Historical China, Tibet + the Yangtze

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Historical China, Tibet + the Yangtze

Tour Description:

With our outstanding native-born guides, this Original Journey takes you deeper inside the culture and history of these inspiring lands. Warm personal encounters, feeding Pandas and our exclusive Touch Antiquity experience make this a truly special trip. We even include a full program of shore excursions for your Yangtze cruise aboard China’s finest all-balcony river ship.

Map for Historical China, Tibet + the Yangtze
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Dates & Pricing

Tuesday 03 Sep 24 — Thursday 19 Sep 24Starting at $8,599 Get a Quote
Tuesday 17 Sep 24 — Thursday 03 Oct 24Starting at $8,599 Get a Quote
Tuesday 08 Oct 24 — Thursday 24 Oct 24Starting at $8,599 Get a Quote
Tuesday 22 Apr 25 — Thursday 08 May 25Starting at $8,599 Get a Quote


Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing
You’ll be warmly greeted at the airport and escorted to the luxurious Fairmont Beijing Hotel. Settle in to your Deluxe Room and take the rest of this day at leisure to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day 2 – Imperial Highlights of the Celestial Kingdom
Stand in Tiananmen Square, admiring the architectural landmarks that surround one of the world’s grandest public plazas, and then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty Emperors on an expertly-guided tour through the magnificent Forbidden City #WHS#. After lunch, hop aboard a rickshaw to explore the ancient streets of a Hutong, an ancient enclave of traditional courtyard homes. Joining a local family in their home promises genuine connections and real insight into Chinese traditions that still endure in this rapidly evolving city. Today’s sightseeing ends at the beautiful Summer Palace #WHS#, erstwhile seasonal retreat of China’s emperors. Set on wooded hills surrounding a tranquil lake, this assemblage of pavilions, palaces and gardens offers a fascinating look into Imperial life long ago.  This evening, sit down to a festive Peking Duck Banquet with wine. Meals B+L+D

Day 3 – Walk Atop the Great Wall
Situated farther from the capital than other sections of China’s most famous landmark, the Great Wall #WHS# at Mutianyu draws fewer visitors. And with its many defensive towers and splendid setting amidst the rugged mountains, Mutianyu offers a more authentic and rewarding experience. Ascend by cable car and walk atop the Great Wall as your expert guide shares exciting stories and legends from China’s long, fascinating history. Meals B+L

Day 4 – Fly to Xian
This morning, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Temple of Heaven #WHS#; it’s a resplendent example of Ming Dynasty design and engineering that also offers fascinating insight into ancient Chinese beliefs in numerology and cosmology. The temple’s pleasant grounds draw city residents who come to meet with friends, play card games and do their morning Tai Chi. You’ll be able to join this morning ritual as a Tai Chi master leads a private one-hour class for our guests.   After lunch, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Xian. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the 5-star Hilton Hotel where your Executive Room includes access to the Club Lounge.  Meals B+L

Day 5 - The Terra Cotta Army #WHS#
Start the day with a visit to Xian City Museum. China’s history stretches back for thousands of years and excavated relics now offer extraordinary insight into the culture, beliefs and daily lives of China’s ancient civilizations. After lunch, you’ll thrill to China’s most famous archaeological site, discovered in 1974 when local villagers stumbled upon it while digging a well… Thousands of life-sized terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots that had been buried in perfect infantry formation to guard the tomb of an Emperor! To enhance your visit, we’ve arranged for you to meet with a local archaeologist – a great introduction to this World Heritage Site. Gaze upon this extraordinary terra cotta army as you learn about their history and discovery.  Meals B+L

Day 6 – Onward to Chengdu by High Speed Rail
Transfer to the rail station this morning to board the train—and enjoy the comfort of Business Class aboard the ultra-modern high-speed train to Chengdu. On arrival, experience life in this bustling city as you join your engaging guide for a stroll in the Kuanzhai Xiangzi district, where old stone buildings and lovely courtyards have been given new life as cafes, restaurants and shops. This evening, sit down to a traditional Hotpot Dinner, a regional specialty of Chengdu and Sichuan Province, and then retreat to your Deluxe River View Room at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel.  Meals B+D

Day 7 - Our Exclusive Panda Encounter + Fly to Lhasa, Tibet
After breakfast, we’ll take you to the Dujiangyan Panda Center for our special Panda Encounter. Taking you behind the scenes, this unforgettable experience offers a rare and unique opportunity to learn about Giant Pandas as you join the Center’s staff to participate in their care and meal preparation. You’re sure to get close to these amazing creatures – figuratively and literally – as you help to clean their enclosures and prepare their food. Educational sessions and time to explore the grounds of the Panda Center complete this morning’s Panda Encounter. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your included flight into the Trans Himalayas. Upon arrival in Lhasa, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel.  Meals B+L  

Day 8 – Tibetan History + Culture
Your guided tour of this fascinating city begins at Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. Built in the 18th century, this expansive palace complex encompasses tranquil wooded areas, landscaped garden grounds and lovely pavilions. You’ll also visit Jokhang Temple. Originally founded in the 7th century, this 4-story timber structure topped with gold remains an important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. Nearby, you’ll have a chance to explore Barkhor Street with its lively and colorful markets. Then spend some time with a master Tangka painter in his studio, learning about the history and techniques of this unique and spiritual art form.  This evening’s dinner showcases traditional Tibetan cuisine.  Meals B+L+D

