Cultural Immersion Trip in Ancient Capitals of China
-- William and Wife's 11-Day Culture & History Exploration in 7 Time-honored Chinese Cities
Travel Length11 Days
Travel ThemeCulture, History, Nature, Couple
Travel RouteBeijing - Taiyuan - Pingyao - Xian/Luoyang - Dengfeng - Zhengzhou - Kaifeng - Qufu - Mount Tai - Beijing
HighlightsShanxi Museum, Pingyao Ancient City, Longmen Grottoes, White Horse Temple, Shaolin Temple, Kaifeng Night Market, Temple of Confucius, Mount Tai
Second Private Tour with China Discovery: Ancient Capitals
Our first tour with China Discovery to Huangshan and Zhangjiajie went so well in 2017, we decided to contact Catherine Liu of China Discovery again to design a tour of the ancient capitals of Shanxi and Henan provinces this year.
She helped us with every aspect of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. Catherine is very responsive and checked in with us throughout our travels to make sure all was well. Her suggestions and the local tour guides she contracted were excellent so we could enjoy our trip worry free. One of our guides was a local former English teacher who was very knowledgeable about ancient China. This is definitely a must do trip for any Chinese history buff.
Most of the cities reminded us of visiting China 10 years ago with construction everywhere. In several cases, the driver had to revise his route on the fly due to road construction detours.
Our itinerary included the stops listed below. The asterisked items are ones that we recommend most. Our favorite city was Pingyao. Traveling by high speed train between cities was one of the highlights of our trip.
* Shanxi Museum - Regional museum with panoramic view of the river; Excellent artifacts and displays that are better than many other regional museums.
Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan
* Ancient City Wall provided a panoramic view of the layout of this town. You can easily imagine time travel back one thousand years in this small walled city.
Pingyao Ancient City
* Wang Family Compound, the “forbidden city of non-royal residence”, is in impressive and massive family compound.
Wang Family Compound in Pingyao, Photo Shared by William
* Longmen Grottoes – This is a major tourist attraction and probably the most famous on our trip. The carvings were impressive.
Buddha at Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Photo Shared by William
Luoyang Museum: This museum has many interesting artifacts but was not as impressive as the Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan.
* White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China over 1900 years old. The exhibit at the Luoyang Tianzi Jialiu Museum was very well done and there were no crowds unlike at Xian.
White Horse Temple in Luoyang
* Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and the cradle of Kung Fu
We watched a Kung Fu Performance in the Shaolin Wushu Hall and saw hundreds of students practicing wushu on the temple grounds. The grounds are quite expansive but it is very touristy.
Shaolin Kung Fu Performance in Dengfeng
Dragon Pavilion, a part of the ancient ruin of the imperial palace of the Song and Jin Dynasties.
Grand Xiangguo Monastery
* Kaifeng night market - This night market is huge and a lot of fun to explore.
Millennium City Park: This is a theme park based on the Zhangzeduan, the famous panaromic silk scroll titled ‘Qingming Shanghe He (Along the River at the Qingming Festival)’.
Kaifeng night market
* The Confucian Temple, The Confucian Mansion and the Confucian Cemetery. You will get a full understanding about the life of Confucius, as well as the Confucian culture.
Confucious birth place
Statue of Confucius in Front of Confucian Temple
You need to brush up on your Chinese history before you visit these ancient cities. Some of the places did not accept American credit cards. In some cases, we could not even pay by cash - vendors only accepted Weixin e-transactions. Luckily, a local person in line will offer to help to pay by smartphone in exchange for cash. American tourist may be amazed that China is ahead of the US in smartphone applications.
This is a very leisurely trip for Chinese history buffs. You can spend hours analyzing the historic contents of each site. If you are in a hurry or do not have command of Chinese history the significance is not as meaningful. Keep in mind that the majority of tourists visiting these sites are Chinese so the tours are geared to this audience.
You need to keep a sense of humor and be relaxed about things. For example, the 200 mph high speed train station near Qufu did not allow taxis to drop off passengers at the entrance. So we had to be get out about 400 feet away from the entrance and walk with our luggage to the train station. At other train stations the queue of taxis dropping off passengers was so long it took so much time to make it to the entrance. In another case, the shuttle bus driver at Mt. Tai only departed according to the scheduled time even though the bus was already full.
Catherine, our guides and drivers were fantastic and did their best to make our trip as enjoyable as possible.
Hi, I'm Catherine, William's travel consultant. William and his wife have learned a lot of Chinese culture and history during this 11-day trip. Are you interested in his trip? Please feel free to contact me for more details of his travel such as the trip itinerary, accommodation or other arrangements. If you want to take a similar trip or customize your own China tour, just e-mail me and I will spare no efforts to meet your demands. It's my great pleasure to invite you to our country and join us in appreciating this charming land.
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