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17 Days | China's Cultural Delights


Day 1 | Beijing, China. Fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years, then transfer to your hotel. After check-in, you have free time to relax.

Day 2 | Beijing. This morning visit Tiananmen Square. Then, tour Beijing’s mysterious Forbidden City, off limits to visitors for 500 years; explore its pavilions, courtyards and gardens. After lunch, walk among the elegant buildings and landscaped grounds of the 700-acre Summer Palace complex. Tonight enjoy a dinner of local specialties. (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Beijing. After breakfast, travel to the Badaling Hills to walk the fabled Great Wall of China. Lunch in a local restaurant is followed by a stroll along the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue with massive animal sculptures guarding the Ming Tombs. This evening you can relax and dine at your hotel—or, enjoy an optional evening featuring China’s famous Peking duck and a recital by performers from the world-renowned Peking Opera. (B, L, D)

Day 4 | Beijing. Xian. Today, discover the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese life in Old Beijing’s hutongs (narrow alleys) via rickshaw.† Visit a silk carpet workshop for a demonstration. After lunch, fly to Xian, China’s capital during several important dynasties. From 618 to 907 A.D., the Tang Dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era, or dine and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)
†Rickshaw tour only available on Beijing to Shanghai itinerary direction.

Day 5 | Xian. Chongqing. Embark Ship. After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried over 2,000 years ago. Marvel at the thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors, archers, infantrymen and horses provided to accompany him into the afterlife. After lunch fly to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze, to board your ship. Enjoy a Western dinner aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Fengdu. This afternoon, sail into Fengdu, a city dating back to the Han Dynasty. From here, embark on a tour of Snow Jade Cave, an underground labyrinth of caverns featuring dramatic karst limestone formations. Return to your ship for dinner and evening cruising. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Shibaozhai. After a morning of scenic cruising along the Yangtze, tour the 12-story Shibaozhai Temple, an impressive example of Qing Dynasty architecture set on the banks of the river. Dine aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Three Gorges. Lesser Three Gorges. This morning, begin cruising past the spectacular limestone cliffs known as the Three Gorges. During your 150-mile journey, first pass Qutang Gorge, shortest and narrowest of the three larger gorges. Then board smaller boats to the Lesser Three Gorges. Marvel at the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch and spend the afternoon sailing through Wu (Witches) Gorge. Dine aboard; this evening, pass through the five-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Three Gorges Dam. Three Gorges. First thing this morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam, an immense hydroelectric engineering project completed in 2008. After your tour, cruise through Xiling Gorge, longest of the Three Gorges. Dinner aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Jingzhou. This morning, visit a town where Viking River Cruises has sponsored a much-needed elementary school. Arrive to a warm greeting from the children. Return aboard for afternoon cruising and meals. (B, L, D)

Day 11 | Dongting Lake. After breakfast, cross Dongting Lake, China’s second largest freshwater lake. Stop for a visit to the 66-foot-high Yueyang Tower and its nearby pavilions, originally built during the Qing Dynasty. Cruise overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 12 | Wuhan. After breakfast, stop in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. Go through the Hubei Provincial Museum to see its many ancient artifacts, including a large collection of bronze bells. (B, L, D)

Day 13 | Jingdezhen. Today, visit the Ceramic History Museum in this city dubbed “the Porcelain Capital” due to its 1,700-year history of making pottery. Learn how ceramics were produced in ancient times and their significance to each dynasty. Dine aboard and sail overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 14 | Mt. Jiu Hua. Marvel at the tranquil beauty of Mt. Jiu Hua, one of only four sacred Buddhist mountains. Visit one of the area’s Buddhist temples, then return to your ship for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 15 | Nanjing. Suzhou. Disembark Ship. Shanghai. After breakfast in Nanjing, enjoy a scenic journey to Suzhou, nicknamed “Venice of the East” for its intricate canals. Take a guided walk through the Old Town and along the city’s canals, then tour a silk factory and the exquisite Fishermen’s Garden. After lunch, continue to Shanghai; check in to your hotel and have dinner with evening free to relax or explore. (B, L, D)

Day 16 | Shanghai. This morning, tour Old Shanghai and the Bund, an elegant riverfront promenade lined with historic buildings. Visit the comprehensive Shanghai Museum to see some of its extensive collection of art and artifacts. Dine in a restaurant, then enjoy a performance of the famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. (B, L, D)

Day 17 | Shanghai. After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or continue your China journey with an escorted land program that includes 3 nights in Hong Kong and 1 night in Guilin. Sightsee and shop in Hong Kong, then enjoy a relaxing day along Guilin’s scenic Li River. (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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