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China’s sheer size and density is impossible to fathom, until you walk across the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square or gaze at the unending Great Wall. Take a leisurely cruise down the Yangtze River and ride the world’s fastest train. Experience this country of superlatives with all of its contrasts, from pristine landscapes to towering cityscapes, from ancient sites to modern marvels.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
9 nights in handpicked hotels and 4 nights aboard the MS Grace
Breakfast daily, 10 lunches, 7 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The magic & mystery of the Forbidden City
The immensity of the Great Wall
Gorgeous scenery in the Three Gorges
The quality & quantity of the Terra-Cotta Warriors
Shanghai—China’s showpiece city
Sample the delicacies of dim sum
Fly to the other end of the earth
Begin your journey with an overnight flight on a major airline to China.
Begin your explorations of China in the cosmopolitan Northern Capital
Breakfast (in flight)
Welcome to Beijing! A Go Ahead representative greets you after you clear customs and accompanies you to your hotel.
Trek across Tiananmen Square and through the Forbidden City
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Delve into more than 2,000 years of Beijing history with a series of guided sightseeing tours over the next three days. This morning, make your way across Tiananmen Square and through the Imperial Palace, a maze of palaces also known as the Forbidden City. Spend your afternoon exploring Beijing on your own before joining your fellow travelers for an included dinner.
Feel the sacred symmetry at the Temple of Heaven
Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven
This morning, walk among the sacred structures of the Temple of Heaven Park and go behind-thescenes at a pearl factory, where you’ll learn the ins and outs of the trade. After an included lunch, a local guide leads you through the Summer Palace with its famed Long Corridor and Marble Boat. Following your tour, cruise along Kumming Lake to soak in more of the local scenery.
Walk along the ancient ramparts of the Great Wall
Head outside Beijing today to witness the Great Wall. Take a couple of hours to explore on your own before journeying to the Sacred Way, a pathway lined with sculptures of ancient leaders and animals. Then, stop to discover Beijing’s impressive Olympic park. (Please note: Depending on traffic conditions, the visit to Olympic Park may occur in the afternoon on Day 4). Tonight, check out the optional Kung Fu show at one of Beijing’s finest theaters.
Kung Fu Show $45* pp
This exciting theatrical performance, The Legend of Kung Fu, tells a story of a young boy who dreams of becoming a kung fu master one day. The show’s performers, a collection of some of the country’s best kung fu artists, put on a spectacular display that will leave you mesmerized.
Cruise across the Yangtze plain
Breakfast, Lunch (in flight), Dinner
Savor one last morning in Beijing before flying to Yichang, where you’ll embark on your cruise of the Yangtze River. The largest river in Asia, the Yangtze is said to be the cradle of Chinese civilization.
Float through the Three Gorge’s towering cliffs and raging rapids
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Make your way upstream and step on shore at the Three Gorges Dam, where a local guide explains the history, construction and lasting impact of this man-made site. Spend your afternoon exploring Xiling Gorge, the first and longest of the Yangtze River’s Three Gorges, whose jagged, stratified cliffs hang over the water. Or, meet the native tribes who inhabit the gorges on a shore excursion. Later in the evening, relax aboard your ship as you cruise through the night.
Sail on a sampan through the magnificent scenery of Qutang Gorge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drift along the Daning River and Shennong Stream, passing the mysterious and ancient hanging coffins and wild monkeys on shore. Then, board a traditional wooden boat called a sampan to explore the river’s narrower tributaries. Afterward, return to your cruise ship and continue to the Lesser Three Gorges. Upon reaching Qutang Gorge, gaze upon the sheer cliffs for a view of the Meng Liang staircase.
Catch a glimpse of Wanxian or Fengdu before they are submerged
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today your cruise ship docks for an on-shore excursion to either Fengdu, known as the Ghost City, or Wanzhou, famous for its natural sites.
