Quest for Harmony 10 Nights 11 Days
Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong: three pearls in one exquisite setting. Each unique, yet bound together by a cultural veneration of Harmony. This trip, we’ll explore how the desire for a harmonious life permeates these destinations. Harmony is a motif firmly woven into in the past and present, as well as in future aspirations of these regions. It plays a key role in all aspects of life here, including recreation, health, art, architecture, food, music, sports, and even business.
Harmony implies balance and the ability to integrate different elements into pleasing unity. It incorporates the Chinese concept of Yin/Yang–opposite forces that come together to form a whole. Thousands of years ago, writers here carved the character “He”, which means harmony and peace, onto tortoise shells and animal bones known as “Oracle Bones.” And Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher promoted the concept of “harmony without uniformity.” He taught that the world is full of differences and contradictions, but that righteous people should try to balance them to achieve harmony.
Chinese culture has promoted the concept of harmony since ancient times, and today we see this fundamental value represented in so many different ways. In the trilogy of places we’ll visit this time, we’ll look at three great examples of how the people here strive for harmony:
• We’ll discover how the ancient, traditional customs balance with the new and modern.
• We’ll explore how western sensibilities integrate with eastern aesthetics.
• And we’ll look at the how the Chinese people seek spiritual harmony with the natural world.
Our quest begins in Hong Kong — Asia’s world city and a cosmopolitan metropolis offering visitors a stunning east-meets-west experience.
Hong Kong to Macau
A mere 40 miles from Hong Kong by ferry, Macau seems a world away. Even for experienced travelers, Macau is a singular place. It’s a fascinating blend of Asian and European, East and West. Following the undulating mosaic tile streets through the city’s historic center, inhaling the spicy scents of Macanese restaurants, one feels a bit like a visitor in an exotic Land of Oz. Long before Hong Kong was born, fisherman and farmers found this island at the mouth of the Pearl River a strategic place to set up shop.
The Italian missionary and Jesuit priest, Matteo Ricci, came to Macau more than 400 years ago. After studying Chinese and European history, he concluded that compared to the west, the Chinese had less interest in aggression and conquest and cherished harmony and peace. Macau was a crucial stopping point for merchant ships carrying goods from Silk Road merchants to eager consumers in Europe. It was the Portuguese who would drive Macau’s destiny. In the 16th century, the Portuguese traders got the go-ahead from mandarins in nearby Guangdong to take control of this island. Soon Macau had a near monopoly on trade between Asia and Europe.
• Upon arriving in Hong Kong International Airport via Cathay Pacific, proceed to the TurboJET Counter for transit to Macau by ferry or hydrofoil (DO NOT GO THROUGH IMMIGRATION IN HONG KONG. YOU WILL GO THROUGH IMMIGRATION IN MACAU) At the TurboJET Counter, show your passport, e-ticket for Macau ferry, and baggage claim tag from Cathay Pacific. TurboJET staff will retrieve your luggage from baggage claim area. Claim your luggage and proceed to check-in for boarding the ferry to Macau. Upon arrival in Macau, you will clear customs. After you walk out of the customs and baggage claim area, you will be met by our Macau tour guide who will escort you to Macau Venetian Hotel by private transfer.
Optional: Lunch Suggestion – Try out the Chinese Dim Sum or Portuguese dishes
• Our Macau tour guide will spend the afternoon with you exploring the Historic Center of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to over 20 architecturally important monuments including temples, churches, mansion houses… which are all interlinked by a network of European style streets, squares and piazzas. Browse through traditional antique shops and art galleries at the Senado Square area.
• We have arranged for you to enjoy seeing Macau at night by taking a dinner cruise. The triple-deck, 125-foot long ship (operated by Macau Cruise Development Company and launched in October 2011) will depart from Macau’s Inner Harbor, taking you for a round-trip around A-Ma Temple, Macau Tower, Sai Van Bridge, Kun Iam Statue and Macau Science Centre. The entire dinner cruise is approximately one and a half hour. You will be transferred back to the hotel after your dinner cruise. Night one at Macau Venetian.
