Geography Trip to China
10 days from £1,690pp
Based on 40 students travelling with 4 teachers (free places)
Imagine everything that the Yangtze River sees.
The Yangtze witnessed the birth of Chinese Civilisation 3,000 years ago and still shows signs of that long history. It’s waters rush through the ever-changing landscapes of modern china, supporting the busiest cities and the rural most areas alike.
It watched as 1.2 million people living along its banks were relocated to make room for the major project of the Three Gorges Dam. All of China’s landscape contrasts can be seen from the eyes of the Yangtze River, imagine if your geography students could see them too.
Your geographers have the opportunity to discover how the Yangtze has created economic opportunity.
This itinerary has been carefully designed to show a 360 view of Chinese life. Starting in the worlds most populated city, Shanghai, followed by a Yangtze river cruise which is awe inspiring and incredibly rewarding, as students take in the banks of beautiful greenery, fishing villages, colonial and historic buildings, mega cities and cargo ships. Plus, no glimpse of life in China would be complete without a visit to a Panda Conservation.
Fly to Shanghai
Relax on your overnight flight as you head to Shanghai. Did you know the direct meaning of Shanghai is “above the sea”? Whilst it is disputed as to why Shanghai is named this; many believe that it is because during the Tang dynasty Shanghai was literally on the sea.
Exploring Shanghai’s booming economy
Upon arrival in Shanghai, students will get to explore one of Shanghai’s most-popular areas, The Bund.
The Bund refers to the mile-long stretch of riverside promenade which is probably most famous for the 52 buildings of varying architectural style. The bund is also a hub for culture and tradition. Here you will see locals doing Tai Chi or dancing, giving students a glimpse into the local lifestyle.
Next students will wander through the streets of China’s most expensive area, Xintiandi. The area is full of upscale restaurants, shops and nightlife and is an example of wealth in Shanghai, which finds itself among the top 10 richest cities in the world, with a recorded gross domestic profit of $516.5 billion yearly.
With the city’s economy in mind, students will head for the Lujiazui Financial Centre. The district is the largest financial zone on mainland China. Lujiazui is home to 400 banks and financial institutions, headquarters of 70 international giants and around 5000 trade or investment companies. In fact, Shanghai’s stock market is second in the world behind Wall Street only.
The money made in Shanghai is spent on the famous Nanjing Road, China’s premier shopping street. Nanjing street in the evening is a sight to see! As the darkness settles in, you will see the strip flicker to life with dazzling neon lights.
Exploring Shanghai’s traditional culture
Day 3 gives students a chance to see an alternative side to Shanghai.
Visit the tranquil Yu Gardens. The translation for Yu is pleasing. Pleasing garden could be an understatement for the five acres of traditional Chinese garden. Its characteristics include rockeries, pavilions, halls, pagodas, archways, bridges, ponds and lush groves of plants and flowers.
Next, students will visit the Old City area. This area was formally defined by a defensive wall. Its most considerable landmark is the City God Temple.
The City God Temple has a fantastically long history. Its popularity grew during the Qing dynasty when residents would go to the temple to pray for peace and good fortune.
The largest proportion of Buddhists in the world live in China, making it no surprise a school trip here will involve more than one visit to a charming temple. Students will explore the decorative Jade Buddha Temple. Its beauty can be seen in both its architecture and the two great jade Buddhist statues that stand proudly.
Students will conclude their visit to Shanghai with an overview of the city, by exploring the 6-story high City Planning Exhibition Hall. Here students will see models of the city’s current and future plans for development from a bird’s eye view. Ideal for geographers who are interested in how cities grow.
All aboard the Yangtze River Cruise!
At the start of day 4 students your group will jump on a flight from Shanghai to Yichang. This is an excellent way for students to fully appreciate the mesmerising scale of China, as this two-and-a-half-hour flight will take you 604.90 miles.
Students will then get a chance to board their home for the next couple of days, an elegant five-star ship on the Yangtze River, the longest river in the world to run entirely within one country.
The Three Gorges Dam
As students sail along the Yangtze river, they will begin to witness some of the spectacles of Chinese life along the banks.
Students will watch in anticipation as the river carves through the Xiling Gorge, the first and largest of Three Gorges.
Next, arrive at the quintessential Geography case study; the mighty Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower dam. As students pass through the ship locks, they will find their textbooks come to life as they experience the size of the dam.
Disembark here and learn about the relocations that took place to make way for this colossal project.
Your school trip group will then visit the Tribes of the Three Gorges. The Three Gorges Scenic area consists of 3 main parts. These are, The Village on the Water, The Brook-Side Village and The Mountain-Top Village.
In the evening, watch as the ship rises through the ship-locks of the Three Gorges Dam and enjoy the on-board entertainment.
Smaller Gorges Cruise and White Emperor City
Enjoy a morning’s sightseeing in Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorges, the final two of the Three Gorges. Wu is known for its tranquil forest-covered mountains, whilst Qutang, the shortest and narrowest of the three, is also the most dramatic with sheer precipices rising from the 500-foot-wide river.
Your tour includes a sampan trip (flat bottomed Chinese boat) into the narrow tributaries of the Daning River to see the gorges up close.
Visit The White Emperor City, dating back nearly 2,000 years. It is a colourful temple with a series of historical and cultural relics on show. From the site you will have unbelievable views of the Qutang Gorge below.
Red Pagoda and Ghost City of Fengdu
Start the day with one of the most iconic Chinese landmarks, the Red Pagoda.
The students will enter under the tall yellow entrance gate, carved with decorative lions and dragons and an inscription that invites tourists to ascend into a “little Fairyland” The Pagoda itself is 200m tall and was famously built entirely without nails. Local people believe that if you climb right to the top you are more likely you are to achieve your dreams.
In the afternoon you will visit the Ghost City of Fengdu. This large mountaintop complex of shrines, monasteries and temples, is dedicated to Gods of the underworld.
As students say goodbye to the waters, it is time to get exploring another city – Chongqing.
Chongqing is the largest municipality in SouthWest China and has continued to develop rapidly. It now finds itself in the list of five most influential cities in China today. Students will have a guided tour of the city, nicknamed the Mountain City after it’s rugged terrain, many water reserves, mineral resources and forests, as well as an abundance of flora.
As you head into the Ciqicou Old Living Area, they will immediately notice the red lanterns, winding pedestrianised roads and shops, selling everything from hand crafts to tea.
In an itinerary packed full of ways to get around China, it would be a shame to miss one of their iconic high-speed trains off the list. Aboard this train, students will travel 167 miles in around an hour and a half, to Chengdu.
Panda of Chengdu
Day 9 will be a special day for students are introduced to China’s most iconic resident, the Giant Panda.
Visit the Chengdu Panda Base to learn about the research and conservation projects. The base helps to protect the 1,000 Pandas that are left in the wild.
Students will conclude their day with a burst of geography by visiting the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project – the oldest dam-less irrigation system in the world.
Fly From Chengdu
Students will leave China and head home, full of wonderful stories and adventures from their time in this magnificent and unique country.
Itinerary is based on 40 students and 4 teachers (free) travelling in October 2020.