People often embark on vacations to escape the drudgery of cleaning dishes, folding laundry, and lint rolling the attic ghost. Flee everyday stressors with today's Groupon: for $1,399, you get one travel package for a 10-day Pearl of Orient tour from Sna Tours (a $2,798 value). This tour departs on July 13 and returns on July 22. While this tour includes all sightseeing admission, meals (except for day nine's lunch and dinner), transportation, and accommodation, Groupon users must pay any additional airport taxes and fees ($350).
Sna's Pearl of Orient tour leads travellers through 10 days and 8 nights of journeying in four of eastern China's most storied cities. Tours include round-trip airfare and stays in the traveller-swaddling arms of luxury hotels, such as Shanghai's Eiffelton Hotel and Nanjing's Jinling Hotel. After smiting the sudoku gods aboard China Eastern Airline, guests arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport for an escort to the hotel and a cordial introduction to the city's lights.
While in Shanghai, Sna's expert English-speaking guides forge a trip-long bond with their guests during a tour of the geometrically diverse Oriental Pearl TV tower. Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden and bazaar, believed to be more than 400 years old, lures visitors in to explore rambling verdant walkways, arching stone footbridges, and historic pagoda islands. Other group trips within the bustling metropolis include an herbal education at the Chinese Herb Museum, which steeps brains in a lesson on traditional herb uses in Chinese medication. On the final day, explore Shanghai's streets at leisure—perusing the high-profile shops along Nanjing Road or tickling the 1930s-built foreign buildings of The Bund, a historic Huangpu riverside financial district.
An air-conditioned motor coach transports sightseers to day trips touring cities such as Wuxi, where guests tour authentic ceramics at the National Pottery Museum. The expansive Tai Lake at nearby Turtle Head Peninsula Park charms visitors, whose third eyeballs frolic freely along the freshwater-pearl farm. Once in the city of Suzhou, groups tour the original silk-spinning factory, where a talking caterpillar explains the delicate art of silk production. Cruise across the legend-soaked waters of West Lake and arrive in Hangzhou to admire the lakeside causeways and the wooden planks of Broken Bridge. While in Hangzhou, travellers wander under the wise eyes of Old Street's historic Ming- and Qing-era homes. Marco Polo toured Hangzhou, saying it was "the city of heaven, the most magnificent in all the world."