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Ancient Capitals of China

China’s great ancient capitals are ancient China in miniature. This tour will lead you to six most prominent imperial capital cities in ancient China: Xian, Beijing, Kaifeng, Luoyang, Hangzhou and Suzhou, which are all saturated with rich history. Beijing, as a cultural and political force, had shaped the destiny of China since 13th century when Mongol occupied China. Its rich history is mirrored in its spectacular palaces, temples and parks. Xian, a splendid living museum, has been the capital of twelve Imperial dynasties. Two centuries before Rome was founded, Xian was already a classic world city. Luoyang, once the capital of thirteen dynasties, languished with memories of greatness, is famous today for the grandiose Longmen Grottoes, over 100,000 images and statues of Buddha were carved into the cliff walls through 7 dynasties over 200 years. Kaifeng has a history lasting more than 2700 years as the capital of seven dynasties. Its heyday was during the Northern Song, the most prosperous city in the world when it was known as East Capital. Kaifeng is also believed to be the first place the Jews settled when they arrived in China. Suzhou, known as the ‘Garden City’, served as capital of Kingdom Wu 2600 year ago. Hangzhou became capital in 12th Century. It is also known for the Grand Canal’s starting point. “In Heaven there is a paradise, on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou” said by the Chinese.

 

Day 1: Depart for Beijing

Day 2: Beijing (L, D)
Arrive Beijing. Start your visit with Imperial summer court - Summer Palace, drive back town and have lunch in a local home at Hutongs area, after lunch you can walk along Hutongs and have a rickshow ride along the narrow alleys which are traditional backstreets of Beijing, where you will get a sense of people’s daily life and history. Later continue on to the Confucius Temple and Lama Temple.

Day 3: Beijing (B, L, D)
Visit the Great Wall, built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who unified China in 2 century BC. In the afternoon walk through the incredible expanse of Tiananmen Square before continuing on foot to the splendid Forbidden City, which was home to emperors of last two dynasties, the Ming and the Qing. Continue on to Coal Hill Park, behind the Forbidden City, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Palace from the top; it was constructed from earth that was dug up to make the moat of the Forbidden City. Each morning the park fills with middle-aged and older Chinese, who gather in groups to sing the revolutionary songs of their youth, play the traditional two-stringed erhu or practice the graceful movements of Tai Chi. Enjoy Beijing’s delicacy - Peking duck at dinner.

Day 4: Beijing - Zhengzhou (B, L, D)
In the morning visit the Temple of Heaven, the Imperial temple where emperors prayed for good harvest, today has come to symbolize Beijing. Later catch a train ride to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province.

Day 5: Zhengzhou - Kaifeng - Zhengzhou (B, L, D)
A day excursion to Kaifeng. With a history lasting more than 2700 years, Kaifeng was the capital of seven dynasties. Visit the Da Xiangguo temple, Po Pagoda and Kaifeng Museum, perhaps the former Kaifeng Synagogue if time permits.

Day 6: Zhengzhou - Shaolin Temple - Luoyang (B, L, D)
Drive to Shaolin Temple, famous for its Martial Arts (Kung Fu), founded in 5th century by an Indian monk Ba Tuo. Today it has been regarded as the birthplace of Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu. Drive to Luoyang and visit Longmen Grottoes, with over 100,000 images and statues of Buddha that were carved into the cliff walls since the Northern Wei Dynasty (4th Century A.D).

Day 7: Luoyang - Sanmenxia - Xian (B, L, D)
Journey southwest to Sanmenxia, is literally translated as "The Gorge of Three Gateways", because two islands split the Yellow River into three parts. However, with the construction
of the Sanmenxia Dam in the 1960s, the ancient passes were destroyed. You will visit Guo State Museum which is worth going as a massive horse chariot was found near Sanmenxia between 1956 and 1991, where many bronzeware of Western Guo State (11th - 7th Century BC) were excavated with high Archaeological value. After arrive Xian you will visit the old City Wall, built on the foundations of the Tang Forbidden City 600 years ago.

Day 8: Xian (B, L, D)
Drive to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, the great archeological treasure. Continue with a visit of the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the best museums in China; continue on to the Big Goose Pogoda, where you will listen to the story of the Silk Road as Xian was also the eastern terminus for the epic caravans of the Silk Road, and the Great Mosque. Tonight you will have dinner in a restaurant that specializes in dumplings of all sorts.

Day 9: Xian - Hangzhou (B, D)
Fly to Hangzhou. Upon arrival visit the Leifeng Tower and Stroll along the shores of the legendary West Lake, had inspired poets and painters for centuries. Tonight you can enjoy the exciting musical fountain show “Impression of West Lake” at the lakeside of West Lake, it's optional.

Day 10: Hangzhou - Suzhou (B, L, D)
Visit Lingyin Temple, one of the most famous Zen temples of China, was founded in 326 AD. Continue to visit Dragon Well Tea Village and the tea plantation, China Silk Museum and Huqing Yutang Chinese Medicine Museum. Stroll along the old Street which is a restoration of Ming style and later take an evening train to Suzhou.

Day 11: Suzhou (B, L, D)
Visit the old city gate - Panmen, which was built in 247 AD by the King Sun Quan (Three States Period). Also visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Suzhou Museum. Stroll around Shantangjie old town and Pingjiang area.

Day 12: Suzhou - Shanghai (B, L, D)
Take a train ride to Shanghai. Visit Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Urban Planning Museum where you will find the cue of Shanghai’s fast change. Stroll on the ‘Bund’, Shanghai’s Wall Street to the Europeans, in the evening you can have a boat ride on Huangpu river - an evocative way to appreciate Shanghai both in the past and at the present.

Day 13: Shanghai (B, L, D)
Drive across Huangpu River to visit Jinmao Tower to have a panoramic view of Shanghai, continuing onto Yuyuan Garden and Yuyuan Plaza, old town, in the afternoon walk around Xintiandi. Afterwards you can walk along Nanjing Road, the Pedestrian-only Street - the golden mile of China.

Day 14: Shanghai/USA (B)
Transfer to airport for your homeward flight.

Trip dates:

March 26 - April 8, 2016

October 8 - 21, 2016

Tour Price
including flights

$ 4,190 per person for June departure
$ 4,590 per person for October departure

excluding flights

$ 2,940 per person for June departure 
$ 3,250 per person for October departure

INCLUDED
Flights, tour coordinator/guide
accommodation on full meal basis
Monument admission fee
ground transportation, internal flights

EXCLUDED
Insurance, visa, additional programs, gratuities

FLIGHTS
Los Angeles/Beijing, Shanghai/Los Angeles

HOTELS
First class hotels or best available