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Insider's China (6/24/13 - 7/4/13)

for the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

ICTFL Summer Language Teacher Tour
ICTFL Invites you to join us in CHINA!

This past summer, 2012, ICTFL traveled to Peru with Illinois Foreign Language teachers and their guests.  We spent time in Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.  ICTFL is thrilled to be able to offer these exotic opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another.  In 2013, our destination is CHINA!   See Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an with its terracotta warriors and participate in a service project in Changdu at the Giant Panda Reserve.   We'll visit schools and see how language is taught.  You can earn College Credit or CPDUs from ICTFL.  We hope you'll join us on our Chinese Adventure!  Our host tour company, ACIS, is offering you a great price.
Posted on 3/28/12 , Updated on 2/1/13


Tour Details:

Departure City: Chicago
Duration: 11 Days
Overnights: Beijing 3, Xi'an 2, Ya'an 1, Chengdu 1, Shanghai 2

Cultural Connections:

Taiji Exercises
Kung Fu Lesson
Shanghai Acrobatic Show

Field Trips & Extensions:

Yangshou by Bike
Taiji Exercises
Shanghai Acrobatic Show
Face to Face with Students in Yangshuo
Tea with a Local Family
Kung Fu Lesson

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn about the history and philosophy of Chinese martial arts.
  • Students will experience a traditional school day for a Chinese student and will be able to compare and contrast it with the school system in the United States.
  • Students will come to understand the impact of rapid industrial and financial growth on the native citizens, culture and lifestyle of Shanghai.


Jun 24, 2013 Overnight Flight
Depart from the USA.
Jun 25, 2013 Beijing
Arrive in Beijing, meet your guide and begin to explore this exciting, capital city. (D)
Jun 26, 2013 Beijing
Start your with an excursion to the Great Wall, the world’s largest manmade structure. After lunch you will you will visit a local school and have the opportunity to interact with the children. . Then view the Olympic site en route back to Beojong and then this evening experience local culinary history dating back over 300 years with a special Peking Duck dinner. (B,L,D)
Jun 27, 2013 Beijing
This morning explore vast Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City’s maze of buildings that were off-limits to the public for 500 years. Refuel with a traditional noodle lunch then discover one of China’s oldest martial arts during a Kung Fu lesson. (B,L,D)
Jun 28, 2013 Xi'an
Start your day like a local, accompanied by your guide, with the popular Taiji exercises before visiting the majestic Temple of Heaven. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Xi’an. (B,L,D)
Jun 29, 2013 Xi'an
Today unearth part of China’s history with a visit to the life-size Terra Cotta Warriors, burial guardians of China’s First Emperor. View the Bronze Chariot and see a Circle Vision movie. This afternoon you’ll improve the environment and give back through participation in the community eco-program, planting trees around the local neighborhood. (B,L,D)
Jun 30, 2013 Ya'an
Board a plane for your morning flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival, transfer through scenic countryside to Bifengxia Valley, nestled in the green mountains of western Sichuan. Arrive at the Bifengxia Valley Giant Panda Research Base and begin your service project. During a volunteer orientation, learn about the pandas and how to care for them from staff who have dedicated their lives to the conservation of this unique endangered species. Arrive at your hotel in Ya'an for the evening. (B,L,D)
Jul 1, 2013 Chengdu
This morning will be spent engaged in a service projects at the Giant Panda Research Base. Activities vary based on what is needed, but may include cleaning the habitats, assisting with the garden, preparing food, feeding the pandas or assisting the Research Base scientists with data collection. Tonight you will overnight in Chengdu. (B,L,D)
Jul 2, 2013 Shanghai
This morning fly to Shanghai. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit a local community center where you wil spend time with the locals. Tonight’s dinner is followed by the famous Shanghai Acrobatic Show.
Jul 3, 2013 Shanghai
Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Shanghai, visiting the business district called the Bund, Yu Yuan Garden, the only fully restored classical Chinese garden in Shanghai, and the Jade Buddha Temple. At a silk workshop you will observe the process for making this luxurious textile. Perhaps shop for last minute souvenirs, and enjoy your final dinner in China this evening. (B,L,D)
Jul 4, 2013 Departure
Depart for the USA.(B)
view more

