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Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Beijing touring, including Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall
  • Beijing hutong tour and home visit
  • Dazu Rock Carvings
  • Three-night visit to fascinating Tibet
  • Lhasa’s 1,000-room Potala Palace
  • Visit with a Tibetan family
  • Three-night Yangtze River cruise, including Three Gorges
  • Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian
  • Shanghai touring
Day-by-Day Itinerary

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 this morning’s 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. B,D

Day 4: Beijing/Great Wall 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 that gives us a glimpse of the traditional communal lifestyle. Then we stop at Olympic Park, site of the 2008 Olympic Games. This afternoon we head to the Mu Tian Yu section of the Great Wall, the network of ancient defense installations that stretches more than 5,500 miles. B,L,D

Day 5: Beijing This morning we tour the splendid Temple of Heaven complex, where China’s rulers once worshipped. This afternoon we visit the Summer Palace, the former royal retreat now a lovely park. B,L

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 visit the Yangling Mausoleum, a Han Dynasty tomb dating to 153 CE. After lunch at a local restaurant we tour Xian’s impressive nine-mile city wall and moat. Tonight we enjoy a special dumpling dinner. B,L,D

Day 7: Xian Our day begins with a visit to the revered Small Wild Goose Pagoda (c. 652 CE). After lunch we tour the museum housing the army of 7,000 life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors that had lain buried and forgotten for more than two millennia. B,L,D

Day 8: Xian This morning we tour the Shanxi Provincial Museum, with an acclaimed collection of historic and cultural artifacts. We eat lunch in a local restaurant then visit a typical farming village where we meet the local people and see their lifestyle up close. B,L

Day 9: Xian/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. B,L,D

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. B,L,D

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. B,L,D

Day 12: Lhasa/Chongqing We fly today to Chongqing, where we visit the local zoo to see the beloved pandas. B,L,D

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 cliffside carvings ref­lect Buddhist teachings, tenets of Confucianism, and local folklore. Tonight we board our river ship and set sail downstream. B,L,D

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. B,L,D

Day 15: Yangtze Cruising – Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge/Small Gorges/Xiling Gorge Today we pass through narrow Qutang Gorge, followed by tranquil Wu Gorge. Then we board a small sampan for a cruise through the stunning Small Gorges, among the most spectacular sights of our trip. Back on board our Victoria Cruises ship this afternoon, we enter 42-mile Xiling Gorge. B,L,D

Day 16: Yangtze Cruising – Three Gorges Dam/Shanghai After visiting the site of the immense Three Gorges Dam, we continue on to Yichang, where we disembark and transfer to the airport for the flight to Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.” B,L

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 beloved 16th-century Yu Yuan Gardens, whose plantings, courtyards, and pavilions create the illusion of mountains, caverns, and lakes. Then after lunch together we tour the acclaimed Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art and artifacts. Tonight we dine on our own then attend a lively ac­ro­bat­ics show. B,L

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. B

Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour. Lhasa’s altitude (12,090 feet) could pose problems for travelers with certain health conditions. You should consult with your physician if you have concerns.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 17 nights’ accommodations: 3 nights aboard Superior First Class ship of Victoria Cruises; 14 nights in Deluxe hotels
  • 43 meals: 17 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 12 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip, including on shore excursions
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2018 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Oct 24Aug 22
Oct 10
Oct 17

Sep 12
Sep 26
Oct 3
Los Ang, San Fran$6,287$6,487$6,587
Port (OR), Seattle$6,487$6,687$6,787
Boston, Chicago,
New York, Phoenix,
Washington, DC
$6,587$6,787$6,887
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Charlotte, Cinc,
Cleveland, Dallas,
Den, Detroit, Hou,
Miami, Minn, Orl,
Phil, Tampa
$6,687$6,887$6,987

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy in an outside cabin and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $492, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $1,695. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2018 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Business Class upgrade on round-trip Trans-Pacific flight: $3,695 per person

A visa is required for this tour. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Accommodations
    Wanda Vista Beijing Hotel, Beijing / Days 2-5 / Deluxe

    Close to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the 417-room Wanda Vista Beijing Hotel was designed to display the strong cultural links between France and China. Hotel amenities include four restaurants, bar, and lounge; internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; fitness center with massage and spa; and indoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Wyndham Grand Xian South, Xian / Days 6-8 / Deluxe

