China's exquisite natural splendor takes center stage on this epic journey from the cityscapes of Beijing to Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai to the meandering Yangtze River along whose bamboo and lotus blossom-clad gorges we sail through en route to an unforgettable encounter with the rare giant pandas of Chengdu.
Board your overnight flight to Asia (not included).
Welcome to Beijing. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and settle in before meeting your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetizers.
Begin your visit to this great capital city by exploring one of the world's largest public areas, Tiananmen Square, home to the National Museum of China, the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Great Monument to the People's Heroes. Pass through the south gate to the magnificent Forbidden City, a 180 acre complex of courtyards, palaces, pavilions and gardens. It served as the imperial palace for emperors and their households for more than 500 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch continue to another UNESCO Heritage Site - the stunning Temple of Heaven, visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven. This evening, enjoy a succulent Peking Duck Regional Meal - a must during any visit to Beijing.
Travel outside the city and look down upon the Chinese countryside from your perch on top of the Great Wall, which is actually a collection of fortifications built and rebuilt from the 5th century B.C. to the 16th century, to defend against nomadic invaders like the Mongols. Walk the Sacred Way to the remnants of the Ming Tombs, the once-lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Both places are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Spend the morning at leisure, before embarking on a unique tour by rickshaw around the ancient alleyways of the courtyard Hutong residences. Stop at the home of a local family for a delicious Be My Guest lunch of traditional Chinese cuisine followed by a visit to a charming tea house, where a Local Specialist prepares and serves tea, while explaining the historic tea making ritual. This afternoon indulge in a relaxing foot massage, a Cultural Insight, at the Foot Reflexology Center.
This morning fly to the city of Xi'an. Later visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks and one of the Silk Road UNESCO listed sites.
During term-time, meet the children and teachers at a local primary school. Perhaps learn a few words of Chinese from the children who in turn will be happy to practice their English. Afterwards, visit the legendary army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Emperor Qin Shi Huang's subterranean tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For lunch enjoy a delicious meal of traditional Chinese noodles and later continue with a visit to a Jade factory.
This morning your choice of activities gives you the chance to participate in a T'ai Chi Class, with a skilled Local Specialist, or take a cycle tour around part of the ancient City Wall of Xi'an. Continue on to a local restaurant for a Cultural Insight; watch a demonstration in the art of making dumplings, and afterwards enjoy sampling these for lunch. There are 21 different kinds of dumplings with a variety of fillings and different ways of cooking them. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Then, visit the impressive 88 storey Jinmao Tower which at approximately 420 meters high is the eleventh tallest building in Asia and offers great views over the city.
With a Local Specialist, take a stroll along Shanghai's famous 'Bund', the city's renowned waterfront, lined with former colonial buildings and modern sky-scrapers. Learn how marshland was turned into one of the most important trading hubs in the modern world. Continue to Old Shanghai, a little known treasure trove of winding streets and vibrant markets. Despite the rapid pace of development in the rest of the city, the established customs and lifestyle of this area have remained relatively unaltered. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping in the Old Town before continuing to visit a silk museum, a Cultural Insight. This evening enjoy a performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.
Today is yours to explore Shanghai further, do some last minute shopping or take an Optional Experience to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town founded more than 1,700 years ago. In its heyday, Zhujiajiao was a bustling market town well known throughout the country. Today, old historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing Dynasty post office can still be found when strolling down the ancient streets and exploring the many bridges that crisscross its canals. In the afternoon enjoy some free time back in Shanghai before joining your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner.
Start your morning with a leisurely cruise towards the world's largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam. Disembark for a tour around the colossal dam, which is designed to both generate power to fuel China's economic growth and to control flooding on the Yangtze. Later observe this amazing feat of modern engineering, as you pass through its' five level double lock system from the comfort of your ship. Witness the beautiful scenery passing on both shores as you sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and the deepest of the Three Gorges.
