The art and architecture of ancient China has captured the admiration of people across the globe for its elegance and beauty. Unlike traditionally Western styles of art, ink painting in China was designed to reflect the individual’s interpretation of their subject matter, rather than recreating a faithful depiction of how the scene looked in real life. This means that Chinese works of art offer an unparalleled insight into the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the scholars who painted them hundreds of years ago.
This tour is specifically tailored to suit lovers of Chinese art, architecture, and history. Beginning our journey in Shanghai, we’ll pay a visit to the most highly regarded museums in the city. From there, we’ll embark on a journey across the eastern Chinese countryside in order to visit some of the most picturesque ancient villages in the country, including those that are located in the historic region of Huizhou. Our journey will culminate in a visit to Jingdezhen, which is regarded as the porcelain capital of China and is the birthplace of the famous blue-and-white porcelain of the Ming Dynasty.
Participants: Max. 8.
Duration: 15 Days and 14 Nights.
Dates: October 12th–October 26th 2019
With its startling whitewashed walls and ornate black roofs, the village of Hongcun looks like a backdrop torn straight from a martial arts epic. If you feel like you recognise the place, then you probably do! Several scenes from Ang Lee’s Kung-Fu masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed on location in this very village, sky-rocketing it from isolated rural paradise to local superstar. Alongside the nearby village of Xidi, its unparalleled beauty and historical importance meant it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
In accordance with feng shui theory, the village was founded at the foot of a hill next to a stream. A network of canals throughout the village channels water from the stream, culminating in the Moon Pond at its centre and the South Lake at its southern edge. The emphasis on harmony between man and nature is palpable throughout Hongcun, from the tranquil alleyways lined with potted plants to the picturesque gardens and soft rippling of water as it trickles through the many tiny canals.
Among the ancient villages of Anhui province, its most unique feature is its unusual layout. The village was arranged to resemble the shape of an ox, with nearby Leigang Hill as its head and the two trees standing on it as its horns. The four bridges that span the Jiyin stream at its front and rear can be interpreted as its legs, while the houses form its torso. The canals are its intestines, the Moon Pond is its stomach, and the larger South Lake represents its abdomen. So, if you decide to visit Hongcun, you could say you’re walking into the belly of the beast! Read more about Hongcun.
The scenic village of Lucun was originally established during the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), although much of its magnificent architecture dates back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. Of the more than 140 stunningly well-preserved buildings dotted throughout Lucun, Zhicheng Hall is considered the most spectacular.
This hall is almost entirely made out of woodcut pieces, a characteristic feature of Huizhou-style buildings. These wood carvings are so elaborate and vivid that setting foot inside this hall is sure to take your breath away. Plus you’re spoilt for choice if you ever need to knock on wood! It was constructed by the wealthy merchant turned politician Lu Bangxie during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). By that time, Lu had amassed such a colossal fortune that he had earned the nickname Lu Baiwan, meaning “Lu the Millionaire”!
The building complex consists of seven courtyards, of which Zhicheng Hall was used by Lu as his own personal living room. The interior is so exquisite and well-preserved that it is frequently used as a set for operas and television series. After all, when your name is “Lu the Millionaire”, the only thing you can’t afford is to look cheap! Read more about Lucun.
When you look at Nanping, it’s hard to believe that this sleepy little village was once the site of two major battles, the home of the “10,000 silver purses”, and the backdrop for a handful of blockbuster movies. Yet there’s more to this rural slice of paradise than meets the eye! The nearby Nanping Mountain served as a battlefield during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 AD), but the area itself wouldn’t be settled until much later. Towards the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the village was established by the Ye clan, who had immigrated there from nearby Qimen.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), two other merchant families known as the Li and Cheng clans decided to settle in the village, which was a rarity as most villages were made up of just one clan during imperial times. And it seems that, though two may have been company, three was definitely a crowd in Nanping!
The success of these three families is often attributed to their competitiveness, as an abnormal number of villagers went on to become wealthy merchants, imperial officials, and learned scholars. Their accomplishments are living proof that a little healthy competition can go a long way! Read more about Nanping.
