May 26 - June 11, 2013
Experience China's epic 5,000 years of history in this personal tour with Prof. John Chaffee. His travels in the region and personal ties provide rare insights and access.
We will meet contemporary Chinese artists and scholars, including Binghamton University alumni. Explore Chinese history and traditions through the prism of art, archaeology and architecture to better understand how culture has been preserved from ancient times to today. This visit showcases China's origins and unusual ethnic/religious diversity. Scenic Suzhou and Hangzhou - rarely visited by U.S. tourists - add a unique dimension, counterpoint to the urban centers of Shanghai and Beijing.
Cost: $4,299 per person (double occupancy - single supplement is $589)
* Based on current air fares/taxes, exchange rate and a minimum of 25 people.
For more information, call Travel with the Experts, Ltd. at 888-684-4885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Airfare New York to Shanghai and Beijing to New York
• 14 nights of lodging, first-class accommodations
• English-speaking tour manager and licensed local guides
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner each day
• Internal flights and train tickets per itinerary
• Gala farewell banquet
Not Included: visa fees, fuel surcharges, travel insurance, personal items or services
Special Escort - Prof. John Chaffee
Your guide for this excursion has traveled throughout China for many years, most recently with Binghamton University administrators to develop new programs that link with Chinese students. Prof. Chaffee has been a faculty member since the 1980s and is a Distinguished Service Professor of History and Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton. He directs the Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas. Prof. Chaffee has authored many books and articles on Chinese history, spanning several ancient dynasties. Born in China to missionary parents, he is eager to share his vast knowledge of the country's history and arts and to extend the network that connects Binghamton University alumni in both the arts and academia. We will share private meetings with noted arts patrons, teachers and artists - experiences unavailable to most visitors.
Day 1: Depart New York for an evening flight to Shanghai with in-flight meals and amenities.
Day 2: After landing in Shanghai, we clear customs and meet our guide. Then we head to the hotel for a good night's rest and adjust to local time (13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time).
Day 3: Shanghai guided tour highlights include the Jade Buddha Temple, which houses many pieces of the country's finest jade statues and Yuyuan Garden, a classical garden in a busy local bazaar. Then, on to the Bund, a European-style shopping area, attractively located along a waterfront park. At night, enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show.
Day 4: Enjoy free time in the morning before boarding a train to Hangzhou and touring the archaeological remains of this city, once the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty.
Day 5: Our schedule includes the Linyin Temple: the Temple of the Soul's Retreat, and the Pagoda of Six Harmonies. At the "Dragon Well" (Longjing), we visit a tea plantation and taste some of the exquisite tea blends. Enjoy a boat ride on the West Lake surrounded by hills and gardens, its banks dotted with pavilions and temples. We then continue to Suzhou.
Day 6: Today, we begin at the Yunyan Pagoda on Tiger Hill in the city center and explore The Garden of the Master of Fishing Nets - one of the country's most exquisite - with ponds, zigzag bridges, rock formation hills and an abundance of wild and rare flowers. Then, we proceed west to the famed Hanshan Monastery, which dates to the 6th-century Liang dynasty. At a nearby silk factory, we see the process from cocoon to woven silk.
Day 7: A motor coach takes us to the historic city of Wuxi, where we meet Ruby Wang, a longtime Binghamton resident who has retired to her birthplace. We tour the Wuxi Museum, where a wing is devoted to her painting, and visit the model Jiangnan village on the shore of Lake Tai. Ruby has graciously agreed to host us for supper this evening.
Day 8: Sightseeing includes a figurine factory with plenty of open time to wander through some exquisite gardens and a cruise on Lake Tai. In the afternoon, we board a first-class express train for Qufu.
Day 9: Best known as the birthplace of Confucius, whose philosophy and ethics have influenced China and Asia for more than 2,500 years. We visit the Confucius Mansion and Temple. Later, we explore the local free market and homes to appreciate daily life outside the capitals. With lunch, we enjoy a performance of classical singing and dancing.
Day 10: Academic arrangement for visit to the Confucius Institute. Travel by motor coach to Tai'an. Additional details will be provided.
Day 11: After breakfast, we proceed to Mt. Tai, one of China's five sacred mountains, and ride a cable car to the summit to view the countryside. Then, we fly to Xi'an, ancient capital of China for 11 dynasties.
Day 12: We begin with a tour of the 7,000-year-old Banpo Neolithic Village. The highlight will be to explore the Tombs and Museum of the world renowned Terra Cotta Warriors. In 1974, peasants digging a well uncovered what turned out to be the major archaeological discovery of the 20th century. In an underground vault, thousands of life-sized clay soldiers and their horses were uncovered – all in battle formation. Tang Dynasty Show in evening.
Day 13: Morning flight to Beijing, China's political and cultural center for the past 700 years. This massive city has made China one of the world's most popular destinations. Time permitting, we will visit the Museum of Chinese History followed by Liulichang for shopping. After dinner, we meet Michael Cherney '93, a Beijing-based artist who has won Chinese awards for work that combines Chinese and Western genres from calligraphy to photography. Michael will present his work and a slideshow for discussion of China's current art scene.
Day 14: The day begins at Tian Anmen Square, the world's largest public plaza. Then the Forbidden City - off-limits to the Chinese people for 500 years - with a maze of temples, residences, gardens and reception rooms. It represents China's largest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings. Nearby, we tour the Summer Palace and visit the National Academy of Theater Arts, partner for Binghamton University's Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera.
Day 15: Today's excursion takes us to the massive Great Wall of China. More than 3,000 miles long, the wall demonstrates imperial China's enduring concern about nomadic neighbors. The massive scale of walls, tunnels and parapets makes its presence almost incomprehensible. We continue to the Ming tombs, the ideal of Ming architecture, before returning to our hotel. After breakfast the next morning, we return to the U.S.Tour arrangements provided by Travel with the Experts. Image courtesy of Creative Commons.