The Russ Oquist and Friends
17-day Private Deluxe China Tour
Featuring Zhangjiajie, Shanghai, Suzhou, Zhou Zhuang, Xi’an, Ping Yao, and Beijing
Russ Oquist , President of MG Tour Co., has traveled to China over 40 times, exploring most of China, from the north to the south. Over the past 12+ years, he and his company have been arranging custom tours for Americans traveling to China and have offices in Beijing and Kunming as well as in the United States, where they have both English and Chinese speaking staff. Russ has worked and traveled extensively in China and has a great appreciation for the wonderful country and people of China.
His company, MG Tour, started the “Russ Oquist and Friends Premium Travel Series,” as a way in which he could personally design tours with his closest clients/friends in mind – full of unique and exciting experiences that all can enjoy. They offer this tour with a view to having a blend of people whom they know will travel well together, or they can design a customized private tour, with excellent value for your travel dollar.
Russ will not be the guide. He will have the local guides and a national guide to lead the tour. His role on these trips is to enjoy these times with you and to help ensure that everyone has the maximum quality travel experience. China and Zhangjiajie are such exciting and magical places to visit and MG Tour wants to share these world-class travel experiences with you.
Join us September 29 through October 15, 2012 — it’s all about the experience!
Sep. 29: Fly to China! The adventure begins!
Today you will board your plane for your flight to China! This exciting adventure begins!
Sep. 30: Arrive in Shanghai – Transfer to the Hotel
You will arrive at Shanghai Pudong Airport. There you will meet your guide and be transferred to your hotel on the Yangpo River, just minutes from the Bund. The rest of the day is free.
EVENING: Welcome meeting
Oct. 1: Shanghai – Yu Yuan Gardens & Museums (B, L)
Today your guide will meet you and you will be taken on a walking tour of the historic Jewish area of Shanghai. You will visit the synagogue, the old Jewish neighborhood and the small memorial which testifies of this time in history.
Afterwards we will get on the bus and go to the classic Yu Yuan Gardens, which is a gorgeous example of a classic Chinese Garden. This area exits into the main shopping center of Shanghai. Shanghai is such a West influenced city that they call this area "China Town." After lunch, you will be taken to the world-class Shanghai Art Museum. This fantastic museum has a number of quality exhibits including an ancient coin collection and on the fourth floor an ethnic minority exhibit which features costumes, masks, and various implements and tools.
Then we will take you to a Private Lotus Shoe Museum, which features tiny lotus shoes, as well as ancient worker boots, Qing Dynasty costumes and various ceramic curios. The Lotus shoe was a horrific practice as women bound their feet when they were children to keep them very small (which was considered a beautiful feature). However, the lotus shoes themselves are exquisitely beautiful, with elaborate embroidery on all sides, even often the bottom of the shoe. There is one set of shoes (pictured here) which actually had a small drawer to hold powder in the heel, a scrim on the bottom with stencil-like holes in the shape of a Lotus flower.
Evening Option: An evening exploring the Bund (no additional charge, you just pay for your own drinks, food, etc)
Evening Option: Shanghai Acrobats (tickets $25-35/person) includes transportation to and from the theatre
Oct. 2: Shanghai – Day Trip to Suzhou (B, L, D)
After breakfast we drive to Suzhou. Upon your arrival at Suzhou, we will visit the Garden of the Master of the Nets. Upon arrival at the Garden of the Master of the Nets, you will be surprised by its ingenious gardening in a compact space. Benefiting from its lettered masters, this garden has the most artistic and cultural relics. Then we will go to the grandiose Humble Administrator's Garden, which is the largest classical garden in Suzhou and praised to be one of the top four gardens in China. Then we will visit the Embroidery Institute, where Eastern Masters do with thread what our Western Masters do with Oil Paints. We can also make a brief stop at the Silk Factory which has many beautiful silk products, most notably their Silk Comforters which are made of layering of multiple silk worm cocoons spread across the entire length and width of the comforter. The result is quite remarkable. Finally we come to the Drive back to Shanghai in the late afternoon.
Evening Option: XinTianDi, a delightful club area. There is no entrance fee – you just pay for your own drinks, food, etc.
Oct. 3: Shanghai – Day Trip to Zhouzhang – Flight to Zhangjiajie (B, L)
Today your guide will meet you and you be taken to the water town of Zhouzhang. You will see some beautiful canals, classic small bridges and a glimpse into what life was like in older China.
Then we will go to the airport for our evening flight to Zhangjiajie. Upon arrival we will be met by our guide and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the evening is free to enjoy the hotel and the city area.
