For those on the Land and Air package originating at Vancouver International Airport on your departure date, be at the Airline’s ticket counter in the International Departure Terminal three hours prior to departure for your seat assignment. Your great circle route usually takes you north from Vancouver, over western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. After you leave western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, you either enter Russian airspace or fly over the Pacific Ocean until you cross Japan. Sometimes on a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji. The jet stream determines both your route and the flight time, which usually averages 11 hours.
Today you visit the Yu Yuan Garden Market area of Old Shanghai. This busy day also includes a visit to the Shanghai museum and a stroll through Xintiandi (the French Concessions). BLD
You have a free day to explore. With a population around 18 million, Shanghai (Queen of the Orient) has been forcefully “helped” by almost every major nation at some period in history. The areas known as the “concessions” reflect the architecture and period of the country of occupation. The Bund area reflects all of the countries and their business interests before the revolution. You have lots of opportunities to watch people and take pictures. This is your “SHOP TILL YOU DROP” day. Take a pack of matches or a card from your hotel to show a taxi driver in case you get lost. B
After a laid back morning in Shanghai you will fly to Yichang. You will spend the night on your Yangtze River cruise boat. BLD
Your Yangtze River cruise beings today! At 6300km, the Yangtze is China’s longest river and the third longest in the world. It flows east from the Qinghai Province to Shanghai, emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The Yangtze has played an important role in the cultural, historical, and economic development of China. This impressive, beautiful water highway will capture your heart and your imagination!
You begin your cruise with a tour of the Three Gorges Dam construction site, the largest hydropower project in the world. Then you will experience the first of the three famous Gorges of the Yangtze River. The Xiling Gorge is the longest and perhaps most spectacular of the three. Look for streams, springs, karst caves and interesting stones in the surrounding mountains. BLD
Today you will have an excursion on Shenong stream, depending on the water levels. Then you pass through the Wu Gorge, most remembered for its strange peaks and rock formations. Look for the twelve peaks enshrouded in rain and mist. The peak of the Goddess is the tallest, standing at over 1000 meters.Last is Qutang Gorge, the shortest gorge with narrow canyons, tight switchbacks and stunning mountains on either side. Look for the Chalk Wall at the entrance of this gorge. BLD
The Yangtze flows through green terraced countryside with occasional small towns. You will visit Fengdu, a large necropolis locally called the Ghost City. Built almost 2000 years ago, The Ghost City has many Tao and Buddhist temples. It is believed that “the dead come to Fengdu and the devils go to hell”. BLD
You arrive in Chongqing, known as the “Mountain City”. Chongqing was built on mountain slopes at the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. You may notice a lack of bicycles compared to other cities you visit, thanks to the hilly terrain.
You will tour Chongqing’s downtown district, Jiefangbei. It is known as Chongqing’s “Mother Town” and boasts many pedestrian areas, shopping malls, and impressive tall office towers. Check outChaotian Market for good deals on clothing. Enjoy the many flower and tea shops on Nan Bin Road. You will also visit the Panda Zoo, one of the few successful Panda breeding centers in the world. In the afternoon you will fly to Lhasa.
You have the rest of the day to rest and relax to get used to the altitude. The altitude here is over 13,000 feet. Efforts such as climbing steps may cause shortness of breath, headaches, and other symptoms of altitude illness. Take it very easy and rest for the balance of the day while you adjust. You have limited exposure and a slow pace here. If you have health concerns, consult your personal health professional before booking. BLD
Today you visit the Potala Palace, which dominates Lhasa. This magnificent structure was built by the Fifth Dalai Lama, a religious and military leader who brought the Tibetan people together as one sovereign people during his reign in the 17th century. You will also visit the Jokhang Temple, built in the seventh century by King Songsten Gampo. Jokhang Temple is the nation’s holiest shrine, and contains its most important religious symbol, the image of the Sakyamuni Buddha. You will also enjoy a city tour (Lhasa is not a very big place), which includes the Barkhor – the area around the Jokhang Temple where you find the main bazaar, the Norbu Lingka, and the old city. BLD
This morning you fly to Xian for your visit with the world famous “Terra Cotta Warriors”. This archeological wonder resulted from an unexpected discovery by a farmer digging a well. He uncovered an army of more than 6,000 life size terra cotta statues, each bearing the features of the men they were modeled after. It is as if these soldiers have been guarding their emperor’s tomb for over 2000 years. In the evening you will enjoy a Tang Dynasty show. BLD
After a morning tour of Xian’s ancient city wall, you will fly to Beijing. Here you will visit Tien An Men Square – the second most famous sight of China and the heart of Beijing. This is the setting of many historical events, where millions can gather at one time. The memory of Mao Tse-Tung dominates the square with his tomb at one end and his enormous portrait at the other, hanging above the “Gate of Heavenly Peace”. Behind this gate lies the largest complex of antique wooden buildings of such scale left in the world, “the Forbidden City”. This is where Chinese emperors ruled their world for centuries in absolute isolation. Most of your afternoon will be taken up by your visit to the Forbidden City. BLD
This morning after an early breakfast, you will make the two hour drive to visit the greatest man-made barrier in the world, “THE GREAT WALL”. You will travel northwest of Beijing to the Juyongguan section of the Wall. This is the main section of the 6,000 km (3700 miles) Wall that is open for tourism; rising and falling on the ridges of the Yanshan and Yinshan mountains. This will be one of the high points of your China experience! You will also visit the Summer Palace and the Olympic Center in the afternoon. This evening you will experience a dinner which includes Peking duck. BLD
After breakfast today you have your last free day. Your guide will assist you in your search for the ultimate shopping experience with directions to Wangfujing Street and Silk Alley (taxi rides). Or you might ask about optional day tours or performances (at additional expense). If you want western food, try McDonald’s or the Beijing Hard Rock Cafe. Don’t forget the address card from your hotel so you don’t get lost! B
This morning after breakfast, you say good bye to China as you are transferred to the airport for your flights home. BL