Optional: For those who wish to relax after check-in, pamper yourself at one of Macau’s hotel-based spas in the afternoon.
• Escape the buzz of the city and head to islands of Taipa and Coloane accompanied by your private tour guide. Chapel of St Francis Xavier and Tam Kung Temple in Coloane mark the hallmarks of Macau’s dual Portuguese and Cantonese heritage and the village Marques Square is home to an array of cafes and restaurants.
• Continue the lazy afternoon with a visit to Our Lady of Carmel (a pastel and white neo-classical church built in 1885)… then move down to Avenida da Praia for the Taipa Houses Museum to find a beautifully restored row of early 20th-century houses and an avenue of banyans and flower-covered bowers. The first building is the Macanese House (filled with reproduction period furniture and furnishings in both Chinese and European style, illustrating the life of typical Macanese at the time). Next door is the House of the Islands (displaying maps, pictures and memorabilia from Taipa and Coloane). Then, the House of the Portugal Regions (displays of costumes, musical instruments and photos). Next is the Exhibition Gallery, with changing shows of photographs, paintings and poster (Note that the museums are closed on Monday).
• Bid Macau goodbye from high above, at the 1109-foot high Macau Tower. For a more extreme experience, walk the transparent floors of the observation deck.
Optional: Test your nerve — Try Bungee Jumping, Sky Jumping, Tandem Sky Jumping or Skywalk X ! Pick your choice of cuisine options for dinner before starting your evening with House of Dancing Water in the City of Dreams (House of Dancing Water is closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays).• Night two at Macau Venetian.
Transition to Guangdong
Separated from the rest of China for centuries by mountainous terrain, the spirited province of Guangdong prospered thanks to its choice location on the lush Pearl River delta. An important part of the ancient Silk Road trade route, this was once a prime connection for foreign merchants coming to trade with China, later settling into a quiet backwater. Now however it’s emblematic of the new China, with a burst of industry and development and factory sprawl. But even amidst this explosion of growth, Guangdong holds closely to its distinct legacy: some of the most beautiful scenery in China. Here we find quiet temples melding with rose-hued sandstone cliffs, and we encounter locals honoring their connection with both the physical and spiritual worlds. According to a leading Chinese scholar, harmony is the great gift Chinese culture offers to the world. He said, “Humans should co-exist peacefully with nature rather than attempting to conquer it. Humans should have a relationship with nature that stresses friendship, equality and mutual respect,” and that “It’s wrong to say one should conquer the other.”
|Tour Schedule (continued)|
• Take private coach accompanied by the Macau tour guide from Venetian Macau via Border Gate to Gongbei (Zhuhai), and from Gongbei (Zhuhai) to Guangzhou (approximately 2.5 hours).
Optional: Lunch Suggestion- We recommend the Bing Sheng restaurant located at Zhujiang New Town, an authentic Cantonese cuisine restaurant in Guangzhou. This is an interesting way to break up the travel and have a top Guangzhou epicurean experience.
• At the Bing Sheng Restaurant, the Macau guide will end the Macau portion of service and the Guangzhou guide will take over the Guangzhou portion of the service. After lunch take a high speed train from Guangzhou to Shaoguan (approximately 1 hour). Check-in at the Hotel De Royce. Night one at Hotel De Royce.
• Depart Shaoguan for a full day at Danxia Mountain (drive time between Hotel De Royce and Danxia Mountain is approximately 90 minutes). Today you will enjoy a cable car ride, a hike and a river trip on the Jingjinag River to enjoy the breathtaking stone formations. Night two at Hotel De Royce.
Optional: Lunch suggestion – We can assist in arranging a packed lunch or finding local restaurants close to the venue.
• Danxia Mountain (a UNESCO world heritage site) is a world famous geopark, containing the largest, most beautiful scenic area in Guangdong. The mountain is situated in Renhua County, about 28 miles from Shaoguan City. The Danxia Landform of this mountain represents the typical formation of the over 1,200 Danxia Landforms found throughout the world. Covering an area of more than 69,190 acres, the mountain is composed primarily of red sandstone rocks.
