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16 Days | China, Yangtze River and Hong Kong


Day 1 | Beijing, China. Welcome to Beijing. Tauck's China travel adventure begins at The Regent Beijing. A transfer is included upon your arrival from Beijing Capital International Airport to The Regent Beijing in the heart of the city, where a taste of local specialties awaits at tonight's welcome reception followed by dinner. Lodging: The Regent Beijing. (D)

Day 2 | Beijing. The Great Wall. Summer Palace. Besides being the only man-made structure visible from space, the Great Wall of China tops most travelers' lists of the Earth's must-visit places. And today, you'll not only visit it, but experience it in more ways than one – riding a gondola up to the highest point of its Badaling section, walking down to the bottom along an ancient stone path, and having lunch with views of this architectural wonder spread out all around you at the Commune by the Great Wall. Check out the pavilions, halls, bridges and gardens of the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and cruise on Kunming Lake. Lodging: The Regent Beijing. (B,L)

Day 3 | Beijing. In Tauck's China travel means more than simply seeing each destination – and today, you'll explore the delicate balance between Beijing's past, present and future at some of the capital's must-see sites. Visit Tiananmen Square, a witness to much of modern Chinese history and home to Mao's mausoleum; view his portrait hanging above the "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Beyond it, in the legendary Forbidden City, where Imperial China's emperors dwelt for centuries, see the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Imperial Garden and more. After lunch at a local café, gain some insights on the city's centuries-old hutongs – unique traditional neighborhoods threatened by ongoing urban development – when you take a private tour of the Houhai hutong – ride a rickshaw and visit a local family in their home. Dine at your choice of the hotel's four fine restaurants this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 4 | Beijing. As Tauck's China travel adventure continues, you'll visit a grand example of traditional Chinese architecture – Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a round, three-tiered wood structure intricately decorated with gold leaf and colorful designs; try to imagine a long-ago time when the emperor and his entourage would travel here in secret processions from the Forbidden City to hold solemn ceremonies asking the gods for a bountiful harvest. Learn the moves from the locals as you take part in a Tai Chi racquet lesson in one of the Temple's beautiful parks. Then recapture the welcoming spirit of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on visits to one of its most iconic venues – the "Bird's Nest" (Beijing National Stadium), where the track and field events and opening and closing ceremonies were held – before spending the rest of your day and evening exploring on your own. B,L)

Day 5 | Xi'an. Today's China travel begins with a morning flight to the ancient city of Xi'an; set at the eastern end of the Silk Road, it's one of the country's oldest cities and served as the capital during the Han, Qin, Tang and other early dynasties. After lunch on your own, learn about the ox's special place in Chinese culture on a tour of the new Ox Culture and Ceramics Museum in Xi'an – and share a glass of wine with the curator as he shares his passion for collecting ancient art and pottery. Dine as you please at the hotel this evening. (B,D)

