An in-depth journey through China for the St Leonard's Year 9 CUE Program featuring Community Service, Urban Exploration and Environmental Sustainability.
Check-in at Melbourne Airport 07 November at 22:00
08 NOV TG462 MELBOURNE TO BANGKOK DEP 00:30 ARR 05:40
08 NOV TG614 BANGKOK TO CHENGDU DEP 10:05 ARR 14:00
On arrival you will be met at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon there will be a trip briefing with your guide before we head out to a local restaurant for dinner and our first taste of Chinese cuisine with a local delicacy, the Sichuan Hot Pot.
Overnight: Chengdu 3* hotel t.b.a.
This morning we drive to the Dujiangyan Panda Breeding Centre where we will participate in the Panda research volunteer day program. The program involves students participating in a number of activities, including the Panda enrichment program. In the afternoon we return to our hotel, and later walk to a restaurant for dinner.
Overnight: Chengdu 3* hotel
This morning we visit St Leonard’s College sister school, the Zongbei Middle School for a program of activity and interaction. In the afternoon we catch the bullet train to Chongqing where we board our river cruise boat for the Three Gorges Cruise.
Overnight: river cruise. Twin share.
The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world. We travel along one of the most picturesque sections of the river where, over millions of years, it has carved through the surrounding mountains to create the spectacular Three Gorges. The dramatic scenery of high peaks and huge cliffs, where temples perch high above the river, contrast with the significance of the river to the environment, the people and their culture. The effect of the changes to the river and the effect on the lives of people in this region, and those further downstream will be a focus of our discussion. We will take three onshore excursions including The Ghost City in Fengdu and a dam tour.
Overnight: river cruise
We disembark around 08:00 and visit the Three Gorges Dam Project before transferring to the rail station for our train to Yichang, where we transfer to Wuhan airport for our flight to Guiyang. On arrival we transfer to our hotel at Kaili, taking dinner enroute.
Overnight: 3* hotel Kaili t.b.a.
We take a short drive into the hills to Kaijue Miao village where we will meet the students and villagers, and participate in projects with them over the next days. We will arrive at around 09:30 for a welcome ceremony, and commence a program of activities related to the school and the community. After a day at the school we will drive to nearby Xijiang village and our hotel. Xijiang is a spectacular hill tribe village, and this evening we will hike to a nearby hill to get a view of the town.
Overnight: Xijiang. Multi-share rooms
This morning we will hike to Kaijue Village school through terraced fields, passing simple homes and learning about village life and how the villagers farm the land in a sustainable manner. We will arrive about 10:00 and commence our activities at Kaijue, stopping for lunch, and saying farewell the students late afternoon. Activities at the village school will include preparing the soil and planting in the fields, assisting with English language skills, joining sport activities and helping to improve the school environment.
Overnight: Xijiang. Multi-share rooms
This morning after breakfast we transfer to Guiyang airport for our flight to Xian. On arrival we transfer to our hotel and take a walk in this exciting city prior to dinner.
Overnight: 3* Xian hotel. t.b.a.
Xian was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. The modernised new city bustles around the quaint, winding lanes of the Old Quarter, where old men sit and chat, while watching the world go by, and where heavily laden hand carts are pulled by hand and hawkers sell their wares. We start the day with a visit to Huilin Community Centre, established to support people with learning disabilities. We will join the local students and participate in a range of activities including games, sport, dancing and singing. We visit the old City Wall of Xian and hire bikes so we can explore the 13 kilometre wall that surrounds the city. We finish the day with a walking tour around the Muslim Quarter and focus on the ancient Silk Road. Our tour will include a visit to the Grand Mosque. The Grand Mosque is the oldest and one of the most important mosques in China, and was founded in 742 during the Tang dynasty (618-907). There is time to explore the bazaar before we enjoy the regional local delicacies at a dumpling banquet. The Bell Tower and the Drum Tower are spectacularly illuminated at night and worth seeing on our way back to the hotel.
Overnight: 3* Xian hotel. t.b.a.
Today we visit the famous Terracotta Warriors. These warriors stand in their thousands outside the tomb of Qin Shihuang, where they were uncovered in 1974 by villagers digging a well. The warriors stand over 183cm tall, and each has different features and characteristics. Some stand in a vanguard with crossbow and longbow bearers; others hold spears, daggers and axes at the ready. They are accompanied by dozens of horse-drawn carriages and enormous terracotta horses. The sight of the warriors arising from their clay pit, some intact, others still buried in the ground, is an extraordinary one. This afternoon we transfer to the train station for our overnight train to Shanghai.
Overnight: Train. 4 berth compartments.
Upon arrival in Shanghai we transfer to our well-located hotel to freshen up before we start our exploration. For 100 years Shanghai has been perhaps the most important economic and cultural city in the Pacific. Shanghai has a vibrant feel that infects all travellers who visit. We use public transport - metro and ferry, and some walking. We pay our own fares as we go, learning how the city operates. We will have 3 groups, each with a teacher and a guide. This morning after breakfast we will embark on a day of exploration including visits to the Long Hua Buddhist Temple, and take a walk through the famous and spectacular Yu Garden precinct. The river ferry will take us to Pudong, with time at the underground market, and sunset at Shanghai Tower. We will walk along the Bund with its amazing view, and visit Nanjing East Road.
Overnight 3* hotel Shanghai. t.b.a.
Today we continue our exploration of Shanghai with a visit to the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre and Shanghai Museum. The Urban Planning Centre lays out Shanghai before you, explaining the past, and presenting the future of this mega city. The Shanghai Museum houses over 120,000 cultural relics including Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, with a section dedicated to China’s hill-tribes. We transfer to the train station for the bullet train to Beijing.
Overnight: Beijing hotel t.b.a.
After breakfast we will start our exploration of Beijing. Our sightseeing in Beijing will include a visit to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Zhongshan Park and the Temple of Heaven. Whilst at the Temple of Heaven we have arranged for a private lesson in traditional Kung Fu by a local Chinese expert. This afternoon we will visit the Hutongs by traditional trishaw. Hutongs are a maze of narrow streets and alleyswith traditional courtyard residences. They are a wonderful glimpse into a bygone era before modernisation, and were originally established by Genghis Khan when his army captured Beijing.
Late this afternoon we will make our way to the famous Chinese Acrobat show. Set in an old theatre, the Acrobat show is an amazing display by very talented young men and women who enthral the crowd with daring feats involving bicycles, motor bikes, dragons, swords and double-jointed body parts.
Overnight: 3* hotel Beijing t.b.a.
Today we travel to a beautiful section of the Great Wall of China. The Mutianyu section is approximately a 1.5 hours drive from Beijing, slightly further and less busy than the sections close to the city. The Mutianyu section is renowned for its Ming Dynasty Guard Towers and stirring views. Construction commenced over 2000 years ago, around 221 B.C, as a defence line of several thousand kilometres to keep out invaders from the north. We have the opportunity to hike along this spectacular section, quite often with no one else in sight, and to appreciate the many imposing watchtowers, as well as the surrounding rolling hills.
Overnight: 3* hotel Beijing
Today is the day of The Great Race in Beijing.
Overnight 3* hotel Beijing
This morning we continue to explore Beijing before transferring to the airport for our flight to
Melbourne via Bangkok.
24 NOV TG615 BEIJING TO BANGKOK DEP 17:05 ARR 21:20
25 NOV TG465 BANGKOK TO MELBOURNE DEP 00:15
ARRIVE MELBOURNE 13:05
Per Person, Twin Share