China Highlights 2018 - 17 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 747-800 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
Today you will begin the morning by setting out 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.
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.
Day 4 - BeijingMeals: Breakfast
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 visit 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 "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). Thereafter, you will 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.
Day 5 - Beijing to YichangMeals: Breakfast
A deluxe motor coach and your devoted tour guide(s) are ready 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 fly to Yichang. You will then be transferred to Maoping Pier and 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.
Day 6 - Yangtze RiverMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In the morning, 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, set sail on the beautiful Yangtze River. There will be a Captain's Welcoming Dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 7 - Yangtze RiverMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, experience a once in a lifetime adventure when you transfer to a small riverboat and cruise up the tributary Shennong Stream. After lunch, sail through 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 Qutang Gorge, the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet) and most dramatic one.
Day 8 - 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 9 - Chongqing to ChengduMeals: Breakfast
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. Upon arrival, take a fast train to your next destination to Chengdu, the city located in the agriculture province of Sichuan. 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 keep these pictures as life-long memories.
Day 10 - Chengdu to GuilinMeals: Breakfast
This morning, take a flight to Guilin. Today, you will tour the Ronghu Scenic Lake Area. Located in the center of Guilin, Ronghu Lake (or Banyan Lake) can be traced back to the Tang and Song dynasties. Originally called Nanyang River, Ronghu Scnic Area a manmade city moat of the southern Guilin at that time. In Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), people called it Jianhu Lake. To the north of the lake is ancient banyans and Banyan Shadow pavilion where it is said that the Song Dynasty poet Huang Ting Jian had his boat tied here. The ancient South Gate was established in Tang Dynasty. Many poets and intellectuals have written a lot of poems and literary pieces to describe the charming beauty of the lake. In the afternoon, you will be free to explore the city on your own.
Day 11 - Guilin to YangshuoMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
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 12 - Yangshuo to Guilin to Xi'anMeals: Breakfast
A deluxe motor coach will take you to Guilin in the morning. Today, your sightseeing will be a visit to the Reed Flute Cave, which is another scenic spot in Guilin. Pay attention to the music the vendors make 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. This afternoon, fly to the next captivating and history-filled city of Xi'an. Xi'an was the ancient capital for 11 dynasties and east end of the Silk Road. It was the worlds most open and prosperous ancient international metropolitan with 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. Make sure to get some rest and relaxation and prepare for the next day's adventure.
Day 13 - Xi'anMeals: Breakfast
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. Then the rest of the day is yours to enjoy!
Day 14 - Xi'an to ShanghaiMeals: Breakfast
Today, you will take a flight to Shanghai. With a population of over 13 million, Shanghai, meaning "On the Sea," used to be a small fishing village about 200 years ago, has developed into a dynamic New York-like economic and financial center of Asia. The rest of the day is free to explore the city on your own.
Day 15 - ShanghaiMeals: Breakfast
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." 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).
Day 16 - 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 17 - 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.