Day 1: Depart for Beijing
Travel day, board our plane and depart for Beijing.
We arrive in Beijing, meet our local guide and transfer to our hotel. Free time to freshen up before joining your tour guide a a brief orientation walking tour.
China’s ancient capital, with over 3 millennia’s worth of history, needs no introduction. Beijing is regarded as the nation’s political, economic, cultural, educational, international trade and communication center and has served as the countries capital for 850 years. Our touring begins with a visit to the Juyongguan Great Wall, one of the best preserved sections of the iconic Great Wall near Beijing. Next, we visit the Ming Tombs, the burial site for emperors and other royal family members during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD). On our way back into Beijing city we stop at the Summer Palace, which served as a royal retreat from the mid-18th Century. It consists of Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake and dozens of classic buildings and gardens all covering an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers. If time allows, we drive by the Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium where the 2008 Summer Olympics took place.
We start today with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, an imperial complex of religious buildings. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer for good harvest. Our next stop is one of the top ten largest city squares in the world, Tiananmen Square. Located in central Beijing, the square is named after the “Gate of Heavenly Peace” situated to its north. We also visit the Forbidden City bordering the north edge of Tiananmen Square. Once an imperial palace, it now houses the Palace Museum, a complex of 980 buildings covering over 180 acres. This afternoon we visit the “hutongs” or residential neighborhoods that still form the heart of Beijing and spend time with a local family to see how ordinary Chinese live.
Day 5: Beijing – Xi’an, Chongqing
This morning we transfer to the airport and fly to Xi’an, one of the ancient cities of China. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide and transfer to our hotel. We start exploring the city from the Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in China, whose architecture combines a traditional Chinese style with Islamic functionality. We continue with a stroll along the streets in the nearby Muslim Quarter where nearly 300 kinds of local foods and snacks are presented. Our last stop today is the ancient Xi’an City Wall, which is the most complete and the largest of its kind in China.
An exciting day awaits us as we travel east of Xi’an to visit the Terracotta Army. The collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, is a form of funerary art which was buried with the emperor around 210 BC in order to protect him in the afterlife. We take time to appreciate these intricate sculptures before heading to the Mausoleum of First Qin Emperor, which is situated underneath a 76-meter-tall tomb mound shaped like a truncated pyramid. After lunch, we transfer back to the city to visit the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the largest provincial museums in China housing over 370,000 historical items. This evening we enjoy a colorful Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show and Dumpling Dinner in the Shaanxi Grand Theater before returning to our hotel.
Today we visit a nearby village to meet with farmers and know more about their daily life. During the visit, we learn how to make Chinese dumplings, we use ink brushes to write Chinese calligraphy and we create Chinese paper-cuts.
This slow-paced heart of Western China, enjoy tea houses, pandas, buddhist shrines, spicy hot-pot and temples. This is a city also famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine and its leisurely lifestyle. Upon arrival, we visit Jinli Street, a busy commercial street with a history stretching back to the Qin Dynasty. Both sides of the narrow street are occupied by a variety of shops and bars in typical ancient architectural-style buildings. We continue on to visit the Broad Narrow Alley and the People’s Park, two places which are frequented by both locals and visitors. We have a cup of tea at a teahouse nearby the People’s Park to relax and do as the locals do.
Day 9: Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze River Cruise
After breakfast, we visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the only panda research center in China. The base was built to imitate the wild ecological environment of pandas and conduct regular monitors and research of how to preserve this species for future generations. We head to the train station where we catch our high-speed train from Chengdu to Chongqing. Upon arrival, we visit Goose Neck Park, the city’s first public park overlooking the hustling and bustling commercial zone of Yuzhong Peninsula. We then stroll along the streets and alleys in Ciqikou Ancient Town famous for its porcelain. After dinner, we transfer to the pier to board our five-star Yangtze River cruise.
Day 10: Yangtze River Cruise
Today we travel through two of the three gorges: Qutang and Wuxia. Note: Shore excursions are included and will be detailed and confirmed closer to travel date.
Day 11: Yangtze River cruise
Today we travel through the Gorge of Xiling and head to Yichang. Note: Shore excursions are included and will be detailed and confirmed closer to travel date.
Day 12: Yangtze River cruise – Yichang – Shanghai
Today we disembark in Yichang after a visit to the Three Gorges Dam site, the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity. We transfer to the airport for our flight to Shanghai. Arriving in Shanghai, we transfer to the hotel before heading to dinner. On our way back to the hotel, we walk along the Bund, the landmark waterfront promenade.
This morning we visit the Yu Garden which was first built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty. The garden was the largest and most prestigious of the era in Shanghai. Our next stop is Shanghai Museum, which was founded in 1952 and was first open to the public in the former Shanghai Racecourse club house. Rebuilt at its current location in 1996, Shanghai Museum is considered one of China’s first world-class, modern museums. We take some time to view the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, on our final evening in China. The distinct landmark and symbol of Shanghai was the tallest structure in China from 1994–2007, when it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center.
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for home bound flights.