The picturesque water town of Xitang rests at the confluence between nine separate rivers, with elegant stone bridges connecting different sections of the town itself. While most of its extant buildings date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the town itself is believed to date all the way back to the Spring and Autumn Period (c. 771-476 BC)! Its beauty is legendary and it was frequently the subject of many Chinese classical paintings.
There are two main sightseeing spots that are of interest in Xitang: an old mansion that contains an exhibition of ancient fans painted with calligraphy; and one of the set locations for the film Mission Impossible 3! There are also a number of antique residences and temples that are open to the public, including the Temple of the Seven Masters.
With the lofty Mount Huang and the Xin’an River running through it, the unmatched beauty of Shexian made it a fitting capital for the ancient state of Huizhou, a region marked by its picturesque scenery. The county of Shexian was founded during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and it is widely considered to be the birthplace of Hui culture. Over 100 structures in Shexian date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and thousands date back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), making it a veritable treasure trove of traditional Hui-style architecture. The most acclaimed are typically referred to by experts as the Three Wonders of Ancient Huizhou Architecture: the residential houses, the ancestral temples, and the stone archways. When it comes to these elaborate constructions, three truly is the magic number!
While the residential houses and ancestral temples of Shexian are undeniably magnificent, many people consider the stone archways to be the county’s crowning jewel. There are over 250 of these archways scattered throughout the county, the most famous of which are the Xuguo Stone Arch and the Tangyue Memorial Archways. In ancient times, the building of a special archway or “paifang” had to be formally approved by the Emperor himself! This was because these archways signified that the individual or group being honoured had made great contributions to or were viewed as positive role models by the imperial court.
They could be built from tile, wood, or stone, and were typically placed at the entrance to a village, street, or tomb. The number of pillars and the patterns engraved on the archways were also imbued with a deep significance and usually denoted the status of the person or group being honoured. For example, patterns incorporating the dragon or the phoenix signified that the person was either a member of or close to the royal family, since these mythical creatures were the symbols of the Emperor and the Empress respectively. Read more about Shexian.
The Mukeng Bamboo Forest
If you’ve ever seen Ang Lee’s martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you’ll surely remember the iconic fight scene that takes place in (or should we say on!) a bamboo forest. While most film stars gradually fade into obscurity, the Mukeng Bamboo Forest is as beautiful as the day it first graced the silver screen! Although it has yet to make a second cinematic debut, it has since been opened to tourists and is just a short 15-minute drive from the ancient village of Hongcun.
As the sun rises and cascades off of the jade pillars of bamboo, the villagers of Mukeng awake to another quiet day spent tending to their crops. Since the area has yet to be fully developed for tourism, the bamboo forest remains a tranquil place where visitors can get lost in a sea of lush greenery. As you climb through the dense thickets of bamboo, you’ll come across many charming pavilions, bubbling brooks, and miniature waterfalls. Though the climb is steep, you’ll be rewarded at the top with a breath-taking panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and many of the ancient villages that populate it.
Tunxi Old Town
Resplendent with white-washed walls, coal black roofs, horse head eaves, and a level of ornamental decoration befitting a palace, the buildings that flank the Old Street of Tunxi Old Town are some of the finest in Anhui province. This street, one of the last remnants of a bygone area, sits at the centre of Tunxi District in Huangshan City and was originally established during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Though a handful of buildings reflect this dynastic style, the most famous ones were built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties.
At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, in a bid to expand the town and add to his growing wealth, a local Hui merchant invested money into building 47 stores along Tunxi’s Old Street. This helped open up the town to trade with businessmen from neighbouring provinces and, by the Qing Dynasty, the town had become one of the major distribution centres for the ancient region of Huizhou. The town is truly a testament to the old saying; you have to spend money to make money!
