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China Trip 2017 :

Fri 20 Oct to Thurs 9 Nov (21 days) 

Journey to the Ancient Heart of China

Shanghai, Chengdu, Tiger Leaping Gorge,
Lugu Lake, Lijiang, Mount Wudang,
Xian and Beijing

with Chief Instructor Brett Wagland



         Old Shanghai Town


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This will be our tenth tour to the amazing land of China.  Our tours focus on the cultural aspects of this ancient land.  They are specially designed to suit the needs of those who are looking for a more unique and intimate view of a quickly disappearing traditional China.  We study with masters of Tai Chi and Qigong, allowing us to experience a deeper aspect of the Chinese culture.   Our tours offer great Chinese cuisine.  We go out of our way to find something special for you.  In fact, our last tour was fondly referred to as a foodie’s tour of China. 


Shanghai will be our first stop and you will enjoy the many sights of this amazing city.  We begin our day with a morning Tai Chi practice in one of the many parks in the city.  This is a great way to start the day and meet some of the locals.  During the day, we will visit the Old Shanghai Town and Nanjing Road, the central shopping district.  This street connects to the Bund and the famous Peace Hotel.  In the evening, we will see Shanghai from the river cruise and enjoy the spectacular view of the neon lights.  A visit to a classical water town, which is built on and around the river, is also on the itinerary.  Water towns are usually peaceful places with old buildings, rainbow bridges and quaint cafes, shops and restaurants. 



Chengdu has always been a wealthy area with an abundance of water and fertile soil.  It borders on Tibet and has many mountains – a very beautiful province.  While we are stopping over before flying to Yunnan, we will explore the Wide and Narrow Street, lined with interesting shops and tea houses.  At night, we will sample the traditional Chinese medicine dinner.  We won’t have to swallow any bitter herbs or pills.  In fact, we will taste herb soaked chicken and a special herb infused wine which is all good for our health. 


The Wide and Narrow Lane, Chengdu

On this tour, we will spend some time in the spectacular Yunnan Province.  This area has ancient towns nestled between breathtaking mountains and lakes.  Its natural beauty is second to none.   We will visit the powerful Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest river canyons in the world.  Three mighty rivers run parallel and pour through the narrow gorges with a thunderous roar.  The snowcapped peaks of the breathtaking Jade Dragon Mountain soar above the gorge.  We will spend a night in the gorge at one of the guest houses.  We will also have an opportunity to hike through the gorge, experiencing its spectacular beauty and serene environment.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan


While in Yunnan, we cannot go past visiting the secluded Lugu Lake, famous for its magical scenery and home to the Mosuo people, the last matrilineal society (descent is traced through the female line).  The woman would select a worthy male suiter and invite him to her home at night.  However, the man will return to his own home in the morning, even though the relationship might be long term.  This ancient tradition of “walking marriages” is still practised today.  The Mosuo women make business decisions and children carry the mother’s name.  The Lugu Lake will no doubt be a fascinating place to visit.  Seeing such a unique culture first hand, combined with the pristine environment of the mysterious lake and surrounding mountains will be an unforgettable experience.       


Lugu Lake, Yunnan


Few people have been to this place because of its inaccessibility.  However, fortunately for us and maybe not so fortunate for the locals, a new highway has been built recently.  So instead of an arduous 6 or 7 hours’ drive, it is now only 3 hours.  The drive is really quite spectacular, taking in the mountains and many remote valleys.  The lake’s water is crystal clear and has a number of islands dotted throughout.  People who visit this area are all wonderstruck by its natural beauty.  While staying in the town, we will meet a Mosuo village family and try the local cuisine. ”     


Lijiang, Yunnan


After a peaceful stay at Lugu Lake, we will travel back to the picturesque town of Lijiang where you have some free time to shop and roam around, soaking up the atmosphere of the place.  Our accommodation, the mansion on the hill which overlooks the town, is a classical Chinese home with ornate courtyards and water features.  Practising our Tai Chi there in the morning makes for a wonderful experience.  We will see the town slowly come alive.  The vivid colours of the local Naxi people’s dress and the traditional Chinese houses with their curved roofs really take you back in time, a reminder of ancient China 


Our next stop is a short break in Wuhan and then on the coach to the famous Mount Wudang, a Taoist abode for centuries.  These majestic mountains are a living testimony to the great Taoist culture that is still alive and vibrant in this area.  Once you enter these mountains, you will feel their wonderful energy and see many ancient buildings that were built during the Ming dynasty in honour of the famous Taoist Master Chang San Feng.  Master Chang was said to have reached a high level of inner cultivation.  There are many extraordinary stories about him and his abilities. 


