Chinese ethnic people

From Shangrila to Shanghai

30 June to 15 July 2012

This tour engages with the diversity of China’s societies, from the traditional to the contemporary: a program encountering one of the world’s most ancient cultures, with a life style undergoing rapid change and enormous growth, yet contrasting with pockets of traditional culture unchanged for centuries. Of all the study tours operated to China through this program, the journey from Shangri-La to Shanghai traverses some of the most magnificent and diverse of China’s landscapes, cities, cultures and peoples.

Day1: 30 June 2012, Adelaide - Singapore

Depart Adelaide with Singapore Airlines SQ 278 at 11:40. Arrive in Singapore at 17:35. Transfer to our hotel for overnight accommodation. The hotel will either be close to the heart of Singapore or, due to the early departure tomorrow, we are exploring the potential to book rooms in Changi’s Transit Hotel, right in the airport. This is directly served by the MRT and there is plenty of time to explore the city on foot, or via the Mass Rapid Transit (underground) system.

Day 2: 1 July 2012, Singapore - Kunming

Depart Singapore with Silk Air flight MI 912 at 08:20 arriving in Kunming at 12:20. After lunch we begin our introduction to one of the most scenic areas of China, Yunnan, “The Land of Eternal Spring”. Kunming, is the capital and largest city of Yunnan. Province in Southwest China. It was known as Yunnan-Fou until the 1920s. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government. It isalso home to several universities, museums, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. It was important during World War II as a Chinese military centre, American air base, and transport terminus for the Burma Road. Kunming consists of an old, previously walled city, a modern commercial district, residential and university areas. The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University and a medical college.Its economic importance derives from its geographical position. Positioned near the border with Southeastern Asian countries, serving as a transportation hub in Southwest China, linking by rail to Vietnam and by road to Burma and Laos. Kunming was also the gatewayto the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Although having a history of nearly 2,400 years, its modern prosperity dates only from 1910, when the railroad from Hanoi was built. The city has continued to develop rapidly underChina's modernization efforts. Kunming's streets have widened while office buildings and housing projects develop at a fast pace.

Today it is the political, economic and cultural centre of Yunnan as well as the most popular travellers’ destination in southwest China. Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority cultures. Some 26 ethnic minorities such as Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai, Haniand more inhabit the region. Each group has its own featured festivals such as the Torch festival of the Yi people, the Golden Temple Fair and so on. Our program today includes the famed ancient “Golden Temple”, set in a delightful traditional garden.

Overnight stay at Golden Spring Hotel

Day 3: 2 July 2012, Kunming

After Breakfast we continue our orientation program with a visit to the famous Stone Forest which was formed some 330 million years ago as limestone deposits submerged beneath the sea. Geologists say the ‘Stone Forest’ is a typical example of karst topography. During the carboniferous period of the Palaeozoic era, the region was a vast expanse of ocean. Over time, the movements of the lithosphere gradually caused a retreat of the waters and the rise of the limestone landscape. Due to constant erosion by the elements, the area finally developed into the present-day ‘Stone Forest’. The formation is enchanting, resembling a forest of pines scattered through ponds, tiny bridges and classical pavilions where we will encounter several minority groups of peoples in very colourful traditional attire. Later this afternoon there will be time for local sightseeing.

Day 4: 3 July 2012, Kunming - Dali

We fly this morning to Dali, the ancient capital of both the Bai and Nanzhao kingdom, which flourished in the area during the 8th and 9th centuries. Present day Dali is a city that combines history with modern convenience. It is divided into two areas- the Ancient City and the New District (widely known as Xiaguan). The Ancient City is centred on old Dali, first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ancient buildings, city walls and the old city moat are the sites most frequented by visitors. The famous ‘Foreigner Street’ in the Ancient City attracts visitors with its handicrafts, and local culinary delicacies. Xiaguan, located to the south of the Ancient City, home to the government of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. Here hotels, public squares, and shopping centres add modernity to the otherwise historical city. The kingdom of Dali was the centre of the Panthay Rebellion in 1856-1863 and being the most popular of tourist attractions for Chinese and foreign visitors alike, it’s a mixture of Western and Chinese ‘Coffee Shops”, handicraft shops and food stalls of every kind. In the afternoon we visit the Three Pagodas, an ensemble constructed during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Having withstood natural and human induced catastrophes, they are all that remain of the great monastic city of Chongsheng which was the royal temple of the Dali kingdom and one of the largest Buddhist centres in East Asia.

