12 Cities / 16 Days


As mentioned earlier, most of my free time recently has been devoted to the planning of a two-week architecture tour along the east China coast (and up to Beijing). What started as a Facebook-status “wouldn’t-it-be-nice” has turned into a full-fledged study-abroad program, with support and funding from the Ohio State University, and a staff of 6 pulling together building research, writing essays on urbanism, tweaking the schedule, and booking hotels, charter buses, and train tickets.

We’ll have a group of 27 people, including current students, faculty, and alumni, with ages ranging from 20 to 70.

What started as a plan to tour the East China Coast (Including all major “Treaty Ports” and the first batch of “Special Economic Zones” gradually got pared down to a more managable set of cities: Hong Kong / Macau / Shenzhen / Kaiping / Guangzhou / Jinhua / Hangzhou / Ningbo / Suzhou / Nanjing / Shanghai / Beijing

And in case you need proof of our insanity…. here’s the schedule breakdown…. needless to say, this will not be a relaxing vacation.

Stay tuned…. photos and essays, coming after the trip….

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Day 01 – Fly to Hong Kong

Day 02  -  Arrive Hong Kong (Most Flights @ 18:45)

Day 03 – Th Hong Kong

07:30 – 07:45 Walk to Wan Chai Old Town & Market (1.2 km, 15 min)
07:45 – 08:30 Wan Chai Old Town & Market
08:30 – 08:40 Walk to Wan Chai Metro Station
08:40 – 08:50 Metro to Admiralty Station
08:50 – 10:00 Walk to HSBC via Lippo Center, Bank of China, IFC Tower
10:00 – 10:45 Visit HSBC
10:45 – 11:15 Metro to Tin Shui Wai
11:15 – 12:15 Guided walk of Ping Shan Heritage Trail
12:15 – 12:30 To Kat Hing Wai Walled Village
12:30 – 12:45 Visit Kat Hing Wai Walled Village
12:45 – 13:30 Metro to Mong Kok
13:30 – 14:30 LUNCH
14:30 – 15:15 Walk to and visit Langham Place Mall
15:15 – 16:30 Walk to and visit Tsim Sha Tsui / Golden Mile
16:30 – 16:45 Metro to Central
16:45 – 17:40 Walk to, wait for, and ride Peak Tram to Victoria Peak
17:40 – 18:25 Enjoy sunset on Victoria Peak
18:25 – 19:30 Tram, walk, and/or metro to Causeway Bay
19:30 – 20:15 Visit Causeway Bay, take in neon signage
20:15 – to hotel; dinner on your own
Nightlife Suggestions: Lan Kwai Fong, So Ho. Avoid: Wan Chai’s bars.

Day 04 Hong Kong – Macau – Hong Kong
07:30 – 07:40 Walk to metro station
07:40 – 08:10 Metro to Diamond Hill
08:10 – 08:50 Visit Choi Hung Estate housing, surrounding neighborhood
08:50 – 09:00 Walk to Chi Lin Nunnery
09:00 – 09:45 Visit Chi Lin Nunnery, Garden & Lotus Pond
09:45 – 10:00 Walk to metro station
10:00 – 10:45 Metro to Central
10:45 – 11:00 Walk through Sheung Wan Market – get snacks, but save room
11:00 – 12:30 Ferry to Macau
12:30 – 17:20 Macau historic center, plus LUNCH and Egg Tarts
17:20 – 17:30 Bus to Venetian
17:30 – 20:30 Admire casinos, win big, DINNER on your own
20:30 – 20:40 Bus to ferry terminal
20:40 – 21:50 Ferry to Hong Kong
21:50 – Metro to Wan Chai, walk to hotel

