Mandarin Sunrise - 15 days

Day 1: Beijing

     Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Overnight - Beijing

Day 2: Forbidden City

     Today we tour of the nation*s capital and host of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square is essentially the heart of Beijing. A patriotic vision of grandeur, Tiananmen Square is a square for the public and also home of the mausoleum of Chairman Mao and the striking Monument to the People*s Heroes. Perhaps one of Beijing*s most famous sights is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao.

     Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden city, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors. Entry was Forbidden to all but those on imperial business until 1911, when the last emperor, Puyi, was overthrown. Comprising of 9999 rooms, temples and hallways the complex is an architectural feat and stunningly beautiful. This afternoon we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys, old back lanes, traditional courtyards and compact houses we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city*s traditional way of life. There is time to meet a local family and take a peek inside their home. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a city restaurant. Overnight - Beijing

Day 3: The Great Wall

     Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Parts of the wall have been renovated, a little steep in sections though not too challenging. Continuing, we visit a cloisonne workshop. Tonight, watch an incredible acrobatic show, with gymnastics, bicycles and rings of fire! Overnight - Beijing

Day 4: Summer Palace

     Beijing - Luoyang. An early morning walk through the local market, then off to Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake, where we view the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902. The Long Corridor, a hand painted 730m covered walkway offers gentle respite from the elements. It is said that the Dowager Empress Cixi liked to travel with a retinue of at least 1,000. Her arrival at the rebuilt Summer Palace in 1905 was met by 458 eunuchs, and her two main meals consisted of some 100 dishes. Nice! This afternoon we visit the famed Silk Alley markets boasting more than 1000 stores and every souvenir imaginable. Later, we travel by train to Luoyang. En route we*ll view the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium 每and aquatic centre. Overnight - Sleeper Train to Luoyang

Day 5: Longman Grottoes

     Arrive Luoyang and transfer to hotel. Later we explore the UNESCO world heritage listed 6th Century Longman Caves, etched into the cliffs along the Yi River. The 1300 caves (grottoes) were hollowed out by humans to create temples inside the mountain. Adorned with more than 100,000 statues and images of Buddha and his disciples carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty. Later this afternoon we tour the much adored White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China Overnight - Luoyang

Day 6: Xi'an

     Luoyang 每 X*ian. Early this morning we walk to Peony Square to watch or partake in a little exercise. Many Chinese get their daily exercise by practising ballroom dancing, performing tai chi, sword fighting and play sports like badminton and hacky sack in the wee hours of the morning. Boarding the morning train we travel onward to Xi*an. Arriving in Xi*an, the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight - Xi'an

Day 7: Terracotta Warriors

     Xi*an is perhaps most famous for the discovery of Emperor Qin*s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 2,200 year old terracotta warriors comprise of more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers standing battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. No two faces are alike 每 each is said to be an individual portrait. Today, we visit the archaeological site of the Terracotta Warriors and a workshop where crafts people make clay warrior replicas. This evening we offer a Tang Dynasty dinner and performance with Chang*an music and dance originally performed for the illustrious Tang emperors. Overnight - Xi'an

Day 8: Big Wild Goose Pagoda

     Xi*an - Beijing. Exploring the city, we visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, enjoy a bike ride on top of the City Wall and check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Later, we board our overnight express train bound for Shanghai Overnight - Sleeper Train to Shanghai

Day 9: City tour

     Arrive Shanghai and hotel check in. Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps China*s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is breathtaking. After time to freshen up we enjoy a tour of the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Garden, old Shanghai, the Bund and take a Huangpu River cruise Overnight - Shanghai

Days 10 - 11: Waterways

     Shanghai - Suzhou - Shanghai - Qufu. Today, we journey to Suzhou. A sort of oriental Venice, ancient Suzhou is interwoven by a series of canals and pretty waterways. We enjoy a cruise on the Grand Canal and visit a silk workshop. There*s plenty to see and do in Shanghai, Day 11 is free for you to venture to the Old City, French Quarter or opt to shop along the famous Nanjing road. This evening we bunk down in our soft sleeper train cabins en route to Qufu. Overnight - Shanghai (1) Sleeper Train to Qufu (1)

Day 12: Qufu

     Qufu, birthplace of Confucius and home to the Confucius Temple, ranks with Beijing*s Forbidden city as a great classic Chinese architectural complex. With 466 rooms and over a kilometre long, the complex was built and dedicated to the descendants of the great sage, who lived here continuously for more than 2,500 years, spanning 77 generations. The grandeur and opulence of the mansion conveys the power and wealth of the mighty Kong clan and their head Yansheng Duke (Confucius* direct male descendant). The clan rose throughout imperial history as the family head was granted increased privileges. With the decline of imperial rule, the end was nigh and in 1940, the last of the family line - Kong Dechend - fled to Taiwan during the Japanese invasion. Not surprisingly, half of Qufu now claims descent from the Kongs.

     After visits to the mansion and temple we take a rickshaw ride around the city wall with a visit to the eerie Confucius forest. The forest is studded with tombs and graves of Kong family members dating back some centuries. Anyone with the surname Kong can still be buried here today. Evening stroll through the colourful night market. Overnight - Qufu

Day 13: Bu Yang Village

     Qufu 每 Bu Yang village - Mt Tai Shan 每 Jinan. A short drive leads us to Bu Yang Village. The principles of Communism and communal work and land ownership are somewhat still in place here. We stop for a light lunch at Mr Peng*s (one of the party officials) home. Seated around the family*s low to the ground lazy Susan, Mrs Peng serves up local dishes and copious bottles of beer. This is real village life! A short stroll leads us to the village prep-school, (our Change 4 Children project) we step into the class room to be swarmed by the mass of 5yr olds all vying for our attention. Later we drive to Mt Tai Shan, perhaps the holiest of the five Chinese holy mountains devoted to Taoism. There are more than 6000 steps to the summit, streams of pilgrims take the challenge, we take the cable car. With stunning scenery and many ancient temples dotting the slopes we visit Heaven Street, Cloud Bridge and the Jade Emperor*s temple. A short drive to Jinan. Overnight - Jinan

Day 14: Jinan

     Jinan - Beijing. Today, we embark on a short city sightseeing tour and enjoy a fabulous Hotpot lunch. Afternoon express train journey to Beijing. Overnight - Beijing

Day 15: Beijing

     Saturday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport.

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