In this 22-day tour you experience the imperial life of Ming and Qing dynasties at the Forbidden City. Join hundreds of Chinese people as they revere their national flag raised at sunrise at the Tiananmen Square. View a splendid scenery through watchtowers on the Mutianyu Great Wall that is one of the Seven Wonders of the world. Fly to Lhasa and discover the center of Tibetan Buddhist world that’s been continuing for over a millennium. Stand in awe of the Terracotta warriors in full battle array of Emperor Qin’s tomb. Admire the beautiful architecture of the old city gates and walls built during the Tang dynasty. And marvel at the karst mountains, rice fields and the stalactites and stalagmites at the Reed Flute Cave in Guilin. Relax and enjoy natural scenery on a riverboat down the Yangtze river with stops to see antique villages and the amazing three gorges. Go up Tianmen Mountain, the highest mountain in Zhangjiajie with mist that circles its peak and you may test your bravery to walk on the famous glass bridge and observatory deck. Explore the classically beautiful Yuyuan garden and find your own special place as others have done for hundreds of years. Stop over by the Shanghai Bund, with the world's finest collections of different colonial architectural styles. The above is just a summary, you will experience and see many more.
Number of Days: 22
Max: 15 participants
Travel: train, coach/bus in some cities, flight to/from Lhasa, river cruise, leisure walk and optional cycling
Tour Activity: sightseeing, history, culture and nature scenery
Tour Conductor: Peggy L. Prosser, Deaf and ASL Signer
Tour Guides: Sunny Xie, National Certified Guide, and Hearing
Language: English and American Sign Language Interpreted
Physical: medium — walking on pavement and concrete, some climbing stairs, standing and using public transportations
Welcome to China! You will be escorted to your hotel in Beijing. In the evening, there is an introductory briefing by your tour conductor and tour guide.
We start our tour to the Forbidden City that was home to 24 emperors. It is the largest and best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world. And to the Tiananmen Square that has great cultural significance as the site of several key events in Chinese history. Lastly, to the Hutong Xicheng district with the maze of historic alleyways lined up with old single story traditional courthouses.
We go sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, the site where many past emperors came for ceremonies or to pray for good harvest. Nowadays lots of local people meet there to exercise or do Tai Chi. Next, we head to the Mutianyu section of the Great wall for a picturesque scenery. We ride up a cable car to watchtower 14 where you will have free time to take a hike to watchtower 23. The route is said to be most scenic. You may enjoy a tea break by the towers that look out to the hills.
We visit the Summer Palace with boat ride around the lake to Longevity Hill and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. The Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved royal park in China. You have free time to walk through gardens in the park. You will stop for an exterior visit of the Beijing Olympic Stadium and park. The visit doesn't include going inside the Bird's Nest and Water Cube.
Next, we see the Lama temple in its colorful Yonghe Lamasery. It is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet.
Fly to Lhasa, Tibet on this day. We transfer from our hotel in Beijing to the airport and from the airport to your hotel in Lhasa.
Visit the Norbulingka known as the Jeweled Garden. It was first constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama. You will have free time to roam the gardens on your own and return for a visit to two important monasteries, the Drepung Monastery with white buildings that shine under the sunlight, and the Sera Monastery that has a complex of 4 structures; the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, and every afternoon, except on Sundays there is a debate about Buddhist doctrines among the monks who come by after their duties.
Day 7 ~ Saturday, May 5, 2019
We travel to the Potala Palace, the former winter home of the Dalai Lama. It has a maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms decorated with statues, and antiques. We climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where pilgrims offer their silk scarves, coins or other gifts to burn in the shrines. Then enter the Jokhang Temple, the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. From the temple, we will exit out to Barkhor Street. The street was built 1,300 years ago. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it exhibits typical Tibetan life. Many pilgrims wearing their local dress to the Jokhang temple for prayer. You have free time to join the locals and other visitors to shop for local goods at the colorful stalls or relax in a coffee shop or tea house to enjoy the passing parade on Barkhor Street.