Overnight stay at Regent Hotel

Day 5: 4 July 2012, Dali - Lijiang

This morning we enjoy a boat cruise on the beautiful Er Lake, or in Chinese Erhai, which is an alpine-fault lake. Its name means "Ear-Shaped Sea", due to its shape as seen by locals and travellers. Er Lake was also known as Yeyuze or Kunming Lake in ancient times. (A commonly-seen mistranslation is Erhai Lake). Then it’s a drive through beautiful Yunnan countryside to Lijiang. With the Jade Dragon Mountain as backdrop, the old town is a spectacular reminder of old China and was once a confluence for trade along the old ‘tea horse’ road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents, the Naxi people, one of China's 55 minority ethnic groups. The ancient town maintains its water supply through the many crystal clear streams, (you will actually see fish swimming along the bottom), ancient bridges and cobbled streets that transverse the city. At present, Lijiang City exercises jurisdiction over four counties and an Old Town District, first built in the late Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty. In its long history, the local residents have established their splendid Dongba Culture which has absorbed aspects of the culture of Tibet and the Central Plains along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. Lijiang has the best preserved ancient town in China - the Old Town which was listed as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. (The only such listing in all of China).TheOld Town was once the centre of Lijiang and continues to maintain the original flavour of the local lifestyle, the typical groups of buildings and the profound cultural heritage of the region. Kublai Khan was the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty and set his reign here, thus Lijiang was to become the political, cultural, and educational centre in the area, playing a very important role in the trading activities among Yunnan, China hinterland, Tibet, India and many other Asian countries.

The Old Town is the only old city built without a city wall and there is an interesting story explaining the reason. Lijiang had been under the reign of the hereditary Mu family for more than 500 years. If the Chinese character 'Mu' (which represents the governor of Lijiang) is put into a frame (which represents the city wall), there is the character 'Kun' which means 'siege' or 'predicament'. This would mean that the governing Mu family and their descendants would always be trapped like a ‘rat in a hole’. Because of this symbolism, Old Town Lijiang was never given a city wall.

As a result of the combination of the multinational culture and the progress of Naxi ethnic minority, the buildings in the town incorporate the best parts of the architectural traits of Han, Bai, and Tibet into a unique Naxi style. The layout of the town is free-style and flexible, the houses are close and diverse, and the lanes are narrow and meandering. Naxi people pay much attention to the decoration, the commodious and applied houses are mostly timber and tile structure compound with a garden, each has engraved vivid figures of people and animals on doors and windows, beautiful flowers and trees in the garden.

Our hotel is situated right in the heart of the old town from whence we can discover its many ancient streets, shops, museums and old houses. Today we have a relaxing walking tour to explore the old town on foot. Under the impact of global and social pressures, traditional life and culture in the old city are inevitably changing. There remain strong elements of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and endemic Naxi culture. A visit to the Museum of Naxi Culture will provide a fitting orientation, followed by some of the key architectural features of this fascinating town; the only UNESCO World Heritage city in China.