Day 05 Shenzhen-Kaiping
07:30 – 07:40 Walk to metro station
07:40 – 08:45 Metro to Lok Ma Chau
08:45 – 09:35 Cross border at Lok Ma Chau, meet bus and load up
09:35 – 10:45 BUS to Vanke Center (24.7 km, 45 min)
10:45 – 11:15 Visit Vanke Center exterior, lobby, landscape
11:15 – 11:50 BUS to Dafen Art Village (19.0 km, 23 min)
11:50 – 13:00 Visit Dafen Art Village, Museum/plaza, eat LUNCH
13:00 – 13:15 BUS to Jade Bamboo Plaza (9.5 km, 13 min)
13:15 – 13:30 Visit Jade Bamboo Plaza
13:30 – 13:45 BUS to Luohu Public Art Plaza (3.3 km, 9 min)
13:50 – 14:00 Visit Luohu Public Art Plaza
14:00 – 14:20 BUS to Cultural Center (8.0 km, 17 min)
14:20 – 14:30 Visit Cultural Center
14:30 – 14:40 BUS to Civic Center
14:40 – 16:20 Visit Shenzhen Architecture Biennale, Stock Exchange
16:20 – 16:45 BUS to Hua Art Museum (9.2 km, 15 min)
16:45 – 17:20 VISIT Hua Art Museum
17:20 – 20:30 BUS to Kaiping (196 km, 2 hrs 36 min)20:30+ GROUP DINNER at hotel

Day 06 – Kaiping – Guangzhou
07:45 – 08:15 BUS to Diaolou tower village area (19.1 km, 27 min)
08:15 – 11:00 Visit Diaolou Tower Houses, buy lunch for later
11:00 – 14:00 BUS to Guangdong Museum (153 km, 2 hrs 18 min)
14:00 – 14:50 Visit Guangdong Museum
14:50 – 15:00 Walk across plaza to Guangzhou Opera
15:00 – 16:00 Visit Guangzhou Opera
16:00 – 16:15 BUS to Pearl Tower (1.7 km, 5 min)
16:15 – 16:30 Admire Pearl Tower
16:30 – 16:50 BUS to Canton TV Tower (3.1 km, 9 min)
16:50 – 17:50 Visit Canton TV Tower
17:50 – BUS to hotel; dinner on your own (explore Shamian Island)

Day 07 – Guangzhou Night Train
07:00 – 09:45 Breakfast; explore Shamian Island on your own. Buy supplies: Dinner, plus Breakfast and Lunch for next day
09:45 – 10:00 Load bus
10:00 – 10:15 BUS to Liwan Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street (2.5 km, 8 min)
10:15 – 11:00 VISIT Liwan Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street
11:00 – 11:20 BUS to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (3.5 km, 10 min)
11:20 – 12:10 Visit Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
12:10 – 12:45 BUS to New Urban Roundhouse (11.7 km, 23 min)
12:45 – 13:15 VISIT New Urban Roundhouse
13:15 – 17:00 LUNCH, additional Guangzhou sites, BUS to train station
17:00 – 18:11 Wait for train, buy more supplies
18:11 + NIGHT TRAIN TO JINHUA

Day 08 Jinhua – Hangzhou
06:55 NIGHT TRAIN ARRIVES JINHUA WEST STATION
06:55 – 07:20 Meet BUS and load luggage
07:20 – 07:40 BUS to Jinhua Architecture Park (6.3 km, 15 min)
07:40 – 09:30 Visit Jinhua Architecture Park and Yiwu Gardens
09:30 – 13:15 BUS to Hangzhou Art Academy (176 km, 2 hrs 45 min)
13:15 – 14:30 Visit Hangzhou Art Academy New Campus, Phases 1 & 2
15:00 – 16:00 BUS to Liangzhu Culture Museum (35 km, 34 min)
16:00 – 16:45 Visit Liangzhu Culture Museum
16:45 – 17:30 BUS to Xihutiandi (30 km, 45 min)
17:30 – 18:10 Visit Xihutiandi
18:10 – 18:30 BUS to pedestrian area (3 km, 12 min)
18:30 – 18:40 Walk to hostel
19:00 – GROUP DINNERSuggestions: Zhongshan and Qing Hefang pedestrian streets. Walk along West Lake, contemplate the moon’s reflection. Restaurants along Gaoyin Jie. Expensive bars and restaurants back at Xihutiandi.