This day we fly to Xian. Upon arrival, we transfer from our hotel in Lhasa to the airport and from the airport to our hotel in Xian.
Following check-in, we embark on a tour to the Great Mosque in the heart of Xi'an Muslim quarter. This mosque is one of the largest Islamic mosques in China and is an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travelers. The mosque has a remarkable combination of Chinese architecture with Islamic practice. The Muslim quarters has a 500 meters long avenue paved by bluestones are dotted with many unique stalls, souvenir shop, café and bars run by mostly Muslim people. Tourists, especially from overseas come and shop here.
In the morning, after breakfast, we ride out of the city center to see the Terracotta Warriors and Horses that was accidentally discovered in 1974. This incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC. Next, we return to the city center for the Ancient City Wall, built in the 13th century. You have free time to explore more of the wall on your own. You may rent a bike, hire a rickshaw, an electric cart or walk around the full 14km circuit with great views. And if you enjoy spicy food, you may try a traditional Sichuan style lunch or dinner.
We fly to Guilin on this day. We transfer from our hotel in Xian to the airport and from the airport to our hotel in Guilin. Following check-in, we go pay a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a major Buddhist site. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials brought back from India. Following our visit we enter one of China’s best museum, the Shaanxi History Museum, with four major galleries and the Tang-style buildings that house impressive collections. Most of the item labels are in English.
Also, stop by the Tang Dynasty Arts Museum to learn and experience some calligraphy.
We travel to visit the Reed Flute Cave, a magic land of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains in fantastic shapes and colors, and among rivers and stop at Elephant Trunk Hill, located at the junction of two rivers. The hill is the symbol of Guilin because its shape resembles an elephant with its trunk drinking from a river.
And, after we arrive to Daxu to the ancient part of the town with well preserved ancient buildings, worn bluestone pavements and traditional culture, you have free time to browse through many craft shops. The older generation still living there bears active witness to the old town.
We embark on a full-day river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. The cruise along the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo takes us to a stunning scenery. There's always something interesting to see at almost every bend in the river and between the spectacular limestone peaks we'll see graceful bamboo groves, farmers tending rice paddies, and lumbering water buffaloes pulling carts or cooling off in the river. We may see fishermen gliding along on their narrow bamboo rafts, and if we're very lucky we might see one of the famous fishing cormorants. Then check in our hotel at Yangshuo.
This day we fly to Chongqing for our Yangtze River Cruise ship. We transfer in a private car driving through Yangshuo countryside is known for its idyllic scenery, oddly-shaped hills thrusting to the sky and leisurely local farming life to Guilin airport for our flight to Chongqing. The drive through Yangshuo countryside provides a great opportunity to get close to nature and real life in South China's countryside by being introduced into their villages and house. We stop to visit a village. Upon arrival to Chongqing, we transfer from the airport to your ship.
We wake up on your ship heading to Shibaozhai of Zhong County. The region is one historic site. We look for a wooden architecture that stands on the riverside is built with a rectangular rock and sheer cliffs. Our ship will dock leaving us with some time to visit the site. Shibaozhai is dedicated to a famous general of the Three Kingdoms period (220-265 AD), a local scholar or a renowned Chinese poet. There are other destinations and activities planned by your ship. We will know more information after our ship confirms the schedule. Meals are also provided on the ship.
We continue your river cruise to Shennv Stream, known as the goddess stream or beauty stream. We get off to a wooden flat bottom boat to ride out to the stunning scenery on both sides of the stream. The stream is 15 miles long. And thanks to the steep and dangerous geographical conditions that has prevented much human intervention.
During periods of high flow, the boats can reach the depths of the valley to see the natural scenery and original life of locals. There will be activities provided on the ship as we cruise through Wushan County.
We arrive at Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man and it has been a dream for several generations of Chinese people. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003. We can get to the top of the dam marvel at the development. We go on a shore excursion to Xiling Gorges before being transferred to our hotel in Zhangjiajie.
