China & the Yangtze River

Join alumni and friends on an air, land and cruise inclusive exploration of China. Our 2018 program includes Beijing, Xian, 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, 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 a cosponsoring alumni association, and limited to just 24 participants in total, this unique small-group adventure is the perfect way to discover China.

Dates & Prices:

Tour Dates: October 31 - November 13, 2018

Tour Prices:  from $TBA per person (excluding international airfare)*
                     from $TBA total price from Los Angeles, San Francisco  ($TBA air, land & cruise inclusive plus $TBS airline taxes and fees) *

A limited number of single rooms are available on a request basis for an additional supplement of $TBA 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

Board overnight flights from the US to Beijing, China.

Day 2: Arrive Beijing

We arrive in the Chinese capital and transfer to our hotel. After time to relax we meet our tour director for a walking tour of the area surrounding our hotel. Dinner is on our own.

Day 3: Beijing

After this morning’s briefing with our tour director, we begin our discovery of this 2,000-year-old city at vast – and infamous – Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, seat of imperial power during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911). Tonight we enjoy a traditional Peking Duck dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 4: Beijing/Great Wall

Our day begins with a rickshaw ride through Beijing’s ancient back roads and alleys (hutongs). Here we visit the home of a local family for a rare glimpse of the traditional communal life­style that is fast disappearing. Then we make a brief photo stop at Olympic Park, site of the 2008 Olympic Games. This afternoon we encounter the Great Wall, the incredible collection of ancient defense installations (and UNESCO World Heritage site) that stretches more than 5,500 miles and where we visit the Mu Tian Yu section by cable car. B,L,D

Day 5: Beijing

This morning we tour the splendid Temple of Heaven complex where China’s emperors once worshipped. Later this afternoon we tour the Summer Palace, the former royal retreat with beautiful gardens and temples that is now a park attracting both visitors and locals. B,L

Day 6: Beijing/Xian

This morning we fly to Xian. Once among the world’s greatest cities, Xian devolved into a provincial backwater until the accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors in 1974 – considered among the most significant archaeo­logical finds of the 20th century. This afternoon we tour Xian’s ­impressive nine-mile city wall and moat. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner of traditional Chinese dumplings. B,L,D

Day 7: Xian

Our day begins at Small Wild Goose Pagoda (c. 652 CE), among China’s most acclaimed Buddhist temples. After lunch we visit the museum hous­ing the renowned Terra Cotta Warriors, the more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers created to guard China’s first emperor in the afterlife. We see these astounding pieces, each with an individually sculpted face, stand­ing in military formation in three separate vaults. The entire complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. B,L,D

Day 8: Xian/Chongqing/Board Ship

This morning we fly to Chongqing, where we visit the zoo housing the beloved pandas. Following dinner at a local restaurant, we board our Victoria Cruises ship and set sail this evening. B,L,D

Day 9: Yangtze Cruising – Shibaozhai or Fengdu

Prized for its haunting natural beauty, the Yangtze is one of the world’s busiest and longest (3,600 miles) rivers. As we cruise along this storied waterway, this afternoon we visit either the Red Pagoda in Shibaozhai or the “ghost city” of Fengdu, with its complex of shrines, temples, and monasteries. B,L,D

Day 10: Yangtze Cruising – Qutang Gorge/ Wu Gorge/Small Gorges/Xiling Gorge

It’s a day of beautiful scenery as we first pass through narrow Qutang Gorge, smallest of the Yangtze gorges, followed by tranquil Wu Gorge. Then we board a small sampan for a cruise through the stunning Small Gorges. Flanked by sheer cliffs and steep mountains, the Small Gorges recall scenes from ancient Chinese scroll paintings. Back on board our Victoria Cruises ship, late this afternoon we enter 42-mile Xiling Gorge, with its swift rapids and churning whirlpools. Tonight we enter the locks of the immense Three Gorges Dam. B,L,D

Day 11: Yangtze Cruising – Three Gorges Dam/Shanghai

We tour the site of the immense Three Gorges Dam Project this morning then continue cruising to Yichang. Here we disembark and fly to Shanghai, the “Paris of the East.” Dinner tonight is on our own in this cosmopolitan city. B,L

Day 12: 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. After lunch together we tour the acclaimed Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art and artifacts. Tonight we dine on our own then attend an acrobatics show. B,L

Day 13: Shanghai

This morning we visit the Bund, the mile-long riverside embankment where foreign investors – and their buildings – once held sway over Shanghai. Still one of the city’s most popular attractions, the Bund draws visitors and locals alike. Then the remainder of the day is at leisure; your tour director will help you find your way from here, perhaps to the bustling Nanjing Road shopping district … to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower for a bird’s-eye view of this dynamic city … or to a scenic boat ride along the Huangpu River that bisects Shanghai. Tonight we toast our China adventure at a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 14: Depart for U.S.

We depart Shanghai for our return flights to the U.S. B

Included Meals: 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
    •    12 nights’ accommodations: 3 nights aboard Superior First Class ship of Victoria Cruises; 9 nights in Deluxe hotels
    •    29 meals: 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 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 6-7 / 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.


Victoria Cruises , Chongqing / Days 8 - 10 / 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 11 - 13 / 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.