Overnight stay at Jiannanchun Hotel

Day 6: 5 July 2012, Lijiang

A full day tour takes us to the heights of the Jade Dragon Mountain with its Tibetan monastery and glacial peaks. The spectacular approach to the mountain is through a magnificent national park. There is a cable car ascent of the “Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.” The Tibetan monastery here, accessed from the ‘Yak Meadow’, can be visited on foot and after our descent we’ll visit one of 7 monasteries of Lijiang, the Yufeng Monastery with its famous camellia tree, the “First Tree Under Heaven” or “King of the World’s Camellias”. This is the famous “Ten Thousand Flower” camellia planted under the reign of Emperor Chenghua of the Ming Dynasty. It continues to flower each spring.

After dinner back in Lijiang, be sure to walk up to the old town square at night, where Naxi people will be spontaneously singing and dancing, often with restaurant staff singing from their balconies to rival a neighbouring restaurant. You can buy a lotus flower enclosing a candle, and float it away on the little river under the ancient bridges. All around are shops with superb collections of handicrafts. Amongst the side streets are those especially selling old (and new) traditional embroidered textiles, often made into trendy table or bed runners, but others worthy of a museum collection and especially rewarding when framed. Further out from the old square is another (easily reachable on foot) in which there will be more singing, dancing, bon-fires and wild-looking Tibetan horsemen, musicians and maybe, yaks!!! For many, Lijiang will be a highlight of the program.

Day 7: 6 July 2012, Lijiang to Zhongdian - Shangri-La

This morning we drive to Shigu enroute to the spectacular “Tiger Leaping Gorge”. Around 15 km in length, the gorge is possibly the world’s deepest river canyon, inhabited by the indigenous Naxi people who live in a handful of small hamlets. Legend has it that in order to escape a hunter, a tiger jumped across the canyon at the narrowest point (25m) giving the gorge its name. For environmental education, the gorge will provide excellent resources. Although protected by World Heritage status, the Yunnan Chinese Government is pushing with plans to build a hydroelectric dam across the gorge’s Jinsha river. This is despite vocal public objections in China and overseas. We leave this canyon on the Yangtze River and continue to Zhongdian.

Overnight stay at Hotel Shiner, Shangri-La

Day 8: 7 July 2012, Zhongdian - Shangri-La

Called Shangri-La by the Chinese to echo the legendary beauty of the Tibetan ‘Paradise’, the landscape and natural beauty here will astound. (Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of seven such places is mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung)

We are now in the ancient cultural Tibetan region which stretches south to Nepal, north to Mongolia and west to Pakistan and today we visit one of the most famous monasteries in the Tibetan Kang region of Yunnan. Construction of the monastery began in 1679 and is composed of two main sections, following traditional Tibetan iconography with gilded copper roofs. Inside, the main halls are magnificent, empowered with wonderful gilded sculptures and paintings of the life of the Buddha illustrating sacred Buddhist texts. As in any Tibetan monastery, each dynasty has added countless works of Buddhist sculpture, golden lamps, silver censers, and works of outstanding art. Sometimes known as The Little Potala the Dalai Lama in 1679 established the site through divination and it has become the most important Tibetan monastery in this part of the world. Later in the day we will walk the ancient streets of Old ‘Shangri-La’.

Overnight stay at Hotel Shiner, Shangri-La

Day 9: 8 July 2012, Shangri-La to Guilin

We leave the high altitudes behind and fly this morning to Guilin a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of far southern China, sitting on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "Forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. Here you can buy Osmanthus tea, which being beautifully packaged, can be brought back to Australia with you. An old Chinese saying tells us Guilin has “the most magnificent scenery under heaven” or perhaps “East or West, Guilin landscape is best!'. Guilin is considered to be the pearl of China's thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures. Coveringan area of about 27,800 square kilometres, the city is rather compact when compared with other major tourist cities in the country. (Remember that the city of Chongqing on the headwaters of the Yangtze is a little bit bigger than Tasmania and a little bit smaller than Austria!!!) The magnificent karst hills rise directly from the clear waters of the Li River and are surrounded by bamboo groves and spring blossoms. We will visit the famous ‘Reed Flute Cave’ and if time, a demonstration of Chinese tea etiquette.

