Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

aa logo

Travel to China

Highlights of CHINA: Progress and Its Price

November 2-18, 2008

20 years ago, when foreign visitors first began arriving in China in large numbers, a typical tourist itinerary would feature world-renowned locations like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terra-Cotta Army. It was a country both remote and exotic, with a long history but with little international presence. In the two decades since, China’s economy has grown at a stunning pace, and its impact can now be felt in everything from the price of oil to the cost of shoes and toys. If China’s development can affect a market as large and as distant as that in the U.S., what has it meant to the people at home?

To explore this question, the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association has organized “China: Progress and its Price,” a special trip which will, of course, include must-see places like the Forbidden City, but which will also bring participants to places seldom seen by tourists, such as the world’s largest light industrial export center and unimaginably large manufacturing zones. We will also have unique opportunities to talk to ordinary citizens about efforts to narrow social disparities, to preserve dying arts like Beijing opera, to protect a rapidly deteriorating environment, and to preserve heritage sites from redevelopment and commercialization.

We invite you to join us in experiencing first-hand what the shock of modernization means to an ancient culture.

Your adventure starts in Beijing where you will visit the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Later tour the Houhai district by pedicab for a view of traditional life, visit the Summer Palace and experience the Great Wall of China. You’ll fly to Xian to see the terra cotta warriors and other historic sites. We will then travel to Shanghai where you will tour the famous Shanghai Museum. Our trip will take us next to Hangzhou by way of the picturesque town of Wuxhen. In Hangzhou we will tour Huagang Park, visit the Buddhist Lingyin Temple and tour the National Silk Museum. We will then fly to Guangzhou and tour the Nan Yue Wang Tomb Museum, and the Family Chen’s Clan Temple. Our trip concludes in Shenzhen where we will visit industrial parks where China’s recent economic boom all started

Back to the top »

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 (11/2 Sun) - Depart USA

Day 2 (11/3 Mon) - Beijing
We arrive in Beijing in the early evening. Our tour director will meet us at the airport and transfer to hotel

  • Accommodations at the Grand Hotel located in the heart of Beijing next to the Forbidden City.

Day 3 -Beijing
Enjoy an optional early morning walk to Changpu Park to observe local Chinese practicing traditional health forms including Taiji and Qigong (note: this link leads to a great short documentary on Qigong).

After breakfast visit the new Capital Museum designed by a French architect on West Changan Avenue. The grand museum houses thirteen exhibition halls showcasing Chinese art and antiquities over the last two thousand years. Later, explore Beijing’s picturesque Houhai district where many old courtyard homes are preserved amid narrow hutong alleys bordering tree-lined lakes. Tour the district by “pedicab” for a more lively experience of traditional Chinese life.

Then we divide into smaller groups and enjoy lunch at local private homes.

In the afternoon visit the Summer Palace. Explore the beautiful grounds, cruise the lovely Kunming Lake, and stroll through the royal gardens. Also, walk the Painted Gallery, the longest covered walkway in China famous for its exquisite landscape paintings.

This evening, enjoy a special Peking Duck banquet.

Day 4 - Beijing

This morning, visit Tiananmen Square and then the Forbidden City, the abiding symbol of imperial China. Marvel at its expansive architecture, magnificent imperial gardens, and many museums of Chinese antiquities and treasures.

In the afternoon visit the Temple of Heaven, one of the finest cultural expressions of the Ming Dynasty. The Temple of Heaven represents the most advanced architecture of its day and served as the ritual center of the imperial government.

Dinner is on your own. After dinner, there will be a Peking Opera performance.

Day 5 - Beijing
After breakfast we have a discussion with an advocate for migrant workers who will inform us about the social disparities emerging in China today.

Then we drive to the famous Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, a rugged section of the Wall that is less crowded and with cable car available. Enjoy the astounding views of the Wall as it winds over the surrounding hills. Tonight, we enjoy a special banquet at the elegant Shanglinyuan Restaurant inside . Beihai Park.

Day 6 - Xian
This morning, fly to the ancient Tang Dynasty capital of Xian. Upon arrival we visit the Yangling Museum, located at the site of a Han imperial tomb, to view recent archaeological finds. Later, check in at our hotel. Dinner is on one’s own this evening.

