Visits: Beijing, Xian, Yangtze River Cruise, Guilin, Shanghai Tour Code: OAR
USA - Beijing
Your China and Yangtze vacation is at hand as you prepare to board a widebody jetliner bound for Beijing. The plane traverses the Pacific Ocean, crossing the international date line to arrive in China.
Touch down in Beijing, the capital city of China. After retrieving your bags and clearing customs, you are met by the Ritz Tours guide in the arrival hall and transferred to the luxuriously appointed accommodations to catch up on some sleep. On the way to the hotel, you’ll surely notice the number of bicycles sharing the road with cars. Most of the 13 million inhabitants of Beijing make use of bicycles and public transportation rather than automobiles!
Beijing ( AB, L, DP)
Located exactly in the middle of Beijing, the Forbidden City was the imperial palace to the emperor and his royal court. Covering a vast, expansive 74 hectares, it stands as the world’s largest palace complex; it was home to Ming and Qing emperors from 1420 to 1924, when the last emperor Puyi abdicated the throne. In the afternoon, continue on to another "world’s largest" - Tiananmen Square. Located right across the street from the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square is the world’s largest open-air urban square. After lunch, the group spends time walking along Lake Kunming at the Summer Palace, the emperor’s place for respite from Beijing summer heat. Tonight, you attend a special Peking Duck Feast, savoring the tasty morsels of duck prepared in the traditional local style.
Beijing ( AB, L, DH)
The Great Wall of China embodies the magnificence and resilience of Chinese Culture. Spanning thousands of miles across five provinces and two autonomous regions, the Great Wall stands as one of the seven great man-made wonders of the world. It is surely the focal point of any tour to China and today our group spends plenty of time walking atop its ancient walkways. Descend later to visit the Sacred Way where visitors can walk along the path which Ming emperors made their final journey to the heavens. The Ming Tomb Museum will also be visited. Upon returning to the city, dinner is served at the hotel.
The entire day has been set aside for free time. Take the opportunity to explore the city of Beijing at your own pace. If you desire, an optional tour can be taken to Old Town Beijing. For this tour, a pedicab takes you through the famously narrow, winding "hutongs" of the Old Town, stopping at the actual siheyuan (traditional Beijing-style home) of a local resident for a home visit including lunch.
Beijing - Yichang - Yangtze Cruise (AB, L, D)
The last scenic stop before departing Beijing for Yichang by air is the Temple of Heaven. Chinese emperors were considered to be the "son of Heaven." Accordingly, the Temple of Heaven is where they came each year to pray for the coming harvest and pay homage to the heavens. Yichang is the economic and cultural center of China’s Hubei Province and serves as the starting point of your Yangtze adventure. Upon arrival you are transferred to the docks where the Victoria Cruise ship awaits.
Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Our ships first stop is at Sandouping Village where the group disembarks to experience firsthand the massive Three Gorges Dam Project. An engineering project of unrivalled scale, the Three Gorges Dam will curb the devastating floods of the Yangtze and provide new hydroelectric power to the Yangtze River Valley. Reboard later as the ship sails through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges at 41 miles long and also its highest (4000 feet).
Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Disembark at Wushan to board smaller vessels for a leisurely ride through Daning River to access the Lesser Gorges, which offers picturesque rock formations, clear running waters, and even monkeys and goats along its banks. Depending on river conditions, Shennong Stream may be visited instead of Daning River. Reboard our Victoria cruise ship as she sails through Wu Gorge, reknowned for its quiet beauty, and Qutang Gorge, the shortest and most dramatic of the Three Gorges.
Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )
Today’s shore excursion will occur either at Shibaozhai, Fengdu or Wanzhou, largely dependent on local river conditions. Shibaozhai is famous for its 12 story tall, 400 year old wooden pagoda; it is significant to note that not a single nail was used in its construction. Fengdu is known as the "Ghost City" and is the depiction of the after-life as envisioned by the ancients. Wanzhou is known as the gateway to the Eastern Sichuan Province.
Yangtze Cruise - Chongqing - Xian (B,L,DH)
Sadly, the Yangtze River Cruise portion of your tour ends upon arrival at Chongqing this morning. Head into town for a brief tour of this important mountain city of the Sichuan Province, which also happens to be China’s largest municipality. Board a flight to Xian, the much celebrated starting point of the famed Silk Road. On the way into town, drive by the well-preserved ancient City Wall. Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.
Xian (AB, L, DS)
Xian was the former capital of China and enjoys a long and storied history. More recently, the accidental 1974 unearthing of Qin Shi Huang’s Terra Cotta Army ranks as one of the world’s most significant archeological discoveries and is the highlight of today’s sightseeing. The magnificent Terra Cotta Army features over eight thousand soldiers and horses standing in battle formation. After reviewing the troops at the three excavation pits, head back into town to tour the City Wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Tonight’s schedule is abundant as a delicious Imperial Dumpling Banquet has been prepared for dinner. Aftwards dinner, attend the Tang Dynasty Stage Show, an internationally reknowned performance which captures imaginations.
Xian - Guilin (AB, L, DH)
Depart Xian for Guilin, regarded by many as being China’s most picturesque cities. Guilin was founded in 111 BC under the reign of Han emperor Wu. A famous Chinese saying praises "Guilin’s scenery is unmatched under heaven." Upon arrival the group takes a tour around town, stopping at Elephant Trunk Hill and the Reed Flute Cave, marveling at the unearthly stalactite and stalagmite formations inside. Dinner is served at the hotel this evening.
Guilin (AB, L, DS)
Along the stretch of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo, towering karst peaks rise straight up to the sky and serene mountains provide a fitting complement to the beautiful water. As you cruise down the Li River, you may see cormorant birds streak down from the sky into the waters below, emerging with fish in their beaks. Lunch is served onboard the river boat. Return to Guilin by motorcoach where tonight you attend a special Minority Folk Dance show.
Guilin - Shanghai (AB, L, DH)
Board a short flight to Shanghai, China’s most populous city and its economic heartbeat. As the group embarks on the city tour, it’s hard to believe that this once sleepy business town would grow into a busy seaport and become China’s embodiment of cosmopolitan grandeur. It is an international city where visitors can clearly see the vestiges of old being blended with Western culture. The motorocoach will drive by Nanjing Road, the quintessential shopping street for locals, and then proceed to the waterfront Bund. Time permitting, we will also visit the Yu Garden; if not, then tomorrow. Check in to the hotel to wash up before dinner.
Shanghai (AB, DS)
After breakfast, the motorcoach takes you to world famous Shanghai Museum. Spend the entire morning perusing the 120,000 pieces of Chinese relics including collections of ancient bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, sculptures and coins. The afternoon is free at leisure and lunch is on your own. If you desire, you 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. Tonight,the group convenese for dinner followed by Chinese Acrobatics Show to round out the evening.
Shanghai - USA (AB)
Bid a fond farewell to China and the Yangtze River as you board your homebound international flight.
Departure & Princing:
Price includes fuel surcharge $175. Taxes of $108 not included
September 11th security fee $2.50 - $10.00 not included
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