October 22, 2014
This is an extraordinary excursion to a captivating culture. Big bustling cities with breathtaking backdrops; tasty exotic teas and fertile rice paddies; soft silk and exquisitely pleasing pearls, and the marvels of Chinese medicine – see them all up close and personal as the greatest transformation of the modern age takes place before our very eyes. Our tour menu includes the enchanting vistas of Guilin and the enchanting Li River; the cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, the former home of a thriving Jewish community, Kaifeng, and quaint countryside villages. Enjoy an exciting exploration of both ancient and modern Chinese culture and of the Jewish communities that called China their home
Wednesday-Thursday, Arrival in Beijing
Our journey begins with our departure from our home gateway to China. We land in Beijing and after a group orientation at the hotel, proceed to Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square is the central square of Beijing, capital of China. Its name means The Gate of Heavenly Peace. It is named for Tiananmen Gate which stands at its northern end, and which is the entrance to the Forbidden City. The square was built in 1417. At its center stands the Mausoleum of Mao Ze Dong which contains his mummified body. Tiananmen Square became infamous due to the quelling of the student demonstrations which took place there in 1989. After our visit there, we will return to our hotel.
Friday – Beijing
Today we will visit the most impressive place in Beijing, the Temple of Heaven. We will see the Chinese people in the park that surrounds it playing badminton, doing Tai Chi, dancing, and socializing. We will visit the grounds of the Temple of Heaven which was an important ceremonial center. We will visit a pearl factory to learn about the production of pearls. Then we will go on to see the very heart of Beijing – the Forbidden City. Built in the 15th century, as the palace of China’s Ming Dynasty Emperors, it’s an impressive example of traditional Chinese architecture. We’ll traverse the entire length of the Forbidden City, as we view the many splendid palaces and vast courtyards. Used as the set for the film “The Last Emperor”, it was indeed forbidden to the Chinese masses until the onset of the revolution at the beginning of the 20th century. We will then return to our hotel and prepare for shabbat. Tfilot and Shabbat dinner.
Shabbat – Beijing
After Shabbat services we’ll take a walking tour to the National Art Gallery near the hotel.
In the evening, we will see an amazing Kung Fu spectacle, a production with lovely music and a beautiful story describing this ancient Chinese martial art.
Sunday – Beijing
We’ll depart early for the greatest wall in the world. The Great Wall of China is the largest construction project ever undertaken by man– measuring over 6,000 kilometers. Large sections of the wall were built between the 7th and 4th centuries BCE, over 2500 years ago. For hundreds of years, according to security needs arising from political conflicts in different ages, some sections of the Great Wall of China were added and strengthened while other sections were neglected.
The Great Wall is made up of three primary components: passes, signal and watch towers, and defensive walls. Walking along the Great Wall will enable us to sense the historical dimension of the project.
Afterwards, we’ll visit the very best place in all of China to shop for cloisonne!
We will then proceed to the Summer Palace, the retreat used by the emperors and empresses of the Qing Dynasty, a lovely complex filled with interesting art and architecture.
In the evening, we will see the spectacular Golden Mask show. You will find it unforgettable!
Monday – Beijing – Xi’an
In the morning we will depart for the airport for our flight to Xi’an where we’ll visit one of the wonders of the world: the immense Terracotta Army that the great Emperor Qin Xi Huang Di prepared for himself for his “eternal life.” We’ll view the mountains at the foot of which lie the Huah Qin springs, which became famous as the place where Chiang Kai-shek was captured and from where he escaped. We will visit one of the city’s picturesque quarters to see the grand mosque, a building that serves as a center for more than 50,000 Muslims. It bears striking resemblance to the ancient synagogue of Kaifeng, China. In the evening, we will see the colorful Tang Dynasty Show.
Tuesday – Xian – Luoyang – Kaifeng
After breakfast we shall be transferred to the train station to board the High Speed Train to Luoyang in Henan Province in Central China. Luoyang is the setting of the famous novel “The Empress” by Chan Se. Along the way we shall stop to explore the Longmen Grottoes or as they are known by their other name: “The caves of the 1000 Buddhas” that were discovered in an amazing natural setting, in a place that became known as “The Gate of the Hei River.” The site is located among green mountains and enjoys clear waters and pleasant weather.
