Best of China & Hong Kong 2017 - 18 Days
Day 1 - Depart US to BeijingMeals: In-Flight Meal
Embark on a memorable journey when you board Air China's non-stop flight to Beijing via Boeing 777 featuring personal entertainment system for each passenger.. En route, cross the International Dateline and lose one day.
Flight Detail: SFO to Beijing is 12 hours non-stop. JFK to Beijing is 13.5 hours non-stop. Air China's Flight Schedule
Day 2 - Arrive BeijingMeals: In-Flight Meal
Arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3 at 5:55 pm local time. You will be greeted by our experienced tour guide(s) outside the customs and they will transfer you to your hotel, located at the heart of Beijing. On the way to the hotel, your guide(s) will briefly introduce themselves to you and provide you with some important information regarding your trip.
Day 3 - BeijingMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
Enjoy a delectable American breakfast buffet before starting your day. A deluxe motor coach and your devoted tour guide(s) are ready for your memorable trip. Your first peek into the capital city of Beijing begins with a tour to the world's largest and renowned public square where many historical events once took place - Tiananmen Square. Around the vast square, you can see The Great Hall of People, holding the congress of the Communist Party and National People's Congress, History Museum, Military Museum and Monuments to the People's heroes. When available, you can visit Mao's Mausoleum, where his body is in a crystal coffin. Under the famous Mao's portrait, which is positioned at the center of "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" entrance, you will walk into the Forbidden City (also known as Imperial Palace), which holds 9,999 rooms. Experience the intricate architecture and exquisitely designed layout of these grand buildings once housed by Chinese Emperors who ruled during the period of the Qing and Ming Dynasties for almost 500 years (1420-1911). After lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore Beijing, which was rated as one of the top 12 cities in the world by Newsweek Magazine. You can visit to the Giant Panda Pavilion at the Beijing Zoo, take a visit to the Ming Dynasty Imperial Tombs, or test your bargaining skills at the Beijing Antique Market.
Day 4 - BeijingMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Enjoy a delectable American breakfast buffet before starting your day. A deluxe motor coach and your devoted tour guide(s) are ready for your memorable trip. Today, visit the Temple of Heaven, built during 1406 to 1420; it was used by Chinese Emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties to pray for bountiful harvests. The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings with some of the most exquisite architectures in Beijing. Capture the detailed essence of all the rich colors blended together on the hand painted tiles and roofing of the structures. This remarkable construction is pledged highest level of Chinese traditional architecture. Today, it has become a popular leisure activity center for the local elders. You will likely bypass people engaged in exercise, tai chi, martial arts, and Chinese opera, as you make your way from the tour bus to the main buildings. Afterwards, you will visit a pearl factory before lunch. After lunch, you partake in a tranquil visit to the picturesque landscape of the Summer Palace with historic temples, numerous pavilions, marble boat and famous 728-yard Long Corridor, situated on the man-made Kunming Lake. Later, you will capture the lifestyles of families residing within the Historic Hutong by rickshaw. The amazing gray brick courtyard residence is Beijing's oldest and remains infused with timeless culture and history. In the mid-1990's, most of the original Hutongs vanished rapidly and was substituted by high-rise buildings and commercial offices. You will then wrap up the evening with a delicious Peking Duck Dinner at one of the most prestigious restaurants in Beijing recognized for its specialty.
Day 5 - BeijingMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today you will begin the morning by setting out to the Sacred Way of the Ming Tomb. Located in the mountains according to Feng Shui principles, this imperial mausoleum is a site not to be missed. Tour the exterior portion of the tombs that include the "Spirit Way," a seven kilometer road lined with statues of mythical animals and officials to guard the 13 emperors buried in this necropolis. You will visit a jade factory on the way.
After lunch, you will travel to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, also considered as one of the greatest wonders of the world. This massive wall stretches well over 4,000 miles and once was used as the soldiers' safeguard to protect the Chinese empire's northern boarders against invaders. You then have the opportunity to climb up the mammoth sized wall at your own pace. Be sure to take in the experience and enjoy the breath-taking view from the top of one of the greatest achievements of civilization.
Day 6 - Beijing to Xi'anMeals: Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, a plane will then whisk you away to your next destination of Xian, which was the ancient capital for 11 dynasties and east end of the Silk Road. It was the world's most open and prosperous ancient international metropolitan with a population of over a million before Beijing became the political and economic center of China. It has been also considered a favorite to tourists for experiencing and understanding of this amazing city with its glorious past and splendid progress of today.
