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China

Women in the City: Beijing, Xi’an & Shanghai

Discover the best of China as you enjoy a week exploring its capital cities with empowering women. Take in the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and talk with students and families.
Program No. 24042RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,729
China

Women in the City: Beijing, Xi’an & Shanghai

Discover the best of China as you enjoy a week exploring its capital cities with empowering women. Take in the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and talk with students and families.
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,729
Program No. 24042 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

: In the 15th century, the Temple of Heaven was built in Beijing to represent the connection between heaven and earth. As you walk through China’s oldest cities, feel a unique connection to these spiritual lands on a learning adventure for women. Explore China’s past and present by entering tombs guarded by thousands of terra cotta warriors, or dive into local culture by traversing through traditional gardens with pavilions and fountains. Get inspired as you and your fellow women trace this country’s history through its dynasties, and meet local residents and students who share their stories of modern city life.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Walk the Great Wall, enter the Forbidden City and lunch with a courtyard family in “Old Beijing” on this learning adventure just for women.
  • Meet faculty members and students at the International Studies University to discuss student life, philosophy and Chinese customs.
  • Ride a bullet train and journey through the north China countryside to Xi’an where you encounter an astounding terra cotta army near a Qin Emperor’s tomb.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
China Reading and Film List
by Availability
An annotated reading and film list is an attachment near the end of the First Information Packet sent to participants three months before departure. To receive it earlier in a separate email, send email request to Chinese American Educational Exchange: toc@ix.netcom.com Please include your Road Scholar program number and its departure date.
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10 days
9 nights
21 meals
8 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Beijing, Check In, Orientation
Beijing
D
Qianmen Jianguo Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After hotel arrival and check in, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Most lunches and dinners will be “family style” with various dishes placed on a “Lazy Susan” turntable in the center of the table where everyone helps themselves. Chopsticks and forks will be available as well as Chinese spoons used for serving and for soup at the end of a meal. Tea and water are served with all meals; other beverages available for purchase. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll enjoy a “family style” meal with typical Chinese dishes and ingredients including rice, meats, vegetables, and non-meat dishes for vegetarians.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Summer Palace, Old Beijing Family Lunch, Forbidden City
Beijing
B,L,D
Qianmen Jianguo Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to approximately 3 miles throughout the day; 1 mile in the Summer Palace on flat, paved terrain; approximately 1.8 miles in and around the Forbidden City.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as warm meats, eggs, cereals, fruit, and Chinese dishes such as rice porridge and cooked vegetables; beverages include juice, tea, coffee, water.

Morning: We will depart the hotel via motorcoach and ride to the Summer Palace. Here lily ponds and arched bridges border its serene lake, and painted pavillions depict stories that reflect the rich history of Chinese life and art.

Lunch: In an “Old Beijing” hutong, we’ll gather for a family-hosted lunch including jaozi (Chinese style dumplings). Hutongs are old residential neighborhoods with courtyard homes situated in small lanes and alleys that are rapidly disappearing due to urban development.

Afternoon: Next, we will explore parts of the 250-acre Forbidden City imperial compound. It was called the Forbidden City because it was “forbidden” to enter without the Emperor’s permission. The world's largest palace complex, it is surrounded by a moat 170 feet (52 meters) wide, a wall more than 32 feet (10 meters) high, and contains 8,700 rooms! Construction began in 1407, and, thanks to the labor of a million workers including 100,000 artisans, it was completed in 1420. The Forbidden City was not only the personal residence of emperors and their royal families, but China’s political center for more than five centuries.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have our official welcome dinner and savor Beijing’s famous culinary delight, Beijing Roast Duck, a.k.a. Peking Duck. The ducks are specially raised and the elaborate preparation involves a series of steps to produce the crispy skin and savory meat with traditional accompaniments such as scallion and sweet bean sauce, all rolled inside a thin pancake.

Evening: At leisure. After returning to our hotel, feel free to take a neighborhood walk or just relax.

