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If you have only one week in China, be sure to see Beijing and Shanghai. The former is known for its historical richness and the latter epitomizes modernity in China. Hit the major highlights like the Terracotta Warriors and hike the Great Wall.
Day 1-2, Shanghai: Stroll along the Bund and Pudong Districts, visit Yu Garden, take a boat ride down Huangpu River, and visit the Propaganda Museum.
Day 3-4, Xian: See the Terracotta Warriors and Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum, walk along the Silk Road, visit the Bell and Drum Towers, and shop in the Muslim Quarter.
Day 5 -7, Beijing: Hike along the Great Wall, see the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, National Museum, and Temple of Heaven.
If it will be your first time traveling to to China you must see the bustling cities and the serene countryside. Visit Beijing, Xian (Terracotta Warriors), Shanghai, and Guanxi province (known for the picturesque regions of Yangshuo and Guilin).
Day 1-4, Beijing: Forbidden City, Great Wall of china (Simutai or Badaling), Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square.
Day 5-7, Xian: Xian is one of the best preserved walled cities. See the UNESCO world heritage site of Emperor Shi Huang’s Terracotta Warriors. Walk through the Muslim quarters and try the kebabs at the food stalls.
Day 8-11, Yangshuo/Guilin (Guanxi province): See the Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave, and cruise down the Li River on bamboo raft. This region is known for its serene rice paddies and karst mountains.
Day 12-14, Shanghai: Shanghai is known for its eclectic architecture, blending the old (Old Town “Nanshi”) and the new (Shanghai World Financial Center). Stroll along the Bund and Pudong District, see Yu Garden (Yu Yuan), and take a boat ride along Huangpu River.
Three weeks in China will give you the opportunity to explore the breadth and diversity of the Middle Kingdom’s rich culture, history, wildlife, and terrain.
Day 1-3, Beijing: See the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.
Day 4-6, Shanghai: Walk along Nanjing Road, see the Bund, Pudong district, Yu Garden, and the Shanghai Museum.
Day 7-8, Xian: See the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Mosque, and stroll through the Muslim Quarters.
Day 9-13, Emeishan: Hike along one of China’s four sacred buddhist mountains, visit a tea plantation, and see one of the largest carvings of Buddha in the world.
Day 14, Chengdu: (Note that this is a great option if you love pandas!) Get up close and personal with the giant pandas of the world famous Panda Breeding Center.
China is the world’s most populous nation, and has rapidly emerged as the powerhouse of Asia. It's the region’s largest economy, second only to the U.S. But China is also a treasure-house of art and artifacts, temples and tombs, walls and cities stretching back 3,000 years. The attractions are many, the nation vast. Let Stride be your guide in selecting a trip through the dreamscape of China.
The contrast between the modern and the ancient is stark in many countries, but in China it takes on monumental dimensions. At every turn the world’s oldest continuous civilization collides with the 21st century’s most explosive economy, producing moments of bewilderment, but also of insight.
At one end of the street is the serene temple where Buddhism was born in China; at the other end, a traffic jam of raucous Volkswagens and Buicks. These jolting juxtapositions of past, present and future are abundant in the three places you should visit first in China: the modern capital of Beijing, the ancient capital of Xi’an and the capital of China’s economic future, Shanghai.
Beijing is first on the list because nowhere else has so much survived that defines Chinese civilization -- and survived on such a monumental scale. The Great Wall is an emblem of all that China was throughout its history of dynasties, and it can be viewed and walked upon at several points north of the modern capital, foremost at Badaling where most tourists go, but notable too are the less visited sections at Mutianyu and Simatai.
Nearly as colossal is the Forbidden City, the lavish royal residence of Ming and Qing Dynasty rulers. The Forbidden City fronts Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square and site of Chairman Mao’s mummified remains.
Also flanking the square is the National Museum of China, the mainland’s largest repository of imperial treasures. There are legions of other sites to see in Beijing, too -- the splendid Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ancient Observatory, the Ming Tombs, the traditional hutongs (alleyways), Olympic Park and the up-to-the-minute 798 Art District.
Westward and deep into China’s interior is Xi’an, China’s ancient capital spanning a dozen dynasties, including the first. Here Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified China in 221 BC and constructed the underground Army of Terra-cotta Warriors guarding his tomb. This site has become China’s foremost archaeological attraction and a top stop on the world tourism list.
Not to be missed in Xi’an, too, are its Ming Dynasty city walls, the towering Big Goose Pagoda (AD 652), the Great Mosque, an array of ancient Buddhist and Daoist temples and two museums: the Shaanxi History Museum, with its exceptional displays of terra-cotta warriors and Tang Dynasty arts, and the Forest of Steles Museum, with its incomparable collection of engraved stone tablets.
In stark contrast with Xi’an, there’s Shanghai, China’s boomtown, where skyscrapers serve as 21st century pagodas and high-end shops and restaurants give the city an international flare.
Historical treasures remain here and there -- especially in the fine Shanghai Museum and on the grounds of the splendid Yuyuan Gardens -- and there are still some interesting architectural reminders of Shanghai’s colonial days in the French Concession, along Nanjing Road and particularly along the Bund river promenade. But be prepared to be blown back by Shanghai’s very modern, frenetic pace, its arrogant attitude, and its grand and grandiose shopping outlets.
Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai are must-dos, but there are plenty of should-dos, too. These include the panda preserves of Chengdu, the uncanny karst scenery of Guilin, and the remoter Shangri-Las of Yunnan Province, Mongolia, the Silk Road and Tibet.
For those touring China’s major cities, however, the most notable extension is a cruise on the Yangtze River, where two top Western operators, Viking River Cruises and Victoria Cruises, provide excellent voyages through the heart of the Middle Kingdom.
For many visitors to China, booking a tour from an experienced operator makes sense, saving time and effort while delivering quintessential sights and experiences. Stride gives you a choice of tour operators capable of unrolling the enigmatic scroll of China and translating its ancient script.
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