or lantern making.

This evening attend a performance of Liu San Jie the stunning sound and light show directed by the film director, Zhang Yimou who was also the creative force behind both the Opening and Closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Overnight: Banyan Tree Yangshuo

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 11 - Yangshuo

This morning you transfer to the village of Xingping where you board a local boat and travel on the Li River to Yangti, a journey of about 90 minutes – this portion of the river is said to be the most scenic with forests of towering limestone pinnacles rising along the riverbanks.

Return to Yangshuo for a creative culinary session at the Yangshuo Cooking School where you learn the finer arts of local cuisine.

This afternoon visit a local farming village and try your hand at planting rice.  Your visit will be an immersive experience into the daily life of a local farming family and will include a class in rice noodle making, one of the traditional staples of the local diet.

Overnight: Banyan Tree Yangshuo

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 12 - Depart Yangshuo

Today you will fly from Guilin to Beijing where, on landing, you are met and assisted with the check-in for your onward international departure flight.

Meal Plan: B

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