Day 7 - Xi'anMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today you will be given ample time to tour the exhibit of the historical Terracotta Warriors belonging to the era when the infamous Emperor Qing Shihuang reigned. It was in 1974 when a farmer who was merely digging for water came across one of the biggest discoveries of the world which led to the massive excavation of an army of over 7,000 life-size Terracotta Warriors and horses molded by clay. Explore the vast sea of clay warriors in all three vaults. For the next 5 years, visitors will not only see the existing warriors and horses but might get lucky to witness some of the greatest new discoveries while the archeologists are digging the vaults in front of you. You will visit an art ceramics factory on the way to the Terracotta Warriors. Thereafter, you will visit the well-preserved emblem of Xi'an, the Wild Goose Pagoda. The towering 211.6 feet high structure completely made of bricks originated during the Tang Dynasty when Emperor Gaozong once reigned. The day will conclude with a tasteful and creatively prepared Dumpling Feast followed by an exquisite traditional Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy!
Day 8 - Xi'an to ChengduMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, your tour will start with a spectacular city tour of Xi'an's Ancient City Wall. The City Wall is one of the oldest walls of any other city in China and was established during the reign of the first emperor who ruled during the birth of the Qing Dynasty. Afterwards, you will visit the Shaanxi History Museum. Situated on the west bank of the Fenhe River, this museum is currently one of the largest modern, comprehensive museums in China. Housing almost four hundred thousand items, you will be able to observe relics from the Noelithic Age to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. After dinner, fly to your next destination of Chengdu, the city located in the agriculture province of Sichuan.
Day 9 - Chengdu to Hong KongMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
What would a trip to China be without a visit to see those adorable pandas? Tour the Panda Research Institute and Breeding Center (there are 102 pandas currently) to watch these lovable and charismatic creatures live their lives. You will get a glimpse of the pandas during feeding hours and see them indulge in their favorite past time- sleeping. People have the opportunity to take pictures sitting with the pandas or even holding the baby pandas at additional cost. You will keep these pictures as life-long memories. A flight to Hong Kong awaits you as the day comes to a magical end.
Day 10 - Hong KongMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today’s adventure starts with a tour of the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. Located near the Po Lin Monastery, this 112 foot, 275-ton bronze Buddha was consider the tallest outdoor Buddha prior to 2007. The base of the Buddha is modeled after the same alter, the Alter of Heaven or Earthly Mount Tian Tan, as in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. There are six smaller statues that surround the Buddha depicting devas making offerings. What makes this Buddha unique is that it is the only great Buddha statue that faces north.
Afterwards, you will have a special Dim Sum lunch before traveling to the summit of Victoria Peak where you will revel in the stunning landscapes and architecture of Hong Kong. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city on your own.
DISCLAIMER: In case of severe weather or unscheduled maintenance of the cable car to the temple, we will not be able to visit the Tian Tan Buddha. In this situation, your tour will visit Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, fashionable Repulse Bay, and the Historic Fishing Village of Aberdeen.
Day 11 - Hong KongMeals: Breakfast
The entire day is free for exploring, shopping or simply experiencing Hong Kong on your own. There is also an option to visit the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. Located near the Po Lin Monastery, this 112 foot, 275-ton bronze Buddha was consider the tallest outdoor Buddha prior to 2007. The base of the Buddha is modeled after the same alter, the Alter of Heaven or Earthly Mount Tian Tan, as in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. There are six smaller statues that surround the Buddha depicting devas making offerings. What makes this Buddha unique is that it is the only great Buddha statue that faces north. You can also visit the summit of Victoria Peak where you will revel in the stunning landscapes and architecture of Hong Kong. At night, you can watch the "Symphony of Lights" which is staged daily at 8 pm. The evening spectacle comprises of 44 prime buildings along the harbor of Hong Kong and Kowloon. Experience the vibrant energy and diversity of Hong Kong and watch how the narration of the musical effects plays according to each strike of laser beam sweeping across the night sky.
Day 12 - Hong Kong to GuilinMeals: Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, enjoy some free time to finish any last minute shopping before your flight to Guilin. Be prepared for a city recognized for its stunning landscapes and captivating lifestyles of the people who call this enchanting place "home." Tourists will regret missing the chance to soak in Guilin's most amazing beauty. Guilin is a must see!
