Welcome to China! Discover China on an exciting adventure that will also make a difference! Visit the historical city of Beijing, taking in Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. See the Forbidden City, home to emperors for over 500 years and tour the Hutongs by rickshaw before heading on to Xi'an, where you will see the terracotta warriors and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda before heading to the Children's Village to have lunch with the children at the Shaanxi Provincial New Life Research Society- an independent and nonprofit charity. It is engaged in helping released people to find jobs and start a new life. Spend the day in the company of the children of the village and watch their excitement when you take them to the city wall and dinner- a truly unforgettable and rewarding experience. Then, off to Chengdu and the Panda Research Center. Here you will volunteer at the center taking care of the pandas. After this worthwhile experience, take a private tour of Shanghai before heading back home inspired.
Day 01: BEIJING, CHINA
Welcome to Beijing! Today when you arrive, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in.
Holiday Inn Downtown Beijing is located in the city center, near the financial district, surrounded by securities houses, insurance companies & major government ministries.
The capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is a unique reflection of the many changing facets of contemporary Chinese culture, where ancient cultural sites such as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven vie for space alongside high-rise buildings, modern shopping malls, and an intricate freeway system. A thriving commercial capital, continually developing, Beijing's 2000-year-old cultural heritage is still very much in evidence, with a vast array of stunning attractions throughout the city.
Holiday Inn Downtown
Day 02: BEIJING
After breakfast, depart for a full day city tour of Beijing.
Start your tour with a visit to Tiananmen Square, a site of historic significance for the advent of communism in China. Known as "six-four" or "June 4th," the movement has become an albatross about the Chinese government's neck in regards to human rights and freedom of speech, a point of contention in Sino-American relations. Aside from the grand and tragic events here over the last 50 years, Tiananmen is truly a people's square, alive with local kite fliers and wide-eyed tourists from out of town.
Then visit the impressive Forbidden City within the Imperial Palace. Also known as the Imperial Palace Museum or Gugong, the Forbidden City was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties carried out their administration and lived. Now it is open to the public as a palace museum where people can see the great traditional palace architecture, enjoy the treasures kept in the palace, and learn of the legends and anecdotes about the imperial family and the court.
In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Heaven, set in a 670-acre park. Here you will find Qinian Dian (Hall of Prayer for the Good Harvests), constructed without a single nail, and one of the finest examples of Chinese architecture. Also, enjoy a rickshaw tour of the Hutongs, the "Old City" neighborhoods of narrow alleyways and courtyard gardens hidden behind Beijing's modern facade.
Holiday Inn Downtown
Day 03: BEIJING
This morning, enjoy a stroll through the lush gardens of the Summer Palace. Equally famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is called "Yiheyuan" (Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. It is up to now the best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China.
Enjoy an afternoon visit to the Juyong Pass section of the Great Wall of China, which snakes over the green hill countryside outside of Beijing.
UNESCO enlisted the Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world, in the World Heritage in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus stretching approximately 4,163 miles from east to west of China. With a history of more than 2,000 years, some of the sections of the great wall are now in ruins or even entirely disappeared. However, it is still one of the most appealing attractions all around the world owing to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.
Holiday Inn Downtown
Day 04: BEIJING- XI'AN
This morning you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Xi'an.
Strategically set on the Silk Road trade route that once linked central Asia to Europe, Xi'an was the largest city in the world during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Although the city is quite modernized, Xi'an has retained many of the historical remnants of its past glory.
Upon arrival, you will be met outside baggage claim and then head off to see the Terracotta Warriors and Horses at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, and then be transferred to your hotel.
Visit the Terracotta Warriors Museum, a terracotta army guarding the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, which lures travelers from all over the world. In a quest for immortality and eternal power, China's first emperor chose to have himself buried with some 8,000 life-size, intricately carved soldiers, horses, and chariots. Discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, the terracotta army then wore painted uniforms, but exposure to the air and sun has turned them black. This afternoon, visit the nearby Banpo Neolithic Village, which offers 1,000-year-old artifacts, and the Hot Springs of Huaqing, baths that have been in use for 3,000 years.
The Aurum International Hotel: Each of the 302 rooms at this fine 4-star hotel feature superior amenities: some of the features you'll enjoy are Internet Access, Television, Separate Shower and Tub. Also to be found at the hotel is a Coffee Shop, Bar/Pub, Laundry Service/Dry Cleaning, Meeting Facilities, Restaurant, Room Service, Babysitting, and Business Center. After a day of exploring, massage, gym/fitness facilities, sauna, and outdoor pool are some of the ways to unwind.
Aurum International Hotel
Day 05: XI'AN
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Located in the Dacien Temple in the southern suburb of Xi'an City, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is the extant most famed ancient tower in Xi'an, hence the symbol of the old-line Xi'an. It was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the store of Buddhist sutras that were taken from India by the monk Xuanzang.
After, transfer to the Xi'an Children's Village to have lunch with the children. Shaanxi Provincial New Life Research Society is an independent and nonprofit charity. It is engaged in helping released people to find jobs and start a new life. It has two special services, a children's village and service center for released women. In 1996, Shaanxi Provincial New Life Research Society set up a children's village so as to protect the right of the children of criminals, prevent juvenile delinquency and promote the criminal to make a fresh start. So far, they have offered help to more than 200 children of criminals.
In the afternoon you have a wonderful opportunity to take one or two of the children (accompanied by a teacher) out of the village to visit the City Wall, and have dinner with them at a local restaurant before sending them back to the village. What a wonderful experience!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Aurum International Hotel
Day 06: XI'AN- CHENGDU- YA'AN
In the morning you will be driven to the airport for a morning flight to Chengdu. You will be met at the airport in Chengdu and taken to the Ya'an Panda Breeding Center, which is located in Bifengxia Town.
Located on the edge of Tibetan -Qinghai plateau and about 168km away from Chengdu, Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center is richly endowed with natural conditions suitable for pandas. This wild panda habitat was the original habitat for pandas. The first panda specimen was found around Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center. It is located at altitudes from 1100m to 1800m with an area of 144 acres. This whole simulated wild panda habitat is composed of three projects. The first project was finished in 2003, and 20 pandas are now living in the first project in 16 enclosures. Each enclosure covers an area of 1/4 acre. This simulated wild panda habitat will be finished in 10 years.
Because of the earthquake, most of the 63 captive pandas in Wolong Nature Reserve have been carried here. On July 6, the first twin pandas of the world were born in Bifengxia panda center.
By September 2 of 2008, 9 panda babies have been born in Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center.
Ya'an Hongzhu Hotel
Day 07: YA'AN
Full day volunteer work at the center: you will have a basic training course on how to take care of the pandas and guidelines for working there.
The contents of the volunteer work are:
- Feed the panda with bamboo, apple or vegetables.
- Clean the panda's enclosures and the gardens.
- Prepare the food for the pandas.
Ya'an Hongzhu Hotel
Day 08: YA'AN
Today you have the opportunity to be a behaviorist, to help the researchers collect and analyze behavior data to learn more about these wonderful creatures and their needs.
Ya'an Hongzhu Hotel
Day 09: YA'AN
Today you will experience what it is like to work in the panda kitchen. You will make steamed corn bread for the pandas and help the cook to distribute this treat to the animals. You will also learn about the eating habits and the different foods the pandas eat in the different seasons.
Ya'an Hongzhu Hotel
Day 10: YA'AN- CHENGDU
This morning you will be taken to visit the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System is a pearl in the water works construction of ancient China. Built over 2,200 years ago, it still provides benefits for the people. The irrigation system was erected on the Minjiang River at the foot of Yulei Mountain, northwest of Dujiangyan City in Sichuan Province. Here the Minjiang River, after being joined by many tributaries in its upper reaches, runs toward the Chengdu Plain. As the Yulei Mountain originally blocked the river so that water could not flow eastward, the plain had no access to river irrigation and agricultural development in the region was therefore seriously affected. Li Bing, governor of Shu Prefecture during the Warring States period (475-221 BC), made a careful survey of the region and then had a channel cut through Yulei Mountain. He put a dyke in the middle of the Minjiang River to divide it into two parts. This happened about 250 BC. He also ordered the local people to open channels and canals on the plain so as to divert the river for irrigation purposes. This finally turned the agricultural potential of the plain into a land of abundance. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System was listed by the United Nations Heritage Commission as one of the World's Cultural Heritage on November 29, 2000.
Later in the afternoon you will be transferred to your hotel in Chengdu.
Yinhe Dynasty Hotel
Day 11: CHENGDU- SHANGHAI
After breakfast this morning you will visit the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu (Dufu Caotang), the hut of the poet Du Fu, possibly China's most famous poet. He built a straw hut on the property with a friend and lived there for three years under very modest conditions. He wrote more than 240 of his famous poems here.
In the afternoon you are driven to the airport to fly to Shanghai.
When you arrive, you will be met and driven to your hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Located in the heart of the city and only minutes from major tourist attractions and historical districts, is the Hotel Equatorial Shanghai. Since it's opening in June 1991, Hotel Equatorial Shanghai is constantly evaluating and improving its guest's services and facilities in order to keep up with the needs of the modern traveler. The latest development has been the refurbishing of the 526 guestrooms and suites; all of which now offers a contemporary yet warm feel. This includes the Equator Club reception and lounge area located on the 26th and 27th floor of the hotel tower.
Day 12: SHANGHAI
Enjoy a full day city tour of Shanghai.
First visit one of the oldest tourist sites in Shanghai, the Yuyuan Gardens. With ponds, traditional red walls with upturned tile roofs, and an excellent teahouse - the Yuyuan Gardens is a wonderful respite from city chaos.
Then transfer to the west side of the city to visit the Jade Buddha Temple, home to two famous white jade Buddha statues brought from Burma in 1882. This afternoon, you will visit the Shanghai Museum, which boasts the best bronze collection in the world, along with Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, jade, coins, paintings, and ceramics. Later, enjoy a stroll along The Bund, also called the Zhongshan Road, the famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years.
Day 13: SHANGHAI - DEPART
Today you are transferred to Pudong Airport for your homebound flight.
Depart any day! Contact iExplore for details.
March, June, July & August:
$3,259 per person double occupancy.
$4,989 solo traveler.
$749 single room supplement.
April, May, September and October:
$3,329 per person double occupancy.
$5,119 solo traveler.
$819 single room supplement.
November 1 to 15:
$3,209 per person double occupancy.
$5,019 solo traveler.
$779 single room supplement.
Prices for your dates of travel may vary- please contact iExplore for an exact quote. Quoted prices are based on current rates of exchange, tariffs and taxes as of February, 2011. iExplore reserves the right to increase tour prices to cover increased costs, tariffs and taxes received after prices are published, and to reflect fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. iExplore is under no obligation to give breakdown costs involved in any package.
· Hotel accommodations as listed in the itinerary or similar, including breakfast daily.
· Transfers and tours on a private basis.
· Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
· Domestic flights Beijing/Xi'an/Chengdu/Shanghai in economy class including taxes.
· Volunteer work includes uniforms, materials and training fee.
· Services of English-speaking local guides.
· International airfare
· Departure and airport taxes
· Meals, unless otherwise indicated
· Items of a personal nature
· Gratuities and porterage
· Travel insurance
· Visas (if required)
· Holiday surcharges
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.