Roots of Chinese Culture 14-Day Tour (CIT006)

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Taiyuan icon with text - 75 x 75 Wutaishan (Wutai Mountain) icon with text - 75 x 75 Hengshan (Heng Mountain) icon with text - 75 x 75 Yingxian icon with text - 75 x 75 Datong icon with text - 75 x 75 Pingyao icon with text - 75 x 75
Linfen icon with text - 75 x 75 Yuncheng icon with text - 75 x 75 Luoyang icon with text - 75 x 75 Dengfeng (Shaolin Monastery) icon with text - 75 x 75 Zhengzhou icon with text - 75 x 75 Kaifeng icon with text - 75 x 75

Day 1: U.S.A.Beijing
Today you will board a plane bound for China, where you will witness the vicissitudes of China’s five thousand-year history.  Your tour will begin in the dynamic capital city of Beijing, a city that encompasses the vast range of China’s cultural styles.

Datong - Yungang Grottoes - painted Buddha 2 - Llee Wu - 180 x 120
Yungang Caves, Datong
(photo by Llee Wu)

Day 2: Arrival in Beijing
Today, after arriving in Beijing, you will be greeted at the airport by CIT’s professional bilingual tour guide and escorted to the hotel where you will be staying overnight.
Beijing Accommodations: Grand Gongda Jianguo Hotel 工大建国 (5-Star) or equivalent

Day 3: BeijingTaiyuan
Today you will take a high-speed train to the capital of Shanxi Province, Taiyuan, which has been an important line of defense against foreign invasion since ancient times.  There you will visit the Interactive Coal Museum of China.  China mines more coal than any other country, and the construction of this museum is a major event in the development of China’s coal technology.  Its function is to collect and preserve important relics and historical data in order to review and summarize China’s advances in coal technology and mining industry safety, thereby demonstrating the progress that has been made in these areas.  The museum features an underground mine designed to vividly and realistically show the entire process of coal mining, from the discovery of coal to its excavation, so that you may better understand the richness of the long history of Shanxi’s coal industry.  After you have watched a documentary on coal mining, descended into the bowels of the earth in a cage elevator, and taken a ride on a mine train, you will have personally penetrated the mysterious world of coal mines.  Following your tour of the museum, you will have a chance to enjoy authentic Shanxi-style noodles.
Taiyuan Accommodations: Yuyuan Hotel 愉园大酒店 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 3 Attractions:

Wutaishan (Wutai Mountain) - Tim Wang - 282 x 120
Temples at Wutai Mountain
(photo by Tim Wang)
  • Interactive Coal Museum of China (中国煤炭体验馆, Zhōngguó Méitàn Tǐyànguǎn)

Day 4: TaiyuanWutai Mountain
Today you will travel to Wutai Mountain, the most important of the “four great Buddhist mountains” in China and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  First, you will visit Bodhisattva Peak, one of the “five sacred Buddhist sites” on Wutai Mountain and the most opulent of its temples.  From there you will go to one of the first temples built in China, Xiantong Temple, which is just as renowned as Luoyang’s famous White Horse Temple.  Xiantong Temple is the oldest temple at Wutai Mountain and is also the largest and most influential.  The third sacred site you will visit, Tayuan Temple, known for the soaring white tower that houses sacred bones of the Buddha, is traditionally called “the Great White Tower” and is considered a symbol of Wutai Mountain.  The fourth and last site you will visit is the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas; also known as “the Temple of Five Grandfathers,” it is where visitors to Wutai Mountain feel inspired to burn the most incense. For dinner this evening, you will enjoy a Buddhist vegetarian banquet.
Wutai Mountain Accommodations: Wutai Mountain Flower Hotel 五台山花卉山庄 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 4 Attractions:

Wutaishan (Wutai Mountain) - Xiantong Temple - Llee Wu - 180 x 120
Xiantong Temple
(photo by Llee Wu)
  • Wutai Mountain (五台山, Wǔtái Shān)
    • Bodhisattva Peak (菩萨顶, Púsà Dǐng)
    • Xiantong Temple (显通寺, Xiǎntōng Sì)
    • Tayuan Temple (塔院寺, Tǎyuàn Sì)
    • Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas (万佛阁, Wànfó Gé)
  • Special Arrangements: Wutai Mountain vegetarian banquet

