Our 9-day China culture itinerary offers students a comprehensive look at both the urban political & economical centres of the country. This shortened version of our 14-day tour, students will have the chance to examine the intersectionality of culture, history, demography and how it all fits into China’s modern reinvention.
Both cities on the trip are a must-visit: Shanghai, the world’s most populated metropolis, and Beijing, China’s political centre.
Our school trips are completely customizable and can be tailored to meet your requirements. Additional destinations are available for this theme including Shaolin, Inner Mongolia, Guizhou, Guilin, Chengdu, Xian, Shandong, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Yunnan. Speak to a specialist now to find out more.
*Prices based on groups of 20 students with 2 free teacher spots.
Day 1: Hello Shanghai
Arrive and transfer to the city. With a GDP higher than national average doubled and a life expectancy higher than that of the UK, Shanghai is one of the world’s most developed cities. After checking in, students go on a walking tour of People’s Square & Nanjing Road where, every day, one million people shop and upwards of a billion RMB (1,000,000,000,000) changes hands. Then, we head to a center of traditional art and artefacts: The Shanghai museum. We finish the evening with a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Old & New City
We start the day in Old Shanghai to visit the Yu Yuan Gardens and the nearby City God Temple Bazaar to see the local markets in action. Then, for lunch, we tuck into Shanghai’s famous Xiao Long Bao dumplings. Next, we tour Shanghai’s dramatic financial districts, Lujiazui, and head to the top of the Pearl Tower. In the evening, our guides explain Shanghai’s colonial history as we walk around The Bund. The day ends with an evening cruise on the Huangpu River alongside this historic district.
Day 3: The Cultural Revolution
Explore the Jade Buddha Temple one of Shanghai’s quieter and ‘off-the-beaten-path’ temples where monks currently still live. In the afternoon, we go to a highlight of the trip: an underground (we mean that both literally and figuratively) Propaganda Poster Museum that documents the public media published by the government from the beginning and throughout the cultural revolution. Shanghai is at Tianzifang, an extremely trendy bohemian culture and arts area nestled in the Former French Concession. Finally, we say goodbye to Shanghai and board the night train headed for China’s sprawling capital – the largest city in the world – Beijing.
Day 4: Hello Beijing
Arrive and transfer into the city then check into our accommodations. Our first stop in Beijing is to the National Olympic Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest- it was the site of the 2008 Olympics and will be used again during the 2022 Winter Olympics. Go to the top to get a ‘bird’s eye’ view. In the afternoon, students participate in a Kungfu lesson at a local park popular with martial arts practitioners. Next, students will relax with some sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven. Originally where the emperor participated in religious rites, the complex is a stupendous feat of classic imperial Chinese architecture and was thus named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a tour, students engage in a traditional tea ceremony at a park within. Finally, students will be testing their bargaining skills at the Pearl Market – one of China’s famed ‘fake markets’ for souvenirs and other knick-knacks to bring home (ask our specialist about our Pearl Market Scavenger Hunt).
Day 5: A Trip Through Historic Beijing
We start the day with a guided tour through Beijing’s Hutongs – the old but well-preserved alleyways that have served as local neighborhoods since the 1200s. After lunch, we visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park for a panoramic view of no less than three World UNESCO heritage sites. We finish the day by trying different Chinese delicacies at the Wangfujing Night Market.
Day 6: The Great Wall
In the morning, we go back in time as we travel to a secluded and incredibly beautiful section of the Great Wall while avoiding the crowds. Students will do a hike whilst learning about how the Great Wall has influenced China historically & geographically. Upon returning to the city we finish the evening with an acrobatic and theatrical performance show.
Day 7: A Day in the Life of a Chinese Student
Today students will be doing a whole day school exchange at a Chinese school, especially matched to meet your educational interests (let us know what they are). Typically, this involves a school tour, joining some lessons, playing some sports, eating lunch together and participating in other various activities alongside Chinese students. Your students will be expected to prepare a small speech or performance for the welcoming ceremony beforehand. We wrap up the day with Chinese hot pot: a boiling, fragrant broth used for self-cooking an assortment of meats and vegetables. A China-must-try!
Day 8: Peking duck and Palaces
In the morning we visit the Summer Palace and its temple complexes. Walk through the grounds and then take a wooden boat across the palatial lake (boat only available April – October). Then, we visit the 798 Art Zone, a series of architecturally unique 50-year-old decommissioned military factories that are now packed with urban art and artists. For our final dinner in Beijing, students enjoy a traditionally royals-only dish: a Peking roast duck banquet.
Day 9: Continue the Learning Adventure at Home
We say goodbye to our guides and trip leaders and transfer to the airport. Apply what we’ve learned from our experiences here back at home.