Day 13 - Longsheng Day ExcursionMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, you will have a full day excursion to the Longsheng Rice Terraces. Longji is the home to thousands of Zhuang and Yao ethnic minority people. These indigenous people have lived there for thousands of years. It is said that a Zhuang family started to remove the stones to make the first rice terrace on the slope of Longji area one thousand years ago. Since then, thanks to the efforts made by their descendants, they had made 15862 pieces of terraced fields between Yuan dynasty (700 years ago) and Qing dynasty (about 100 years ago).
Today's excursion will take you to the Longji Ancient Village. There are about 1000 people in the village, almost all of them are Zhuang ethnic minorities. All of the houses are wooden structures, some over 100 years old. The first floor of the house is often used as bathroom and for keeping cattle; the second floor is kitchen, sitting room and living room; the third floor is for keeping rice and rice hays. There are also several historical relics of Qing dynasty including the stone bridge with carving of three fish sharing one head, indicating the union of the Han, Yao and Zhuang people. Today you will have a close look at the life of the native people who live in the mountainous area.
Day 14 - Guilin to YangshuoMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Guilin is said to be "the best scenery under heaven" for its unique limestone karsts creating the picturesque of the location. This city of surreal beauty is prevalent of aromatic Osmanthus trees and is famous for its hills along the Li River. You will embark on a memorable 3.5-hour Li River Cruise passing through the scenic landscape of Yangshuo. As the whimsical cruise docks, you will then hop on a trolley that will transport you to your hotel. Take a glimpse of the lush agriculture that surrounds you. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own. If you are willing and ready to exit the door of your hotel, you will find yourself immersed in a market full of vendors anxiously waiting for you from all directions. Test you bargaining skills and have fun! There is also the option to rent a bicycle or a tuk-tuk to go around the countryside and get an up close and personal look at the hills of Yangshuo and the life of the Chinese residing in this city. Depending on the weather conditions, you will have the choice to partake in an evening show directed by the famous Zhang Yimou who designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Optional Tour Disclosure: The "Lui San Jie" evening show (aka The Impression Show) will not run if the weather does not permit. If the performance is available, the cost is US$40/person. The Impression Show is choreographed by Zhang Yimou who designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Day 15 - Guilin to ShanghaiMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, travel back to Guilin and enjoy a visit to the Reed Flute Cave. Pay attention to the music the vendors are making as they blow their flutes constructed from the actual reeds that grow outside the cave. Enjoy the radiating lights that illuminate the natural rock formation and stone pillars along the zigzag pathway within the cave. A Special Tea Banquet will be arranged for lunch. After lunch, you will take a brief tour of the famous Guilin Tea Research Institute. It was once the royal tea garden for the Ming Dynasty known for its high quality and health benefits. You will witness a demonstration of traditional tea manufacturing techniques done by hand. This evening, a flight to Shanghai awaits you as the day comes to a magical end.
Day 16 - ShanghaiMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
You will first begin the day with a walking tour along the world renowned Shanghai Bund. This landmark known for its district neo-classic architecture of 52 European style buildings not only lined the Huangpu River but once upon a time housed the most influential financial institutions including national banks that were considered part of the "Big Four." After lunch, your walking tour will then end in the old town of Shanghai, the most ancient area of the city, still maintaining its circular shape as it did centuries ago. You will have some time to explore this area on your own. At the old town of Shanghai, you would find the City God Temple, and the famous Yu Garden (Yuyuan). You will visit a Silk Museum during your walking tour as well.
Day 17 - ShanghaiMeals: Breakfast
Today is a free day to explore the vibrant culture and lifestyle of Shanghai. Indulge yourself by shopping at the stores along Nanjing Road, which is the main shopping street of Shanghai and one of the world's busiest shopping streets. If you're just looking for a relaxing time, stop by the famous Old Jazz Bar at Peace Hotel. Its open daily from 8pm to 2am where you can enjoy jazz music dating back to the 30's and 40's and experience specially prepared cocktails and Irish or Italian coffee. You can also visit the massive Shanghai Museum with a collection of over one hundred thousand ancient artifacts, arts, and cultural relics. Whatever you choose, you will enjoy the splendors of this magnificent city!
Day 18 - Depart Shanghai to USMeals: Breakfast, In-flight Meals
We hope you enjoyed your time in China and will be leaving this country with endless amounts of stories, memories, and captivating pictures of the entire journey. You will be transferred to the airport and Air China will take you home on the same day.
Flight Detail: 16-hour flight of Air China to SFO with stopover in Beijing. 17.5 hours to JFK with a stopover in Beijing. Your luggage will be checked through all the way from Shanghai to USA. You will arrive back in the USA on the same day.