Tour Belt Along the Grand Canal
The Grand Canal, whose ancient name is “Han Gou” or “Yun He”, is the longest and oldest canal with the heaviest workload in the world, hence one of two great projects in ancient China together with the Great Wall. Starting from Yuhang (the current Hangzhou) in the south, it passes through such provinces as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei, and two municipalities, namely, Tianjin and Beijing, to Zhuojun (the current Beijing), linking five systems, i.e. the Hai River, Yellow River, Huai River, Yangtze River and Qiantang River. The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,794 km (it was constructed by Wu State in the Spring and Autumn Period, and was expanded substantially in Sui Dynasty and linked to the capital Luoyang and connected with Zhuojun. In the renovation in Yuan Dynasty, the section to Luoyang was abandoned and the canal was directly linked to Beijing). Up till now, it has a long history of over 2,500 years. As the only south-north river in China, the Grand Canal has given birth to lots of bright pearls with high level of civilization such as Beijing, Yangzhou, Suzhou and Hangzhou.
Description of the Itinerary
Day 1: start from Beijing. In the morning, watch flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square (the time of flag-raising ceremony may change based on sunrise time). Feel the world’s largest urban central square at Tiananmen Square. Have a look at Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, etc. The Palace Museum is just across the Chang’an Street, and you can visit and feel the culture and magnificence of royal dynasty in the past days. Leave the Palace Museum, take Bus 609, and start to walk through the Nanluoguxiang. Visit featured shops there and enjoy the products with perfect combination of fashion and old Beijing charm. Day 2: visit the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China - the Summer Palace. Climb the magnificent and grand Great Wall, which is the representation and manifestation of Chinese nation’s will and also an enduring miracle in human history. Go along Drum Tower and Shichahai, to get the Nanluoguxiang, listen to old Beijingers’ explanation of cultural connotations of lanes and courtyard dwellings, and experience traditional lifestyle in lanes. Take a train to Tianjin in the evening. Day 3: arrive in Tianjin. Visit [Italian Charm Zone of Wudadao], foreign concession buildings known as the “exhibition of the world’s architecture”, which is the product of a special historical period and a treasure of world architecture industry and clusters exotic buildings of Western countries. Drive to the Japanese concession, one of eight countries’ concessions in Tianjin, and visit [Jing Garden] where Puyi, the last emperor of China and his consorts Wanrong and Wenxiu lived, and [China Houses], an ancient china museum worth of over RMB6 billion, which was built with 50-ton crystals and hundreds of thousands of ancient porcelain chips from five famous kilns and finished with 5 years of hardworking. Take a bus to the birthplace of Tianjin - Three Rivers Estuary, to visit [Hai River], the place where Yu the Great controlled the flooding, the mouth of ancient Yellow River and mother river, known as “Yellow River in Tribute of Yu”. Visit the only [Tianjin Food Culture Park] in China - the blessed place of “gate of sea, ferry of sky” in the legend which shows unique food culture of Tianjin for several hundred years. From afar, see the [Tianjin Eye] adjacent to Dabei Monastery, which is a landmark building of Tianjian with a diameter of 110 m and the largest ferris wheel above a bridge in the world; “sky gate is often open, rainbow reveals itself”. Visit the largest food center in north China - [Nanshi Cuisine Street]. Take a train to Jining in the evening. Day 4: arrive in Jining. Along the ancient canal, enjoy the view of the city. Jining is a famous city of canal. Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong stopped over and wrote inscriptions here. There are 16 landscape footbridges and you can go to see some of them. Then visit Taibai Building, which is well-known for Li Bai, a great poet in Tang Dynasty and acts as an important cultural relic and historic site of Jining. Shengyuan Building and Tieta Temple are very close to Taibai Building, and a 20-minute walk can take you there, so you can visit Shengyuan Building and Tieta Temple after visiting Taibai Building. Then go to the center of the city to visit Dongda Temple, one of representative Islamic buildings in China, which is commonly known as the “Dongda Temple by the River” as the temple gate is close to west bank of ancient Grand Canal. Finally visit the North Lake; it has rich aquatic products among which fish is delicious, and it is filled with lotus fragrance in summer, and touring the lake by boat is a good choice. Take a bus to Qufu in the evening. Day 5: arrive in Qufu. After arrival, visit the world cultural heritage - Confucius Temple, Confucius Family Mansion and Confucius Family Cemetery. Confucius Temple (a grand architectural complex imitating the style of imperial palace) is the largest and most primitive temple of worship of Confucius in the world. Confucius Family Mansion (a place where direct descendants of Confucius worked and lived; tourists can feel the luxury of Confucius family in person) is known as “The First Family under the Heaven”. Confucius Family Cemetery is the largest family cemetery with the longest history in the world. Take a train to Zaozhuang in the evening. Day 6: arrive in Zaozhuang. Go to Taierzhuang by bus. In the ancient city, you can take a cruise ship conveniently to many