Culture Experience

In 2016, GCV well select some optional programs at customers’ choice to enrich their cultural experience during the tour.

Beijing Hutongs:

Hutongs in Beijing are alleyways lined with local traditional residence with courtyard - Siheyuan. Hutong is a Mongolian term which means “water well”, generally formed in Yuan Dynasty in 13th century and developed to its heyday in the following Qing Dynasty. Mongolians think highly of water and they liked to built water wells in their communities so that residents could easily fetch water for daily use.
The traditional compound formed by Hutongs and Siheyuan is one of the most characteristic aspects of Beijing culture. The alleyways have distinctive structure and layout, like a chessboard. Every compound sits very close to another, which facilitates local residents to well acquaint with their neighbors. That's why people could very easily feel the deep connections among residents there. That’s quite rare in this modern world.

Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has declined hugely due to modernization. But more recently, people are more and more aware of the meaning of protecting this historical and cultural wealth to them.
Take a rickshaw ride along Hutongs, you would feel the aura that belongs to old Beijing only. It seems that time has left these places alone. Residents inherit a laid-back lifestyle from generation to generation. You could also visit a local family. See Beijinger’s daily life and find funs of making Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) with the family. Have family meal. Do what Beijingers do when you are in Beijing.

Hot Pot Dinner:

In China, especially in its northern part, hot pot meal is very much popular. Beijing has a large number of hot pot restaurants, fair-priced as well as high-end.
Quite like Fondue cooking, hot pot diners select cooking materials such as meat, seafood, vegetables , noodles, etc. Then they place the material into usually a copper pot filled with boiling broth (spicy, half spicy or not spicy at choice). When the food is cooked, diners may dip it in sauces and then enjoy. Most restaurants offer various sauces like sesame sauce, grinded chilly pepper, garlic sauce, oyster sauce,sweet sauce, etc. Broth plays a defining role in the hotpot taste. Almost every famous hotpot restaurant has their own secret recipe for the broth. Meat used in hotpot are mostly sliced mutton and beef in tube shape. Vegetables at choice are usually Chinese cabbage, frozen bean curd, potato, lettuce, spinage, mushroom, etc.
Hotpot is especially popular to group diners as they like the collective cooking and eating experience.

Chinese Kung Fu

Most foreigners came to know Chinese Kung Fu because of the late famous movie star Bruce Lee. The term Kung Fu was edited into English dictionary in honor of him decades ago. But such martial arts has existed for thousands of years in China. According to legend, martial arts originated some 4000 years ago which was the earliest fighting systems at the time. During the long history, KungFu has developed into a number of classifications.
Main traits of Kung Fu include both physical and psychological training. People practicing Kungfu are in search of more than just physical training, like muscle and cardiovascular fitness, but also looking for inner peace and strength. The ultimate purpose of Kung Fu practicing is the harmonious state of balance between yin and yang. That's the main spirit of KungFu philosophy.

For non-practicers, Kung Fu also has gained tremendous affection in China. It plays an unparalleled role in Chinese popular culture. Chinese people like to advocate Kung Fu in their books, TV shows, movies, theater performances, stage shows, music, etc.
Thanks to the modern montage technologies, the popularity Kung Fu has its global appeal now. Some foreigners even made the long way to China to systematically learn and practice Kung Fu. Most foreign tourists don't want to miss a Kung Fu performance when they visit China.

Chinese Acrobatics:

It is believed that Chinese acrobatics developed out of labor and self-defense skills from Neolithic times. Since then, acrobatics has been one of the favorite recreational ways by both royal members and average people. In China's imperial dynasties, acrobatics was part of royal court performances, and there were also street acrobatic
performances for civilians. Things do not change much to this day. Nowadays, some acrobatic shows are performed in posh theatres while people could also run into street acrobatic performances in rural areas of China.
Audience would find the main features of Chinese acrobatics are superb physical feats challenging human body limits. Keep balance and precise control of movement in breathtaking activities like swinging, tumbling, somersaulting, leaping, hopping, cycling, wheeling, etc. Many Chinese acrobats come from impoverished rural regions. For a living, some of them started to learn acrobatics when they were very little kids. Through strenuous exercise and practice, some of them even have been awarded in international acrobatic competitions. It is these unyielding acrobats who gain for China the honor of the country with the 'World's Best Acrobatic Performances'.
Viewers can always enjoy acrobatics performances, no matter where they come from, what language they speak, what age they are, whether they are well educated or not. That's one of the reasons why it still enjoys so much popularity after thousands of years.

Peking Roast Duck:

Peking Roast Duck could without question be listed as one of the top 3 Beijing dishes. It is famous for thin crispy skin and tender meat and the way how it is served. Cook would perform the slicing of a cooked roast duck in front of the customers. Restaurants also offer diners with things like steamed pancakes, scallion, cucumber, and sugar or garlic sauce. Diners could use pancake to wrap the meat with vegetables and sauces.
Every step in the preparation of this dish contributes to its high popularity. For example, ducks used for this dish have to be white-feathered Peking duck bred in free range environment for around 65 days. After being slaughtered and rinsed, the duck will be glazed with a layer of maltose syrup and then be roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven. Oven is heated by burning hardwood from peach or pear trees. Traditions are well-preserved during its history of hundreds of years and some improvements are also continually made. It is quite mouthwatering to both Chinese people and foreign visitors, highly recommended to try when you are in Beijing.

