China and Hong Kong

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At nearly 4,000 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 for the ultimate 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, meet Giant Pandas, wander through the Forbidden City, marvel at an ancient terra-cotta army, and spend the night in a Donghan village with a Chinese family.

The social diversity, ancient history and fascinating traditions you’ll encounter in today’s rapidly-changing China present endless opportunities for cultural immersion, enduring connections and personal transformation.

Program Snap Shot

Smaller Group. Bigger Impact.

 Program length:  19 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $6,795
Departure Date: July 4, 2017

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


Program Highlights:
  • Stroll Imperial paths in The Forbidden City
  • Climb the Great Wall of China & visit the Summer Palace
  • Explore Tiananmen Square
  • Shift your perspective & meet students at the Shaolin Martial Arts School
  • Ride an overnight train to Xi’an
  • Attend High School in Xi’an
  • Get up-close with the Terra Cotta Warriors
  • HOMESTAY in a Chinese village
  • Marvel at the magnificent vistas of the Li River
  • Spend a full day at Shanghai DISNEYLAND!
  • Visit Suzhou – the Venice of the East
  • Overnight at a Wuzhen Guest House
  • Explore Hong Kong’s famed Aberdeen Fishing Village
  • Breathtaking vistas from high atop Victoria Peak

Student Travel - Educational Travel - China for Students

Click Your Leader to ENROLL!

Full Program Itinerary

Day One
Bon Voyage! Today we depart the U.S. for Beijing.

IMPORTANT: Please take careful note of your flight departure. Flights to Asia depart shortly after midnight, so we need to check in the night before. (For example, if our departure date is July 4th we need to check in late on the evening of July 3rd.)

Day Two
Our flight arrives in Beijing around midday.

  • 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.
  • This afternoon we will explore the 798 Art Zone. During the 1950s the Soviet Union entered a joint venture with the newly formed Peoples Republic of China. The factories of this area were a result of this cooperation.
    • By the late 1980s the factories had ceased operation and many of the buildings were left empty. In 1995 the district was converted to house many artists who were previously housed in the area surrounding the summer palace.
    • In the early 2000’s the area was gentrified and became the trendy art district that it is today.
  • We will enjoy free time to explore and stretch our legs after the long flight to Beijing.
  • Later, we transfer to our hotel where our expert National Guide will give us an introductory briefing and lay the foundation for our amazing adventure.

