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Study Tours - 2018 China Expedition

(Beijing, Macau & Hong Kong) 

Historic / Education / Humanities / Geography / Geology / Plane, Train and Automobile Adventure

See the film at the bottom of the page.



Beijing formerly known as Peking is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighbouring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.

Beijing is an important capital and global power city, and one of the world's leading centres for politics, economy and business, finance, education, culture, innovation and technology, architecture, language, and diplomacy. A mega city, Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural, and educational centre. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies and houses the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world. It is also a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport has been the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic since 2010, and, as of 2016, the city's subway network is the busiest and second longest in the world.


The Forbidden City

This is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty, it now houses the Palace Museum. It runs 823 yards (753 meters) from east to west, and extends 1,051 yards (961 meters) from north to south. It’s a lot of walking.


Lao She former residence

He was the pen name of Shu Qingchun (1899-1966), the most famous Chinese author of the 20th century. He was a native of Beijing, and much of his writing deals with his home city, and the traditional life of ordinary people there. His play TEAHOUSE is the best known and best loved 20th century Chinese drama. It is set entirely in a Beijing tea house and has a cast of 72 actors. It shows the changing social patterns and situations over time in that same tea house, and we see how the tea house itself changes over the decades (each act of the play is set at a different time). The tea house thus becomes a microcosm of China as a whole, and its history is in a sense China’s history. Beijing tea houses were just as crucial to traditional Beijing as coffee houses were in traditional Vienna, or as cafes were and still are in Paris. However, the Beijing tea houses were not merely places for literary people and artists to congregate, as was so often the case in the West, but they were instead the centres of social life of all the ordinary people. They were in a very real sense the scene of ‘everything that was happening’ and the centres of all social gossip. It is because Beijing tea houses genuinely were ‘stages’ where the play of real life took place, that Lao She’s drama is so meaningful and convincing. Lao She deeply loved Beijing and its people, and his portraits of them in his novels and short stories are unforgettable, and usually deeply tragic.


Wangfujing Street

No Beijing tour is complete without visiting “Wangfujing” literally means “prince residence well”. There used to live 10 princes in these area in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), hence the street name “Wangfu Street”. Later in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), a sweet water well was dug here, then the street was renamed “Wangfujing”, which has been kept till today. Wangfujing Street is 1600 meters in length, running from south to north street. Now the part of it has been transformed into a pedestrian street since 1999. Its south starting point between Oriental Plaza and Beijing Hotel, and ends at National Art Museum of China in the north. Its 810-meter pedestrian section starts from south and finishes at the crossroad. East of the crossroad is Jinyu Hutong and west Donganmen Street (where the Donganmen Night Food Market is located).


Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is a city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen ("Gate of Heavenly Peace") located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in the square on October 1, 1949; the anniversary of this event is still observed there. Tiananmen Square is within the top ten largest city squares in the world (440,500 m2 – 880×500 m or 109 acres – 960×550 yd). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.


Great Wall of China

Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70 km northeast of central Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east.

Mutianyu Great Wall is one of most famous China Great Wall sections. It attracts numerous tourists every year. Except for climbing Mutianyu by foot, tourists can also take cable car to board the wall to save more energy. And then get down by cable car, toboggan or slide rail.

Cableway in Mutianyu has a total length of 723 meters. And the upper station of it has elevation above sea level of 640 meters. Running speed of cable car is at 3.5 meter/second. Cableway can run up to 58 cars and each car can take six passengers. So it can transfer about 1,800 passengers per hour for one way. System of cable Car is fully automated. It is a comfortable, fast, safe and efficient way to tour in Mutianyu Great Wall. 

There is a toboggan or slide rail with a total length of 1580 meters in Mutianyu Great Wall. It is another way to get down from the top of Mutianyu Great Wall. A top speed of it can reach 30 km/h. it would be a more interesting experience for tourists for tourists to get down the great wall by this way. But the elder or disable is not suggested to take slide rail.


Peking Man

Homo erectus Pekinensis (formerly known by the junior synonym Sinanthropus Pekinensis), is an example of Homo erectus. Discovered in 1923–27 during excavations at Zhoukoudian (Chou K'ou-tien) near Beijing (written "Peking" before the adoption of the Pinyin romanization system), China, in 2009 this group of fossil specimens dated from roughly 750,000 years ago, and a new 26Al/10Be dating suggests they are in the range of 680,000–780,000 years old.


