Quest for Harmony 7 Nights 8 Days: Hong Kong and Shaoguan
Hong Kong and Shaoguan: each city unique from one another, 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 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. 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 living culture contains an exciting duality – a modern city’s vitality enhanced by a traditional society’s historical richness and color.
|1||Hong Kong (D)
• Upon arriving in Hong Kong International Airport via Cathay Pacific, you will be met by our Hong Kong tour guide who will escort you to Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tsimshatsui by private transfer.
Optional: Lunch suggestion at Jumbo Kingdom (Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen)
• After your 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 one at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsimshatsui.
|2||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.
|3||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:
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 is 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: offering 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)|
|4||Hong Kong/Shaoguan (B)
• In the early morning, take a private coach accompanied by the Hong Kong tour guide from the Hyatt Regency Hotel to the airport. From there, board an 8:05am flight to Guangzhou, where you will be met by our Guangzhou tour guide.
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.
• 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 (driving time between Hotel De Royce and Danxia Mountain is approximately 90 minutes). Today you will go on 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 dining at 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 other 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 attracts many visitors.
• 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 ago 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 European audiences 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 packed lunch or have 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 at 98 feet. The temperature in the cave is pleasant all year round, warm in winter and cool in summer, with average temperatures around 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit. After entering the cave, visitors arrive at the Ancient Buddha Hall, with three vivid Buddha status shaped by stalactites. 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, and it 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, so 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 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 and transfer to the Guangzhou airport for an afternoon flight to Hong Kong. In the evening, board a flight back to the U.S. 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. 3 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.
• Symphony of Lights Harbor Dinner Cruise on Day 1 (Hong Kong).
• Entrance fees to all venues listed in the itinerary.
• High speed train from Guangzhou-Shaoguan to Guangzhou (Soft Seat).
Supplement Optional Venues:
• 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.