Embark on an exciting adventure to China and the Yangtze as we board our trans-Pacific flight bound for Beijing. Depending on seasonality and time zone, China is a full half-day ahead of us. As such, spend the night aboard as the plane traverses the Pacific, crossing the international date line to arrive in Beijing.
The flight arrives at China’s capital city of Beijing where we deplane, retrieve baggage, then clear customs to be met and greeted by our tourguide in the arrival hall. Luxury hotel accommodations have been provided for us to catch up on some well deserved rest after the long flight.
Beijing ( AB, L, DP )
After breakfast we embark the first day of sightseeing. Beijing was selected as the host city for the 2008 Olympics and we can see much signs of preparation as our motorcoach takes us around. Home to over 13 million residents, Beijing is the political center of a modern China. Visit Tiananmen Square, whose 100 acres make it the largest public square in the world. Next in store for us is the Forbidden City, the official abode to the emperor and his royal court. During China’s imperial era, commoners were not allowed inside its gates except by special invitation. The emperor’s summer abode is visited this afternoon; enjoy a walk along Lake Kunming at the Summer Palace. In the evening, our group attends a fabulous Peking Duck Banquet to savor a taste of duck prepared in the traditional fashion.
Beijing ( AB, L, DH)
The Great Wall of China is one of the seven great man-made wonders of the world and definitely China’s star attraction. Meandering 4000 miles across China’s northern regions, the Great Wall was built as a defensive structure by China’s unifying emperor Qin Shi Huang and took multiple dynasties to reach completion. Ample time will be provided for us to surveying this symbol of ancient Chinese civilization; don’t miss the opportunity walk atop the wall and gaze into the northern frontier. Later, descend the Wall to visit the nearby Sacred Way and Ming Tomb Museum. Tonight, dinner is served at the hotel.
Beijing - Urumqi (AB, L, DH)
Leaving the comforts and city style of the big metropolis, we travel by air to the far removed world of the Silk Road. On the way to the airport, stop at the somber Temple of Heaven where emperors came to pray for a bountiful harvest. Arrive at Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Xinjiang is home to many of China’s ethnic minorities whose wonderful cultures add extra delight as we continue on this amazing journey.
Urumqi (AB, L, DP)
Our full day city tour of Urumqi takes us to visit Heavenly Lake (Tianchi) situated at an elevation of over 6000 ft; it is surrounded by green pastures and pristine conifer forests. Snowy Alp-like peaks soar to great heights and enclose the lake. Take a boat ride on Heavenly Lake and escape into a peaceful, dream-like world. Time is spent this afternoon at a huge open-air bazaar. In the evening, we have a better appreciation for Uighur culture as w enjoy a superb local roast lamb dinner.
Urumqi - Turpan - Urumqi (AB, L, D)
After breakfast this morning, we board our motorcoach and journey across the dry basin area to the oasis town of Turpan. Pass by Flaming Mountain to visit the ancient city of Jiaohe, once an important garrison town on the Silk Road. Located in Flaming Mountain is Grape Valley, an entire area filled with juicy sweet green grapes. The entire Turpan region has for 2000 years relied the Karez underground irrigation system for water. Go underground to view the system before heading back to Urumqi
Urumqi - Dunhuang (AB, L, DS)
Lush green fields and rolling sand dunes of Dunhuang served as a rest stop for weary traders on the Silk Road. It was also the gateway through which Buddhism, Islam and Christianity entered China. At Dunhuang we visit Singing Hill, Crescent Moon Springs and the City Museum. In the evening, we attend a local Minority Show.
Dunhuang (AB, L, DH)
The Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang have been praised as a "glittering pearl that adorns the Silk Road" and is considered the great treasure house of Buddhist arts in existence. The Mogao’s 492 grottoes contain some 45,000 sq. meters of murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures which span 10 consecutive dynasties. In the afternoon, we visit the Historic Museum, White Horse Pagoda and Film City.
Dunhuang - Xian (AB, L, DH)
Board a short flight to Xian, which served as the departure point for travelers on the Silk Road. Whereas past travelers on the Silk Road used Xian as the starting point, our Silk Road journey will use Xian as the ending point! Xian is a city that proudly enjoys a 5000 year history spanning the entire expanse of Chinese civilization. Xian, or "Chang An", was the capital for 13 dynasties and a city unrivalled in terms of historic charm. On the way into town, we stop to see the ancient and massive City Wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Dinner is served at our hotel.
Xian (AB, L, DS)
In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang unified all of China and became its first emperor. When he died, an entire Terra Cotta Army was constructed and buried with him. The discovery in 1974 of the Terra Cotta Warriors ranks as one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries and attracts throngs of visitors to Xian each year. Take time to review the troops in each of the three excavation pits, then head to back into town. For dinner tonight we enjoy an Imperial Dumpling Banquet. Afterwards, catch a performance of the captivating Tang Dynasty Stage Show, the very one lauded in all the guide books as being a "must see" in Xian.
Xian - Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise (AB, L, D)
We depart Xian for Chongqing by air. Located in Sichuan province, Chongqing is China’s largest municipality and lies in the mountainous regions. After a brief city tour, we are transferred to the docks to board our Victoria Cruise ship. In the veil of the night, the ship sets sail down the mighty Yangtze.
Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)
Our ship’s first stop occurs at one of three towns largely depending on local river conditions: Shibaozhai, Fengdu or Wanzhou. At Shibaozhai, a visit is made to the 12 story wooden pagoda - built completely without a single nail. Fengdu contains over 700 temples and is known for its statues of ghosts and devils depicting the afterlife. Wanzhou is better known as being "Gateway to Eastern Sichuan."
Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )
Enter the Three Gorges, one of nature’s most extraordinary sculptures. Qutang Gorge is the shortest and narrowest of the three but also reputedly the most visually dramatic. The 25 mile long Wu Gorge is known for its serene beauty, forest-covered mountains, and sheer cliffs. Xiling Gorge is the longest at 41 miles and also the steepest (4000) feet. Xiling Gorge is actually comprised of seven smaller gorges whose varied names are all based on ancient legends. Disembark at Wushan and transfer to smaller vessels which afford us access to the Lesser Gorges at either the Daning River or Shennong Stream. In the evening, our cruise ship sails through the Three Gorges ship locks.
Yangtze River Cruise - Yichang - Shanghai (AB, L, DH)
The Three Gorges Dam is being built to control the devastating floodwaters of the Yangtze while generating hydroelectric power. Originally envisioned by Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the Dam is scheduled for completion in 2009 and will raise the water level of the Yantze River. Take a bus ride up to the Three Gorges Dam site, the largest undertaking of its type in the world. Our ship’s arrival at Yichang marks the end of our Yangtze cruise. Transfer to the airport to board our flight to Shanghai, arriving later in the day. Dinner is served at the hotel.
Shanghai (AB, L, DS)
With a population of over 16 million, Shanghai stands as China’s largest city and its shining star of commerce. It is a cosmopolitan city with a hundred years of international influence. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River adorned by architecture of European heritage. Our city tour also includes visits to beautiful Yu Garden and a drive down bustling shopping district at Nanjing Road. Finally, spend time surveying the exhibits at the famous Shanghai Museum. Before turning in for the day, we attend a special performance of Chinese Acrobatics.
Shanghai - USA (AB)
Our China and Yangtze River vacation is over all too soon as we are transferred to the airport to board the homebound international flight. Cross the international date line to arrive back at home.
Victoria Cruise (DN)
Departure & Pricing
Price includes fuel surcharge $175. Taxes of $128 not included
September 11th security fee $2.50 - $10.00 not included
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