HISTORY & POLITICS – BEIJING
Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
Tiananmen Square was the original gate to the Imperial Palace and was burnt down and rebuilt many times between 1417 and 1651. Today, it is remembered as the place where Mao Tse-Tung declared the foundation of the Peoples Republic of China (1949) and more recently was the scene of the 1989 Massacre.
Forbidden City (Beijing)
The Forbidden City was the former imperial palace, which was the home to twenty-four Chinese emperors over 491 years between 1420 and 1911. The Forbidden City is now known as the Palace Museum and is open to Beijing’s visitors. Wear comfortable walking shoes as the palace is 960 meters long and 750 meters wide.
Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
The Temple of Heaven was completed in 1420 but has been expanded over the years by two Qing Dynasty Emperors. Qinian Hall, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, with the three blue tiled cone-shaped roofs, has become a worldwide symbol of Beijing. It was hit by lightning in 1889 and completely restored.
Great Wall of China (Beijing)
The Great Wall of China was built more than two thousand years ago. Construction on the first section began between the 7th and 6th century BC, and the last work on the wall was done between the 14th and 17th centuries. It is one of the Great Wonders of the world and is said to be the only man-made object visible from space.
Ming tombs (Beijing)
The mausoleums for 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) lies 50 kilometres northwest of Beijing City. They were sited and built in accordance with feng shui. The mausoleums have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.
Museum of Chinese History & Museum of Chinese Revolution (Beijing)
Both museums share a single building complex, which runs more than 300 meters north and south along the eastern side of Tiananmen Square. Exhibitions held in the Museum of Chinese History can be divided into those of a permanent nature, such as the present exhibition of the Comprehensive History of China, which begins with the period of primitive tribes and ends with the May 4th Movement in 1919; and those of a temporary nature, which include local history exhibitions and traveling exhibits from foreign museums.
Lama Tibetan Temple (Yonghe Lamasery) (Beijing)
The Lama Temple has colourful 17th-century architecture and was originally built in 1694 as the residential palace of Prince Yinzhen. It became a Lamasery in 1744, housing Buddhist monks from Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Today, the Yonghe Gong is an active Tibetan Buddhist centre, officially sponsored by the government.
Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum (Beijing)
The Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum stands in the south of the Tiananmen Square, between the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Zhengyang Gate. The Memorial Hall is to memorise the founder and first Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, who passed away at the age of 82 in 1976. It provides people with a place to show their respects to Chairman Mao. In the crypt, you can find Mao’s body lying in state on a bed covered in a crystalline sarcophagus and surrounded by flowers. During the day his coffin is raised by an elevator and is on display for all to see, and at night he is lowered back into his earthquake proof chamber beneath Tiananmen Square.
Capital Museum (Beijing)
Located on the grounds of the Confucian temple, it was opened to the public in October 1981. Articles exhibited in the Capital Museum are mainly past years’ collections and unearthed historical heritages of the Beijing area, combined with the latest research results concerning the history, cultural heritage, archaeology and relevant subjects of Beijing. Modern exhibitions featured by Beijing characteristics are shaped successfully by studying the successful experiences from local and international museums.
HISTORY & POLITICS – XI’AN
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum (Xi’an)
This is the most significant archaeological excavation in the 20th century, and work is still ongoing at this site. It was first discovered when a group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well near a royal tomb in 1974. Archaeologists were alerted and soon established they were from the Qin dynasty (211-206 BC), and the museum opened in 1979. Altogether approximately 8,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots and weapons have been unearthed to their former grandeur, and the site was listed as one of the world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
Wild Goose Pagoda (Xi’an)
The 7-storey high Great Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652AD. It is a striking elegant building and is the symbol of Xian. The famous Buddhist monk Xuan Zang returned from a 17-year pilgrimage and the square pagoda was built to house the 600 or so Buddhist texts that he had collected in India. It was a tradition in Xian for successful scholars to pin poems to the door of the pagoda as a symbol for a bright future and some poems can still be seen on the door frames.
HISTORY & POLITICS – SHANGHAI
The Bund (Shanghai)
The Bund is in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, on the bank of the Huangpu River. The Bund has dozens of historical buildings that once housed numerous banks, consulates, and even a newspaper, from Europe and other countries worldwide. They were then taken over by governmental buildings, but in the early 1980s, many buildings were returned to their former uses. Today it is one of the most popular streets in Shanghai with tourists.
Jade Buddha Temple (Shanghai)
The temple was built in 1882 to house two Jade Buddha statues, which were brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. The Buddhas are not only rare cultural relics but also fine porcelain artworks, each carved from white jade. Other statues are on display in the Temple depicting heavenly kings and gods. There are currently 100 monks in residence at the Jade Buddha Monastery.