Overnight stay at Fubo Hotel

Day 10: 9 July 2012, Guilin

The stunning landscape in which the city is situated has a kind of magic that is all its own. The strangely shaped hills or karsts, with their verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters and wonderful caves make Guilin such an appealing destination. Guilin is also an important cultural city with a history of more than 2,000 years. The city has been the political, economic and cultural centre of Guangxi since the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Today we take a leisurely cruise on the Li River amongst the magnificent scenery. A ‘stop’ will.be made at the scenic place depicted on the Chinese 20 Yuan currency notes; such is its beauty. After lunch on board, we disembark at Yangshuo which is also is popular for its incredible karst scenery, beautiful mountains, rivers, caves, and temples as well as its laid back cafes and bars. However, as a result, there is no shortage of mainland Chinese tourists, ex-pats, and other foreigners. There are myriads of small shops along the water front with all sorts of teaching resources. Here too you may see the Cormorant fishermen (who will pose for a stunning photo with their birds on a bamboo pole with the incredible scenery behind-remember to pay them, however!!).

Day 11: 10 July 2012, Guilin to Hangzhou

We fly this morning to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province and its political, economic and cultural centre; Hangzhou formerly transliterated as Hangchow. The city is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. With enchanting natural beauty and abundant cultural heritage, Hangzhou is known as 'Heaven on Earth' and one of China's most important tourist venues. The City, the southernterminus of the Grand Canal, is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeastChina, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 180 kilometers from Shanghai. We cruise on the West Lake, undoubtedly the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. In this scenic area, Solitary Hill, the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple are probably the most frequently visited attractions. The "Ten West Lake Prospects" have been specially selected to give the visitor outstanding views of the lake, mountains and monuments.

A number of national museums can be found in Hangzhou and are representative of Chinese culture. Fine examples are the National Silk Museum and National Tea Museum, (we visit the Dragon Well Tea Plantations) and explore ancient Hefangjie Street. After dinner we see the truly spectacular Song Dynasty Show. Based on the historic stories and legends in the city of Hangzhou, the performance is named the Romance of the Song Dynasty. Let me quote the official blub as it’s not my understanding of the Song Dynasty….but…. together with Moulin in Paris of France and O Show in Las Vegas, are “World’s Top Three Famous Shows”. With 120 square meters LED screen, 300 square meters water arena,3000 square meters scene of misty rain and 100 meters time tunnel, the spectatorsmay be impressed as if they live one thousand years back. It is a not-to-be-missed performance for each tourist to Hangzhou. The Romance of the Song Dynasty is a large stereoscopic musical drama which was wholeheartedly made by Song Dynasty City. The drama adoptedthe old stories and legends in Hangzhou City, integrated the world music with acrobatic art, and applied the high technology to create a dreamy poetic imagery. You can have a strong visual impact. Till now, the drama has received more than ten million audiences and wins a large outpouring of favourable comments. It is a must for the visitors coming to Hangzhou. In any event its great theatre!!!

Overnight stay at Jade Emperor Hotel

Day 12: 11 July 2012, Hangzhou to Shanghai via Whuzhen

A full day exploring takes us from Hangzhou to ‘old’ China at Wuzhen. Divided by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Wuzhen is known as “the town of rice, fish and silk”. The townscape is dominated by a dense network of rivers, stone bridges and railings, imposing dwellings with river landings and spacious courtyards set in flagstone streets. Located in the centre of the six ancient towns south of Yangtze River, Wuzhen displays its two-thousand-year history in its ancient stone bridges ‘floating’ on calm canals, its stone pathways between the mottled walls and its delicate wood carvings. Also, setting it apart from other towns, it gives a unique experience through its profound cultural background.

The town is dotted with museum-like collections of ancient furniture, puppet theatres, dying workshops and wine merchants. Most of these are ‘working’ museums and you will no doubt witness some Wuzhen opera singing, taste the wine, and work ancient machines.