• The scenic area contains more than 680 various stone peaks, stone fortresses, walls, pillars and stone bridges. The stones have been formed over eons by nature, many of which take the shape of the human body, birds and even animals. The numerous stones and peaks are rhythmically interspersed among the scenic spot, making it a sculpture garden of red sandstone rocks. Set against the blue sky, white clouds, jade waters, green trees and the colorful algae, the mountain becomes a picturesque painting.
• The enchanting mountain has a rich variety of plants due to the moderate subtropical climate and the yearly monsoons that provide plenty of rainfall. There are twenty-eight ancient trees over one hundred years old, with fourteen of them having survived for more than three centuries. These ancient Danxia Phoenix Trees are native to this area and are the most distinguished species of the mountain. Of the ten varieties, four of them are extremely rare. One such variety of the Phoenix Trees has been named the ‘Dharma Orchid’. It was discovered in 1987, and only two of them have existed in the world. When flowering season arrives, the sweet scent of the orchid tree lingers in the mountain and visitors swarm to its attraction.
• The Danxia Mountain consists of many other wonderful scenic spots. You will visit the Baizhai Scenic Spot Area, Elder Peak, Jianjiang Long Corridor, Zhanglao Peak, Yangyuan Hill, Xianglong Lake and Jin River. At the foot of Zhanglao Peak, there is a grotto temple that was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The Biezhuan Temple, which lies in the middle of the Zhanglao Peak, is one of the ten most notable temples of Guangdong. Yangyuan Hill and Zhanglao Peak face each other across a river. The hill is renowned for the marvelous Yangyuan Stone, which looks like a male genital. The Xianglong Lake (Flying Dragon Lake) sits to the south of Zhanglao Peak, named so because the lake resembles a flying dragon.
• Countless cliff tombs and cliff coffins of times long past were left by Chinese ancestors who inhabited the mountain. In addition, the mountain has been a busy place for Buddhist activities since the Sui (581-618) and Tang Dynasties (618-907). In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the mountain prospered and more than eighty temples were built. A great number of poems, carvings and inscriptions praising the bewitching scenery were left behind by writers, poets and painters throughout past dynasties.
• Check out of Hotel DeRoyce and drive to visit Nanhua Temple, a Buddhist monastery of the Chan School, one of Five Great Schools of Buddhism where Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Chan School of Buddhism, once lived and taught. The temple was founded during the time of the North-South Dynasties in 502 AD by an Indian monk named Zhiyao Sanzang who originally named the site Baolin Temple. It received its present name in 968 during the reign of the Song Dynasty Emperor Taizong. The temple covers an area of more than 105 acres. It consists of a set of magnificent Buddhist buildings, including the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Grand Hall, Sutra Depository, Sixth Ancestor Hall, Lingzhao Pagoda and 690 Buddhist statues. The first account of Nanhua Temple for the European audience was most likely provided by Matteo Ricci, who visited it in August or September 1589, when relocating from Zhaoqing to Shaoguan. The Jesuit was impressed by the temple, “magnificent in grandeur”, and its fountain, “graciously designed and wonderfully built”.
Optional: Lunch suggestion – We can assist in arranging a packed lunch or organizing lunch nearby the Nanhua Temple.
• In the afternoon visit Buddha Caverns. Ancient Buddha Cave is a brilliant cave featuring Buddha or God shape stone pillars; ancient people even built a temple just at the entrance of the cave, so the cave deserves its name. The Buddha Cave covers an area of 129,167 square feet, with the highest point being 98 feet. The temperature in the cave is pleasant all year round, warm in winter and cool in summer, with average temperatures 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit. After entering the cave, visitors reach the Ancient Buddha Hall, with three vivid Buddha statues shaped by stalactites; and in 33 more feet, there is a stone tree in the shape of a huge banyan tree; The God of Mercy is sitting on the stone flowers, while many stone posts and stone curtains form a scene of Nanhai bamboo forest…
• After our visit to the Buddha Caverns, we check in to the Palace International Hotel, which is 1.5 – 2 hours from Buddha Caverns. The hotel features a very enjoyable hot springs. Night one at Palace International Hotel.
