31st Tai Chi China Tour 2019

UNIQUE TOUR OPPORTUNITY

Marco Polo "Silk Road"

12 – 26 October 2019

Venture on China’s Silk Road an exotic trip that has inspired travellers for generations.  Allow your imagination to run free. The Silk Road. This epic journey will take you into the far north-west of China to explore the origins and experience the mysteries of this ancient trade route. History and legacies inspire feelings of awe and wonderment that will long be remembered as we explore these far flung exotic cities.

Two thousand years ago, the first traders set off on long and arduous journeys between the great empires of the age passing through vital ancient centres between China and Rome, and Persia and India. Known as the Silk Road, this burgeoning trade route eventually closed. Its existence remaining fictionalised in myths and legends. Stretching over 4000km from Urumqi to Shanghai, we will retrace the footsteps of Marco Polo.

In Shanghai we embrace China’s pulse: taste the exotic sounds, smells and sights absorbing the ancient history and culture, the eclectic mix of 21st Century British Colonial juxtaposing ancient Chinese architecture.

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Flaming Mountains – Turpan

Flaming Mountains – Turpan

Itinerary – the tour highlights include:

Day 1 to 3

Sat Oct 12: Melbourne – Guangzhou

We will fly with China Southern Airlines.

Sun Oct 13 – Mon Oct 14: Guangzhou – Urumqi

We start the tour in Urumqi on the northern route of the ancient Silk Road. Urumqi is the most land-locked city in the world. Sightseeing includes the spectacular Heaven's Lake surrounded by Yurts and home to mountain inhabitants. Located  half way up the 5000 metre high Bodga Mountain, Heaven’s Lake is flanked by rugged pines and cypresses.  It reflects the snow capped Heavenly Mountain peak regarded by the Turks in mid-Asia as the holy mountain.

An optional boat ride on the Lake offers breathtaking views not seen from the shore. Time permitting, we will join the locals to practise Tai Chi.

Enjoy a relaxing four hour coach journey to Turpan.

Heaven's Lake – Urumqi

Heaven's Lake – Urumqi

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Day 4

Tue Oct 15: Turpan

Turpan is populated by the Uighur people and is set in a large oasis surrounded by desert and dry mountains. Situated 154 metres below sea level it is one of the hottest oasis depressions in China.  Many oases are irrigated by a series of underground channels which carries melted snow from Tianshan Mountain. The irrigation system, known as “Karez Well”, is considered one of the three great ancient engineering projects in China, the other two being The Great Wall and Grand Canal. We visit the dramatic ruins of Gaochang an ancient 9th century capital of the Uighurs and/or the Jiaohe Ruins, dating back 1600 years revealing traces of a prosperous ancient trading centre and military stronghold and the amazing Thousand Budda Caves and Flaming Mountains.

Time permitting, we visit the exotic bazaar and wander through the little streets and alleys that seem to belong to another time and place of fiction.

 

Overnight sleeper train to Dunhuang.

Karez Well – Turpan

Karez Well – Turpan

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Day 5 to 6

Wed Oct 16 – Thur Oct 17: Dunhuang

Dunhuang is a 2000 year old town that was a major staging post for incoming and outgoing trade caravans on the Silk Road linking Central Asia with China. Today the city's fame rests with the most priceless trove of Buddhist art the world has ever known the most famous being the Mogao Grottos comprising 492 caves ranging from 3rd to 4th century AD.  Cut into a massive cliff face it is one of the most impressive landmarks housing carvings, coloured frescoes and murals. Sightseeing will also include a visit to the Crescent Moon Spring and from the back of a camel the Mingsha Dunes, part of the Gobe desert.

Travel by coach to Jiayuguan.

Mogao Grottos – Dunhuang

Mogao Grottos – Dunhuang

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Day 7

Fri Oct 18: Jiayuguan

Jiayuguan is the Western starting point of the Great Wall and was an important commercial port. We visit the Jiayu Fort known as the ‘impregnable Pass Under Heaven’ and venture through the famous Hexi Corridor, the historical gateway to the Silk Road by train.

 

Travel by train to Tianshui 13:05 – 19:10.

Jiayu Fort – Jiayuguan

Jiayu Fort – Jiayuguan

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Day 8

Sat Oct 19: Tianshui

Tianshui is a famous historic and cultural city. One of the important birthplaces of the Chinese nation, it has 2,700 years of history with a civilization stretching back 8,000 years. Located at the southeast of Gansu province, it is the second biggest city in this region. The Maijishan Grottoes one of China’s four mega grottoes is a highlight of Tianshui. Nestled in lush forests, Fan Wenlan, a famous Chinese historian, called it ‘a grand exhibition hall of sculptures.’  It consists of over 7,000 Buddhist sculptures, offering different grotto designs and layout according to the styles of the era.  The tallest Buddha sculpture is over 16 meters in height. Plank paths are navigated on the cliff face with the added bonus of appreciating the natural beauty below.

Travel by train to Xian D2676 18:15 – 20:00

Maijishan Grottoes – Tianshui Maijishan Grottoes – Tianshui

Maijishan Grottoes – Tianshui

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Day 10 to 11

Mon Oct 21 – Tue Oct 22: Xian

Xian marks the start of the famous ‘Silk Road’ and is in the Land of Kings and Emperors. It also served as the capital of 11 dynasties.

