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Yangtze Cruise with Old China Discovery Tour / Downstream / 17 Days

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 17 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 10 people
Destination(s): China  
Specialty Categories: Boating and Sailing   Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2260 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 5357 US Dollar (USD)

This 17 day tour will lead you from Beijing and Xian in the north over the great Yangtze to Shanghai at the east cost. Yet it is not too late to cruise on the Yangtze and its braches feeling that it is really a river and being able to enjoy the steep gorges and the beautiful nature. The last few days of the tour you will be able to see the Chinese country life near Guilin and Yangshou and then finally end up in the modern and dazzling cities of Canton and Hong Kong to experience the distinctive blend of East and West in this dynamic city.

Your Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive at Beijing. Arrive at Beijing, the capital of China. To be met at the airport then transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 2: Beijing (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City / Temple of Heaven. Depart from your hotel in the morning to have city tours to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolical heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people. Have a free walk there, imagining the great historic events of the 20th century that took place there. You will also see legendary landmarks including the Great Hall of the People and the towering 125 foot granite obelisk, Monument to the People's Heroes, honoring those who died in revolution. Walking across the Golden River Bridge, enter the Forbidden City, the inner sanctum and palace where for centuries Chinese emperors ruled their world. It has a 9000-room maze of courtyards, palaces, and ceremonial halls, where 24 emperors used to live. The Forbidden City was indeed a forbidden place, where commoners were kept out for nearly 500 years. Tour the palace and imagine the mystery, intrigue and incredible power that reigned here. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Temple of Heaven. It was built in the 15th century, a sacred site for ancient Beijing, where the emperor and his 1000 member entourage would retreat twice a year for religious ritual. Surrounded by enormous grounds designed in accordance with Fengshshui, the Temple complex consists of the Celebrated Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail. It is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture.

Day 3: Beijing (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall / Ming Tombs / Spirit Way. Depart from your hotel after breakfast. Spending about 1.5 hours to be transferred outside city to the surrounding countryside to visit the Badaling Great Wall, one of the most remarkable feats of mankind, built over 2,000 years ago. You will be able to climb and walk one of the best preserved sections of the ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountain scenery. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the fabled Ming Tombs, the resting places of thirteen emperors and their splendid treasures, passing down the Spirit Way, a road lined with statues of dignitaries, as well as huge elephants, lions, camels and horses, you will encounter the marble tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors. Visit one of the spectacular tombs- Dingling featuring an underground palace.

Day 4: Beijing (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Hutongs tour by Rickshaw / Xiushui Street. Depart from your hotel after breakfast, visit Hutongs by rickshaw. Hutongs are a kind of ancient city alley or lane that is typical in Beijing. Most of them are found around the Forbidden City, and many were built during the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing. Today, the Hutong is a living museum of Beijing history showing the traditional lifestyle of Beijing people. Tricycles hold two people and are peddled by an experienced bicyclist. Stops are made to visit a local family and see first-hand how the people of Beijing live. After lunch, explore Xiushui Street, a market where you can find a number of duplicates of clothing in traditional Chinese style such as clothes, caps, gloves. Enjoy bargains with sellers and the pleasant surprise of finding a real treasure if you are lucky enough.

Day 5: Beijing - Xian ( Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Xian - Shaanxi Provincial Museum / Old City Wall / Bell Tower. Check out and depart from your hotel. Take morning flight to Xian. To be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. Have city tour to visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in the province. It is also the fist national-level grand museum equipped with modern facilities. It exhibits primarily historical relics of past dynasties and displays precious art treasures and stone carvings of the Han and Tang dynasties. Walking through the exhibits in the museum is like walking through 3,000 years of Chinese history. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Old City Wall. It is the most complete surviving city wall survived in China as well as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Finally visit the Bell Tower before end your trip today. The Bell Tower is the most well-preserved and best-known one among many ancient cities of China. Originally built in the Yingxiang Temple in 1384, at the intersection of West Street and Guangji Street, it was moved to its present pivotal position in 1582, in the very heart of the city at the junction of four main streets extending to the east, south, west and north, for rebuilding and later restorations. With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.

