CHINA, TIBET & YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE

Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Yangtze River Cruise & Shanghai

Overview

TOUR CODE: SCLHYZ

This is the ideal journey for travelers who want to experience the historic and scenic diversity of China’s wonders. Marvel at Beijing’s imposing Great Wall and impressive Imperial Palace before heading to Xian where you will witness one of the greatest archaeological achievements – the Terracotta Warriors. Marvel at Tibet’s renowned Potala Palace and its sweeping spectacular landscapes before cruising down stream on the magnificent Yangtze River to admire the view of the Three Gorges. Stroll through the grand colonial Bund Riverfront, walk through the local streets of the Chinese Old Quarter in Shanghai. Experience China’s immense history, culture, and geographic diversity on a truly memorable journey.

What’s Included

  • 3 nights in a Deluxe Room at Regent Hotel in Beijing
  • 2 nights in a Deluxe Room at Wyndham Grand Xian South Hotel in Xian
  • 4 nights in a Deluxe Room at Shangri-la Hotel Lhasa
  • 4 days/3 nights downstream Yangtze River Cruise in a Superior Cabin aboard the Victoria Cruises
  • 2 nights in a Superior Room at Radisson Blu New World Hotel in Shanghai
  • 29 meals: 14 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • English speaking guide
  • All transfers, sightseeing tours and cultural performances as specified in itinerary
  • Hotel taxes and service charge

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARRIVE BEIJING

We arrive in the Chinese capital and transfer to our hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure.

DAY 02

TIANANMEN SQUARE/FORBIDDEN CITY/HUTONGS /TEMPLE OF HEAVEN (B/L/D)

This morning, visit Tiananmen Square (literally known as Gate of Heavenly Peace) for a stroll on the largest public plaza on earth. Lying in the center of Beijing, Tiananmen Square is thought of as the very heart of the city. The square, in spite of its past events, remains one of the most popular venues in Beijing.  Here, on any given day, thousands of visitors gather to walk, or enjoy the view of the monuments that surround the square. Proceed to the extraordinary Forbidden City (closed on Monday).  Center of the Chinese world for nearly 500 years, the Imperial Palace remains the most complete and best preserved collection of ancient buildings in China.  Called the “Forbidden City” for the exclusive nature of the emperors who built and inhabited it, the Palace is a vast complex of halls, pavilions, courtyards and walls.  It was within these walls that 24 emperors of two dynasties, aided by their ministers, eunuch guards, concubines and servants, acted out the drama of ruling imperial China from the early Ming Dynasty in 1420 to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Before we head out for our afternoon tour, lunch will be served at a local restaurant. This afternoon, enjoy a pedicab ride through Beijing’s hutongs.  “Hutong” is a Manchurian term referring to the network of small winding alleyways that once covered the city of Beijing.  Like a warren of interconnecting alleyways, islands of neighborhoods were created within the larger area of the city.  Although many of Beijing’s hutongs are now giving rise to modern skyscrapers, patches of simple courtyard houses have managed to survive the modern age.  A brief stroll through the hutongs concludes with a visit to one of the local families here. Visit the Temple of Heaven, a perfection of Ming architecture and one of the symbols of Beijing.  Built in 1420, this huge site (twice the size of the Forbidden City) follows a route traversed by past emperors and their entourages in splendid procession from which the commoner had to avert his eyes.  The emperors came to the Temple of Heaven during the winter solstice to offer sacrifices to Heaven and pray for bountiful harvests – momentous occasions for which the temple’s beauty and simplicity provided a fitting background. Tonight we enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 03

GREAT WALL AT MUTIANYU/SUMMER PALACE (B/L)

This morning, you will be driven to the Great Wall at the Mutianyu site. Here you will have the opportunity to ride a cable car up and a toboggan sled down.  You can take the cable car up to the Wall (or the chairlift) and then come down by bobsled – an artificial steel track has been laid down the mountain slope (not suitable for children) – if you do not take the bobsled you can come back down by either the cable car or the chair lift. Rising from the wash of waves along China’s Bohai Gulf in the east, riding the crest of rugged forest-mantled mountains in north China and running across the grassy steppe and desert waste of the far northwest, the Great Wall is the ultimate expression of China’s past.  Imposing and almost defying possibilities this stunning structure literally defined a border between worlds far removed from each other.  Its towering ramparts threw up a defense against the incursions marauding nomad hordes while within its walls flourished the light of East Asian civilization – imperial China.   Enjoy time to walk and explore the ramparts and battlement towers that once stood at the vanguard of Chinese civilization. There is no better or more fitting way to remember a visit to Beijing than to walk along the wall of time that symbolizes the imperial majesty that is China. Following lunch continue on to visit the magical Summer Palace – enjoy your visit to this ethereal garden of imperial grandeur set around the shores of Kunming Lake – last reconstruction of the imperial summer residence – history dates to the Jin dynasty (1115 – 1234) and last site from 1888 – tour by foot and by boat – walk the “Chang Lang” (the Long Corridor) and end your visit with a shared boat ride on Kunming Lake.