• Drive to Grand Canyon (about 1.5 – 2 hours from the Palace Hotel) and spend the day there. The Grand Canyon is 9.3 miles long and over 984 feet deep, characterized by quartz grits. The canyon top is flat, but from the trundle-like cliff rushes out a water flow of over 200 meters down to the canyon bottom, displaying a majestic and boundless waterfall. There is a “Natural Ladder” of 1386 stone steps with a 50 degree bevel, which can reach the canyon bottom. The varied dongas, steep peaks and ancient, towering trees display unique natural scenery.
• According to geological research, the Grand Canyon is a quartz sandstone landform, formed in the one hundred and thirty million years ago the Himalayan progeny. As the crust had several heave, and break ground by water erosion, weathering, erosion and other effects, the Grand Canyon area showing a wealth of rock bedding, constitute the Grand Canyon now male, strange, dangerous, show the unique natural landscape. Because of milk-derived topography is limestone, the Grand Canyon has many caves, and limestone and red sand rock is very similar to the causes, so the Grand Canyon of the landscape and the landscape is very similar to Danxiashan.
Optional: Lunch suggestion – We can assist in arranging a packed lunch or dining at local restaurants close to the venue.
• Drive back to the Palace International Hotel for a second night.
• After breakfast at the hotel, 08:45 check out of hotel. At 09:00 drive back to Shaoguan Railway Station (about 25 miles, 50 minutes, from the Palace International Hotel) for morning high speed train to Guangzhou (G1037 11:16-12:06, 50 minutes). Have lunch nearby at a local restaurant before transit to Guangzhou East Railway Station accompanied by your private guide for connecting train to Hong Kong. Your private guide from Guangzhou will take the train to Hong Kong with you. End of service for Guangzhou guide after introducing you to the Hong Kong local guide at Kowloon Station in Hong Kong.
|Option to Add Supplement for One Extra Night in Guangzhou:
• We will be happy to add on an extra night as a supplement for guests who would like to spend an extra day in Guangzhou (also known as Canton), the third largest city in mainland China. The Portuguese in Macau, the Spanish in Manila, Arabs from the Middle East and Muslims from India were already actively trading in the port by the 1690s, when the French and English began frequenting the port through the Canton port. Today, Guangzhou is considered one of the wealthiest cities in China, with much wealth created from its trading and manufacturing base.
• As part of your visit to Guangzhou, we will arrange for you to visit Ancient Zhuji Lane. Ancient Zhuji Lane is located in the region of Zhuji Town that is 5.6 miles north of Nanxiong City, with a total length of 0.9 mile, and the road paved with cobble stones. It was historically on the main traffic artery from the Central Plains to Lingnan, being the cradle of dwellers in Zhujiang Delta region. It is also the ancestral inhabiting place for millions of overseas Chinese, called “the Hometown of Yue People”. The solid stone pagoda of Yuan Dynasty northwest of the pailou of Zhuji Lane is the only stone pagoda of which the specific building year can be confirmed among the exiting ancient stone pagodas in Guangdong Province. It is also listed as a key protected cultural relic of Guangdong Province.
Transition to Hong Kong
Now you are back in Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient. The city’s vibrancy and cultural richness awaits you. One minute it’s a city with incredible structures of steel and glass cutting a figure of hip sophistication. The next minute, a nearby traditional Chinese temple with its coils of burning incense reminds us that people here are tied to deeply rooted traditions that still play a vital part in their lives. According to one novelist,”You can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you.” This city’s vibrant culture contains an exciting duality – a modern city’s vitality enhanced by a traditional society’s historical richness and color.
|Tour Schedule (continued)|
• Upon arrival at Kowloon train station, meet & meet the Hong Kong local tour guide and transfer to hotel at Kowloon side. Night one at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsimshatsui.
|8||Hong Kong (B, D)
• Enjoy a relaxing breakfast. Today your full day Hong Kong private tour will begin at 12 noon.