    The Wyndham Grand Xian South blends traditional Chinese architectural influences with upscale, contemporary style.  Its surroundings echo the hotel’s connections to history and modernity, as it stands within walking distance of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda as well as a 24-hour shopping mall.  This contemporary-style hotel offers two restaurants and a lounge, fitness center with indoor heated pool, hot tub, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and hair salon.  Air-conditioned guests rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa, Lhasa, Tibet / Days 9-11 / Deluxe

    Situated close to Potala Palace, Norbulinka Palace, and Jokhang Temple in the heart of Lhasa, the Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa blends traditional Tibetan-style architecture and décor with contemporary design.  The 289-room hotel offers two restaurants, bar, and lounge; oxygen lounge (for altitude acclimation); spa; gym; indoor pool; laundry service; and gift shop.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, tea- and coffee-making facilities, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.

    JW Marriott Chongqing, Chongqing / Day 12 / Deluxe

    This modern hotel in the center of Chongqing’s shopping district has two restaurants and a café, fitness center, sauna, spa with massage treatments and steam room, indoor pool, laundry and dry cleaning services, and Internet access. Each air-conditioned guest room is equipped with private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Victoria Cruises, Chongqing / Days 13-15 / Superior First Class

    With the largest fleet to ply the Yangtze, multilingual cruise directors, and informative river guides, Victoria Cruises offers a comprehensive Yangtze experience as the leader in Yangtze River cruising. Air-conditioned and carrying 198–396 passengers, the ships feature breakfast and lunch buffets and classic Chinese dinner banquets, reading room, fitness area, gift shop, and beauty salon. On-board activities include lectures on Chinese history and culture, Tai Chi lessons, calligraphy demonstrations, and traditional entertainment in the evening. Cabins all are outside, non-smoking, and 155 square feet with private bathroom with bathtub and shower, balcony, and satellite TV. Hair dryers are available upon request.

    Kunlun Jing An, Shanghai / Days 16-18, Extension / Deluxe

    This 43-story hotel is located in the heart of Shanghai’s former French Concession within walking distance of the famous shopping areas of Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road and other attractions in the commercial and entertainment district. The 772-room Kunlun Jing An offers a variety of amenities, including eight restaurants and lounges, laundry/valet service, barbershop and beauty salon, gift shop, elevators, internet access, and safety deposit boxes. The hotel also has squash and tennis courts, a health club with fitness center, indoor pool, spa, sauna, steam bath, and massage service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, sitting area, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Shanghai – On Your Own

3 days/2 nights for $195 total price
Single Supplement: $165

Spend additional time exploring dynamic Shanghai, China’s most prosperous, vibrant, and cosmopolitan city.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at The Kunlun Jing An (Deluxe)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to the airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
George Geng

“George is kind and considerate, and displays an excellent sense of humor. Without being overbearing, he is very knowledgeable on every aspect of Chinese life. He is the best tour director we have ever had!”
Edward & Marilyn Sichler
Leland, MI

Chen Guodong

“This was our best experience with a guide – Chen was always pleasant, patient and made this the perfect trip. He went above and beyond any other guide.”
Steven and Maureen Weller
Crofton, MD

Xu Huabiao

“Xu is outstanding. He was extremely attentive to our requests and accommodated them.”
Nancy Arnold
Arlington, VA

Michael Song

“Michael should be an ambassador. He is a kind, helpful, patient, knowledgeable, fun, and funny guide. He is a gem!!”
Susan & James Sidel
Wellesley, MA

Ping Wang

“I cannot say enough about how fabulous Ping was!”
Mary Pollack
New York, NY

Jackie Zhang

“Jackie was exceptional in every way. Obvious that he loves his job; great knowledge of history – learned so much from him! And great problem solver – always looking to make things better!
Gwen Miles
Davidson, NC

Vicki Zhang

“Vicki shared her love and passion for China. Great knowledge and insights. The best!”
Marty & Monica Criswell
Bryan, TX

Mike Zhao

“Mike is an outstanding tour director on all levels. His service and consideration for our individual needs was excellent at all times.”
Alan & Sheila Wallace
Los Angeles, CA

William Zhuang

“William is a very special person. Amazing tour director! He is professional, informative, caring, funny and really goes the extra mile for his guests.”
Barbara Langbert
Fort Mill, SC

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Alexandra David-Neel
My Journey to Lhasa
Dressed as a humble pilgrim and traveling under the cover of night, the indomitable 55-year-old David-Neel and her young companion climbed mountains and tricked soldiers in order to ultimately reach Tibet’s forbidden capital. Originally published in 1923, this account stands as a riveting portrait of early 20th-century Tibet.