After breakfast board a sampan to see a tributary of the Yangtze River, the Shennv Stream, up close and personal. Return to the ship for lunch and for the long awaited breathtaking scenery of the most revered part of the Yangtze River - the 120km. known as the Three Gorges.
This morning take a shore excursion to visit Shibaozhai with its wooden temple on the top of a 200 meter tall cliff. Take the opportunity to have a bit of exercise by climbing up to the temple via the red pavilion which leans against the cliff and serves as a pathway. Return to the ship to continue enjoying the stunning scenery and your last day on board. Spend a peaceful night docked at Chongqing where the cruise finishes, ready for an early disembarkation the next day.
Today visit the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine and learn about traditional Sichuan cooking practices for a Cultural Insight. Have a go at crushing chilies into powder using a Qing Dynasty pestle and mortar, view ancient kitchenware, books and manuscripts faithfully recording the history of Sichuan culinary cultures dating back more than 3,000 years. Visit Restaurant Alley to catch a glimpse into the dining experiences of the past. Also see the shrine of the Kitchen God to perhaps leave an offering before trying your hand at cooking a few of the dishes under the guidance of the chef. Enjoy eating your creations for lunch before returning to your centrally located hotel. The afternoon is yours to relax, explore further or do some last minute shopping.
16 nights, 16 buffet breakfasts, 10 lunches, 7 dinners, On-trip transport, .
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|7 Sep 17||24 Sep 17||$5,475pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|28 Sep 17||15 Oct 17||$5,475pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Oct 17||29 Oct 17||$5,475pp||Request Quote Book Now|
Special Rate Solo Rooming
|22 Mar 18||8 Apr 18||$5,450$4,981pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Apr 18||29 Apr 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Apr 18||13 May 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|10 May 18||27 May 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|24 May 18||10 Jun 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
Special Rate Solo Rooming
|7 Jun 18||24 Jun 18||$5,450$4,981pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|21 Jun 18||8 Jul 18||$5,450$4,981pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|5 Jul 18||22 Jul 18||$5,450$4,981pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|2 Aug 18||19 Aug 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|6 Sep 18||23 Sep 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Sep 18||30 Sep 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|20 Sep 18||7 Oct 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|4 Oct 18||21 Oct 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|11 Oct 18||28 Oct 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
|25 Oct 18||11 Nov 18||$5,675$5,183pp||Early PaymentPay by Jan 11||Request Quote Book Now|
Special Rate Solo Rooming : These departures include a discount on standard single supplement.
Visas are required for China, please call for more information.
Flights: Prices include internal airfares and taxes for flights: Beijing to Xi'an, Xi'an to Shanghai, Shanghai to Yichang.
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $1920.
Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.
AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.
Special Discounts: At times we offer discounted departures. These discounts are valid for new bookings only and are not combinable with any other discounts other than our Past Traveler Discount and $100 AARP Member Discount. Other restrictions may apply, please call for details
U.S. citizens traveling to China must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. Travelers visiting China will also need an entry visa. We will send you application forms to complete to obtain your visa prior to departure. Visa costs and entry requirements can change at any time. Please visit travel.state.gov to learn more.
The currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB). Yuan is the name of a unit of the renminbi currency – something may cost one yuan or 20 yuan. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in China. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. The history of Chinese cuisine dates back thousands of years and varies by region. You’ll discover an array of specialties with the country’s “Eight Cuisines” – Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. Staples foods include rice, noodles and vegetables such as bok choy, bean sprouts, and watercress. Dishes are usually flavored with things like fresh ginger, garlic and scallions, as well as chilies and dried mushrooms.
We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable clothes that can be layered to give you many options for how to dress in China’s various climates. A lightweight jacket will come in handy and study walking shows are recommended for sightseeing excursions. Keep in mind that your shoulders and legs should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.
In China it is not common practice to leave a tip when dining out.
At the end of your guided vacation, it is customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director. Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit. A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.
Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.
You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions. All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers. In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.
If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.
We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.
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