CHINA:  10 Days in the Middle Kingdom

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At more than 3,000 years old, China is ancient beyond most Americans’ understanding. With its first dynasty founded 2,000 years BC, China was advancing & standardizing civilization when Europe was just entering the Bronze age.

Join Quo Vadis and Holy Names Academy’s Abby Drake for the ultimate faith-based field trip on a journey to the “Middle Kingdom.” This is your ticket to hands-on learning in the Global Classroom!

You’ll clamber up the Great Wall, wander through the Forbidden City, and meet a panda on this adventure of a lifetime. The social diversity, ancient history and fascinating traditions you’ll encounter in today’s rapidly changing China present endless opportunities for cultural immersion, religious comparison and personal transformation.

Program Snap Shot

Faith Based Educational Travel - Quo Vadis Student Travel

Smaller Group.

Bigger Impact!

Program length:  10 days
All Inclusive Price:  $4,295
Program Departs:  June 16, 2017

**Enrollments after March 20, 2017 are subject to availability and may be subject to air add-on.**


  • Explore Tiananmen Square & The Forbidden City
  • Attend an English-Speaking Mass in Beijing
  • Compare Religions at a Buddhist Temple & Islamic Mosque
  • Climb The Great Wall of China & Visit the Summer Palace
  • Shift Your Expectations at the Shaolin Martial Arts School
  • Ride an Overnight Train to Xi’an
  • Meet Local High School Students
  • Get Up-Close with Terra Cotta Warriors
  • Try Your Hand at Chinese Calligraphy
  • Attend the Tang Dynasty Show and a Sichuan Opera
  • Open Your Heart at the Panda Breeding Center


Student Travel - Education Travel - China Travel

Full Program Itinerary

Day One
Bon Voyage! Today we depart the U.S. for Beijing.
Day Two
Our flight arrives in Beijing this afternoon.

  • Our Travel Group will be met at the airport by our guides and local staff. Get ready to start making lifelong friends – our fun and informative National Guides are with us at all times throughout the trip.
  • Once we arrive at the hotel, expert National Guides will give us an introductory briefing and lay the foundation for our amazing adventure.

After dinner we’ll turn in to get a good night’s sleep.

Day Three
This morning, we head to Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.

Tiananmen Square:

  • This is one of the largest public squares in the world.
  • It features the Peace Palace and the Tomb of Mao Zedong.
    • Even after all these years, long lines form every day for people to walk past the tomb of Chairman Mao.

Next, your imagination will go into overdrive as you pass through the gates of the spectacular Forbidden City!

  • This is the ancestral home of many of the great emperors of China.
  • This massive complex of buildings was off limits to anyone not a member of the royal household, or one of the thousands of servants employed by them.
  • Standing before the main palace you might recognize it as the set for the movie “The Last Emperor.”
  • Every view inside the Forbidden City is epic and evocative. Despite it’s age and the presence of so many non-royals, this is a perfect representation of everything you’ve always imagined about historic China.

After lunch, we’ll walk around Wangfujing District.

  • You’ll be captivated by with the colorful shops and fascinating vendor stands.
  • At 4:00 pm we’ll attend Mass at the Wangfujing Cathedral.

This evening, we will enjoy a Peking Duck Dinner. Its not just any dinner – this is the ancient original!

  • We’ll dine in the world famous restaurant where, centuries ago, this highly prized dish was first introduced.
  • During dinner, a culinary expert will explain the complex preparation of the duck.
  • Duck is a common dish in Chinese culture, but this is how they transform everyday dinner into a delicacy. Truly a culinary experience to remember!
Day Four
About now, you’ll start asking yourself if this trip can possibly get any better. We have your answer right here.

Today we head to the outskirts of Beijing to see one of the Seven Wonderers of the Medieval World—The Great Wall of China.

  • This wall was built to keep the Mongolian hordes from invading China, about 2,200 years ago. (Where was western civilization 2,200 years ago?)
  • During the Ming Dynasty this hand-built wall extended for 5,500 miles.
  • It’s one of the few man made structures that can be seen from space.
  • Our excursion will focus on the Juyongguan section where some of the best preserved and restored sections of the wall can be seen.
  • Then, we’ll climb the ramparts and walk along the enormous walkway that ran the length of the wall.
  • This very special morning will give you an unforgettable, lifelong memory of exploring a massive, epic piece history with your friends.

After lunch we will have a very special visit to a Shaolin Martial Art School.

  • Here, we will learn about ancient Martial Arts practices handed down from generation to generation.
  • You’ll meet the students, watch them demonstrate their art, and learn some hands-on moves you can take home to impress your friends and family.
  • Who knows, maybe this is your first step to becoming a Kung Fu Master?
Day Five
This morning, we will visit the epitome of ancient grandeur, tradition and imperial excess: the Summer Palace.

  • This enormous complex of palaces and pagodas, set in exquisite gardens, evokes the elegance and meticulous craftsmanship that was a hallmark of Chinese culture for centuries.
  • Construction began in 1750 and continued for more than a century.
  • It’s rumored that in 1888 the Dowager Empress, unsatisfied with her extraordinary pleasure playground, embezzled funds from the Navy in order to undertake an extensive expansion to the palace and grounds. Then she moved into the palace and remained there for the rest of her life.
  • (Dowager Empress means something like “Widow Queen.” After her husband the Emperor died, she assumed his role as ruler of the empire.)
  • We’ll see signs of her eccentric taste as we marvel at the extraordinary Marble Boat which appears to float on the lake. This was her favorite spot to take tea.
  • You won’t believe what lunch looked like for this eccentric Empress!

