A Closer Look at a Distant Empire: China Revealed
September 17, 2015
We hear about the enormity of China all the time, with its 3.7 million square miles, 1.3 billion people, and 56 ethnic groups speaking 292 dialects. China's sweeping size and complexity can make it seem mysterious, even daunting, to outsiders. But in a time when its doors are more open than ever to travelers, it would be a shame to miss out on what is arguably the world's most epic land. Gate 1 strips away the mystery, showing you its more intimate side as we immerse you in the landscapes, neighborhoods, and treasures of which the Chinese people are most proud. From monuments to marketplaces, Gate 1 introduces you to China's diverse offerings up close.
The staggering Three Gorges of the Yangtze River ... lush jade-green bamboo forests ... sprawling Imperial Cities with inviting lanes that are 2,000 years old. These are just a few of the wonders in a nation that boasts 48 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the most of any country in Asia. A single Gate 1 journey can unveil the myriad ways in which China lives up to its nickname, "The Beautiful Country."
Past, President, and Future: Three Cities
To gain an understanding of how China's past, present, and future are interwoven, a good place to begin - or three good places - would be its dominant cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, each of which has its own character and story to tell.
Beijing is monumental, literally. The city is home to 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (just one shy of the number found in all of Egypt), among them some of the world's greatest treasures. The Forbidden City is forbidden to none these days: after 500 years of turning guests away from the world's largest palace complex, China now invites all to see the wonders of the stunning 178-acre complex encircled by two miles of fortified wall. Over time, 24 emperors lived in these 90 palaces, composed of 980 buildings and almost 9,000 rooms.
The little sibling to that royal complex is the Summer Palace, built for the hottest months when the Forbidden City complex felt too stifling. A small pond and reservoir were joined, widened, and dredged, yielding a sparkling 540-acre lake big enough for royal navy vessels to run drills upon. The soil from the lake was used to make the adjacent Longevity Hill, a 200-foot slope crowned with palaces, pavilions, temples and gardens. To this day, it remains, as intended, one of Beijing's loveliest locales, a brilliant collaboration of man, nature and time.
Whereas Beijing calls to mind the glories of the past, Shanghai is decidedly a snapshot of the future. While the city is certainly known for its gems that date back to previous eras - such as the verdant Yuyuan Garden from the Ming Dynasty and the elegant colonial architecture of the Bund - it is Shanghai's jaw-dropping new skyline that may leave you gasping with awe.
Viewed across the Huangpu River, the Pudong neighborhood boasts a dizzying array of striking, colorful towers. Shanghai Tower, the biggest of the lot, is the second tallest skyscraper on earth. But height is only one way that this metropolis dazzles: the Orient Pearl looks like a stacking toy of ever-smaller glass beads, while the sinuous Financial Center is a modernist masterwork; even the low-slung Ocean Aquarium impresses passers-by with its flamboyant shark-fin wings.
Discovery Tours by Gate 1 is giving away a 12-day trip for two to Turkey! Don't miss out on the chance of a lifetime to journey to a land full of history, culture and biblical lore - enter now!
Join us for exclusive discounts on airfare, hotels, cruises and more - delivered right to your inbox every week for FREE!
NEW PHOTO GALLERY!
Check out our new photo galleries with photos posted by you! With this new feature you can upload your favorite photos from your Gate 1 Tours right from our website! Browse images here.
12 Day China with Chengdu
My trip far exceeded my expectations! The hotels were wonderful, the tours plentiful and extensive, and our meals were all top notch!
I CANNOT speak highly enough about my tour manager Frank. He was incredibly kind, intelligent, genuine, and he truly made my trip. I could truly tell he loved his job, was invested in our experience, and was accommodating to every need of our various group members. River in Chengdu was also an extreme delight! His kindness and personal stories were such an added bonus to the city experience. Echo was lovely in Shanghai, she went out of her way to write down places of interest for me in both English and local dialect, all with the vantage point of a young woman on a solo travel.
Jennifer D. Honolulu, HI
Click here to read additional testimonials.
Ways to Save
Sign Up For Savings
Join The Deal and receive unique, subscriber-only specials delivered right to your in-box once a week. Click here to sign up now! Prefer the feeling of freshly printed pages between your finger tips, request a free brochure today to join the mailing list.
International Entry & Visa Requirements for U.S. Passport Holders
Request a Free Brochure
Join the discussion
See what fellow travelers are talking about on the Gate 1 Travel Community Forums