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TAUCK RIVER CRUISES
17 Days | China, Yangtze River and Hong Kong
Northbound


HONG KONG TO BEIJING

Day 1 | Hong Kong, China. Tauck's China tour begins at The Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong. A transfer is included upon your arrival from Hong Kong International Airport to The Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong, in the heart of the city's bustling Kowloon section. Please join us this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner. (D)

Day 2 | Hong Kong. You'll experience Hong Kong from different perspectives this morning – by ferry, via double-decker bus, and on a funicular tram ride up Victoria Peak. After lunch at a local dim sum restaurant, take a crash course in Hong Kong's cultural, archaeological, and natural history with a visit to the renowned Hong Kong Museum of History. This remarkable harbor city is yours to explore as you please for the rest of the day and evening. Your hotel is in the Kowloon section, home to many shops and markets. Dinner is on your own tonight. (B,L)

Day 3 | Hong Kong. Shanghai. Fly to Shanghai, China's great seaport at the mouth of the Yangtze – and one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities – where you'll spend the next three nights of your China tour at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, a new landmark hotel on Shanghai's premier promenade boulevard, the Bund. Dine at your hotel this evening. (B,D)

Day 4 | Shanghai. Today you'll visit the historic and harmonious Yu Gardens, whose original grounds and temple date back to the 1550s; the word yu translates to "peace and health." Walk through Shanghai's sightseeing tunnel before taking a round-trip ride on the world's fastest maglev passenger train, which can reach a top speed of 268 mph! Explore Shanghai's famous Bund waterfront district, site of your hotel, and have lunch at M on the Bund. The afternoon is yours to explore more of the city on your own. Enjoy VIP seating as the daring acrobatic performers of Shanghai's acclaimed ERA show entertain you tonight. (B,L)

Day 5 | Shanghai. Your China tour continues with a 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 visit the Shanghai Museum, displaying 120,000 works of art and artifacts. After lunch on your own in Shanghai's Xiantiandi neighborhood, you'll discover this historic area and its vanishing traditional stone-gated shikumen homes on a guided walking tour, followed by time to explore as you wish. Enjoy an included dinner this evening at your choice of three fine restaurants at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 6 | Shanghai. Yichang. Embark. Fly from Shanghai to Yichang and board the Yangzi Explorer this afternoon to continue your China tour with a memorable four-night cruise through the Three Gorges of the mighty Yangtze River. Dine à la carte aboard ship this evening before setting sail on your cruise, bound upstream (westbound) to Chongqing. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | The Three Gorges Dam. Xiling Gorge. As your China tour continues, visions of knobby, mist-shrouded mountains steeped in the mystique of old China surround you along the Yangtze aboard the recently renovated Yangzi Explorer, one of the finest and roomiest ships on the river. Tour the largest hydroelectric project on Earth, the Three Gorges Dam, prior to sailing through Xiling Gorge, largest of the Three Gorges. During today's cruise, enjoy afternoon tea aboard ship, meet the Yangzi Explorer's Captain and crew at the Captain's welcome reception followed by dinner à la carte, and attend an entertaining show performed by the crew. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | The Three Gorges. View centuries-old pagodas and temples built against steep-sided cliffs, ancient roads and terraced fields along the river's edge as you continue your Yangtze cruise today. Disembark for a Shennong Stream excursion aboard a traditional sampan poled by a Tujia boatman, then re-board Yangzi Explorer for this afternoon's cruise of Wu and Qutang gorges, both equally breathtaking. Shipboard activities range from a dumpling-making lesson to a documentary film screening after dinner à la carte tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Fengdu. Continue your China tour with a shore excursion to Fengdu, China's ancient "Ghost City," or the remote village of Wanzhou (depending on river conditions), and a visit to a "relocation village" to meet local farmers and villagers whose traditional homes and land were affected by the Three Gorges Dam project. Shipboard diversions on the final day of your cruise include a calligraphy and brush painting demonstration, an introduction to the ancient game of mahjong, and a Mandarin language lesson, followed by an on-board farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Chongqing. Disembark. Guilin. Li River cruise. Disembark Yangzi Explorer in Chongqing this morning and fly to Guilin, among China's most picturesque places, whose landscapes have inspired poets and artists for centuries; upon arrival, set off on a private cruise along the Li River to observe fishermen on bamboo rafts and view traditional village life that seems lifted from an ancient Chinese scroll painting! Return to tranquil Guilin for an overnight stay; have dinner à la carte at your leisure in the hotel this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 11 | Xi'an. Fly 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. Learn about the ox's special place in Chinese culture on a tour of the Ox Culture and Ceramics Museum in Xi'an – and share a cup of tea with the curator as he shares his passion for collecting ancient art and pottery. You'll spend the next two nights of your China tour at the Shangri-La Hotel, Xian. (B,D)

Day 12 | 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 13 | Xi'an. Beijing. The final segment of Tauck's memorable China tour commences as you fly from the ancient capital of Xi'an to Beijing – arriving mid-afternoon in this remarkable city that's been at the center of Chinese life for centuries, and serves as the capital of the People's Republic today. Spend the last four nights of your journey at The Regent Beijing in the heart of the city; dine at your choice of the hotel's four restaurants this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 14 | Beijing. To Tauck, travel means more than simply seeing each destination – and today on your China tour, 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, tour the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the Imperial Garden and more. After lunch, a local expert shares insights on the city's centuries-old hutongs – unique traditional neighborhoods threatened by ongoing urban development – and leads you on a private tour of the Houhai hutong, where you'll ride a rickshaw and visit a local family in their hutong home. Your evening is free to explore as you wish and have dinner on your own in Beijing. (B,L)

Day 15 | 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 where you'll have lunch. Later, check out the pavilions, halls, bridges and gardens of the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take a boat cruise on adjacent, man-made Kunming Lake. (B,L)

Day 16 | Beijing. As Tauck's China tour draws to a close, 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. Cap an extraordinary China tour at tonight's farewell reception and dinner in The Regent Beijing's Bar and Grill. (B,)

Day 17 | Beijing. Tauck's China tour ends in Beijing. Your grand China travel adventure ends in Beijing, where you'll catch your return flight home. A transfer is included from The Regent Beijing to Beijing Capital International Airport; you should allow 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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NORTHBOUND ITINERARY
17 DAYS | HONG KONG TO BEIJING
Click here to view 16-day SOUTHBOUND itinerary. Click ship name to view deck plan.
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