It is said that people have lived in Wuzhen for 7000 years and over time it has produced a galaxy of talents. In 1991, Wuzhen was authorized as the Provincial Ancient Town of History and Culture, so ranking first among the six ancient towns.

Wuzhen's uniqueness lies in its layout, being just 2 kilometers long and divided into six districts. We will have time to explore them. They are: Traditional Workshops District, Traditional Local-Styled Dwelling Houses District, Traditional Culture District, Traditional Food and Beverage District, Traditional Shops and Stores District, and Water Township Customs and Life District. Wandering along the east-west-east circuit created by these six districts, you will enjoy the atmosphere of the traditional cultures and the original ancient features of the town that have been preserved intact. Here you may enjoy demonstrations in the traditional workshop districts of such famous traditional crafts as the printing and dyeing of blue printed fabrics, the ancient technique of cloth shoes and ‘tobacco-planing’, and operate the machines yourself to get an idea of how the original work was carried out over 200 years ago

Mao Dun, an outstanding modern Chinese writer, was born here, and his masterpiece, 'The Lin's Shop', describes vividly the life of Wuzhen. His house, originally built in the mid-19th century covers a total area of 650 square meters, was the Mao family home for many generations and witnessed the growth of this great revolutionist and writer. In 1984, the former residence was renovated and extended. In 1988, it was listed as one of the Key State Preserved Relic Units and in 1994 was renamed the Mao Dun Museum of the City of Tongxiang. The house has three exhibition areas: 'Wuzhen, the Hometown of Mao Dun', 'the Way of Mao Dun', and 'the Former Residence of Mao Dun (renovated)'. The present Mao Dun Museum can be found to the east of the residence, which used to be Lizhi Shuyuan (Inspiration Academy) where Mao Dun spent his early school years.

The Fanglu Pavilion enjoys a well-deserved reputation as the best teahouse in Wuzhen. The pavilion obtained its name from an accidental meeting between Lu Tong, the owner, and Lu Yu, the ‘Patron Saint of Tea’ in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is said that Lu Yu once mistakenly ate some poisonous leaves and was rescued by Lu Tong, who happened to collect tea leaves at that time. In return, Lu Yun taught Lu Tong knowledge of tea and tea-making skills, which resulted in the prosperity of Lu Tong's teahouse. Suggested by one guest, Lu Tong changed the house's name to Pavilion of Visits to Lu, to memorize this respectable scholar. Located to the south of Ying Bridge and backing onto the city river, the teahouse enjoys a broad view of Guanqian Street and provides visitors with pleasant relaxation.

One may be amazed at the extraordinary scene of the ‘Bridge in Bridge’ created by two ancient bridges, one of which is Tongji Bridge crossing the river from east to west and the other is called Renji Bridge running from south to north and joining the former at one end. Either of two bridges can be seen through the arch of the other, hence the name. You may also walk amongst the picturesque moss-covered streets and walls, the houses decorated with exquisitely-carved wooden and stone doors and windows, and the leisurely and quiet life of the local people in the district of traditional local-styled dwelling houses. Sink into the atmosphere of traditional culture, have a cup of chrysanthemum tea and relax by bargaining for various kinds of handicrafts and local products. Plenty of time to wander the streets and canals here before driving on to Shanghai. Our hotel is right on the Bund and near bustling Nanjing Lu, China’s most famous shopping mall.

Overnight stay at Bund Riverside Hotel

Day 13: 12 July 2012, Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest ‘city proper’ in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 28 million as of 2011. Due to its rapid development over the last two decades it has again become a leading global city, with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. Shanghai is now a major financial centre and the busiest container port in the world.

