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China Tour with Rev Rob

The Ming, The Mao, The Wow!

These were the first words of an article I wrote after my first trip to China in 1984.

The archeology and renovation of ancient sites have advanced significantly since then. They are much better preserved, presented, and certainly more convenient to visit than 35 years ago. “Mao” has transformed into “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and it continues to evolve with each generation. But the “Wow” factor has changed the most. At no time in history has a country transformed faster than China.

My intention for this tour is to blow the dust off of history, unplug the propaganda of push/pull diplomacy and see with the eye of the heart – to not be blinded by the bling that is modern China.

  • Daily spiritual circles to keep us centered
  • Dinner discussions to help us understand what we are seeing and experiencing
  • Q&A from some of my former CSL-Shanghai students
  • Professional organization from a respected travel agency
  • Unique itinerary specifically designed by me based on the years I lived in Shandong Province and Shanghai

This tour is my handcrafted gift. Together in Love we will experience the newness, the exotic and perhaps even the incomprehensible. We will powerfully drop some preconceived notions of how our world works and open ourselves to new ways of thinking and being.

Looking forward to traveling with you in the Spring!

Rev. Robert Applegate

This photo of me was taken in Shanghai last April – the inspiration for the tour! During the Cultural Revolution the masses were told to plant vegetables not flowers, parks were turned into military training sites, temples were shuttered or demolished. Times have changed, or have they? And if so, how? Come find out for yourself!

Flight Suggestions

To Shanghai: American Airlines Flight AA183 from LAX at 11:40am on April 9th

From Beijing: American Airlines Flight 180 to LAX at 5:20pm on April 20th

Other airlines and flights are possible as long as everyone arrives by the evening of April 10th

Our Itinerary

Arrival in Shanghai (April 10)

We suggest you leave Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight AA183, leaving LAX at 11:40am on Thursday, April 9th and arriving in Shanghai at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) at 4:25pm on Friday, April 10th. (Other airlines are possible as long as everyone arrives by the evening of April 10th).

Upon arrival you will transfer to a 4-star hotel in central Shanghai followed by a self-paid dinner near the hotel. We will have a short overview of our trip and share personal intentions.

Day 1 (April 11): Getting Acclimated in Shanghai

Breakfast buffet at the hotel followed by morning meditation and additional orientation to the group and our trip.

For our first day in Shanghai we will have a flexible schedule that we will curate based on how people want to spend their first day after flying over the Pacific. We might do any of the following adventures: Nanjing Road Walking/Shopping Street, Healing Arts Festival (sponsored by CSL-Shanghai!), Former French Concession, Jade Buddha Temple, Tianzifang Arts Complex, or simply walk around downtown and take a relaxing nap. An English tour guide is available for people who want to explore as a group. Lunch is not included but we will have a welcoming banquet dinner together.

Day 2 (April 12): Seeing More of the Shanghai Sites

This is the first full official day of the tour and after breakfast at the hotel we will scope out the panoramic views from the top of the Pearl Observation Tower. In the same area will be a museum of the history of Shanghai and we will get a better idea of the past, present and future of this dynamic metropolis.

After lunching on famous Shanghai cuisine in the old city we will visit the Yu Gardens and one of the oldest temples in the city, Chenghuang Temple.

After dinner we will take a night tour along the historic waterfront, “the BUND” and see the city lights along the river.

Shanghai Sites

Yu Gardens

Shanghai Skyline

Former French Concession

the Bund

Shanghai Sites

Fu Xing Park

Tai Chi in Shanghai Park

Former French Concession

Former French Concession

Day 3 (April 13): Travel to Hanghzhou

After breakfast at the hotel we will take the 10:00am train to Hanghzhou. This is a short 45 minute ride on a maglev or bullet train that travels up to 250 miles/hour. Afterlunch we will take in the XiXI Wetlands and tour the historic HeFang Street area where we will also eat our dinner.

XiXi Wetlands

Traditional Tea Garden

West Lake in Hanghzhou

Day 4 (April 14)

After breakfast at the hotel we will go to the 1,700 year old Lingyin Temple, hidden in the surrounding mountains. Hangzhou is one of the most famous tea capitals in China so we will be tasting different teas all day! After lunch we will go to Leifeng Xizhao Scenic Area to take in the beauty and history of West Lake — one of China’s most famous landmarks in ancient literature. After dinner we will attend an amazing cultural performance created by the Academy Award winner Zhang Yi Mou for the G20 conference in 2016.

Day 5 (April 15): Travel to Shandong Province

After breakfast at the hotel we will board a high speed train at 8:30am and arrive in Shandong Province at 12:30pm. We will take a cable car to the top of TaiShan (over 5,000ft), one of the five sacred mountains in China. This site is full of religious, cultural and historic beauty. We will spend the night at Taian City.

Rural Village in Shandong Province

Traditional Painting of TaiShan

Qu Fu Temple


Day 6 (April 16): Destination QuFu

After breakfast we will take a bus to QuFu, Confucius’s hometown, where we will spend the day experiencing the preserved tourist area associated with Confucian feudal culture – one of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites as well as one of the top four historical sites in China. We will also visit a temple built to promote his philosopy and his tomb. We will have dinner near our hotel in Qufu.

Day 7 (April 17): On to Beijing

After breakfast we take the 9:40 train to Beijing, arriving at 11:28am. After lunch we visit the Summer Place on the outskirts of the capital. The visit includes the gardens and a boat cruise. After the afternoon at the Summer Place we return to the city to experience the Beijing neighborhood of Nanluoguxiang where we will have dinner and a stroll in this classic, well known Beijing urban environment. We will stay at a historic four-star hotel located a short walk from Tianamen Square and the Forbiddden City.

Beijing Sites

Acrobat Show in Beijing

Acrobat Show in Beijing

Beijing Tiananmen Square

Great Wall of China

Beijing Sites

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Gate

Beijing Summer Palace

Forbidden City

Day 8 (April 18): More of Beijing

After breakfast we will take a bus to visit a section of the Great Wall known as Mutianyu. Everyone will arrange their own lunch today — picnic style is encouraged. For those with a lot of energy, you can also take in Tiananmen Square (walking distance from our hotel) and experience this well known area of the city with its local snack bars and old-fashioned shops.

Day 9 (April 19): Exploring Beijing

After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the Temple of Heaven and the surrounding Tiantan Park established in the Qing Dynasty. It should have a splendid display of lilac and apricot blossoms ready for us in April! In the afternoon we will visit the Forbidden City, the royal palace of the Ming & Qing Dynasties and the center of power in China for over five centuries. It comprises an overwhelming array of 9,000 rooms and pavilions with antique artifacts and handicrafts. We will have a Beijing Duck banquet in the evening and then see the acrobatic and cultural show entitled “Kungfu Legend”.

Day 10 (April 20): Last Day in China

We will create our last day together with a closing ritual, last minute shopping/packing before heading to the airport around 2pm. Lunch is not included. We suggest tour members take American Airlines Flight AA180 back to LAX for onward connections.

The Details

$2,490 per person, double occupancy in 4 star hotels

All inclusive except for airfare, visa & about 4 meals

Non-refundable deposit due by October 15, 2019

Contact RevRobertApplegate@gmail.com for questions & an application