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Explore China & Tibet

Get over the wall for a life-changing adventure through Chinas awe-inspiring interior. Explore the unforgettable city of Beijing and meet pandas at a breeding centre in Sichuan. Discover daily life in Tibet and cruise the incredible Yangtze River on a riverboat. Cycle atop the city walls of Xian, and face its standing army of terracotta warriors before eating lunch in the local farming village where they were discovered. Get into Chinas very heart and it will most certainly get into yours.


Duration: 15 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Local Culture & Cuisine, History Physical rating: 2 - Light
Accommodation standard:   Moderate% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 155164
Starts: Beijing, China Finishes: Shanghai, China
You will visit
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Beijing (1D)

Spend the day resting or taking in the local surroundings. In the evening, there will be a welcome meeting with the tour leader and fellow travel companions, followed by a scrumptious Peking Duck dinner.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Transport:
Private Vehicle

02

Day 2: Beijing (1B)

Delve into the history of Beijing, visiting the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Hear tales emperors and their concubines, a long crafted culture and rich tradition. Witness how ancient Chinese customs are still valued today, but also blended with modern technology and western influences. Also visit the Temple of Heaven and its surrounding grounds, where locals are whiling the hours away, practicing water calligraphy and Tai Chi, playing cards, and walking pet crickets, all with the colourful Temple of Heaven in the background.



Included Activities:
Tiananmen Square Guided Tour
Forbidden City
Temple of Heaven Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle

03

Day 3: Beijing/Xi’an (1B)

One of the greatest structures ever built, the Great Wall was constructed in stages over 2,000 years ago. It stretches 6,000km (3,728 mi) westwards from the sea to western China. The section we visit is called Mutianyu and is one of the best preserved Ming Dynasty sections reachable from Beijing. Arrive at the wall, walk up and explore a stretch by foot while taking in the spectacular views as it winds along the mountain ridges.

Afterward, prepare for our overnight sleeper train journey to Xi'an, which we will board in the evening.

Additional Notes:
Accommodation this evening will be in Soft Sleeper train cars which have 8-9 compartments per cabin. One compartment includes four beds (two upper and two lower) and a sliding door which can be locked.

Included Activities:
Great Wall Mutianyu visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Overnight train (beds) (12.00-14.00 hours)

04

Day 4: Xi’an (1B)

Arrive in the ancient Chinese capital and traditional silk road terminus, Xi'an, in the morning. We will be met and transferred to our hotel. After settling in, gather for an inner city bike ride along 14km (9 mi) of ancient city walls.

In the evening, explore the multicultural feel of the Muslim Quarter, with shopping lanes and street-side food stalls selling naan, kebabs, and a fine array of sweets. Opt to try some of the best street food in China – the spicy beef and lamb kebabs are always a favourite.

Included Activities:
Cycling Xi'an City Walls
Muslim Quarter Orientation Walk

05

Day 5: Xi’an (1B, 1L)

Visit the famed Terracotta Warriors the archaeological wonder built over 2,000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. After, visit a local Village for lunch. Opt to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner banquet in the evening.

Included Activities:
Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour
Village visit and lunch

06

Day 6: Xi’an/Lhasa (1B)

Take a spectacular morning flight over the Himalayas to Lhasa, Tibet, the roof of the world at an altitude of 3,700m (12,140 ft). Enjoy a relaxed pace in the afternoon as we adjust to the altitude, and take a leisurely orientation walk with our local guide.

Additional Notes:
Lhasa is at an altitude of over 3,700m (12,140 ft). You may experience headaches, nausea, and lethargy on arrival in Lhasa. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one's tolerance. We recommend that you consult your doctor at home for any altitude sickness medication.

Included Activities:
Barkhor Square Orientation Walk

Transport:
Plane (4.00-5.00 hours)

07

Day 7: Lhasa (1B)

Enjoy a guided visit to the Potala Palace and the Tibetan Medicine Institute to learn more about Tibetan spirituality and culture. Also visit a Tangka Academy to observe this ancient and intricate art form, considered sacred to Buddhist. The works usually depict a deity, scene, or mandala and are tied directly into Buddhist teaching and meditation.


Included Activities:
Potala Palace Tour
Tibetan Medicine Institute Visit
Tangka Painting demonstration

Transport:
Private Vehicle

08

Day 8: Lhasa (1B, 1L)

Visit sacred Jokhang Temple and the historic Sera Monastery, one of the great Tibetan Universities famed for its open debates among monks on the Buddhist doctrines. Later take a cooking class with a local chef and make (and eat) Tibetan momo beef dumplings.

Included Activities:
Jokhang Temple Tour
Sera Monastery Tour
Dumpling-Making Lesson

Transport:
Private Vehicle

09

Day 9: Lhasa/Chengdu (1B, 1D)

Fly down into the Sichuan Valley, leaving the arid Tibetan plateau behind. Be prepared to try some of the spiciest food in all of China in Chengdu. Our tour leader will take us straight to spice-lovers heaven! Sichaun is also famous for its opera, and, as a direct influence from the food- its spicy ladies.

