Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spotlight on: Tibet Highland and Yangtze River 16 Days 14 Nights

Photo courtesy of Boeing Image
Day 1: USA – Beijing
Depart to Beijing, the capital city and political center of China.

Day 2: Arrive Beijing
Touch down and greet your guide in the arrivals hall. Transfer to your 5 star hotel and rest up for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 3: Beijing
We begin our sightseeing tour with a visit to the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex which was previously off-limits to the public. Admire the opulent splendor of imperial times as we tour the bay of rooms, and then continue on to visit the exquisite Summer Palace. Stop for photos at the 2008 Olympic sites bird’s Nest and Water cube. Return to the hotel for a traditional Peking Duck Banquet dinner.

Day 4: Beijing
Like a giant dragon snaking it’s way 4000 miles across China's ever changing-landscapes, the Great Wall stands today as a bastion of pride and culture to the Chinese people.  Spend some time climbing its ancient steps and descent the wall to visit the Sacred Way leading to the Ming Tombs Museum. 
Day 5: Beijing
Enjoy the day at leisure, free to venture into the city or just relax.  Uncover the charm of Old Beijing on an optional rickshaw tour of the "hutongs" (narrow alleyways or lanes), lined with wood carvings, ornate brick designs and colorful street vendors.  Arive at the traditional courtyard residence of our host and enjoy a lunch of local delights.

Day 6: Beijing - Xian
Before flying to Xian, we visit the Temple of Heaven, constructed in 1420 and frequented by Ming and Qing emperors for annual pilgrimages of prayer.  Later in the day, arrive in Xian, the central stronghold for the country's most significant ancient dynasties.

Day 7: Xian
A fascinating city with over 3,100 years of history, Xian is most famous for the chance discovery of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Terra Cotta Soldiers.  Tour the pits which house countless rows of standing soldiers, horses and chariots, then continue on to visit Xian's massive City Wall, the most complete surviving city wall in China.  Stop by the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and head back to the hotel to prepare for an Imperial Dumpling Banquet and Tang Dynasty Show

Day 8: Xian - Lhasa
Depart to Lhasa, the capital city of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.  Known as the "Roof of the World", the tibetan plateau's average height towers more than 13,000 feet above sea level.  Upon arrival, we are transferred to our five star hotel.

Day 9: Lhasa
Today we will visit the architectural wonder and cardinal landmark of Lhasa, Potala Palace.  Built on the Red Hill overlooking the city, this exquisite palace covers over 100 acres and was once a spiritual and temporal palace of the Dalai Lama.  Descend the palace grounds and stroll along Barkhor Street, an old section of Lhasa lined with colorful street stalls and colorful ethnic handicrafts.  Continue on to Jokang Lamasery, the most important pilgrimage site in Tibet.

Day 10: Lhasa
Depart Lhasa and head to Yamdrok Yumsto Lake, one of Tibet's three holy lakes, which rests over 14,000 feet above sea level.  Enjoy a picnic lunch alongside the river and take in the stunning natural vistas of sparkling waters and rolling mountains.  Drive back to Lhasa and enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure.

Day 11: Lhasa - Chongqing - Yangtze River Cruise
Fly to Chongqing, a charming mountain city, and head to the docks to board our ship, the Victoria Anna, ready for our Yangtze River adventure.  The majestic Yangtze River is the third-largest river in the world, next to the Nile in Africa and th Amazon in South America.

Day 12: Yangtze River Cruise
We arrive at Fengdu or a relocation village for our first shore excursion.  Dating back to the Eastern Han Dynasty, the "Ghost City" of Fengdu earned its nickname from the numerous ghost and demon-decorated temples and statues spread throughout the town.

Day 13: Yangtze River Cruise
Sail through the centerpiece of our Yangtze River cruise, the famed Three Gorges.  Enter Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most dramatic of the three.  Continue on through the 25-mile long Wu Gorge, known for its quiet elegance and 12 unique peaks, then disembark and board a smaller vessel to navigate our way through the impressive Lesser Gorges.  Return aboard the ship and sail through the Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the three.  This evening, sail through the ship locks of the dam.

Day 14: Yangtze River Cruise - Yichang - Shanghai
Arrive at Sandouping Village and visit the magnificent Three Gorges Dam, a massive water conservancy project aimed to curb flooding and create a new source of hydroelectric power for China.  Our arrival at Yichang marks the end of our Yangtze journey.  Transfer to the airport and fly to Shanghai.

Day 15: Shanghai
A "bright pearl" at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai is China's largest economic center and a dynamic blend of Eastern and Western cultures.  Admire the marvelous vistas of traditional pavilions, ponds, and rock gardens in the classical Yu Garden, and continue on to visit the Bund.  Stroll along this waterfront promenade and admire the dazzling skyline and unique architecture, which spans various historical periods.  Drive by premiere shopping district, Nanjing Road, then return to the hotel.  In the evening, enjoy dinner followed by a special Acrobatics Performance.

Day 16: Shanghai - USA
All too soon, our fascinating journey has reached its end.  Return to the US, arriving the same day, or extend your trip with an optional extension to Asia's world city, Hong Kong.


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