|12 Day China & Yangtze Cruise (2009)|
|Day 1: Depart U.S.|
Board Air China nonstop flight to Beijing. En route, cross the International Date Line. (IM)
Day 2: Beijing
Arrive in Beijing in the afternoon. Meet your local representative and transfer to your hotel. Relax and enjoy the evening in China's historic and vibrant capital city. Beijing Joy City Hotel
Day 3: Beijing
Tour Beijing's imperial treasures. First, Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world, capable of holding a million people. Stroll across its vast expanse. An assortment of historical buildings, Communist monuments and huge museums, including Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, the Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Great Hall of the People - home of the National People's Congress, flank the Square. Walk through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, under the famed portrait of Chairman Mao, to enter the Forbidden City, a 9,999-room compound, where the 24 emperors of the Ming and the Qing Dynasties ruled the Middle Kingdom for nearly 500 years (1420-1911). Experience the architectural splendor of the palaces, ceremonial courtyards and private quarters. Lunch at a local restaurant. Then tour the idyllic Summer Palace, with its sprawling encampment of temples, pavilions, the marble boat, and the 728-yard Long Corridor. Enjoy a boat ride on Kunming Lake. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Beijing
In the morning, you visit the Temple of Heaven; this remarkable building is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture. During each winter solstice, the Ming and Qing emperors would perform rites and make sacrifices to Heaven praying for good harvest for their empire. The most striking edifice is the "Hall of Prayer of Good Harvests", which according to the emperor's Fengshui masters, is the exact point where heaven and Earth met. Built in 1420, this masterpiece of Ming architecture, features triple eaves, dramatically carved marble balustrades, and gorgeous glazed azure roof that symbolizes the color of heaven. Built without a single nails, this 120-foot-high structure is fixed by four inner pillars represent the seasons, and two sets of 12 columns denote the months and the traditional Chinese division of a day. Later you visit the "Bird's Nest" and Water Cube, the main 2008 Beijing Olympics venues.
Afterwards, you take a scenic drive through the countryside to reach China's most renowned monument - the Great Wall. The 'original' wall was begun in the 5th century BC to keep out foreign invaders. Construction continued for centuries, eventually linking up the walls of the former independent kingdoms. The Great Wall meanders through China's northern mountain ranges from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert - a distance of over 3500 miles! Chairman Mao once said "You haven't walked on the Wall, you haven't been a good Chinese". Today you will have ample time to climb a section of the Great Wall and to get a sense of the enormity of this ancient edifice. In the evening, savor a specially prepared meal of Beijing Duck, cooked to crispy perfection.
Day 5: Beijing - Xian
Join our Culture InSitesT Program and experience the world of Beijing's Hutongs, via rickshaw. This network of courtyard homes and narrow lanes traditionally linked the old city. Tour the maze-like alleyways and neighborhood residences. See the locals as they go about their daily activities. Highlights include visits to a local kindergarten, to the 800-year-old Drum Tower and to a traditional courtyard style home. This unique tour concludes with a meal served at the home of a local family. After lunch transfer to the airport for a flight to Xian, an ancient capital and the historic gateway to the Silk Road. Xian was the capital of the Middle Kingdom for 11 dynasties. In a time when ancient Beijing was just a remote trading post, Xian was the capital of China and one of the world's largest and richest cities, with a population exceeding one million in the 10th century. Meet your local representative and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy your evening at leisure. Xian Titan Times Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 6: Xian
Today's excursion will take you to modern China's greatest archaeological discovery - The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, which silently guarded the tomb of China's First Emperor for over 2200 years. In 1974, a local farmer uncovered the first of three massive earth and timber vaults, while digging a well. The extensive excavation, still in progress, has yielded over 6000 life-sized terra cotta warriors, each individually sculpted, with the physical characteristics of the humans they were modeled after. Archers, infantrymen, horses and bronze chariots have also been unearthed. A Circle Vision documentary is available on site. After lunch at a local restaurant, see a noodle making demonstration. Later, visit the Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian's most famous Tang Dynasty landmark. This seven story pagoda was built to store the Buddhist sutras brought back from India by the monk, Xuan Zang, who later translated them into Chinese. His pilgrimage to India is immortalized in the Chinese classic - The Journey to the West. Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), traditionally regarded as the golden age of China, was a time of patricians and intellectuals, Buddhist monks and Taoist priests, poetry and music, song and dance - a period of peace and exceptional creativity lasting 300 years. This evening, you attend a feast of culinary and cultural delights with a special Dumpling (dim sum) banquet followed by Tang Dynasty stage show. Indulge yourself in this remarkable show and reinvent your China dream with a travel back in time to the world of China's Golden Age, and come back to the present with a greater understanding of this amazing time. (B,L,SD)
Day 7: Chongqing - Yangtze Cruise
A morning flight takes you to the mountain city of Chongqing. Upon arrival, enjoy a rare opportunity to see the Giant Pandas at the Chongqing Zoo. If time permits visit Chongqing's Old Town. This is one of China's most naturally preserved, active old towns. Explore Ming and Qing dynasty courtyard homes; listen to traditional music while sipping tea at a local teahouse. Rarely included in conventional itineraries, this old quarter is unforgettable. During WWII, Chongqing was China's wartime capital. U.S. General Stillwell was the Commander of the US Forces here. Later, visit the former office and residence of General Joseph Stilwell, now a museum that is a moving testament to Stilwell and "Flying Tigers" and illuminates Chinese/American relations. After dinner you board the 5-star cruiser. Settle into your cabin and enjoy the numerous amenities on board. The Yangtze River originates on the Tibetan Plateau and traverses a distance of 3,900 miles before flowing into the East China Sea, near Shanghai. It is the third longest river in the world, after the Amazon and the Nile. With over 700 tributaries, the Yangtze River has been the lifeline and major commercial thoroughfare in China for millennia. M.S. Emperor (B,L,D)
