The GREAT WALL OF CHINA once stretched 4,000 miles across China’s barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. We headed north from our hotel to a village where the Great Wall is well preserved and walked along the wall to enjoy sweeping vistas of this mammoth fortress.
Next there was
a visit to the FORBIDDEN CITY and its IMPERIAL PALACE, once the home of
China’s great emperors. Nearby is 100-acre TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE, the
largest public square in the world.
In the evening, we met our traveling companions at a special PEKING DUCK WELCOME DINNER in a local restaurant.
Next there was a visit to the CLOISONNÉ WORKSHOP where we saw local artisans use the techniques of this ancient art form to turn pieces of copper into colorful decorative items and we also visited a Jade carving factory and showroom.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we took a leisurely walk down the SACRED WAY of the Ming Tombs and marveled at the impressive hand-carved stone statues. At night, we experienced the local culture at the PEKING OPERA, including a behind-the-scenes look at the colorful makeup being applied to the performers.
On the followng morning, we enjoyed a rickshaw ride through one of Beijing’s HUTONGS, the city’s ancient alleys. There we experienced life in this historic neighborhood and we were invited into the courtyard of a family’s home for tea.
Later, we flew to Xi’an and in the evening, we enjoyed “The Tang Dynasty” DINNER SHOW featuring a colorful assemblage of classical performances.
One of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade, Xi’an today is an archaeological treasure-trove. In 1974, the enormous tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, was accidentally discovered by local farmers.
We marveled at the legion of TERRACOTTA WARRIORS that has been guarding the burial site for 2,000 years.
Next, we flew to Chongqing, China’s capital during World War II, and boarded the Victoria Jenna for a 3-night cruise through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze.
We headed downstream through the first and second of the three gorges—Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic gorge, and Wu, known for its quiet beauty and forest-covered mountains. You can nearly touch the perpendicular walls rising from the riverbanks as the vessel negotiates this narrow gap. After lunch, we disembarked for a BOAT EXCURSION down the Daning River. Later, we continued sailing through Xiling Gorge and the Three Gorges ship locks.
We visited the THREE GORGES DAM SITE, where the Chinese progress toward building the largest dam of its kind in the world. Later we said farewell to the ship’s crew in Yichang and transferred to the airport for our flight to Shanghai, China’s most populous city and center of trade and industry.
During a full day and night of sightseeing, we strolled along the Bund, the city’s riverfront boulevard lined with historic buildings housing banks and trade houses. We visited a SILK FACTORY and the YU YUAN GARDENS. and in the evening, a fabulous ACROBATIC SHOW.
An optional trip to a nearby Ancient Watertown brought many exceptional sights and afterwards we visited the SHANGHAI MUSEUM. Then we transferred to the airport for our flight to Guilin, one of China’s most beautiful areas.
Limestone mountains, their needle peaks hidden in mist, rise from the green plain surrounding Guilin. The scene conveys a sense of mystery that artists have tried to capture for centuries. We savored unique vistas during a leisurely CRUISE on the Li River and enjoyed a light lunch.
In the evening we saw trained cormorants dive for fish, the traditional Lijiang fishing method.
Our next day started with a visit to a local zoo to see pandas, followed by the famous REED FLUTE CAVE with its unusual stalactite and stalagmite formations. Then, a local TEA FARM for a hands-on demonstration of the tea-making process followed by a tea ceremony.
Next, we flew to Hong Kong and sightseeing began with a cable car ride up to VICTORIA PEAK for panoramic vistas of this one-of-a-kind port city. Then to the Aberdeen fishing village for a SAMPAN RIDE on the harbor followed by a sunset cruise on Hong Kong’s magnificent harbor.
The next day there was an excursion to view the giant Buddha on the island of Lantau and our final stop was a tour of Macau followed by a special farewell dinner.