places like Dafu Residence, Shanxi Guild Hall, Minfenghao and Tianshuitang. In the afternoon, return to Zaozhuang, and take a train to Yangzhou. Day 7: arrive in Yangzhou. Visit [Slender West Lake], a national key scenic area and national AAAA tourism area. The lake is world-famous for beautiful natural scenery. As the seasons change, Slender West Lake produces endless pleasure. Rich history and culture makes it like mellow wine which is impressive and memorable. As a famous garden over lake in China, Slender West Lake winds with scenic spots like Spring Willows along the Long Band, Lotus Pool in Breeze, Misty Rain over Four Bridges, Xu Garden, Small Gold Mountain, Fishing Platform, Beautiful Scenery of Water and Cloud, Five-pavilion Bridge, White Pagoda in Clouds, 24 Bridge Scenic Area, Water Flowing over Stone Wall, Gaily-Painted Boat in Spring and Overlapping Pine Trees, just like a natural long scroll of painting. Scenic spots in Slender West Lake are extraordinarily enchanting after construction for many years. The beautiful scenery along the bank comes in a continuous stream, dazzling and fascinating. Take a train to Wuxi in the evening. Day 8: arrive in Wuxi. Visit Xihui Park. Visit Jichang Garden where Emperor Qianlong and Emperor Kangxi went on a cruise seven times respectively when they went south of the Yangtze River six times, visit the first mountain in the regions south of the Yangtze River, and visit the second spring under heaven - Huishan Spring. As if made by nature, Jichang Garden: both Emperor Qianlong and Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty toured the southern region of the Yangtze River six times and visited Jichang Garden fourteen times; it has proper layout and is full of humor and wit, reflecting a garden style of pleasure, simplicity and seclusion with mountains and forests and displaying the wonderful state of “as if made by nature although artificially built”; tourists can gain knowledge of southern gardens such as landscape architecture techniques and artistic achievements, and learn how to appreciate exquisiteness and conception of classical Chinese gardens. Soothing and soft melody - the Moon Over a Fountain: since Lu Yu of Tang Dynasty wrote the Classic of Tea, numerous emperors, generals and ministers and refined scholars were attracted and wrote numerous articles about it; you can listen to one of top ten famous music in the world - The Moon Over a Fountain, a piece of music by Ah Bing, a blind national musician, and you will be touched by clear spring, lonely moon, quiet place and deep affection, and can enhance art culture and appreciation ability. Miracle of folk art - Huishan clay figurine: it is one of three famous specialties of Wuxi; clay figurine craftsmen have been inherited as a tradition and made continuous innovation to cultivate such amazing and splendid folk art culture over several hundred years; characterized by full shape, smooth line, bright color and interesting style, it suits both refined and popular tastes and is popular among people from all walks of life. Take a train to Suzhou in the evening. Day 9: arrive in Suzhou. In the morning, go to Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lion Grove Garden and Suzhou Museum, to see heritages of buildings of late Qing Dynasty, appreciate cultural landscape of classical gardens of Suzhou, such as pavilion, platform, storied building, terrace, hall, gallery, veranda and corridor, and visit the “Kingdom of Rockery” - Lion Grove Garden, etc. In the afternoon, stroll the Qili Shantang (Shantang Street) with antique beauty. In the evening, taste authentic Suzhou food at Guanqian Street. Have a night tour on the moat. Take a train to Hangzhou at night. Day 10: arrive in Hangzhou. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of West Lake, and roam around the West Lake: see the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon from afar, roam around Su Causeway, overlook the exterior of Leifeng Pagoda, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake with the reflection of pagoda in it. Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, one of ten attractions by West Lake: Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong had been there; there are green lawn, tall and straight redwood, and white pigeons flying freely, snappers swimming leisurely…Spring Dawn on the Su Causeway, another one of ten attractions by West Lake: Su Dongpo, a literary giant of Northern Song Dynasty, led army and people to build it over 1,000 years ago; it is like a long rainbow over West Lake, as referred in a poem “West Lake has six bridges mixed with poplars and willows and peaches”. Visit Su Dongpo Memorial Hall beside Su Causeway: Su Dongpo served as an official in Hangzhou twice, during which he wrote a lot of popular poems and left stories and legends about his diligence and care for people. Visit Chenghuang Tower: located in Wushan Tianfeng Scenic Area, it is a magnificent pavilion-style building imitating the style of ancient buildings with 7 floors including the underground, which is 41.6 m high, integrating architectural style of temples in Yuan and Ming dynasties; as one of mainly recommended scenic areas for leisure and healthy tour in Hangzhou, it represents features of culture of Wu-Yue period and Southern Song Dynasty, and is included in “famous Chinese buildings”; on the tower, you can see West Lake to the north, city view to the east, Qiantang River to the south and mountains to the west; you can watch performance of traditional stringed and woodwind instruments and taste West Lake Lotus Root Powder, one specialty of Hangzhou. The tour along the Grand Canal finishes.