Discover the splendors of China on an exciting itinerary offered by General Tours World Traveler. This enriching journey includes four UNESCO World Heritage sites and takes you from the Forbidden Palace and Great Wall in Beijing to exciting, cosmopolitan Shanghai. In between, also explore the scenic wonders of the Yangtze River and visit the ancient capital city of Xian.
Engaging experiences and highlights include:
• Lunch with a resident family in one of Beijing’s last-remaining hutongs.
• Walk along an historic section of the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass.
• Sail the legendary Yangtze River aboard the all-balcony MS Yangzi Explorer.
• See the ancient Terra Cotta Army and enjoy a noodle making demonstration.
$115 per person discount
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Your adventure begins in Beijing with guided introductions to major sights such as Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public plazas in the world; the Forbidden City, the world’s largest surviving palace complex; and the Summer Palace, favored retreat of China’s rulers for over 1,000 years. And no visit to China would be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Your expert guide shows you the way to Juyongguan Pass in the rugged mountains north of Beijing. This impressive and less-visited section of this engineering masterpiece was the site of many historic battles. Walk atop this ancient structure as your guide shares stories of its history and construction. Before departing Beijing, also explore one of the city’s last remaining hutong neighborhoods and enjoy a chance to meet and spend time with a Chinese family.
Begin the next stage of your journey with a flight to Yichang where you'll step aboard China’s finest all-balcony Yangtze cruiser for an unforgettable voyage. Enjoy fine international cuisine, free-flowing wines every evening and expertly guided shore excursions as you explore this spectacular region. Navigate through the amazing locks of the immense Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world. Learn about this engineering marvel and its impact on the residents and geography of the region on a guided tour. Step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream in traditional sampans poled by Tujia boatmen. The scenery here is unrivalled, encompassing crystalline rushing waters, dense forests and towering rock formations. And explore the famous “Ghost City” of Fengdu, celebrated for its ancient temples, many decorated with fantastic carvings depicting creatures from Chinese mythology and legend.
Then travel to the ancient capital of Xian to see the archaeological discovery of the century, the Terra Cotta Army. These 7,000 life-size figures were a form of funerary art buried around 210 BC. It is estimated that more than half a million laborers and craftsmen worked for nearly 40 years to complete the tomb and its Terra Cotta Warrior guardians. Later that evening, discover history of a different sort during an entertaining lunch featuring a lively demonstration of the ancient art of noodle making. Conclude your adventure in Shanghai where you’ll “fly” from the airport at 250 miles per hour on the futuristic Maglev Train. Marvel at the treasures of the Shanghai Museum and enjoy the city’s many shopping, dining and entertainment options.
• 11 nights in superior first class and deluxe accommodations: 3 nights in Beijing, 4 nights aboard MS Yangzi Explorer, 2 nights in Xian and 2 nights in Shanghai
• Daily breakfast, 7 lunches and 8 dinners, including complimentary wines with lunch and dinner
• All on-tour transportation plus 3 internal flights
• Comprehensive escorted sightseeing and all shore excursions with no more than 16 guests; includes all entry fees
• Luggage handling, port charges and all hotel taxes and service charges
Day 1 – Welcome to Beijing, China
Check in to your stylish hotel, perfectly located in the heart of the capital.
Accommodation: Traders Hotel – 3 nights
Day 2 – The Splendors of Imperial Beijing
Begin your sightseeing at Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public plazas in the world. Then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty emperors through their once-exclusive domain, the Forbidden City. Explore the vast realm of courtyards, palaces and Imperial audience halls as our engaging guide brings its history to life According to legend, 9,999 rooms lie within the imposing walls of the Forbidden City.
Gain insight into a rapidly vanishing way of life as you explore by rickshaw through an ancient hutong neighborhood, one of the city’s ancient districts where traditional courtyard homes still stand alongside 21st century skyscrapers. Meet a resident family here, joining them for lunch and engaging conversation in their traditional courtyard home. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a festive Welcome Dinner.
Day 3 – The Great Wall and Summer Palace
Journey through the rugged mountain landscapes north of Beijing to Juyongguan Pass. This section of the Great Wall was the site of many historic battles. Experience the thrill of walking atop this ancient defensive structure as your guide shares its dramatic history and construction.
Then explore the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Summer Palace. Graceful pavilions and palaces cluster along the shores of Lake Kunming against the serene backdrop of Longevity Hill. Chinese feudal lords and emperors discovered the tranquility and abundant natural beauty of this area more than 1,000 years ago, and for centuries this was the favored retreat of China’s rulers.
