China’s Canal Cities

Discover the historic Grand Canal and the ancient water cities of China.

Country Information

China Including Tibet

China's Canal Cities Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

China Including Tibet


(Interest Type(s))

Family Travel


(Tour Length)

12 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $6,790
  • Discover China’s Grand Canal, which originates in Beijing and is the longest canal, or artificial river, in the world
  • Travel outside Beijing to the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall, which connects Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Great Wall in the east and was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557DC)
  • Enjoy truly local experiences including a train journey to Zhanjiang on the south bank of the lower Yangtze River in the southwest of Jiangsu Province
  • Tour the fascinating Xijin Old Port and Xijin Ancient Street, awarded the Distinguished Protection Project of Cultural Heritage of United Nations
  • Enjoy a private boat trip on West Lake in Hangzhou, where for some ten centuries it served as the spiritual home of Chinese cultural elites as well as a welcoming place for all strata of Chinese people

Day 1:  Arrive Beijing, China
Welcome to China!  Upon arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.  Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China, is the nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center.  In northern China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, Beijing also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry in China.  Beijing, one of the six ancient cities in China, has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore Beijing's ancient past and exciting modern development.  Now it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.  Fairmont Beijing

Day 2:  Beijing
Today you savor a full day tour of Beijing.  First, Tiananmen Square at the center of Beijing where you can see Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony.  Thousands of people come to this massive square every day.  Then, the phenomenal Forbidden City, at the city’s heart, was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.  Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square.  Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares/7,965 square feet.  Surrounded by a six-meter deep moat and a ten-meter high wall are 9,999 rooms.  The wall has a gate on each side.  Opposite the Tiananmen Gate to the north is the Gate of Divine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park.  The distance between these two gates is 960 meters/3,150 feet while the distance between the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters/2,461 feet.  There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall.  These afford views over both the palace and the city outside.  Next travel to the Summer Palace set along Kunming Lake.  Situated in the western outskirts of Haidian District, the palace is 15 kilometers/9.3 miles from central Beijing.  Containing examples of the ancient arts, it also has graceful landscapes and magnificent constructions.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world.  Finally stop by Sihui to see where China’s Grand Canal originates in Beijing.  This is the longest canal or artificial river in the world, and it passes through Tianjin and several provinces to the city of Hangzhou.  The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD).  The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km/1,104 mi.  Fairmont Beijing (B,L)

Day 3:  Beijing – Great Wall of China
After breakfast, you set out to explore one of the most amazing manmade structures in the world... the Great Wall of China.  You travel to the Mutianyu Section, which is far less touristy that other segments.  Many dynasties in Chinese history actively built walls in this area.  Among many historical ruins of the Great Wall in Beijing, the wall built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 DC) is the most often seen and best preserved, running over 600 kilometers/373 miles and containing about 827 city wall platforms, 71 passes and countless towers.  Today you will visit the Mutianyu Section of the wall in Huairou County, about 45 miles from Beijing.  This section of the wall connects Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Great Wall in the east.  The wall was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557DC).  In the reign of the Ming Dynasty, two famous patriotic generals rebuilt it in order to strengthen its defensive potential when they guarded the strategic pass.  It served as the northern protective screen, guarding the capital and imperial mausoleums for generations.  Later, you enjoy a delightful lunch at a local school house before continuing to the Sacred Way.  The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, is said to have traveled from heaven to his country through the Sacred Way; and also would return along the same route through this road.  The road is often lined with stone statues, important decorations of the mausoleum.  These statues are usually 12 human figures (including a general, civil officials and meritorious officials) and 24 animals, including lion, camel, elephant, xiezhi (a mythological unicorn), qilin (one of the four "divine animals, the other three are dragon, phoenix and tortoise), and horse.  From here, you drive to the National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) in Olympic Green Village in the Chaoyang District of the city.  It was designed as the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where events of track and field, football, gavelock, weight throwing and discus were held.  Now it serves as the center of international or domestic sports competition and recreation activities.  Fairmont Beijing (B,L)

Day 4:  Beijing / Zhenjiang   
Today, you are escorted to the train station to board your first class train to Zhenjiang, an almost five-hour journey.  Upon arrival in Zhenjiang, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will have dinner and a leisurely evening.  Zhenjiang lies on the south bank of the lower Yangtze River, and in the southwest of Jiangsu Province.  The recorded history of Zhenjiang could be traced back 3,000 years to the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-221BC).  Zhenjiang is also the home of the Jing-Hang section of the Grand Canal.  Sheraton Zhenjiang Hotel (B,D)