Oct. 4: Zhangjiajie (TianMen Shan) – Tianmen Mountain Forest Park (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit the Tianmen Mountain Cable Car. This is the longest and the fastest cable car in the world! You will be able to explore the Tianmen Mountain Forest Park. You will visit Tianmen Cave, the Guigu Wooden Walkways and the Temple of Tianmen Mountain. Afterwards we will return to the city via a road that has 99 hairpin turns from the mountain. After a lunch stop we will visit the Tu Si Museum of the Tu Jia people, which is an intriguing set of buildings, grounds and cultural exhibits – this is a very unique ethnic museum.
Dinner: Special Hunan Dishes (generally very spicy and delicious)
Oct. 5: Zhangjiajie – Tour Yuanjiajie and surrounds (B, L, D)
Today we will see some of the most amazingly beautiful sites that you will ever see in your life! After breakfast we will go up to Yuanjiajie by Bailong Elevator, to tour the back garden, Mihun Stage and Helong Park. We will walk along the trail where you can see this amazing area from the many vista points. The last and most amazing vista point is called the Emperor Mountain scenic area. We will then descend this “fairy land” by cable car. Then we will see the Ten-miles-Gallery of sights by a cable train. There are many highlights including Herb Picking Old Man, Three Sisters peaks, etc.
Evening Option: “Impressions” show by Zhou Yimou (the incredible director of the Bejiing Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies artistic performances) $45-75/person (includes transportation to and from the event)
Oct. 6: Zhangjiajie – Tour and Boat on Baofend Lake – Flight to Xi’an (B, L, D)
After breakfast we will take you to see some of the most beautiful and tranquil sites. Admire the tall thin trees and a stream with dappled sun light breaking through to the canyon floor. This area includes the Golden Whip Stream, the Golden Whip Crag, the Magical Eagle Protecting the Whip and the Water Winding Four Doors. After we have seen this lovely canyon floor we will visit Baofeng Lake by boat for a tour of the natural views around it.
Then we will fly to Xi’an. Upon arrival you will be greeted at the airport and taken to your hotel the Hyatt Regency (aka Metro Park) inside the Xi’an City Wall.
XI'AN is the old capital of China. (Before Beijing) Xi’an is Eastern-most city of the Silk Road and the home of incredible archaeological discoveries. The ancient emperor's burial sites can be found here. Xi'an is naturally a flat area. The many "hills" that you will see are actually burial mounds of emperors, governors, and other rich dignitaries.
Oct. 7: Xi’an – Shaanxi Provincial Museum & Muslim Quarter (B, L, D)
Today you will be taken on a tour of the Old City Wall and we will provide a nice lunch. Then you will go to the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, which is like walking through Chinese history as the rooms are arranged in chronological order, from the oldest dynasty to the most recent ones, as seen in the brass works, ceramics and various relics. You will also see the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Then we will take you the Muslim Quarter. If you want, you can visit an authentic historic scholar’s home and garden.
Dinner: At the famous De Fang Chang Restaurant (which serves delicious Dumplings with the special feature that the dumplings are shaped to represent the main ingredient inside the dumpling)
Oct. 8: Xi’an – Visit Terra Cotta Soldiers (B, L, D)
Today you will visit what has been called the "8th Wonder of the World" the Terra Cotta Soldiers Museum. You will then have lunch. You will also be taken to the interesting Terra Cotta Soldiers Replica Factory and store. This site not only has the replicas, but also the beautiful 3 Color Pottery, incredible Silk Rugs and some of China’s finest black lacquer furniture with scenes laminated by semi-precious stones.
Evening: You will be taken to the Wild Goose Pagoda Water Show. This water show is the largest of its kind in China.
Oct. 9: Xi’an – Flight to Taiyuan – Drive to Pingyao – Evening Village Tour (B, D)
Today we will go to the airport to fly to Taiyuan. This is a small rural area, with some ancient villages and intriguing Chinese countryside. Upon arriving, we will be picked up and driven to Pingyao. Once there, we will transfer to our boutique hotel.
This evening we will go out together as a group for dinner and an evening tour of this quaint and fascinating village that dates back to ancient China.
Oct. 10: Pingyao – Tour of Pingyao (B, L)
We will see many delightful and beautiful ancient sites including Ming Qing Street (which has many interesting historic museums). Then we will visit the Temple of the City God on Nan Da Jie, from the Northern Song dynasty. On the eastern end of Xi Da Jie is Rishengchang, meaning "sunrise prosperity," China's first bank. What started out as a single businessman's efforts to safely manage the accounts of his widely spread company, became a private banking enterprise that caught on like wildfire – a similar phenomenon occurred in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. Now converted into a museum, the head office was on this same site during the Qing dynasty. There are 21 buildings surrounding three courtyards. On either side of the front yard are the counters, main banking activities were carried out in the middle courtyard house, which functioned as an exchange center. We will also visit some of the beautiful ancient mansions outside of Pingyao, like the Qiao Family Courtyard House and the Wang Family Courtyard House.