Day 6 | Xi'an. Get the inside story of Xi'an's amazing Terra Cotta Warriors – 8,000 individualized, life-size terra cotta statues of soldiers who stood guard at the underground tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, for more than 2,000 years – as you visit the site today with Tauck. They were discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, and are now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site! View the incredible statues, tour the site's museum, and get the scoop on future plans for their preservation during a talk with one of the museum's leading staff members. Continue on to the Shaanxi History Museum, whose splendid collection of more than 350,000 artifacts illustrates the story of ancient China's feudal dynasties, many of which had their capitals here in Xi'an; our special visit includes insights from a Tang Dynasty expert. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Guilin. Li River cruise. Fly to Guilin, among China's most picturesque places, whose landscapes have inspired poets and artists for centuries. Feast your eyes and your soul on tranquil groves, fishermen on bamboo rafts, breathtaking limestone peaks and views of traditional village life on a private Tauck cruise along the storied Li River that seems lifted from an ancient Chinese scroll painting! Dinner is à la carte this evening at your hotel, the Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | Chongqing. Embark. Fly to Chongqing for your Yangtze River cruise. Following a morning flight to Chongqing and a visit to the Chongqing Zoo, board Yangzi Explorer to continue your China travel adventure with a memorable three-night cruise through the Three Gorges of the mighty Yangtze River. Dine aboard ship this evening before setting sail on your cruise, bound downstream (eastbound) to Yichang. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Fengdu. Visions of knobby, mist-shrouded mountains steeped in the mystique of old China travel with you as you experience the Yangtze from dawn to dusk aboard the recently renovated Yangzi Explorer, one of the finest and roomiest ships on the river. Start your day with Tai Chi exercises, and attend on-board demonstrations on proper Chinese tea preparation and dumpling-making as you cruise. Shore excursions after lunch aboard the riverboat include stops at Fengdu, China's ancient "Ghost City," or (depending on river conditions) Wanzhou, and a visit to a "relocation village," where you'll meet local families whose traditional homes and land were affected by the Three Gorges Dam project. Celebrate with Yangzi Explorer's Captain and crew at the Captain's welcome reception and dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Three Gorges. While cruising the Yangtze, view centuries-old pagodas and temple built against steep-sided cliffs, ancient roads and terraced fields along the river’s edge. Today you'll navigate through Qutang and Wu Gorges, explore Shennong Stream on a private Tauck shore excursion via sampan, and enjoy shipboard activities including a calligraphy lesson and an entertaining crew show as Yangzi Explorer cruises through Xiling Gorge, largest of the Three Gorges, this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 11 | The Three Gorges Dam. Disembark. Shanghai. Sail into Yichang through a series of locks adjacent to the site of the Three Gorges Dam, one of the world’s largest construction projects. Following your private visit to the site and lunch aboard the ship, disembark and fly to Shanghai, one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities. You'll spend three nights at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, a new landmark hotel on Shanghai's premier waterfront promenade boulevard, the Bund. (B,L,D)

Day 12 | Shanghai. Today you'll explore Shanghai's famous waterfront Bund and take a ride on the world's fastest maglev passenger train, which can reach a top speed of 268 mph! Walk through the Bund's sightseeing tunnel before visiting historic and harmonious Yu Gardens, whose original grounds and temple date back to the 1550s; the word yu translates to "peace and health." Have lunch today at "M on the Bund" – and then tonight, watch from VIP seating as the daring acrobatic performers of Shanghai's acclaimed ERA show entertain you tonight. (B,L)

Day 13 | Shanghai. Experience a very special private introduction to Shanghai from the VIP viewing platform of the Shanghai Urban Planning Center overlooking the city. Explore the center's exhibits on this historic port city's past, present and future, including a mock-up of 1930s Shanghai; a huge model of what the city might look like in 2020; a 360-degree, 3-D film and more. Then walk across People's Square to tour the Shanghai Museum, displaying 120,000 works of art and artifacts. After lunch on your own in the Xiantiandi neighborhood, you'll have time to explore the area and its vanishing traditional stone-gated shikumen homes. (B,D)

Day 14 | Shanghai. Hong Kong. A morning flight takes you to continue your China travel in legendary Hong Kong; spend the rest of the day and evening exploring the city as you please from your hotel, ideally located in Kowloon. (B)

Day 15 | Hong Kong. You'll experience this fascinating city from different perspectives today – by ferry, by double-decker bus, and on a funicular tram ride up Victoria Peak, then have lunch at a local dim sum restaurant. The rest of the day is free to explore the city as you please. Hong Kong abounds with street stalls selling everything from sneakers to silk, tropical birds to exotic fish; your hotel is in the Kowloon section, right in the heart of this shopper's paradise. We invite you to join us and celebrate an incredible China travel experience at our farewell reception and dinner tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 16 | Hong Kong. Your China travel adventure ends in Hong Kong, where you'll catch your return flight home. A transfer is included from the Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong to Hong Kong International Airport; you should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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