Day 5: Wutai MountainHeng MountainYingxianDatong
After breakfast, you will tour Wutai Mountain’s temple complex, which includes Shuxiang Temple and Puhua Temple.  Then you will go sightseeing at Heng Mountain, one of the “five famous Taoist mountains.”  There you will take a tour of Xuankong Temple (also known as the Hanging Temple), famed for its scenery, the precariousness of its mountainside location, and the strangeness and skill of its construction.  Made entirely of wood, the temple has a small foundation that only covers an area of 152.5 square meters, but it contains 40 rooms.  Finally, you will stop in Yingxian (“Ying County”) to visit the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, also known as the Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple or simply the Muta (“wooden pagoda”).  Built in 1056, the 200-foot tall Muta is the oldest temple made completely of wood still standing in China.  Afterward, you will travel to Datong, where you will have dinner.
Datong Accommodations: Yungang International Hotel 云岗国际 (5-Star) or equivalent
Day 5 Attractions:

Hengshan (Heng Mountain) - Hanging Temple - Steve Cadman - 180 x 120
Hanging Temple, Hengshan
(photo by Steve Cadman)
  • Wutai Mountain (五台山, Wǔtái Shān)
    • Shuxiang Temple (殊像寺, Shūxiàng Sì)
    • Puhua Temple (普化寺, Pǔhuà Sì)
  • Heng Mountain (恒山, Héngshān)
    • Xuankong Temple or Hanging Temple (悬空寺, Xuánkōng Sì)
  • Fogong Temple (佛宫寺, Fógōng Sì)
    • Yingxian Wooden Pagoda (应县木塔, Yìngxiàn Mùtǎ)

Day 6: DatongTaiyuan
After breakfast, you will tour the Yungang Caves (or Yungang Grottoes), a complex of 45 ancient Buddhist caves that are known as an “Oriental treasure house” because they contain some 51,000 stone Buddha statues.  The Yungang Caves, whose construction began more than 1,500 years ago, are one of the three biggest such Buddhist grotto complexes in China.  After lunch you will return to Taiyuan, where in the evening you can take a relaxing stroll in the “pedestrian street” shopping area near your hotel and take in the local culture.
Taiyuan Accommodations: Yuyuan Hotel 愉园大酒店 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 6 Attractions:

Datong - Yungang Grottoes 1 - Steve Cadman - 180 x 120
Yungang Caves carvings
(photo by Steve Cadman)
  • Yungang Caves (云岗石窟, Yúngāng Shíkū)

Day 7: TaiyuanPingyao
Today, after breakfast, you will visit the Shanxi Museum, where you can explore Shanxi’s thousands of years of history and see how each period of China’s history has influenced Shanxi culture.  After lunch, you will travel to Pingyao.  Among China’s ancient cities, Pingyao stands out as the one whose traditional character is the best-preserved.  Pingyao’s ancient city wall is one of the four most famous in China, and it’s also one of the oldest and largest brick city walls of any small city in Shanxi and even in all of China.  The city’s Sunrise Prosperity Draft Bank, the rural ancestor of China’s modern banks, was the first private financial organization to provide banking services to customers in different areas.  You will also visit Mingqing Street, which has been a commercial distribution center since the Ming Dynasty; there are storefronts lining the street and shops everywhere, once earning the area a reputation as “the number one financial center of the Qing Dynasty.”  Afterward, you will take a nostalgic tour of some of the city’s ancient establishments.
Pingyao Accommodations: Shanxi Grand Hotel 洪善驿民俗宾馆 (5-Star) or equivalent
Day 7 Attractions:

Pingyao - City Walls - Llee Wu - 180 x 120
Pingyao City Wall
(photo by Llee Wu)
  • Shanxi Museum (山西博物院, Shānxī Bówùyuàn)
  • Pingyao City Wall (平遥古城墙, Píngyáo Gǔchéngqiáng)
  • Sunrise Prosperity Draft Bank (日升昌票号, Rìshēng Chāng Piàohào)
  • Mingqing Street (平遥明清街, Píngyáo Míngqīng Jiē)

Day 8: PingyaoLinfen
After breakfast you will take a tour of Pingyao’s Shuanglin Temple, famous for its rare painted statues from the Song and Yuan dynasties.  Then you will travel to Linfen to see its Yao Temple, which was built during the Jin Dynasty in memory of Emperor Yao, who according to legend was the first emperor of China.  It is said that Emperor Yao discussed matters of state with four trusted high-ranking officials in Five-Phoenix Tower, one of several famous buildings located on the temple grounds.  The tower gets its name from the fact that these officials were called “the Four Phoenixes,” and Emperor Yao himself was called “the King of the Phoenixes.”
Linfen Accommodations: Tang Yao Hotel 唐尧大酒店 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 8 Attractions:

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda - Llee Wu - 160 x 240
Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
(photo by Llee Wu)
  • Shuanglin Temple (双林寺, Shuānglín Sì)
  • Yao Temple (尧庙, Yáo Miào)
    • Five-Phoenix Tower (五凤楼, Wǔ Fèng Lóu)

Day 9: LinfenYuncheng
After breakfast, you will first visit the Paleolithic-era Ding Village Ruins before heading to Guandi Temple in Xiezhou, near the city of Yuncheng.  Guandi Temple is the largest extant temple in China dedicated to Guan Yu, a formidable general from Chinese history who became one of China’s most popular gods.  Because Xiezhou was General Yu’s hometown, this grand temple has a lofty status among China’s temples and has garnered people’s respect and interest for hundreds of years.
Yuncheng Accommodations: Tongbao International Hotel 通宝国际酒店 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 9 Attractions:

  • Ding Village Ruins (丁村文化遗址, Dīngcūn Wénhuà Yízhǐ)
  • Guandi Temple (关帝庙, Guāndì Miào)

Day 10: YunchengLuoyang
After breakfast, our tour bus will take you to the city of Luoyang in Henan Province, to see White Horse Temple, which was built more than 1,900 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty and was the first Buddhist temple built in China.  Afterward, you will tour the Longmen Caves (or “Dragon Gate Grottoes”), one of China’s “four great cave complexes,” which was dug 1,500 years ago; now there are more than 1,300 caves that contain more than 100,000 Buddhist statues and more than 40 Buddhist pagodas.  The Longmen Caves were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Among the most famous sights in the area are Guyang Cave, Fengxian Temple, Lotus Cave, and Ten Thousand Buddha Cave, all of them invaluable cultural sites and relics.  Next you will proceed to Guanlin, where the decapitated head of Guan Gong (Guan Yu) is buried.  Because Guan Gong was venerated as a military sage in the ancient world, his tomb was built to be grand and imposing.  Finally, you will visit Tianzijia Museum, which boasts relics dating back to the 8th century B.C., when Luoyang (then called Luoyi) was the capital of the Zhou Dynasty.  For dinner, we have arranged a truly unique “shuixi”-style meal.
Luoyang Accommodations: Hua-Yang Plaza Hotel 华阳广场国际酒店 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 10 Attractions:

Luoyang - Longmen Grottoes - Mark Tu - 225 x 150
Longmen Caves
(photo by Dr. Mark Tu)
  • White Horse Temple (白马寺, Báimǎ Sì)
  • Longmen Caves (龙门石窟, Lóngmén Shíkū)
    • Guyang Cave (古阳洞, Gǔyáng Dòng)
    • Fengxian Temple (奉仙寺, Fèngxiān Sì)
    • Lotus Cave (莲花洞, Liánhuā Dòng)
    • Ten Thousand Buddha Cave (万佛洞, Wànfó Dòng)
  • Guanlin (关林, Guānlín)
  • Tianzijia Museum (天子架, Tiānzǐjià Bówùguǎn)
  • Special Arrangements: a taste of “shuixi”-style (水席, shuǐxí) cuisine

Day 11: LuoyangDengfengZhengzhou
Today you will venture to Song Mountain near Dengfeng to visit the Shaolin Monastery, the ancestral home of the Chan branch of Buddhism (“Zen” in Japan) and also the birthplace of the Shaolin school of martial arts.  Within the temple are many stelae, or stone tablets, of great aesthetic value.  Thousand-Buddha Hall and White Clothes Hall are named for the exquisite paintings featured within.  During your visit, you will also have the opportunity to watch a Shaolin martial arts performance of matchless brilliance.  Next you will see the Pagoda Forest, a cemetery filled with hundreds of stupas, or tomb pagodas, where many eminent Shaolin monks are buried.  Afterward, you will enjoy a feast of authentic Henan-style cuisine, followed by a visit to the Henan Museum, which features a fabulous collection of relics from Henan Province’s glorious past.  Finally, you will travel to Zhengzhou, where you will eat dinner and spend the night.
Zhengzhou Accommodations: Jianguo Hotel Xinhua Henan 新华建国 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 11 Attractions:

Dengfeng - Shaolin kung fu masters - Kevin Poh - 210 x 140
Shaolin kung fu performers
(photo by Kevin Poh)
  • Song Mountain (嵩山, Sōngshān)
  • Shaolin Monastery (少林寺, Shàolín Sì)
    • Thousand-Buddha Hall (千佛殿, Qiānfó Diàn)
    • White Clothes Hall (白衣殿, Báiyī Diàn)
    • Pagoda Forest (塔林, Tǎlín)
  • Henan Museum (河南博物馆, Hénán Bówùguǎn)
  • Special Arrangements: Shaolin martial arts performance (武术表演, wǔshù biǎoyǎn), Henan-style cuisine

Day 12: ZhengzhouKaifeng
After breakfast, you will drive to Kaifeng to visit the Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden, a reconstruction of a Song Dynasty riverside town based on the famous painting “Along the River During Qingming Festival,” by the Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zerui.  As in Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg, people in the town wear Song Dynasty-style clothing, and as you walk among them it will seem as though you have journeyed a thousand years into the past.  Afterward, you will visit the Memorial Hall of Lord Bao, which was constructed in honor of Bao Zheng, a revered high official of the Northern Song Dynasty.  You will then continue onward to the Northern Song Pagoda, which has been officially recognized as a “national treasure” of China.  Though nicknamed “the Iron Pagoda” because of its deep brown color, its bricks are actually made of liuli (“colored glaze”), which is similar to crystal glass.  After dinner at the restaurant that serves the most famous steamed buns (包子, bāozi) in Kaifeng, you can stroll along Imperial Song Street, which features Song Dynasty-style restaurants and shops that sell antiques, calligraphy, and souvenirs, and visit the Shanxi-Shaanxi-Gansu Guild Hall.
Kaifeng Accommodations: New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng 开元名都 (5-Star) or equivalent
Day 12 Attractions:

Kaifeng - Iron Pagoda - Kevin Poh - 150 x 225
Northern Song Pagoda
(photo by Kevin Poh)
  • Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden (清明上河图, Qīngmíng Shànghé Tú)
  • Memorial Hall of Lord Bao (包公祠, Bāogōng Cí)
  • Northern Song Pagoda (北宋宝塔, Běisòng Bǎotǎ)
  • Imperial Song Street (宋都御街, Sòngdū Yùjiē)
    • Shanxi-Shaanxi-Gansu Guild Hall (山陕甘会馆, Shānshǎngān Huìguǎn)

Day 13: KaifengZhengzhou
Today you will return to Zhengzhou, which is located in central Henan Province, on the south bank of the Yellow River.  Zhengzhou is one of the most important industrial cities in China, and because it is situated on China’s Central Plains, it is of great importance as a center of transportation.  It is also known as a commercial city because of its commercial prosperity in ancient times.  After your arrival in Zhengzhou, you will proceed to the Yellow River Scenic Area, whose sights include Five Dragons Peak, the famous “Yellow River Mother” Statue, and the Yellow River Stone Tablet Forest, a cluster of many stelae (stone tablets) of every description.  You will also take a tour of the Yellow River on a hovercraft.  As night approaches, you will stroll through the Gulou Night Market and enjoy a dinner of Cantonese food and “Old Ma” hot pot.
Zhengzhou Accommodations: Jianguo Hotel Xinhua Henan 新华建国 (4-Star) or equivalent
Day 13 Attractions:

Kaifeng - Memorial Hall of Lord Bao - Kevin Poh - 144 x 180
Memorial Hall of Lord Bao
(photo by Kevin Poh)
  • Yellow River Scenic Area (黄河游览区, Huáng Hé Yóulǎn Qū)
    • Five Dragons Peak (五龙峰, Wǔ Lóng Fēng)
    • Yellow River Mother Statue (黄河母亲塑像, Huáng Hé Mǔqīn Sùxiàng)
    • Yellow River Stone Tablet Forest (黄河碑林, Huáng Hé Bēilín)
  • Gulou Night Market (鼓楼夜市, Gǔlóu Yèshì)
  • Special Arrangements: hovercraft tour of the Yellow River, Cantonese dinner with hot pot

Day 14: Zhengzhou / departure from China via Beijing or Shanghai
Today you will take a flight to Beijing or Shanghai, where you can either fly back to the United States or continue your vacation in China; if you’d like to make additional travel arrangements, please let us know.

For 2015 prices and departure dates, please contact us.

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