Nan Yan Palace, Mount Wudang


Before Chang became a Taoist, he was a magistrate.  He became disillusioned with government corruption and thought it would be better to cultivate himself.  He travelled extensively in China studying with many masters and eventually went to the Wudang Mountains to complete his training.  The emperor was fascinated by the achievements of Master Chang and sent a number of envoys to Wudang to entice him to visit the palace.  Nobody could find him.  So, eventually, in order to honour the master, he sent thousands of workers to build the great temples, such as the exhilarating pinnacle of the Golden Hall, with breathtaking views and mind-blowing architecture.  The superb and inspiring Nan Yan Palace is built out of stone in the side of the mountain.  The Purple Cloud Temple is exquisitely situated in the most powerful part of the mountains, classically designed and feng shui inspired.  It will leave a deep impression on all travellers. 



Purple Cloud Temple, Mount Wudang


One of the main reasons for visiting this magical site is to study with local Taoist masters at the birthplace of Tai Chi.  It is great to practise Qigong in the mountain environment.  Students have fond memories of these experiences.  Our accommodation on the mountain is only a ten minute walk from the Purple Cloud Temple.  This part of the tour is really something special and a real highlight!


After our Wudang adventure, we travel by coach to the old capital Xian.  The coach ride takes in many small towns and mountains.  Xian is a very old city with many ancient structures and historical sights.  The famous entombed warriors are number one on the list of things to see.  These terracotta warriors defy belief in terms of quantity and the great attention to detail of each one.  It is a testimony to a powerful and talented empire and a shocking look at megalomania in terms of the emperor’s rule.  We will also visit the Banpo Museum and see the early beginning of Chinese culture.  This is always a fascinating place to visit.   We will also see the Old City Wall and enjoy the colourful and enchanting Tang Dynasty show and the delicious dumpling banquet.


Chariot and Horses, Xian


Our last stop is Beijing, the capital city of China.  It is also the birthplace of our Hun Yuan Tai Chi system.  We will walk on the Great Wall, enjoy the famous roast duck dinner and play Tai Chi with local Hun Yuan practitioners in the lovely Ditan (Temple of Earth Park) and the grand Tiantan (Temple of Heaven Park).  These parks are full of people dancing, singing and doing many different styles of martial arts.  They are delightful places to visit and have a great atmosphere for training.  You will enjoy the experience of practising Tai Chi in Beijing. 


The Forbidden City, Beijing


We will visit the monumental Tiananmen Square and the magnificent Forbidden City.  We will be entertained by the talented acrobatic troop and savour the delicacies of a Muslim lunch.  We will also visit Fragrant Hills on the outskirts of Beijing, enjoying the gardens and art treasures of the Biyun Temple (first built in 1331).  This will be a great place to practise our Tai Chi. 


Pagodas, Biyun Temple, Fragrant Hills


Other worthwhile sites to visit are the idyllic Summer Palace and the humble hutong (alleys of traditional courtyard residences).  Trying some very tasty rustic cuisine at the Old Beijing Noodle House is a must.  We will also be off to the famous Beijing Opera.  This is a fun night of acting, singing and music with the famous face changing performances.  It is truly a magical act not to be missed.


Peking Opera


I cannot think of anything more to say other than it is an exciting tour with many unique aspects.  It is designed to offer you a deeper perspective and experience of the Chinese culture, giving context to your practice.  These tours take time to organise and we are not offering the see-all-of-China in a two weeks kind of trip.  There is nothing wrong with that but ours is delightfully different.  Join us for an unforgettable experience!


