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yYangtze Sampler by Small Ship Private

+ Experience life as a city resident as you browse in a market for produce to bring to your hosts, a local Beijing family who will offer real personal insight into this rapidly evolving city.
+ Learn Tai Chi with a master as you join him for a private class at the Temple of Heaven.
+ A Xian resident shares his lifetime of experience as you explore with him through a city market filled with exotic fare.
+ Sit down in one of Shanghai’s newly popular wine lounges and learn about China’s emerging taste for fine vintages… Enjoy a congenial luncheon and a glass of the house favorite.
+ Includes 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites c

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Welcome to Beijing

You’ll be warmly greeted at the airport and escorted to the luxurious Fairmont Beijing Hotel. The rest of this day is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.


In + around Beijing c

Stand in Tiananmen Square and admire the architectural landmarks that surround one of the world’s grandest public plazas. Then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty Emperors on an expertly-guided tour through the magnificent Forbidden City ,a sprawling complex of palaces, courtyards and pavilions. At colorful local market, you’ll mingle with city residents and experience a slice of daily life as you help your guide to select some produce for a local family. Joining this family for lunch in their home, you’ll enjoy congenial conversation and gain real insight into Chinese traditions that still endure in this rapidly evolving city. Then hop aboard a rickshaw to explore the ancient streets of a Hutong, an ancient enclave of traditional courtyard homes. This evening, sit down to a festive Peking Duck Banquet with wine. Meals B+L+D


Day 3 Great Wall + Summer Palace c

Juyong Pass was recognized very early in China’s history as a site of great strategic importance and indeed this section of the thousands-mile long Great Wall  is one of only three that were recognized by military leaders as being practically impregnable. Today, as you walk atop this ancient defensive structure, your expert guide will be on hand to enrich your exploration with dramatic stories and legends of the great battles that were waged here. Then tour the resplendent Summer Palace, 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.  Meals B+L


Fly to Yichang + Embark your Yangtze Cruise c

This morning, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Temple of Heaven; 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 tranquil grounds are the perfect place for our specially arranged private class with a Tai Chi Master.
After sightseeing, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to the river city of Yichang. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the pier to board the ms 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 elegant Dynasty Palace restaurant. Choose from a tempting array of international and regional Chinese dishes, accompanied by free-flowing wine.  Meals B+L+D


Three Gorges Dam

Enjoy a leisurely morning onboard as our stylish and intimate ship charts an upstream course along the mighty Yangtze! Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi exercise before an expansive buffet breakfast. Throughout the morning, you can admire the scenery from your private balcony, relax with fellow guests in the lounge or participate in shipboard cultural activities, lectures and demonstrations. After lunch, 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 afternoon’s guided tour explores its far reaching impact upon the geography and residents of the region. Return to ship for Afternoon Tea as the Explorer navigates through picturesque Xiling Gorge. Tonight’s Captain’s Welcome Reception is followed by dinner and then entertainment in the Tang Theater.  Meals B+L+D


Up Shennong Stream + Through the Yangtze Gorges

If you wish, you can join fellow passengers for morning Tai Chi before breakfast is served. Then step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream. You’ll explore this spectacular region in traditional sampan boats poled by Tujia boatmen. The landscapes here are unrivalled, encompassing crystalline rushing waters, dense forests and towering rock formations.  Keep your eyes peeled for indigenous species including the elusive Golden Hair monkey. Back onboard, the Explorer navigates Wu Gorge, renowned for massive cliffs that rise sharply from the river. Later, our ship cruises through spectacular Qutang Gorge, the narrowest of the river’s Three Gorges.  Enjoy a demonstration of traditional Chinese arts and crafts before sitting down to another elegant a la carte dinner accompanied by complimentary wine.  Meals B+L+D


Ashore in Fengdu

Get a first hand look at how life in a small river town has changed since the completion of the Three Gorges Dam as you explore Fengdu’s New City, built for residents who were forced by the Dam’s rising waters to relocate to higher ground. Return to ship in time for lunch and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of scenic cruising. You can take in the passing scenery from your private balcony or one of the ship’s inviting public areas. Throughout the afternoon, our shipboard enrichment program continues with lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on workshops in Chinese calligraphy, traditional brush painting, Mahjong and the art of dumpling making At this evening’s Farewell Dinner, your crew will be garbed in traditional Chinese dress.  Meals B+L+D


Fly to Xian

Disembark the Yangzi Explorer after breakfast and visit the Chongqing Zoo to see their marvelous Panda exhibit. Then transfer to the airport for your included flight to Xian, China’s ancient capital for 13 dynasties. At a bustling local market, an engaging Xian resident will share his lifetime of experience – offering a firsthand look into the culture of the city and the many exotic products for sale. Enjoy a dinner of savory dumplings, a regional favorite, and retreat to the 5-star Hilton Hotel, ideally located within the ancient city walls.  Meals B+D


Discover the Terra Cotta Army c

In 1974, local villagers digging a well stumbled upon what would ultimately become China’s greatest archaeological discovery… 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! This morning, 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. Enjoy a festive lunch of regional cuisine as you watch a lively noodle-making demonstration. Then visit the old defensive walls that still surround much of Xian’s historic core and hear colorful stories about this ancient Imperial capital.  Meals B+L+D


Onward to Shanghai

We’ll take you to the airport today for your included flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival in this wonderfully cosmopolitan city, you’ll be met and escorted to the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a luxury landmark overlooking the historic waterfront Bund. Tonight, you’ll thrill to the daring feats and graceful artistry of the world-famous Shanghai Acrobats!  Meals B


Shanghai Sightseeing

Your comprehensive guided tour of Shanghai begins this morning along the historic Bund; in a city now renowned for its striking 21st-century skyscrapers, this elegant waterfront boulevard is still graced with architectural landmarks built by European and Japanese mercantile companies after the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing opened the city to international trade. Then stroll in Yu Yuan Garden, originally established in 1577 by a government officer as a tranquil retreat for his aging parents. At the highly regarded Shanghai Museum, you’ll find a vast collection of artifacts spanning millennia of Chinese culture, history and civilization – from ancient bronzes and celadon pottery to precious jade and exquisite Ming Dynasty furniture. At midday, we’ll take you to one of the city’s newly popular wine lounges where the manager will share unique insight into China’s growing fascination for fine vintages. Sit down to a congenial luncheon accompanied by a glass of one of the lounge’s most popular wines.  Meals B+L+D


Farewell to Shanghai

Transfer to the airport for your flight. meals b


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