Want to Learn More about Chinese Culture? The YK Chamber can help

The Yellowknife Chamber’s planned trip to China in April 2017 promises to be the trip of a lifetime

For Deneen Everett, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, her trip to China in April this year was one she’ll never forget. “It was amazing,” Everett says. “It’s a completely different way of living. I have a much better understanding of China now.”

Everett took part in a familiarization trip offered to Chambers of Commerce executive directors by the company organizing group tours to China. The trip she took is essentially the same as the 11-day trip now being offered by the Chamber to members for the all-inclusive price of $2200. 

Starting in Bejing, the group saw the Forbidden City, which housed the imperial palace for 24 of China’s Emperors from 1420 to 1912. Despite its age, it is still the largest palatial structure in the world. The ancient contrasts with the new, as Beijing is at once a very old and a very modern city. The group also toured the facilities constructed for the Summer Olympics held in Beijing in 2008, including the famous Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest for its unique design and architecture. 

 From Beijing, the tour proceeded to Shanghai, Suzhou, and, Hangzhou, each with its own tour highlights. Suzhou, home to nine million people, is China’s second largest manufacturing centre, and produces iron, steel, information technology, electronic equipment and textile products. Suzhou is also the site of a leaning pagoda called Tiger Hill, or Yunyan Ta. Built between 959-961, it is older than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and contains several historical sites, including tombs that have never been opened. 

In Hangzhou, the tour included a visit to an immense tea plantation where Empress green tea is grown. This is a very high quality tea and not exported, so unavailable in the West. The group saw how silk was produced and watched a silkworm cocoon being unraveled for processing. They toured factories where luxury goods made of jade and hand embroidered silk were available for purchase. “We stopped at government factories where the quality of luxury goods was guaranteed,” says Everett. “Don’t forget to barter in China – all prices are negotiable, even at these factories.”

In Shanghai, the group toured the Bund, a famous waterfront that has been the symbol of the city for 170 years.  Formerly a British settlement, the Bund became a trading port and eventually the centre of Shanghai’s economy, culture and politics.  After a major reconstruction in the 1990s, the Bund became a tourist destination, rich with history, art, and architecture, including several hotels and places to eat. The view from the Bund faces the modern Shanghai financial district, says Everett. 

Besides the group tour, Everett says there are several optional side tours available from the tour bus which she recommends taking. One such tour is the canal trip the group took in Suzhou, which provided a relaxing opportunity to experience the culture and to see how the locals live. 

For Everett, the highlight of the trip was seeing the Great Wall of China, which is emblematic of China’s rich cultural history. Built over 2000 years, from 476 BC to 1644, the Wall stretches 21,196 kilometres across China, crossing deserts, mountains and grasslands. “It was life-changing for me,” says Everett. “I appreciated the opportunity be exposed to Chinese culture and history.”

Everett says the food was excellent in any of the places where they ate, the hotels were modern and clean and the service everywhere was excellent. All of this – three meals a day, accommodation, ground tours and airfare – is included in the overall tour price of $2200 for Yellowknife Chamber members, and $2500 for non-members. The next tour is planned to leave from Calgary in April 2017. Airfare from Yellowknife to Calgary is not included. 

For find out more about the trip to China, please call Deneen Everett, at 920-4944 or email ExecutiveDirector@YKChamber.com. Information and registration forms can be found on the Chamber website at www.YKChamber.comYKCI

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