Day 4 – Begin Your Yangtze River Cruise
Fly to Yichang where you’ll be met and escorted to the luxurious MS Yangzi Explorer. Settle in to a spacious balcony stateroom before dinner in the Dynasty Palace restaurant. Later, a documentary film about the enormous Three Gorges Dam will be shown in the Tang Theater.
Experience the historic sites and dramatic landscapes of the Yangtze River aboard one of China’s finest ships. With only 62 staterooms, the all-balcony MS Yangzi Explorer is the most intimate on the river. An elegant dining room features international cuisine including wine with lunch and dinner. Enjoy small group shore excursions and a relaxing shipboard program.
Accommodation: Stateroom aboard MS Yangzi Explorer – 4 nights
Day 5 – Three Gorges Dam
Enjoy a leisurely morning onboard as your ship sails upstream along the mighty Yangtze! Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi exercise before a buffet breakfast. Admire the scenery from your balcony, relax with fellow guests in the lounge or participate in shipboard cultural activities, lectures and demonstrations. After lunch, step off ship to visit the Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world, and learn about its impact upon the region. Return to ship for afternoon tea as the Explorer navigates through picturesque Xiling Gorge. Tonight’s Captain’s Welcome Reception is followed by dinner and entertainment in the Tang Theater.
Day 6 – Shennong Stream
Join fellow passengers on deck for early morning Tai Chi before breakfast is served. Then step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream. Explore this region in traditional sampans poled by Tujia boatmen.
The scenery encompasses crystalline rushing waters, dense forests and towering rock formations. Watch for indigenous species including the elusive golden hair monkey. Back onboard, the Explorer navigates Wu Gorge, renowned for massive cliffs that rise sharply from the river. Learn about Chinese arts and crafts and then enjoy afternoon tea as your ship enters Qutang Gorge.
Day 7 – Ashore in Feng Du
Go ashore in Feng Du to explore the ancient temples of this famed “Ghost City.” Back onboard, you can try your hand at traditional brush painting and calligraphy, learn Mah Jong, watch the chef prepare traditional Chinese dumplings or just enjoy the captivating scenery from your balcony. At this evening’s festive Farewell Dinner, your crew will be colorfully garbed in traditional Chinese dress.
Day 8 – Chongqing to Xian
Disembark the MS Yangzi Explorer in Chongquing and visit the Panda Hall to see these elusive creatures before transferring to the airport for your flight to Xian, the ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to your comfortable located inside the old city walls. Enjoy a regional specialty at tonight’s dumpling dinner. Afterwards, thrill to the music, dance and elaborate costumes of the Tang Dynasty.
Accommodation: Hilton Hotel – 2 nights
Day 9 – The Terra Cotta Warriors
Marvel at China’s greatest archaeological discovery, where an ancient terra cotta army, thousands strong, was buried to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. Farmers stumbled upon the site while digging a well; now the Terra Cotta Army is China’s greatest archaeological discovery. Set out this morning to visit the excavation site and marvel at the exquisite details of these clay warriors buried 2,000 years ago to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. It has been estimated that more than half a million laborers and craftsmen worked for nearly 40 years to complete the tomb and the thousands of terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots that were to serve him in the afterlife.
Today’s sightseeing also includes the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the ancient defensive walls of the city. Then discover one of China’s best known culinary traditions during an entertaining and delicious lunch featuring a lively demonstration in the ancient art of noodle making.
Day 10 – Fly to Shanghai
Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, the futuristic Maglev Train will transport you at speeds up to 250 miles-per-hour, and in less than 10 minutes you’ll be in the city-center to check in at your exceptional hotel. After this evening’s dinner of fine regional cuisine, you’ll enjoy a thrilling performance by Shanghai’s world-renowned acrobats.
Accommodation: Le Royal Meridien Hotel – 2 nights
Day 11 – Discover Shanghai
Today’s tour begins along the Bund, Shanghai’s grand and historic waterfront boulevard. Stroll the lovely Yu Yuan Garden, laid out by a court official as a tranquil retreat for his aging parents. At the Shanghai Museum, explore a carefully curated collection which spans centuries of Chinese arts and culture, from ancient bronzes and celadon pottery to exquisite Jade pieces and priceless Ming Dynasty furniture. This evening, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner.
Day 12 - Depart Shanghai
Your journey ends today after breakfast.
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
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