After our Welcome 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 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 its age and the presence of so many non-royals, this is a perfect representation of everything you’ve always imagined about historic China.
  • You’ll be stunned by the beautiful National Center for the Performing Arts
    • We’ll be captivated by this architectural marvel locally known as “The Giant Egg“.
    • Marvel at the vision of Paul Andreau, the French architect who conceived this titanium accented glass dome.
    • If the center is open to visitors at the time of our visit, we will see all three performance halls.
    • **(Please note that visits to the interior of the structure are not always possible. If the center is closed, we will view from the outside only.)
  • After lunch, we’ll see a very different side of Beijing’s history, and future: we’ll 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.
  • This evening, we will enjoy a Peking Duck Dinner. It’s 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 Wonders 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, our first stop is the Panda Hall at the Beijing Zoo.
    • Located in the Xicheng District, this is one of the oldest zoos in China, built in the late Qing Dynasty.
    • We’ll not only see the animals that live here, but we’ll also see authentic examples of Qing Dynasty architecture.
    • Our visit will focus on the most famous residents, the pandas. We’ll learn about the difference between the Giant and Red Pandas and why they bear no resemblance to one another.
    • Our guide will explain the strange breeding habits of these animals and we will soon learn why they are so endangered in the wild.
  • Stepping into China’s past we visit Yuanmingyuan, The Old Summer Palace
    • The Old Summer Palace was constructed during the reign of Emperor Kangxi.
    • Construction began in 1707 and expansions lasted for around 150 years and was five times the size of The Forbidden City.
    • In 1860 the place was looted and destroyed by French Troops during the second opium war.
    • Today the ruins of the place, spread over 860 acres, are all that remain of what must have been an architectural wonder.
    •  Our visit will focus on the Western Mansions, where the best preserved ruins can be found.
  • Later we will visit the epitome of ancient grandeur, tradition and imperial excess: the Summer Palace.
    • This complex of palaces and pagodas, set in exquisite gardens, evokes the elegance and meticulous craftsmanship that was a hallmark of Chinese culture for centuries.
    • In 1873 the teenage Tongzhi Emperor attempted reconstruction of the original Summer Palace but soon ran out of funds.
    • During the 1880s the ancient Garden of Clear Ripples was restored as the New Summer Palace for the Dowager Empress Cixi.
    • It’s rumored that in 1888, Dowager Empress Cixi, 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!
  • 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.
  • Our morning begins in the ancient city where we will explore the Ming Dynasty City Walls of Xi’an.
    • We will see some of the best preserved buildings of ancient China as we continue our exploration of the old city.
  • 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 even 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 explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda constructed in 652
    • The pagoda was built to house a collection of Buddhist relics taken from India in ancient times.
    • While the pagoda itself is fascinating, the real attraction is the squares surrounding the pagoda, complete with a fascinating collection of statues and the largest “musical fountain” in Asia.
  • 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
  • This morning we journey outside the city of Xi’an to the Donghan Village.
    • Upon arrival in the village we will be divided into groups and will meet our home stay family who will host us during our visit.
    • The day will be spent learning about farming life in this part of China.
  • This evening, the village will host us for a party in the village square!
    • We will learn and participate in traditional dances and listening to the music of the region.
Day Nine
  • This morning we bid farewell to our homestay hosts and head to the Xi’an airport for our flight south to Guilin in Guanxi Provence.
  • This afternoon we will arrive in Guilin and head to the Reed Flute Cave, one of the most famous attractions in this part of China.
    • Colored lights illuminate the limestone formations turning the cave into a magical subterranean wonderland.
    • Inside the cave we will marvel at inscriptions which have been dated back to the Tang Dynasty in 792AD.
Day Ten
  • As we pass the mid-point of our Chinese adventure, it’s time to cruise the Li River.
    • We’ll head to Yangshuo where we will board our bamboo raft to float down the river.
    • As we float along between ancient forests and cliffs, our imaginations will drift… picturing the mythical creatures of China (like dragons, or a phoenix) roosting in the many caves & clefts high above.
    • Our meandering journey invokes the vistas of ancient Chinese lore. This is the quintessential scenery that seems hauntingly familiar, because this landscape has been the subject of countless paintings, photographs and movies.
  • Following lunch, we head to a tea plantation to learn about the art of cultivating tea. Tea is way more than you might think!
    • Tea farming is a fascinating and complex vocation, steeped in tradition and technique.
    • The careful selection of fine tea is an art, much like wine making in the US.
    • We’ll marvel at the beauty of plantations covering the hills all around us.
    • Then, we’ll walk right onto the grounds of a working tea plantation and learn about the fascinating and dramatic history of tea in China.
    • Like a gathering of young connoisseurs, we’ll become familiar with the most important parts of various tea plants and learn how the leaves are cared for, processed and used to make some of the world’s most complex and exquisite beverages.
    • Later we will get to taste some tea and learn about the various preparations used to create green, black, white, gunpowder and oolong tea.
Day Eleven
  • The adventure continues! This morning we head to the airport and continue our journey south to Shanghai.
  • As soon as we land this afternoon, we’ll head to the Bund, which is the international section of old “colonial” Shanghai.
    • The Bund, and its well-preserved examples of European colonial architecture, runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River.
    • In the evening, the wide concrete walkway fills with locals strolling or exercising, and you’ll find all manner of merchants displaying their wares.
  • From here, we can marvel at the contrast between Old Shanghai and the modern architectural wonders of the Pudong on the other side of the river.
    • It’s difficult to believe that the modern skyline of the Pudong has all been constructed in less than 30 years.
  • We’ll explore the city of Shanghai – in miniature – at a massive, fascinating and unforgettable exhibit at the City Planning Exhibition Hall.
    • The exhibit shows the entire city of Shanghai in miniature.
    • Pathways surround and criss-cross the hall allowing us to see what has been accomplished and the parts of the city that are yet to be built.
Day Twelve
  • Prepare your inner child for the overwhelming thrill of “Disney, Shanghai-Style!”
  • As we make our way through the city, our journey to Disneyland takes us though the Pudong. We will see some of these gleaming, modern architectural wonders up close.
    • Before we even enter the park, you’ll begin the day-long process of comparing your domestic & international Disneyland experiences!
    • At a cost of over $5 billion US, Shanghai Disney just opened on June 16th, 2016. This is actually the second Disney experience in China.
      • The first Chinese Disney park is in Hong Kong, and Shanghai Disney will eventually be 3x the size of the Hong Kong park.
    • Shanghai Disney features rides such as TRON Lightcycle Power Run and Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land at a Disney Park.
    • The Castle in the center of the park is the tallest and the first to represent all Disney princesses.
  • SPECIAL NOTE – Be sure to set aside some pocket money for lunch today. On this custom program addition, your group is free to explore the entire Disney park and it’s impossible to predict where and when you’ll want to eat. So lunch will be “on your own.”
Day Thirteen
  • Our exploration of Shanghai continues with contrasts between the new city and old city: Yu Gardens and Old Town
    • Our first stop of the day is the famous Yuyuan Garden in one of the older districts of Shanghai.
      • Dating back to 1577, the garden was conceived by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty in the classical Chinese style.
      • The garden was all but destroyed during the Opium War and left in ruins until 1956 when restoration began.
      • A magic moment: we’ll experience the tranquility that this garden brings into the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.
    • Next, we will wander through the “Old Town” surrounding the gardens.
      • Anybody up for a treat from China’s favorite coffee shop, “Sunbucks?”
    • We return to the Pudong where we will get to see the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.
      • You will recognize this tower from countless movies and photographs of Shanghai.
      • The tower is constructed of 11 spheres, big and small.
      • There are fifteen observation levels in the tower.
      • The tower also contains a shopping center, revolving restaurant and hotel.
Day Fourteen
Today’s theme is Life and The Water: The Shanghai Aquarium and Suzhou

