What comes to mind when you think of China? Odds are you picture giant pandas, terracotta warriors and beautiful Cheongsam dresses. These are indeed all wonderful, iconic parts of Chinese culture, but in truth there's a deep wealth of history and culture to be discovered on a group tour of China. Let's take a look!
One of the most important things to experience when touring Beijing is Peking duck. While you might be familiar with the dish, little of what you've had in Australia could compare to what it's like when prepared in its home city. That's right – Beijing, which was historically romanised as "Peking", is the origin of this unique method of roasting duck.
Pop over to Bianyifang, in the Qianmen district, to dine upon the iconic dish in Beijing's oldest still-operating duck house. Ducks are available as a half or whole – a whole duck with sides will happily feed a table of four, and avoiding a half-duck means you're more likely to receive your meal fresh from the oven.
When you aren't feasting, take the opportunity to visit some of Beijing's historical sites, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. If you're visiting between March and May, join a guided group tour out to the Huanghuacheng section of the wall. During this time, the Wall will look over rolling fields of beautiful yellow wild flowers and you can also partake in a tranquil boat tour upon the nearby lake.
When you're ready to further your tour, enjoy another distinctly Chinese experience by catching the high speed rail to Shanghai. At a shocking 350km/h, the train will get you there in only four and a half hours.
Shanghai is China's largest city, so it's a great place to enjoy bustling cosmopolitan culture. Along the waterfront boulevard known as the Bund, you'll spot both historical buildings pertaining to China's history as well as the impressive skyscraper's of the country's future across the water. The Bund is bustling even at dawn, and your tour group mustn't miss out on taking part in tai chi, qi gong or even ballroom dancing out on the street.
Beyond the Bund, there's so much to experienced in a tour of Shanghai. Explore the ancient architecture of the 1,700-year-old water village of Zhujiajiao, find tranquillity in the immaculate Yuyuan Garden and get tipsy on quintessential Shanghai "drunken" cuisine.
Yangtze River Tour
Shanghai rests at the mouth of the Yangtze, the third-largest river in the world. The Yangtze is commonly considered China's lifeline, so it's no surprise there's an abundance of river tours available. In touring along the river, your group will see much of the natural beauty abundant in China, though often overlooked in the Western world. Witness the hanging coffins in the Gorges, or the Ghost City of Fengdu.
Those of you interested in religion will enjoy touring past the many holy Buddhist sites such as Mount Emei and the Giant Buddha. During down periods, your tour vessel will keep you entertained as most offer a health club including a sauna and massage, as well as karaoke and mahjong rooms.
If you're ready to put together your dream group tour of the many cultures of China, contact Active Travel today.