Get acquainted with Yaya the giant panda and General “Vinegar Joe”
Disembark from your ship in Chongqing, where a local guide leads you through this mountain city. Your tour includes visits to the Chongqing Zoo, home to some of China’s famous pandas. After lunch, board your flight for Xi’an.
Come face to face with the Terra-Cotta Warriors
Great Wild Goose Pagoda, Terra-Cotta Warriors
On today’s tour of Xi’an, marvel at the Terra-Cotta Warriors, an underground battle formation of 8,099 life-sized pottery warriors buried with Emperor Quin Shi Huáng. Then, pay a visit to the Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Temple of Great Goodwill. (Please note: Occasionally the Great Wild Goose Pagoda visit occurs on the afternoon of Day 10). Tonight, opt for dinner in a local restaurant, followed by a Tang Dynasty performance.
Tang Dynasty Evening $79* pp
After a Chinese dinner at a local theater, enjoy a colorful performance dramatizing the famous Tang Dynasty’s period of rule over Xi’an, portrayed through traditional Chinese dances, music and costumes.
Prepare yourself for the biggest and busiest city in the world
This morning, transfer to Shanghai. Later, a local guide will introduce you to the city’s waterfront promenade, the Bund, on the way to dinner.
Discover the diversity of Shanghai, from the Bund to the Buddhists
Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple
Today, your insider’s tour of Shanghai continues, with visits to the Jade Buddha Temple, home to 70 monks, and to Yuyuan Garden, a classical Chinese garden. In the evening, opt to attend an acrobatics performance reminiscent of the Cirque de Soleil.
Dinner & Acrobatic Show $55* pp
Dinner and a show is a little different in China, as you'll see tonight. After enjoying dinner, you'll be treated to a gravity-defying acrobatic show that might make you rethink your idea of "dinner theater."
Explore the winding canals and classic gardens in romantic Suzhou
Tiger Hill, Suzhou Museum
Continue your explorations of the bustling city of Shanghai today, or join an excursion to Suzhou, a moat-encircled city of gardens and canals. Your guide will lead you through the canals to the city’s best sights, including the Grand Canal, Suzhou Museum and a silk factory. The highlight is Tiger Hill, a park teeming with historical legends. Tonight, share a final farewell dinner with your traveling companions.
Suzhou $85* pp
Spend the day in Suzhou, a gorgeous city on the shores of tranquil Lake Tai. On your tour of Suzhou, you'll visit the Suzhou Museum, a stretch of the Grand Canal, Tiger Hill, the leaning Huqiu Tower and a local silk factory. A Chinese lunch is also included.
Hop over to Hong Kong or head home
Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Delve deeper into Chinese history and culture during a three-night stay in Hong Kong or board your flight home.
Extend Your Stay
Add Hong Kong $1,199*
Immerse yourself in the complexity and contrasts of Hong Kong. Your first impressions will be the skyscrapers of glass and steel and the hustle-bustle of passers-by. But look past the shiny new surfaces to discover an ancient culture that gives the city an exotic flavor and its citizens a unique outlook.
Journey to the land where East meets West
This morning, travel to the airport aboard the Shanghai Maglev “Magnetic Levitation” Train, the fastest train in the world. It can reach 220 mph in under two minutes. Then, board a flight to Hong Kong and transfer to your hotel. Get to know the city on your own this evening.
Feast on dim sum and take in Hong Kong’s expansive cityscape
Uncover Hong Kong on a guided tour, passing by Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Fishing Village and Stanley Market. Then, enjoy an included dim sum lunch with your group. In the evening, opt to join our Hong Kong by Night excursion.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Hong Kong by Night $95* pp
Experience the magic of Hong Kong while taking in the city’s bustling nightlife. After an included dinner, you'll visit the Temple Street Night Market, the perfect place for bargain hunting and rubbing shoulders with the locals. Wander through the market, then enjoy drinks aboard a leisurely cruise of Victoria Harbor.
Sail back in time to ancient monasteries and traditional villages
Spend the day exploring Hong Kong at your leisure. