China, Tibet & the Yangtze River
September 21 - October 9, 2013
Pricing: From $5,595 per person land and cruise only
From $6,486 ($5,895 air, land & cruise inclusive and $591 airline taxes and departure fees). Please see brochure for rates from cities across the US.
Download PDF brochure.
Discover the highlights of China, including the mysteries of Tibet and the grandeur of the Yangtze River. Our small group will share special experiences, such as a rickshaw ride through Beijing's ancient hutongs and a meeting with a Tibetan family.
Our journey begins in 2000-year-old Beijing, site of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and of course the legendary Great Wall. Next, we fly to Xian where we'll see one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of recent time: the intact life-size army of nearly 8,000 terra-cotta warriors, horses and chariots. Travel to Lhasa in the Chinese province of Tibet. With three days here we'll have time to acclimatize to the high altitude and explore the city's sacred temples and its vast Potala Palace. Then we'll relax during a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River, one of the world's longest and busiest rivers. A highlight is the monumental Three Gorges Dam. Our tour concludes in dazzling Shanghai, a city that epitomizes 21st-century China.
Share this air-inclusive program with like-minded travelers from the Georgetown University Alumni Association. This small-group tour occurs from September 21 - October 9, 2013 and is limited to just 24 participants. Please register today to ensure your space on what promises to be a memorable adventure!
Day 1: Depart U.S. for Beijing, China
Day 2: Arrive Beijing
We arrive in the Chinese capital and transfer to our hotel. After time to relax, we embark on a brief walking tour. Dinner tonight is on our own.
Day 3: Beijing
After a morning briefing about the journey ahead, we begin our discovery of this 2,000-year-old city at vast Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, seat of imperial power from 1368-1911. Tonight we enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Beijing/Great Wall
This morning we tour the splendid Temple of Heaven complex, where China's rulers once worshipped. After lunch we visit the Great Wall, the network of ancient defense installations that stretches almost 4,000 miles from the East China Sea to Central Asia.
Day 5: Beijing
This morning we enjoy a small group highlight, as we ride rickshaws through Beijing's ancient back roads and alleys (hutongs) and enjoy a home visit, giving us a glimpse of the traditional communal lifestyle. Then we visit the Summer Palace, the former royal retreat that is now a lovely park.
Day 6: Beijing/Xian
We fly this morning to Xian, a provincial backwater until the accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors in 1974. Upon arrival we tour the impressive nine-mile city wall and moat, then enjoy a special dumpling lunch. Next: Shanxi Provincial History Museum, with an acclaimed collection of historic and cultural artifacts. Tonight we attend a Tang Dynasty show and dinner.
Day 7: Xian
Our day begins with a visit to the revered Wild Goose Pagoda (c. 652 ad). After lunch we tour the museum housing the army of 7,000 life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors.
Day 8: Xian/Chengdu
We fly this morning to Chengdu, where we visit the renowned Giant Panda Protection & Research Center, the only such panda refuge in the world.
Day 9: Chengdu/Lhasa
Early today we fly to Lhasa, Tibet's capital and only major city. Sitting 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 stop to visit with a Tibetan family in their home. Since the altitude here is approximately 12,000 feet above sea level, we spend the remainder of the day acclimating.
Day 10: Lhasa
Our tour begins 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 we tour the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas at Norbulinka; tonight, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 11: Lhasa
Opened to foreigners only since 1984, Tibet is a profoundly spiritual place where Buddhism has infused all aspects of life for 13 centuries. We see evidence of this at 17th-century Potala Palace, with 200,000 Buddha images and 1,000 rooms, some of which we explore this morning. This afternoon we visit the vast Sera Monastery.
Day 12: Lhasa/Chongqing
We depart for the flight to Chongqing, where we visit the Stilwell Museum commemorating WWII General Joseph Stilwell. Dinner tonight is at our hotel.
Day 13: Chongqing/Dazu/Board Ship
Today's excursion features the Dazu Rock Carvings dating back more than a millennium- and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. These cliff-side carvings reflect Buddhist teachings, tenets of Confucianism, and local folklore. Tonight we board our river ship and set sail downstream.
Day 14: Yangtze Cruising - Shibaozhai or Fengdu
Prized for its haunting natural beauty, the Yangtze is one of the world's longest (3,600 miles) and busiest rivers. This afternoon we visit either the Red Pagoda in Shibaozhai, or the "ghost city" of Fengdu.
Day 15: Yangtze Cruising - Qutang Gorge/ Small Three Gorges/Wu Gorge/Xiling Gorge
Today we pass through narrow Qutang Gorge, then board a small sampan for a cruise through the stunning Small Three Gorges, among the most spectacular sights of our trip. This afternoon we enter tranquil Wu Gorge then cruise 42-mile Xiling Gorge.
Day 16: Yangtze Cruising - Three Gorges Dam/Shanghai
After visiting the site of the Three Gorges Dam we continue on to Yichang, where we transfer to the airport for the flight to Shanghai, the "Paris of the East."
Day 17: Shanghai
Our day begins with a walking tour of the Xin Tian Di shopping and entertainment area of reconstituted traditional homes. We continue on to 16th-century Yu Yuan Garden, whose plantings, courtyards, and pavilions create the illusion of mountains, caverns, and lakes. After lunch together we tour the acclaimed Shanghai Museum. Tonight we dine on our own then attend a lively acrobatic show.
Day 18: Shanghai
This morning we visit the Bund, the mile-long riverside embankment where foreign investors - and their buildings - once held sway. Then the remainder of the day is at leisure. Tonight we toast our China adventure at a farewell dinner. B,D
Day 19: Depart for U.S.
We depart Shanghai for our return flight to the U.S.
Please contact the Alumni Travel office at 1-800-886-9895 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.