Nowadays many of these old stores have retained their original characteristics and maintain the traditional layout of “shop in the front and living quarters in the back”. Many of these buildings are between two to three storeys high and are beautifully decorated with Hui wood carvings and red lacquered shop signs. A variety of curios, such writing brushes, delicately carved ink stones, and locally picked tea, can all be found within this tiny slice of ancient China. A few examples include Tongderen, a Chinese medicine store, Tonghe, a steelwork store, and Chengdexin, a sauce and pickle makers, who have all operated on the street for over one hundred years and still use the same, archaic methods of production. Read more about Tunxi Old Town.
Since the Han Dynasty, Jingdezhen was renowned throughout China as its “Porcelain Capital” and it has been producing stunning works of pottery for a staggering 1,700 years! During the Ming and Qing dynasties, it rose to fame as one of the four great towns for commerce in China and, during this time, there were over 9,000 pottery kilns operating in this quaint town. It is perhaps most well-known internationally for its characteristic blue and white porcelain wares.
Nowadays, the town is renowned for its plethora of flea markets and professional ceramist workshops, where visitors can catch a glimpse of the skill that made Jingdezhen one of the most successful commercial towns in China.
With a population of over 24 million people, Shanghai is the largest municipality by population in China, so it goes without saying that things can get a little crowded there! The municipality consists of 18 districts and several islands just offshore in the East China Sea, while the city itself is located right on the coast between the mouth of the Yangtze River and the bay of Hangzhou. With its humid, subtropical climate and four distinct seasons, Shanghai is a bustling metropolis with a quaint coastal charm.
Arguably one of the most famous parts of the city is the district of Pudong, which rests on the eastern banks of the Huangpu River. It was established in 1870 as one of the city’s earliest industrial areas. Nowadays it is renowned for its unusual and futuristic skyscrapers, which include the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the Shanghai Tower, and the Oriental Pearl Tower. At over 490 metres (1,600 ft.) in height, the Shanghai World Financial Centre is the eighth tallest building in the world, while the colossal 632-metre-tall (2,000 ft.) Shanghai Tower ranks second in height only to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Unlike this burgeoning modern borough, the centre of Shanghai is characterised by its random and labyrinthine street pattern, a throwback to its days as a simple fishing village. Until the 20th century, this old part of the city was still surrounded by ancient city walls. These two districts serve as an embodiment of the dichotomy in Shanghai, as modern-day advances wrestle with ancient traditions. From the Bund and the Lujiazui skyline to the City God Temple and the 16th century Yu Garden, the city is a hectic mixture of contemporary architecture and ancient Chinese history. Read more about Shanghai.
The City God Temple District in Shanghai
The City God Temple is considered so integral to the history of Shanghai that there is even an old local saying which states, “Anyone who fails to see the City God Temple, fails to see Shanghai”. So, if you’re braving that long flight to China and stopping off in the city, you surely don’t want to be accused of missing out! It is located in the old, walled part of Shanghai and nowadays the name applies not only to the temple but also to the surrounding district, including Yuyuan Garden, Chenxiang Pavilion, and over a hundred shops. Most of these stores are over a hundred years old and have retained their antique charm, proving that modern technology isn’t always the way forward!
The temple is dedicated to the “Chenghuangshen” or “City God” of Shanghai, which was regarded as the guardian of the city. Chenghuangshen literally means “God of the Moat and Walls”, but is frequently abbreviated to “City God”. The term originally applied to a deity belonging to Chinese folk religion who was charged with the protection of a particular village, town, or city, and its corresponding afterlife location. This tradition dates back over 2,000 years and over time the term gradually changed in meaning, being applied not to a deity but instead to a deified deceased official or leader of the city. It was believed that this deity held sway over the souls of deceased citizens from the city and could also intervene in the affairs of living citizens.
Read more about The City God Temple District in Shanghai.
During this tour, we will:
- Admire stunning Ming and Qing dynasty architecture of ancient villages in the Huizhou region;
- Marvel at the beauty of a traditional water-town in Zhejiang province;
- Visit the porcelain capital of China and wander through the local porcelain markets;
- Browse the time-honored wares of shops that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years;
- Experience the modern and ancient sides of Shanghai.
Please Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it into your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of the 15 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.
Day 1 – Arrive in Shanghai
Meeting Point: Shanghai Pudong Airport.
