Magical China & the Yangtze River with Hong Kong – 2012 ~ 14 days from Beijing to Hong Kong or 15 days incl. travel

Vacation Overview

Discover China’s ancient history and fascinating culture on this delightful China river cruise. Sightseeing with a Local Guide shows you the highlights in Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai, with inside visits that include the Forbidden City, Imperial Palace, Great Wall, Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs, the Terracotta Warriors, Dayan Pagoda, the Bund, the Yu Yuan Gardens, and the Children’s Palace. Attend an acrobatic show or visit the Ghost City Temple, and participate in a calligraphy class, lacquer and cloisonné workshops, and a noodle-making demonstration. You’ll also tour the ancient Hutongs by rickshaw and tour a silk factory. Enjoy a performance of the Peking Opera, “The Tang Dynasty” dinner show, and an authentic Peking Duck dinner.

On your 3-night river cruise along the majestic Yangtze, see the impressive Three Gorges Dam site. Fly to Hong Kong for three overnights that include a cable car ride up Victoria Peak for panoramic views. Drive by Repulse Bay, a popular beach area, then to the Aberdeen fishing village for a sampan ride on the harbor. Free time on your own gives you a chance to explore the many markets, taste some authentic Chinese food, listen to the sounds of the city, or take an optional excursion. It’s a memorable vacation sure to leave you with many photos and stories to share back home.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Beijing, China

Welcome to China’s capital city. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2 – Beijing

Your full-day sightseeing starts with a visit to the FORBIDDEN CITY and its IMPERIAL PALACE, once the home of China’s great emperors. Nearby is 100-acre TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE, the largest public square in the world. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and continue to the former SUMMER PALACE, a complex of pavilions, temples, and galleries set among beautifully landscaped grounds and situated on Kunming Lake. This evening, enjoy a special PEKING DUCK WELCOME DINNER in a local restaurant. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3 – Beijing

The GREAT WALL OF CHINA once stretched 4,000 miles across China’s barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. Head north to a village where the Great Wall is well preserved and walk along the wall to enjoy sweeping vistas of this mammoth fortress. Then, visit a CLOISONNÉ WORKSHOP and see local artisans use the techniques of this ancient art form to turn pieces of copper into colorful decorative items. After lunch in a local restaurant, take a leisurely walk down the SACRED WAY of the Ming Tombs and marvel at the impressive hand-carved stone statues. Tonight, experience local culture at the PEKING OPERA, including a behind-the-scenes look at the colorful makeup being applied to the performers. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4 – Beijing–Xi’an

This morning, enjoy a rickshaw ride through one of Beijing’s HUTONGS, the city’s ancient alleys. Experience life in this historic neighborhood as you are invited into the courtyard of a family’s home for tea. Later, fly to Xi’an. This evening, enjoy the “Tang Dynasty” DINNER SHOW featuring a colorful assemblage of classical performances. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 5 – Xi’an

One of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade, Xi’an today is an archaeological treasure trove. Sightseeing begins with the enormous tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974. Marvel at the legion of TERRACOTTA WARRIORS that has been guarding the burial site for 2,000 years. During lunch, enjoy a NOODLE-MAKING DEMONSTRATION by a master chef and learn how Chinese noodles are made by hand. Next, visit a LACQUER WORKSHOP followed by DAYAN PAGODA, built in 652 AD. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 – Xi’an–Chongqing (Embarkation)–Yangtze River Cruise

This morning, visit the Xi’an City Wall South Gate and learn to write like a local during a traditional Chinese CALLIGRAPHY CLASS; you may even see some locals practicing their morning Tai Chi. Next, fly to Chongqing, China’s capital during World War II. Visit a local ZOO to see pandas before boarding the Victoria Anna for a 3-night cruise through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7 – Cruising: Wanxian or Shibaozhai or Fengdu

Depending on river conditions, one of the following shore excursions will be offered: Wanxian, “Gateway to Eastern Szechuan Province,” where you will see an acrobatic show, market, and possibly a school; Shibaozhai with its 400-year-old, 12-story red wooden pagoda perched high on a cliff side; or Fengdu, where you’ll visit Ghost City Temple. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 – Cruising: Shennong Stream or Daning River

Head downstream through the first and second of the three gorges—Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic gorge, and Wu, known for its quiet beauty and forest-covered mountains. You can nearly touch the perpendicular walls rising from the riverbanks as your captain negotiates this narrow gap. After lunch, disembark for a BOAT EXCURSION down either the Daning River or Shennong Stream, depending on conditions. Continue sailing through Xiling Gorge and the Three Gorges ship locks. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 – Cruising: Three Gorges Dam Site–Yichang (Disembarkation)–Shanghai

View tiny villages clinging to hillsides as you proceed toward Yang Jia Wang. This morning, visit the THREE GORGES DAM SITE, where the Chinese progress toward building the largest dam of its kind in the world. After lunch, say farewell to your ship’s crew in Yichang and transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China’s most populous city and center of trade and industry. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 10 – Shanghai

Your sightseeing starts at the YU YUAN GARDENS, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Then, stroll along the Bund, the city’s riverfront boulevard lined with historic buildings, housing, banks, and trade houses. Visit a SILK FACTORY to learn about the silk-making process. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit the SHANGHAI MUSEUM and the CHILDREN’S PALACE, where talented children study music, dance, and theatre after school. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner followed by a spectacular ACROBATIC SHOW. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 – Shanghai–Hong Kong

Today, fly to exciting Hong Kong. (Breakfast)

Day 12 – Hong Kong

This morning’s sightseeing begins with a cable car ride up Victoria Peak for panoramic vistas of this one-of-a-kind port city. Drive by Repulse Bay, a popular beach area, then to the Aberdeen fishing village for a SAMPAN RIDE on the harbor. Next stop is STANLEY MARKET, a narrow street jammed with stalls offering clothing, arts, and crafts. The afternoon and evening are free for independent exploration. Tonight, consider an optional sunset cruise on Hong Kong’s magnificent harbor. (Breakfast)

Day 13 – Hong Kong

Take advantage of a full free day to explore this exciting city. You may wish to join one of our optional excursions to view the giant Buddha on the island of Lantau or to learn about Hong Kong’s history before the British colonized the area. Shopping is a highlight of Hong Kong with markets, malls, and shops to fit any taste and budget. Your Local Host will be happy to suggest ways to make the most of your day. (Breakfast)

Day 14 – Hong Kong

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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