Summer Palace:

It is the largest royal park in China. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, including 70,000 square meters of building space. Three-quarters of the complex is water. Originally built in 12th century, the garden reached its heyday in Qing Dynasty of 18th century and was mostly destroyed by fire when Anglo-French Allied Force intruded Beijing. But soon after that, Empress Dowager Cixi ordered the re-construction by embezzling the navy funds. That’s also the time when its was changed into original name Qingyi Garden into its current name Summer Palace. In imperial days, royal families used to stay for short times in this palace, especially in summer times. The whole complex is regarded as “Museum of Royal Gardens” for its highly harmonious co-exist of natural views and artificial constructions. It takes Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake into its expanse, dotted with elaborately man-made sites like palaces, halls, pavilions, temples and bridges. It was among the first group of historical and cultural heritage sites in China to be placed under special state protection. It was enlisted by UNESCO on World Heritage List, honored it as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value”.

Xian Dumpling Banquet:

According to folk tale, Chinese dumpling was firstly made some more than 2000 years ago by a doctor Zhang Zhongjing. He saw people in his home town suffered from typhoid, hunger and frostbitten wounds in bitter cold weather. He thought out some prescription which was a mixture of mutton, cayenne and a special medicine. He wrapped the mixture with pieces of dough into the shape of ear. People felt better after they ate these ear-shaped dough by New Year's Eve. Since then, dumpling has become one of the favorite foods to Chinese people. Many places have the tradition of eating Jiaozi on the New Year Eve and the first day of a new year.

China has an territory area of 9.6 million square km. On this vast territory, it is inevitable that distinctive differences in cuisine have evolved over the course of thousands of years. For example, in southern and eastern parts of China, people like cooked rice as staple food, while in northern and western parts, people like those made of wheat or corn powder. Xian is located in western part, so people there love food like noodles and dumplings. With several thousand years of creative and accumulative efforts, Xian people have developed a kind of banquet of dumplings, which has gained nationwide fame and impressed every visitors.
Xian dumpling banquet offers diners not only the pleasure for their taste buds, but also for their eyes. Diners are amazed at the various shapes and colors, elegant names and stories attached. It has become a refined work of art as well as a tasty morsel. You would be not really visiting Xian if you missed seeing Terracotta Warriors and Horses nor savoring a dumpling banquet. It would make the dumpling banquet more unforgettable if you watch the Tang Dynasty Singing & Dancing Show at the same time.

Xian Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show:

Tang Dynasty (918-907) is regarded by many historians as the most glorious chapter during the long history of China. It was the time when China became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. Tang Culture has deeply influenced the world, especially in Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Xian was once the capital of Tang Dynasty where talents and top-notch technologies of the time converged. Nowadays, Xian people are much proud of its heydays in the Tang Dynasty. They elaborately design singing and dancing show honoring those glorious days. Performers try their best to present to viewers the songs and dances that ever performed in royal court of Tang Dynasty. Music, dance, Tang-style costume, Tang poetry are pretty well orchestrated in the show.

Huangpu River Cruise:

Huangpu River has its unparalleled importance to Shanghai people, regarded as the mother river of Shanghai. It starts from Dianshan Lake and flow into Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It divides Shanghai into eastern and western parts. On the western bank, which is usually called Puxi area, sit time-honored sites, like The Bund, Nanjing Road and Huangpu Park, the oldest park of Shanghai.Puxi is also the main residential area of Shanghai while Pudong area, the eastern bank of Huangpu River, is the newly developed area and become the commercial hub of modern Shanghai. Skyscrapers like Oriental TV Tower and World Financial Centre stand in Pudong area. A cruise on the river is regarded as the best way to admire the most enchanting aspects of this largest city of China, especially when it turns dark and neon lights are turned on. It has become a must-do for many visitors to Shanghai. The cruise takes about 1 hour.

ERA Acrobatic Show in Shanghai Circus World:

ERA is a multi-million-dollar stunning acrobatic extravaganza, the first of its kind in China. It is a multimedia odyssey whose inspiration is a direct result of the combination of traditional Chinese acrobatic arts and modern technology. Just like Shanghai, ERA evolves through a constant collision between the past and the future.
ERA is a love story, yet it is also a contemplation across the millennia, a fascination with that other dimension man has yet to conquer: time. Not only will the audience be amazed by the acrobats’ control and precision, they will be enchanted by the world that is created through the use of multimedia, technology, lightning and sound effects, elaborate costumes, original live music and a lot more. As such, ERA can remain universal, without language or cultural barriers. A thousand-year-old gesture is worth a thousand emotions, a thousand images, a thousand words...

Zhujiajiao Water Town:

Zhujiajiao is the most widely-known water town in Shanghai. Located in Qingpu District, it is only around 1 hour driving from Shanghai city centre. The township formed some 1700 years ago. And archaeologists found here some relics could be dated back 5000 years ago. Rivers crisscross the town. 9 long streets and thousand of ancient buildings line along rivers. Zhujiajiao accumulated its fortune from clothing and rice business. Nowadays, you still have the chance to see rice shops and banks of the old time in the town. And even a post office of Qing dynasty is we ll-preserved till today and open to tourists. This town has 36 stone bridges in total and the most renowned one is Fangsheng Bridge (Setting-Free Bridge). In Ming and Qing Dynasty, local people came to the bridge on every 1st day of a year and set fishes free, emphasizing respects for life. This 5-arch bridge is the largest stone bridge in Shanghai and even East China. Pay a visit to this Venice of Shanghai and experience the poetic scene of "boats sailing on the water and people touring in painting". Main Attractions of Zhujiajiao: Fangsheng Bridge, Town's God Temple, Great North Street, Kezhi Garden, Ah Po's Tea House, Great Qing Post Office.