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Ancient relics, modern marvels, incredible moments... Every exquisite temple, every precious icon, every delicate pagoda in China rewards with the richness of a cultural legacy stretching across thousands of years and a vast, emerging land whose splendor staggers the imagination... and every new encounter with this ancient civilization – today the economic engine of the world – evokes a sense of wonder.Mist-blanketed limestone peaks stand like sentinels along the Li River, greeting all who cruise its placid waters. Meandering across mountains and valleys, the Great Wall invites you to stroll atop stonework that transcends the centuries; climbing to the top of this wonder of the world is an unforgettable experience. Tranquility and a deep spirituality still have their place in this teeming land... find them among the pavilions of Shanghai’s Yu Gardens, before the altar of Beijing’s sublime Temple of Heaven, and in the otherworldly landscapes of the Three Gorges – also home to the greatest modern engineering project on Earth. Secrets of life at both ends of the spectrum are revealed within the inner sanctum of the Forbidden City, where mere mortals dared not go... and inside one of Beijing’s traditional hutongs , where the warmth of a family sharing a vanishing way of life in their private home stirs the soul.
Tour begins: 5:30 PM at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. A transfer is included upon your arrival from Beijing Capital International Airport to the Waldorf Astoria Beijing in the heart of the city. Meet your traveling companions at our welcome reception and dinner in your hotel.
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. Take a walk atop the highest point of its Badaling section, then walk down to the bottom along an ancient stone path where you'll travel a short distance for lunch at the Commune by the Great Wall – enjoy the views of this architectural wonder surrounding you. This afternoon, 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 a hutong – ride a rickshaw and visit a local family in their home. Dinner is on your own tonight in Beijing.
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. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll explore the legendary Forbidden City itself, where Imperial China's emperors dwelt for centuries; tour the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony, the Hall of Preserved Harmony, the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the Imperial Garden and more. Just beyond the Forbidden City, continue to Tiananmen Square, a witness to much of modern Chinese history and home to Mao Zedong's mausoleum; view his portrait hanging above the "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Dine at your choice of fine restaurants at the hotel this evening.
Begin 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. Upon arrival you'll visit an amazing place – the Han Yang LingUnderground Mausoleum. Known locally as "the most underrated tomb inXi'an," it was undisturbed for about 2,100 years before opening to the publicin the last decade. You'll find an amazing collection of cultural relicsin this unique underground "museum" that depict life as it was duringthe Western Han Dynasty. Dine at your leisure at the hotel this evening.
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. Enjoy a traditionaldumpling lunch at a local restaurant. Continue on to the Shaanxi History Museum, whose splendid collection ofmore than 350,000artifacts illustrates the story of ancient China's feudal dynasties,many of which had their capitals here in Xi'an.
Fly to Guilin, among China's most picturesque places, whose landscapes have inspired poets and artists for centuries. After checking in and relaxing at bit at your hotel, the Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin, set out on an evening cruise through the center of the city along its delightful canals. As you cruise, you'll pass under bridges built to resemble some of the world's most famous spans, including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the Tower Bridge in London; enjoy a demonstration of cormorant fishing along the way. Dinner is à la carte this evening at your hotel.
Spend the morning on a private Tauck cruise along the storied Li River today; feast your eyes and your soul on tranquil groves, fishermen on bamboo rafts, breathtaking limestone peaks and views of traditional village life that seem to be lifted from an ancient Chinese scroll painting! Following your cruise, attend a cooking lesson on local cuisine – then eat what you helped make for lunch! Dinner is à la carte this evening at your hotel in Guilin.
Following an afternoon flight to Chongqing, board the newly renovated 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 to Yichang.
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 – and completely renovated for 2018. Enjoy a range of activities aboard ship today, including Tai Chi exercises and an introduction to Chinese healing practices. Arrive in Fuling, where you will have a choice of shore excursions – a visit the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum or the 816 Underground Project, an underground nuclear installation that is one of the world’s largest artificial military caves. Return to the ship midday for an afternoon cruising the Yangtze. This evening, meet the Captain at a welcome reception, followed by dinner and a choice of The Three Kingdoms Open Air Show or a cultural performance by the ship's crew.
While cruising the Yangtze, view centuries-old pagodas and temples 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 as Yangzi Explorer cruises through Xiling Gorge, largest of the Three Gorges, this afternoon and evening.
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, where you'll spend three nights at the Fairmont Peace Hotel.
Today you'll explore Shanghai's famous waterfront Bund. First up, visit the historic and harmonious Yu Gardens, whose original grounds andtemple date back to the 1550s; the word yu translates to "peace andhealth." Pathways wind through rock gardens and bamboo stands, and stone bridges cross pools filled with bright carp. Have lunch today at the charming "M on the Bund" – and then tonight, watch from premium seating as the daring acrobatic performers of Shanghai's acclaimed ERA show entertain you. A day to remember... an experience to savor.
You'll get a good introduction to Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Center, showcasing the city's future urban development through detailed models and multimedia displays. 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 tour the Shanghai Museum, displaying 120,000 works of art and artifacts. After lunch on your own in the Xintiandi neighborhood, you'll have time to explore the area – and on a guided walk, learn about its vanishing traditional stone-gated shikumen homes. This evening, a special experience – dinner at the wonderful restaurant Jean Georges Shanghai, known for its cuisine and views.
A morning flight takes you to legendary Hong Kong. Spend the rest of the day and evening exploring the city as you please from your world-class hotel – The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, located on floors 102-118 in the International Commerce Centre overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, and offering spectacular panoramic views of the city.
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 at your hotel, overlooking Kowloon and Victoria Harbour from the upper floors of the International Commerce Centre.
Tour ends: Hong Kong. Catch your return flight home. A transfer is included from The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong to Hong Kong International Airport; you should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.
Ancient relics, modern marvels, incredible moments... Every exquisite temple, every precious icon, every delicate pagoda in China rewards with the richness of a cultural legacy stretching across thousands of years and a vast, emerging land whose splendor staggers the imagination... and every new encounter with this ancient civilization – today the economic engine of the world – evokes a sense of wonder.Mist-blanketed limestone peaks stand like sentinels along the Li River, greeting all who cruise its placid waters. Meandering across mountains and valleys, the Great Wall invites you to stroll atop stonework that transcends the centuries; climbing to the top of this wonder of the world is an unforgettable experience. Tranquility and a deep spirituality still have their place in this teeming land... find them among the pavilions of Shanghai’s Yu Gardens, before the altar of Beijing’s sublime Temple of Heaven, and in the otherworldly landscapes of the Three Gorges – also home to the greatest modern engineering project on Earth. Secrets of life at both ends of the spectrum are revealed within the inner sanctum of the Forbidden City, where mere mortals dared not go... and inside one of Beijing’s traditional hutongs, where the warmth of a family sharing a vanishing way of life in their private home stirs the soul.
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