China Highlights 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
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 - Xian to Wuhan to YichangMeals: Breakfast, 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 fly to Wuhan. Upon arrival in Wuhan, take a fast train to Yichang. After dinner, board your ultra luxurious 5-star cruise ship operated by President Cruises. All cabins are outside with a private balcony. All China Focus travelers also enjoys Executive Deck and Services, including cabins with better viewing, VIP area reserved for evening entertainment, complimentary unlimited wine, beer, and soft drink for lunch and dinner, and much more.
Yangtze River Disclosure: In case of upgrading or maintenance on the Three Gorges Dam ship locks, or if the flow of the river’s upper reaches exceed 40,000 cubic meter per second during flood season, cruise ships will embark and disembark at Maoping pier. The cruise ship company takes responsibility for transfer of passengers to the pier. Passengers will still have a shore excursion to visit the Three Gorges Dam site and see the spectacular view of the project parts and ship locks. Thank you for your understanding.
Day 9 - Yangtze RiverMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In the morning, depart from Yichang and set sail into Xiling Gorge (the longest at 41 miles). Then take a land excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Site. It is the world's largest dam, 1.7 miles long and 220 feet high, and the largest electricity-generating plant of any kind. The dam body was completed in 2006. All of the originally planned components of the project were completed on October 30, 2008. The project produces hydroelectricity, increases the river's navigation capacity, and reduces the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. From completion until September 2009, the dam has generated 348.4 TWh of electricity, covering more than one third of its project cost. There were over 1.2 million people who immigrated to other parts of the country in order to complete the project. In the afternoon, sail through the five-step ship lock. There will be a Captain's Welcoming Dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 10 - Yangtze RiverMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In the morning, experience a once in a lifetime adventure when you transfer to a small riverboat and cruise up the tributary Shennong Stream. After lunch, Wu Gorge, which is 25 miles long and well known for its 12 forest-covered peaks and quiet beauty with ever-changing scenery. Then sail through sail through sail through Qutang Gorge, the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet) and most dramatic one.
Day 11 - Yangtze RiverMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After practicing Tai Chi on the sundeck, take a land excursion to Shibaozhai, one of the gems of Chinese architecture along the Yangtze River. The 720-foot hill on the north bank can appear to resemble a jade seal. It is said that the hill was created by the goddess Nuwo while redecorating the sky. Atop the hill sits a temple built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. In 1956, three more stories were added to this historic temple. Eventually, the rising water levels will surround the temple, which is preserved with a tiny dam, but left on an island. This magnificent pagoda, which no nails were used to build it, is appropriately named "The Pearl of the Yangtze". After the land excursion, there are various cultural programs you may attend on the ship. A Farewell Dinner is planned for the night.
Day 12 - Chongqing to ChengduMeals: Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, disembark in Chongqing, the world's largest city by population of about 30 million and the largest by area of 32,000 Square miles, the picturesque "Mountain City," previously known as China's wartime capital during the Second World War. After disembarking, take a fast train to your next destination to Chengdu, the city located in the agriculture province of Sichuan. You will 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.
Day 13 - Chengdu to GuilinMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
Early this morning, you will be transferred to the airport and take a flight scheduled for 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! Upon arrival, you will take a stroll through the famous Ronghu Lake Scenic Area. Ronghu Lake, also known as Banyan Lake, one of the largest and most famous of the lakes on the Two Rivers and Four Lakes cruise. Ronghu Lake got its name from a large banyan tree standing on the lake shore near the 1,000-year-old South City Gate. A zigzag bridge leads to Mid-lake Isle, which is dotted with long open-sided corridors, waterside pavilions and ancient buildings. Built in the Song Dynasty, Blue Ribbon Bridge, now called Sun Bridge, separates the lakes. The two lakes together were often referred to as Round Lake. After lunch, the rest of the day is free to explore the city on your own.
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
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.