CHINA EXPEDITION

Explore the Wonders of China
1/9

CUSTOM

12
days

China is not a country - it is a whole different world, from bustling metropolises to the epic grasslands of Inner Mongolia, with deserts, sacred peaks, astounding caves and imperial ruins in between. China has a dual complex nature. It can give generously of its soul and yet remain elusive. It can be extraordinarily beautiful and remarkably plain. But it cannot fail to impress.

 

Jewish China: Jews and Judaism in China have had a long history. Jewish settlers are documented in China as early as the 7th or 8th century CE. Relatively isolated communities developed through the Tang and Song Dynasties (7-12th centuries CE) all the way through the Qing Dynasty (19th century). By the time of the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, few if any native Chinese Jews were known to have maintained the practice of their religion and culture. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, some international Jewish groups have helped Chinese Jews rediscover their heritage. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jewish immigrants from around the world arrived with Western commercial influences, particularly in the commercial centers of Hong Kong, which was a British colony, Shanghai (the International Settlement and French Concession), and Harbin (the Trans-Siberian Railway). In the first half of the 20th century, thousands of Jewish refugees escaping from the 1917 Russian Revolution and the Holocaust in Europe arrived in China.

 

Join Kosher X as we explore the wonders of China exploring both its secular and Jewish history for an adventure of a lifetime!

 

Day 1 (Su) Depart home city

 

Day 2 (Mo): Beijing - After arrival and hotel check-in our program begins with the tour of the Summer Palace. Explore the breathtaking palaces, gardens and lake where the emperors of China would relax and retreat. Today it’s one of the favorite relaxation spots for tourists and local residents, where one can get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Along the lakeshore runs the world’s longest passage (over a kilometer), built completely of wood and decorated with the most exquisite Chinese art.

 

Day 3 (Tu): Beijing - Today we drive two hours to the Mutianyu Great Wall. Situated in Huairou County, 72 km northeast of Beijing, the Mutianyu Great Wall has been preserved intact and is not as crowded as the popular Badaling Section. Tour includes cable car and sightseeing on the Great Wall. Next a one hour drive brings us to the Ming Tombs consisting of the mausoleums of 13 Ming emperors. We will explore the Changling Tomb and the Sacred Way started in 1409 and completed in 1427. Time permitting we will visit a large scale jade ware processing factory with interpretive demonstrations in Chinese jade carving and Chinese jade culture.

 

Day 4 (We): Beijing - Explore the Temple of Heaven, the largest spiritual Daoist building in all of China. Here the emperors would communicate with heaven, pleading for beneficence from the gods, successful crops, and forgiveness for the people. From there we travel and explore Beijing’s Old Hutong neighborhoods. These attractive “Old Beijing” neighborhoods are slowly being destroyed by the Beijing Municipality as they make way for new public housing projects. Continue to the Olympic area with a tour of the 2008 Olympic Stadium.

 

Day 5 (Th): Beijing - Explore Tiananmen Square, the largest and most famous of its kind in the world. This is the central square of Beijing, China’s capital. Tiananmen means “Peaceful Heavenly Gate” which is the name of the gate that separates the square from the Forbidden City to its north. The square was built in 1417. At its center stands the Mausoleum of Mao, where his body lies embalmed. Tiananmen Square became renowned for the violent student demonstrations which took place there in 1989. From there we travel to the Forbidden City. Built in the 16th century, as the palace of China’s Ming Dynasty Emperors, it’s an impressive example of traditional Chinese architecture. We’ll traverse the entire length of the Forbidden City, as we view the many splendid palaces and vast courtyards. Used as the set for the film “The Last Emperor”, it was indeed forbidden to the Chinese masses until the onset of the revolution at the beginning of the 20th century. We’ll also visit one of the city’s parks from where we’ll be able to see the Forbidden City from a completely different vantage. In the evening we attend a Kung Fu show.