DAY
4
Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Beijing Opera
Beijing
B,L,D
Qianmen Jianguo Hotel

Activity note: The motorcoach trip to the Great Wall is about 50 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking up to about 1.5 miles. We will take a cable car to a higher point on the wall (weather and wind permitting). Some parts of the wall are steep as it is in a mountainous area; walking sticks or trekking poles are helpful.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning, travel outside of Beijing city to a green mountain range where you can walk the Great Wall and experience spectacular views as it winds up and down the distant mountains.

Lunch: At a spot of your choosing, we’ll have box lunches.

Afternoon: En route back to the hotel, we’ll stop at Tian'anmen Square, considered the heart of Beijing. Here are located the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, the China National Museum, Great Hall of the People, Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Tiananmen Tower. The square was the site in 1989 of pro-democracy protests seen around the world.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: We will walk to a theater adjacent the hotel and experience the distinctive art form known as Beijing Opera. Completely unlike opera in the West, this unique theatrical performance is expressed through four artistic methods: singing, dialogue, dancing, and martial arts. There are classic characters and stories, brilliant costumes, stylized make-up, acrobatics, exuberant percussionists, and various types of falsetto singing that may be startling to Western ears at first. The performance is presented with modern Chinese and English supertitles above the stage. After returning to the hotel, prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Temple of Heaven, High-Speed Bullet Train to Xi'an
Xi'an
B,L,D
Grand Noble Hotel

Activity note: Walk approximately .6 miles from the entrance to the exit of the Temple of Heaven park; about 70 steps if you climb up the Temple of Heaven. The train journey from Beijing to Xi’an is about 755 miles (1,215km), approximately 4.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. Plan to eat early as we depart no later than 8:30 a.m.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach for a field trip to a 15th century architectural masterpiece, the Temple of Heaven, that symbolizes the relationship between heaven and earth. With our Group Leader, we will walk the extensive grounds to the Temple while observing the activities of local people practicing calligraphy, tai ji, musical instruments, dancing, or flying kites on the park-like grounds. We’ll then depart for the Beijing train station and board the high speed “bullet” train.

Lunch: In the train's dining car.

Afternoon: Xi'an is one of China’s oldest cities and was the capital during the golden age of the Tang Dynasty. Our train journey takes us through northeast urban areas and surrounding countryside on China's yellow soil plateau. These high-speed trains reach speeds of 155-185 miles per hour (250-300 km/h) yet it’s a smooth and comfortable ride. Upon arrival at the train station, we will be met by our local Group Leader and escorted to the hotel aboard a motorcoach. After checking in and getting our rooms, there will be some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Evening: We’ll gather with our Group Leader and practice informal Chinese conversation.

DAY
6
Xian University, Chinese Life Views, Hui Muslim Section
Xi'an
B,L
Grand Noble Hotel

Activity note: You are welcome to join the Group Leader for a tai ji session before breakfast. Walking up to 0.6 mile, or 1.5 miles total if choosing to walk back to the hotel from the Muslim section.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as warm meats, eggs, cereals, fruit, and Chinese dishes such as rice porridge and cooked vegetables; beverages include juice, tea, coffee, water.

Morning: We will take a motorcoach to Xi'an International Studies University, one of China's key institutions of higher learning, and meet with a faculty expert who will teach us about Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism as a way of understanding Chinese character and customs. We’ll then visit the campus with students from the university's renowned English Department and hear about student life in China.

Lunch: In the university dining room, we’ll have a family style meal with typical Chinese dishes including meats such as chicken or pork with vegetables as well as non-meat platters such as tomatoes, potatoes, bakchoi, mushrooms, served with rice.

Afternoon: With our Group Leader, we will board a motorcoach and ride from the university to Xian’s Hui Muslim section for a walk about. Among the highlights are its beautiful Great Mosque, one of China's best preserved. Xi'an was a hub of the Silk Road in ancient times. Merchants, traders, and students from Islamic lands were drawn there and settled down. Over generations, they became known as the Hui people, officially recognized as one of China’s ethnic minorities. There were thousands of mosques in China at one time, but most are now gone. You are welcome to stay on in the Hui Muslim area, explore on your own, and walk back to the hotel. The motorcoach will return to the hotel with those who would like to get back sooner.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You are welcome to stay in the Hui Muslim area and dine on local fare of your own choosing or return to your hotel with our coach where you can have dinner out at a restaurant nearby or at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Spend time with your fellow Road Scholars or just relax.

