Grand China and the Yangtze 2017

Grand China & the Yangtze

18 DAYS FROM BEIJING TO HONG KONG

Day 1: Beijing

Arrive at the Beijing airport and be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will escort you to the opulent Ritz-Carlton, Beijing.

Day 2: Beijing

Your adventure begins with two quintessential experiences in China’s capital of Beijing. Off limits to commoners for 500 years, the Forbidden City was once considered the cosmic center of the universe (and for good reason, as you’ll see for yourself). Peking Duck is another cultural gem you’ll get to experience today, a complex dish originally prepared for Chinese emperors.

 

The political and cultural capital of China and home to more than 20 million people, Beijing exemplifies everything visitors find most intoxicating about China: Spectacular ancient monuments contrast with ambitious modern high-rises, and traditional crafts flourish alongside booming international businesses. Exquisite art, stunning UNESCO sites, serene parks and teeming streets all contribute to the unique flavor of this astonishing city.

Day 3: Beijing

Today is a Bucket List Moment kind of day, as you stand at last atop the ancient stones of China’s most iconic site—the Great Wall. The views are spectacular! You’ll also take a rickshaw ride through the city’s ancient hutongs—historic neighborhoods that date back to the 15th century—where you’ll have lunch with a friendly local family at their home.

Day 4: Beijing, Fly to Xi’an

Leave the hustle and bustle of Beijing behind today and head north to the serenity of the Summer Palace, home to one of China’s most beautiful classical gardens. From there, plunge into the past in China’s first capital, Xi’an, where you’ll be treated to a traditional (and incredibly labor intensive) dumpling banquet.

You have one more special excursion to enjoy in Beijing this morning, then you’ll fly to Xi’an for the next leg of your Chinese adventure.

Day 5: Xi’an

Xi’an’s famous  terra-cotta army has been called the 8th wonder of the world, and it’s certainly the most extraordinary archeological find of the 20th century. Prepare to be amazed! You’ll also visit one of the holiest Buddhist temples in China and enjoy a traditional Tang Dynasty dinner show with fabulous food, music and flamboyant costumes.

 

The imperial capital for 10 ancient dynasties, Xi’an achieved its greatest renown under the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), when it was a great international metropolis and the eastern terminus of the legendary Silk Road. Today it is the capital of Shaanxi Province and most famous for a museum devoted to the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses.

Day 6: Xi’an, Fly to Hangzhou

Intrepid explorer Marco Polo called Hangzhou the greatest city he’d ever seen, but don’t take his word for it—judge for yourself as you get your first glimpse of this ancient Chinese capital today, celebrated throughout the centuries for its extraordinary natural beauty.

Day 7: Hangzhou

China’s classically designed gardens and landscapes are a cultural treasure revered around the world, and you’ll see one of the best examples today at Hangzhou’s idyllic West Lake. Another highlight: Lingyin Temple, one of the country’s oldest Buddhist sites, providing an intriguing  glimpse of the serenity and grace of the 5,000-year-old Middle Kingdom.

Day 8: Shanghai

After days of iconic sites and timeless Chinese landscapes, Shanghai and its futuristic skyline can be something of a shock to the system. Yet beyond the building boom and the avant-garde architecture, you can still find traces of Shanghai’s colorful and fascinating colonial-era history. Enjoy a taste of both old and new today, including the city’s famous delicacy, dim sum.

 

Today you’ll head to Shanghai, China’s largest city. An international economic hub, it has drawn entrepreneurs from all over the world for 150 years. But while Shanghai may be the “city of the future,” you can still find remnants of its history in Old Town and the area known as the Concessions, which were controlled by European interests in the 19th century.

Day 9: Shanghai

Today you have the luxury of an entire day to explore Shanghai however you wish. Tonight, experience yet another cultural highlight of your journey—a thrilling performance by the dazzling and gravity-defying Shanghai Acrobats.

 

Spend the day exploring Shanghai on your own. If you have a taste for heights, step out onto the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower’s glass-floored observation deck— some 1,100 feet above the Pudong district. Browse through the shops on Nanjing Road or see what China’s modern artists are creating at the China Art Museum.

Day 10: Shanghai, Fly to Yichang (Embark)

From Shanghai you’ll fly to Yichang and board your elegant ship, the Century Legend, to begin your journey along the legendary Yangtze River. The next few days will offer unparalleled visual splendor as you pass through some of the most extraordinary and dramatic landscapes in the world.

Day 11: Yichang, Cruising the Yangtze River

The Three Gorges Dam was a hugely expensive and controversial undertaking, a project that involved relocating entire villages threatened by the rising waters of the Yangtze. The dam itself is an engineering marvel that you can see from a breathtakingly up-close perspective today.

 

The Yangtze is the third-longest river in the world (only the Nile and the Amazon are longer), and the days you spend onboard your ship will show you some of its most beautiful sights. Limestone cliffs, sheathed in greenery, loom above the water; mountains, wreathed in mist, tower in the distance. The river itself, deep and powerful, busy and serene, will work its enchantment as it carries you past bucolic fishing villages, hillside rice paddies, ancient cliff carvings and historic temples. Relax and prepare to be dazzled.

Day 12: Cruising the Yangtze River, Goddess Stream

Today is destined to be a highlight of your journey—a full day cruising the Yangtze River’s mystical, beautiful and completely mesmerizing Three Gorges, with scenery that has captivated artists and poets for thousands of years.

Day 13: Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai

Do you believe in magic? The bright red Shibo Pagoda was originally built into the side of a mountain peak, but that peak became an island after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. Step ashore to do some exploring, perhaps climbing to the top to ensure that all your dreams come true (or so an ancient legend says).

Day 14: Chongqing (Disembark), Fly to Guilin

Visitors have been seeing all sorts of fantastic things in Reed Flute Cave ever since the Tang Dynasty. What do the cave’s curiously shaped limestone formations look like to you? There’s only one way to find out…

 

Disembark in the busy port of Chongqing, where you’ll hop on your flight to Guilin.

Day 15: Guilin, Cruising the Li River, Yangshuo

The landscapes of the Li River look like a Chinese scroll painting come to life, with its conical limestone karsts, mist-shrouded mountain peaks, terraced rice paddies, grazing water buffalo and fishing villages seemingly frozen in time. You’ll see all this and more on today’s scenic cruise to Yangshuo, a popular destination for hikers and cyclists.

 

Poets have long paid tribute to Guilin’s extraordinary natural beauty, but terraced hillsides growing rice and tea reveal additional riches; you will have a chance to explore both aspects of this remarkable landscape during your stay.

Day 16: Guilin, Fly to Hong Kong

When it comes to China’s best-known cultural icons, there are few things more iconic than tea and panda bears. Experience both today with a visit to a 400-year-old tea plantation and a park that a pair of giant pandas call home.

Day 17: Hong Kong

Hong Kong presents a dizzying juxtaposition of East and West, ancient and modern. This bustling, glittering, multicultural city is famous for its soaring skyscrapers, fabulous shopping,  Star ferries crisscrossing Victoria Harbor and the lingering traces of its British colonial past.

 

This vertical city, with its hundred-story skyscrapers clinging to the shore of the deep harbor that first attracted international merchants, blends East and West, modern and ancient, in truly unique ways.

Day 18: Depart Hong Kong

You’ve been on the adventure of a lifetime with your grand China tour; today, you will be transferred to the Hong Kong International Airport for your flight home, carrying marvelous memories with you—and perhaps some wonderful souvenirs as well.