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zYangtze Sampler & Hong Kong

15 days

15 Day Small Group Cruise & Tour

Small Group Discoveries for World Travelers

  • With never more than 16 guests, you’ll engage more deeply with our knowledgeable Trip Leader, learning more about China’s most important sites.
  • Live the life of a city resident as you browse in a colorful local market for produce to bring to your hosts – a native Beijing family.
  • A Xian merchant shares his lifetime of experience as he guides you through the city’s colorful Muslim market, filled with bustling stalls and exotic fare.
  • Go off the beaten path in Shanghai... We enhance your sightseeing with walking tours in colorful city districts not easilyexplored by larger groups.
  • Be a Hong Kong Insider… Our exclusive full-day tour with your own personal guide takes you around the city like a savvy insider! Discover the highlights and hidden corners which so many other visitors miss.
  • Discover 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

Show all itinerary details

Day
1

Welcome to Beijing!

Check in to the stylish, city-center Sofitel Wanda Hotel where a Luxury Room awaits!

Day
2

Full-day Small Group sightseeing

Join your Trip Leader today to discover all of Beijing’s Imperial treasures. Stand in Tiananmen Square, one of the largest and grandest public plazas in the world. Then enter within the imposing walls of the Forbidden Cityc for an extensive tour through this vast complex – once the exclusive domain of Ming Dynasty Emperors! Continue on to the lovely Summer Palacec, erstwhile retreat of China’s royalty, and tour its landscaped grounds and pavilions.

At a bustling local market, you’ll help your guide to select produce which you’ll present later to your hosts, a Beijing family. This special home visit offers enriching insight into the daily lives of city residents. It’s just one highlight of your rickshaw tour through one of Beijing’s rapidly vanishing hutongs – old city districts filled with narrow alleys and traditional courtyard homes which date back for generations. Meals B,L

Day
3

Great Wall c and Ming Tombs c excursion

Travel into the rugged mountain landscapes north of the capital to the magnificent Great Wall. If you wish, we’ve arranged for you to ascend to the site by cable car so you can conserve your energy to explore along the wall. Those who prefer to make the invigorating ascent on foot will have time to do so. Once on top of this ancient structure, you’ll find that some sections can be quite steep, but the views are truly magnificent and the experience of actually walking atop the Great Wall is truly unforgettable. Continue with your Trip Leader and stroll along the statue-lined Sacred Way to visit Changling, greatest of the Ming Tombs. Return to the city where you’ll have time to refresh at your hotel before this evening’s banquet featuring world-famous Peking Duck. Meals B,L,D

Day
4

From Beijing to your 5-star ship!

Enjoy a leisurely morning onboard as your luxurious 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, the largest in the world, and learn about 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

Day
5

The immense Three Gorges Dam

Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi before an expansive breakfast buffet. Enjoy a relaxing morning of scenic cruising or join in the ship’s enriching cultural program. After lunch, visit the Three Gorges Dam and return to ship for Afternoon Tea as you cruise through Xiling Gorge. Meals B,L,D

Day
6

Up Shennong Stream and through the Yangtze Gorges

Join fellow passengers on deck for early morning Tai Chi before breakfast. Then step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream. You’ll explore this spectacular region in traditional sampans poled by Tujia boatmen. The scenery here is 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. Learn about Chinese arts and crafts and then enjoy Afternoon Tea as your ship enters Qutang Gorge, the narrowest of the river’s Three Gorges. Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Ashore in Fengdu

Alight in Fengdu this morning to explore the ancient temples of the famed “Ghost City.” Back onboard, you can try your hand at traditional brush painting and calligraphy, learn Mah Jong, watch as the ship’s chef prepares traditional Chinese dumplings – or just enjoy the captivating scenery from your private balcony or one of the ship’s inviting public areas. At this evening’s festive Farewell Dinner, your crew will be colorfully garbed in traditional Chinese dress. Meals B,L,D

Day
8

Disembark in Chongqing and Fly to Xian

You’ll disembark the MS Yangzi Explorer this morning after breakfast. Visit the Panda Hall to see these elusive creatures before transferring to the airport for your included flight to Xian, the ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the Hilton Hotel, a new 5-star property with a privileged location within the old city walls! At the bustling Muslim Market, we’ve arranged for a local shopkeeper to accompany your walking tour. He’ll share his experiences, knowledge and insight as he guides your discovery. You’ll have of opportunity to browse - and maybe even sample – the exotic fare and spices being offered at the many colorful stalls. Tonight’s dinner features savory dumplings, a regional specialty. Meals B,D