Xian is China’s most popular tourist attaction due to the discovery of the famous 6000-strong army of Terracotta Warriors built in the 3rd century BC to protect the Qin Emperor. Ample time will be allowed to wander around the “Eighth Wonder of the World” studying the life-size warriors and their horses, while marvelling at the fact that each of their faces is unique.

A walk along Xian’s Ancient City Wall, the best-preserved, oldest and largest ancient city defence system in China maybe walked or cycled.  We visit the Biggest Fountain Show in the World  and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652 AD, it was designed to house the Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by the travelling monk Xuan Zang.

No trip to Xian is complete without a visit to the Huaqing Hot Spring located at the foot of Mt Lishan. Famous since ancient times, the pool names include Lotus Flower, Crab-Apple and Star.  They were frequented by royal families for 2800 years.

Time permitting, we will join the locals to practise Tai Chi.

 

Travel by train to Luoyang G1942 15:50 – 17:17.

Terracotta Warriors – Xian

Terracotta Warriors – Xian

Day 12

Wed Oct 23: Luoyang

Luoyang is encircled by mountains and plains and is the cradle of Chinese civilisation. It boasts the UNESCO World Heritage site Longmen Grottoes.  Weather permitting, we will join the locals to practise Tai Chi and Health Qigong in the morning before exploring them.

The Longmen Grottoes stand on the scenic banks of the River Yi and represent traditional Chinese art for over 1000 years. Dating back from 386 AD to 907 AD they contain many imperial and noble statues from the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties. The rocks in this area are hard and tough, ideal for stone sculpture.  Covering one kilometre, 2345 niches have been recorded on both sides of the river. They house more than 100,000 Buddhist statues, 2500 steles and inscriptions, and over 60 Buddhist pagodas in the Guyang, Binyang and Lianhua caves.

Groups of scholars and visitors from China and abroad are attracted as the Longmen Grottoes are widely recognised as a large museum of stone sculpture: an artistic expression of Buddhist culture and a reflection of the political, economic, and social culture of the time. The caves have preserved a huge wealth of physical data of religious, fine art, architecture, calligraphy, music, costume and medicine.

Time permitting, we will join the locals to practise Tai Chi.

Longmen Grottoes – Luoyang

Longmen Grottoes – Luoyang

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Day 13 to 15

Thu Oct 24 – Sat 26: Shanghai

Travel by train to Shanghai G1812 08:21 – 14:07.

Our last stop is ‘The Paris of the East’, Shanghai. One of the world’s largest cities and China’s most commercial and cosmopolitan, Shanghai is an eclectic mix of 19th to 21st century, British Colonial and ancient Chinese architecture. 

Our time will be free without organised group tours. Song will show you around and do whatever is requested. Time permitting, we will join the locals to practise Tai Chi.

A leisurely stroll along The Bund, Shanghai’s famous riverside promenade is a must as is a walk down the famous Golden Mile of Chinese Commerce in Nanjing Road to indulge in exclusive window shopping.

A visit to Yuyuan Garden to appreciate its intricate beauty and take respite from the bustling city streets and the Jade Buddha Temple, famous for its two extremely rare white Jade Buddhas, one of which is carved out of a single piece of white jade weighing one ton, and inlaid with dazzling jewels are both calm experiences.

Optional Activity in Shanghai

Our final evening may be spent cruising on the Huangpu River, (approximately $70 per person). The mother river of Shanghai, it is the ideal way to view the amazing urban landscape particularly the spectacular contemporary architecture including the People’s Hero Monument, the Bund, and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the dramatic skyline of the Pu Dong business district, the bustling International Passenger Station of Shanghai Harbour, the docks and the Wu Song ancient gun fort relics.

Optional Tours in Shanghai

One-Day tour to Hangzhou/Suzhou/Wuzhen can be organised at the Hotel in Shanghai.

Yuyuan Garden – Shanghai

Yuyuan Garden – Shanghai

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Day 16

Sat Oct 26 – Sun Oct 27: Shanghai – Guangzhou – Melbourne

Unfortunately, we must all return to the ‘real world’.  Our journey Silk Road journey comes to an end. We return to our loved ones, filled with magical stories of the Silk Road.

Home Sweet Home

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The above itinerary is subject to final confirmation.

Cost: $4799 (based on a 15 person tour minimum) which includes:

  • Return economy class airfares.
  • Internal Chinese airfares, first-class sleeper train fares and coach fares.
  • Twin share accommodation, sightseeing and most meals in China.

This tour is limited to 20 people so please book early to avoid disappointment.

The tour will be fully escorted by TCA chief instructor Master Han Jin Song who is an official representative and tour organiser from the Beijing Sport University, China. He speaks fluent Chinese and English and is familiar with the culture and customs in both China and Australia and will help you in any way he can (including bargaining). He has built up an enviable reputation for professional and valued service to 30 Tai Chi study and culture tours since 1991, escorting and interpreting for over 500 Australians. He has accumulated a great understanding of what Australian people really like to do and see when in China and will make your trip the most memorable holiday you have ever had.

This tour is open to all Tai Chi students and their relatives/friends who are interested in Chinese Culture, tradition, history, Tai Chi, Qigong and memorable sightseeing to famous historical sites.

Contact Song for further details on (03) 9889 9999 or email info@taichiaustralia.com.au


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