LANGUAGE & CULTURE
Hutong & Courtyards (Beijing)
A Hutong is a unique form of community that exists only in China. “Hutong” literally means a small street or a lane between two courtyards, although the word can also mean a community within the city consisting of hutongs and residences. Visits can be made to the hutongs on Rick-shaws where you can catch a glimpse of the traditional city from years gone by, some are several hundreds of years old. Many original Hutongs that are still standing, have now been designated protected areas.
Visit a Chinese Family (Beijing)
You can take the unique opportunity to visit a Chinese family, and through this experience, get to know more Chinese culture, customs or learn some Mandarin
School Visit (Xi’an)
Take the opportunity to meet staff and students at a local school, perhaps join in a lesson, or arrange a friendly sports match with them.
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Beijing Yanjing Brewery (Beijing)
Yanjing Beer Group was established in 1993, but the brewery itself was founded in 1980. Now Yanjing Brewery has developed into one of the largest beer producing enterprises in China. It covers a market share of more than 11% nationwide and boasts 29 affiliated companies, including 21 breweries and 8 relevant or attached enterprises. Its general factory in Beijing is the largest brewery in Asia. The company also makes soft drinks. The brewery tour lasts around 1.5 hours and begins with an introduction to the company on film. Then visit the production workshops – including scarifying and fermenting and canning.
Shanghai Volkswagen Auto (Shanghai)
Shanghai Volkswagen, established in 1985, is a Sino-German car-making joint-venture. With an annual capacity of 600,000 cars, it is one of the biggest modern production bases in China. Shanghai Volkswagen has 5 production areas, a technology development centre and has produced seven series of products. The tour of Shanghai Volkswagen Auto lasts around 1.5hrs and begins by viewing the company’s introduction film. Then visit the third factory’s product exhibition hall, the Press workshop, the body workshop and assembly workshop. A film about the history of the company ends the visit.
Baosteel Group Corpora (Shanghai)
Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation is the most competitive steelmaker in China. The main steel business of Baosteel focuses on the production of hi-tech and high value-added premium steel. With an annual production capacity of around 30 million tons. The tour lasts 1.5hrs and includes a visit to Hot Rolling Factory, the port, the blast furnace and the sculpture of the Golden Finger.
Shanghai Financial District (Shanghai)
The Financial District in Shanghai is the most prosperous business centre in China. Known as Chinese Wall Street, the Shanghai Financial District gathers more than 600 Chinese and foreign banks and financial institutions.
Shanghai Yakult Milk Co. (Shanghai)
Find out more about Yakult’s commitment to maintaining the quality of its service to all customers and its understanding of the need to support this unique product with a comprehensive education program by visiting its modern production lines.
CITY & REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Silk Alley (Beijing)
The new Xiushui Market is a modern five-story building that stands just next to the former grounds of the Silk Street clothes market. The imposing structure has been decked out in crimson and navy blue to give the building a strong traditional Chinese appearance. With about 1,500 stalls, the market is much bigger than the former street. There are bags, cases, shoes and hats in the basement; various clothes, many of which are international brands, on the first and second floors; silk goods and Chinese paintings on the third floor, and pearls and Chinese traditional crafts on the fourth floor.
Friendship Store (Beijing)
This chain was started in the late 50s as a sign of friendship between the Chinese and foreigners when China first opened to the outside world, originally open only to foreigners. The Friendship Stores have now evolved into a six-story department store selling foreign and domestic goods that welcomes everyone. The store sells a wide range of traditional Chinese goods and handicrafts including watercolour paintings, cashmere clothing, porcelain, jade, rugs and traditional Chinese medicine. In the flagship store, you can find many things in its extensive selection of goods you don’t find elsewhere, from more traditional souvenirs to imported products from all over the world.
Olympic Green–Birds Nest Stadium and Water Cube (Beijing)
Beijing’s National Stadium, which is nicknamed the Bird’s Nest because of the unique design, was constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is located at Olympic Green and covers an area of 258,000 square meters. Designed by the famous Swiss architect Herzog & DeMeuron and China Architecture Design Institute, it has a capacity of 100,000 people. The glittering National Aquatics Centre, namely the Watercube, is another highlight of Olympic Green. It covers an area of more than 65,000 square meters and held a capacity of 17,000 during the swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming events.
Wangfujing Street (Beijing)
Wangfujing is now considered the central heart of Beijing, and a walk from end to end will take approximately 30 minutes, without looking in any shops. There are two shopping malls on the street and at night the neon advertising lights up the street reminiscent of any major city in the world.