Day 5:  Zhenjiang / Yangzhou
This morning, discover the Xijin Old Port, the former British Consulate in the Qing Dynasty.  Xijin Ancient Street at the foot of Yuntai Mountain, the south of the city, was originally built in the Sixth Dynasty and flourished during the Tang and Song Dynasties.  It has been awarded the Distinguished Protection Project of Cultural Heritage of United Nations.  This fascinating street is host to many ancient relics such as Guanyin Cave, Xijin Ancient Ferry, and the most-protected and oldest stone pagoda in China.  There are more than 150 shops along Xijin Ancient Street.  You visit the museum of Ms. Pearl S. Buck, who in 1938 became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature.  She was a prolific American writer, and is most famous for her book The Good Earth based on the life of a Chinese village.  The next stop is the Zhenjiang Hengshun Vinegar Factory, founded in the Qing Dynasty, 1840AD.  This is where the Chinese vinegar industry began, and is also a National Intangible Cultural Heritage Site.  Here, you can learn about the artistry of making vinegar.  Drive to Yangzhou and check in to your hotel.  This evening you will have time for a relaxing and welcomed foot massage.  Yangzhou ranks as the best city in the country for foot massages.  Ramada Plaza Yangzhou Casa (B,L)

Day 6:  Yangzhou
Today cruise to the Lesser West Lake, famous for its gardens.  Next you will enjoy a visit to the Dongguan Old Residence by rickshaw and also visit a local family.  Also you will see the Tomb of Puhading, who is the 16th generation of son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam.  Puhading traveled to Yangzhou in Song Dynasty and stayed here from year 1265 to 1274AD.  Lunch today will be served inside a famous old mansion built in Qing Dynasty.  Ramada Plaza Yangzhou Casa (B,L)

Day 7:  Yangzhou / Zhenjiang / Shanghai
This morning is at leisure.  You can choose to walk back over to the Dongguan Old Residence just next door.  You can buy souvenirs, take some pictures of this area or just relax.  Later you will transfer from Yangzhou to the train station in Zhenjiang where you will take the express train to Shanghai.  Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel.  Shanghai is a storied international metropolis.  Situated on the estuary of Yangtze River, Shanghai serves as the most influential economic, financial, international trade, cultural, science and technology center in East China.  Also it is a popular tourist destination where visitors clearly see the pulsating development of modern China.  In addition to its modernization, Shanghai's multicultural flair endows it with a unique mystique.  Here you find a vivacious blend of cultures and eras as well as a fascinating merger of east meets west.  New skyscrapers and old Shikumen lanes together draw the skyline of Shanghai.  Fairmont Peace Hotel (B)

Day 8:  Shanghai
Today you will enjoy a full day city tour of Shanghai.  First stop is the Bund, the city’s famous waterfront serving as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years.  It is on the west bank of Huangpu River from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge.  It is less than a mile long, but is most famous for its 26 buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.  The 1,700-meter/1,859-yard flood-control wall, also known as 'the lovers' wall', is located on the side of Huangpu River from Huangpu Park to Xinkai River.  After renovation, the monotone concrete buildings that lovers leaned against in the past have been improved into hollowed-out railings full of romantic atmosphere.  Standing by the railings, visitors can have a 'snap-shot' view of the scenery of Pudong Area and Huangpu River.  Lunch today will be served at Jean Gorges Restaurant at 3 on the Bund before you visit the Shanghai Museum (optional:  subject to availability, you may invite the principal secretary of the Museum to join you for your tour).  Located in the center of Shanghai in People's Square, Shanghai Museum has a large museum of ancient Chinese art.  The museum style and presentation surround visitors with artifacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy.  The exterior design of the round dome and the square base symbolize the ancient ideas of a round heaven and a square land.  The museum is divided into eleven galleries that cover most of the major categories of Chinese art:  Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities.  This afternoon is at your leisure to explore the Tian Zi Fang area of the French Concession.  Fairmont Peace Hotel (B,L)

Day 9:  Shanghai / Hangzhou       (First class train – 1.5 hours)
Transfer to the train station to board your train for a journey of about an hour and a half to Hangzhou.  Upon arrival there, you are transferred to your resort.  In the afternoon, discover nearby Shangtianzhu Temple, a serene and authentic place of prayer.  You have the option to invite the monks to give you a small ceremony inside the temple.  Banyan Tree hangzhou (B,L)

Day 10:  Hangzhou
This morning you set out on a private boat trip on West Lake, originally a shallow sea inlet.  As silt was laid down, this became a 5.68-square kilometer/1,404-acre body of water.  The cultural landscape of West Lake, initiated in the 9th Century, took shape in the 13th Century and has thrived since the 18th Century.  For about ten centuries, it has always been the spiritual home of Chinese culture elites, a welcome place for all strata of Chinese people.  Afterwards, you will enjoy an authentic tea ceremony at Longjing Tea Village followed by a visit to the Leifeng Pagoda that has panoramic views of the lake.  After lunch you will return to your hotel.  Banyan Tree Hangzhou (B,L)

Day 11:  Hangzhou
Today is at leisure to relax and savor the fine amenities of your accommodations.  Banyan Tree Hangzhou (B)

Day 12:  Hangzhou / Shanghai / Depart
Transfer to the train station for your departing train to Shanghai. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the international airport where you will board your departing flight home.  (B)

Departure Dates:  Jun 1 to Feb 1, 2013

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Starting from $6790

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