Day 6: Xian ( Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses / Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Depart from your hotel after breakfast, after 45 min. driving to surrounding countryside to visit the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. It has been regarded as The 8th Wonder Of The World! Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang in search of immortality, ordered the construction of a vast army of 8,000 life-sized Terra-cotta warriors to be buried with him to protect his empire after his early death. They were discovered accidentally in 1974 by farmers digging a well. For history lovers, the sight is truly breathtaking. After coming back to the city, have another tour to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of Xi'an, as one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist temple Da-Ci-En Temple, the pagoda is one of the most distinctive and outstanding landmarks of Xi'an. The Big Goose Pagoda is a brick-tower, with a height of 64 meters (210 feet), occupies a base 25 meters by 25 meters (82 feet) square. Its walls and doors are carved with vivid and exquisite figures of Buddha, reflecting the profundity in the paintings of the Tang Dynasty.

Day 7: Xian - Chongqing ( Meal: B/L/). Sightseeing: Chongqing - Erling Park / Chongqing Zoo / Ciqikou Ancient Town. Check out and depart hotel for the flight to Chongqing. Located at the juncture of the Yangtze River and the Jialing River in southwestern China, Chongqing Municipality is the largest land and water communications hub and industrial and commercial center of the entire upper Yangtze River region. It is the best point to start the world famous Yangtze Cruise. Renowned as a "mountain city" because of its buildings on hillsides and mountains surrounding the city, streets are staggered one above the other on the hills that overlook the river, making the city a magnificent sight to behold. The splendid scenery of this famous mountain city attracts many tourists from home and abroad. Arrive at Chongqing and be met at the airport & transferred to your hotel. In the rest of the day, Visit Erling Park, located on the Eling(Goose Hill). The park used to be an ancient private garden named "Li Garden," made by Mr. Li Yaoting from 1909-1911 A.D. With its good location and beautiful natural scenery, it is one of the best places to have a bird's-eye view of the whole city. Chongqing Zoo is located in the western suburb of the main urban area. It occupies more than 60 hectares of land and there are 230 kinds of more than 4500 rare and precious wild animals in this zoo throughout the year. 80 percent of the animals belong to world rare species and nationally protected important animals. Pandas are among the most popular. In the Panda Ground at the foot of a hill and by a little stream, visitors can see charmingly native giant and lesser pandas and their offspring. Visitors can actually play with them and take pictures with them. The Ciqikou Ancient Town (old name Longyin Town) is located 14 km to the west of Chongqing. It used to be a very important water and land communication hub in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911 A.D). Its history can be traced back for more than 1700 years. There are 14 ancient stone slab streets, flanked with houses and shops in traditional styles. Tea bars, the local artists' studios and the Shu Embroidery workshops are three notable attractions. There are more than a hundred tea bars with their own particular characteristics in such a small town. Here friends enjoy a chat or meet to discuss business. You will have an opportunity to meet the locals and enjoy the unique folk opera in the tea bars. Be transferred aboard your cruise ship.

Day 8: Yangtze Cruise (Meals: B/L/D)
09:00 Embark the cruise ship and set sail.
15:00-18:00 Shore excursion to Fengdu.

Day 9: Yangtze Cruise (Meals: B/L/D)
06:30-07:00 Sail through Qutang Gorge.
08:30-10:30 Sail through Wu Gorge.
10:30-14:30 Drift along Shennong Stream
21:00 Pass through dam ship locks.

Day 10: Yangtze Cruise (Meals: B/L/D)
09:00-10:00 Sail through the eastern part of Xiling Gorge.
10:00-12:00 Pass through the ship lock of Gezhouba Dam.
18:00-21:00 Shore excursion to Jingzhou City.