Day
9

The Terra Cotta Warriorsc and ancient City Wall

Farmers stumbled upon the site while digging a well in 1974; now the Terra Cotta Army is China’s greatest archaeological discovery. Set out this morning to visit the excavation site and marvel at the exquisite details of these clay warriors buried 2,000 years ago to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor. It has been estimated that more than half a million laborers and craftsmen worked for nearly 40 years to complete the tomb - and the thousands of terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots that were to serve him in the afterlife. At lunch today, a lively demonstration will show you how delicious Chinese noodles are made from scratch. Later this afternoon, you’ll visit the ancient defensive walls of the city before returning to your hotel for a free evening. Meals B,L

Day
10

Fly to Shanghai

You’ll be transferred to the airport today for your included flight to Shanghai, considered by many to be one of China’s most vibrant and sophisticated cities. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the Hilton Hotel. We’ve arranged for your upgrade to a Deluxe Room here at this stylish property, wonderfully situated in the historic French Concession. Step out with your guide to explore this delightful part of town… In 1849 and continuing for nearly 100 years, this prime city-center district was designated for the French. Today the picturesque tree-line avenues and European-style mansions still evoke an air of Paris in the East! Meals B

Day
11

Small Group sightseeing in Shanghai

A full day of unforgettable sightseeing begins this morning at the highly-regarded Shanghai Museum, renowned for its carefully curated collection which spans centuries of Chinese arts and culture – from ancient bronzes and celadon pottery to exquisite jade pieces and Ming Dynasty furniture. After lunch, continue to Yu Yuan Garden, which was first established in the 16th century by a Ming Dynasty official. Restored in the 1950’s to its original splendor, this beautiful classic Chinese garden is spread across five acres and offers stunning vistas of ponds and rock gardens graced with pavilions, bridges and carefully tended willow trees accented with bamboo and other exotic plantings.

Your day of touring winds down with an afternoon drive along the historic Bund; this elegant waterfront boulevard is renowned for impressive turn-of-the-century landmarks which were constructed by Japanese and European trading companies. We’ve also arranged for a guided walking tour along the narrow atmospheric lanes of Tianzifang, where traditional old homes have been splendidly restored to accommodate many of the city’s most stylish boutiques and galleries. Tonight’s Farewell Dinner is followed by a thrilling performance by Shanghai’s world-famous acrobats. Meals B,L,D

Day
12

Shanghai to Hong Kong

This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for your included flight to Hong Kong. There, you will be warmly greeted and escorted to your hotel. The stylish Mira Hong Kong enjoys a heart-of-it-all location in Tsimshatsui, home to some of the city’s best shopping, dining and entertainment. Meals B

Day
13

Be a Hong Kong Insider!

Spend an unforgettable day traveling around Hog Kong like a savvy insider with our impassioned guide, an in-the-know city resident.

Your day begins as it does for thousands of city residents – aboard the MTR. Join your guide on the city’s efficient Mass Transit Railway and ride to the Prince Edward Station. Ascend to street level and explore Bird Street and the Flower Market, local institutions which are still thronged daily by city residents as they have been for decades! Then your guide will hail a cab for a quick ride down to the harbor front. Step aboard the historic Star Ferry, established more than a century ago, and cruise across bustling Victoria Harbor over to Hong Kong Island. As the skyscrapers and hills of the Island draw closer, you’ll agree that this is one of the most spectacular water crossings in the world!

Step off the Star Ferry on Hong Kong Island and dive into the non-stop action of Central, one of Hong Kong’s most vibrant districts. Rise above the hustle-and-bustle as you navigate with your guide along the city’s unique pedestrian overpass system, high above the traffic-filled streets and through the elegant shopping malls of the International Finance Center, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Then step aboard the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator and ascend to historic Hollywood Road, still the heart of Hong Kong’s thriving trade in Chinese antiques and antiquities.

A delightful ride aboard one of Hong Kong’s historic double-decker trams brings you back to Central where you’ll see the impressive headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, designed at the turn-of-the-century by Sir Aston Webb, the architect responsible for the eastern façade of Buckingham Palace. Take a break from sightseeing and sit down for lunch at Jimmy’s Kitchen.

After lunch, an unforgettable ride aboard the Peak Tram offers great views of Hong Kong’s spectacular skyline. Take your time atop Victoria Peak to experience the panorama that unfolds before you… from the buildings of Central and across Victoria Harbor to Kowloon and beyond.

A taxi will return you to the base of Victoria Peak to catch the MTR back to your hotel with your guide. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. Meals B,L

Day
14

Hong Kong as you please

You have the entire day free to enjoy as you wish. Your hotel’s central location in Kowloon makes it easy to step out and explore at your own pace. Meals B

Day
15

Farewell, Hong Kong

After breakfast, you will be escorted you to the airport for your homeward flight. Meals B

Ask about international air service on Royal Cathay Pacific or United , including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

Extra nights are available before or after your tour.

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