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Air & Land
Land Only

Amazing China

Package Includes

  • Small groups of 10-18 travelers guaranteed
  • Round trip international flights LAX-Beijing, Shanghai-LAX
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-flights Beijing-Chengdu, Chengdu-Lijiang & Lijiang-Hangzhou and 1 train transfer
  • 13 nights in First Class accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 35 meals: 13 buffet breakfasts, 12 lunches & 10 dinners (including a home hosted lunch, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Bottled water and tea with all meals. Beer and wine included with dinner except on day 5 & 10
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size of 10-18 travelers, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Practice tai chi with a local seasoned instructor
  • Explore an authentic Hutong neighborhood and share lunch here at a local family’s home
  • Contribute to reforestation efforts when we plant a tree at the Great Wall of China
  • Learn the art and skill of Mahjong from experts at a real Mahjong parlor
  • Visit with a rural family in a Yunnan province village
  • Cruise the tranquil, pagoda-lined waters of West Lake in Hangzhou
  • See one of China’s best preserved ancient villages at Hongcun
  • Gaze upon dreamy, classic Chinese landscapes from atop Mt. Huangshan

This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 4-5 hours on our feet during tours. The pace is moderate, with 1 one-night stay, 3 two-nights stays, and 2 three-night stays. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep stairs. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

DAY 1, Thursday - Depart the USA
Depart Los Angeles for Beijing. Your overnight flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for the journey