Tour Cost:

Cost Per Traveler: $18,341
Cost breakdown
Registration Fee: $95
Program Fee: $17,975
Final Departure Fees: $56
Visa fee: $215
Total Group Fees 1:
1 Valid through with deposit of $195

Additional Fees (as applicable)
Single Room Supplement: $720
Ultimate Protection Plan: $330
Comprehensive Protection Plan: $275

Full Payment Deadline: 2/15/13

What to See


3.3 Shopping Center, 33 Sanlitun Beijie, Cháoyáng
Browse contemporary boutiques for accessories and other small tokens to remind you of your trip. Catered to a younger crowd, you can find this shopping center in the midst of Sanlitun.

Beijing Silk Store, 50 Dazhalan Jie, Chóngwén
Wrap yourself in the world's finest silk. This Beijing staple has been supplying silk since 1840. Try on and purchase beautiful designs or buy by the meter to construct your own.

Beijing Arts & Crafts Central Store, 200 Wangfujing Dajie, Chóngwén
Also known as 'The Artistic Mansion,' this is a shopping lovers dream. Find jewelry, paintings, glass, calligraphy, fans, and more. If you're searching for jewelry, Beijing is known for its high quality jade, and all should come with certificates of authenticity.


Amy Lin's Pearls & Jewelry, 580 West Nanjing Rd
Enter this friendly, English-speaking store to find the best pearls the city has to offer. Their inventory includes freshwater pearls and treasured black Zhejiang pearls. You can also visit the other floors in this building to find some Western-inspired designer knockoffs. 

Blue Shanghai White, 17 Fuzhou Rd, The Bund
A small boutique for hand-painted porcelain goods like tea cups and vases. There's also dazzling wooden furniture.

Duoyunxuan Art Shop, 422 East Nanjing Rd
For the artist in you, shop here for extraordinary art supplies and calligraphy tools. The other floors of this building house shops that sell art books and antiques, and they even have a calligraphy gallery to inspire your next work of art.

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National Art Museum of China, 1 Wusi Street
Once a building for Peking University, this art museum open to the public in 1959, but has recently been refurbished.  There are constantly changing exhibits of both traditional and modern Chinese art, with a lot of examples of contemporary artists.

National Museum of China, 16 E Chang'an Street
Just east of Tiananmen Square is this new museum, ready for the 2008 Olympics.  The building combines the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of History.  There are multimedia exhibits like movie clips, memorabilia and a wax figure display.


Jade Buddha Temple, 170 Anyuan Lu
This temple is the most famous in all of Shanghai for it serves host to beautiful jade statues of Buddha which were brought to China from Myanma in 1882.  The temple itself was built in the traditional Song Dynasty style.  The temple was saved during the Cultural Revolution of China when monks plastered paintings of chairman Mao on the doors.  Today, more than 70 monks live here.

Longhua Temple & Pagoda, 2853 Longhua Lu
The Longhua Temple and Pagoda are some of the oldest temples in Shanghai, built in 241 AD.  The pagoda has dramatically curved eaves and stands seven stores high.  From the top you have wonderful views of the city and surrounding countryside.

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The Forbidden City
Acting at the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty until the Qing Dynasty, The Forbidden City is located in the middle of Beijing.  It has remained relatively untouched, as the modern city grows around it.  It is suggested that you arrive early, when the gates open at 8:30 am, so you can enjoy walking around the vast courtyards without it becoming too crowded.