The Marco Polo Bridge or Lugou Bridge                            

This a stone bridge located 15 km southwest of Beijing city centre in the Fengtai District. It bridges the Yongding River, a major tributary of Hai River. Construction of the original bridge on this site commenced in 1189, the final year of Emperor Shizong of Jin's reign and was completed under his successor in 1192. Following damage from the flooding Yongding, the bridge was reconstructed under the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1698. The Marco Polo Bridge is well-known because it was highly praised by the Venetian traveller Marco Polo during his visit to China in the 13th century (leading the bridge to become known in Europe simply as the Marco Polo Bridge), and for the 20th century Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which marked the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). 1937.7.7


Wanping Castle

Wanpinghsien is the only intact town complete with gates, fortress and walls that is fully functioning and occupied by local residents.  Wanping Fortress, also known as Wanping Castle, is a Ming Dynasty fortress or "walled city" in Beijing. It was erected in 1638–1640, with the purpose of defending Beijing against Li Zicheng and the peasant uprising. The fortress has two gates: the east gate, named Ever Prosperous Gate (永昌门, Yongchangmen), then renamed as Majestic Gate (威严门), and the west gate, named Favourably Govern Gate (顺治门, Shunzhimen). In Chinese, the fortress is sometimes called Wanping City, and from the beginning, it functioned as a military fortress. From west to east, it measures 640 metres (2,100 ft), and from south to the north 320 metres (1,050 ft), making it a half-square shape.


The Temple of Heaven

An imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the south-eastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, predates Taoism.



Also known as the Dragon’s Rejoice Ravine, the Longqingxia Ravine can be found on the Gucheng River, just under 100 kilometres northwest of Beijing. This area of natural beauty is a huge draw for visitors on day trips out of the city, with many renting boats to get up close to the ravine and marvel at its lush vegetation. An iconic natural landmark of the Longqingxia Ravine is the Jiguanshan, or Rooster Crown Mountain – so called because it resembles a rooster lying down. This is a solitary peak surrounded by water on three sides. Practical Info - While it’s possible to reach the Longqingxia Ravine by public bus from Beijing, the easiest way to get there is by hiring a car or going as part of an organized day trip.



Yanqing UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the northwestern part of Beijing, at a transitional zone between North China plain and Inner Mongolian plateau. It is one of the famous naming places of Yanshanian movement, liking a shining pearl embedded on the south slope of magnificent Yanshan Mountains.

Yanqing UNESCO Global Geopark joined the Global Geoparks Network in 2013. Covering an area of 620.38 km2, it comprises of four scenic areas, the western Guyaju and Longqingxia Scenic Areas, the eastern Qianjiadian Scenic Area and the southern Badaling Scenic Area.  The Geopark takes the Precambrian marine carbonates as its material basis and dominated by the Mesozoic Yanshanian movement-related geo heritage. So it is a comprehensive geopark by integrating the tectonic, sedimentary, paleontological, magmatic geo heritage and North-China-type karst landform into a whole.


Chengde Mountain Resort
Built between 1703 and 1792 during the Qing dynasty, the Mountain Resort took 89 years to complete. It covers a total area of 5.6 square kilometres (2.2 sq. mi), almost half of Chengde's urban area. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. The Kangxi, Qianlong and Jiaqing emperors often spent several months a year here to escape the summer heat in the capital city of Beijing and the palace zone in the southern part of the resort was therefore designed to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. It consists of two parts: a court in front, where the emperor received high officials, nobles of various minority nationalities, and foreign envoys; and bed chambers in the rear, which were the imperial family's living quarters, notably the Yanbozhishuang Hall, where Emperor Kangxi spent a total of 12 summers while Qianlong spent 52 summers in the hall during the course of their reign. The Jiaqing and Xianfeng emperors both died while staying at Chengde in 1820 and 1861 respectively.


Putuo Zongcheng Temple
The Putuo Zongcheng Temple of Chengde, Hebei province, China is a Qing dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built between 1767 and 1771, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796). It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, which is south of the Putuo Zongcheng. Along with the equally famed Puning Temple, it is one of the Eight Outer Temples of Chengde. The temple was modelled after the Potala Palace of Tibet, the residence of the Dalai Lama built a century earlier.  Since it was modelled after the Potala palace, the temple represents a fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square metres (2,400,000 sq. ft), making it one of the largest in China. Many of its halls and pavilions are adorned with copper and gold tiled roofs, adding to the splendour of the site.


Sledgehammer Peak 

The Sledge Hammer Peak is an impressive rock formation located outside Chengde. It is a nice example of a Danxia landform. Around Chengde City there is a kind of peculiar landform. That is formed through long time geological process, which features red rocks. This landform in Chengde is rare in the north of China. Compared with rosy Clouds Hill (Danxia Hill) in the north of Guangdong Province, it seems to be not only more peculiar and handsome, but more vigorous and grander. Its main natural landscape includes Bang Chui Shan (The Sledge Hammer Peak), Hama Shi (Frog Crag) and so on.

The Danxia landform, named after the Danxia Hill, is a kind of landform established and developed in China, which is widely accepted and applied by scholars both in China and in abroad. The red beds, which are the origin of the Danxia landform, are widely distributed, which are found in all continents except for the Antarctica. Therefore, the Danxia landform is important rock landform and natural geographic features of the earth. There are known sites with well-developed Danxia landform in many countries, such as America's Arches National Park, Bruce Canyon, Venezuela Canaima National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia, Panulu National Park, England Brecon Beacons National Park, United Kingdom Gough Island, Greek Olympus, Bamiyang region in Afghan, Sri Lanka Ancient City of Sigiriya, Egypt Abu Simbel, Mandingo Altiplano in Mali, Duo Gong Altiplano and etc.