Day 7 - Xian

This morning visit the extraordinary 2,300-year-old terracotta warriors, the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qinshihuang. The warriors still stand on the original site of the emperor’s burial complex, where they were discovered by peasants in 1974.

In the afternoon explore the the Provincial History Museum and its artifacts spanning many dynasties. We meet with the museum curator for an introduction to its extraordinary collection, and examine 1,300+ year old Tang dynasty tomb murals preserved in a special basement vault which is normally off limits to the general public.

After lunch we’ll have an opportunity to stroll the Muslim Quarter and visit its Grand Mosque. Chinese Muslim culture traces its heritage from the flourishing Silk Road culture of the Tang dynasty.

Our day concludes with a Dumpling Banquet, featuring 20 varieties of traditional Chinese dumplings.

Day 8 - Xian - Shanghai
In the morning we fly to Shanghai and transfer to the hotel. Our city tour includes a visit to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall where you can see how Shanghai expects to transform itself over the next two decades. Later in the day we will have a discussion with locals on the topic of the state of fine and performing arts in China and issues of artistic freedom. Dinner is on one’s own.

  • Accommodations at the brand new deluxe Royal Le Meridien Hotel in the heart of the city
Day 9 - Shanghai
We will spend the morning visiting Shanghai Museum and viewing its wonderful collection of Chinese bronzes, jade, pottery and ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, old coins, and furniture.

Lunch is on our own at Xin Tian Di, a development within a historic neighborhood near the French Concession now famous for its trendy restaurants, boutiques and galleries. The afternoon is free for shopping and museum-going. In the evening we enjoy a banquet at the Ruijin Branch of Xiao Nan Guo Restaurant (Heping Guandi)

Day 10 - Shanghai/Wuzhen/Hangzhou
This morning drive to Wuzhen, a marvelously preserved ancient water town crisscrossed with canals. Life here is slow and charming, and traditional crafts like the making of rice wine and cotton batik cloth are still done by hand. We enjoy lunch by the canal before continuing on to Hangzhou. Day 11 - Hangzhou
Hangzhou is the most idyllic ancient city in China, a successful merging of traditional and modern that exudes the cultural sophistication of southern China. A thousand years ago, it was the capital of the Southern Song dynasty, and has since remained a center of music, art, poetry and the literati lifestyle.

In the morning we tour Huagang Park, sauntering among its exotic trees, flowers, and fish ponds. Then we explore Guo Zhuang, an unusually well-preserved family manor featuring magnificent pavilions and gardens on the shore of the West Lake. Countless garden views open onto colorful lake scenery and surrounding hillsides, a thrilling experience for the garden lover. Then, visit the immense estate of the 19th century entrepreneur Hu Xueyan, which incorporates western elements into traditional Chinese architectural design.

After lunch, participate in a discussion with locals on the environmental challenges posed by China’s rapid development.

Later in the day visit the Buddhist Ling Yin Temple, one of the grand temples remaining in China today. We end the day with a sunset boat ride on the West Lake.

Day 12 - Hangzhou
In the morning we visit the National Silk Museum followed by the Tea Museum. Both museums showcase extensive collection and exhibits of silk and tea production tradition over 3000 years history. Hangzhou is the only city in China where all museums offer free admission, a wonderful example of providing free education for the citizens, particularly the children.

After lunch, we drive to Yiwu, one hour away. This is the world’s largest trading center for light industrial goods, with over a million square meters of exhibition space and exporting a thousand containers of goods daily – the sales window of China’s “workshop to the world.” We return to Hangzhou for dinner.

Day 13 - Hangzhou – Guangzhou
Take a morning flight to Guangzhou. Upon arrival, tour the Nan Yue Wang Tomb Museum, a Han Dynasty tomb accidentally discovered during groundbreaking for an office building. Later in the day engage locals in a discussion on the tensions between urban growth and the preservation of historic artifacts.