  • This morning, we head to one of the largest aquarium in the world – The Shanghai Aquarium.
    • The exhibits are divided into China Zone, South America Zone, Australia Zone, Africa Zone, Southeast Asia Zone, Cold Water Zone, Polar Zone, Sea and Shore and Deep Ocean Zone.
    • Over 15,000 water creatures are on display including rare fishes, poison dart frogs, jellyfish, moonfish and leafy sea dragons.
    • We’ll travel the 170 yard moving walkway as we marvel at the wonderful creatures swimming around us.
  • Following lunch, we head out of Shanghai to the tranquility of Suzhou – The Venice of The East
    • Our first stop in Suzhou will be the Panmen City Gate which is over 2,500 years old.
    • The gate is part of the old city wall which protected the city in 514BC.
  • Welcome to the Ping Pong Academy!
    • Its time to get your Ping Pong on as you try your hand at mastering this sport.
    • In the early 70s, players from the USA competed against players from China in an event that marked the start of the thaw in Chinese-American relations.
      • This event gave rise to the term “Ping-Pong Diplomacy
    • The students at this school will impress us with their mad ping pong skills. After some demonstrations, instruction and bonding, we’ll try to beat them at their game.
Day Fifteen
Today we undertake an intimate examination of ancient Chinese Arts.

