Ancient Capitals of the Middle Kingdom
Luoyang and Kaifeng are ancient capitals of China. Luoyang was the capital of 13 kingdoms and dynasties since the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC), while Kaifeng was capital of the Later Liang, Jin, Han during the Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (Year 907-Year 951) and Northern Song. They were once the world’s biggest cities. Before reaching Zhengzhou, we’ll spend a day of hiking in the beautiful Jiaozuo.
The cities are full of history, heroes, generals, warlords and great ministers and strategists whose stories appear in numerous Chinese novels, poem and operas. A journey to these destinations is like opening a Chinese history book, and you’ll return home with a remarkable acumen about the country you have visited.
In addition to history and culture, the tour will also take you to see two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Longmen Grottoes – one of the finest example of Buddhist art in China, and Shaolin Temple – the birthplace of Chinese martial art/kungfu. The tour is therefore a perfect compliment to Xian, another great ancient capital of China.
5 Days /4 Nights Ancient Capitals Tour
|Day 1|| Xian - Luoyang
Transfer to the train station and take high speed train to Luoyang for tour to Longmen Grottoes. A UNESCO world heritage site, the grottoes are the most impressive collection of Chinese Buddhist stone craving art. The grottoes are crafted between year 316 to 907, with over 100,000 statues and other Buddhist towers and cravings. Transfer to the White Horse Temple. Built in year 68, it is amongst the first ancient temple in China. Make a stop at Guanlin Temple, an ancient temple complex embracing graveyard, temple and cypress trees in honor of Guan Yu, a war hero of the Three Kingdoms period whose bravery was revered all over China. Arrive Beijing. Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to hotel.
Luoyang - Kaifeng
Transfer to another UNESCO site, the Shaolin Temple. The temple was constructed in year 495 and became the birth place of Chinese kungfu with practicing martial art monk. Enjoy a kungfu show by Shaolin martial art monks. Transfer to Kaifeng, capital of North Song (960-1127 AD) and tour to the Iron Pagoda, built to keep the relics of Monk Sakyamuni. The pagoda is the tallest, largest and oldest pagoda in China. Visit the drum tower night market to explore the local culinary culture.
|Day 3|| Kaifeng - Jiaozuo
Visit the Xiangguo Monastery in the morning and learn the story about this great minister in history of China. His stories were told and retold in numerous drama and Chinese opera. Travel back time 1,000 years ago to the extraordinary Song Dynasty by a stop at the Ching Ming Park, a real size recreation of the famous Chinese painting depicting life of the Song Dynasty. The electronic animation version of the painting was also featured at the Shanghai Expo in 2010. Enjoy a leisure walk along the Imperial street before transfer to Jiaozuo.
|Day 4|| Jiaozuo - Zhengzhou
Transfer to Mount Yuntai for a day of hiking/walk. Mount Yuntai is famous for its peak, waterfalls, canyons and lake, landscape which are depicted in many of the Chinese paintings. Transfer to Zhengzhou in the afternoon.
|Day 5||Zhengzhou - Departure
Transfer to the airport to catch flight back or continue with your journey with a destination of your choice.
The tour can start from Xian, another ancient capital of the Middle Kingdom, or Zhengzhou, a major city in the middle part of China with direct flights from Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and many major cities in China. The tour starting with Zhengzhou will just reverse the itinerary and will finish in Xian, where you can continue your journey to other parts of China.
Longmen Grottoes (UNESCO World Heritage site)
The stone carvings started around year 316 and it took a few hundred years to complete. The Grottoes are devoted to Buddhist art. Many of them are commissioned by the emperors or the royalties and in addition to their religious purpose, the grottoes also recorded the social, political, economic and cultural conditions of the time. As the grottoes were crafted over a span of a few hundred years, you’ll see the change in style and the aspirations of the artists.
Shaolin Temple (UNESCO World Heritage site)
The Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of Chinese martial arts or kungfu. Martial arts is indeed a physical manifestation of their spiritual quest of the Buddhist monks. Over the course of long years of martial arts training, it can only be summarised as: endurance, persistence, and the pursuit for perfection. The hard, day-in, day-out training indeed not only strengthen the body, but the mind as well.
Zen Shaolin Music Show
The Zen Shaolin Evening Show is in Dengfeng near Shaolin Temple is another evening show not to be missed. The show interprets Zen Buddhism through different scenes. The epic-like show, with music, impressive staging effect, performance by martial arts monks and the outdoor stage will indeed offer a memorable evening. The show will temporarily be hold back during winter time because of the weather.
From Zhengzhou to…
There are numerous domestic air travel from Zhengzhou and Xian to other parts of China and Hong Kong. Xian is the starting point of the Silk Road and also a great historical city, where you can opt to make an extra night or more. You can also travel from Xian to Beijing, another ancient Chinese capital to complete your excursion to ancient capitals of China.