Day 14 - Guangzhou
Visit the Family Chen’s Clan Temple. Then drive for one hour to the city of Foshan for a tour of a factory which exports apparel (such as Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers shirts) all over the world. Lunch is at the factory, where we will also hear about corporate social responsibility programs. Before leaving Foshan, we stop by the Temple of Ancestors to see its amazingly well-preserved ceramic decorations which are several centuries old. We then return to Guangzhou for a dinner featuring special Cantonese cuisine.

Day 15 - Guangzhou - Shenzhen
After breakfast, drive to Shenzhen (about 2 hrs.). A small village of 2000 people two decades ago, Shenzhen became the pacesetter in China’s economic reforms. Visit the industrial parks where China's recent economic spurt all started. Discussion with locals on unionization and improving workers rights.
  • Accommodations at the deluxe Shangri-la Hotel.

Day 16 • Shenzhen
Optional tour of the Splendid China Miniature Park and Chinese Ethnic Cultural Park. Spend time on own shopping and exploring local markets. Tonight’s farewell banquet features fine southern cuisine.

Day 17 (11/18) • Shenzhen – Hong Kong – San Francisco
After breakfast we depart for the Hong Kong airport by bus (about 3 hours). Our flight arrives in San Francisco the same day. (B, meals aloft)


Trip Price

Tour quotation, per passenger, based upon double occupancy:

Full Tour without international air-----------------------$5,490

Tour Single Supplement:--------------------------------$1,690

Pre-Tour Yangzi River Extension-----------------------$1,890

Extension Single Supplement:------------------------------$890

Post-Tour Gullinr Extension---------------------------$1,990

Extension Single Supplement:------------------------------$890

International Air on United Airlines:
SFO/Beijing, Hong Kong/SFO approximately:

San Francisco---Coach Class $1,290-----Buisness Class $7,590

New York------Coach Class $1,390-------Buisness Class $8,990

Program Inclusions:
  • All domestic land and air transportation in China
  • All sight-seeing, cultural activities, and meals on tour (except 4 dinners)
  • Double occupancy accommodations on the Victoria cruise ship on the extension
  • Double occupancy accommodations in first class deluxe hotels throughout China
  • China Advocates’ tour director and local guides
  • Chinese airport taxes and gratuities to guides and drivers

Trip cancellation Insurance, lost baggage, or medical insurance; Visa processing fee

We require a deposit of $600 per person upon enrollment. The balance is due 75 days before departure.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellation of the program and tour by an individual or the group will incur the following penalty per person:


Back to the top »

June Mei

Leading our trip to China will be June Mei, Bryn Mawr Class of 1966. A native of New York, June Mei attended elementary and secondary schools in New York City and Hong Kong. She completed her undergraduate work at Bryn Mawr College, and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in History and East Asian Languages.

After teaching History and Asian American Studies at U.C.L.A. and working in the field of U.S.-China exchanges, she became an independent consultant and high-level interpreter. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, U.S. government agencies, major museums, foundations, universities and other non-profit organizations.

June has worked with several Presidents, Vice Presidents and Secretaries of State, as well as many other cabinet members, governors and mayors on diplomatic, policy and economic exchanges; in the area of business, she has arranged visits to China for CEO's of major corporations, is an instructor in executive education programs, and regularly briefs key executives on current developments; in arts and culture, she has dealt extensively with special exhibitions and archeological site visits, and was responsible for taking care of the Chinese team during its first post-1949 appearance at the Olympic Games (1984, Los Angeles). She is special consultant to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for projects in China, and also China consultant to the American Museum of Natural History.

June has interpreted for senior American and Chinese officials both at formal meetings and for interviews broadcast on all the national TV networks. In 1999, she was invited by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji to be his principal interpreter for American TV interviews and for his visits to New York and Boston -- the first time that any senior Chinese leader has asked someone other than an official Chinese government interpreter to do so. She has also been asked to serve as principal interpreter for the annual meeting of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council to the Mayor of Shanghai since the founding of the Council in 1990. To date, she has traveled to China over 100 times, and published a number of essays on various aspects of Chinese history and U.S.-China policy issues.

Back to the top »

Pre-Tour Extension
Yangzi River Cruise
October 29 - November 3, 2008

Highlights of China:

Progress and Its Price

Pre-Tour Itinerary

Beijing • Chongqing• Yangzi River• Beijing

Day 1 - (10/29) -- US/Beijing
Fly from US to Beijing. Arrive on the second day in early evening. Check in at Grand Hotel. .

