Fly USA to Shanghai
Welcome to Shanghai, China Upon arrival, you will clear customs and immigration before being transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. Just mentioning the name Shanghai conjures images of romance, mystery and adventure. But you need only stand in the city's historic Bund and look across the Huangpu River to see the high-tech Oriental Pearl TV Tower looming over the ambitious Pudong Development Area like a space rocket. Alongside the glittering, 88-story Jinmao Building and the futuristic, cubic Shanghai Stock Exchange, the 1,377-foot tower is a symbol of this modern city and its mission-to embrace the challenges of the new millennium and become one of the world's great commercial centers. If Shanghai succeeds, it will be a return to glory days of old. Shanghai's quaint European architecture, flashy nightlife venues and sophisticated elegance often surprise visitors from overseas. The city offers a fascinating glimpse into China's potential. Save some energy to experience some of its fantastic nightlife-from an exquisite dinner at M on the Bund, to clubbing throughout the French concession's cornucopia of nighttime extremes-the place pulsates with an energy all its own. A night-time stroll on the Bund is a must-do.
Bund, Jade Buddha and Yu Garden Which ever nickname you prefer, 'Paris of the Orient' or 'Pearl of China', Shanghai captures the essence of new China, as well as its centuries of history and culture. Your tour begins with classic sights from the Ming and Qing dynasties, when you visit the romantic, enchanting Yuyuan Garden and Shanghai Old Street. The tour then stops at the Bund on Shanghai's waterfront, a showcase of pre-1949 architecture. Here you'll tour the Museum of Ancient Chinese Art and its collection of more than 120,000 precious and rare works. After lunch at Xi Garden, a great garden-side location in the French Concession, drive along the Concession District, which is characterized by beautiful, tree-lined streets and weathered European architecture. You have the option to visit the Arts and Crafts Shop and bargain for all kinds of traditional Chinese arts and crafts. Next you'll visit the Jade Buddha Temple with its priceless collection of jade statues from Burma. Finally, you'll be able to stretch your legs in Shanghai's hottest new entertainment district, Xin Tian Di. The brick buildings on these two-square blocks have been preserved and transformed into trendy clubs, restaurants and boutiques. You will have time on your own here, or can be transferred back to your hotel. Evening Shanghai Acrobatics Show: Your evening begins with a private transfer from your hotel to attend an astounding performance by the Shanghai Acrobatics School & Troupe. They have won hundreds of gold medals in different international acrobatics competitions, and are beloved by their countrymen for the incredible feats of skill and grace. If you have never experienced a world-class acrobatics show, this is a must-see event. After the show enjoy a stroll along Nanjing Road or be transferred back to your hotel.
Fly Shanghai to Yichang Transfer from your hotel to the airport by private vehicle for your onward flight. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to the Yangtze River pier.
Yangtze River Cruise This morning you will join a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Site. Return to the vessel and then sail through the Three Gorges ship locks and into the Xiling Gorge. Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man. The Dam is now being built in Sandouping, which is in the middle of the Xiling Gorge, the longest of the three gorges on the Yantze River. The Three Gorges Dam will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom. The dam will raise the river to a level of 175 meters above sea level, creating a 600 kilometers long reservoir with storage capacity of 39.9 billion cubic meters extending from the dam site all the way to Chongqing. 570,000 acres of farmland, villages in 19 counties and cities will be flooded, causing 1.5 million people to be relocated. The estimate for construction of the project is 70 billion US dollars. The building of this huge dam is for the purpose of flood control, electricity, navigation, and irrigation. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction will be competed in 2009.
Yangtze River Cruise Today you will disembark for a small boat excursion to the Daning River Small Gorges or Shennong Stream. The day concludes as you sail through the Three Gorges ship locks. Board a ferry boat for a relaxing ride up this tributary of the Yangtze, which has its own attractive gorges. You will dock very close to the head of the reservoir created by the Three Gorges Dam, and switch into smaller wooden boats called 'pea-pod boats'. You are then poled up to the shallow, clear areas further upstream. Trackers take over where the current is strong, and pull the boats about 100 or 200 yards. Later you will sail back to the waiting ferry to return to your Victoria ship. Wushan is the starting point for the popular boat trips through the Lesser Gorges on the Daning River. The river winds its way 20 miles through the beautiful Lesser Gorges; birds singing and monkeys chattering can sometimes be seen from both banks. The water is strikingly clear in contrast to the muddy, turgid waters of the Yangtze. Returning to the ship sail through Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge this afternoon. One of nature's most extraordinary sculptures had been carved along the Yangtze river from Fengjie, Szechuan Province in the east; the San Xia (Three Gorges) - Qutang Xia, Wu Xia, and Xiling Xia. The first of these three masterpieces, Qutang Xia (Qutang Gorge), is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. Two mountains, Chijia Shan (Red Passage Mountain) and Baiyan Shan (White Salt Mountain), guard the entrance to this gorge like giant castle doors. Below Wushan is the 25-mile long Wu Xia (Witches Gorge), with cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices. This middle gorge is best known for twelve unique peaks. Often hidden in swirls of mist, six line the north side of the river and six staggered peaks stand to the south.