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Beijing
Arrive in Beijing, Peking of old, in the afternoon and transfer to your hotel. We sample local cuisine at a local restaurant for dinner
Overnight: Xizhao Temple Hotel, Beijing
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Saturday - Explore Beijing/Enjoy Home-Hosted Lunch in Hutong
Fabled Beijing is a sprawling testament to the Chinese spirit. Begin your first full day in China like the locals: practicing tai chi with an instructor at our hotel. Our exploration gets underway at the Forbidden City, an extravagant compound of 980 buildings and 9,000 rooms. This sprawling palace was the residence of Chinese emperors from the Ming to the Qing dynasties. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the world’s largest assembly of preserved ancient wooden structures. From palatial to modest, we continue to a typical hutong neighborhood, an enclave of low-flung residences centered around alleyways and courtyards. Beijing’s hutongs are dwindling in number as the city is increasingly modernized, but some have been designated as protected areas. We learn more about life here when we meet a local family for lunch in their home. During our stay, they’ll teach us their family recipe for dumplings. On the way back to the hotel, we will visit a pearl shop. Our Welcome Dinner tonight introduces you to real Peking Duck
Overnight: Xizhao Temple Hotel, Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Sunday - Discover Great Wall & Ming Tombs
Today, we visit a less crowded section of the Great Wall at Badaling. A bit removed from the more touristed section of the wall, we’ll enjoy a less hurried experience and take time to marvel at this wondrous structure and the surrounding hillsides that look north toward Mongolia. While here, we’ll help a local organization plant a tree. En route to the Great Wall, we will stop at a local Jade shop. Later, explore the Ming Dynasty Tombs and the Sacred Way, lined with guardian animals. There are 13 tombs here, and we'll visit the only excavated one, Dingling, that houses the remains of the Wanli Emperor. In the museum, we can admire golden crowns and glittering jewels that have been uncovered here
Overnight: Xizhao Temple Hotel, Beijing
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5, Monday - Fly to Chengdu/Visit Mahjong Parlor
We fly to Chengdu today, recently named China’s fourth most livable city. It retains much of its traditional architecture and feel amidst its modernity. Upon arrival, we tour Jinli, the Old Town, replete with the ancient architecture typical of West Sichuan. Paper lanterns lend an undeniable charm to the streets, hanging over the entrances to teahouses and handicraft shops. Then we join some locals during their leisure time in a real Mahjong parlor and learn this ancient game from the experts. For dinner, you’ll see how a Hot Pot is prepared. This famous Chinese dish is more than 1,000 years old and its ingredients vary by region. The Szechuan version tends to be spicy
Overnight: Huan Hua Brocade Hotel, Chengdu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Tuesday - View Giant Pandas/Fly to Lijiang
Nothing reflects the relaxed nature of Chengdu residents like its teahouses. There are more of them here than in Shanghai, even though Chengdu has half the population. This morning we visit some of Chengdu’s most relaxed local celebrities – giant panda bears. Remarkably, 99% of their diet consists of bamboo. Their livelihood in the wild is under threat from deforestation. After lunch at a local restaurant, we board a short flight to Lijiang
Overnight: He Xi Hotel, Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Wednesday - Explore Yuhu Village/Ascend Jade Dragon Mountain
We have two days to explore this seldom-visited Chinese wonder. Begin in Yuhu Village at the residence of the 20th-century Austro-American botanist Joseph Rock. This brilliant eccentric had a love for both plants and ethnic cultures and wrote many articles for National Geographic about this spellbinding region and the Nakhi people who live here. Continue to the sacred lama monastery of Yufeng, located in a beautiful setting. Set at the foot of a mountain, it is known for its camellia tree that produces 4,000 blossoms in season. Then we ascend Jade Dragon Mountain by cable car for magnificent views of the Lijiang Plain and alpine meadows below. We’ll stop at a village to visit with a rural family and learn about life in this staggeringly beautiful region. Dinner tonight is back in Lijiang
Overnight: He Xi Hotel, Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8, Thursday - Explore Lijiang’s Old Town
After breakfast, we tour Lijiang’s remarkable Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once a stop along the old tea horse road. These 800-year-old streets are unique in China for their orderly layout, lovely network of waterways and bridges, and blend of cultures that have influenced the region over the centuries. Its ancient water-supply system was ingenious and sophisticated, and still functions today. For lunch, we’ll pause to sample local noodles. After lunch, enjoy a visit to the famous Black Dragon Pool and Dongba Museum. Balance of the day at leisure
Overnight: He Xi Hotel, Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9, Friday - Fly to Hangzhou
We fly to Hangzhou this morning, arriving in time for lunch at a local restaurant. We’ll have a free afternoon amidst this city’s beautiful natural setting on Hangzhou Bay. Its location within the Yangtze River delta and its proximity to the seaport of Shanghai have helped Hangzhou grow into a major commercial cente
Overnight: The Gallery Hotel, Hangzhou
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Saturday - Cruise West Lake/Visit Lingyin Temple
Enjoy a morning cruise on West Lake, inspiration to poets and painters for generations. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is dotted with manmade islands connected by arched bridges. Its shores are lined with some of the city’s most important cultural and historic landmarks, including pagodas, gardens, and temples that have shaped life here for centuries. After lunch, we visit Lingyin Temple, or Temple of the Soul’s Retreat. Thought to be the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, it is also one of China’s largest and wealthiest. Its grounds boast Buddha-adorned grottoes and vast halls. This evening, enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant
Overnight: The Gallery Hotel, Hangzhou
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Sunday - Travel to Huangshan/Meet Hongcun Village Monks
Transfer to Huangshan today, stopping for lunch en route to sample more authentic flavors of China. This afternoon, we explore the ancient streets of Hongcun Village. It’s said that this rustic hamlet was arranged in the shape of an ox, with the nearby hill forming the head and four bridges spanning the Jiyin stream forming the legs. Its 150 residences from the Ming and Qing dynasties are unequalled for their authenticity and preservation. During our visit, we’ll meet some monks for an enlightening discussion Dinner is at a local restaurant
Overnight: Tiandu International Hotel, Huangshan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12, Monday - Ascend Mt. Huangshan
Take a cable car up Mt. Huangshan this morning for spectacular views of craggy granite peaks. You just might recognize the landscape of this UNESCO World Heritage Site; its beauty here is often the subject of Chinese ink painting and literature. We dine in local restaurants for lunch and dinner today, with time in the afternoon to explore atmospheric Song Street in the Old Town
Overnight: Tiandu International Hotel, Huangshan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13, Tuesday - Visit School/Train to Shanghai
We return to Hangzhou, stopping en route to visit some winsome children at a local school. Their teacher will give us insight into the Chinese curriculum and education system. After lunch in Hangzhou, we head to the city’s ultra-modern train station and embark a train that whisks us to Shanghai in an hour. There’ll be ample time to settle in upon arrival
Optional: Shanghai by Night with dinner & wine
Overnight: Jing An Hotel, Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14, Wednesday - Explore Shanghai
This morning we stroll the green pathways of Yuyuan Garden, or Garden of Happiness. This beautifully manicured 16th-century haven features caves, pagodas, lakes, and magnificent pavilions, and has been a gathering spot for local for generations. Then we stop at a carpet factory to see how fabric is woven into stunning designs by local craftspeople. And at the Caoyang New Village, the first Worker’s Housing Project in Shanghai, we’ll gain insight into how this self-sufficient community lives day to day. After seeing the city’s government offices and learning how the legislature here functions, we enjoy a Mongolian barbecue for lunch. Our festive Farewell Dinner is at a local restaurant
Overnight: Jing An Hotel, Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15, Thursday - Depart for the USA
After a morning at leisure, transfer to the airport for your flight home
Meals: Breakfast

    Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling may cost an extra 10% or even more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

    Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling may cost an extra 10% or even more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

    Hotels Available for Departure Dates

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    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include China visa fees and gratuities for guides/tour managers. Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfer, but does include intra flights.

    Additional Information:
    Due to limited storage space on High Speed train from Huangshan to Shanghai, only one small piece of luggage (44 lbs) per passenger is permitted onboard for your personal belongings. Your additional luggage will be transported separately to Shanghai and you will be without your checked in luggage for 1 night in Huangshan; therefore it is recommended to take an extra bag.

    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

    This trip is also available with the following variations: