15 day tour of China with Jewish sightseeing in Shanghai
Day 1, Tuesday - Beijing
Arrive in Beijing and be met at the Beijing airport by your guide who will transport you to your lovely hotel - Renaissance Marriott Hotel Beijing (5-star) or Similar. As time allows, you'll receive a tour overview of Beijing and will stop at interesting local spots or hutongs (neighborhood alleys and courtyards) to see the local people and sights.
Day 2, Wednesday Buffet Breakfast. Your day tour takes you outside the Beijing area through the surrounding countryside to see some of the most historic sights in China. Along the way, you'll visit the Cloissonné Art Works to experience the meticulous craftsmanship of Chinese artisans in the ancient style. Walk the famous Sacred Way, entrance to the burial grounds of the Ming Dynasty Tombs, and visit the quiet DeLing Tomb and a local village and its surroundings for a discussion of Feng Shui. Stop along the way at one of China's Friendship Shops for a unique shopping experience. Lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the lovely Juyongguan section of the Great Wall of China. From here you'll have an opportunity to climb higher to a magnificent vista of the dragon-like arms and legs of the Wall stretching in various directions across the countryside. Dinner is followed by an exhilarating Chinese Acrobatic Show.
Day 3, Thursday Buffet Breakfast. This morning, see a new highlight of Beijing, the incredible Olympic Village with its Bird's Nest and Water Cubic Stadium. Afterward, view the most beloved part of the Beijing Zoo ... the Panda Garden. Enjoy a local lunch or a picnic lunch at the exquisite Imperial Summer Palace with its magnificent marble boat and a serene ride on the park's lake. Afterward, visit a local pharmacy or traditional herbal medicine clinic for a lecture of traditional Chinese medicine. After a local dinner, thrill to Beijing's extravaganza Kung Fu show featuring many of China's best Kung Fu practitioners, directors, and designers.
Day 4, Friday Buffet Breakfast. Visit a traditional Chinese tea house to experience the Chinese tradition of tea. Then see Scenery Hill (also known as Coal Hill) for a walk through the beautiful park and a climb to the top to view the rooftops of the Forbidden City and Beijing. After lunch, walk famous Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world and the center of the pulse of this city. Then see the home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, The Forbidden City and Imperial Palace, with its more than 800 buildings and 9,999 and one-half rooms. Return to your hotel to prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat & Dinner with Chabad of Beijing (Orthodox/Glatt Kosher Dinner) or Kehillat Beijing (Reconstructionist/Vegetarian-Fish Dinner)
Day 5, Saturday Buffet Breakfast. This morning, visit the Pearl Market and view the many designs, colors, and textures of pearls from this part of the world. Then see the masterpiece of Ming architecture, Temple of Heaven, where the Ming and Qing emperors prayed to heaven for a good harvest. Lunch. Then see one of China's most breathtaking temples, the historic Tibetan Lama Temple, a working monastery that contains one of the world's largest Buddha statues, all in gold leaf. Enjoy a Pedicab Tour that gives you a chance to rest your feet after the walking of the local streets, stores, and people. Dinner is one of Beiing's specialities: the memorable Peking Duck banquet.
Day 6, Sunday ~ Xi'an Buffet Breakfast. This morning's flight brings you to Xi'an, one of China's ancient capitals, the center of the Silk Road trade in China, and for centuries a major destination for Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish merchants, traders, and settlers. After you arrive, walk through Xi'an's delightful Town Square for people watching or photographing, and view the historic Drum and Bell Towers. Just off the main square, visit the ancient Muslim District of Xi'an, one of the most historic in China. The streets and market of Xi'an's Muslim District appears today as it has for centuries. Xi'an's Great Mosque is a fantastic complex with its gates, courtyards, stelae, and temple halls -- all of traditional Chinese architectural design. Accomodation at the five-star Kempinski Hotel Or Similar. To walk this area is to step back in time more than a millennium. In the evening, enjoy a colorful Tang Dynasty Show and Traditional Dumpling (Won Ton) Banquet.
Day 7, Monday Buffet Breakfast. A tour highlight, the Terra-Cotta Warriors Exhibition, is the 8th Wonder of the World, dating from the reign of China's First Emperor more than 2,200 years ago. Marvel at the artistry at the Warrior Duplication Factory, one of China's finest. After a Buddhist vegan lunch, visit a local village to see homes carved right into the caves as many of the people here have lived for centuries. As time allows, visit a local herb markets for a view of exotic local herbs, spices, and foods. In the evening, enjoy a local dinner.
Day 8, Tuesday This morning, tour the Ming Dynasty City Wall of Xi'an and, if you're ambitious, climb to the top for a view of the walled city. Afterward see the beautifully-restored Large Wild Goose Pagoda — one of the most revered temples of Buddhism. After lunch, you'll transfer to the airport for your 3-hour flight to Guilin, bringing you to one of China's most strikingly beautiful southern landscapes, the images of which one often sees in China's most representative painting, poetry, and literature. This mystical mythic landscape has inspired artists, musicians, and philsoophers throughout China's history. The karst formations here are unique in all the world. Enjoy dinner and a free evening.
Day 9, Wednesday - Guilin Buffet breakfast. As you drive through the area, you'll stop to see some of the most beautiful spots. At Elephant Hill Park -- one of Guilin's most famous landmarks -- you'll view an impressive natural arch and walk the park grounds or ride a bamboo raft for a closer view of the arch and the cave that jut out into the water. Then visit Seven Star Park with its modern Chinese gardens. Visit the Panda House at this park to see the pandas play. Reed Flute Cave contains striking formations in a mystical setting of rice paddies and colorful local villages. Accomodation at Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel (5-star Hotel) or similar Day 10, Thursday Buffet breakfast. Take a morning ride to Yangshuo, where your guide will take you bamboo rafting on Yulong River and also take you to her home outside beautiful Yangshuo in Moon Village, a location of fabled beauty. Enjoy a meal with the family and visit the charming town of Yangshuo to shop among all manner of vendors, walk the cobbled streets and browse the food markets, seeing the colorful daily lives of the people and their homes. Return to your hotel and dinner. Day 11, Friday - Shanghai Following breakfast, catch a morning flight to Shanghai. You are taking a leap in time from China's most ancient capitol to its most modern municipality and port. This amazing community was a refuge to some 30,000 Jews during the Holocaust years. After you arrive, visit Old City Shanghai to sightsee, shop, and tour the magnificent beauty of one of China's most elegant historic gardens, Yu Mandarin Garden. Return to your hotel by late afternoon to prepare for Shabbat. Enjoy the evening on your own or be driven to the Jewish Centre of Shanghai to attend Kabbalat Shabbat and Dinner with Shanghai's Chabad and Jewish community. Accomodation at the five-star Shanghai Peace Hotel or similar.
Day 12, Saturday Breakfast. Visit the former home of Shanghai's Jewish community, the Hongkou Ghetto and nearby, the former Ohel-Moishe Synagogue. See the Memorial to Stateless Refugees within the ghetto and visit Ohel Rachel Synagogue,also built by the Sassoon family. Drive through the French Concession, where many of Shanghai's fine Jewish estates were once located. Within the French Concession, visit the Arts and Crafts Institute, a historic home and former estate of one of Shanghai's officials. See some of the local crafts designed and created here. Then visit the Sir Elie Kadoorie Mansion (the Marble Mansion), today a Children's Palace, to watch gifted children dance, sing, and play traditional Chinese instruments. In the evening, enjoy a Night Cruise of the Huangpu River with a glorious view from the water of the Shanghai harbor and the Bund lit up like a fairyland.
Day 13, Sunday After breakfast, walk along the Nanjing Pedestrian Walk to People's Park and People's Square, and to the Shanghai Grand Theatre. Visit the spectacular Shanghai Museum -- one of the world's foremost -- amidst the beautiful city center surroundings. Don't miss the bookstore, which is filled with writings and gifts of Chinese crafts, culture, and history. Visit Shanghai Xintiandi, the first development in the Taipingqiao Redevelopment Project, a complex of retail, entertainment, cultural, recreational, commercial and residential facilities in restored "Shikumen" houses - a special old form of building architecture only found in Shanghai - as well as state-of-the-art new buildings catering to both residents and visitors. Xintiandi has won the national Innovation China 2001 - Architecture Award. The amazing Shikumen houses and alleys were reconstructed from old design drawings. In the middle of the 19th century, the uprising of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom forced a large number of residents from Shanghai and its neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces to take refuge in the city's foreign concessions. To meet the needs of the rapidly increasing population, Shikumen houses were built in the foreign concessions on an unprecedented scale. A typical Shikumen house is built along narrow alleys (or "long-tangs") and features a stone gate framing a black wooden front door that leads into a small enclosed courtyard. This unique architectural setting provided residents with a feeling of security in a turbulent era, and as most of them were developed by foreign companies, Shikumen houses gradually became a symbol of East meeting West in Shanghai. After lunch, visit the nearby Jade Buddha Temple, a working monastery and one of the only temples to survive China's Cultural Revolution without damage (hear the legend from your guide). See its lovely jade Buddha and many gilded Buddhas of all shapes, sizes and expressions. Hear what these images represent and why they were carved. Following dinner, walk along the The Bund, Shanghai's old financial district, a spectacular miles-long waterfront park along the harbor, one of Shanghai's liveliest areas and one of its most interesting and beautiful at night.
Day 14, Monday Breakfast. Today, take the underground Huangpu River Tourist Tunnel to Shanghai's newest financial district, Pudong, and walk along Pudong Bundside Avenue to see the harbor and the buildings on this eastern side of the Huangpu River. Visit Oriental Pearl Tower Park to see the tallest tower in the world and its surroundings and take a ride to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower in the heart of Pudong, for a bird's-eye view of Shanghai. Enjoy local meals and see the newly-opened (2002) Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (one of the largest aquariums in Asia) and the beautiful landscapes of Lujiazui Green Park and the Lujiazui Economic and Trade Area. After dinner, enjoy a free evening.
Day 15, Tuesday Transfer to airport for flight to USA. Arrive home the same day
This is a sample itinerary and customized for each client.