Meeting Time: 17:00.
Note: If you decide to take the train from another city in China to Shanghai, please let us know in advance and we can meet you either at the hotel or the railway station. If you need any help making travel arrangements, please don’t hesitate to ask us!
Food: Dinner included. We will enjoy a welcome dinner together, where we will sample traditional Shanghai-style cuisine.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Shanghai.
Day 2 – Visit the Shanghai Museum, Travel to Xitang
In the morning, we will visit the Shanghai Museum, which is widely considered to be one of the finest museums in China. The museum is primarily dedicated to ancient Chinese art and currently boasts a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jade ornaments, paintings, sculptures, and art by China’s ethnic minorities. It is also home to one of only three “transparent” bronze mirrors that dates all the way back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD). There is so much on offer that we’ll aim to spend at least 2 hours admiring the many exhibits.
In the afternoon, we will take the bus from Shanghai to Xitang Water Town. The bus takes approximately one hour. Once we’ve arrived, we will check in to our hotel and then enjoy a leisurely evening soaking in the atmosphere of this picturesque water town.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to Xitang.
Accommodation: Traditional Chinese-style hotel in Xitang.
Day 3 – Tour of Xitang, Return to Shanghai
We will dedicate the morning to exploring Xitang and delving into the ancient history behind this gorgeous water-town.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Shanghai and prepare for our overnight train to Huangshan. In a country as large as China, train journeys have been an important part of local life for decades and this will be the perfect opportunity to experience an authentic slice of Chinese life.
Accommodation: Overnight train (you will have a bed either in a 4-person or 6-person sleeper cabin).
Day 4 – Tour of Shexian County
Once we arrive in Huangshan, we will take a minivan straight to our hotel in Shexian.
In Shexian, we will leave our luggage behind in the hotel and head out together to enjoy some of the local food for breakfast. If we are lucky and they let us check-in early, then we will take a short break at the hotel after breakfast to wash, settle in, and prepare for the rest of the day. If not, then we will head straight out to visit a small factory where the famous She ink slabs are produced!
According to traditional Chinese scholarship, She ink slabs are considered one of the Four Treasures of the Study, alongside the writing brush, Xuan paper, and the Huizhou ink stick. All of these beautiful items were originally handcrafted in southern Anhui province and can still be found in the region today.
When we have finished our factory visit, we will enjoy lunch in Shexian and then take the minivan to the nearby Tangyue Memorial Archways.
These memorial archways are widely considered to be the finest attraction in Shexian County. They were designed to praise the local Bao family for their virtues, in particular their loyalty, filial piety, benevolence, and charity. Among these seven, there are three archways dedicated to filial affection, two venerating chaste wives, one devoted to charity, and one to honour an honest and upright official. These archways are prime examples of Hui culture, which prized familial love and respect above anything else.
There is a small village beside the Memorial Archways, which we will also have the opportunity to visit.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Shexian Old Town to relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere near the river bank.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket for Shexian Old Town; entrance ticket for the Tangyue Memorial Archways.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style hotel in Shexian.
Day 5 – Explore Shexian, Optional Painting Lesson with Local Artist
In the morning, we will head to the riverside in Shexian Old Town to enjoy the soft morning light and watch as the locals prepare for a new day.
There is the option to have a 4-hour long painting lesson with a professional Chinese artist in Shexian. Otherwise, what you do on this day is entirely up to you. You can spend the day sketching the picturesque scenery, sit in a local teahouse and sample the famous Huangshan Maofeng tea, or wander around the village at your leisure.
In the afternoon, we will take the minivan to Hongcun, which will take about an hour and a half but which will take us through some truly beautiful countryside.
In Hongcun, we have opted to stay in an ancient mansion that has been renovated into a boutique hotel. Hopefully this will help you transport yourself back in time to the life of luxury enjoyed by the ancient Chinese elite!
Please Note: The cost of the painting lesson will depend on the number of people decide to take part. See the Cost section of the itinerary for more details.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to Hongcun.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style boutique hotel in Hongcun.
