Visits: Beijing, Xian, Yangtze River, shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong Tour Code: OAE
USA - Beijing
Your Ritz Tours Premiere Vacation begins as you board an international jetliner bound for China. Traverse the Pacific, crossing the international dateline to arrive at Beijing, transferring planes in Hong Kong.
After clearing customs and baggage retrieval, exit to the arrival hall where your Ritz Tours guide awaits. As the motorcoach enters Beijing, you observe that the city is in the final stages of preparation for the coming 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The 2008 Beijing Olympics logo abounds everywhere and is one of China’s most protected trademarks. Your accommodations in Beijing are at the new flagship property the Sofitel Wanda. Settle in to the plush accommodations to catch up on some rest as a full day of sightseeing awaits tomorrow.
Beijing (AB, L, DP)
Beijing is home to over 13 million inhabitants and is China’s capital city. Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle moved the capital here in 1620 and it has served in that capacity since that time. The city tour starts with sprawling Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square covering 99 square acres. As you walk through the square, revel in the sheer size of it and the number of people that pack it. Walk across the street to the Forbidden City, the official home to China’s emperors. Enter through the gates of the Forbidden City; in the past commoners were not allowed onto its grounds. Ample time will be allocated to this, the largest imperial palace compound in the world. Located on the grounds is the famous Palace Museum where numerous cultural artifacts are to be seen. Rounding out the day’s sightseeing is the emperor’s Summer Palace and Lake Kunming located within its grounds. Head back to the hotel to wash up before delighting your taste buds at a special Peking Duck Feast, savoring delicious duck prepared in the traditional northern fashion.
Beijing (AB, L, DH)
Without question, any tour to China must make the Great Wall its focal point. Unrivalled in sheer size, the Great Wall snakes its way 4000 miles across China’s north and was built as a defense against invading armies. Gondola cable cars take you up to the Great Wall where a spectacular vista can be seen. This afternoon, the motorcoach drops the group off at the nearby Ming Tomb Museum and the Sacred Way to the Ming Tombs for a visit. We arrive back at the hotel later in the afternoon for us to wash up before taking dinner at the hotel.
Beijing (AB, L)
Hutongs are narrow alleyways or lanes formed by the lines of Siheyuan (traditional style local homes) on both sides and are almost always associated with Beijing. After breakfast, embark on an exploration by pedicab through the hutongs of Old Town Beijing to arrive at the Siheyuan of a local resident. Here you stop for a visit which includes a lunch prepared by your host. Afterwards, the rest of the afternoon is free for your leisure activities.
Beijing - Xian (AB, L, DH)
China’s emperor was considered by his subjects to be the "Son of Heaven." Sent to earth to administer matters on earth under mandate of heaven, the emperor paid ceremonial homage to the heavens every year. During this time, the emperor would abstain from meat and come to the Temple of Heaven to pray for a bountiful harvest. On the way to the airport, you will visit the Temple of Heaven before boarding a flight to Xian, capital of the Shannxi Province. Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.
Xian (AB, L, DS)
Citizens of Xian often boast of their city’s 5000 year history is unmatched by any other city in China. Xian is certainly rich in history and culture as it served as the capital of thirteen dynasties. A farmer’s accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors in 1974 further adds to Xian’s attraction. The Terra Cotta Army was buried to protect China’s unifying emperor, Qin Shi Huang, as he journeyed into the afterlife. Three excavation pits are open to the public with a fourth dig underway. During your lunch break, a noodle-making demonstration can be viewed in the cafeteria. Head back into town, stopping at the massive City Wall and visiting to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure. Tonight’s special entertainment is the internationally acclaimed Tang Dynasty Dinner Show.
Xian - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise (AB, L, D)
Before departing Xian, enjoy a special Imperial Dumpling Banquet lunch. Later in the afternoon board a short flight bound for Chongqing. A bustling city located in the Sichuan province, Chongqing is home to some of the spiciest cuisine in all of China. Upon arrival here, head to the docks where your Victoria cruise ship awaits at the river to take us on our Majestic Yangtze River adventure. As the sun sets, the ship picks up anchor and prepares to sail down the mighty Yangtze.
