Deluxe Kosher Tours 2020, Summer Vacations in Beijing, China
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Foshan, Kaiping,
Shenzhen, Hong Kong
April 29th– May 14th 2020
What is more exotic than the ancient country of China? A land of contrasts, China contains some of the most populated, modern cities in the world, as well as ancient architecture and cultural relics that date back thousands of years. Its natural landscapes range from mountains to beaches to pastoral countryside.
In our 15-day tour of China, we’ll explore several parts of the country, including some of its most notable cities. We’ll also travel back in time to get a glimpse of what life in China was like during its ancient dynasties, as we visit historical sites, museums, and palaces. We’ll even explore some of China’s Jewish roots, as we enjoy a kosher tour of this remarkable country.
DAY 1/WEDNESDAY/APRIL 29
Departure on our two-week mission to China and Hong Kong.
DAY 2/THURSDAY/APRIL 30 Beijing (Arrival)
Today we’ll arrive in Beijing for the start of the tour. Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and a city with a history that dates back over three thousand years. We’ll transfer to the hotel for check-in, have a kosher dinner, then return to the hotel for our overnight accommodations.
DAY 3/FRIDAY/MAY 1 Beijing
Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven
We’ll begin our first full day in Beijing with a visit to the Forbidden City, the world’s largest ancient palatial structure. The home of 24 Chinese emperors since the 15th century CE, the complex is now known as the Palace Museum. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as one of the world’s five most important palaces. Next, we’ll visit Tiananmen Square, which is perhaps the largest public square in the world. It achieved international infamy in 1989, when thousands of protesters were killed during government protests. However, the square is also a tribute to much of the city’s rich history. Named for its Gate of Heavenly Peace, the square contains monuments to national heroes as well as the National Museum of China. After our tour of the square, we’ll travel to the Temple of Heaven, a complex of buildings that was used by ancient emperors for annual prayer ceremonies in which they asked Heaven for a good harvest. The buildings include the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Circular Mound Altar. The beautiful structures were erected on bases of marble stone and contain intricate carvings and painted columns. Afterward, we will return to our hotel before sundown and the start of Shabbat. We’ll have our Shabbat dinner and then overnight in Beijing.
DAY 4/SHABBAT/ MAY 2 Beijing
Shabbat in Beijing
We’ll spend Shabbat with the Jewish community of Beijing, where we’ll enjoy Shabbat lunch and kosher dinner. We’ll overnight in Beijing.
DAY 5/SUNDAY/ MAY 3 Beijing
Great Wall of China, Beijing Peking Opera or Beijing Kung Fu performance
We’ll begin the day with a transfer to visit the Great Wall of China. We’ll take a cable car up and down to visit a section of the wall that passes through Beijing. Built during the Ming Dynasty, the wall covers over 373 miles and contains a multitude of towers, city wall platforms, and passes. Once stretching over 6000 miles across the countryside, we can appreciate the magnificent portions that remain.We’ll travel to the Summer Palace by boat and have a kosher dinner. The Summer Palace was a destination of the imperial family when they wished to escape the summer heat. Just nine short miles from the city, it is the site of China’s most well preserved royal park and contains many palatial buildings on its beautifully landscaped grounds.
In the evening after dinner, we’ll have the opportunity to see an optional performance of the Beijing Peking Opera or a Beijing Kung Fu Show.
DAY 6/MONDAY/ MAY 4 Beijing — Shanghai
Bund Waterfront, Nanjing Road, Old City, Yu Yuan Gardens
This morning we’ll transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Shanghai. With over 21 million people, the city has the largest population of any metropolis in the world, as well as a rich cultural history.
We’ll begin our tour of the city with visits to the Bund waterfront. The Bund is a symbol of old Shanghai and has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. Lying along the west bank of the Huangpu River, the Bund winds for almost a mile. Along the banks are 26 buildings of diverse architectural styles, from Baroque to Gothic, and everything in between. Its flood-control wall, also known as the lovers’ wall, was considered the most romantic corner in Shanghai a century ago. Today one is likely to see older individuals practicing Tai Chi, while young couples stroll by, looking for a romantic interlude.
Next we’ll travel to Nan Jing Road, one of the major commercial streets in Shanghai. More than 600 shops and shopping centers line the road, and most carry high-end goods. Parts of the road are pedestrian-only, making it a shopper’s paradise.
After some contemporary shopping, we’ll head to the Old City and visit its Old Town Bazaar and Yu Yuan Garden. The bazaar is also known as the Yu Yuan Market. Once more of a holiday market, the bazaar today fills an area of more than 50 hectares and contains 3000 merchants’ booths. At least 60,000 tourists shop at the bazaar each day, seeking handicrafts and folk antiques, Chinese clothing, linens, and even chopsticks.