DAY 04

BEIJING/XIAN (B/L)

Today, transfer to the train station for your journey to Xian. In the afternoon, take a stroll along the top of the City Wall, one of the few remaining City Walls in China.  Originally built to provide the inner city with an effective means of defense against attack, the City Wall contains four gates and a large number of that towers and bastions. X’ian City Wall is the best preserved, oldest and largest ancient city defense system in China. It is also one of the most important landmarks of the city. Proceed with a walk through Xian’s Muslim Quarter en route to the mosque. The Great Mosque, one of the most interesting sites in a city known for its rich history.  While the Buddhist traditions of Chinese culture are well known to most visitors, the influence exerted by Islam is not.  Yet, of the religious beliefs within China today, no one can claim the strength of belief that Islam does. Following your visit to the Mosque, proceed to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is the second religious building to survive from the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.).  It formed part of the Temple of Great Mercy and Goodness, built by Prince Li Zhi in the first half of the 7th Century in honor of his mother.

DAY 05

SHAANXI PROVINCIAL HISTORICAL MUSEUM/TERRACOTTA WARRIORS MUSEUM (B/L)

In the morning, discover the Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum, China’s most renowned. After a traditional dumpling lunch at a local restaurant, take a short drive to one of the most marvelous archeological discoveries, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian. This underground tomb is home to a vast army of unique soldier statues that once served the sole purpose of protecting the Qin Emperor in his afterlife. You will also have the opportunity to witness the Circle Vision Documentary on the history of the site and to view the bronze chariots and horse sculptures which are the most precious centerpiece of the Terracotta Warriors Museum.

DAY 06

XIAN/LHASA (B/D)

In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital and the only major city. Sitting on a plateau on the northern side of the Himalayas, Tibet is an autonomous region of China covers an area 965,000 square miles. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your Tibetan guide at the airport. From the airport, drive into  town along the beautiful Kyi Chu River, taking approximately 60 minutes. After we check into our hotel, enjoy the rest of the day to relax and acclimate to the high altitude at an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. It is critical to stay well hydrated and avoid over-exertion until you are more used to the altitude.

DAY 07

POTALA PALACE/NORBULINGKA PALACE/NORBULINGKA PALACE/SERA MONASTERY (B/D)

A delightful morning will be spent at the legendary Potala Palace. With nearly 10,000 rooms and towers rising majestically from the face of the sacred Putuo Hill. This impressive architecture was once the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. Continue to the Norbulingka Palace, the former Summer Palace of Tibetan Kings. Afterward, continue to Sera Monastery, its name was derived from the Tibetan language “Sera” which means wild rose. The hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when it was built. Colorful debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here and these imply a style distinctive from those at Lhasa’s other famous monasteries. In the evening, enjoy a Tibetan Folk Show (Wencheng Princess Show) and get immersed to their culture through music and dances.

DAY 08

DREPUNG MONASTERY/JOKHANG MONASTERY/BARKHOR MARKET (B/D)

Today’s adventure features the cliff top of the Drepung Monastery for a panoramic view of Lhasa city. Built in 1416, the Drepung Monastery was the home of the Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built in the 17th century. Resembling a heap of white rice from a distance, it was dubbed “Monastery of the Collecting-Rice” or Drepung Gompa in Tibetan. In the afternoon, tour the 7th century Jokhang Monastery, one of the holiest shrines in Tibet where pilgrims come to bow before the statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha which is lavishly enthroned in silver and gold. Stroll through the Barkhor Market where a maze of streets lined with stalls where all sorts of goods are sold before returning to your hotel for a free evening.

DAY 09

GANDEN MONASTERY/DRAK YERPA CAVES (B/D)

In the morning, drive 30 miles east of Lhasa to visit the spectacularly situated Ganden Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism, located on top of Wangpori mountain. Admire fantastic views of Lhasa valley as you perform kora by walking a full circle around the sacred grounds. On your way back to Lhasa, continue along the opposite side of the Kyi Chu Valley to visit the Drak Yerpa caves, one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet.