 

Day 6 (Fr): Beijing to Shanghai - Transfer by air to Shanghai. Upon arrival we proceed to tour the Jewish Quarter – a fascinating and unique story in itself. At the beginning of World War II, about 30,000 Jewish refugees fled from Europe to Shanghai. Calling themselves "Shanghailanders", most settled in the Hongkou District where the local residents kindly offered food and medicine for these displaced people. The Jewish community thrived in the Hongkou. Bakeries, stores, cafes, synagogues, schools, clinics, cemeteries, and even a Jewish newspaper all flourished there.Built in 1927, we visit the Ohel Moishe Synagogue which served as the spiritual heart of Shanghai's Jewish community and currently houses the Museum for Jewish Refugees. It has been reconstructed to its original appearance and features a photo exhibition from the period. On this tour you'll also visit Huoshan Park, a peaceful retreat where the Monument in Memory of Jewish Refugees now stands.Duolun Road is also a must-see stop because of the history and culture of 1920s-30s Shanghai. We will wander among the museums, antique and curio houses, calligraphers' and painters' studios, bookshops and literary clubs, teahouses and wine bars. Afternoon we will transfer to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat (hotel is in walking distance of the local shul).

 

Day 7 (Shabbat): Shanghai - Shabbat with the local Jewish community of Shanghai. Afternoon, our hotel is located in the city center, so after Shabbat services and lunch we’ll set out for a guided city walking tour.Day 8 (Su): Shanghai - Explore the garden city of Suzhou the “Venice” of China with its incredible canals. Visit a silk factory, where we’ll view the silk production process: from the silkworm to a fashion show. Marvel at one of the local palaces, its architecture and beautiful gardens where in the evening we will experience experience a traditional show about Chinese culture.

 

Day 9 (Mo): Shanghai - Visit the Yu Yuan Garden, first built in 1559 and it took workers almost 20 years to complete. The landscape seems to wind on forever - the gardens are purposefully designed to distort space and distance. You can hardly take a step in these gardens of China without coming across some kind of wood carving or engraving. Emblematic of the gardening style of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Yu Garden is a maze of pavilions, grottoes, lotus ponds, and rickety bridges crossing lazy streams. From there we travel to the Bund, situated in the central part of Shanghai on the west bank of Huangpu River, is the most prosperous region in Shanghai and is nicknamed as "Shanghai's Wall Street". Facing the wide Huangpu River, the mother river of Shanghai, is the most magnificent landscape in this Oriental Metropolis. We continue to Nanjing Road, which is the earliest significant shopping street in Shanghai. As early as the beginning of the 19th century, a wide variety of merchants gradually established hundreds of stores on both sides of the road because of the good Fengshui there. Next we travel to Jinmao Tower, the tallest building in China and the third tallest building in the world. It is an intelligent building offering services for business, hotel, recreation, sightseeing and shopping. It covers a total construction area of 290,000 square meters it is 97 stories and is 420.5 meters high. It is not only a new tourist attraction, but also a window through which people from other parts of the world may get a better understanding of Shanghai and Pudong.

 

Day 10 (Tu): Shanghai to Hong Kong - Transfer by air to Hong Kong. Guests will have the afternoon free to explore the Kowloon area where we will be staying.

 

Day 11 (We): Hong Kong - Embark on our Hong Kong Island tour. A "must do" for all first-time visitors to Hong Kong. This tour includes many of the sights that make Hong Kong one of the world's top destinations and a must-visit on everybody's things-to-do list! The tour stops at The Peak, perhaps Hong Kong's best-known attraction which overlooks the city's famous skyline, Victoria Harbor and the South China Sea. Next tour the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter by taking a sampan ride for a fascinating close-up look at the local fisher folk and their boat community. Enjoy the scenic coastal beauty of Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. Late afternoon and evening is free to explore the many wonders of the city with our tour escort. Recommended in the evening is the Temple Street Night Market where you can do some shopping amongst the stalls and watch the street theatre performers.

 

Day 12 (Th): Hong Kong & Depart - Our last day is free to catch up on some shopping & sights before transferring to the airport for the flight home.

 

TRIP DATES

 

Custom group departures (minimum 18 or more participants) are available upon request. Please call us for details.

ACTIVITIES

 

Activities include guided city walking expeditions with transportation by plane, bus and boat. Apart from our general touring program of China we will also be visiting numerous Jewish historical sites including interaction with the local Jewish communities.

LAND COST

 

Custom group departures are available year-round. Please call for details and quote.