Day 1: Depart for Beijing, the capital of China.
Day 2: Beijing. Arrive in Beijing. Be met and transferred to hotel.
Day 3: Beijing. Begin the day with a visit to Tienanmen Square, the world largest. Then move on to the Imperial Palace, also known as the "Forbidden City" that symbolizes the imperial and traditional China. Afternoon visit the enchanting Summer Palace, one of China's largest and best preserved imperial gardens. A Peking Duck banquet concludes your first full day activities in China. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Beijing. Today's highlight is your visit to the Great Wall, symbol of Chinese civilization. On your way back, stop at a mountain village and meet local residents. After lunch visit Temple of Heaven, the place where the emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties worshiped heaven and prayed for peace and harvest. Check out Liulichang, a traditional street lined with art and crafts shops and antique stores. Go to Beihai Park to sample the imperial cuisine at the famous Fangshan Restaurant. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Beijing - Luoyang. A short morning flight gets you to Luoyang, an ancient capital of China. Visit White Horse Temple and the exquisite Gunling. The highlight of Luoyang is the magnificent Longmen Grottoes, a Buddhist shrine that stands testimony to the prosperous Buddhist culture and flourishing art in the Tang Dynasty. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Luoyang - Xi'an. Experience Chinese train travel by taking a half-day ride to Xi'an, ancient capital of China. Upon arrival, climb onto the massive City Wall and try to visualize the grandeur of the Tang dynasty (618-907) capital. Enjoy a unique local dumpling dinner. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Xi'an. See the extraordinary 2200-year-old terracotta warriors of China's first Emperor, Qin Shihuang. Three exhibition halls house the continuing excavation of an army of 7000 terracotta soldiers and horses that guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huang. On your way back, stop by a local village and meet farmers before visiting the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the best in China. Rest of the day is free. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Xi'an - Wuhan. Visit the Yangling archaeological dig, a marvelous site where excavation has been going on for years. See the priceless unearthed items from the powerful Han dynasty (206 - 220 BC). Fly to Wuhan and see the interesting collections in the Hubei Provincial Museum. You may have the opportunity to watch a performance using the ancient chime bells of 2500 years ago. Board your cruise ship after dinner. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Yangzi River Cruise. The appeal of the Yangtze lines not only in its natural beauty but also in the cultural and historical significance the river has embedded in the towns and villages along the banks. Your first port of call is Jiujiang. Visit the local market and take an excursion to the cloud-wrapped Mount Lushan. Return to boat by the evening. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Yangzi River Cruise. Today your cruise will dock at Guichi, an ancient town on the south bank of the Yangzi. The overnight excursion to the Yellow Mountain area is the highlight of eastern Yangzi cruise. Here you will explore the well-preserved Huizhou culture, represented by century-old houses, monumental archway, markets on narrow streets, and traditionally dressed folks. Take a cable car to ascend the sky-piercing peaks of Yellow Mountain. Overnight in a comfortable hotel on top of the mountain. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Yangzi River Cruise. Continue your Yellow Mountain exploration by watching the morning sunrise and explore the many vistas among the peaks: floating clouds, lonely pine trees, and beautiful rocks. Return to your cruise ship by the evening and resume the sailing through the night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Nanjing - Wuxi. Your cruise ends in Nanjing and disembark after breakfast. Nanjing is another ancient capital of China and it is full of remains and relics from its long history. Visit Xuyuan Garden, Linggu Temple, and the active Qinhuai River Market. Travel to Wuxi late afternoon by motor coach along a modern highway. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 13: Wuxi - Suzhou. Wuxi is surrounded by green hills and the vast Lake Tai. Ancient gardens dotted the city on the Grand Canal. Visit the elegant Liyuan Garden and Jichang Garden. In the afternoon, take a cruise on Lake Tai and then travel to Suzhou by boat along the Grand Canal. Suzhou, funded in 514 BC, is known as the "Venice of the East". It was so named by early travelers because the town was built around a network of canals and 300 criss-crossing bridges that fanned out from the Grand Canal. Check in hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Suzhou. Visit Canglang Pavilion, approached through a grand stone bridge and ceremonial marble archway. The highlight of today's activities is a visit to Suzhou's beautiful gardens - Zhuozheng Garden and Liuyuan Garden. You will also visit an embroidery factory and the Suzhou Silk Museum, one of China's better presented museums. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 15: Suzhou - Shanghai. Travel to Shanghai by motor vehicle in the morning. Stop by Luozhi Village on the way. This charming village is set in a lovely environment and maintains a traditional atmosphere with many classical buildings and bridges over streams and canals. Arrive Shanghai at noon. On the Bund, this splendid row of early 20th century European buildings remains the quintessential Shanghai sight. Visit Yuyuan Garden, a well-restored Suzhou-style garden that was created in 1559. A fabulous acrobatic show concludes your first day in Shanghai. Check in your hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 16: Shanghai. Visit Shanghai Museum, a leading attraction of the city since it opened in 1994. Move on to check out the St. Ignatius Cathedral, built in 1846 on the site of the grave of Paul Xu Guangqi, Matteo Ricci's personal assistant and first Jesuit convert. In the afternoon wander around the former French Concession, represented by the leafy Fuxing Park and the architecture in the area which were laid out by the French in 1909. You will have some free time to explore the city on your own. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17: Departure. Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China History Whiz Archeology/History Boating and Sailing
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