The Splendors of China
October 4 - October 19, 2014
Depart San Francisco International Airport at 11 am on United Airlines 889
Arrive Beijing at 2:40 pm
Upon arrival in Beijing, China's capital, you will be greeted and escorted to hotel. The balance of the day is free to relax or begin exploring on your own. Check into the Bamboo Garden Hotel which was built by refurbishing the hutong (traditional Beijing courtyard residence) originally occupied by a major court official who served under Dowager Empress Ci Xi until 1908. The hotel is in a residential area near the Drum Tower and is furnished in traditional style.
Beijing (B, L, SD)
The full day tour of China’s fascinating capital begins with the Tiananmen Square and the Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City, home of Chinese emperors for more than 500 years. After lunch, visit the Summer Palace, taking a leisure stroll while admiring the thousands of ancient murals along the Long Corridor and a boat ride on Kunming Lake (weather permitting). This evening, enjoy a fabulous welcome banquet featuring the famous Peking duck at Qiamen 1416 Duck Restaurant.
Beijing (B, L)
The highlight today is an excursion to the Great Wall. Enjoy the dramatic vistas and marvel at the Wall as it climbs and descends steep ridges and narrow valleys. A scenic cable car ride enhances our visit through the steep hills and we will visit less-crowded, more remote sections of the man-made marvel.
Beijing (B, L)
Temple Day: Temple of Heaven where emperors came to pray for a good harvest, South Cathedral (Mateo Ricci), Taoist Temple, Confucianism Temple.
Beijing - Xi’an (B, L)
Estimated flight information: MU2102 0800-0950
Morning transfer to airport for flight to Xi’an.
Upon arrival, explore the Ancient City Wall, built during 1374-1378 AD. Continue to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the symbol of Xi’an. Check into the Ramada Xi’an Bell Tower.
Xi'an (B, L, DS)
Today's highlight is a visit to the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, home to an army of more than 6,000 life-size statues excavated from the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. In the evening enjoy a special dumpling dinner and cultural show recreating the music, costumes and dance of the Tang Dynasty.
Xi’an – Chengdu (B, L)
After breakfast, transfer to airport for flight to Chengdu.
Upon arrival, we will visit the museum at Sanxingdui, site of a mysterious ancient civilization dating back 3,000 years. Check into the Holiday Inn Chengdu Oriental Plaza.
Chengdu (B, L, SD)
Today pay a visit to the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu. In 1980, a massive effort to study and assist the giant pandas took place in Sichuan Province and initially lasted for 5 years. That was a joint effort by the World Wildlife (WWF) and the Chinese Government. Continue to visit Dufu Cottage, the residence of a famous ancient poet and walk along the ancient Jinli Street. Enjoy a special local flavor dinner – Sichuan Snack Food.
Today we will pay a visit to the Chinese Medical Hospital. Coach and guide will be provided.
Chengdu (B, L) with day trip to Da Fo and Leshan to Emai Shan
This morning coach transfer to Leshan. Catch a tour boat to view the spectacular Leshan Giant Buddha, which is the largest Buddha statue in the world with over 233 feet in height and 28 feet in width. Also it was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites. Carving of the giant statue begun in the Tang Dynasty took more than 90 years. So you will be amazed not only by its great size but also by its architectural artistry. Transfer to Emeishan in the late afternoon. Overnight at the Century Sunshine Hotel.
Emai Shan-Chengdu (B, L, D)
Day tour of Emai Shan with round trip cable car and visit to the Wannian Temple. Return to Chengdu in the late afternoon and check into the Holiday Inn Chengdu Oriental Plaza.
Chengdu to Shanghai (B, L, D)
Estimated flight information: MU5037 0900-1140
This morning transfer to airport for flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival in Shanghai, we will be greeted by the local guide and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon, visit Yu Garden, famous for its rock gardens, pavilions, halls and ponds, and Old Shanghai Bazaar, with shops filled with all manner of interesting curios. Continue to explore the Old Town and modern Xintiandi. Our afternoon sightseeing features the bustling shopping street Nanjing Road and the Bund. Overnight at the Courtyard Shanghai Puxi.
Shanghai (B, L, D)
Today we will visit the Jade Buddha Temple, renowned for its huge statue of the Buddha carved from a single white piece of jade. In the afternoon we will explore the French Concession – a foreign concession in Shanghai, China from 1849 – 1946, and it was progressively expanded in the late 19th & 20th centuries.
Shanghai (B, D) Free day for shopping or personal exploration. Evening farewell dinner.
Shanghai – Home (B)
Farewell to Shanghai. Transfer to airport for United Airline flight 858 departing at 12:10 pm with arrival in San Francisco at 8:25 am.