John Bryan Starr
Understanding China
A Yale professor’s essential primer on the history, politics and economy of China. A succinct and refreshingly forthright best-selling guide, this third edition discusses the issues at stake in China’s present and future.

Deirdre Chetham
Before the Deluge, The Vanishing World of the Yangtze’s Three Gorges
A vivid portrait of the Three Gorges region of the Upper Yangtze River, by the director of the Asia Center at Harvard. Chetham offers a personal, detailed glimpse into the spectacular natural beauty of the river, its checkered history and the lives of the people who live on its banks.

Jung Chang
Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China
In this riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China, Mao’s regime and the Japanese occupation, Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide China
This hefty illustrated guide to sites, attractions and places throughout China features excellent maps and hundreds of color photographs and site diagrams.

National Geographic
China Adventure Map
A double-sided, full-color map of China, at a useful scale of 1:4,375,000, which shows roads and cities. Printed on tear- and water-resistant paper.

Berndtson & Berndtson
Beijing Map
This laminated, folded map of Beijing, with a blowup of the city center at a scale of 1:24,000, notes 2008 Olympic venues. With detailed inset maps of the Beijing Metro, top sights, key attractions, an index and Chinese characters for key place names.

Louisa Lim
The People’s Republic of Amnesia, The Legacy of Tiananmen Square
NPR China correspondent Lim evaluates the impact of the Tiananmen Square Massacre through the interwoven stories of eight individuals involved in and shaped by the events of June 4, 1989.

Evan Osnos
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China
Longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker Osnos considers China’s modern struggle: the conflict between a growing need for individualism and the Communist Party’s fight for conformity.

Robert Thurman
Essential Tibetan Buddhism
The foremost Western scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, Thurman has chosen well from that tradition’s sacred literature and helpfully includes suggested further reading, explanatory notes and a directory of sacred sites.

John Man
The Terra Cotta Army, China’s First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation
Man recounts the 1974 discovery of the 8,000 terracotta soldiers and uses the legend, lore and facts associated with Emperor Qin’s Tomb to speculate about the mysterious emperor himself.

Lezlee Brown Halper
Tibet, An Unfinished Story
The story of Tibet’s struggle for independence, featuring superpowers China, Russia and the United States and infamous political figures Stalin, Mao Zedong and Indian Prime Minister Nehru.

Geremie R. Barme, Mary Beard (Editor)
The Forbidden City
A compact, elegant volume in Harvard’s excellent Wonders of the World series, this pocket history illuminates the culture, mystique, architecture and politics of imperial Beijing. Fittingly, the book opens with Mao’s symbolic address from the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Corinne Debaine-Francfort
Search for Ancient China
With information on everything from jewelry to emperors’ tombs and terracotta warriors, the Great Wall and the dazzling 400-year history of the Han Empire, this shirt-pocket survey of discovery features 150 illustrations.

Simon Winchester
The River at the Center of the World
With ease and grace, Winchester writes about the character of the Yangtze and the people and places along its banks. An absorbing portrait of the great river that flows through the heart of China.

Jonathan Spence
Mao Zedong
Yale sinologist, writer and historian Spence tracks the life of the architect of the People’s Republic from his provincial upbringing to his savage three-decade rule.

David Eimer
The Emperor Far Away, Travels at the Edge of China
Far from China’s major cities in the Islamic areas of the Xinjiang province, in the “forbidden zone” of Tibet and along insecure borders that China shares with Russia and India, David Eimer explores the old Chinese adage: “The mountains are high and the emperor far away.”

Colin Thubron
To a Mountain in Tibet
The intrepid, soulful Colin Thubron journeys from Nepal to Kailash, the revered mountain, “source of the universe, created from cosmic waters and the mind of Brahma,” in his most revealing book yet. A New York Times Notable Book.

Tash Aw
Five Star Billionaire
The celebrated Malaysian author brings his characters together in gritty, glamorous and very cosmopolitan 21st-century Shanghai to wheel and deal and make their fortunes. A harrowing piece of contemporary literature.

Anchee Min
Empress Orchid
In this novel of the glorious, decadent last days of 19th-century Imperial China, Min (Red Azalea, Becoming Madame Mao) combines her tale of a young girl from the provinces who marries an emperor – and then improbably becomes the Last Empress – with a lovingly re-created portrait of life in the Forbidden City.

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