Day 3 (10/31) -- Beijing-Chongqing
After breakfast, our extension begins with a flight to Chongqing, the great city in the interior of China. We’ll visit General Stilwell's Museum which presents the allied effort in China during WWII. Later, explore the lively art scene at the Chongqing Art Galleries. Dinner is at Yangzi Island Restaurant.

Following dinner we board the Yangzi cruise ship, Victoria.

Day 4-5 (11/1-11/2) -- Yangzi River Cruise
The main focus of the cruise is the extraordinary Three Gorges--the deep valleys and towering mountains carved by the Yangzi River.

Each day there are special excursions on shore, including a visit of the ancient village Shibaozhai and to the breathtaking Lesser Gorge Daninghe.

Tour the Three Gorges Dam construction site at Sandouping and sail through the new ship-locks.

Day 6 (11/3) -- Yichang-Beijing
Disembark the ship in Yichang after lunch. Fly to Beijing in the late afternoon and transit to Grand Hotel.

The evening is free and dinner is on your own. The main group arrives tonight.

Back to the top »

Guilin Extension
November 11 - November 22, 2008

Highlights of China

Progress and Its Price

Post Tour Itinerary

Shenzhen • Longsheng • Guilin/Li River • Yangshuo • Shanghai

Day 1 (11/18) • Shenzhen - Longsheng
Morning flight from Shenzhen to Guilin. Upon arrival, take an hour bus ride to Longsheng. Longsheng is famous for rice terraces cut into precipitous hills that farmers have cultivated since the Yuan dynasty (13th ADE). Spring is a particularly beautiful season as the paddies fill with water and reflect the changing panorama of the sky. A little later, skeins of luscious green rice plants create remarkable views throughout the valley. Longsheng is the home of Yao and Zhuang minorities who both continue to don colorful dress and carry on their traditions. We will explore the village market and delightful craft shops. Li An Lodge is a wonderful boutique inn with 16 rooms created by an American-Chinese artist. (It took eight years to build and has just opened for business.) The lodge is a work of art itself, using Vietnamese hardwoods and the owner’s art and crafts collection in every room. Situated above the rice terraces with a commanding view of the valley, Li An Lodge will provide a memorable experience of bucolic China. All three meals will be prepared by the chef of the lodge with the freshest produce he personally picked from the farmer’s market that morning.

Day 2 (11/19)• Longsheng - Guilin
We continue to explore the paths and life of Longsheng until early afternoon. Then, motorcoach to Guilin. Guilin is world famous for its spectacular karst limestone formations, vertical mountains thrust up from the seabed some 300 million years ago. Eroded over the millennia by water and winds, these picturesque mountains, immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with Chinese painting, have provided inspiration for countless Chinese artists. Dinner is at the Green Tea Restaurant. Day 3 (11/20)• Li River - Yangshuo
This morning, we cruise down the Li River, winding past Mural Hill, Folded Brocade Hill, Crescent Moon Hill, and many more. The four-hour cruise navigates some of the region’s most stunning karst formations. After disembarking, we check in our hotel. Then take a ride to Yongcun Village & Lexiang Village, a gorgeous agricultural valley and surrounded by distant karst scenery. Walk into the fields to enjoy another experience of rural China, this time in the middle of a visual paradise. In the evening explore lively Xijie (West Street) filled with restaurants, shops, and local inns. Xijie is the home away from home for numerous Westerners and so exudes a cosmopolitan air as well as an invitation for a rollicking good time. Day 4 (11/21)• Yangshuo-Shanghai
This day, continue our exploration of the natural beauty of Yangshuo, including a walk by the beautiful Yulong River,( this link is really fun use your mouse or arrows on your keyboard to view the beautiful panorama) tributary of Li River. Saunter along the riverbank of scenic villages, water buffalo, farmland, and playing children. In the evening, fly to Shanghai and transfer to our hotel.

Day 5 (11/22)• Shanghai-San Francisco or New York
At mid-day we leave for the airport. Our flight arrives in US the same day. Back to the top »