Day 6 – Day Tour of Lucun
In the morning, we will either hike or cycle to Lucun, depending on your preference. Lucun is about a 15 minute hike away from Hongcun and it’s all on flat ground, so it makes for a pleasant and leisurely walk.
Although there is a fee to enter Lucun, this small village hasn’t been developed for tourism, so we’ll largely have the place to ourselves. First, we will enter the village and visit its main attraction: Zhicheng Hall.
This hall is almost entirely made out of woodcut pieces, a characteristic feature of Huizhou-style buildings. It was constructed by the wealthy merchant turned politician Lu Bangxie during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). By that time, Lu had amassed such a colossal fortune that he had earned the nickname Lu Baiwan, meaning “Lu the Millionaire”! The interior of the hall consists of seven courtyards and it’s been so well-preserved that it is frequently used as the set for historic television dramas.
Once we’ve visited the hall, we can either explore the village more or climb up the nearby hillside to enjoy a panoramic view of the countryside, depending on your preference.
In the late afternoon, we will either hike or cycle back to Hongcun.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to Lucun.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style boutique hotel in Hongcun.
Day 7 –Hike the Mukeng Bamboo Forest, Tour of Hongcun
In the morning, we will take a minivan to the Mukeng Bamboo Forest. The minivan journey only takes about 20 minutes, so we will leave a little later in the morning.
The hike around the Mukeng Bamboo Forest is, for the most part, very gentle and only takes about 2 hours, although there are a couple of steep sections that can be a bit challenging. The hike takes you through the picturesque village of Mukeng, which is home to many buildings dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Unlike the other villages we have visited, Mukeng has never been considered a tourist attraction, so it’s the ideal place to see how locals have continued to live in these ancient buildings for hundreds of years.
In the afternoon, we will take a tour of Hongcun and delve into the history behind its many ancestral halls.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to the Mukeng Bamboo Forest.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style boutique hotel in Hongcun.
Day 8 – Visit Nanping, Travel to Jingdezhen, Explore the Tao Xi Chuan Market
If there are any parts of Hongcun that we haven’t visited yet, we will visit them in the morning. Otherwise, we will take the minivan back to Huangshan.
However, we will stop at the village of Nanping along the way and spend a couple of hours exploring it. Like Mukeng, this is one of the few Hui villages that has not been developed for tourism, so it provides a unique and authentic insight into what these villages would have looked like in ancient times. We will also enjoy lunch in this village.
Rather than going back to Huangshan, we will go directly to Huangshan North train station, which is just outside of the city. From there, we will have plenty of time to get through train security before we have to take our train.
In the afternoon, we will take the train from Huangshan to Jingdezhen.
Once we have arrived in Jingdezhen, we will check in at our hotel and take a break in order to get settled. At around 7pm, we will head to the Tao Xi Chuan market, as the local ceramists will have started to set up their booths.
The Tao Xi Chuan market is an open air flea market designed to provide exposure for young ceramists. The market is strictly organized by both the local government and a local culture management company, who work in tandem to help art students and local artists sell their works. All ceramists who want to exhibit their works at the market have to first go through an intense vetting procedure, where they submit a portfolio online. The market organizer selects only the most impressive portfolios and offers these ceramists the opportunity to sell their wares at Tao Xi Chuan.
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to Nanping.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Jingdezhen.
Day 9 – Explore the Ming Qing Yuan Market and the Jingdezhen Ceramic Folk Museum
In the morning, we will get up early (around 7.30am) to have breakfast and leave at 8.30am in order to visit the Ming Qing Yuan market. Like Tao Xi Chuan, the Ming Qing Yuan market is a flea market that is designed to help local artists exhibit their wares. However, the vetting procedure for Ming Qing Yuan is not as strict as that of Tao Xi Chuan, so you may find that the products won’t be of as high a standard.
Once we have finished at the Ming Qing Yuan market, we will have lunch and take a break at the hotel.
