Day 1 - Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in the capital city of Beijing, China’s longtime seat of
power, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.
Day 2 - Beijing
Today, participate in a privately led tai chi lesson taught
by a master instructor at the Temple of Heaven, a stunning
example of classical Ming period architecture. After lunch,
take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square before
exploring the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City.
Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.
Day 3 - Beijing
This morning, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a
hutong, a vast yet intimate neighborhood of small, winding
alleyways dating to China’s dynastic period. Then, travel
to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
of China. Ride a cable car to the top of the wall to take
in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. After
experiencing this wonder of the world, return to Beijing.
Day 4 - Xian
Fly to Xian, a modern city cloaked in over 3,000 years of history. Once the eastern terminus on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Upon arrival, enjoy a Chef’s Table noodle-throwing demonstration, followed by lunch. Visit the old city’s Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets and beautiful Great Mosque, a 14th-century national heritage site. A blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian.
Day 5 - Xian
Today, accompanied by an on-site specialist, visit the
excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the
life-size army created during the Qin Dynasty to protect Qin
Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife. More than
8,000 remarkably crafted soldiers are spread throughout
three dig pits, each revealing a unique face. After lunch, stroll
along the impressive ramparts of the City Wall. Tonight,
gather for dinner.
Day 6 - Chengdu
Travel by bullet train to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan
Province. For lunch, enjoy a spicy Sichuan hot pot, a regional specialty. Afterward, immerse yourself in local life and
culture at People’s Park, where area residents play traditional
Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai
chi. Then, learn about unique, centuries-old matchmaking
techniques still in use today, before checking in to your hotel,
where you observe a traditional tea demonstration.
Day 7 - Chengdu & Chongqing
Today, visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered creatures roaming freely in their specially designed habitat. Then, board a high-speed train for a ride through the Chinese countryside to Chongqing, where you embark on your river cruiser, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer,’ for a three-night journey to Yichang. Settle into your cabin as the ship sets a course downstream to the stunning Three Gorges region.
Day 8 - Cruising the Yangtze
Start your morning with tai chi on the deck before breakfast.
Disembark in the small city of Fuling for a visit to the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. Descend 150 feet
underwater to see centuries-old rock carvings. Afterward,
continue to a local market to gain insight into the region’s
rich culinary culture. Back on board, learn about Chinese
traditional medicine and reflexology. Tonight, attend the
Day 9 - Cruising the Yangtze
Early this morning, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer’ navigates the
Qutang and Wu gorges before anchoring at Badong, where
you board a ferry and travel up Shennong Stream. Transfer
to “peapod” boats, poled by Tujia boatmen, to view a scenic
gorge. The Tujia are members of a local minority culture
famed for their boat-building skills and keen knowledge of
the Yangtze. Gain insights into their daily lives on a village
visit. Return by ferryboat to your ship. Tonight, savor a
“Taste of China” dinner, followed by onboard entertainment.
Day 10 - Yichang & Shanghai
This morning, disembark in Yichang and fly to Shanghai,
stopping briefly to photograph the Three Gorges Dam,
a project that resulted in the resettlement of 1.2 million
residents of the cities submerged behind it. Upon arrival in
Shanghai, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s
Day 11 - Shanghai
Explore dynamic Shanghai, where stunning modern
skylines meet classic street markets and gardens. Head to
the observation deck of the Shanghai Tower, where you are
treated to a bird’s-eye view of the Huangpu River, the Bund and Shanghai’s panorama of skyscrapers.
This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Walk Shanghai’s Historic Jewish Quarter and learn how
it became a haven for Jews fleeing Europe in World War II.
Enjoy a Shopping Excursion to the trendy French
Concession to browse the superb selection of artisan shops
and navigate the maze of shikumen homes.
Savor a Street-Food Tour, sampling local specialties, such
as soup dumplings and steamed crab.
Then, toast your day with a relaxing Scenic Sundowner.
Day 12 - Shanghai
Today, walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular
promenade, and then explore the Shanghai Museum
accompanied by its curator, viewing exceptional collections of
historically significant art and housewares, including bronzes,
ceramics, jade, furniture and coins. Savor lunch at a local
restaurant, and later stroll the streets of Old Town and visit
the 16th-century Yu Garden, with its pavilions and ponds.
Day 13 - Depart Shanghai
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for home.