In the early morning we witness the city life along the new Bund area with its historical European buildings reflecting the history of the city. Across the river rises Pudong, a futuristic city that will dazzle with its size and modernity. Then it’s on to visit the Jade Buddha Temple. As with many modern Chinese Buddhist temples, the current temple draws from both the Pure Land and Chan traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha images imported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95 meters tall, 3 tonnes), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing the Buddha's death. The temple now also contains a much larger reclining Buddha made of marble, donated from Singapore. Next stop is the China Pavilion built in World Expo Park. Perhaps there will be time to stop at one of the famous silk factories to witness the production of this ancient product turned into contemporary fashion. (We have not included dinner tonight as we anticipate you will want to explore the Nanjing mall with its many restaurants and fabulous shopping-perhaps return to Xin Tian Di or sip a cocktail at Cloud Nine on the 59th floor of the Hyatt Hotel over in Pudong, or why not explore the local dumpling stalls and eat amongst the locals?.-make sure you know what you are ordering however).

Day 14: 13 July 2012, Shanghai

We explore the diversity of Shanghai today by visiting the ancient Yu Bazaar shopping area (great chance to purchase teaching resources representing many facets of Chinese culture) and with our guide, wander the delightful classical Chinese Garden the Yuyuan, an oasis of tranquillity in this pulsing metropolis. The garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. There are sublime pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters which all have their unique characteristics. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features famous several scenic spots within its borders.

Upon entering the garden, you will encounter a rockery, which is called the Great Rockery. With a height of 14 meters it is the largest as well as the oldest rockery in the southern region of the Yangtze River. Wandering in the area of Yule Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber, you will find pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards as well as many other natural features. Spring bamboos grow beside the cloisters. The Dianchun Hall area is located east of Wanhua Chamber, and includes Hexu Hall, Relic Hall, Ancient Well Pavilion, and the ‘Acting-and-Singing’ Stage. Dianchun Hall was once the headquarters of Xiaodao Hui, a group who fought against the government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during 1853-1855. The coins made by Xiaodao Hui and the bulletins they proclaimed are currently displayed in the hall. The true treasure of Yuyuan Garden is the Exquisite Jade Rock. Located across from Yuhua Hall, it is one of the ‘three famous rocks’ in the southern region of the Yangtze River. The rock is 3.3 meters in height and has 72 naturally occurring holes. What is interesting about this rock is that if you burn a ‘joss stick’ just below the rock, the smoke will ‘magically’ float out from all of the holes. Similarly, when you pour water into the rock from top, the water will flow out from each hole creating a spectacular sight. Pan Yunduan was very fond of the Exquisite Jade Rock, and he built Yuhua Hall facing the rock so it was convenient to sit in the hall and admire it. The furnishings in the hall were made of top grade rosewood of the Ming Dynasty, appearing both natural and graceful.

We try to arrange lunch on a huge Chinese vessel, “The Seagull”, moored on the Pudong side of the river amongst the world’s tallest buildings from where we can look back to the Bund waterfront and the futuristic architecture of the World Expo Park. Returning across the river we will stroll around the chic cafes of Xin Tian Di, the hottest new entertainment district in Shanghai. A revolutionary spirit reverberates through the two-square block development that saved scores of historic brick buildings from the wrecking ball, by transforming them into some of the city's finest clubs, restaurants and boutiques. Revolution is practically a tradition in this charming neighbourhood of old Shikumen, a type of early 1900s tenement unique to Shanghai. Eighty-two years ago, meetings held inside one of the old Shikumen at Xin Tian Di were chaired by the original Chairman, Mao Zedong. Attending were the first comrades. Together, they formed the Communist Party, which transformed all of China. Already, it's set a new benchmark for stylethat is fast being replicated around China. And the success of the project could have even greater impact as a role model for historical redevelopment not just in China, but across Asia. The outlets range from a Vidal Sassoon salon to the requisite Starbucks. There are flashy French and Italian restaurants, (La Maison and Va Bene), plus nightclubs like Star East, a sort of ‘Planet Hong Kong’ theme club launched by Jacky Chan and other Cantonese stars. Not to forget contemporary art galleries and showrooms devoted to a range of Rolls Royce models, Lamborghini’s and the like! The result is a magical cornucopia recalling this city's former reputation for fusion, of East and West, old and new. And it satisfies at every level with surprises at every turn: an old door hinge or stunning balcony view of surrounding skyscrapers soaring over rounded doorways and century-old roof tiles.We continue to dinner and then in the evening we take in the famous Shanghai Acrobatic Show. The Acrobatics at Shanghai are not to be missed. The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, established in 1951 is one of the best in China. It frequently tours internationally and performs routinely at Shanghai and other cities in China. You can enjoy gravity-defying contortionism, juggling, uni-cycling, chair-stacking, and plate-spinning acts - and much more.