Tiananmen Square
The largest square in the world should be one of your spots while touring Beijing.  It is definitely a spot where you'll find yourself lingering, seeing all the of the visitors experiencing the same sights.  There is a flag raising and lowering ceremony at dawn and dusk that is definitely worth seeing.

Temple of Heaven
Known as one of the greenest places in Beijing, the Temple of Heaven is surround by a vast public park where local residents like to practice tai chi.  The woods surrounding the ancient temple are very peaceful, and a great place to find solitude.  The temple was whee the emperor would pray ever year for a good harvest and fair weather.

Summer Palace
Another incredible palace constructed by the Qing emperors, it is relatively easy to visit via Tiananmen Square or the Temple of Heaven.  There ae extensive gardens and ruins to explore, and especially along the back hill area you should find secret ruins and caves, separate from the main tourist bustle of the front hill.


Century Park, 1001 Jinxiu Road, Century Ave
The largest park in Shanghai begins at the end of Century Ave.  There is a large central lake with boat rides, as well as bicycle rentals for the paved pathways.  There is also a nice area for flying kites which the locals tend to do often.

Huangpu River Cruise, 219-239 Zhongshan North 2 Road
There are many operators offering cruises of the river, and the prices vary.  It all depends on how long you want the tour to be.  There are nice views of the Bund neighborhood and other riverfront activity.  The most popular is the quick 30 minute cruise which departs hourly.

Shanghai Botanical Gardens, 997 Longwu Road
A great place to escape the concrete and steel of the city, the Botanical Gardens gives you the chance to get up close and personal with tropical flora.  On the northern side of the gardens, you'll find a memorial temple built in 1728 dedicated to Huang Daopo, the father of Shanghai's cotton industry.

Old Shanghai City
This area of the city contains some of the oldest historical buildings and twisting alleyways. The city is doing major renovations, and locals say that many of the historic buildings are going to be torn down, so now is the time to visit.  Take the metro to Huangpi Lu.
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Fu Jia Lou, 23 Dong Si Shi Tiao
Located in the Dongcheng district, this place is a cheap and pleasant Chinese diner.  The menu is written on pieces of wood and hung from the rafters.  A great stop for lunch or dinner, the is fresh and the service is fast.  Open daily.

Golden Cat Dumpling City, East Gate of Tuanjiehu Park
Dumplings, or jiaozi, are the favorite of the locals in Beijing.  This courtyard diner attract many locals as they have over 30 different fillings.  From the traditional pork, fish and beef to interesting flavors like pumpkin, dill and eggplant, there is definitely something that will suit your tastes.  Prices are cheap and its open daily.

Baihe Sushi, Bei San Huan Jimen Qiao
Located in the Xicheng West district, this vegetarian restuarant is popular amongst health food aficionados and even the occasional Buddhist monk.  The environment is clean and friendly and one can order from a large variety of tasty vegetable and soy dishes.  Open daily.


Bì Feng Táng, 1333 West Nanjing Road
This dim sum joint is decorated with wicker and bamboo and always seems to have an active vibe to it.  It's the busiest during the morning and also late at night, as locals come in for that last meal before heading home.  There is nice outdoor seating too.  The restaurant is part of a small chain, so a few more branches can be found throughout Shanghai.

Bund 12 Café, 12 Zhongshan East No 1 Road
While in the Bund and looking for some coffee, try this café located in the old HSBC building.  The white hall corridors haven't really changed since the 1930s, so the café has a charming terrace and casual atmosphere.

Marco Polo, 632 East Huaihai Road
There are a few branches over Shanghai, but if you're in the French Concession, head over to this bakery for some fresh bread, cake, and pastry snacks.

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What's Included

  • Taiji Exercises
  • Temple of Heaven
  • Great Wall
  • Kung Fu Lesson
  • Terra Cotta Warriors
  • Panda Reserve
  • Shanghai Acrobatic Show
  • Jade Buddha Temple
  • Silk Workshop
  • Visit local schools iin Beijing and Shanghai

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