Embark on our exciting vacation as we check in at the airport to board the widebody jetliner. Our destination is Beijing, the capital city of a modern China. Spend the night aboard as the flight crosses the international date line.
Our flight touches down in Beijing where we retrieve baggage, then clear customs to meet our tourguide in the arrival hall. On the way to our luxury five star accommodations, we note the results of Beijing’s facelift process for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Traditional architecture coexist side-by-side with towering new skyscrapers. Settle in to the hotel and catch up on some rest; our exploration begins tomorrow!
Beijing ( AB, L, DP )
Our tourguide has planned a full day’s worth of activities. Begin by visiting the palatial Forbidden City for full immersion in the resplendent splendor of imperial heritage, for this was the home to Ming and Qing emperors. After spending time touring the grounds of the Forbidden City, continue on across the street to visit Tiananmen Square, or "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Later this afternoon, we also visit the Summer Palace, the emperor’s place of escape from Beijing’s hot summers. In the evening, our group will attend a special Peking Duck Feast, where we chance a taste of the sliced delicacies prepared in the traditional local style.
Beijing ( AB, L, DH)
The Great Wall is at once the imposing symbol of Chinese national pride. First constructed under the reign of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, the Great Wall spans almost 4000 miles across the northern frontier. We marvel at the incredible magnitude of the undertaking, one of the seven great man made wonders of the world. After descending from the Wall in the afternoon, our next stop is the Sacred Way and the Ming Tomb Museum. Lined by 36 stone statues of officals and animals, the Sacred Way was the divine road Ming emperors took to their resting place. Dinner is served at our hotel this evening.
Two full days of sightseeing has earned us a day free at leisure. Finally time to do some shopping and exploring on our own. Spend the day discovering the wonders of Beijing, do some bargain hunting, catch up on some rest, or perhaps steff off the beaten path for an optional tour to the ancient Hutongs of Old Town Beijing by rikshaw.
Beijing - Lhasa (AB, L, DH)
Board the flight to Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. At an elevation of some 12,000 ft above sea level, Lhasa’s thin air may cause our bodies to manifest some signs of altitude sickness. To acclimate our bodies, we are picked up and transferred to the hotel immediately upon arrival. No activities whatsoever have been scheduled this day. Please do heed the advice to not go out exploring today and just rest up indoors.
Lhasa (AB, L, D
Visitors to Lhasa must visit Potala Palace, the largest lamasery of its type in the world and the official home to the Dalai Lama. Gaze in awe at the architecture of the palace; no other place in the world affords us such a view. After all, we are standing at the "Roof of the World." Surrounding Potala Palace is Barkhor Street, meaning "eight corners." Descend the palace to walk this street whicih affords us a window into Tibetan culture and allows us the opportunity to buy colorful ethnic handicrafts rarely seen outside of Tibet. We also visit Jokang Lamasery, where monks receive their official training and education.
Lhasa (AB, L, D)
Early in the morning we head away from Lhasa by motorcoach to Shigatse, stopping at Yamdrok Ymtso Lake enroute. Located at an elevation of almost 15,000 ft above sea level, Yamdrok Lake is one of Tibet’s three holy lakes; we take lunch lakeside, enjoying the ambience provided by such peaceful, serene surroundings. Return back to Lhasa where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Lhasa - Chengdu (AB, L, DH)
Our flight departs Lhasa bound for Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan Province. With a population of 11 million, it is an important commercial, transportation, and communications hub of southwestern China. Major corporations such as Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft have opened offices in Chengdu’s Hi-Tech Development Zone. Locals have the reputation of having laid back attitudes and knowing how to enjoy life. Upon arrival, we take a city tour and then retire to our hotel.
Chengdu - Xian (AB, L, DH)
Depart Chengdu and heads towards Xian by plane. With an age of over 3100 years, Xian was the capital of 13 dynasties and the eastern end of the historic Silk Road. The Xian people are proud of the fact that their hometown is considered to be one of the most important cities in China’s long history. Dinner is served at the hotel tonight.
Xian (AB, L, DS)
The focal point of today’s sightseeing tour must be the Terra Cotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, China’s unifying emperor. Unearthed 2200 years after being buried with the emperor, its discovery in 1974 ranks as one of the world’s top archaeological discoveries and is a wonder to behold. We visit the three excavation pits, surveying the thousands of soldiers and horses standing in battle formation. Back in town, finish up the day’s touring with a visit to the massive City Wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Tonight, after a special Imperial Dumpling Banquet dinner, we attend the famous Tang Dynasty Stage Show, recipient of rave reviews from visitors all over the world..
Xian - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise (AB, L, D)
We depart Xian for Chongqing by air. Located in Sichuan province, Chongqing holds distinction as being China’s largest municipality and is famous for its tongue-numbing, spicy cuisine. After a brief city tour, we journey to the docks where our Victoria Cruise ship awaits to take us on our Yangtze River adventure.
Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)
The first shore excursion of our cruise occurs either at Shibaozhai, Fengdu or Wanzhou dependent on local river conditions. Shibaozhai’s main attraction is its 12-story wooden pagoda which was constructed without use of a single nail. Fengdu is known as the "Ghost City" and contains hundreds of statues of ghosts and devils in a depiction of the afterlife. Wanzhou is known as the "Gateway to Eastern Sichan."
Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )
Today we enter the portion of the Yantgze that contains the famed Three Gorges. The ship gingerly navigates the narrow waterway of Qutang Gorge to arrive Wushan, where we board smaller motorized vessels to access the Lesser Gorges via either Daning River or Shennong Stream. As the vessel plies through the shallow waters, we enjoy the spectacular scenery afforded by this tributary of the mighty Yangtze. Returning to the ship, we sail through Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, noting the pristine beauty of this region which has inspired so many Chinese artists past and present.
Yangtze River Cruise - Yichang - Shanghai (AB, L, DH)
Our ship arrives at Sandouping Village in the morning. Here we disembark to visit the mighty Three Gorges Dam site, the largest project of its kind in the world. Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Three Gorges Dam was the vision of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and will subdue the floodwaters of the Yangtze while providing hydroelectric power to the people. Arrival at Yichang signals the end of our Yangtze River cruise. Disembark and transfer to the airport to board a short flight to Shanghai. Dinner is served at our hotel tonight.
Shanghai (AB, L, DS)
Shanghai is China’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan city. It is also its largest with a population 17 million covering 2448 square miles. Experience the historic charm of modern Shanghai as we visit the Ming Dynasty Yu Garden, driving by famous shopping district Nanjing Road and stopping at the popular waterfront Bund. Entrance tickets have also been provided for our group to visit the Shanghai Museum. In the evening a special performance of Chinese Acrobatics has been scheduled.
Shanghai - USA (AB)
The morning is free until we board our homebound int’l flight, bidding a fond farewell to China.
Departure & Pricing
Price includes fuel surcharge $186. Taxes of $115 not included
September 11th security fee $2.50 - $10.00 not included
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