A group of Rotorua Intermediate students have returned after an adventure in China.

The trip had been in the making for 18 months, with families fundraising in a range of ways from raffles to sausage sizzles.

The group visited four cities in China. The first stop was Shanghai followed by Beijing.

One of the highlights in Beijing was visiting Tiananmen Square, one of the largest city squares in the world and the place where Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

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Other places of interest included The Forbidden City, visiting a genuine Hutong (traditional Chinese neighbourhood) by rickshaw, practising tai chi in the Temple of Heaven and walking the Great Wall.

Having the opportunity to interact with locals gave the group the chance to use and further develop their Chinese language, something the students have been learning at school.

They also participated in additional Chinese classes with Laytee George in order to learn about what to expect when visiting China and how to barter for goods- something everyone particularly enjoyed!

Next stop after Beijing was Xi'an, capital of the Shaanxi Province in central China. This is also home to the famous Terracotta Warriors.

The Terracotta Army museum houses more than 8000 life size soldiers, 130 chariots, and 670 horses. The construction of the Terracotta Army began in 246 BC as a mausoleum and show of the glory of the First Emperor.

Discovered in 1974 and known as one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world- they truly are a sight to behold.

The last stop in China was the picturesque city of Guilin, famous for its reed caves and dramatic landscape of limestone karst hills.

Guilin is reputed to be one of the world's most beautiful places. The group cruised the Li River, Guilin's most popular scenic area, one that was selected by National Geographic Magazine as one of the world's top ten watery wonders.

On the way home the travellers stopped over in Hong Kong to experience the Stanley Market and Ocean Park.

For many this trip will be remembered as a once-in-a-lifetime experience - amazing sights, sounds, food, a completely foreign culture and experiencing one of the world's oldest civilisations.

- Supplied by Rotorua Intermediate School