Day 11: Wuhan Shanghai (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Wuhan - Guiyuan Buddhist Temple / Yellow Crane Tower. Arrive in Wuhan at 11:30 in the morning. Disembark from the ship, continue your trip to Yellow Crane Tower. Located near the southern end of the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, the Yellow Crane Tower is one of the four most famous towers in China. The tower inspired many ancient poets and artists. Now it is the symbol of Wuhan. The original Yellow Crane Tower was first built in 223 A.D, but was destroyed and rebuilt many times in successive dynasties. The current reconstruction was completed in 1985. This five-story tower is 51.4 meters high, with yellow tiles and red pillars, overlapping ridges and interlocking eaves, more magnificent than the old one. Guiyuan Buddhist Temple is one of the four largest Buddhist temples in Hubei Province as well as an important Buddhist temple in China. It was first built in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Guiyuan Temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times in its history and the present temple dates from the early Republic of China (1912-1949). The temple is famous for its beautiful structures, Buddhist scriptures, the statues of Weito (the temple guardian) carved of oak, the 500 disciples of Buddha (arhat) with various looks and gestures. Be transferred to airport for the flight to Shanghai.

Day 12: Shanghai (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: -The Bund / Nanjing Road / Jade Buddha Temple / Yu Garden/Yu Market. Tour to the Bund. No visit to Shanghai is complete without a stroll along the waterfront to experience the smells, sights and sounds of the old "Wall Street" in Shanghai. Banks, trading houses, residences, hotels and clubs all had a view of bustling Huangpu River traffic as they shared in the city's rising and falling fortunes. Many old buildings, such as the Customs House, Bank of China, Peace Hotel and Shanghai Mansions still stand and are very much in use. Near the bund is Nanjing Road, the busiest shopping street in Shanghai. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Jade Buddha Temple, one of the most famous and most active Buddhist temples in Shanghai. Built in 1911, this saffron walled complex is the seat of the Shanghai Buddhist Association. Named for its two bejeweled white jade Buddhas, one is a 1000 kg, 1.9 meter-high figure carved from Burmese jade brought to China in 1882, and the other is a smaller reclining Buddha; the temple receives thousands of visitors and worshipers daily. Although Chinese New Year and the Buddha's birthday are the most popular times to visit the temple for the faithful, it is possible to witness ceremonies at other times. Finally, visit Yu Garden, This delightfully restored labyrinth of tiny specialty shops and tea and snack houses centered around a Ming-dynasty Mandarin Suzhou-style garden is a fascinating spot to people-watch over a pot of tea, to shop for unique souvenirs and to get a feel for Old Shanghai. It is well worth a meander through the Yu Garden, which has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools and flora, all connected by corridors and passageways.

Day 13: Shanghai (Meals: B/L). Sightseeing: Shanghai Museum / Oriental Pearl TV Tower. After breakfast in the hotel, visit the Shanghai Museum. As a museum of ancient Chinese art, the Shanghai Museum possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works of art. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy is specially celebrated in the world. The present Shanghai Museum has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls. After having lunch at a nice local restaurant, visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. At 468 meters high (1,536 feet), the tower is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the world as well as the tallest structure in Asia. It is the best place to have a bird's-eye view of Shanghai. With its unique and amazing design, it has become the new landmark of Shanghai and a big magnet for tourists. The viewing area is half-way up and offers a splendid ,unparalleled view of the Bund, the emerging new modern Shanghai. The view of Shanghai from this height fills you with wonder at the beauty that surrounds you. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 14: Shanghai - Guilin (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Guilin - Reed Flute Cave / Elephant Trunk Hill. Take the morning flight to Guilin. Upon arriving at Guilin, be met & transferred to your hotel. Then have a private city tour to Elephant Trunk Hill. Located on the west bank of the Li River by a small branch called Peach Blossom River, the hill resembles a huge elephant standing on the bank of the river, sucking up water with its long trunk. The trunk is particularly striking and lifelike when viewed either nearby or afar. A circular foot cave called Shui Yue Dong (Moon-In-the Water Cave) separates the trunk and the body. A 3-story Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D) brick pagoda rises from the top of the hill. Later visit the Reed Flute Cave, a ten-minute drive (half hour bike ride) from downtown. The cave is one of the largest known examples of what each tropical karst cone conceals within it. The script writers and set designers for Star Trek would have a field day in this cavernous underground stalactite/stalagmite maze-style theater. The dripping water is rich and the dripstones vary in shape and size, displaying a wonderful cave world. This cave was called "The Art Gallery of Mother Nature." Colored fluorescent lights cast shadows and illuminate shapes of imaginary animals, fruits and vegetables, completing the unworldly effect.