Day 9 – Experience Kora + Tour the Potala Palace
This morning, you’ll join local residents as they perform Kora. Observing and even participating in this ancient Buddhist rite of walking and prayer will give you an authentic experience of Tibet’s enduring spiritual traditions. Then tour the magnificent Potala Palace #WHS#. Built on a mountain ridge in the heart of the Lhasa Valley, this was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama for more than 1,000 years. Continue with a visit to the Sera Monastery, founded in the 15th century at the foot of Tatipu Hill. This evening’s dinner at the hotel is included.  Meals B+L+D

Day 10 – Fly to Chongqing + Embark Your Yangtze Cruise
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and bid farewell to Tibet as you board your included flight to Chongqing. On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the pier to board the Yangzi Explorer, China’s finest river ship. You’ll have time to settle in to your balcony stateroom and refresh before dinner is served in the Explorer’s elegant restaurant. Choose from a tempting array of international and regional Chinese dishes, accompanied by free-flowing wine. This evening, gather with your fellow passengers to enjoy the Captain’s Welcome in the Explorer Bar.  Meals B+D

Day 11 - Ashore in Fuling
Early risers can join an invigorating Tai Chi lesson before a lavish buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant. Later this morning, you’ll discover the remarkable 816 Nuclear Engineering Site. This unique tour takes you underground into a vast cavern that was built by more than 60,000 laborers as part of a top-secret military project. Initiated in the 1960’s and designed to house China’s first nuclear reactor, construction was halted after 17 years—before the project’s completion and before any nuclear material could be produced. The tunnels and cavern remained a closely guarded secret for nearly 50 years until the Government revealed its presence in 2002.   This evening, with the Three Gorges Harbor as the stage, attend an epic live-performance presentation of a famous 14th-century Chinese literary work, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Enjoy VIP seats for this thrilling and dramatic show that includes cavalry battles, special lighting and water effects, 3D holographic projections and even fireworks.  Meals B+L+D

Day 12 – The Dramatic Gorges of the Yangtze
Enjoy breakfast as our ship navigates through the breathtaking scenery of Qutang Gorge, the narrowest and some say most impressive of the Yangtze River gorges.  You can choose from two excursions around the Gorge.  The first is a hike along the Yangtze Explorer Trail to a private lookout, just for guests on the ship, for a champagne reception and a spectacular view of the 12 peaks of Wushan at 3,000 feet.  Alternatively, take a guided walk through the traditional mountain villages of the Wu Gorge.  Return to the ship for lunch as the Explorer cruises into Wu Gorge, renowned for massive cliffs that rise sharply from the water. Then, you’ll step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream to explore by traditional sampan boats.  The landscape here is quite wild, with crystalline rushing waters, dense forest and towering rock formations. As you head upstream, note the coffins stowed high within the limestone cliffs above, a legacy of the region’s early inhabitants.  Meals B+L+D

Day 13 - The Three Gorges Dam + Fly to Shanghai
Early risers can again join a Tai Chi lesson before this morning’s breakfast. Then step off ship to visit the Three Gorges Dam; stretching more than 3,300 yards across at the top and towering over 600 feet, this massive construction project took 17 years to complete! It’s still the world’s largest hydro-power dam and this morning’s guided tour explores its far reaching impact upon the geography, archaeological sites, industries, and residents of the region.   By special arrangement, A+R guests will also discover the world’s largest and most sophisticated ship-lift system. From your vantage on the VIP Deck, you’ll experience the Three Gorges Ship Lift, an elevator that can raise (and lower) ships nearly 400 feet in 40 minutes, a remarkable time-savings when compared to the 4 hours that it takes to traverse the Dam’s network of five locks. Then transfer to the airport for your included flight to Shanghai where you’ll be met and escorted to the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a historic luxury landmark.  Meals B

Day 14 – Shanghai at Your Leisure
Shanghai is regarded by many travelers as China’s most sophisticated and cosmopolitan city. Situated in the heart of town along the waterfront Bund, our elegant hotel is the perfect base for exploring Shanghai at your own pace. In addition to its world-class museums and striking 21st-century architecture, there is plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment to enrich your day. If you wish, you can join an available guided excursion to the ancient city of Suzhou, renowned for its tranquil canals and beautiful centuries-old gardens.  Meals B

Day 15 - Discover Shanghai
After breakfast, your guided city tour begins in Yu Yuan Garden, originally established in 1577 by a government officer as a tranquil retreat for his aging parents. Hailed as a spectacular example of classical Chinese landscape design during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, you’ll discover a sublime ensemble of plantings, lotus ponds, winding paths, pavilions and bridges. Browse in the bustling Old City Bazaar and then take a break from sightseeing with a wonderful lunch at one of the city’s most popular restaurants. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the highly regarded Shanghai Museum; home to a vast collection of artifacts spanning millennia of Chinese culture, history and civilization, you’ll find ancient bronzes, beautiful celadon pottery, precious jade, and exquisite Ming Dynasty furniture. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a congenial farewell dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Day 16 - Depart Shanghai
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward journey.  Meals B