Beijing Zoo (Beijing)
Beijing Zoo mainly exhibits wild and rare animals growing in China, such as the Panda and the Golden Monkey. Also, it boasts many rare animals from all around the world, such as White Bear from the North Pole, the kangaroo from Australia, and the zebra from Africa.
Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai)
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower located in Pudong stands 468 meters high. Tourists can go to several observatory decks and in clear weather can get a superb view of The Bund and Shanghai, as well as Sheshan, Chongming Island and the Yangzi River in the distance. The tower creates a picture of twin dragons playing with pearls. The tower also has a hotel, revolving restaurant, karaoke parlours and bars. The ground floor features a shopping area, cafe and an international city exhibit. On clear days, the upper levels of this tower, measuring no less than 263 meters in height, offer spectacular views of the city.
Maglev Train Experience to Pudong Airport (Shanghai)
The Maglev – or Magnetic Levitation Train runs from Loyang station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport (Shanghai) and takes just seven minutes and 20 seconds to complete the 30-km journey. This makes for a different and exciting transfer back to the airport.
Yu Gardens (Shanghai)
First begun during the Ming dynasty, these gardens are a national heritage site and represent the ideals of a southern Chinese garden. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders.
Wangshi Gardens (Suzhou)
The Master of the Nets Garden or Wangshi Yuan is among the finest gardens in China. Recognised as a United Nations World Heritage site, it demonstrates Chinese garden designers’ adept skills for synthesizing art, nature, and architecture to create unique metaphysical masterpieces. The initial garden was first constructed over 800 years ago. The Wangshi Garden is particularly regarded among garden connoisseurs for mastering the techniques of relative dimension, contrast, foil, sequence and depth, and borrowed scenery. While the garden’s primary uses have varied over time, its ability to inspire visitors intellectually and spiritual remains unchanged.
Grand Canal cruise – (Suzhou)
Taking a boat ride on the old canal gives a full view of the landscape of a typical river town in southern China including age-old dwelling houses, stone bridges of traditional designs and historical relics.
Chinese Acrobatic Show (Beijing/Shanghai)
You can sample exotic entertainment from a Chinese acrobatic troop, as they display their elegant art form that has been performed for thousands of years.
Kung Fu Show (Beijing/Shanghai)
Chinese Kung Fu is a precious treasure that belongs not only to China but to the whole world. You will see power and grace combined in a demonstration of the art of Kung Fu by masters. Be transported to the mysterious world of this ancient art to experience for yourself what has inspired the great action heroes of today’s movie blockbusters.
Tang Dynasty Show (Xi’an)
The Tang Dynasty is a performance of Chang’an music and dance that originated in the Tang Dynasty of Chinese history over a thousand years ago. It has been recreated in accordance with various historical records and ancient arts and relics discovered in Xi’an, the capital of the empire throughout the Tang Dynasty regime.
Calligraphy Demonstration (Xi’an)
This demonstration of Chinese calligraphy shows the equipment used, the method of preparing Chinese ink, the traditional way to fold the paper, and of course how to handle Chinese brushes. You can also see learn how to lay out the Chinese characters, by folding and then unfolding the paper to provide guidelines.
You have the opportunity to attend a cookery demonstration where chefs will prepare Chinese cuisine’s most popular dishes. Throughout, you will be provided with background information on the various ingredients and cooking techniques.
Duck Banquet (Beijing)
The Beijing roast duck is a dish well known among gastronomes the world over. We can arrange this as part of your group’s itinerary.
Beijing Opera (Beijing)
Among the hundreds of forms of opera throughout the country, Beijing Opera has the greatest influence and is therefore regarded as a national form. It is a comprehensive performing art that combines music, singing, dialogue, pantomime, acrobatics and martial arts. Hence an actor or actress in Beijing Opera has to meet more requirements than that in other forms of performing art. He or she has to be a performing artist, a singer, and a dancer at the same time. It usually takes the student more than ten years of training to learn singing and acrobatic skills. Since Liberation, much has been achieved in reforming this traditional opera.
Rick Shaw Ride through Hutong with a visit to a Chinese Family (Beijing)
The rickshaw is the most popular form of transportation in recent years for tourists to take the Hutong tour, providing a unique view of Beijing and is becoming more and more popular with tourists.
Shanghai Harbour Cruise
Huangpu River, a symbol of Shanghai, originates in Dianshan Lake and empties into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It is 114 kilometres long and 400 meters wide. Huangpu River is ice-free year round. The river divides Shanghai into east and west. It is a silent eyewitness to Shanghai’s history and its development. Ships depart from the Bund (Zhongshan Road), sail to Huangpu Bridge in the south, turn and head north towards Wusongkou, and return to the Bund.