A four-day cruise on the legendary Yangtze, a highlight of this tour, is one of the great river odysseys through spectacular scenery and timeless history. You'll see ancient sites and remote rural villages as well as an up-close look at the world's largest construction project, the Three Gorges Dam. The scenic highlights of this river journey are many, but most spectacular are the Three Gorges that lie upstream of the dam site. Quatang Gorge is dramatic with steep cliffs that guard ancient sites such as the Meng Liang staircase carved into rock. Wu Gorge with its twelve peaks and pristine, forest-clad mountains has been admired for centuries. During one day of your cruise, you will visit Wanxian where you may visit a silk-weaving factory and the Three Gorges Museum. This ideal tour combines the splendors of the Yangtze River with China's historic treasures. You begin in Shanghai where a full day of sightseeing introduces you to sites like the Bund, referring to Shanghai's famous waterfront which today consists of a marvelous promenade, the perfect platform for strolling along the busy riverway. A visit to the Jade Buddha Temple and a tour of the tranquil YuYuan Gardens are other highlights. Following your cruise, you fly to the unique city of Guilin where you will visit the Chinese Art Institute and later participate in a private Tai Chi lesson. In Xian, located in China's interior, you'll marvel at China's greatest archaeological excavation site, the life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors, and enjoy a special dumpling dinner. Your tour concludes with a 3-night stay in Beijing, the capital of China. Highlights include Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City, which provides a glimpse of the lives of China's mighty emperors. You'll enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime rickshaw ride through the narrow streets and alleys of Beijing's oldest part, share lunch with a family in their Hutong home, and go kite-flying during an excursion to the Great Wall.
Day #1 Overnight Flight -
Day #2 Shanghai, China - Tour Begins - Your tour begins in Shanghai, the economic capital of the People’s Republic of China. Prepare to immerse yourself in this land of stunning scenery and ancient culture.
Day #3 Shanghai - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Then, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the booming city of Shanghai. The tour includes visits to Old Town’s narrow streets and traditional buildings; the Yuyuan Gardens, an island of tranquility; the Bund, the waterfront area that was the center of 19th century colonialism; and the Children’s Palace, an ornate fortress where the local children come to learn various arts including calligraphy, piano and dance. Tonight you are sure to enjoy the amazing performers at the Acrobatic Show.
Day #4 Shanghai - Yichang - Board Cruise - A visit to the most important temple in Shanghai, the Jade Buddha Temple, brings you to the home of two white jade statues of Buddha, given to China as a gift from Burma. Fly to Yichang. Following a short drive and dinner, board your ship for a 4-night cruise of the Yangtze River.
Day #5 Three Gorges Dam - Xiling Gorge - In the morning, sail into the Xiling Gorge, the longest section of the Three Gorges. Visit the construction site of the Three Gorges Dam project. The dam, at Sandouping Village, inside the first of the three gorges, is planned to be, by far, the largest hydroelectric project in the world. Afterwards, sail through the five-step ship locks.
Day #6 Cruising - Daning River - Wu Gorge - Qutang Gorge - In the early morning, sail through the Wu Gorge, which is 25 miles long and well known for its 12 forest-covered peaks and quiet beauty with ever-changing scenery. Take an exciting excursion through the Daning River Lesser Three Gorges, which is much narrower. In the afternoon, sail through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most dramatic.
Day #7 Cruising - Fengdu - Enjoy a visit to Snow Jade Cave, a newly discovered cave rated as the most beautiful in China by the China National Geographic Society. It is a budding cave full of snow and jade-like stalactite and stalagmite with amazing shapes.
Day #8 Chongqing - Disembark Ship - Guilin - You arrive at the scenic mountain city of Chongqing. Disembark your ship and if time permits, visit the Stilwell Museum and Eling Park. Later, fly to the beautiful city of Guilin.
Day #9 Guilin - Today you have a full day at leisure to relax or explore Guilin on your own. Or, you may choose to take an optional excursion which includes a cruise on the Li River where you’ll admire the landscapes that have inspired artists and poets for centuries, followed by a visit to Yangshuo’s bustling market to bargain with the locals for souvenirs.
Day #10 Guilin - Xian - Experience peace and tranquility as you participate in a private Tai Chi lesson. Many believe that this ancient form of exercise is the secret to Chinese longevity. Next, visit the Reed Flute Caves, with its wonderful underground scenery. After lunch enjoy a stop at Elephant Trunk Hill before boarding your flight to Xian, located in China’s interior.
Day #11 Xian - Your tour of this former capital of China begins with a visit to the excavation site of the Terra-Cotta Warriors. This vast clay army, 7,000 strong, was created to guard one of China’s emperors in the afterlife. You'll be amazed by the craftsmanship - each soldier has a different face.
Day #12 Xian - Begin your day with a visit to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the world, the classical Wild Goose Pagoda. From here you will step into the courtyards of Xian’s Islamic Mosque, which reflects the city’s gateway to the Silk Road. Enjoy an imperial lunch today with 20 courses of dumplings! Later, climb to the top of the ancient city wall and enjoy the views of the city.
Day #13 Xian - Beijing - This morning you fly to the capital of China, Beijing. A fascinating sightseeing tour of Beijing includes visits to imposing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the vast 15th century complex of palaces, courtyards, and gardens that was once home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. A visit is also made to the Temple of Heaven, an impressive shrine where Chinese emperors worshipped their gods. This evening a special treat is in store - a Peking duck dinner, followed by a special Peking Opera show.
Day #14 The Great Wall - No visit to China would be complete without visiting the Great Wall where you can walk along a portion of this 3,700-mile marvel. Later, travel through the valley of the Ming Tombs, burial sites of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors. Your route takes you for a scenic walk along an avenue called the Sacred Way.
Day #15 Beijing - This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Summer Palace. Later take a once-in-a-lifetime rickshaw tour through the narrow streets and alleys of the oldest part of Beijing. With help from an interpreter, learn about a local family’s history and way of life when you share lunch with them in their Hutong home. They will also teach you the art of traditional dumpling making! Next, visit with a local Kite Master and learn the art of making kites and the history of this most cherished pastime of the Chinese people. Your final stop is a traditional tea ceremony before returning to your hotel. Later, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
Day #16 Beijing - Tour Ends - Your tour ends in Beijing.