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Shanghai Extension

A four-day exploration of one of China's most dynamic cities
Day 1: Fly to Shanghai
Fly to Shanghai, located on China’s eastern coast. Upon arrival, transfer to our hotel for check-in. After lunch in a cozy local restaurant, enjoy a tour of the Pudong area, the new financial center of China, where we have the opportunity to visit one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, the Shanghai World Financial Center. From the 100th-floor viewing deck we take in the panorama of the contrasting skylines: the colonial buildings of Old Shanghai on the west side of the river and the modern skyscrapers on the east. The tower houses the Park Hyatt – the highest hotel in the world – where we relax with a cup of tea or coffee in the Living Room on the 87th floor or grab a beverage from the bar on the 92nd floor. Returning to sea level, we take a walk on the famous Bund, where foreign commercial houses and banks constructed their imposing office buildings in the first half of the twentieth century. Our walk takes us along the bank of the Huangpu River, affording sweeping views of the architectural splendor of the Bund; our guide discusses the architecture and history of the more significant properties. Dinner this evening showcases cuisine from the provinces surrounding Shanghai. After dinner, take an optional cruise down the Huangpu River for a view of the city at night. The cruise affords views of the commercial skyscrapers of modern Shanghai and the centuries-old edifices of colonial Shanghai.

Day 2: Shanghai
Our morning starts with a walking tour of the tree-shaded streets of the French Concession. Most of the historic houses in this area remain intact, allowing a glimpse of life among Shanghai’s wealthy residents prior to World War II. Browse local shops and sample some of China’s most famous teas, walk through the home of either Sun Yatsen or of Song Qingling and stop at Xin Guo Villa, an exceptional antique gallery. Pause for lunch in Xintiandi, the city’s trendiest retail district and a bold display of Shanghai’s reinvigorated chic. Our next stop is the renowned Shanghai Museum, which contains one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese art. We move through the museum with an excellent audio self-guide, and then spend a few minutes in the museum shop browsing through books on Chinese art, history and culture. It’s a short walk to the nearby Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, which displays Shanghai’s past, present and future from an urban planning perspective.

Day 3: Suzhou / Shanghai
Known as “the Venice of the East,” the water town of Suzhou is synonymous with lush gardens and Chinese silk. Our day trip begins with a walk at Tiger Hill – best known for its picturesque scenery and historical sites, including the leaning Cloud Rock Pagoda complex. It is also the burial place of He Lu, who founded the town in the sixth century B.C. and who is believed to be protected by a white tiger. Next, head to the pier to board our rowboat for a cruise through the web of interlocking canals and classical gardens en route to Panmen, Suzhou’s oldest city gate. After lunch highlighting the local cuisine, visit Zhuozheng Garden, as well as the Master of the Nets Garden, the town’s smallest but most exquisite and best-preserved botanical feature. During our walk, our guide details the role feng shui plays in Chinese architecture, and the philosophical and aesthetic principles underlying the arrangement of plants, rocks and water to form the harmony of a Chinese garden. If time permits, we may also visit Suzhou Museum, widely regarded as the most beautiful museum in all of China. It houses over 30,000 cultural relics, most notably excavated artifacts, Ming and Qing dynasty paintings, calligraphy and ancient arts and crafts. After dinner, drive back to Shanghai.

Day 4: Depart Shanghai
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departing flight.

Physical Rating: Easy / Flexible

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