15 days Ancient China tour with capitals exploration
Enjoy this wonderful China history tour with a visit to five famous ancient capitals in China. Experience a soft train ride from Beijing to Luoyang. While visiting these unparalleled ancient relics including the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors and the Shaolin Temple, you will get a better understanding of China's massive history and culture.
Welcome to Beijing, the capital city of China. As one of the six Chinese ancient capital cities, Beijing has its rich cultural heritages and tourism resources. Along with Beijing, in the following 15 days you will visit several ancient capitals in China.
Upon arrival at Beijing, you will be greeted and assisted to your hotel by the local guide and driver. The rest of today will be open and flexible for you to take a break or get the first impression of Beijing.
Today you will start your tour with a guided visit to Tiananmen Square, it is the world's largest public square and represents the heart of Imperial Beijing. The square is also a notable symbol to Chinese people as where many historical events once took place.
Afterwards, head to the Forbidden City, which is located just at the north end of Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City is one of the earliest attractions declared as a World Heritage Sites in China; and UNESCO acclaimed it as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Visiting the Forbidden City will give you an incredible experience into Chinese culture and history, as it is a magnificent Imperial Palace that was the home of 24 Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors from 1420 to 1912.
In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Heaven, which was the place where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped to heaven for good harvests. The temple is well-known for its unique triple-gabled circular temple called Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, people believe it has already been a landmark of Beijing. After dinner, enjoy the cultural show - Kong Fu Show.
Great Wall is a definite must-see in your China Trip. Today make an excursion trip to the Mutianyu Great Wall, which is one of the several best place to witness the majestic Great Wall. You will have 2 to 3 hours to walk along the wall or take a cable car to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and explore the watchtowers.
After lunch, head to Ming Tombs, the final resting place for 13 emperors in Ming Dynasties. You will visit one of them - Changling, it is regarded as the largest and best preserved of the 13 tombs, you will be impressed by the incredible Chinese imperial funerary art. On your way back to Beijing, stop at the Olympic Green to have a glimpse of Bird's Nest and Water Cube (if you want to pay a visit of Bird's Nest and Water Cube, your guide will help you to purchase the entrance tickets).
This morning, you will be arranged to visit Imperial Garden - Summer Palace, it is one of the four great gardens in China. This garden was built as a playground for the imperial court during Qing Dynasty. Composed mainly of Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, Summer Palace is a unique combination of nature and architecture.
After lunch, drive to the Shichahai Area in the old part of Beijing, first you will have about one hour tour of a 300 year old courtyard, with the help of your local tour guide. The housekeeper of the yard will give you a detailed explanation of the old courtyard including its history, layout, Fengshui and other related traditional Chinese cultures. Then, have about 1.5 hour rickshaw tour through the narrow alleys (called Hutong locally) to experience the real life of the local Beijing residents. The rest of the day you can stroll along the Nanluoguoxiang Hutong for relaxing or buy some souvenirs before you board the overnight train to Xi'an.
You will arrive at Xi'an in the early morning, be greeted and assisted to your hotel by your local guide and driver. After a short rest at your hotel, drive to visit the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Eighth Wonder of the World. Since 1974, three pits and more than 10,000 terracotta warriors have been excavated to present the extravagant and picturesque funerary art of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor in China, who believed that these warriors could protect his mausoleum and help him rule in the afterlife.
Afternoon, drive back to downtown to visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda, an ancient tower which was built in 652 during Tang Dynasty. It's the landmark of Xi'an. Standing at the top of the pagoda, you will have a bird's eye view of the current city of Xi'an. Afterwards, head to the Great Mosque, which is a fascinating blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture to explore the Chinese Muslim culture in Xi'an.
In the evening, enjoy the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Culture Show after the dumpling buffet dinner.
Morning make the excursion trip to Huxian, which is famous for its farmer paintings. Picturesque in nature, the local people in Huxian have kept up the fine tradition of drawing the dynamic scenes of their daily life, so here you will see many great folk artworks, and learn more about the Chinese folk culture.
In the afternoon, drive back to Xi'an and take a walk along Xi'an City Wall, which is regarded as the largest and best preserved city wall in China. Afterwards you can freely explore the Shuyuan Men cultural street, which is just at the City wall south gate, lots of local arts and crafts including replicas of antiques, Chinese calligraphy, paintings, jewels and jade articles are sold on this crowded street. It is a good place to purchase some souvenirs to bring back home.
Take morning bullet train to Luoyang (about 2 hours), Luoyang is another famous ancient capital in China. Upon arrival, your local tour guide will meet you at Luoyang train station, and drive to visit Longmen Grottoes, it is one of the three major Buddhist Grottoes in China, housing over 100,000 Buddhist status and images. Longmen grottoes is caved 1,500 years ago, and is the long established art form playing a significant role in Asian Buddhism cultural evolution.
After lunch, continue to visit White Horse Temple, it is believed to be the first Buddhist temple in China, established by Han Dynasty in 68 AD when the Buddhism was introduced into China from India. Then drive to visit Luoyang Museum, here you will see a modest collection of early pottery figures and fragments. If time is allowed, you can freely walk around Luoyang Old City. Late in the afternoon, drive to Dengfeng for overnight.