Behind the shopping area lies the Yu Yuan Garden. First built over 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty, the classical Chinese garden contains several ponds, bridges, rockeries, and walkways, as well as seasonal flowers. The site is considered an excellent representation of a southern Chinese type of garden.
DAY 7/TUESDAY/MAY 5 Shanghai
Ohel Moshe Synagogue, Hongkou Ghetto, Holocaust Memorial, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, acrobatic spectacle
We’ll begin our next full day in Shanghai with an opportunity to learn more about the city’s rich Jewish Traditions. We’ll start with a visit to the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, which is now a museum. There we’ll learn more about the role of Jewish Holocaust refugees in Shanghai’s history. We next head to the Hongkou Ghetto, home to over 20,000 of these Holocaust refugees. There, we can pause at the Holocaust Memorial, then visit former homes and workplaces of prominent Jews who once lived in Shanghai. Afterward, we’ll visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The tallest TV tower in Asia and third largest in the world, the tower has become a symbol of modern Shanghai due to its size and unique look. The tower offers a panoramic view of the city, and its ground floors features an international city exhibit, as well as a café and shopping area. Next we’ll enjoy our kosher dinner, then can spend the evening at an optional acrobatic spectacle, or return to our hotel for overnight accommodations.
DAY 8/WEDNESDAY/MAY 6 Shanghai
Today will provide us with time for any additional sightseeing in Shanghai, along with some rest and relaxation before the next leg of our tour. We will overnight in Shanghai.
DAY 9/THURSDAY/MAY 7 Shanghai — Guangzhou
Shanghai Museum, Shanghai French Quarter
After breakfast this morning, we’ll transfer to visit the Shanghai Museum and the French Quarter of Shanghai. The Shanghai Museum contains over 120,000 works of art, including ancient Chinese ceramics, bronzes, and paintings. It contains eleven different galleries and three exhibition halls for temporary exhibits. Next we’ll proceed to Shanghai’s French Quarter or French Concession. It is the area of Shanghai where the French settled after their arrival in the mid-19th century. Today, much of its French architecture has been preserved, and the French Quarter is a charming area of 19th century mansions, quaint shops, and elegant restaurants. After our tour, we’ll transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Guangzhou. Upon our arrival, we’ll transfer to our hotel for overnight accommodations.
NOTE: Time permitting we’ll take an evening cruise on the Pearl River (if not we will do Saturday night after Shabbat)
DAY 10/FRIDAY/MAY 8 Guangzhou
Lychee Wan area, Chen Clan Temple, Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, Shamian Island, Pearl River night cruise
Guangzhou was once known as Canton. It is a city that, while very modern, preserves much of its ancient culture, including many European influences. Today we’ll enjoy a day of sightseeing in some of the older parts of the city.
After breakfast, we’ll visit the Lychee Wan or Lychee Bay area. The curved waterway was built as a summer resort during the Han Dynasty. Today it is most noted for its diverse architecture. Sites along the way include the Lianglia Ancestral Temple, Wen Tower, Longlin Bridge, and Renwel Temple. There are also over 400 antique stores in the area. Next we’ll visit the Chen Clan Temple. Built during the Qing Dynasty, it is considered one of the best preserved examples of the dynasty’s architecture. It now services as the city’s Museum of Folk Arts and Handicrafts. Our next stop is a visit to the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. This tomb was re-discovered in the late 20th century during the construction of a hotel. Perched on Elephant Hill, the tomb is the resting place of the grandson of a Qin Dynasty general.
Shamian Island is next on our Guangzhou tour. This sandbank river island was once an important port for foreign trade. In 1859, it was divided into two concessions and occupied by both the French and English during the second Opium Wars. Today we can enjoy walks down broad, shaded boulevards and admire the many European-style mansions that remain in the area.
Towards evening, we’ll take a boat tour on the Pearl River, where we’ll see breathtaking views of Guangzhou by night. Then we’ll return to our hotel and prepare for Shabbat.
DAY 11/SHABBAT/MAY 9 Guangzhou
Shabbat in Guangzhou
Today we’ll have a restful Shabbat in Guangzhou and spend the night here.