DAY 10

LHASA/CHONGQING/YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE (B/D)

This morning, we will return to the airport for our flight to picturesque Chongqing, the “Mountain City”. Following dinner at a local restaurant, we board our Victoria Cruises ship and set sail this evening

DAY 11

YANGTZE CRUISING/SHIBAOZHAI OR FENGDU EXCURSION (B/D)

Take a shore excursion to Shibaozhai, with its impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named “The Pearl of the Yangtze”. Depending on river conditions, an alternate excursion may be substituted to Fengdu, visiting the new relocation village built for families who have moved as a result of the Yangtze’s rising waters brought about by the Three Gorges Dam. You may also take an optional shore excursion to Fengdu’s “Ghost City” (river conditions permitting), known for its statues of ghosts and devils on Mingshan Hill.

DAY 12

YANGTZE CRUISING/ QUTANG GORGE/ WU GORGE/SMALL GORGES/XILING GORGE (B/L/D)

Enjoy the breathtaking river landscapes of the Yangtze as you cruise through the Qutang Gorge, the first of  Yangtze’s three enchanted gorges, famous for its high cliffs and steep precipices with sharp edges rising one after another on either side of the Wu Gorge, home to the twelve peaks of the Wu Mountains. Transfer to another vessel for a relaxing excursion through the attractive gorges of Goddess Stream. Depending on river conditions, an alternate excursion may be substituted to the gorges of Shennong Stream. Sail on to the Xiling Gorge, the longest of the famed Three Gorges. You may also take an optional shore excursion to White Emperor City (river conditions permitting), an ancient city overlooking the western end of Qutang Gorge.

DAY 13

YANGTZE CRUISING/THREE GORGES DAM/SHANGHAI (B/L)

We tour the site of the vast Three Gorges Dam Project this morning then continue cruising to Yichang. Disembark in Yichang and fly to Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.”. Tonight’s dinner is on our own.

DAY 14

THE BUND/OLD CHINESE QUARTER/YU YUAN GARDEN/ACROBATICS SHOW (B/L)

Start your day with breakfast at the hotel and begin your tour at The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a new landmark of Shanghai which faces the Bund across the Huangpu River at Lujiazui, the busiest part of Pudong new area. At a height of 1,535 ft, it is the tallest TV tower in Asia. An elevator whisks visitors to the tower’s observational deck, where they can feast their eyes on a panoramic view of Shanghai. The tower is equipped with tourist service facilities, including eateries, shops and recreational centers. Proceed to The Bund. This waterfront area sweeping along the Huangpu River has become the center of Shanghai’s foreign business establishment and the symbol of Shanghai’s identity as a modern city.  Take a walk through Shanghai’s old Chinese quarter to the lovely Yu Yuan garden, a 16th century Ming Dynasty private garden and residence.  Despite Shanghai’s crowded lanes and teeming masses, the garden remains an oasis of tranquility.  Its deceptive size, laid out with many corners and breezeways to give one the illusion of size, houses in exquisite harmony the essential elements of a Chinese garden – pavilions, water, vegetation, rock formations, and bridges. The Old Town refers to the original Chinese city that flourished in the Ming dynasty. The architecture of the area has been restored to the original Ming period style. For lunch, Dim Sum will be served and the rest of the day is free at leisure. Tonight we dine on our own then attend an acrobatics show.

DAY 15

SHANGHAI DEPARTURE (B)

This morning you will be transferred to the airport by private vehicle and Maglev Train.  The traditional, long-aspired dream of Chinese philosophers was to be able to “run with the wind” is now a reality in Shanghai with the world’s first commercial magnetic levitation train, the Maglev. Beginning operation in 2004, the $1.2 billion Maglev covers 20 miles from Pudong to the outskirts of the city in a blistering 7 minutes and 20 seconds. With a design speed of over 310 mph and a regular service speed of 267 mph, Shanghai’s Maglev is the world’s fastest railway system in commercial operation. On arrival at Pudong International Airport, you will be assisted with your check-in for the international flight.

Meals: B= Breakfast   L= Lunch    D=Dinner

Contact us at (800) 988-4833 or Email us to Book this Trip NOW!

Pricing

Per person, based on double occupancy

    2018Land Only
    Jul 21$4,299
    Aug 18$4,299
    Sep 08, 22$4,399
    Oct 13, 20$4,199
    Nov 03$3,899
    2019
    Apr 20$4,199
    May 18$4,399
    Jun 22$4,299
    Jul 20$4,499
    Aug 10$4,499
    Sep 21$4,599
    Oct 12$4,399
    Nov 02$3,999
    Internal Air (Price is approximate and subject to change)$1,400
    Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. This is a land only package without International and China domestic airfares . Tour prices include hotel taxes and service charges. (LO/071418/C-10)

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