  • We begin with a calligraphy lesson in a traditional Chinese garden.
    • Masters of this ancient art will demonstrate the correct technique of creating ink, preparing the brushes and the deft strokes that produce legendary works of art.
    • Then, we have our turn and using examples will create our own piece of art to take home with us.
  • Next, we’ll explore one of the oldest streets in Suzhou – Pingjiang Old Street.
    • For centuries, Pingjiang Old Street has formed the center of Suzhou cultural life with its bookshops and Opera Houses.
    • Marvel at the boaters passing on their punt-style boats and singing traditional songs in the Suzhou dialect.
  • Later we will learn about the Kun Opera which emerged during the 14th century and is unique to this region.
    • The Kun Opera combines the music of the region with the music of Nanxi (southern drama).
  • Next it is on to Wuzhen, another ancient town in this region with a remarkable network of canals. In the late afternoon, we’ll board a canal boat and take a cursory tour of this distinctive water town from the vantage of locals who make their living on the canals.
  • Tonight’s accommodation will be at a memorably traditional Chinese Guest House.
Day Sixteen
  • At Quo, we believe that we learn a lot about ourselves and our place in the world when we are immersed in another person’s experience. That’s why we’ll spend today exploring what life is like for those who live in an ancient Chinese water town.
    • With more in-depth exploration of Wuzhen, we’ll start the day by building on what we learned last night in our canal tour.
    • Wuzhen is made up of:
      • a housing district
      • a workshop district
      • a culture district
      • a food and beverage district
      • a water township and
      • a shopping district.
    • Each district has “reinactors” who demonstrate ancient Chinese practices.
    • The most famous landmarks in this beautiful town are Mao Dun’s Residence, Fanglu Pavilion and the Bridge within a Bridge.
    • We’ll learn about the dying of fabrics, cloth shoe-making techniques, and other ancient crafts that Chinese have used over the millennia.
  • This afternoon we head back to Shanghai.
Day Seventeen
Say “Zàijiàn!” to Shanghai and “ni hou” to Hong Kong!

  • This morning we head to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong!
  • This fascinating city’s name translates to “Fragrant Harbor.” It has been described as one of the most picturesque cities in Asia.
  • We arrive at Hong Kong Airport, built entirely on reclaimed land. This was done by leveling two islands, and it’s an engineering marvel in its own right.
  • The journey from the airport to Hong Kong islands reveals spectacular vistas of high rise buildings contrasted with a backdrop of green mountains.
  • Following our hotel check in, we head to Tsimshatsui (TST), on the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula.
    • This is one of the major tourist districts of Hong Kong with many high end shops and famous restaurants. TST bustles with life late into the night.
  • Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant in this district.
Day Eighteen
Today, explore and embrace the many famed wonders of Hong Kong, a global city.

  • A ride on the Peak Tram is the fastest way to access the top of Victoria Peak, where we will take in the incredible vistas of Hong Kong.
    • Victoria Peak is the highest mountain in Hong Kong. In the early days of Hong Kong, many residents had homes built on the peak in an attempt to escape the summer heat.
    • The Peak is visited by over 7 million tourists a year and offers viewing decks with telescopes to enhance the views of the city below.
  • Next, we head to Stanley, a district in Hong Kong famous for its open air market.
    • Still have room in your luggage? This is an opportunity to shop for last minute souvenirs such as silk, ornaments and traditional Chinese garments.
      • Don’t forget to bargain! The first price is never the last price on this shopping adventure.
  • Our next stop is Aberdeen Fishing Village where thousands of people live on picturesque junk boats, and sampans ply the waters.
    • Many of the residents of this village still rely on the ocean to make their living as they harvest fish for local restaurants.
    • Keep an eye out for modern touches such as satellite dishes and TV antennas on the junks.
    • Residents of this area utilize wooden walkways that connect one junk to another.
  •  This afternoon we take a harbor cruise on the world famous Star Line, which connects the islands of Hong Kong by boat.
  • Time has flown by! Tonight, we’ll take stock as we enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. As we dine and reminisce, we’ll reflect on all we have seen, the friends we have made and all we have learned about China, the Chinese people and ourselves.
Day Nineteen
Sadly, today we must say “Zàijiàn!” and head to the airport and depart for our flight home.
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