DAY 12/SUNDAY/MAY 10 Guangzhou — Foshan
Foshan Ancestral Temple, Ancient Nanfeng Kiln, Qinghui Garden
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the city of Foshan, a city whose history dates back 5,000 years. We’ll begin with a visit to the Foshan Ancestral Temple, also known as Zumiao. Built approximately 1000 years ago during the Northern Song Dynasty, it was first used as a place where sacrifices were made to the Xuantian deity. The temple covers almost an acre and incorporates many striking architectural features, including the Lingying Archway, the Sanmen Gate, and the Bell and Drum Tower.
Next we’ll visit the Ancient Nanfeng Kiln, reputed to be the oldest kiln in all of China. Its origins are traced back to the Ming Dynasty. Foshan is noted for its pottery art and, amazingly, its ancient kiln is still in operation today. Visitors are provided with the opportunity to make their own pottery during a visit to the kiln.We’ll travel next to Qinghui Garden, a Ming Dynasty-era garden that is considered one of the ten best gardens in China. The garden consists of three distinct parts: the southern part, featuring pavilions and waterscapes; the central part, featuring distinctive garden design; and the northern part, which includes ancient courts. Over 100 varieties of plants grow in the manicured garden. After a day of sightseeing, we’ll head to our hotel in Foshan for our overnight accommodations.
DAY 13/MONDAY/MAY 11 Foshan — Kaiping
Kaiping Diaolou, Li’s Garden, Ma Jianglong Diaolou, Chikan Ancient Town
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Kaiping, where we’ll visit a UNESCO World Heritage site and national AAA tourist area, Kaiping Dialou. The diaolou are multi-story, fortified towers that were built during the 1920s and 1930s by returning Chinese immigrants. The towers contain elements of both Western and Eastern design and include communal, residential, and watch towers. Once numbering over 3,000, approximately1,800 diaolou remain today, and twenty of them comprise the UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby we’ll find Li Yuan or Li’s Garden. Not formally part of the World Heritage Site, the garden is a park containing some of the diaolou that were built in the 1930s. We’ll also tour Ma Jianglong Dialou, a cluster village within the Kaiping Diaolou range of cultural sites. It has been described as the most beautiful village in the world. The area contains scattered towers and lies deep within the countryside.
Afterward, we’ll head to Chikan Ancient Town, a European-style street that contains striking arcade buildings along its length. The construction reflects both Western and Chinese architectural styles, as they were built by returning Chinese immigrants to Europe and the United States. We’ll spend the night at our hotel in Kaiping.
DAY 14/TUESDAY/MAY 12 Kaiping — Shenzhen
Shenzhen Museum, Splendid China
This morning, after breakfast, we’ll transfer to Shenzhen. Less than 35 years ago, Shenzhen was a small rural hamlet. Today it is a bustling metropolis and business center that is a tribute to China’s growing capitalism. However, the city still contains many relics of its past. We’ll find many of them at the Shenzhen Museum, which is home to more than 20,000 cultural relics, including art treasures and even fossils.
Next we’ll visit Splendid China, an attraction located in the Overseas Chinese Town. It is a series of scaled-down replicas of many of China’s most historic buildings, set amid authentic landscapes and depicting Chinese folk customs. In addition to miniature buildings, gardens, and other landscape features, one can spot over 50,000 ceramic figures throughout the exhibit. Additionally, the China Folk Culture Village has created miniature villages on the grounds of the park, representing 56 ethnic minorities living in China. The villages feature festivals and re-enactments of traditional village life.
DAY 15/WEDNESDAY/MAY 13 Shenzhen — Hong Kong
Victoria Peak, Floating Village of Aberdeen, Repulse Bay
Today we’ll transfer to our hotel in Hong Kong by x-border coach. This island locale, off the south coast of China, is a densely populated city of over 7 million people. We’ll explore some of the less crowded areas that attest to the natural beauty of the island, beginning with a visit to Victoria Peak. The highest mountain in Hong Kong, it provides a breathtaking view of the island.
We’ll follow this with a leisurely drive to the Floating Village of Aberdeen. This location was made famous by the fishermen who spend almost their entire lives on their boats, rarely coming ashore. This practice dates back to the 19th century. For convenience’s sake, floating businesses were established on other boats, including mini-stores, garbage clearers, and fuel suppliers. Over time, an entire culture on the water developed. Next we’ll take a scenic ride along the shores of Hong Kong South. The scenery here is reminiscent of the French Riviera. We’ll visit Repulse Bay, an area of white sandy beaches and beautiful views of the South China Sea. The crescent-shaped strip of beach also contains luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels. We’ll return to our hotel for our overnight accommodations in Hong Kong.
DAY 16/THURSDAY/MAY 14 Hong Kong (Departure)
Today we’ll transfer to Hong Kong International Airport for our departure, after our two eventful weeks in China.