Yangtze River Cruise (AB, L, D)
The first shore excursion of your cruise will occur at one of three towns (depending on local river conditions): Shibaozhai, Fengdu, or Wanzhou. Shibaozhai’s attraction lays with its 12-story tall wooden pagoda. Amazingly, it was built 400 years ago without use of a single nail. Fengdu is a peculiar site that is accessed via cable car. It contains numerous statues of devils and ghosts that roam the afterworld. Wanzhou was agglomerated in 1997 to become a part of the greater Chongqing Municipality, although it lies 143 miles away. By the time the Three Gorges Dam is completed, 47% of Wanzhou’s old urban area will be submerged.
Yangtze River Cruise (AB, L, D)
Enter the exciting part of the cruise, the famous Three Gorges! The ship passes through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest, but most visually dramatic of the three. Next up is Wu Gorge, known for its serene beauty, forest covered mountains and sheer cliffs. Arrive at Wushan where you disembark to board smaller vessels. These vessels allow access to the Lesser Gorges via one of the tributaries of the Yangtze - either Daning River or Shennong Stream. Reboard the cruise ship to pass through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the Three Gorges. In the evening, sail through the Three Gorges ship locks.
Yangtze River Cruise - Yichang - Shanghai (AB, L, DH)
On this last day of the cruise the ship arrives at Sandouping Village where you disembark to board a motorcoach taking you to the Three Gorges Dam Site. The controversial project is the largest of its type in the world and once completed in 2009, will change the landscape of the Yangtze River Valley forever. Reboard and sail on to our final destination, Yichang, where you transfer to the airport for a fligh to Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis. Check into the St. Regis upon arrival and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Shanghai (AB, L, DS)
Cosmopolitan and dynamic, Shanghai stirs the senses. China’s most modern city exudes an international flair that can be traced back 100 years when it quartered off into sections occupied by foreign nationals. Start your city tour by visiting the Yu Garden, a Ming dynasty garden ranked as one of the top four gardens in China. Continue on to the waterfront Bund, stopping to walk along the mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River lined by buildings of European heritage. The motorcoach also drives by energetic Nanjing Road, a favorite shopping area for locals. After dinner, you’ll take in an exciting performance of Chinese Acrobatics.
Shanghai - Hong Kong - Bangkok (AB, DS)
Bid farewell to China and your Ritz Tours national guide as you board a flight bound for Bangkok, the "City of Angels." Transfer to your luxury hotel to wash up and change before attending a Thai Classical Dinner Show.
Bangkok (AB, L)
Founded in 1782 by the first king of the Chakri Dynasty, Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city and also its culture, spiritual and commercial center. Buddhism is one of the cornerstones of Thai culture, and you certainly appreciate the level of devotion lavished upon the Emerald Buddha Temple. Admire the royal splendor of the Grand Palace and Coronation Hall. Later in the day, the group visits the Gems Factory before taking the remainder of the day at leisure.
Bangkok (AB, L)
Today, you explore the world famous Damnern Saduak Floating Market, Thailand’s largest and most photographed floating market on Bangkok’s timeless klongs (canals). The afternoon is spent at leisure.
Bangkok - Hong Kong (AB)
Hong Kong was incorporated to be a part of China during the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. It was a small fishing village that evolved into an international trading center. Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain in 1842 and became its colony in the far east; it was returned back to China in 1997. Known today as "Asia’s World City," it serves as China’s shining example of international commerce. Upon arrival at Hong Kong, you’re met by the Ritz Tours guide and transferred to the hotel.
Hong Kong (AB)
A half day tour of Hong Kong takes you to visit such famous landmarks as Stanley Market, Repulse Bay, and the Aberdeen’s Floating Community. Take a cable car ride up to Victoria Peak where you drink in the full panoramic vista of Hong Kong and its harbor. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free to do whatever your heart desires.
Hong Kong - USA (AB)
All too soon your Majestic Yangtze & Asia vacation is at an end as the group transfers to the airport to go home. Board your homebound international widebody jetliner as it re-crosses the Pacific to arrive back at home.
Departure & Pricing
Price includes fuel surcharge $199
Taxes of $126 not included
September 11th security fee $2.50 - $10.00 not included
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