After we have our own lunch, we will see a very different side of Beijing’s history, and future, as we visit the Hutongs.

  • We’ll descend from the imperial gardens to the streets of the common people.
  • Ever wanted to ride in a rickshaw? We’ll board authentic bicycle rickshaws to tour the narrow, historic streets of the Hutongs, where the famous small houses date back centuries.
  • We may be among the last people to witness the ancient streets of the Hutongs, as the expansion of Beijing is rapidly demolishing this neighborhood to make way for gleaming skyscrapers.

Comparative Religion: Buddhism

  • Every Quo Vadis program examines and compares the major religions of the regions we visit.
  • Today we’ll visit a Tibetan-style Buddhist temple and see what life is like in a working Buddhist temple.

This evening, we head to the train station to board our overnight train to Xi’an.

  • Don’t worry, we have a nice sleeper car reserved for you.
  • The click-clack of the rails will lull us to sleep as we journey the 800 miles to Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China.
Day Six
Upon arrival, we will head to breakfast, then visit the Xi’an City Wall.

  • Imagine visiting a 3,000 year-old city!
  • We’ll learn about Xi’an’s history as one of the main capital cities of ancient China.
  • You’ll see first hand how the many phases of China’s history and development are reflected in the city’s artifacts, architecture and traditions.

Comparative Religion: Islam

Xi’an is home to one of the oldest, most unique and best preserved mosques in the world: the Great Mosque of Xi’an.

  • It’s a stunning combination of traditional Chinese architecture and Islamic art, constructed to honor the founders of Islam in China.
  • Located in the heart of the Muslim Quarter, this tranquil and historic mosque has served Xi’an’s Muslim community for more than a millennium.

This afternoon, we’ll meet Chinese high school students as we visit a local school.

  • They’ll be as eager to hear about what school is like in America as they are to show us what their lives are like in China.
  • Our visit presents an excellent opportunity for Chinese students to practice their English, and we might learn a little Mandarin, too.
  • Cue the selfies, Q&A, laughter and maybe a few lifelong friendships.
Day Seven
A consistent theme of your time in China will be the truly EPIC scale of so many things you encounter: the population, the size of the cities and the scale of the great wall, for instance. But no visit to China is complete without seeing the mind-boggling Terracotta Army.

  • In 1974, a couple of farmers digging in a field discovered an ancient terracotta statue.
  • Subsequent excavation uncovered a vast army of these “Terracotta Warriors.”
  • Archeologists were amazed to discover that every warrior is unique; it’s believed that every individual statue was modeled after an actual living member of The Emperor’s army.
  • We’ll be joined by experts who will teach us about the history and excavation techniques as we explore the excavation site.
  • We will also gain access to the museum where some of the more valuable finds are housed.

This afternoon we’ll further explore the finer aspects of ancient Chinese culture as we attend a hands-on workshop on the timeless art of Chinese calligraphy.

  • After instruction from renowned expert calligraphers, we’ll attempt to replicate their techniques using our own brush and ink.
  • You’ll bring home your own hand-crafted scroll to show everyone your newfound calligraphy skills.

This evening, we will attend a fascinating Tang Dynasty show, which is kind of like a variety show from 700 AD.

Our cultural exploration of China’s regional cuisine continues, as we dine on a wide variety of unbelievably delicious dumplings, from sweet to savory, which are a specialty of this region.

Day Eight
Early this morning we’ll fly south to Chengdu. Welcome to the heart of the Sichuan Province!

In Sichuan, you’ll experience several ways in which the culture here is subtly different from Beijing:

  • the food is spicier
  • but the people are more relaxed than in hustle-and-bustle Beijing.

We’ll begin our exploration at People’s Park folk teahouse.

  • After our hectic morning of travel, we’ll take some time to relax in this incredible, traditional, historic setting.
  • Tea is a phenomenally important part of Chinese history and Chinese culture throughout the ages.
  • An expert tea-maker, whose family has for generations perfected the craft of tea production, will teach us about the art and elegance of an ancient, traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

This evening we will attend an unforgettable performance of the famous Sichuan Opera. It’s a fair bet that you’ve never experienced anything quite like this!

Day Nine
On our last full day in China, a series of very special experiences awaits.

We’ll visit one of China’s most iconic and adorable residents, the Giant Panda.

  • At the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Station we’ll learn all about these beautiful creatures, from their unique dietary requirements to their breeding habits.
  • Have your camera handy to snap some unforgettable pics with your new favorite animal.

This afternoon we’ll visit Jinli Old Street, one of the oldest streets in China.

  • It really is an old street! As early as 200 years BC, this street was famous for selling baldachin, a special type of ancient cloth.
  • Today, the street is home to shops selling a variety of unusual gifts and interesting souvenirs.
  • This is an excellent opportunity for us to do our final shopping for treasures, trinkets & take-aways!

This evening, at a very special farewell dinner, we’ll reflect on all we have encountered and celebrate our unforgettable time in China.

Day Ten
Sadly, today we must say “Zàijiàn!” and head to the airport and depart for our flight home.


Faith Based Student Travel - Comparative Religions