Transport:
Plane (2.00-3.00 hours)

10

Day 10: Chengdu/Chongqing (1B)

The majority of the world's remaining pandas live in the mountains of Sichuan. Early in the morning we'll visit the Breeding Center to see the pandas stretch after a long night's slumber, then dig in to a healthy bamboo breakfast. At this hour the pandas should be their most active, as they romp in their playground environment.

Later we'll head to Chongqing, where our Yangtze River cruise boat is docked. We'll enjoy a brief visit to the city of Chongqing, then board our vessel and settle in for the upcoming cruise.

For our river cruise we use Victoria Cruise lines. Onboard facilities include a single-seating dining room, atrium lobby, two lounges, three bars, a gym, lecture room, library, beauty salon, massage room, and gift shop. All cabins are outside and have private balconies and bathrooms with bathtub and shower. All ships are fully air conditioned and have the latest satellite communications, HBO, CNN, and internet access.

Important note: The cruise company is subject to change at any time and without notice.

Additional Notes:
While on the cruise, any bar purchases, items of a personal nature such as gifts, laundry, internet, telephone, medical services, spa and beauty services are not included and are payable by the passenger. There is no cash flow aboard, you will simply sign for purchases made and your final bill may be settled during your last night or last day on board, in any major currency, major credit card, or travellers checks.

Do not drink the tap water on board. One bottle of spring water is provided per person per day in your cabin. You may also request boiled water. All water and ice in the Yangtze Club and Dining Room is safe to drink. The water is boiled, treated and filtered. Voltage on board is 220 volts (110 volts in the bathroom).

Casual attire is recommended on board and ashore. For the captain's cocktail party and farewell banquet, we suggest bringing a dressier outfit.

Included Activities:
Giant Panda Breeding Center

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s))
Cruise boat

11

Day 11: Yangtze River (1B, 1L, 1D)

The mighty Yangtze River splits China into north and south, and runs all the way from Chongqing to Shanghai. We cruise through one of the most geographically dramatic sections of the river, called the Three Gorges. Here, the scenery is impressive, and we see the rock formations change as we pass village after village.

While on the boat, enjoy one of the several activities planned, or just laze the days away taking photos.

Meal times will vary depending on the schedule of excursions and activities; times will be posted daily. Meals are served in the single-seating Dynasty Dining Room. Sumptuous western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Additional Notes:
All shore excursions and gorge visits will depend on the season and river conditions

Included Activities:
Yangtze River Cruise (Comfort)

Transport:
Cruise boat

12

Day 12: Yangtze River (1B, 1L, 1D)

The mighty Yangtze River splits China into north and south, and runs all the way from Chongqing to Shanghai. We cruise through one of the most geographically dramatic sections of the river called the Three Gorges. Here, the scenery is impressive, and we see the rock formations change as we pass village after village.

While on the boat, enjoy one of the several activities planned, or just laze the days away taking photos.

Meal times will vary depending on the schedule of excursions and activities; times will be posted daily. Meals are served in the single-seating Dynasty Dining Room. Sumptuous western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Additional Notes:
All shore excursions and gorge visits will depend on the season and river conditions

Included Activities:
Yangtze River Cruise (Comfort)

Transport:
Cruise boat

13

Day 13: Yangtze River/Shanghai (1B)

Enjoy a tour of Three Gorges Dam (dependent on river conditions) before flying to Shanghai.

Included Activities:
Three Gorges Dam Tour

Transport:
Cruise boat
Private Vehicle
Plane (1.50-2.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)

14

Day 14: Shanghai (1B)

Enjoy free time to explore on your own. Opt to visit Yuyuan Gardens or the Shanghai Museum. Later, get a behind-the-scenes peek at the famed Shanghai acrobats, visiting their training room, interacting with the artists and learning about this ancient tradition, followed by an awe-inspiring performance.

Included Activities:
Behind-the-Scenes with the Shanghai Acrobats & Performance

15

Day 15: Shanghai (1B)

Shanghai is a fascinating city - we recommend booking a few extra nights at the end of your tour to better explore the it.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Arrival transfer
    • Tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven
    • Visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
    • Bike ride along the Xi'an city walls
    • Orientation walk through Xi'an's Muslim Quarter and street markets
    • Tour the museum of the terracotta warriors
    • Orientation walk in Barkhor square
    • Tour of Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, and the Tibetan Medicine Institute
    • Visit an academy for tangka painting
    • Sera Monastery visit
    • Tibetan cooking class
    • Visit a panda breeding centre
    • Yangtze River cruise
    • Three Gorges Dam tour
    • Shanghai acrobats show and behind-the-scenes tour
    • Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (10 nts), soft-sleeper overnight train (1 nt), Yangtze riverboat (3 nts)
    Meals Included
    • 14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
    Transport
    • Train, minibus, cruise boat, small canal boat, ferry, plane, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO), local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Enjoy an awe-inspiring Shanghai acrobats show
  • Learn how to make Tibetan momos (beef dumplings)
  • Get up close and personal with pandas at a Sichuan breeding centre
  • Take in Thangka art at a Tibetan academy in Lhasa
  • Cruise the mighty Yangtze River on a luxury riverboat