China, Tibet, and the Yangtze River
When: October 23, 2013 - November 10, 2013 (iCal)
“A privilege to experience.”
Join Tufts travelers to discover the highlights of China, including a special excursion to Tibet. We will begin in Beijing to take in the capital’s legendary and historical sites: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall. Then, we will head to Xian for the renowned terra cotta army of soldiers, followed by three spectacular days high in the Himalayas in Lhasa, Tibet, exploring sacred temples and the breathtaking Potala Palace. Our unforgettable three-night cruise on the Yangtze with Victoria Cruises will begin at Chongqing, highlights include witnessing daily life along the shores and seeing the spectacular Three Gorges. Our journey will conclude in cosmopolitan Shanghai, a dazzling city that epitomizes 21-century China. Here, we will discover the European-influenced Bund and the priceless collections of the renowned Shanghai Museum. An optional Post-Tour Extension in Shanghai is available.
Activity Level: Moderate
(Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour. Lhasa’s altitude (12,090 feet) could pose problems for travelers with certain health conditions. You should consult with your physician if you have concerns.)
From: $5,786 (From Los Angeles or San Francisco, alternate gateways available.)
Includes land and air per person, based on double occupancy.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!
Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-5323.
Day 1: Depart U.S. for Beijing, China
Today we depart the U.S. for Beijing, China.
Day 2: Arrive Beijing
We will arrive in the Chinese capital, meet our Tour Director, and transfer directly to the hotel. After time to relax, we embark on a brief walking tour. This evening is free to dine on our own at the hotel or at one of the many local restaurants.
Day 3: Beijing
After this morning’s briefing about the journey ahead, we will begin our discovery of this 2,000-year-old city at the vast Tiananmen Square, site of several infamous 20th century uprisings. Next we will visit the ceremonial halls and palaces of the Forbidden City, seat of imperial power through many Chinese dynasties. This afternoon we will return to our hotel, with time for lunch on our own. Tonight we will gather for a traditional Peking Duck dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Beijing/Great Wall
We will begin with a small group highlight: a rickshaw tour of Beijing through the city’s ancient back alleys (hutongs). Our visit with a Beijing family will offer us a glimpse of the fast disappearing traditional communal lifestyle. Next, we will stop at Olympic Park, site of the 2008 Olympic Games, to view the iconic Bird’s Nest and Water Cube stadiums. After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the Great Wall, the network of ancient defense installations that stretches nearly 4,000 miles from the East China Sea to Central Asia. We We will focus on Mu Tian Yu, a scenic and less crowded section, where we will take a cable car ride to the highest restored portion. We will return to our hotel in the afternoon and later meet for dinner.
Day 5: Beijing
This morning we will tour one of China’s most beautiful shrines: the splendid Temple of Heaven complex, where rulers once worshipped. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the Summer Palace, a former royal retreat that is now a lovely park. Popular among locals and visitors alike, the expansive park boasts a large lake, imperial pavilions, and palaces. Tonight dinner will be on our own.
Day 6: Beijing/Xian
In early morning we will fly to Xian, a prized city which devolved into provincial backwater until the accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors in 1974. Upon arrival we will visit the Yangling Mausoleum, a Han Dynasty tomb. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will tour the impressive nine-mile city wall and moat, one of the largest surviving ancient military defense systems in the world. Tonight we will have a special dumpling dinner.
Day 7: Xian
Our day will begin with a visit to the revered Small Wild Goose Pagoda, noted as a symbol of Xian and prized for its architecture. After lunch we will tour the museum which houses the famed army of Terra Cotta Warriors. Buried and forgotten for more than two millennia, the 7,000 life-sized warriors are now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of China’s most memorable sights. After viewing the open vaults from above and visiting the nearby museum housing two recovered bronze chariots, we will return to our hotel for a Western-style buffet dinner.
Day 8: Xian
This morning we will tour the Shanxi Provincial History Museum, a classic Tang Dynasty style pavilion with an acclaimed collection of historic and cultural artifacts unearthed nearby. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit a typical farming village to meet the local people and see their lifestyle up close.
Day 9: Xian/Lhasa
Early today we will fly to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital and only major city. Seated on a plateau between two Himalayan ridges, the Chinese province of Tibet covers an area as large as Western Europe. On the way to our hotel we will stop to visit a Tibetan family in their home. Since the altitude here is approximately 12,000 feet above sea level, we will spend the remainder of the day acclimating.
Day 10: Lhasa
Our tour will begin in the heart of the old city at Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest temple. Built in 647, Jokhang is an intriguing complex that attracts pilgrims day and night. Surrounding Jokhang is Barkhor, a plaza lined with chanting monks, street performers, and vendors. Later today we will tour the traditional summer palace of the Dalai Lamas at Norbulingka. Tonight we will dine together at a local restaurant.
Day 12: Lhasa/Chongqing
Today we will fly to the hill-surrounded “Mountain City” of Chongqing, where we will visit the local zoo to see its beloved pandas.
Day 13: Chongqing/Dazu/Board Ship
Today’s excursion will feature the Dazu Rock Carvings, which date back more than a millennium and are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. These cliffside carvings reflect Buddhist teachings, tenets of Confucianism, and local folklore. Tonight we will board our river ship and set sail down the Yangtze.
Day 14: Yangtze Cruising – Shibaozhai or Fengdu
Prized for its haunting natural beauty, the fabled Yangtze is one of the world’s longest and busiest rivers. This afternoon we will visit either the Red Pagoda in Shibaozhai or the “ghost city” of Fengdu, significant for its preservation of Chinese afterlife culture. We will hear a talk on Chinese medicine and attend a Captain’s Welcome Dinner on board as we cruise downstream.
Day 15: Yangtze Cruising – Qutang Gorge/Small Three Gorges/Wu Gorge/Xiling Gorge
Today we will pass through narrow Qutang Gorge, known for the dramatic precipices lining either side of the passageway. Next we will board a small sampan for a cruise along the Daning River tributary through the stunning Small Three Gorges, among the most spectacular sights of our trip. After returning to our Victoria Cruises ship this afternoon we will enter the tranquil Wu Gorge and then cruise the 42-mile Xiling Gorge.
Day 16: Yangtze Cruising – Three Gorges Dam/Shanghai
After disembarking at Sandouping for a visit to the observatory overlooking the immense Three Gorges Dam we will continue on to Yichang, where we will disembark and transfer to the airport for our flight to Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.” After checking in at our hotel, we are free for dinner on our own. Please note: Because of very limited flights from Yichang to Shanghai, our group may travel by motorcoach to Wuhan and then fly to Shanghai.
Day 17: Shanghai
Our day will begin with a walking tour of the Xin Tian Di shopping and entertainment area of reconstituted traditional homes. We will continue on to the cherished Yu Yuan Gardens, whose plantings, courtyards, and pavilions create the illusion of mountains, caverns, and lakes. After enjoying lunch together we will tour the acclaimed Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art and artifacts. Tonight we will dine on our own and then regroup to attend a lively acrobatics show.
Day 18: Shanghai
This morning we will visit the Bund, Shanghai’s bustling riverfront boulevard, once the center of European influence. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Tonight we will toast our China adventure at a farewell dinner.
Day 19: Depart for U.S.
Those returning today to the United States will transfer to the airport for their flight to the United States.
*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change