The reddish sandstone, forming the Danxia landform, has been eroded over time into a series of mountains surrounded by curvaceous cliffs and many unusual rock formations. The Bang Chui Shan (The Sledge Hammer Peak) is a fine example for these rock formations:

It is located in the hillock of the National Forest Park in the east of the city, also named Hammer Rock (for it is wide on the top and narrow below, like a hammer). The upper diameter is 15 meters and the lower diameter is 10 meters, and its 38.29 meters high. Together with the foundation it is 60 meters high. There is a white mulberry tree in the middle of mountain.


Beijing to Hong Kong by train

Crossing almost two-thirds of the entire country, this China train journey is one of the best ways to get to grips with the nation's majesty, landscapes, culture and sights. While it would be quicker to fly, the train allows you to whiz through numerous provinces on a single ticket, including Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong. The journey starts and finishes with plenty of urban sprawl but there are some scenic highlights to watch out for, particularly when the train passes over the Yangtze River in places like Wuxue (Hubei) and Jiujiang (Jiangxi) just to the south. In Jiujiang a seven-kilometre bridge spans the river -- there are actually 790 bridges and 160 tunnels over the entire route. Jiangxi as a whole is a particularly beautiful region -- from the train you will see wooded hills and highlands of the region, particularly around Lushan (庐山). Soft Sleeper - In China, K, T, Z, L and some overnight D trains have soft sleeper class. Soft Sleeper, as the name suggests, is softer than hard sleeper. ... Soft sleeper China train carriage has a luggage closet above the door in each compartment. Distance: 2,475 kilometres  Time: 23 hours 36 minutes


Hong Kong

Hong Kong officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a specially administered territory on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million Hongkongers are of various nationalities in a territory of 1,104 square kilometres (426 sq. mi), Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region in the world. Hong Kong was formerly a colony of the British Empire, after Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The entire territory was returned to China when this lease expired in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that in mainland China.



Macau officially the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia. Along with Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and several other major cities in Guangdong, the territory forms a core part of the Pearl River Delta metropolitan region, the most populated area in the world. With a population of 650,900 in an area of 30.5 km2 (11.8 sq. mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.

Macau was formerly a colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Originally governing under Chinese authority and sovereignty, Portugal was given perpetual occupation rights for Macau in 1887. Macau remained under Portuguese control until 1999, when it was returned to China. As a special administrative region, Macau maintains a separate political and economic system apart from mainland China.


Visit local school - Pui Ching Middle School Macau

Pui Ching Middle School, Macau is a private preschool through primary school in São Lázaro, Macau. The school, financially supported by the Baptist church, once used the Hong Kong curriculum but now follow the local curriculum of Macau. It was established as a sister school of Guangzhou Pui Ching Middle School and Hong Kong Pui Ching Middle School. During the WWII, when Japan invaded China, all the teachers and students in Guangzhou Pui Ching had to move to Macau in order to flee from the war in 1938. Since then, the Macau school started. Kathryn H. Clayton, author of Sovereignty at the Edge: Macau & the Question of Chineseness, wrote that Pui Ching Macau "had a reputation as one of the most prestigious, most competitive, and most expensive schools in Macau.


University of Macau

The University of Macau is a public research university in Macau and the leading tertiary institution in the city. After more than thirty years of growth, the university expanded to the Hengqin campus in 2014. The University of Macau is moving towards to its goal of becoming a world class institution of higher learning, and it raised the ranking from the first QS World University Rankings ranking #701 in 2014 after moved into new campus to #501 in only 2 years. UM is now #443 in QS 2019. It is the only university in Macau which has an international world university ranking.

The University of Macau was established in 1981 as a private university the University of East Asia. After moved to the new campus in 2014, UM starts to change into research university very clearly, and begins Liberal arts education by launching a new ‘4-in-1’ model, it is the first research university in Macau. According to the record of ISI Web of Science(WOS), in 2016 UM published 1,200 high-quality papers, compared to 127 in 2008, and UM has ranked among the top ten universities that had presented the most papers at the 61st International Solid-State Circuits Conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Chinese central government established three state key laboratories, namely "State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI", "State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City" and the "State Key Laboratory for Quality Research in Chinese Medicine" in University of Macau in 2010.


The Macao Giant Panda Pavilion

The Pavilion is a zoo in Seac Pai Van Park, Coloane, Macau, China. It is located at the Macao Zoo. The Panda Pavilion is a nature park containing multiple animal species ranging from gorillas, flamingos, monkeys, and of course the famous pandas. Admission is free to see the animals. The Seac Pai Van Park is a park in Coloane, Macau, China. It is the largest natural green area in Macau and is governed by the Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau.

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