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China  -  Wonders Of China & Tibet With Yangtze River Cruise
19 Days
18 Nights
Welcome to China. Hotel rooms are available for immediate check-in.
Today your full-day sightseeing starts with a visit to the Forbidden City's IMPERIAL PALACE, once the sacred home of China's Great Emperors. Nearby is TIAN'ANMEN SQUARE, the largest public square in the world, where the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Then proceed to the former SUMMER PALACE, a complex of pavilions, temples, and galleries situated around Kunming Lake. This evening's special Chinese WELCOME DINNER features delectable Peking Duck.(B,L,D)
The GREAT WALL OF CHINA once stretched 4,828 kilometers (4,000 miles) across China's barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. Head north to a village where the Great Wall is well preserved. Walk along the wall and enjoy sweeping vistas of this mammoth fortress. Then visit a CLOISONNE WORKSHOP where you will see local artisans use the techniques of this ancient art form to turn pieces of copper into colorful decorative items. Before returning to Beijing take a leisurely walk down the SACRED WAY of the Ming Tombs and marvel at the impressive hand-carved stone statues. Tonight you may decide on the optional tour of the Peking Opera with its various forms of drama and music tracing back to the late 13th century. (B,L)
This morning is free. Time permitting, you may wish to take our optional tour to the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of 15th-century architecture, or you may decide to take the optional Hutong tour of the city's ancient alleys. A short flight brings you to the city of Xi'an in central China. Look forward to this evening's highlights "The Tang Dynasty" DINNER SHOW featuring a colorful assemblage of classical performances. (B,D)
One of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade, Xi'an today is an archaeological treasure-trove. Sightseeing starts with a visit to the nearby DAYAN PAGODA, built in 652 A.D. During lunch enjoy a NOODLE-MAKING DEMONSTRATION by a master chef and learn how Chinese noodles are made by hand. In 1974 the enormous tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, was accidentally discovered by local farmers. Marvel at the impressive legion of TERRACOTA WARRIORS that has been guarding the emperor's burial site for 2,000 years. Also visit the Xi'an City Wall South Gate. (B,L,D)
This morning fly to Chengdu, the capital city of the province of Sichuan, best known for its flavorful food. Visit the GIANT PANDA BREEDING RESEARCH BASE and marvel at these beautiful animals. Time permitting, enjoy a brief city tour. (B,L)
Early this morning fly to the holy city of Lhasa, the capital of the mystical Buddhist kingdom of Tibet, locked away in the mountains of the Himalayas. The balance of the day is free for you to rest and adjust to the 4,267 meters (14,000-foot) altitude. (B,L,D)
This morning after a city tour, visit the imposing POTALA PALACE, once the centre of the Tibetan government and the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Also visit one of Tibet's oldest shrines, JOKHANG TEMPLE, and then spend time in the local BAZAAR. This afternoon visit the SUMMER PALACE and a typical Tibetan monastery. (B,L,D)
Today is free to relax, or take a special optional trip to a Tibetan's home including lunch, a visit to the Drepung Temple (the largest in Tibet) and the Tibetan Hospital to learn of traditional Tibetan medicine and therapy. Dinner tonight is at your hotel. (B,D)
Fly to Kunming (via Chengdu), capital of Yunnan Province and often called "The City of Eternal Spring." Enjoy a western style dinner tonight at your hotel. (B,L,D)
Today visit the Western Hills and the magnificent Dragon Gate before travelling to the remarkable STONE FOREST, an area of limestone pillars, some almost 30.48 meters high (100 feet), dotted with small lakes and waterfalls. Returning to Kunming you have free time to walk the city's wide boulevards. (B,L,D)
A short flight to Lijiang at an elevation of 2600 meters (8,530 feet). This afternoon visit 5,627 meters (18,464-foot) Snow Mountain prior to enjoying dinner at your hotel. (B,L,D)
This morning tour BLACK DRAGON POOL, followed by a late afternoon stroll through the medieval town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by 4,877-metres (16,000-foot) mountains. Dinner tonight is a fascinating experience at a local restaurant in the medieval town. (B,L,D)
Today, fly via Kunming to Chongqing, China's capital during World War II. The city is set high up on a hill overlooking the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. Time permitting, take a stroll through one of its many attractive parks or through the historic Old Town before you board the Victoria Empress to prepare for your 3-night cruise down the mighty Yangtze River. During the next few days, when not on deck, you can attend lectures on Chinese medicine, calligraphy, history, or the Three Gorges Dam project. (B,D)
Depending on river conditions, one of the following shore excursions will be offered: Wanxian, "Gate way to Eastern Szechuan Province," where you will see an acrobatic show, free market and possibly a school; Shibaozhai, with its 400-year-old, twelve storey wooden pagoda high on a cliff side; or, Fengdu, known as "Ghost City" where you'll visit several temples.(B,L,D)
Head downstream through the first and second of the three gorges - Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic gorge, and Wu, known for its quiet beauty and fores-covered mountains. You can nearly touch the perpendicular walls rising from the riverbanks as your captain negotiates this narrow gap. After lunch disembark for your BOAT EXCURSION down the Daning River or the Shennong Stream, depending on conditions. Continue through the passage, sailing through the Three Gorges ship locks. (B,L,D)
View tiny villages clinging precariously to hillsides as you proceed to Yang Jia Wang. This morning, visit the Three Gorges Dam Site, the largest of its kind in the world. Upon arrival in Yichang, say good bye to your crew as you disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China's most populous city. (B,L)
Full day of sightseeing. Stroll along the Bund, the city's riverfront boulevard; visit the SHANGHAI MUSEUM, and experience the YU YUAN GARDENS. Later visit the CHILDREN'S PALACE, one of China's famous kindergartens. This evening your Tour Director hosts a lavish FAREWELL DINNER, a fitting finale to your exploration of Asia's most fascinating destinations. (B,L,D)
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning (B)

In Beijing, visit the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace. Next in Xi'an, marvel at the Dayan Pagoda and the terra-cotta warriors. Then, journey into the Himalayas to see the religious sites in the Buddhist city of Lhasa, Tibet. Stop in Kunming to view the Stone Forest. In Chongqing, embark on your three-night river cruise on the magical Yangtze River where you will witness beautiful landscapes and visit the Three Gorges Dam Site. Your journey ends in Shanghai. Visited Cities Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Lhasa, Kunming, Lijian and Shanghai. Meals Breakfast - 18 Lunch - 14 Dinner - 14


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