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10 Day China Express (2009)

Day 1: Depart USA
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. Visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon; this remarkable building is considered the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture. 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, and was built without a single nails. its 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. 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. After dinner enjoy the evening at leisure.      (B,L,D)     

Day 4: Beijing
An exciting day awaits! This morning 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.      (B,L,SD)     

Day 5: Beijing
Today is free day for you to explore Beijing on your own, or join our optional 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. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.      (B)     

Day 6: Beijing - Shanghai
Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Shanghai, a dynamic city, once referred to 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. In the old Shanghai area, you will see the exquisitely carved White Jade Buddha at the Jade Buddha Temple.      Shanghai Bund Riverside Hotel (B,IM,D)     

Day 7: 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 Shanghai Museum, an unique and inspiring piece of architecture, home to more than 120,000 cultural relics of ancient China, including a priceless collection of jade, bronze, ceramics, paintings, furniture, etc. After dinner, attend an unforgettable performance of the Shanghai Acrobats.      (B,L,D)     

Day 8: Optional Suzhou Excursion
After breakfast, you are free to explore Shanghai on your own or join our optional tour to Suzhou. Take a short train ride to Suzhou, a 2,500-year-old city renowned the world over for its traditional gardens, ancient canals and silk worm production. In 1997 Suzhou was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of the Grand Canal created a means whereby goods from this region could be transported to the Northern capital, Beijing, a distance of over 600 miles. With prosperity came prestige as merchants and artisans plied their trade. Elaborate gardens were built. Visit the Garden of the Master of Fishing Nets, and experience all of the elements of a classical Chinese garden. Then cruise on the Grand Canal, the world's longest canal built 1,500 years ago. In the afternoon, tour the Silk Spinning Mill, where you will learn how silk is created from the mulberry-munching silkworms to produce thread and fine cloth. Marco Polo once reported that so much precious silk was produced in Suzhou that every citizen was clothed in it. After dinner, take the train back to Shanghai and return to your hotel      (B)     

Day 9: Shanghai
Today is a free day to explore this vibrant city on your own. You will be provided with a specially prepared orientation list. You can stroll through the Old Shanghai bazaar, shop at Nanjing Road's emporiums, or enjoy a nostalgic evening performance by the renowned senior citizen's Jazz band at the Peace Hotel.      (B)     

Day 10: Journey Home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight.     (B)     

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01/01/2009 - 01/10/2009
02/01/2009 - 02/10/2009

*Prices reflect early booking discount of $200 per person on select dates if you book by Oct. 31, 2008.

$200 deposit is required to secure a reservation and payable by a credit card or personal check. It makes no difference on the method of payment as for the initial deposit. To take advantage of the cash discount rate, you should pay the balance by personal check or money order 50 days prior to departure date.

Rates are in U.S. fund, per person, based on double occupancy. U.S.A. & China air taxes/fees and China visa handling fee are extra. 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.

U.S.A. & China air taxes and fees: SFO: $455, JFK: $495, China Land Only: $44.

China Single Entry Visa handling fee: $150

Add-on airfare via SFO (Roundtrip including taxes)
Add-on airfare via New York (NYC) (Roundtrip including taxes)

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