Day 1: New Zealand –– Beijing
Head to the airport and catch a China-bound flight to Beijing. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Beijing (B,L,D)
Your time in Beijing begins by seeing the sites used in the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is then onto the largest jade factory in Beijing. Relax over lunch before travelling out of the city to the magnificent Great Wall of China. Climbing a section of the remarkable wall is sure to be a highlight of your trip. Afterwards, head to Gubei Water Town for an overnight stay.
Day 3: Beijing – Gubei Water Town (B)
Explore the charming setting of Gubei Water Town, from its narrow alleyways to its riverfront promenade. Return to Beijing in the afternoon.
Day 4: Beijing –– Luoyang (B)
Today’s itinerary sees you taking in some of Beijing’s greatest sites and landmarks. You will be in awe of the size and scale of Tiananmen Square, and you can also cross into the once off-limits Forbidden City. Relax with a foot massage at a traditional Chinese medical centre. Then, go to the station and board a bullet train for the journey to Luoyang.
Day 5: Luoyang (B,L,D)
Admire the Longmen Grottoes of Luoyang. Constructions on these grottoes began in 493 AD and now number more than 2345 caves, featuring more than 2680 statues, 70 stupas and 2680 stone-inscribed tablets. There is time to explore Luoyang’s old town in the afternoon.
Day 6: Luoyang to Zhengzhou (B,L,D)
Visit the Shaolin Temple in the Mt. Songshan (Mount Song) today. This is the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu and is home to sites including the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Grand Hall, the Pagoda Forest and the Hall of Thousands of Buddha. Feast on a Shaolin vegetarian lunch and visit a local martial arts school. Travel to Zhengzhou in the afternoon.
Day 7: Zhengzhou –– Yichang (B,D)
Travel to Yichang via bullet train. Here, board the ship for your Yangtze River cruise and settle into your cabin. The ship departs tomorrow.
Day 8: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Sneak in some early morning exercise on the top deck; practicing Tai chi with a backdrop of the Three Gorges Dam is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Then you have the choice to remain on-board and relax or head out on an optional excursion.
Optional: Three Gorges Dam Site
Visit this site, the biggest hydropower project in the world. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Tribe of the Three Gorges
Make for this site, the only scenic spot that remains untouched by the Three Gorges Dam project. It is an excellent example of the Ba and Shu cultures. Additional cost applies.
Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
Opt to relax on the ship or take up one of the excursions.
Optional: Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream
Explore either the Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream (subject to weather conditions). Additional cost applies.
Optional: White Emperor City
This ancient temple is found atop Baidi Mountain. Additional cost applies.
Day 10: Yangtze River Cruise (B,L,D)
The cruise passes the mountains of Eastern Sichuan today. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight.
Admire Shibaozhai, a 12-storey wooden pagoda that houses different steles and inscriptions on each floor. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Fengdu Ghost City
Venture to the location dubbed ‘City of Ghosts’, Fengdu, today and see its temples that depict demon paintings and imaginations of hell. Additional cost applies
Day 11: Chongqing- Xi’an (B)
Disembark the cruise this morning and take a transfer to Xi’an. A tour guide will meet you upon your arrival. There is some time to relax, or eager adventurous can head out to start their exploration of this 3000-year-old city.
Day 12: Xi’an (B,L)
Dive into Xi’an’s expansive history (it served as the Chinese capital for 13 dynasties) and then stand at attention with a visit to the Terracotta Army site. You will have the opportunity to see this collection of more than 7000 soldiers, horses, archers and chariots – all made to guard Emperor Qin’s tomb. Following lunch, take a walk through Moslem Street where you can pick up souvenirs or sample local cuisine.
Day 13: Xi’an – – New Zealand (B)
A transfer takes you to the hotel for your flight back to New Zealand.
Day 14: New Zealand
Arrive home today