We drive out to the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The park was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It is famous for its pillar-like formations that are the result of many years of erosion. A minority culture and folklores are represented in nearby villages and towns. Stop to visit the villages. Then we see Mt.Tianzishan known for the clouds of mist that circle the peaks of the mountain. We ride in the cable car up to the mountain to enjoy the scenery. You may go up the Bailong Sightseeing Elevator, the highest and fastest sightseeing elevator in the world that provides a spectacular view of the Sandstone Peak Forest. Next, we stop at Yuanjiajie, also known as the Hallelujah Mountains. The famous Ecstasy Spot, Backyard, and First Bridge are at Yuanjiajie.
Day 18 ~ Wednesday, May 16, 2019
We take shuttle bus to Baofeng Lake for a boat ride around the lake with a terrain in the middle of this mountainous area. Our ride takes us on the clear waters, passing hills of various shapes, and enjoy entertainment by the local minority people as they perform their traditional dance. Stop at the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon famous for its glass bridge, said to be the world's longest & highest glass bridge. The bridge is also located in this scenic area. You may walk on the glass bottom bridge that is 300 meters above the ground and be surrounded fully by natural beauty from side to side and top to bottom. It will be the coolest experience of your tour.
We ride out to the Tianmen Mountain that is regarded as the 'soul' of Zhangjiajie and is the highest mountain in the region. The views include graceful ancient trees, karst hillocks and long roads that are carved from the sides of the cliff. We take a cable car, 30 minutes from the city center up to the mountaintop. It is the longest cable car ride in the world. Then get off at the Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway. It is one of the world's highest observation platforms jutting out from a sheer cliff at 1430 meters tall. The 1.6-meter-wide, 60-meter-long glass walkway offers travellers thrills and a clear view of the mountains below. After our tour in the mountains, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Shanghai and to our hotel in the city.
After breakfast we go sightseeing, starting at the Yuyuan Garden, a private garden built during the Ming Dynasty, with typical Chinese classic architecture and style. The Yuyuan Garden is surrounding by a market, where visitors can find everything from popular local snacks, handicrafts, antiques and souvenirs to some famous time-honored restaurants. You have free time to wander through the markets and enjoy some tea if you wish. Next we move the Bund, a 1.5-kilometer-long embankment that runs along the western bank a wide river. On its west side it is old Shanghai with 52 well-preserved old European style buildings. The area was a major trading and business district in the 1920’s. And on the east side of the Bund is the new vitality, with futuristic developments, chic restaurants, top end shops and bars. We go to the Shanghai World Financial Center. It was recorded as the second tallest building in the world in 2007. Yet it is an observation deck, at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground, is still the highest in the world. You may go up the decks to have a view of greater Shanghai.
After breakfast, we travel to Nanxun, a water town that was one of the richest towns in China. Thanks to its silk production industry which continues there to this day. The Watertown is the most original and quite unique. Stop at a brush making shop that makes brushes for calligraphy. We watch the traditional procedures for making the brushes. You may make your own brush and learn to write your name in Chinese. Then you take a rowing boat through the canal to visit the former residence of Zhang Shiming, a super-rich man from the past. The residence is one of few such homes remaining that retain their original appearance. We see local women washing clothes by the canal and preparing lunch, and children chasing each other.
It’s time to say goodbye. Driver and our tour guide transfer us from our hotel to the airport.
- Entrance fees to all attractions
- 4-star hotels, double occupancy *single room supplementary $1,033 per person
- 56 meals (20 breakfasts, 18 lunches, and 18 dinners)
- Air-conditioned vehicle with experienced driver
- Private - China native tour guide
- American Sign Language Interpreter
- Domestic flight transfers:
- Beijing to Lhasa
- Lhasa to Xi'an
- Guilin to Chongqing
- Zhangjiajie to Shanghai
- Three-days Yangtze River Cruise
- Service charge and government taxes
NOT INCLUDED in the tour package:
- International airfare
- China entry VISA fees
- Excess baggage charges
- Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, optional activities/shows, and any sightseeing NOT mentioned in the itinerary
- Tipping to guides and drivers