 

Day 09 Hangzhou FREE DAY
Buy food for breakfast on Thursday!Suggestions: West Lake. See pedestrian streets if you missed them last night. Leifeng Pagoda (plus escalators). Lingyin Temple – Buddhist rock carvings. Rent a bike and ride around. Tai chi. Chai tea.

Day 10 Ningbo – Suzhou
06:00 – 06:15 Walk to bus pickup point
06:15 – 06:30 Load bus
06:00 – 08:30 BUS to Ningbo Historic Museum (153 km, 2 hrs 45 min) (Sleep some more, eat packed breakfast on bus)
08:30 – 10:00 Visit Ningbo Historic Museum and Five Scattered Houses
10:00 – 10:15 BUS to Liangsheng Plaza (1.2 km, 10 min)
10:15 – 10:30 Visit Liansheng Plaza
10:30 – 11:00 BUS to LaoWaiTan (Old Bund) (7 km, 20 min)
11:00 – 11:45 Explore Old Bund and find LUNCH
11:45 – 12:15 Exteriors and Lobbies of Art Museum, Urban Museum
12:15 – 12:25 BUS to Tianyi Square (2 km, 10 min)
12:25 – 12:45 Visit Tianyi Square
12:45 – 15:40 BUS to Xitang Canal Town (166 km, 2 hrs 18 min)
15:40 – 17:30 Visit Xitang Canal Town
17:30 – 19:30 BUS to Suzhou Dinner on your ownSuggestions for Suzhou by night: Wander along Pingjiang Canal Street and/or Shantang. Enjoy Western bars on Shiquan Jie.

Day 11 Suzhou – Tongli – Nanjing
07:15 – 07:30 BUS to Great Wave Pavilion/CangLangTing (2.8 km, 10 min)
07:30 – 08:00 Visit Great Wave Pavilion
08:00 – 08:15 Walk to Master of Nets, via Suquan Yuan (1.2 km, 15 min)
08:15 – 08:45 Visit Master of Nets Garden
08:45 – 09:00 BUS to Couple’s Retreat
09:00 – 09:30 Visit Couple’s Retreat Garden
09:30 – 09:45 Walk to Lion’s Grove via Pingjiang Canal Street
09:45 – 10:15 Visit Lion’s Grove Garden
10:15 – 10:20 Walk to Suzhou Museum (300 m, 4 min)
10:20 – 11:05 Visit Suzhou Museum11:05 – 12:00 LUNCH
12:00 – 13:45 Visit Humble Administrator’s Garden
13:45 – 14:00 BUS to Lingering Garden (5.7 km, 9 min)
14:00 – 15:00 Visit Lingering Garden
15:00 – 16:00 BUS to Tongli Canal Town (32 km, 44 min)
16:00 – 17:15 Visit Tongli: Gentle Tan, Pearl Pagoda, Tuisi Garden
17:15 – 18:00 GROUP DINNER
18:00 – 21:30 BUS to Nanjing (240 km, 2 hrs 50 min)

Day 12 Nanjing – Shanghai
07:30 – 07:45 Load bus
07:45 – 08:00 BUS to City Wall Museum (4.6 km, 8 min)
08:00 – 08:40 Visit City Wall
08:40 – 08:50 BUS to Greenland Tower
08:50 – 09:00 Admire Greenland Tower exterior and lobby
09:00 – 09:30 BUS to Nanjing Massacre Museum (7.8 km, 22 min)
09:30 – 10:30 Visit Nanjing Massacre Museum
10:30 – 10:45 BUS to 1912 District
10:45 – 11:30 1912 District and LUNCH
11:30 – 12:10 BUS to CIPEA (25.8 km, 37 mins)
12:10 – 13:10 Explore CIPEA exteriors (Sifang Museum, houses, etc.)
13:10 – 14:30 BUS to Nanjing University (32.4 km, 54 min)
14:30 – 15:10 Visit Performing Arts Center
15:10 – 19:00 BUS to Shanghai (305 km, 3 hrs 17 min)
19:00 – 19:30 Check into hotel19:30+ GROUP DINNER
Nightlife Suggestions: Nanjing Road pedestrian Street, Bund at night. Expensive cocktails at View Bar (Hyatt on the Bund), or at New Heights, or in Xintiandi (also nightclubs). Bar streets: Yongfu Lu at Fuxing Lu, or Hengshan Lu. Live music at MAO Livehouse or Yuyin Tang. Belgian bar Kaiba on Dinxu Lu. Bars and nightclubs on Fumin Lu @ Julu Lu.

