The History and Culture of China

DAY 1: Fly overnight to Beijing, China.

Day 2 (Beijing):  Arrive in Beijing, meet your travel director, and travel to your hotel.  Enjoy a Peking Duck Welcome dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 3 (Beijing):  Waste no time in getting acquainted with this bustling city, starting with visits to Tiananmen Square, and the ‘Egg’ National Performing Arts Center before continuing to the imperial Forbidden City, a 999 room palace and garden complex used by the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors for hundreds of years. After lunch, explore traditional neighborhoods in a pedicab, socialize with local families, and then climb up the ancient Drum & Bell Towers. In the evening, sample street food as you experience the Wangfujing Pedestrian Street on foot.

Day 4 (Beijing):  Visit the Temple of Heaven, constructed entirely of interlocking wood in the fifteenth century. Catch a glimpse of local residents doing Tai Chi and Qigong, then visit a high school to socialize with Chinese students before enjoying a Beijing beef noodle lunch. In the afternoon, take an excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a remote and rugged section where many people hike.  In the evening enjoy dinner in a local restaurant followed by a Kung Fu show by young martial art students.

Day 5 (Overnight Train):  Visit the Summer Palace, a retreat of the Qing Emperors filled with over 8,000 unique wooden beam paintings. After lunch, explore the campus of Peking University and a nearby electronics market.  Enjoy free time before boarding an overnight train.

Day 6 (Xi’an):  Wake up in Xi’an, the multicultural gateway to the Silk Road and once the largest city in the world. Following breakfast, visit the massive and ancient city walls.  With check-in and lunch completed, see the landmark Bell Tower, the Chinese style Great Mosques and an active bazaar in the Muslim Quarters. Enjoy a Xi'an Dumpling Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7 (Xi’an):  Journey to see the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors site and museum, where over 7,000 unique life size soldiers, horses and chariots have been excavated so far. After lunch, visit the Big Goose Pagoda and Xi’an Museum, where you will take a Chinese calligraphy lesson.  Enjoy a free afternoon and evening.

Day 8 (Giulin):  Fly to the scenic city of Guilin, surrounded by the karst limestone hills that have inspired thousands of Chinese scroll paintings.  Travel to the mountainous Longsheng to see the remarkable Longji Rice Terraces and visit the villages where some of the country’s ethnic minorities live.  After lunch, return to Guilin City and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Day 9 (Yangshuo): Begin the morning at Yangdi Pier, where you will board a boat for a memorable Li River Cruise. The local scenery of lush hills, rice paddies and bamboo forests is one of the most unique and beautiful on earth. End your cruise and enjoy lunch in Xingping.  Travel to Fuli Old Town for a chance to explore before continuing to Yangshuo.

Day 10 (Yangshuo):  Experience bamboo rafting on the Yulong River, then enjoy a pleasant hike of Moon Hill.  Choose an excursion to either the Silver Cave or the Dragon Water Cave for the opportunity to marvel at geological wonders.  Enjoy a free afternoon and evening back in Yangshuo.

Day 11 (Shanghai):  Enjoy a peaceful morning in Guilin, as you visit the giant pandas in the Panda Garden near the charming Seven Star Park, then learn about the concept of feng shui on  a visit to the Jingjiang Ming Tomb. After lunch, catch a flight to Shanghai, China's largest city and financial hub.  Have dinner in a local restaurant in the evening before embarking on a walking tour of the area.

Day 12 (Shanghai):  Begin your exploration of this important city at the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch of colonial art deco buildings symbolizing the Western presence in Shanghai in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A visit to the classical Yuyuan Garden is followed by a Shanghai steamed soup dumpling lunch. In the afternoon, explore the Shanghai Museum, one of the finest in China. Meet students at a Shanghai high school and join them in a friendly game of soccer or basketball. In the evening, watch an amazing acrobatic performance.

Day 13 (Shanghai): Learn some of the more hidden aspects of Shanghai’s history with a guided visit to Moshe Ohel Synagogue,  the Old Jewish Quarters, and the former French concession. Enjoy a free afternoon, then celebrate your trip with a sampling of Shanghai cuisine during your Farewell Dinner.

DAY 14:  Fly to the U.S.