Optional: Lunch suggestion at Jumbo Kingdom (Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen)
• After lunch, take a Sampan ride at Aberdeen Fishing Village. Continue your tour to visit Repulse Bay and Stanley Market. Afterward, take the tram to the top of Victoria Peak to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Continue your tour to visit Golden Bauhinia Square where the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is located on the waterfront in Wanchai. Proceed to the Pier for a Buffet dinner at Harbour Cruise – Bauhinia and enjoy Symphony of Lights show with live music. Your dinner cruise ends at 9:30pm and you will be transferred back to your hotel by 10:00pm. Night two at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsimshatsui.
|9||Hong Kong (B)
• Today you will experience a full day Lantau Island Tour followed by your choice of a city tour (9:30am-6:00pm) In the morning we bring you to the Lantau Island where you will see one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. You will also visit the Po Lin Monastery and enjoy Crystal Cabin Cable Car with glass floor… for an unforgettable experience.
Optional: Lunch suggestion at the Ngong Ping Village for a vegetarian meal.
• After lunch, you can select from one of the following two private guided city tours:
• Hong Kong In Living Colors:
• Kowloon Markets Walk:
• The city tour is a great introduction to life in Hong Kong/Kowloon and the back streets you may not have walked by yourself. Night three at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsimshatsui.
|10||Hong Kong (B)
• Today you will enjoy the Living Culture (Life in harmony: art, food, shopping, local activities, and reflexology). Enjoy a free day for shopping or select from the following menus of cultural activities and we will provide you the supplemental cost based on your selections. Feel free to call our travel consultants to discuss which activities suit you best. Night four at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsimshatsui.
Supplemental Optional Venue Choices:
|11||Hong Kong to US
• Transfer from hotel to airport for flight back to US on Cathay Pacific.
This Price includes:
• Roundtrip airfare on Cathay Pacific between San Francisco and Hong Kong on Economy Class (L Class). Supplemental rate available if upgraded to Business or First Class.
• All meals as stated on the itinerary.
o B = Breakfast in hotel
o L = Lunch outside of hotel at designated local restaurant
o D = Dinner outside of hotel at designated local restaurant
• Private English speaking guide and private car.
• Hotels (include Hotel Tax and Daily Breakfasts). Double Occupancy:
o Hong Kong, Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui, deluxe room. 4 nights.
o Macau, Venetian Hotel, standard room. 2 nights.
o Shaoguan, Guangzhou, Hotel DeRoyce, standard room. 2 nights.
o Shaoguan, Guangzhou, Palace International Resorts, standard room. 2 nights.
• Private airport transfers between hotel and airport as stated on the itinerary.
• Ferry fare between Hong Kong/Macau.
• Macau Dinner Cruise on Day 1 (Macau).
• Symphony of Lights Harbor Dinner Cruise on Day 8 (Hong Kong).
• Entrance fees to all venues listed in the itinerary.
• High speed train from Guangzhou-Shaoguan to Guangzhou (Soft Seat).
• High speed train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong (First class).
Supplement Optional Venues:
• House of Dancing Water show on Day 2 (Macau) (Show closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays).
• Heritage Tour (Hong Kong).
• Trail to the Hidden Oasis (Hong Kong).
• HK Traditional Lifestyle Tour (Hong Kong).
• Come Horseracing Tour (Hong Kong).
• Reflexology Session at Tai Pan Reflexology and Foot Massage Spa (Hong Kong).
• Contemporary Art and Antique Tour (Hong Kong).
• Fortune Teller and Palm Reading (Hong Kong).
The Price excludes:
• Incidentals at hotels such as spa treatments, long distance calls, mini bars and laundry.
• Meals not included on the itinerary.
• Venues not mentioned in the itinerary.
• Gratuity for Guides, Drivers and Porters.
• Hotels may be changed prior to tour but will be replaced with a hotel of a similar standard.
• Price and availability subject to change without notice until the deposit is received.
• Terms and Conditions same as Cathay Pacific China Experience.