China is a land of history and refinement unparalleled in the world. China is the world's oldest continuous civilization. Visitors are immersed in a sea of visual and cultural experiences unlike any other in the world. Having developed for the most part independent of foreign cultural domination, each geographic area teems with its own unique identity. You will be amazed at how regions vastly differ, even though they express similar values and ideals. The aim of this journey is to explore and enjoy China's fascinating uniqueness.
Day 1: Arrive in Beijing.
Day 2: Our discovery of this 2,000-year-old city begins as we ride rickshaws through Beijing's ancient back roads and alleys (hutongs) and enjoy a home visit. Visit vast Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, seat of imperial power during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Day 3: Tour the Temple of Heaven complex. Walk on the Great Wall, the network of ancient defense installations that stretch for 2,480 miles from the East China Sea to Central Asia. Tonight savor a traditional Peking Duck dinner.
Day 4: Visit the Summer Palace, the former royal retreat that is now a lovely park. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 5: Fly to Xian, a provincial backwater until the accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors in 1974. Tour the impressive nine-mile city wall and moat, then enjoy a special dumpling lunch. Visit Shanxi Provincial History Museum. Attend a Tang Dynasty Show and dinner.
Day 6: Visit the revered Wild Goose Pagoda. Tour the museum housing the army of 7,000 life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors that had lain buried and forgotten for more than two millennia.
Day 7: Fly to Chengdu and visit the renowned Giant Panda Protection and Research Center. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 8: Fly to Lhasa, Tibet's capital. Spend the day acclimating to the altitude at our hotel.
Day 9: Visit the old city at Jokhang, Tibet's holiest temple that attracts pilgrims day and night. Surrounding Jokhang is Barkhor, a plaza lined with chanting monks, street performers, and vendors. Tour the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas at Norbulinka. Enjoy a dinner performance at Mad Yak Restaurant.
Day 10: Tour Potala Palace then meet with a Tibetan family over lunch. This afternoon visit the vast Sera Monastery.
Day 11: Fly to Chongqing, where we visit the Stillwell Museum, housing mementos of the WWII Flying Tigers; and Erling Park, with traditional Chinese gardens and beautiful views.
Day 12: Visit the Dazu Rock Carvings now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These cliff-side carvings reflect Buddhist teachings, tenets of Confucianism, and local folklore. Tonight board our river ship and set sail.
Day 13: Prized for its haunting natural beauty, the Yangtze is one of the world's longest and busiest rivers. Visit either the trading town of Wanxian, or the strange temple at Shibozhai.
Day 14: Pass through narrow Qutang Gorge, then board a small sampan for a cruise through the stunning Small Three Gorges. This afternoon enter tranquil Wu Gorge.
Day 15: After visiting the site of the immense Three Gorges Dam sail through 41-mile Xiling Gorge to Yichang, where we disembark for our flight to Shanghai.
Day 16: Begin at Yu Yuan Garden, one of the few remaining vestiges of old Shanghai. Visit the Bund, and the Children's Palace, where young students study the arts. Tonight attend a Chinese acrobatic show.
Day 17: Visit the Shanghai Museum. Followed by time at leisure before the farewell dinner.
Day 18: Depart for home.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China Local Culture Cultural Journey Pilgrimage/Spirituality