Visits: Beijing, Xian,Guilin,Yangshuo ,Shanghai,Suzhou Tour Code: OAZ
USA - Beijing
We begin our vacation by boarding our flight bound for China. As the jetliner flies over the Pacific, spend the night aboard and cross the international date line.
Arrive at Beijing where we are met by our Ritz tourguide after clearing customs and baggage retrieval. Beijing is the capital of modern China and is home to over 13 million people. On the way into town, we see that it is a city in the midst of putting its best face forward to greet the fanfare that will be the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Catch up on some rest after the trans-Pacific flight in our luxury accommodations.
Beijing (AB, L, DP)
A busy day is in store for us today as we embark in the morning for our city tour of Beijing. Head first to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace grounds containing 800 buildings and some 8000 rooms. It was the home to the Ming and Qing emperors and is a truly spectacular way to start off our China adventure. Revel in the symbol of Chinese sovereignty and realize that during the reign of the emperors, mere commoners were not allowed on the ground we’re walking on. Our next stop is Tiananmen Square, located across the street, just south of the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square was built in 1651 and holds the record as being the world’s largest public square. After lunch, we also take walk along Lake Kunming at the emperor’s Summer Palace. Later in the afternoon, our motorcoach takes us back to the hotel to wash up before evening activities - a sumptuous Peking Duck Feast!
Beijing (AB, L, DH)
The sprawling Great Wall runs almost 4000 miles across China’s north (long than even the Yangtze!) and is one of the world’s seven great man-made wonders. Construction of the Wall began in the 3rd century BC and was a work in process until the 17th century AD. This defensive wall was built to protect citizens from the constant attacks from the Mongols, Turks, and other nomad tribes from the north. We walk atop a section of the Wall and appreciate its imposing wonder. After the Great Wall our destination is the Sacred Way and the Ming Tomb Museum. Return to our hotel later in the afternoon; dinner is served at the hotel this evening.
There are no activities planned for today - enjoy a full day at leisure. Use the time to rest up at our luxury hotel, making full use of its facilities. Don’t miss the opportunity to take an optional tour to the Hutongs. Several hundred years old, the Hutongs of Old Town Beijing are narrow alleyways formed by the walls of "siheyuan," the traditional courtyard style homes from Beijing’s past. Sadly, many of these quaint siheyuans are being demolished and replaced with skyscrapers in Beijing’s modernization. A pedicab will take your through Old Town Beijing, navigating through the narrow Hutongs to visit the siheyuan of a local family.
Beijing - Xian (AB, L, DH)
After breakfast we are off to the airport. On the way, stop at the Temple of Heaven to experience the place of prayer to the emperors. Arrive at Xian, the ancient capital city that served as the launching point of the celebrated Silk Road. Xian’s history encompasses the entirety of Chinese civilization, a fact that its proud citizens are not remiss to impress upon us. On the way from Xianyang Airport into town, we drive by Xian’s ancient City Wall, one of the last vestiges of imperial era. Tonight, dinner is served at our hotel.
Xian (AB, L, DS)
An army of 6,000 Terra-Cotta Soldiers standing in battle formation guard the tomb of the very first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Witness this incredible archeological discovery firsthand at each of the three excavation pits (more recently a 4th one has been opened). Back in Xian, finish up the day’s tourring with a visit to the City Wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Returning to our hotel, wash up before our evening festivities including a delicious Imperial Dumpling Banquet, followed by the world famous Tang Dynasty Stage Show.
Xian - Guilin (AB, L, DH)
Board a domestic flight that flies southwest to Guilin, a city of unrivalled natural beauty. Although not a large city (population of 670,000), it has the reputation of being one of China’s most picturesque cities. Karst limestone formations imbue Guilin’s landscape with a mystical quality. We explore Elephant Trunk Hill and the Reed Flute Cave where fantastic stalactite and stalagmite formations impress us as magical and otherworldly.
Guilin - Yangshuo (AB, L, DS)
A meandering river cruise down the Li River is a delightful way to savor the serene, fairy-tale scenery of Southern China as it passes by. We may even catch the fascinating sights of fisherman with cormorant birds! Lunch is served aboard. Our riverboat arrives at the town of Yangshuo, where we will overnight. Local conditions permitting, tonight we will attend "Yinxiang Liusanjie," an exciting local minority show performed on the banks of the Li River.
Yangshuo - Guilin (AB, L, DS)
With a population of less than 300,000, Yangshuo is quaint town situated on a small plain with the Li River on one side and numerous karst peaks surrounding it. Our group will take a tour around town, then head back to Guilin by motorcoach where, in the evening, we attend a special performance of Minority Folklore Dance.
Guilin - Shanghai - Suzhou (AB, L, DH)
We depart Guilin and head for Suzhou. Upon our flight’s arrival into Shanghai, we continue onwards by motorcoach to the picturesque canal town of Suzhou. With 2500 years of history, Suzhou is an ancient town interlaced by canals and has been aptly nicknamed the "Venice of the East."
Suzhou - Shanghai (AB, L, DH)
Our sightseeing tour of Suzhou this morning takes us to the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Grand Canal, the main trade artery that connected northern China and its south back during the Yuan Dynasty. Enjoy a cruise of the Grand Canal. Suzhou has long been known as an imporant center of the silk trade ever since the Song Dynasty. A stop has also been scheduled at a Silk Factory where we see firsthand how the excellent Chinese silk is produced and have an opportunity to shop. Return to Shanghai by motorcoach.
Shanghai (AB, L, DS)
Shanghai is a city unlike any other in China. It is the bustling, undisputed economic heartbeat of China that enjoys all of the comforts and amenities of a fully modern metropolis. Shanghai today looks to regain its former position of being one of the largest financial centers in the world, behind New York and London. It is a city that seamlessly blends East and West. Our city tour taks us to the Yu Garden, a famous example of traditional Ming horticulture. Continue on by bus to bustling Nanjing Road and The Bund, a mile-long stretch on the Huangpu River lined by turn-of-the-century European architecture. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure until we convene for dinner, then attend an exciting performance of Chinese Acrobatics.
This morning, admission tickets have been provided for us to see the exhibits at Shanghai Museum, located at the very center of the city, People’s Square. The afternoon is at leisure. We may choose either to stay at the museum for the duration of the day, continue on to Nanjing Road for free time, or head back to the hotel. After the Shanghai Museum, the rest of the day is free for our leisure activities.
Our vacation is over all too soon! Transfer to the airport to board the homebound international flight, recrossing the international date line to arrive back at home.
Sheraton Great Wall
Departure & Pricing
6/11,25, 7/09,23, 8/27
Price includes fuel surcharge $164. Taxes of $100 not included
September 11th security fee $2.50 - $10.00 not included
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