Humanities Trip to China
9 days from £1,500pp
based on a group size of 40 students and 4 teachers (free places)
China is a land of contrasts; from the biggest cities to tranquil gardens, an ancient history and a futuristic mindset, a landscape that includes coastlines, rivers, mountains and deserts, and a variety of different religions. All of this makes China the biggest classroom a humanities student could dream of!
Within this school trip itinerary, your humanities students will embrace the cultural hub of China’s capital, Beijing, bask in the abundance of history in one of China’s oldest areas, Xi’an, and watch the skyline grow before their eyes in the world’s largest city, Shanghai.
Due to the limitless ways to travel through China, our travel specialists can help to tailor make an itinerary which travel throughout China, whilst ensuring every single day still captivates your student’s imagination. Whether you want to visit the big cities of China or explore the varying landscapes along the Yangtze, we will help you to create an inspiring, bespoke, once in a lifetime trip.
Let the excitement for your upcoming school trip build as you fly from your home to China’s vibrant capital city, Beijing.
Arrive at Beijing airport and immediately take in the bustle of major city life. Here you will be greeted by your local guide who will support you throughout your trip and lead you to your first iconic landmark.
Immerse yourself in the maze that is the famed Summer Palace. This collection of large lakes, manicured gardens and lavish palaces dates back to the Jin dynasty in 1153 and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Get some rest to prepare for the busy and exciting day that tomorrow will bring.
Kickstart your day by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Temple of Heaven.
This imperial complex of religious buildings will excite any religious studies or history student. First constructed in 1406, the Temple of Heaven has since been part of an annual ritual in which Emperors would visit to make a prayer to heaven for good harvest. The building itself considered a masterpiece for architectural and landscape design.
Students will see a snapshot of modern Chinese life in the park outside the Temple, as locals gather there to practice Tai Chi and ballroom dancing.
Next up, a visit to a traditional pearl factory. Your guide will show you how they are collected and will give you some “pearls of wisdom” on the cultural significance of pearls in China.
Wander through Tiananmen square, the world’s third largest city square. The square has massive cultural significance as the home to many major Chinese political events throughout history. Tiananmen Square is home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of People and the National Museum of China.
Alongside these tributes to tradition, modern Chinese life races on. You’ll see this first hand with an evening stroll down Wangfujing Street, one of Beijing’s most colourful shopping strips and home to Beijing Department Store. Feeling peckish? Head straight to Snack Street, where merchants from all over China share their delicious snacks with curious passers-by. You’ll see everything weird and wonderful here from skewered scorpions to candied fruit.
Ancient v Modern Beijing
Students can walk in the footsteps of Emperors as they take in the impressive stone statues along Sacred Road which holds historical and spiritual significance.
The road will lead them to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Ming Tombs.
The collection of the mausoleums is often referred to as the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty and are the burial site for many important figures throughout Chinese history.
Next, students will tick one of the seven new wonders of the world off their bucket list, with a visit to The Great Wall of China. To walk the entire length of the wall would take around 167 days, so instead students will have the essential photo-stop and take a short stroll, literally walking on 2,000 years of history.
Students will jump into modern China by visiting Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Olympics. The stadium cost CN¥2.3 billion to make and as is a fantastic example of China’s booming economy and futuristic architecture. This visit completely juxtaposes with their day of exploring traditional and historical Chinese landmarks.
Your bedroom for the night will be on a traditional sleeper train, where you will travel 1,200km to the city of Xi’an.
Once you arrive in Xi’an, your first stop will be to walk the Ancient city walls. The city walls are over 1,000 years old (although strengthened in the 14th century) and measure 14km. These walls could tell thousands of stories. They were originally built for military defence but now provide a fantastic view of the modern city below.
Religious studies students will be intrigued by a visit to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. It is one of the most mesmerising examples of a Buddhist pagoda, built in 652 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The final stop of the day is to the ancient Bell and Drum Towers. Originally erected in 1380, it is believed the Bell Tower was built to protect the city from a mythical dragon. Traditionally the bell marks the beginning of the new day and the Drum Tower’s drum is sounded at dusk.
Terracotta Army and Islam in Xi’an
Students will stare into the eyes of a 2,000-year-old army as they visit one of the most famous archaeological discoveries in history, The Terracotta Army. Dating back to the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huan, who built an 8,000 strong army complete with horses and weapons to guard his tomb and protect him in the afterlife. The army was only discovered in 1974 and there are still more artefacts being uncovered!
A great place to explore Islam in China is at The Great Mosque, which was founded in 742AD by Silk Road traders. The Mosque is famed for its Chinese architectural style, without traditional Islamic features. 2% of China’s population are Muslim, which may sound like a small number but it equates to over 21 million people in China, compared to just over three million Muslims in the UK. In Morocco there are just under 38 million Muslims but that equates to 93% of the population.
Continuing on this theme, you will explore the Muslim Quarter which is home to 20,000 Chinese Muslims, 10 Mosques and a fantastic Benyamin Muslim Market where you will see a display of food stalls including dried fruits, cakes and breads.
Spend your evening walking along Huimin Street, which spans several roads and is the heart of the Muslim quarter. It is an important gathering place for local people and tourists visit here for the Muslim architecture and to see the colourful array of street food and souvenir stalls of the night market.
Hop on board a short 2-hour flight from Xi’an to the world’s biggest city, Shanghai.
Immediately jump into action by visiting one of Shanghai’s most loved tourist spots, The Bund. The waterfront spot is home to historic buildings and was formally the centre of a thriving port. The architecture here reveals the history and colonial influence in this area with buildings built in varying styles including neo-classical, gothic and renaissance.
A stroll through the affluent area of Xintiandi, is more than just soaking up the buzz of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. History students will be delighted to learn that it is also considered one of the first “lifestyle centres” of China and the location of the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party in July 1921. It is the most expensive area to live in the whole of China, with average apartments costing more than those in London, New York and Tokyo.
Next, your trip takes you to the district that Shanghai is probably best known for its Financial District in Luijazui. The modern skyline of towering skyscrapers includes mainland China’s tallest building and is home to over 500 banks and insurance corporations.
Conclude your busy day by wandering along the world’s longest shopping district, Nanjing Road. As the sun goes down you will see a dazzling spectacle of neon lights flashing above the variety of modern stores including a huge department store.
Traditional, Tranquil and Thriving Shanghai
After a day exploring the busy, bustling modern areas of Shanghai yesterday, your school group will start day 8 with a visit to the tranquil yet extensive Yu Garden.
You will see the beautiful City God Temple of Shanghai and wander in the five acres of surrounding gardens, which are lush with rockeries, ponds, pavilions, towers, flowers and more. You’ll roam the gardens, pick up a souvenir or two, spot large colourful koi in the large ponds and visit the exquisite Jade Rock.
Your next stop provides an opportunity to discover more about Buddhism in China. The stunning Jade Buddha Temple was built in the 19th century to house two white jade Buddha statues imported from Burma and remains a working Buddhist community. China is home to the largest Buddhists population in the world – 18.2% of China’s total population.
Explore the six-story high, City Planning Exhibition Hall, which displays urban planning and development of this ultra-modern city. The highlight is a colossal scale model of the entire urban area, showing the financial district, suburbs, road and rail networks and airports, and a variety of exhibits on the sustainable vision for future planning.
It is, unfortunately, time to say “Zaijian” to China but your study trip will leave you with lasting memories and a whole new appreciation for the unique and unforgettable Chinese culture!