Day 13 Shanghai
07:45 – 09:30 Walking tour of E. Nanjing Road and The Bund
09:30 – 10:00 Admire and/or visit Rockbund Museum
10:40 – 10:55 Admire Broadway Mansions, Suzhou Creek, Pudong view
10:55 – 11:15 BUS to 1933 Abattoir (1.9 km, 10 min)
11:15 – 11:45 Visit 1933 Abattoir
11:45 – 12:15 LUNCH – get noodles
12:15 – 13:45 BUS to Qingpu New Town (45.2 km, 1 hr 2 min)
13:45 – 15:15 Visit Qingpu New Town & Thumb Island
15:15 – 15:45 BUS to ZhuJiaJiao Canal Town (9.0 km, 17 min)
15:45 – 16:15 Visit ZhuJiaJiao Canal Town
16:15 – 17:45 BUS to Thames Town (24.8 km, 41 min)
17:45 – 18:15 Visit Thames Town
18:15 – 19:30 BUS to M50 (44.8 km, 49 min)
19:30 – 20:00 Visit M50
20:00 – 20:25 BUS to hotel (6.1 km, 15 min)

Day 14 Shanghai
07:30 – 07:45 Load Bus
07:45 – 08:00 BUS to Yuyuan (2.3 km, 8 min)
08:00 – 08:40 Visit Yuyuan
08:40 – 09:45 Walking tour of Old Town sights (Bazaar, Waterhouse, docks)
09:45 – 10:10 BUS to Jianye Li (5.5 km, 10 min)
10:10 – 12:00 Walking tour of shikumen areas, redevelopments, Tianzifang
12:00 – 12:30 LUNCH at Tianzifang
12:30 – 14:10 Walking tour of more redevelopments, Sinan, Xiantiandi
14:10 – 14:40 BUS to Pujiang New Town (15.6 km, 30 min)
14:40 – 15:20 Visit Pujiang New Town
15:20 – 16:15 BUS to Pudong
16:15 – 18:20 Walking tour of Pudong sights (Apple, IFC, Jin Mao, WFC, Oriental Pearl)
18:20 – 19:15 BUS to train station
19:15 – 20:13 Wait for train. Buy food and drink for train dinner, breakfast, and next day’s lunch
20:13+ NIGHT TRAIN TO BEIJING

Day 15 Beijing
07:52 NIGHT TRAIN ARRIVES BEIJING MAIN STATION
07:52 – 08:15 Meet BUS and load luggage
08:15 – 08:45 BUS to Temple of Heaven (3.3 km, 15 min)
08:45 – 09:30 Visit Temple of Heaven
09:30 – 10:30 Walk through hutong areas to Tian’anmen Square, eat snacks
10:30 – 10:50 Walk arcross Tian’anmen Square to Forbidden City
10:50 – 12:50 Visit Forbidden City
12:50 – 13:30 LUNCH
13:30 – 14:10 BUS to National Theater (2.2 km, 9 min)
14:10 – 14:45 Visit National Theater
14:45 – 15:25 BUS to Galaxy SOHO (5.4 km, 10 min)
15:25 – 15:35 Admire Galaxy SOHO (under construction)
15:35 – 16:00 BUS to CCTV (3.3 km, 10 min)
16:00 – 16:30 Admire CCTV Exterior
16:30 – 16:45 BUS to Sanlitun SOHO (2.7 km, 15 min)
16:45 – 17:30 Visit Sanlitun SOHO; buy breakfast and lunch for next day.
17:30 – 17:50 BUS to Linked Hybrid (7.4 km, 9 min)
17:50 – 19:00 Visit Linked Hybrid
19:00 – 19:20 BUS to hotel (4.0 km, 11 min)
Nightlife Suggestions: Sanlitun Bar Street, old streets and bar area around Houhai Lake (southwest of hotel), Wangfujing snack street/night market

