Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in the capital city of Beijing, China’s longtime seat of power, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.
Beijing | China’s Dynastic Capital
After your welcome briefing, participate in a private tai chi lesson taught by a master instructor at the ancient Temple of Heaven, the single most beautiful example of classical Ming period architecture. After lunch, take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square before exploring the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.
Beijing | View the World from 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 of the wall to take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. After experiencing this wonder of the world, return to Beijing. Then, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a vast yet intimate neighborhood of small winding alleyways dating to China’s dynastic period.
Xian | Key to the Great Silk Road
Fly to Xian, a modern city cloaked in over 3,000 years of history. Once the eastern terminus on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch, and then visit the old city quarter with its teeming markets and beautiful Great Mosque, a 14th-century national heritage site. A blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian.
Xian | Terra Cotta Warriors, Army for the Afterlife
Today, accompanied by an on-site archaeologist, visit the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the life-size army created during the Qin Dynasty to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife. More than 8,000 soldiers are spread throughout three dig pits, each revealing a unique face, testifying to the remarkable craftsmanship that went into making them. Then, enjoy a Chef’s Table dumpling-making demonstration followed by lunch. Later, enter the Ancient Gate of Xian’s impressive City Wall and stroll along its ramparts.
Chengdu | Exploring the People’s Park
Fly to Chengdu, the charming capital of Sichuan Province. After lunch, immerse yourself in local life and culture at the People’s Park, where area residents play traditional Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai chi. Observe a traditional tea demonstration and learn about unique, centuries-old match-making techniques still in use today. Tonight, enjoy a special Sichuan hot pot dinner.
Chengdu to Chongqing | Pandas & a Bullet Train
Today, visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered creatures roaming freely in their natural habitat. Then, board a high-speed train for a ride through the Chinese countryside to Chongqing, where you embark on your luxury river cruiser, ‘Yangzi Explorer,’ for a three-night journey to Yichang. Settle into your cabin as the ship sails downstream to the stunning Three Gorges region. Tonight, watch a fascinating documentary on the Three Gorges Dam Project in the ship’s Tang Theater.
Cruising the Yangtze | Asia’s Great River
Start your morning with traditional Chinese exercise and work up an appetite for the buffet breakfast. Then, disembark and enjoy a shore excursion to Fengdu, where you take in local life on a visit to a village relocated to make way for the Three Gorges Dam Project. Meet with a local family, visit a kindergarten and enjoy a kaleidoscope of sights at the farmers market. This afternoon, learn about Chinese traditional medicine and reflexology. This evening, attend the Captain’s Reception.
Cruising the Yangtze | The Three Gorges
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. Transfer to “pea pod” boats poled by Tujia boatmen to 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. Return to ‘Yangzi Explorer’ by ferryboat, accompanied by a Tujia boat tracker who shares insights into his daily life. Tonight, savor a “Taste of China” dinner, followed by onboard entertainment.
Yichang to Shanghai | Disembark ‘Yangzi Explorer’
Arrive at the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Center to learn the history of the world’s largest dam, including the story of the resettlement of the 1.2 million residents of the cities submerged behind the 400-foot-tall engineering marvel. Disembark in Yichang around midday, and fly to Shanghai this evening. Upon arrival, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s historic Bund.
Shanghai | Pearl of the Orient
Explore dynamic Shanghai, where stunning modern skylines meet classic street markets and gardens. Contrast this experience with a visit to the charming rural village of Zhujiajiao, a traditional water village harkening back to China’s imperial past. Glide along its main canal on a sampan (wooden boat). Tonight, enjoy a Scenic Sundowner at POP Bar, before attending a performance by the Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe, featuring dazzling feats of strength, balance and athleticism.
Shanghai | Life on the Bund
Stroll the streets of Old Town and visit the 16th-century Yu Garden with its pavilions and streams. Walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular promenade. This afternoon, explore studios and galleries in the M-50 Contemporary Art District. Then, gather tonight for a festive farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for home or begin a Hong Kong Post-Tour Extension.