New World Shopping
Centre, Beijing

How does all that sound?!  If you would like to see China, we have something truly unique to offer.  We welcome students’ families and friends on this unforgettable experience.  Our previous trips have included family members of our students and interested individuals, who are not Tai Chi practitioners.  They all thoroughly enjoyed the tour.  They had the opportunity to see unique sights which are not included in most package tours.  They were welcome to join in the Tai Chi sessions but sometimes chose to do sightseeing or shopping.  In China, there is always something to see and do, right at your doorstep.  Discover the mystery and excitement of China with us


Peking Opera

If you would like to read the participants’ experiences of the previous trips, visit these links:

The Bund, Shanghai


Day 1 Fri 20 Oct
Air China (CA 176) from Sydney 10.20am to Shanghai 6.10pm.


Day 2 Sat 21 Oct  Breakfast, lunch and dinner included (B L D)
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Yu Garden (originally built by Ming Dynasty officials between 1559 and 1577), Old Shanghai Town, the Bund, Nan Jing Road (Shanghai’s main shopping area) and Huang Pu River Night Cruise.

Day 3
Sun 22 Oct   B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice..
Sightseeing: Water Town, special Shanghai local cuisine.


Day 4 Mon 23 Oct     B L D
Fly from Shanghai to Chengdu.
Visit the Wide and Narrow Street and enjoy the traditional Chinese Medicine dinner.


Tiger Leaping Gorge,

Day 5 Tues 24 Oct     B L D
Fly from Chengdu to Lijiang
, then Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge by coach.  Hiking in the afternoon. Outdoor Tai Chi practice in the evening.


Day 6 Wed 25 Oct   B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Sightseeing : Tiger Leaping Gorge
and enjoy the view of the Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain from afar.

Tiger Leaping Gorge to Lugu Lake (via Lijiang) by coach.


Day 7 Thurs 26 Oct    B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Visit the Lugu Lake, a Mosuo village family and enjoy the local cuisine.


Lugu Lake, Yunnan


Day 8 Fri 27 Oct     B L
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Lugu Lake to Lijiang by coach.

Sightseeing: the Old Town.
Free time.


Lijiang, Yunnan


Day 9 Sat 28 Oct     B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Fly from Lijiang to Wuhan.  Then, to Xiao Gan (on the way to Mount Wudang), north of the Wuhan City, by coach.


Day 10 Sun 29 Oct     B L D

Xiao Gan to Mount Wudang by coach.
Outdoor Tai Chi practice in the evening.


Day 11 Mon 30 Oct     B L D
Morning Qigong session with the Taoists of the Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Institute,
Zi Xiao Palace (Purple Cloud Temple, built in 1413), Mount Wudang.
Sightseeing: Nan Yan Palace.


Mount Wudang


Day 12 Tues 31 Oct      B L D
Morning Qigong session with the Taoists of the Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Institute.
Sightseeing: Prince Slope and Needle Polishing Well.


Day 13 Wed 1 Nov    B L D
Morning Qigong session with the Taoists of the Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Institute.

Sightseeing: the famous Golden Hall on the summit (cable ride).


Day 14 Thurs 2 Nov     B L D
Mount Wudang to Xian by coach.

Enjoy the Tang Dynasty Dancing Show and Dumpling Banquet.


Terra Cotta Warriors, Xian


Day 15 - Fri 3 Nov     B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Visit the Banpo Neolithic Village and the vault of the terra cotta warriors and chariots.


Day 16 Sat 4 Nov     B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Sightseeing : the Old City Wall from the outside.
Fly from Xian to Beijing.


Heavenly Temple (Tian Tan), Beijing


Day 17 Sun 5 Nov     B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Sightseeing :
Tian An Man Square, the Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace, formerly residence of the Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors for a period spanning more than five centuries), Muslim lunch, Acrobatic Show and special vegetarian dinner.


Day 18 Mon 6 Nov      B L D
Sightseeing: the Great Wall (Ba Da Ling), jade factory and Peking Duck dinner.


The Hall of 500 Arhats,
Fragrant Hills

Day 19 Tues 7 Nov    B L D
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Visit Biyun Temple, Fragrant Hills : Pagodas, the Hall of 500 Arhats and Summer Palace.

Peking Opera in the evening.


