Chinese Gardens, Culture & Cuisine, 14 days

14 day fully escorted small group tour

Imperial dynasties, the Red Guard and a new form of 'capitalist communism'; there is hardly a country in the world with such a turbulent history as China. The 21st Century no longer knocks at the door of ‘The Middle Kingdom’, but rushes through it at full speed. Fortunately more and more Chinese people realize the importance of the past and the need for it to be protected for future generations. Centuries- old gardens are the focus of this tour but you will also be introduced to Chinese culture, architecture and its cuisine as well.
The journey begins in Beijing. We visit the temple and palace gardens where Qing and Ming emperors once sought their peace. We walk across the Great Wall and visit the Summer Palace with its vast park in northern Chengde. A high-speed train takes us to Suzhou. In this city of water on the Yangtze delta, scholars and dignitaries built their gardens which were said to be the ‘finest under heaven’. We visit public parks which are the ‘backyards’ of millions of city dwellers. Here you’ll witness people singing and dancing early in the morning or playing a game of chess and practicing Tai Chi and other forms of exercise. Every age is represented here. No matter what group activity you see, you’re very welcome to join in and participate !
Next we travel to the city of Hangzhou which lies on the idyllic West Lake and which has been a source of inspiration for painters, poets and garden designers for centuries. We stay just outside of the city in Longjing, in the middle of the tea plantations near the ‘Dragon Source Tea Village’.
The tour ends in bustling and sophisticated Shanghai, once the ‘Paris of the East’ and still the city where the ‘East meets the West’. The Pudong district embodies ultra-modern Shanghai. Where not so long ago farmers cultivated rice, we find futuristic buildings and the Shanghai Houtan Park, designed by the landscape architecture firm Turenscape. We visit small neighborhoods, tea houses and in Yuyuan, the ‘Garden of Happiness’ to get a feeling of what old Shanghai must have been like in days past.

Join us for this exceptional introductory tour of China, its’ gardens, culture and cuisine !