In the afternoon, we will pay a visit to the Jingdezhen Ceramic Folk Museum. Unlike other museums, the Jingdezhen Ceramic Folk Museum is actually a vast complex that is made up of ancient buildings and gardens dating back to both the Ming and Qing dynasties. Alongside the ancient relics housed within the museum, there are also two kiln-workshops within the complex that continue to manufacture ceramics. The entrance fee to the museum also includes a ceramics workshop, where visitors can watch ceramics been made using traditional methods.
We'll need to get an early night tonight, because tomorrow we'll be getting up at the crack of dawn to catch the "Ghost Market"!
What’s Included: Entrance ticket to all of the ceramic markets.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Jingdezhen near to Tao Xi Chuan.
Day 10 – Explore the Ghost Market, Return to Huangshan, Visit Tunxi Old Town
Since the Ghost Market is a very traditional type of flea market, we will be leaving before the dawn (about 5:00) in order to properly experience what the market is like. This is the oldest market in Jingdezhen and was originally started so that people could trade antiques back when it was illegal to do so during the early years of Communist rule. This is why the market was and continues to be held from late Sunday night right through to early Monday morning.
The market isn’t strictly dedicated to ceramics and instead offers an abundance of different antiques. As such, the market offers a variety of relics, including Communist paraphernalia, old coins, and jade ornaments. However, you must be particularly careful when shopping in this market, as there are numerous fake antiques that are mixed up with the authentic ones, and it is surprisingly difficult to tell them apart!
Once we have finished at the Ghost Market, we will enjoy a late breakfast and return to the hotel for a rest.
Around midday, we will have lunch and take a taxi or minivan to the train station. From there, we will take the train from Jingdezhen back to Huangshan.
In the afternoon we will pay a visit to Tunxi Old Town.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Huangshan.
Day 11 – Visit the Ancient Village of Shitan or Chengkan (Part I)
Please Note: We cannot separate into two groups to visit both villages. Participants of the tour will be asked at the start of the tour where they would prefer to go and then a decision will be made based on the village that gets the most votes.
On this day, we can either arrange to go to the ancient village of Shitan or the ancient village of Chengkan, with an optional trip to Qiankou as well. In either instance, we will take the minivan to visit the villages. If we visit Shitan, however, we won’t be able to stop off in Qiankou, as they are more than an hour’s drive apart.
Nestled within the rolling hills of Anhui province, Shitan’s remote location means it has yet to become a popular tourist destination. It is the ideal place to explore traditional Hui-style architecture and witness a local way of life that has persisted for centuries.
Day 11 – Visit the Ancient Village of Shitan or Chengkan (Part II)
The village of Chengkan is particularly special, as it is considered to be the most emblematic example of feng shui theory in practice. It was originally built over 1,800 years ago and was named Longxi, but its name was changed towards the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when it was occupied by the Luo family. The Luo brothers were great believers in feng shui theory and, after recognising the auspicious location of the village, they decided to settle there in a bid to improve their family’s fortune.
The village is surrounded by eight mountains and halved by the S-shaped Longxi River, which should give you a hint as to why it is so special. Its layout and placement were designed to replicate a traditional Chinese pattern known as Bagua or the Eight Diagrams, which is derived from a classical text known as the I-Ching or Book of Changes and contains the famous Yin-Yang symbol. The Yin part of the village is represented by the fields, while the Yang part is made up of residential buildings, with the river separating the two!
The village of Qiankou is just a few minutes’ drive away from Chengkan and is primarily famous for the local Qiankou Mansion. Contrary to what its name suggests, the Qiankou Mansion is not simply one building, but is actually a complex of various ancestral halls, temples, mansions, archways, pavilions, and bridges. It was the result of a colossal project from the 1980s to the 1990s, where hundreds of ancient residences from the surrounding countryside dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties were disassembled and then reassembled in the village of Qiankou so that they could be better protected. Nowadays, the village is regarded as a sort of museum for these ancient residences.
Once we have finished, we will take the minivan back to Huangshan.
What’s Included: Entrance tickets for either Chengkan and Qiankou or Shitan.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style hotel in Huangshan.
