Spiritual China Tour Sample Itinerary
China with a Cruise on the Yangtze River
A journey to China is a magical odyssey through more than 5,000 years of history, written and recorded against a vast and stunning landscape. Discover firsthand the great diversity of this fascinating country, which is now a must-see for every traveler. We will visit three of China’s great cities. Shanghai, Xian and Beijing. We will walk atop the Great Wall. Stroll through Palaces where no commoner dared to enter. Travel through rural areas not yet touched by the 20th century. Dine on “real” Chinese cuisine. Meet local Chinese, who are among the friendliest of people and witness a remarkable culture up close. During our journey we will cruise on the mighty Yangtze River amidst awe-inspiring scenery, soon to be changed by the Three Gorges Dam project.
- Roundtrip flights from New York to China
- Round-trip transfers
- Inter-China Flights
- Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
- Accommodations in Deluxe hotels
- Airline & hotel taxes
- Service charges at the hotel
- Deluxe Yangtze River cruise
- Daily breakfast
- Meals as per itinerary
- Sightseeing tour as per itinerary
- Guides throughout
- Welcome to China Reception
- Terra Cotta Warriors Museum visit
- Peking Duck dinner
- Special Farewell to China dinner
- Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony
- Visit with a local family
1st Day, Wednesday: Depart for JFK
Departure in the early evening via the Hampton Luxury Liner for JFK.
2nd Day, Thursday: To Shanghai
Depart a little past midnight for our connecting flights to Shanghai as we cross the International Dateline.
3rd Day, Friday: In Shanghai (D)
Upon arrival in Shanghai we will be met at the airport by our special representative and assisted through immigration and customs. We will then be transported to our five-star deluxe Hotel. Time to relax and get used to the time change. This evening we have our “Welcome to China” dinner at a typically local Shanghai restaurant
4th Day, Saturday: In Shanghai (B/L)
We start our morning tour to Yu Garden, a classical garden in downtown Shanghai that boasts a history of over 400 years. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in the garden expresses the quintessence of South China landscape design from the Ming and Qing Dynasty. It’s reputed to be the most beautiful garden south of the Yangtze River. Onto the Shanghai Museum featuring bronzes, ceramics, ancient Chinese paintings and handicrafts. Our morning sightseeing ends at The Bund, the birthplace of Shanghai. Cruise boats meander eastward along the golden waterway to the intriguing “three-layer waters” at the Wusong Mouth. The Bund is the most famous sightseeing spot in Shanghai. The Bund has always been closely linked with the development of Shanghai. The tour ends with a special Dim Sum lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own. Maybe go to the Silk Workshop & Museum. At the Silk Museum, you will have a chance to see the complete process of making silk from silkworms and you’ll also be able to make purchases. Tonight you can try the many restaurants in Shanghai or have dinner with an Acrobatic show.
5th Day, Sunday: In Shanghai – to Yichange and the Start of the Cruise (B/D)
The morning is free for independent activities and a chance to explore Nanjing Road, China’s premier shopping street. The 3/4-mile-long Nanjing Road, starts at the Bund in the east and ends in the west at the junction of Jingan Temple and Yan’an West Street. It’s a must-see that attracts thousands of fashion-seeking shoppers from all over the world. Over 600 businesses on Nanjing road offer countless famous brands, superior quality, and new fashions. Many food vendors line both sides of the street. Upscale stores include Tiffany, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill. After lunch on your own, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Yichange. Upon arrival we transfer to the pier in the early evening to have dinner and start our cruise.
6th Day, Monday: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D)
We’ll pass Xiling Gorge which is famous for its strangely-shaped cliff faces and rock formations and have earned such names as Ox Liver, Horse Lungs, Yellow Cat and Precious Sword. The largest of the Three Gorges, it also used to be the most perilous part of the river journey, before its large river rocks were removed in 1950’s. Now it is merely exciting , offering the “mountains beyond mountains” scenery of classic China. We then arrive at Yangjiawan Pier. Yangjiawan (“Yang Family Bay”) is a mini port exclusively for cruise ships to visit the Three Gorges Project (TGP) and where we disembark to drive to the Tanziling (Jar Ridge), on top of the mountain overlooking the whole project. One of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in the world, the Three Gorges Project will forever change the face of the Yangtze River as we know it today. Unfortunately, the most dramatic section of the river, what we refer to as “the heart of the Yangtze”- the area from the Three Gorges all the way upstream to Chongqing – will eventually be drowned by the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, an integral part of the Three Gorges Project. This evening, we enjoy dinner with the Captain.