Morning visit Shaolin Temple, located in the Songshan Mountain. When it comes to the Shaolin Temple, you must associate it with Chinese martial art. It's definitely an attraction not to be missed in China. Shaolin Temple is perhaps the best known Mahayana Buddhist monastery in World, so in addition to watching Shaolin Kong Fu Show, you will also be arranged to visit Pagoda Forest, which is a cemetery of 246 small brick pagodas including the ashes of an eminent monk.
In the afternoon, drive to Kaifeng via Zhengzhou (about 3 hours drive). Kaifeng was the China old capital in the Northern Song Dynasty. Upon arrival at Kaifeng, check into your hotel and have a short rest, afterwards head to the interesting Kaifeng night market to try some local snacks.
Today you will see the highlights of Kaifeng. First drive to visit Iron Pagoda, a Chinese Buddhist Pagoda built in 1049 during Song Dynasty. The pagoda in fact is not made of iron, it's a slender brick edifice wrapped in glazed rust-colored tiles. Your next stop will be the Dragon Pavillion, where there was an ancient ruin of the imperial palace of Song Dynasty and Jin Dynasty. The park is largely covered by lakes, so the scenery is quite breathtaking.
The last but not least attraction to visit in Kaifeng is Qingming River Garden. It's a theme park which re-creates the Kaifeng of it's heyday. Here you see cultural performances, folk art and music demonstrations. Late afternoon, drive back to Zhengzhou and take the flight to the next ancient capital in China, Nanjing.
Today you will start your Nanjing highlights tour at Purple Mountain, a famous scenic area in Nanjing, you will visit several historical sites here. Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum is located at the foot of the second peak of Purple Mountain, it's the final resting place of Sun Yat Sen, who is recognized as the father of modern China. Traced back earlier, Nanjing was the first capital city of Ming Dynasty. At the southern slope of Purple Mountain you will visit Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the 14th-century tomb of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, who is the first emperor in Ming Dynasty and also the only Ming emperor to be buried outside of Beijing. Then set off to Linggu Pagoda, also called the temple of soul valley, which is an octagonal pagoda built in 1929 under the direction of a US architect to remember those who died during the revolution.
After returning from Purple Mountain, take a visit to Confucius Temple in the south of the city. The temple was a center of Confucius study for more than 1500 years. Now the area surrounding the temple has become Nanjing's main amusement quarter. Have a glimpse of Qinhuai River, the biggest river in Nanjing, which is also the birthplace of the ancient Nanjing culture.
Today you will continue to explore Nanjing. The first spot in the morning will be the Presidential Palace. The palace was built during Ming Dynasty, then it was used as presidential offices by Sun Yat Sen's government in 1912 and by Kuomintang from 1927 to 1949, now it's museum to present China's modern history. After that, head to Nanjing Massacre Museum, a memorial hall to document the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers against the civilian population during the occupation of Nanjing in 1937.
In the afternoon, take a visit to Zhonghua Gate, which is located in the south of Ming City Gates. Here you will see some of the vaults are used as souvenir shops. Then head to Nanjing Yagtze River Bridge, one of the longest bridges in China. The bridge was opened on 23 December 1968, now it has already been one of the most important landmarks of Nanjing.
Late in the afternoon, take the bullet train to Shanghai, your Shanghai local guide will meet you at the train station and assist you to the hotel.
Shanghai is the largest city in China also the center of the economy and finance of China. If you want to see modern China, Shanghai should not be missed in your China trip.
One day highlights of Shanghai will mix both modern and old elements of Shanghai. Yu Garden will be the first attraction in your Shanghai city tour. This 500-year-old garden is located in the old town of Shanghai, and it's famous for the Exquisite Jade Rock and breathtaking landscape architectures. afterwards freely explore the Yuyuan Market next to the garden, is a busy market specializing in traditional Chinese arts and crafts, a good place for souvenirs.
In the afternoon visit Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, it shows to people and the world the achievements in Shanghai urban planning and construction development. Then the following will be Shanghai World Financial Center, which is regarded as the third tallest building in the world. Afterwards stroll along Nanjing Road to witness the beautiful scenery of the Bund in Shanghai. In the evening, you will have a Huangpu River Cruise to enjoy the night scene of Shanghai.
Today make an excursion to Suzhou, which is known as the ' Venice of the East' and famous for its elegant and exquisite gardens. Upon arrival at Suzhou, firstly you will visit Humble Administrator's Garden, as one of the four great gardens in China along with Summer Palace in Beijing, it is the largest garden in Suzhou and the finest garden in southern China because of its charming natural beauty and harmonious construction.
Then followed by a cruise on the ancient Grand Canal, like the Great Wall, the Grand Canal is regarded as one of the two great man-made projects in Chinese ancient time. There are a lot to see when cruising on the canal. Afterwards visit another one of the four great gardens in China - the Lingering Garden, it is an elaborate succession of small gardens. Lingering in the garden you would be immersed by this unique architecture art.
Besides the beautiful gardens, Suzhou is also famous for its silk products. Before returning to Shanghai, pay a visit to Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory, here you will see how the silk is processed from worm to the final woven cloth, learning the silk history in China, it is also possible to purchase some beautiful silk products in the showrooms.
Morning drive back from Suzhou to Shanghai, then have the rest of today to explore this modern city on your own, go shopping or just walk around the city. If you have no ideas on where to go, we and your local guide are full of suggestions.
Pick up from your hotel and drive to the airport or train station for departure. Wish you have a pleasant journey home, and WindhorseTour is happily to assist you in extending your tour in China.