Day 8: Yangtze Cruise
Your cruiser sets sail in the early morning and then brings you to Fengdu. Take shore excursion to explore China's ghost city, where all souls are said to return here to accept final judgments after their death. You will see temples and shrines dedicated to the gods of the underworld and other landmarks including "Ghost Torturing Pass, Last-glance-at-home Tower, and Nothing-to-be-done Bridge. Back to your ship; your cruise continues and enters Qutang Gorge - the shortest, narrowest and probably the most fascinating of the three, noted for its fantastic scenery resembling an elegant Chinese painted scroll. Tonight is Captain's welcome banquet. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Yangtze Cruise
More incredible views await you upon entering Wu Gorge. The softly layered peaks form a surreal backdrop as the ship courses through the rugged canyons. Wu Gorge, celebrated for its twelve misty peaks soaring above, has been the inspiration of Chinese painters and poets throughout the centuries. Transfer to a smaller motorized sampan for an excursion either to the Lesser Three Gorges or to the fabled Shennong Stream, depending on their water levels. Notice the ruins of the ancient plank road along the cliff face as well as the coffins of the ancient Ba people suspended from the cliffs above. The contrasting heights of these gorges and the narrowness of the river make this area one of the most dramatic scenes in the world. Tonight enjoy a dinner featuring local cuisine and onboard entertainment. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Yangtze Cruise - Shanghai
Your memorable cruise continues as you enter the spectacular Xiling Gorge. Choose your vantage point as the ship transits the five stage shiplock, the largest shiplock in the world. The M. V. President I will make a brief stop at Sandouping, the site of modern China's most ambitious engineering project - the construction of the Three Gorges Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant. View the current phase of this 17 year project. When completed in 2009, the dam will be 610 feet high and over a mile wide. The hydroelectrical power plant will be driven by the world's largest turbines and have the generating capacity of 18 nuclear power plants. A reservoir 372 miles long will be created, with the end result of displacing 1.5 million people, submerging 1000s of their towns and villages and wiping out numerous archaeological sites. Whole cities have been relocated, precious topsoil brought to higher elevations and centuries-old lifestyles altered forever. Disembark at Yichang, the terminus of your memorable Yangtze cruise. Board a flight to Shanghai, China's dynamic city, once referred as "The Paris of the East". Walk along the Bund, the elegant riverside promenade which symbolized European and foreign influence and affluence in the 1930s. See the ships and barges on the Huangpu River, en route to the sea or going upstream to the interior of China. The modernistic Oriental Pearl TV Tower looms in the background, redefining the skyline. Shanghai Bund Riverside Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11: Shanghai
Begin your tour in the heart of old Shanghai at the 16th century Yu Garden. This complex, with its classical architectural details, maze of walkways and reflecting pools, has been a marketplace and social center for over 200 years. In contrast, is the futurist Pudong area. Transformed from once fertile farmland, this new area is rapidly becoming the symbol of modern China with its world class hotels, international financial institutions, and commercial centers. Enjoy a stunning view of Shanghai from the 88th floor of the Jinmao Tower, the tallest building in China. At 1,380 feet, it is the world's third tallest building, as well as home to the world's tallest hotel, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. Enjoy a traditional Mongolian BBQ Buffet lunch. In the afternoon, visit the architectural inspiring Shanghai Museum, with its 120,000 piece collection of ancient Chinese relics. The priceless collection includes jade, bronze, ceramics, paintings and furniture. After dinner, attend an unforgettable performance of the Shanghai Acrobats. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Journey home
Board the Maglev, the world's fastest magnetic levitation train, for your trip to the Pudong International Airport. The Maglev travels at a speed of 287mph and will cover the 20 mile distance in less than 8 minutes! Then take your return flight home, and arrive in U.S.A. later today. * Maglev is available for San Francisco departures only. (B)
|Departures & Fares||Click fare to reserve|
|Departure Dates||San Francisco|
|Contact us if you need a roommate|
|03/12/2009 - 05/03/2009||$590|
|05/04/2009 - 06/07/2009|| ||$590|
|06/08/2009 - 07/10/2009||$590|
|07/11/2009 - 08/21/2009||$590|
|08/22/2009 - 10/04/2009||$590|
|10/05/2009 - 10/20/2009||$590|
|10/21/2009 - 11/13/2009||$590|
U.S.A. & China air taxes and fees: SFO: $530, JFK: $570, China Land Only: $115.
China Single Entry Visa handling fee: $150
- Rates are in U.S. fund, per person, based on double occupancy. The listed price reflects cash discount rate. $200 deposit per person is required to secure the reservation and is payable by credit card or personal check. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure and payable by check or money order.
- International air transportation is included except for Land only package. Land Only Package includes all China internal flights and transportation except for international flights and airport/hotel transfers on arrival/departure date.
- The seasonality is identified by departure date only. The price quote is based on weekday departure and weekday return. Supplement charge applies for weekend departure/return.
- Please be advised that the listed rate is based on “group airfare” for minimum 10 travelers from the same gateway (SFO or LAX or JFK). As soon as you are committed to China Spree and make deposit payment of $200 per person, we can proceed to request “group airfare” which is subject to confirmation by the related airlines. So it’s crucial for you to review the tour details and make commitment to China Spree so we can secure the group fare.
- The tour departs from SFO/LAX/JFK. U.S. domestic air via these gateways is excluded and available upon request. Please check the Add-on Airfare Charter below.