7th Day, Tuesday: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D)
Today’s journey takes us to Shennong Stream north of the Yangtze, highlighting breathtaking scenery. Sailing through the treacherous gorges with lush pine and translucent water, we can see spectacular sights like ancient plank roads, ancient cave coffins, aqueous caves and rare animals like macaques and mandarin ducks. We continue through wondrous Wu Gorge, home to the twelve peaks of the Wu Mountains, experience a meandering landscape of dazzling peaks and rocks, forming a whimsical gallery of natural beauty. Shennong Stream is located in this gorge. Our concluding Gorge finds the river carving its way between sheer precipices of overhanging mountains on both sides. It is the shortest, narrowest and rockiest of the three gorges and is abundant with historical relics and cultural heritage and is home to one of the earliest human cultures ever discovered in Asia. Here one can see the original site of the famous Fenbi Wall, the ruins of ancient cliff roads and the Mengliang Steps.
8th Day, Wednesday: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D)
“Wanzhou” literally means “myriad-prefecture”, where “myriad rivers converge and myriad traders gather”. It was a city in its own right until 1997, when it was agglomerated with Chongqing. Due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, 47% of Wanzhou’s old urban area will be underwater by the time the reservoir is filled. Buildings in the submerged area have been torn down and new ones rebuilt on higher ground. We disembark to tour the area before returning to our cruise ship.
9th Day, Thursday: Cruising the Yangtze and to Xian (B/D)
Disembark our ship to visit the Chongqing Zoo, to view pandas, elephants, birds, monkeys, tigers and lions. Continue to Grand Hal, the architectural symbol of Chongqing designed in the traditional symmetrical and beautifully-proportioned style of Ming and Qing Dynasty palaces. Our tour ends at the General Stilwell Museum. Joseph W. Stilwell was a famous 4-star American General entrusted by President Roosevelt to come to China to serve as the U.S. Army Commander of the China-India-Burma Theater and Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek under the Allied Army. General Stilwell is acknowledged as being one of the most important figures in the history of Sino-US relations. Transfer to airport for a flight to Xian and transfer to our hotel to relax. This evening we’ll enjoy a special local Jiaozi dumpling dinner, well-known to this city.
10th Day, Friday: In Xian (B)
After breakfast we visit the world-famous Terra Cotta Warriors. This is the reason most visitors come to Xian and it does not disappoint. Amazingly, the warriors are just one piece of Qín Shi Huáng’s attempt to reconstruct his empire for the afterlife. The tomb to the west is still to be fully excavated, and is said to include a full reconstruction of the ancient capital, complete with rivers and lakes of mercury. According to historian Sima Qian, over 700,000 workers were drafted for the project, and those involved in the construction of the tomb were rewarded with graves beside their emperor. Then onto the City Wall, which is not only the most complete city wall that has survived in China, but is one of the largest and most complete ancient military systems of defense in the world. The balance of the day and evening are free for independent touring.
11th Day, Saturday: To Beijing (B/D)
Transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Beijing. On our arrival transfer we will stop to tour the Summer Palace, the resort of the ancient Royal Family in China. After checking in at our hotel, lunch and the afternoon are on your own. In the evening will have a special “Peking Duck” dinner.
12th Day, Saturday: In Beijing (B)
We start our day of touring at The Temple of Heaven that was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves “The Son of Heaven”, they dared not to build their own dwelling. Then to Tian’anmen Square located in the heart of modern Beijing. Reputed as the largest square in the world, it can hold 500,000 people. The founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China was held here on October 1, 1949, which climaxed with 1 million people gathering to hear the late Chairman Mao Zedong proclaim the birth of New China. Our touring ends at The Forbidden City, also known as The Imperial Palace. It’s a maze of palaces built between 1417 and 1420 as the residence of the emperor. It has 9,000 halls and rooms containing many precious relics. It is the largest palace in the world and one of mankind’s major cultural legacies. Dinner on your own.
13th Day, Saturday: In Beijing (B/D)
After breakfast, we visit the Great Wall where we will see one of the most astonishing feats of human endeavor and is the only man-made object visible from the moon. Construction of the Great Wall began in the seventh century BC and was extended through many dynasties. We will walk on the Great Wall’s Ju Rong Guan Section. Then to Hutong….a really unforgettable experience! Roaming through Beijing’s old, narrow streets called Hutongs, we travel by old fashioned rickshaw to visit ‘siheyuan’, the old quadrangles. Here we will have a visit a local family and chat about the daily life of the Chinese family. The balance of the day is free before we depart for our “Farewell to China” dinner.
14th Day, Sunday: To JFK (B).
Depart to the Beijing International Airport for our connecting flights home and as we cross the International Dateline again, we will arrive the same day at JFK.
NOTE: This is a sample itinerary for group tour leaders. For more information about how to form a group and travel free, please visit: http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/form-a-group-and-travel-free