Day 12 – Tour of Xuan Paper Factory
We will take a minivan to visit the Xuan Paper Factory, where we will have the opportunity to make the paper ourselves! The tour of the paper factory will be free, but you will need to pay 100 yuan (approximately £11) for the materials to make the paper. This additional cost has not been included in the overall tour price, as we will need to pay for the materials on the day.
Then we will spend the remaining time visiting the old town where the factory is located, and return to Huangshan by minivan in the late afternoon.
Accommodation: Traditional Hui-style hotel in Huangshan.
Day 13 – High-speed Train back to Shanghai
In the morning, we will return to Tunxi Old Town to browse the time-honoured shops and pick up some last-minute trinkets for our return trip.
In the afternoon, we will take the high-speed train from Huangshan back to Shanghai.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Shanghai.
Day 14 – Sight-seeing in Shanghai
In the morning, we will visit the lesser-known Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (also known as the MOCA Shanghai). The MOCA Shanghai is entirely dedicated to modern art and features art by both Chinese and non-Chinese artists.
Once we have spent about 2 hours at the MOCA Shanghai, we will find a place to have lunch and then take the underground to the Bund. It goes without saying that the Bund is one of the must-see attractions in Shanghai and the cityscape makes for some wonderful photography opportunities. It is also home to some of the most stunning examples of colonial and art deco architecture in the city. We will spend between 1-2 hours taking in the sights and enjoying a leisurely stroll along the Bund before walking to the City God Temple District.
Once we arrive, you’ll be free to explore the City God Temple District at your leisure. While the City God Temple District is free to enter and explore, we haven’t included the entry ticket prices for Yuyuan Garden, Chenxiang Pavilion, or the City God Temple in the tour price and it is up to you whether you want to go inside or simply admire them from the outside.
Once we have finished exploring the City God Temple District, we will return to the hotel and pack for our flight the next day.
Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Shanghai.
Day 15 – Your Onward Journey
In the morning, we will escort you to the train station or airport with plenty of time for you to catch your train or flight.
If your flight isn’t until the afternoon, please let us know and we can arrange some extra sightseeing in Shanghai for you.
Prices and What’s Included
Cost pp: £2,100/7-8 people in one group; £2,380/5-6 people in one group; £3,000/3-4 people in one group; £3,880/2 people in one group.
Single supp: £270
What’s Included: 8 nights of shared accommodation (based on 2 people per room at hotels and 4-6 people per room on the overnight train); 6 nights of private accommodation; all transportation costs during the designated tour time, including the overnight train from Shanghai to Huangshan; breakfast every day; all entrances fees to the designated attractions within the tour; and services of one of our tour guides for the entirety of the tour.
What’s Not Included: Flights; visa; travel insurance; lunches and dinners; the cost of materials at the Xuan Paper Factory.
Optional Extra: You must let us know if you want to take part in the painting lesson at least one month before the tour is set to leave. The minimum price will be £67 per person for a group of 8 people while the maximum price will be £175 per person for a group of 3 people. Please note that this price is only for the lesson itself and does not include materials, which you will need to bring or purchase yourself.
How can I sign up to this tour?
Step 1 ⇒ Contact us directly to talk about the tour in more detail.
Step 2 ⇒ Book online and pay the £100 deposit. If you have an exclusive discount code, please enter it into the Enquiry box.
Step 3 ⇒ We will send you the invoice confirming you have been booked on the tour. Once you receive the invoice, you have 30 days to pay off the balance. Please note that the final cost of the tour will be based on the number of participants. You will first need to pay the minimum price of the tour after 30 days of paying your deposit, then you will pay the remaining balance one month before the tour is due to leave based on the tour subscription. In the meantime, we will advise you on how to apply for your visa and keep you updated on the subscription of the tour.
Step 4 ⇒ Make the full payment one month before the tour. We will send you our exclusive tour e-book, which contains a detailed itinerary of the tour and in-depth information on the areas we’ll be visiting.
Step 5 ⇒ Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure!
We are happy to answer any questions you may have and we will always keep you up to date on the progress of the tour subscription.