Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in Beijing, China’s capital and cultural hub, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.
Beijing | Imperial Beijing
After a morning welcome briefing, participate in a tai chi lesson at the Temple of Heaven, one of the iconic sites of Beijing and a classic example of Ming architecture. After lunch, explore Tiananmen Square, and then walk in the footsteps of emperors in the Forbidden City, seat of imperial power for centuries. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow guests.
Beijing | Walking the Great Wall
Travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Walk or ride a cable car to the top and view the countryside. Return to Beijing this afternoon, where you Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong — a neighborhood of small winding alleyways.
Xian | In the Heart of China’s Eternal City
Fly to Xian, made famous by Marco Polo. Once a vital stop on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Asian and Middle Eastern influences. This afternoon, view the Great Mosque, a fascinating site blending classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments. Visit the city’s lively Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets.
Xian | Terra Cotta Warriors, Army for the Afterlife
Today, view the incomparable Terra Cotta Warriors, lost to the world for two millennia until accidentally discovered by a farmer in 1974. Explore them with an on-site archaeologist at your side. Then, enjoy a private Chef’s Table experience in dumpling-making. Later, enter the Ancient Gate of Xian’s City Wall and cycle or stroll along its ramparts.
Chengdu | Spicy Sichuan
Fly to Chengdu. Visit the People’s Park, the city’s largest public park, where you immerse yourself in local life and culture, watching area residents play traditional Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai chi. Enjoy a tea demonstration at a local teahouse. This evening, savor local Sichuan specialties at a traditional hot pot dinner.
Chengdu | Up Close with Pandas
Visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center and observe giant pandas roaming in their natural habitat. Then, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to relax or explore Chengdu, a city renowned for its thriving music scene and nightlife.
Lhasa | Gateway to Tibet
Fly to Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet, one of the highest cities on earth at 12,000 feet and your home for the next three nights. Relax and acclimatize.
Lhasa | Buddhist Treasures and Monk Debates
Visit the vibrant Ani Tsankhung Nunnery and experience the spiritual heart of Tibet at the sacred Jokhang, a 1,300-year old temple. Wander Lhasa’s Barkhor Bazaar, and visit the Dropenling Tibet Handicraft Development Center. Continue to renowned Sera Monastery to witness lively “monk debates.” Then, discover the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence at Norbulingka, surrounded by trees, ponds, gardens and pavilions.
Lhasa | Footsteps of the Dalai Lama
Visit Sanggye Dhunghor, where some 200 statues are carved into a dramatic rock face. Next, venture beyond the towering walls of the awe-inspiring Potala Palace, former winter residence of the Dalai Lama.
Cruising the Yangtze | Asia’s Great River
Disembark for a shore excursion to Fengdu where you visit a village relocated by construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Meet a local family, visit a kindergarten and take in a kaleidoscope of sights at a farmers market. This evening, attend the Captain’s Reception.
The Three Gorges | China’s Ultimate Scenery
Early this morning, ‘Yangzi Explorer’ navigates the Qutang and Wu Gorges before anchoring at Badong, where you board a ferry and travel up the Shennong Stream. Disembark to board local “pea pod” boats poled by Tujia boatmen and view the scenic Bamboo Gorge. The Tujia are members of a local minority culture famed for their boat-building skills and keen knowledge of the Yangtze. Tonight, gather for a “Taste of China” Dinner experience.
Yichang to Shanghai | Disembark ‘Yangzi Explorer’
Arrive at the Three Gorges Project Dam Site. Following time for a photo opportunity, fly to Shanghai. Upon arrival, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s historic Bund. The balance of the afternoon and evening are at leisure.
Shanghai | Exhilarating Metropolis
Explore Shanghai, visiting Zhujiajiao, a water village evoking China’s medieval past. Cruise its main canal in a sampan (wooden boat). Enjoy a Scenic Sundowner at the House of Roosevelt, taking in skyline views of Shanghai. Then, attend a Shanghai Acrobatic show.
Shanghai | Thriving Waterfront
Stroll the Bund, Shanghai’s popular promenade. Then, wander the streets of Old Town and visit the 16th-century Yu Garden. Later, explore the M-50 Contemporary Art District, and gather for a festive farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home or to depart for a post-tour extension.