Yangtze River Cruise Today you will disembark the ship for a shore excursion to Shibaozhai or Wanzhou. Shibaozhai represents one of the gems of Chinese architecture along the banks of the Yangtze River. From afar, the protruding 220-meter (720 ft) hill on the north bank can appear to resemble a jade seal, and is so named. The creation of the hill is attributed to the goddess Nuwo, who caused a rockslide while she was redecorating the sky after a fierce battle between two warring dukes. Wan Zhou (previously known as Wanxian) is a small mountainous city known the gate way to East Sichan. It is located 217 miles down stream from Chongqing and spreads out on both sides of the river. The city received its name during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 ) and became a Foreign Treaty Port in 1902. In 1926 two British gunboats bombarded the city, when the local warlord took to commandeering foreign vessels to transport of his troops. Following this incident a boycott on the loading and of British vessels was enforced for several years.
Yangtze River Cruise The vessel’s anticipated disembarking time in Chongqing is 9 am. This big city (pop. 6,500,000) is a favorite simply because it has character. In contrast to many of China's flat, uniformly gray cities, Chonqing (pronounced chong-CHING) is on the hilly banks of the Yangtze. Fly Chongqing to Xi’an: You will be met at the Chongqing Yangtze River pier and transferred directly to the airport. On arrival you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. Except for its old city wall, some 8 miles around, Xi’an (pronounced she-on) looks like any other large industrial city. However, it holds several important treasures: Foremost is the Qin Army Vault Museum, home to the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers unearthed 25 miles east of town. In Xi’an itself, look for the Great Mosque (behind a long wall in a residential area). Used by Xi’an's large Islamic population, its buildings look mostly Asian, but with obvious Arabic influence. Also visit the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum (artifacts, relics and murals from the Tang and Qing Dynasties) and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. (Built in AD 625, it is one of China's most-famous pagodas-it has a great view from the top.) Finally, take some time to stroll around the night markets, where you can sample and take in the sights, sounds and tastes of the city's prevalent Muslim Hui minority.
Terracotta Warriors and Provincial Museum Transfer by private vehicle to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, home of the world renowned Terracotta Army, an archeological site of unimaginable size and importance. No doubt thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.), the first unifier of China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors, at the centre of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyan. The small figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest. The statues remain where they were uncovered, protected by a large hangar-like hall. Individual soldiers can be studied more closely in a museum exhibit in an adjacent building. Following a Chinese lunch onsite, continue with a visit to the Shaanxi History Museum for a cultural and historical overview of the province, beginning with the great Emperor Qing. You'll re-live the rise of the city's greatness as guardian of the wealth that came from the Silk Road. After a comprehensive historical overview at the museum, you will travel to the walled city itself and walk atop the 600-year-old fortification. Tang Dynasty Show with Dumpling Dinner: Transfer from your hotel to the Tang Dynasty Theatre. As you travel around China, you'll soon discover that each region has its own unique cuisine. Your evening experience in Xian begins with a feast of local dumplings, nearly 20 varieties that are steamed and stuffed with a delicious assortment of vegetables, meats and seafood. But the banquet is only the prelude to another feast for the senses. You'll experience the local color and pageantry of the Tang Dynasty Show. The performance showcases the music, dance and colorful costumes that have graced the region for centuries. The dinner and entertainment lasts for two and half hours and will fill a memorable evening in the walled city. Return to your hotel by private vehicle.