Day 15: 14 July 2012

Check out and load all our baggage on the bus this morning as the Shanghai traffic will not allow us to back-track to the hotel later in the day. Then it’s on to the ultra-modern and superb collections of the Shanghai Museum which will give us a context and overview of some 5000 years of China’s history through the arts, giving context for all we have experienced. The scope, depth and quality of its collections, and the striking architecture and use of modern technology make the Shanghai Museum one of the most famous if not the most famous in China. The exterior of the museum utilizes the shape of an ancient bronze ding, with its rather ‘archaic’ form. The structure and materials of the entire building, however, are an accomplishment of the most modern technology. The Shanghai Museum is mainly a museum for China’s ancient arts.

China's Shang and Zhou-period bronzes are an important testimony to the ancient civilization of the country. When you enter the Ancient Bronzes Hall, the presentation and atmosphere of the rooms expresses the cultural atmosphere of the Bronze Age. The subdued dark-green tone of the walls imparts an ancient atmosphere, the simple and elegant display cases and the lighting are carefully designed to enhance the experience. Some 400 exquisite bronze items are displayed in a space of 1,200 square meters, perfectly reflecting the history of the development of China's ancient bronze arts. The Calligraphy Hall includes works from many dynasties; in chronological order it displays the history of the marvelous genius of Chinese calligraphic arts. The aura of the hall is scholarly and elegant, assisted by automatic lighting in display cases that protects the art. Among these works are a number of unique world treasures. The Chinese Painting Hall of the Museum similarly has a touch of traditional architectural style to it, combined with an atmosphere of Confucian elegance. Around 120 masterpieces are displayed in the exhibition space. The apex of Chinese furniture creation occurred during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Walking into the Ming and Qing Furniture Hall is like walking back into the gardens and rooms of the Ming and Qing dynasty. Here are exhibited some 100 pieces of superlative Chinese Ming and Qing-dynasty furniture.

The Museum Shop provides excellent opportunities to purchase classroom teaching resources (in English). Thence to lunch and the airport for our flight SQ 833 at 16:20 to Singapore, arriving at 22:00. Change planes in the new Changi Terminal 3 bound for Adelaide by SQ 269 at 23:45.

Day 16: 15 July 2012, Arrive in Adelaide at 09:10

Anticipated Tour Cost Per Person Twin Share AUD 4205.00
Single Supplement AUD 495.00

COST INCLUSIONS:

• International flights and taxes with Singapore Airlines
• Domestic Flights in China including taxes
• All sightseeing tours, and transfer services with private coach
• Accommodation with breakfast at 3+ and 4+ star hotels, (best available in remote areas)
• All meals except dinner on Thursday 12 July
• All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program.
• English-speaking Chinese National Escort throughout the entire journey
• English speaking guides at each city
• Tour development, management and leadership.

COST EXCLUSIONS:

• Expenditure of a personal nature such as extra drinks, souvenirs, laundry, etc,
• Visa for China
• Travel Insurance
• Compulsory Tips (approx 90 USD) will be collected from each participant to be disbursed as tips, ensuring all services are appropriately tipped. An acquittal of the tips expenditure is available following the tour.
 
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