We will also the visit the Shaolin Monastery located at the base of the Song Mountains – best known for the teaching of Kung Fu Martial Art.
The monks here display unbelievable physical abilities achieved through meditation and concentration.
Wednesday – Kaifeng – Guilin
After breakfast, we shall tour Kaifeng. We will proceed to Kaifeng’s ancient Jewish Quarter where thousands of Jewish families once lived and worked going back to Talmudic times. We shall stroll through streets bearing Jewish names and we will try to arrange a meeting with some of the remaining Jews in Kaifeng. Recently many of the descendants of Kaifeng Jews have begun to reclaim their heritage and have gone to Israel to study and convert to Judaism.
We’ll visit Millenium Park, a beautiful setting where there is a display of paintings, pictures, and srtifacts of the Kaifeng Jewish Community. We then will transfer to the airport for our flight to Guilin; Arrival and transfer to our hotel where we will have dinner.
Thursday – Guilin – Yangshuo
In the morning we will set out on a cruise upon the Li River, one of the most beautiful and famous journeys in China and maybe in all the world. Along the banks we will see the magnificent green karst mountains and then arrive in the small town of Yangshuo, a charming town with a magical atmosphere. In the evening we will see a spectacular show, the “Impression Sanjie Liu” that was produced by China’s most famous producer, Zhang Yimou, the man who also produced the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies as well as films such as “Raise the Red Lantern.”
Friday – Yangshuo – Guilin
Today we shall return to Guilin and visit the Reed Flute cave and see the magnificent views from the top of Mount Yao which we shall reach by cable car. We shall then return to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
Shabbat – Guilin
After Shabbat services, we’ll take a walking tour to the Elephant Trunk Hill.
Sunday, Guilin – Longsheng – Shanghai
Today we will get up early for our trip to an area north of Guilin. The trip to Longsheng is picturesque, strewn by rice fields, tea plantations, and filled with villages populated with people of some of China’s ethnic minorities. We will stop for some pictures of these villages nestled in the foothills of the rice terraces and bamboo forests. We will see some of the Yao and Dong minority people. This excursion will end at Guilin’s airport where we shall board our flight to Shanghai; Arrival and transfer to our hotel.
Monday Shanghai- Wuzhen- Shanghai
Today we will visit Wuzhen, a beautifully preserved Chinese village on the water. We will see and learn about their traditional crafts and enjoy a boat ride. We shall then drive back to Shanghai.
After dinner, we shall enjoy a Cruise on the HuangPu River and see the magnificent skyline of Shanghai by night.
Tuesday – Shanghai
Shanghai is the second largest city in China, and by all accounts the most modern. Visitors are often amazed at the sheer number and variety of architectural styles of its skyscrapers. This morning we will see Shanghai’s famous Bund promenade along the Huang Pu River, where the city’s famous 19th Century colonial buildings are located. We’ll make our way to the Shanghai Museum, one of the most important and best loved museums in the world. We will visit a silk factory to learn about the traditional production of silk and to see the silk products of today. We also will visit a traditional Chinese garden.
In the evening we will see a spectacular Acrobatic Show.
Wednesday – Shanghai
Throughout today’s tour of Shanghai we’ll acquaint ourselves with its varying characteristics. We shall visit the Jewish Quarter – a fascinating and unique story in itself. We will see the museum that will acquaint us with the story of the refuge given to the Jews during World War II. From there we’ll continue to the airport for our return flight to Beijing – Upon arrival we shall visit Beijing’s famous Silk Street Market before being transferred to our hotel.
Thursday, Beijing – Tel-Aviv
This morning we will visit a hutong for one hour on rickshaw, then a Reflexologie Center at Tongrentang and we will enjoy free time at at one of Beijing’s markets – After dinner we will make our way to the airport for our home-going flight.
We’ve had an unforgettable experience, seen a beautiful and fascinating part of the world, and developed an appetite for more.