DAY
7
A Qin Emperor's Terra Cotta Warriors, Traditional Music
Xi'an
B,L,D
Grand Noble Hotel

Activity note: You are welcome to join the Group Leader for a tai ji session before breakfast. Walking up to approximately 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: The huge tomb site of the Qin Emperor, containing an army of life size terra cotta figures, was one of the most astounding archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. With our Group Leader and experienced local staff — all Xi’an college graduates who have much experience with the terra cotta warriors site — we will explore sections of this vast site where three huge pits are filled with the terra-cotta soldiers, cavalry, archers, their weapons, horses and chariots. It has been estimated that there are as many as 8,000 individual figures, but the total number is still unknown. Traces of paint suggest they were once brilliantly colored. Experimental digs in nearby areas have revealed other kinds of figures such as acrobats, dancers, and musicians, but further excavations are “on hold” due to the complex conditions at the site.

Lunch: We will ride to a nearby restaurant for a buffet lunch with local Chinese food and some Western additions.

Afternoon: Returning to our hotel, we’ll be joined by artists from the Xian Music Institute who will introduce their traditional Chinese instruments and perform a private concert for our group.

Dinner: At a restaurant that is a local favorite a short walk from the hotel, we’ll dine family style.

Evening: We’ll get together again with our Group Leader to practice Chinese conversation. Then prepare for hotel check out and our flight in the morning.

DAY
8
Fly to Shanghai, Yu Garden, Shanghai Acrobatics
Shanghai
B,L,D
Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai Daning

Activity note: You are welcome to join the Group Leader for a tai ji session before breakfast.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and transfer via motorcoach to the Xi’an airport for our flight to Shanghai, China's most cosmopolitan city and the world's busiest port.

Lunch: In flight

Afternoon: From the airport, we’ll board a motorcoach and ride to Shanghai's historic old section. With our Group Leader, we’ll explore the nearby Yu Garden whose classical pavilions, fountains, and arching bridges exemplify traditional Chinese garden landscaping. Depending on time, we will either check in to the hotel after visiting the Yu Garden or go directly to dinner in order to be on time for the acrobatics performance this evening.

Dinner: We’ll take the motorcoach to a restaurant near the Shanghai Acrobatics theater and enjoy dishes belonging to Huaiyang cuisine, one of the Four Great Cuisines of China.

Evening: We’ll walk to the Shanghai Acrobatics theater to attend an evening of amazing skill and prowess in a performance by the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe. For thousands of years, acrobatics have been considered as one of the treasures of Chinese performing arts, also figuring in other genres such as Beijing Opera.

DAY
9
Shanghai Museum, Bund Riverfront Promenade, Farewell Dinner
Shanghai
B,D
Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai Daning

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile within the Museum; up to 1.5 miles outdoors at Bund Riverfront Promenade.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as warm meats, eggs, cereals, fruit, and Chinese dishes such as rice porridge and cooked vegetables; beverages include juice, tea, coffee, water.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip to the magnificent Shanghai Museum that houses China’s finest collection of ceramics, painting, sculpture, and bronzes. Audio cassettes are provided so that you can explore the museum according to your own interests and pace.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. The museum has a small café and there are restaurants nearby.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to the Bund and walk along the pedestrian promenade. This renowned riverfront area characterized by iconic Art Deco and Neoclassical buildings is from Shanghai's history as a foreign “concession.” Across the river we see “new Shanghai” that was only recently undeveloped farmland and is now a forest of glittering skyscrapers. The motorcoach will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. After returning to the hotel, prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
Shanghai
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 Noon. See the “Travel Information” section regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.” The Group Leader will advise as to departure times from the hotel.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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