China, Tibet & the Yangtze River

Join alumni and friends on an air, land and cruise inclusive exploration of China. Our 2017 program includes Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chongqing, the Three River Gorge and Shanghai.

China

Explore legendary China, the Middle Kingdom, a civilization with roots over 5,000 years old and the most populous country in the world. Our journey begins in Beijing, once the Imperial seat of Mongol, Ming and Manchu rulers, home to more than 17 million inhabitants and site of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Discover the highlights of China in a small group of no more than 24 travelers. Begin in 2,000-year-old Beijing, site of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall. Fly to Xian to see the intact life-size army of 7,000 Terra Cotta Warriors. Then fly to Lhasa, Tibet, the “roof of the world.” With three days here you’ll have time to acclimatize to the high altitude, explore the city’s sacred temples and its vast Potala Palace. Then, relax during a three-night cruise on the Yangtze River before concluding in Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.

Throughout our journey, we've arranged for special visits, sumptuous meals and the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the history, culture and people of this fascinating country. Whether you have traveled to China before or this is your first experience, we cordially invite you to join us on this air, land and cruise inclusive travel program. Shared with like-minded travelers from Georgetown University, and limited to just 24 participants in total, this unique small-group adventure is the perfect way to discover China.

Dates & Prices:

Tour Dates: September 28 - October 16, 2017

Tour Prices:  from $5,995 per person (excluding international airfare)*
                     from $6,887 total price from Los Angeles, San Francisco  ($6,395 air, land & cruise inclusive plus $492 airline taxes and fees) *

A limited number of single rooms are available on a request basis for an additional supplement of $1,695 per person.

*All rates are per person based upon double occupancy. Airfare from other cities is available. Airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and
departure fees are subject to change until final payment is made. Please see the brochure or contact us for more information.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Beijing, China
Fly from your home airport overnight to 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, giving 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

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
 
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. Please consult with your personal physician if you have concerns.
 
Tour Price Includes:
    •    Round-trip air transportation from listed cities in brochure (for international air-inclusive reservations)
    •    Internal flights within China
    •    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 a professional Tour Director
    •    Private motor coach transportation throughout your trip, including shore excursions
    •    Luggage handling for one bag per person
    •    Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers 


What’s not included:
 Passport, visas and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance;  baggage charges on aircraft; discretionary gratuity for tour director; International airfare and transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day of arrival and/or departure if you have booked as a “land only” participant; any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section of the program brochure.  

Accommodations:

Sofitel Wanda Beijing , Beijing / Days 2-5 / Deluxe


Close to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the 417-room Sofitel Wanda Beijing 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 tube, 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.



Hilton Shanghai , 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 Hilton Shanghai 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.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.