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China by rail
Dr. Chris Carpenter and David Huang




With Leadership by Dr. Chris Carpenter!
“Chris was a Fountain of Knowledge!”— 2014 participants
An Adventure by High Speed Rail to Sacred Mountains, the Grand Canal & Ancient Cities
June 6-20, 2017, with optional Yangtze River Extension to June 25th - SOLD OUT

China’s high speed rail network offers an innovative, engaging new way to explore the Middle Kingdom.

So many fascinating places in the Chinese heartland are too far-flung to visit by bus, and cumbersome to reach by plane. Consequently, they see few international visitors even though they are profoundly important to the Chinese heritage and amazing to behold.

China’s new high speed trains link such places with journeys that are convenient, comfortable and seldom longer than 2-3 hours. Sacred mountain ranges are accessible by train, as are ancient towns, and temples that honor quintessential Chinese institutions like Confucianism, Daoist philosophy, and the martial arts.


We will travel from Hangzhou to Tai Shan along the old Grand Canal which has just been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Grand Canal, a thousand mile waterway
completed in the 6th Century, was built to link fertile farmlands in the south to urban centers in the north. Hangzhou, at the southern end, was celebrated by Marco Polo as Asia’s most beautiful city. Tai Shan, the Eastern Sacred Mountain, rises near Qufu, where the sage Confucius was born in the 6th Century BC.

From Tai Shan, we will trace the Yellow River Valley to Shaolin Monastery, the birthplace of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. Here, masters of martial arts teach students in the traditional way, as they have for centuries.

Song Shan, China’s Middle Mountain, is an enclave for many ancient temples, including Zhongyue, an original center of Daoist teaching. Beyond their sacred importance to the Taoists, the eroded granite spires of Song Shan are geologically significant. Next, we visit Luoyang, one of China’s ancient capital cities, and the Longmen Grottos, unparalleled for their ancient Buddhist iconography with a hundred thousand carved images, most from the First Millennium AD, some among the oldest in China.

En route to Xi’an, we will visit Hua Shan, the Western Sacred Mountain, with its great precipices, arching ridgelines, and narrow paths carved into the solid, sculpted granite. We then visit the Famen Temple, Scenic Cultural Area, and underground palace with extraordinary gold artifacts. We will continue to Xi’an, where we will visit the renowned Terra Cotta Army from the 3rd Century BC and other important sites.

From Xi’an, passengers can choose an optional extension to sail through the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Yichang, before returning to Shanghai.

Please join us on this delightful adventure!


Chris Carpenter
Expedition Leader

$4,195 per person (plus air fare)

2017 Brochure (Requires an Adobe pdf reader to view)

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From our travelers:
"Letters from China by Rail 2016" from Janet and David Morrison

China by rail group photo



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