Why we suggest this tour itinerary?
In this itinerary, you will have a varied experience, covering historic wonders, world heritages and modern marvels in China, from the modern and historical Beijing to unstirred ancient city, rich-in-Buddha-art grottos and famous temples, picturesque mysterious scared mountains. You can visit Tiananmen Square, the heart of China, know the emperors life at the Forbidden City, enjoy the stunning Great Wall in Beijing, get acquaintance with antique Pingyao city, scared Buddhist Mountain - Mt. Wutai, the giant Yungang Grottos (all of them are the UNESCO World Heritage sites) and some other charming attractions in Shanxi Province which can make you indulge in the typical Chinese culture, art and folk-custom.
Main Tourist Attractions in the Itinerary:
Qianmen Street, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Lunch at an old Beijing family, Rickshaw in Hutongs (Lanes in the residence area in the well protected old Beijing zone) in well-protected old Beijing area, Summer Palace (include the Foxiang Pavilion on top of the central mountain (means Buddha Fragrance Pavilion)), Temple of Heaven, Great Wall at Badaling,
Yungang Grottos, Huayan Temple.
Ancient Pingyao City, Shuanglin Temple and Qiao Family Compound.
Experience in the Itinerary:
* Walk on the Great Wall.
* Rickshaw through the Hutongs. – the alleys and lanes in old Beijing zone. One lunch in a normal Beijing Citizen home.
* To know the imperial life in the Forbidden City,
* Marvel at the great ancient art in China – Yungang Grottos.
* Explore the mystery of the holly Mt. Wutai.
* Appreciate the charming ancient city - Pingyao which boasts the best protected ancient city in China.
* Enjoy the marvelous lady sculptures made around 1000 years ago at Jinci Temple in Taiyuan.
More Info about Yungang Grottoes, Mt. Wutai & Pingyao City:
Located around 16 km to the west of Datong city, the Yungang Grottoes was built against a mountain and extend for about 1 km from east to west. The construction of the caves was started under the auspices of the noted monk Tan Yao in 453 during the Northern Wei Dynasty and took 50 years to complete. Some 40,000 people, including Buddhists from what is present-day Sri Lanka, contributed to the huge endeavor.
The 53 grottoes in Yungang include some 1,000 niches with about 51,000 statues - a treasure trove of grotto art that combines traditional Chinese art forms with foreign influence, particularly Greek and Indian. The Yungang Grottoes are also a treasure house of ancient Buddhist art, the largest of its kind in China. They are as famous as the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province.
The numerous niches set in the northern cliff of Wuzhou Mountain look like a honeycomb. The grottoes, a plethora of Buddhist statues, are composed of the following three parts: the early rock caves (five) in the west, which are mostly oval-shaped and planned on a large scale, with the main statue reaching a height of 17 meters; the grottoes in the middle, oblong in shape and in two chambers, with the main statue in the center and the walls, arches and roofs covered with Buddhist relief sculptures; the square grottoes, each with a pagoda-shaped central column, also excellently sculptured, reaching to the roof while the walls are carved with niches enshrining Buddhist statues.
More Detail about Yungang Grottoes on the UNESCO World Heritage Website:
Mt. Wutai (UNESCO world heritage site):
With its five flat peaks, Mount Wutai is a sacred Buddhist mountain. It is seen as the global centre for the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri worship. Mount Wutai, literally, the five terrace mountain, is the highest in Northern China and is remarkable for its morphology of precipitous slopes with five open treeless peaks. Temples have been built on this site from the 1st century AD to the early 20th century. Now tourists mainly visit Taihuai Town which is in the middle of the 5 peaks and there are many well protected ancient temples.
Mt. Wutai was the first of the four mountains to be identified as the scared mountains of Buddhism in China. It was identified on the basis of a passage in the Avatamsaka Sutra, which describes the abodes of many bodhisattvas. In this chapter, the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri is said to reside on a "clear cold mountain" in the northeast. This served as charter for the mountains identity and its alternate name "Clear Cool Mountain".
The Bodhisattva is believed to frequently manifest himself on the mountain, taking the form of ordinary pilgrims, monks, or most often unusual five-colored clouds.
More detail about Mt.Wutai at UNESCO World Heritage website: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1279
More about Mt.Wutai at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Wutai
Ping Yao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Its urban fabric shows the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. - from UNESCO website.
Pingyao Ancient City is an unbelievable melting pot. Buildings inside the Ancient City Wall, though taking on the same traditional looks, stand for sharply different contents. Exchange shops at Mingqing Street are to give you an active and ambitious Shanxi Commercial Group, which once dominated economy before modern China (before 1900). Among them is the famous Rishengchang Exchange Shop that you must visit. Astonishingly, These capitalistic banking companies lives in peace with feudal Government Office of Pingyao. Moreover, these companies have the Ancient Security Guard Company (Biaoju in Chinese) as their property supercargo. Youll find yourself amazed by such a relation and way of living together with varied minds in Pingyao!
More detail about Pingyao city at UNESCO World Heritage website: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/812