Old Beijing Noodle House

Day 20 Wed 8 Nov     B L
Morning outdoor Tai Chi practice.
Visit the Temple of Heaven.
Special farewell lunch at the Old Beijing Noodle House (which serves much more than noodle this eatery is rated one of the favourites by previous trip participants).
Sightseeing : Gong and Drum Lane, Hutong tour.
Free time for last minute shopping.


Day 21 Thurs 9 Nov 
Air China (CA 173) from Beijing 00.50am to Sydney 3.25pm.


Tang Dynasty Show, Xian


Included in the cost: economy international airfare from Sydney return, accommodation, meals as specified in the itinerary, admission (sightseeing places, parks and show), Tai Chi and Qigong sessions, coach, English speaking guide, economy airfares and airport taxes in China


  • Shanghai – Yun's Paradise Hotel or Days Hotel Shanghai Hongkou Fortune (4-star, Chinese & Western buffet breakfast)

  • Chengdu – Royal Palace Hotel (4-star, Chinese & Western buffet breakfast)

  • Tiger Leaping Gorge – Tina's Guest House, Chinese breakfast (This is a remote area.  It does not have the conveniences of a city.  This is one of the best that the Gorge has to offer.

  • Lugu Lake – Li Ge Na Hai Guest House, Chinese breakfast

  • Lijiang – Old Town Castle Hotel (4-star Chinese & Western buffet breakfast, but more Chinese) 

    Acrobatic Show

  • Xiao Gan, north of Wuhan City – Qian Kun International Hotel (4-star, Chinese & Western buffet breakfast)

  • Mount Wudang – Tian Lu Hotel (3-star, Chinese breakfast)

  • Xian Tang Cheng Hotel (4-star, Chinese & Western buffet breakfast)

  • Beijing – Penta Hotel (4-star, Chinese & Western buffet breakfast)

Cost of the China Trip will be:
  – AUD$6,990 per person based on twin share
  – AUD$7,890 per person based on single


        The cost estimate is based on 12 people.  A minimum of 12 people is required in order for the tour to proceed.  Less than 12 people may incur a higher cost.


Please pay a deposit of $2,000 by
Wednesday 14 June
2017 and
the balance by Wednesday 2 August 2017.

Please note that the entire cost is non-refundable
Appropriate travel insurance is
strongly recommended.


Deposit can be made by :

  • cash – please pay your instructor or contact Fontane, or

  • personal cheque payable to Southlands Travel and Cruise please pay your instructor or mail cheque to Tai Chi Academy, PO Box 70, Woden ACT 2606.

  • If you wish to pay by credit card, there will be a credit card fee (charged by Southlands Travel and Cruise):
    1.5% extra for MasterCard or visa
    3.5% extra for Amex or Diners

>> Please contact Fontane first before
you pay the deposit. <<


Note: The organiser reserves the right to change the travel dates or/and the itinerary if deemed necessary.


Excluded from the Cost – please allow for the following expenses:

  • Taxes for the international airfare: approx. $455 Australia Departure Tax, Airport Taxes, Security Taxes, fuel surcharge and China Departure Tax.  All the taxes are subject to exchange rate and introduction of new taxes.

The Great Wall

  • Tipping for the national and local tour guides: AUD $210- per person.

  • Canberra to Sydney airline tickets return.
    Please feel free to use your frequent flyer points to book your own tickets or arrange other means of transport.  However, the travel agent advises that we should wait for the international tickets to be issued first before booking the domestic tickets.
         Please allow at least 2 hours before the flight departure time for baggage check in at the Sydney International Airport.
         If you need Southlands Travel & Cruise to book your domestic airline tickets, please contact Fontane on 6296 1357 or
    email the Academy.

  • Visa application fee for single entry, $109.50 and one passport size photo.  Chinese Visa Application Centre, Suite 201, Level 2, Canberra House, 40 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra City Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.  Phone 6279 780.  http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls/bg/ click on Visa Application Form.

  • Appropriate travel insurance is strongly recommended.

  • Travel vaccinations – seek advice from your doctor 

  • Please be aware that many countries require travellers to have at least six months remaining validity on their passports – phone Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 or visit www.passports.gov.au

The Great Wall


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