Oct. 11: Pingyao – Tour of the Countryside – Flight to Beijing (B, L)
Today we will make our way to Taiyuan driving through the countryside and enjoy the sites all along the way. When we arrive in Taiyuan we will take a flight to Beijing. Upon arrival in Beijing, we will be transferred to our 5-star boutique hotel.
Evening: After dinner social time complete with wines and snacks.
Oct. 12: Beijing – Traditional Hutong & Forbidden City Tour (B, L, D)
In the morning we will visit a traditional Chinese Hutong. This is the traditional housing in old Beijing that generally consists of four small houses surrounding a court area with a high wall separating it from the narrow streets. The Hutong have been home to both the rich and the poor. We will start with a rickshaw ride through the old neighborhood and continue with a walking tour into the narrow streets of the Hutong. We will also visit the Prince Gong Palace in the Hutong. Afterwards, we will visit the home of a Hutong family; feel free to ask the family questions. These quaint dwellings are disappearing in the continual modernization of China. We will have lunch with the family in the Hutong House (home-made meal).
After lunch we will go to Tiananmen Square and then to the Forbidden City. In addition to seeing the buildings and grounds of the Emperor's palace, we will also see the Emperor's clock collection and the Qing Dynasty Jewelry, Robes and Relic collection (which Westerners rarely see).
Evening Option: Beijing Opera
Oct. 13: Beijing – Visit Olympic Stadium, Artist’s Colony & “District 798” – Drive to Mutianyu (B, L, D)
Today we will start the day take you for a brief view of the two main Olympic Stadiums, the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest. On the way out of Beijing we can stop at the 798 Artist’s District. This is a community of modern artists, with homes, art studios and display halls.
Afterwards, we will take you to the amazing Great Wall of China in Mutianyu. This area has far fewer tourists than the traditional site at Badaling. It is an amazing thing to be walking on the Great Wall of China. This delightful area to explore the Great Wall has two ways to ascend the wall, by foot or riding on the gondolas up to the Wall. This way, if you want, you can conserve your energy for running around on the Wall, if you want. You can descend the wall one of three ways, by foot, on the gondolas or on one-man toboggans. Then we will return to Beijing for a very special Dinner.
Evening Dinner: Special Sichuan Dinner with Face Changing (most dishes are spicy, but there will be some non-spicy dishes).
Oct. 14: Beijing – Visit Tibetan Lamasery & Temple of Heaven (B, L, D)
In the morning we will visit the Tibetan Yong He Gong Lamasery. After some time there we will walk to Confucian Temple. These are two sites that are not often visited. After lunch we will take you to the Temple of Heaven, which is where the emperor would go every year to commune with the gods for the harvest of China.
Afterwards we will visit the Pian Gia Yuan (2nd Hand Street Market) where Beijingers go to shop. This is an amazing cultural event that is only every Saturday and Sunday, where you can see hundreds of individual Chinese vendors selling everything from paintings, to furniture, to incredible hand embroidery to Beijing Opera costumes, chop stick collections, etc. etc. We will return to the hotel for a chance to relax.
Farewell Dinner: A special Pecking Duck dinner is included for tonight.
Oct. 15: Beijing – Transfer to Airport – Flight back to USA
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home with many wonderful memories!
Note: Tour and Tour Information are subject to change.
Meals Provided: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
The Russ Oquist and Friends 17-day Private Deluxe China Tour
September 29 through October 15, 2012
Land and Internal Air for: $4,995/person* (Dbl Occ)
Single supplement: $1,285USD/person*
Included in Private Deluxe China Tour:
- All Internal Chinese flights
- Hotels based on Double Shared Rooms
- Meals as listed on itinerary
- Private Transfers and Tours with English-speaking Guide & Driver
- English-speaking Tour Guide & Air Conditioning Luxury Car with Driver.
- Admission fees to all the sightseeing in the itinerary
- All government taxes
- One bottle mineral water per person per day
- Domestic flights listed in the itinerary
- Some special items as referred to in the itinerary
Not included in China Experience:
- International Flights
- Tips for guide & driver
- Meals not listed
- Touring or Activities listed as optional
- International flight ticket and taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Chinese Visa
Accommodations (or similar):
Ocean Hotel - 5 star
Great location on Yangpo River, minutes from the Bund, rotating Restaurant on top floor and in the historic Jewish Quarter
Qinghe Jinjiang Hotel - 5 star
Very nice 5-star in this amazing area
Metro Park (aka Hyatt Regency) – 5-star
Great hotel located inside the City Wall, just a few minutes walking from the Bell tower and Muslim Quarter
In the heart of the city
Peninsula Hotel – Top Chinese style 5-star hotel in Beijing
Great hotel in a great location – WangFuJing