City Wall, Drum Tower and Goose Pagoda Today your guide will take you to the Xian City Wall, Drum Tower and following that will be a visit to the Great Goose Pagoda and other sights of interest. Xi’an's city wall is the largest and best-preserved city wall in China. The pieces of the wall have recently been reconnected so that you can do the 8.75-mile loop around it by foot or bicycle. The walls were built during the early Ming dynasty, on the remains of Tang palace walls. Next visit the exquisite Drum Tower, the outside of which is ringed with enormous drums. Inside the tower you'll see the museum-quality collection of percussion instruments from all around the region. Conclude at the Great Goose Pagoda, which commenced in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories. The pagoda was built to hold sutras and figurines of Buddha that were brought to China by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang. Early in the 8th century under the ruling of Empress Wu Zetian five more stories were added; however, later wars damaged the pagoda reducing it to its current height of seven stories. It stands 64 meters tall and from the top it offers great views over the city of Xian. Fly Xi’an to Beijing: Transfer from your hotel to the airport by private vehicle for your onward flight. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. For centuries, Beijing has played a major role in China's imperial rule. It was Kublai Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, who reunified the Chinese territories and transferred the capital to Beijing during the 13th century. Beijing was not only a lasting imperial city, but also a thriving trading city that served as the easternmost terminus of the caravan routes of the Silk Road. Today, Beijing remains as it was centuries ago-a great center of power and commerce. It is a bustling metropolis of soaring high-rises, gaudy billboards, teeming highways and a growing international stature. Although a number of Beijing's historical sites are slowly being preserved, many of the city's ancient neighborhoods have been razed in recent years to make way for glitzy commercial skyscrapers and apartment blocks. Nevertheless, Kublai Khan's imperial spirit remains in the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.
Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Court Cuisine This morning depart your hotel for magnificent Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world, where Mao's picture hangs over the rostrum at the entrance of the Imperial Forbidden City. Walk in the steps of ancient emperors as you tour the powerful Forbidden City, hidden from public view for over 500 years. This is where Chinese emperors resided and ruled the country for 700 years until the year of 1911. The Imperial Palace provides outstanding examples of the greatest palatial architectural ensembles in China. They illustrate the grandeur of the imperial institution from the Qing Dynasty to the earlier Ming and Yuan dynasties, as well as Manchu traditions, and present evidence on the evolution of this architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue to the masterpiece Temple of Heaven, an embodiment of grace and harmony. This is where Ming and Qing emperors prayed for good harvest and it is the largest temple complex remaining in China today. The pomp and grandeur of imperial China lives on in this historic landmark so integral to the nation's soul. Lunch is at Beijing Fang Shan Restaurant. Set in Bei Hai Park a former imperial garden, Beijing Fang Shan Restaurant offers exquisite food from former Chinese dynasties. Waitresses in period garb lead you to the main dining room, which is splendid, with high painted ceilings and traditional Chinese art. Peking Duck Dinner: This evening, transfer by private vehicle and enjoy a sumptuous Peking Duck dinner at Quanjude (Complete Collection of Virtues) Restaurant, which has a history of 400 years in Beijing and serves the cities finest duck. Ducks are immersed in condiments unique to the restaurant and are roasted directly over flames stoked by fruit-tree wood. The best roasted duck is date-red, shining with oil, but with a crisp skin and tender meat. The chef cuts the meat into thin slices, each having a piece of skin. Then the meat is served inside very thin pancakes, garnished with Chinese onions and special sauce. The quintessential Beijing dining experience!
Great Wall at Mutianyu and Summer Palace A walk along the Great Wall of China ranks high on the wish list of many travelers and today's excursion will confirm it is one of the world's greatest travel experiences. Travel 43 miles by private vehicle northeast of Beijing to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, known for its beautiful surroundings of dense woods and rich pastures changing colors with each season of the year. It winds its way over a thousand meters to the crest of a mountain before turning sharply and dipping downhill, forming a triangle known as 'Ox-Horn Wall'. Linger at the towers and broad promenades; contemplate on the spectacular scenery and the lives lost in building this monumental construction that never truly fulfilled its purpose. There is ample time to stroll along its ancient stone promenade and photograph the wall as it winds across impossibly steep mountain areas. A cable car is available to help visitors and is included in today's tour. Stop for lunch at Xiaolongpu Restaurant nearby, where their specialties include Sturgeon from neighboring Dongting Lake. Continue on to the Summer Palace, formerly an imperial garden and palace for the Qing emperors. First built in 1750, largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886 - is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value. Stroll along the famous 700 meter Long Corridor, with its beautiful Painted Gallery (each archway depicts a different scene), and enjoy some peaceful time on Kunming Lake by boat, soaking in the majesty of China's imperial past.
Fly Beijing to AUSTRALIA