Day 15: Guilin - Yangshuo- Guilin (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Full day Li River Cruise to Yangshuo with lunch aboard and return to Guilin late in the afternoon. Depart from your hotel in the morning to have Li River cruise to Yangshuo. The Li River is by far the main reason to visit Guilin. Double-decker and triple-decker river boats weigh anchor from a pier at Zhujiang, about 40 minutes from Guilin by bus, and meander through the sleepy countryside offer a relaxing way to enjoy the superlative river scenery and life along its banks. In contrast to the burgeoning cities of the north, it is quiet here; the rural scenery is magnificent. You will enjoy the picturesque mountains, peaceful green fields, farms and villages with water buffalo and cows wandering around on both sides of the river bank. After about 4.5 hours, the one-thousand-year-old town of Yangshuo, the disembarking point, comes into sight. It is well worth browsing around this quaint town and its environs. Have a short exploration of the old town before being transferred back to Guilin.

Day 16: Guilin-Guangzhou, Guangzhou - Hong Kong via afternoon train (Meals: B/L/). Sightseeing: Guangzhou - Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall / Chen Family Temple. Be transferred to the airport for the flight to Guangzhou. Arrive and be met & transferred to take a half day trip to Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, the most symbolic building of Guangzhou, and a key venue for large-scale meetings and performances as well. Built in 1931 in memory of Sun Yat-sen, the memorial hall, occupying an area of 12,000 square meters with a height of 46 meters, has magnificent exterior and elegant interior decorations. Then visit the Chen Family Temple, also known as Guangdong Folk Art Museum, built in the 1890s. It is now the largest and best preserved and decorated ancient architecture existing in Guangdong province. The decoration combines wood carving, brick carving, stone carving, clay sculpture, ash sculpture, a brass and iron foundry, a grotto, etc. The special historical, artistic, and scientific aspects of the temple have made it an important attraction in Guangzhou. Then take an afternoon train to Hong Kong. Enjoy free time at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 17: Hong Kong (Meal: B). Sightseeing: Half day Hong Kong Island tour to Victoria Peak, Aberdeen, Repulse Bay. Depart from your hotel in the morning to have half day Hong Kong Island tour to the Victoria Peak, which is the number one tourist destination in Hong Kong. It features the city of oldest mode transport, the 112-year old Peak Tram and Hong Kong's most unusual building and icon. Then visit Aberdeen Harbor, where is home to hundreds of people living on fishing junks. Take sampan ride to get a close-up look at this unusual way of life. Finally is the Repulse Bay. Primarily an exclusive residential area, Repulse Bay has a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere. The wide beach is popular with residents and great for sandy strolls. It features statues of Kwun Yum and Tin Hau, both protectors of fishermen. Enjoy your free time at leisure for the rest time of the day.

Day 18: Depart Hong Kong for next city (Meals: B). Be taken to the airport for the flight to your next city.

Price Includes:
- Hotel accommodations with breakfast as specified (but hotels are subject to change to the same category before finally confirmed.
- All meals as specified in the itinerary.
- Transfers among airports & hotels as specified in the itinerary by private car or coach with driver & English-speaking guide.
- Entrance fees for sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary with English speaking guide.
- Domestic flights, trains or buses as specified in the itinerary.
- Domestic airports departure taxes have been charged with the flight tickets.
- Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
- Arrangements for the planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Prices are subject to change without notice.

Price Excludes:
- Any meals which are not included in the "The trip price includes."
- Single Room Supplements (as the above quotation for accommodation is based on twin sharing room).
- International air and train tickets for coming to & leaving mainland China. Air tickets or train tickets not specified in the itinerary on the first arrival day and last departure day.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
- Personal expenses: Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips to guides or drivers, FAX, telephone, excess baggage charges, or sightseeing or meals which are not included in the day-to-day itinerary.
- Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
- Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.
- Visa fees.