Day 16 Beijing
06:30 – 08:30 To Mutianyu (76.0 km, 1 hr 24 min)
08:30 – 11:00 Visit Great Wall at Mutianyu
11:00 – 12:30 BUS to Ming Tombs (42.0 km, 1 hr 12 min)
12:30 – 13:40 Explore Dingling Ming Tomb
13:40 – 13:50 BUS to Ming Tombs Sacred Road (4.8 km, 10 min)
13:50 – 14:05 Admire Ming Tombs Sacred Road
14:05 – 15:15 BUS to Summer Palace (38.9 km, 41 min)
15:15 – 17:00 VISIT Summer Palace
17:00 – 17:30 BUS to Fragrant Hills Hotel (9.3 km, 22 min)
17:30 – 17:50 Admire Fragrant Hills Hotel exterior and lobby
17:50 – 19:30 BUS to hotel (30.7 km, 45 min), check in
19:30+ GROUP DINNER

Day 17 Beijing Flying home!
07:30 – 07:45 Load Bus
07:45 – 08:30 BUS to Olympic Grounds (7.3 km, 17 min)
08:30 – 10:45 Visit Bird’s Nest, Water Cube, Digital Beijing
10:45 – 11:15 BUS to 798 Arts District (12.3 km, 16 min)
11:15 – 11:45 Visit 798 Arts District, admiring old factory buildings
11:45 – 12:15 BUS to Caochangdi (5.3 km, 12 min)
12:15 – 14:15 LUNCH and explore Caochangdi (Ai Weiwei galleries)
14:15 – 14:45 BUS to airport (15.0 km, 16 min)

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If this sounds crazy – it is. I think the best way to sum up this trip, is with the attached video – 4000+ photos from my last two years in China… crammed into a 3 minute video….

Photos and essays… coming up after the trip.

Comments

  • mattk2

    Sounds like an awesome trip!

    While it looks set in stone, the only things I’d suggest would be to go to Tianking Lu in Shanghai instead of Xiantandi. Xiantandi is a glorified mall / walking district, but one that can be found anywhere in the world. Tianking Lu is a unique mix of old and new China. Also check out 1933 (Laochangfang) for dinner, it’s an amazing Brutalist, former-slaughterhouse-turned-restaurant-area and art space. It’s very Clorindo Testa.

    http://www.1933shanghai.com/

    Also, in Beijing, 798 is a great thing to see if you’ve never been, but if you want to see a more honest approach to art in Beijing (ie art that has not been ‘officially approved’), skip 798 and go visit Black Bridge studios. It’s sponsored in part by Ai Weiwei, and is less commercialized. It also has interesting development implications in China (It was set up as temporary warehouses and has been slated for demolition for years). Make sure you go with someone who knows the area, however.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LE20Ad02.html

    • Thanks, Matt. We’ll be seeing Taikang Lu, of course (AKA “Tianzifang”) to get lunch and compare with Xintiandi. Xintiandi is not great – but I’d say it’s an important project, and should help the students understand the role of “preservation” in contemporary China. (I’d also say Xintiandi – aside from the exorbitant beer prices – is one of the better public spaces of a city sorely lacking good squares and plazas).

      We’ll see 1933 as well – one of my favorite spots in the city. It’d be a stretch to call it Brutalist though, given the early date. I’d say more expressionist?

      Is Black Bridge studios the same as Caochangdi arts district?

  • dennis

    Awesome trip. I can’t wait to see the outcome and read some the product.

    • Thanks, Dennis. Will be posting some thoughts over the next few days.

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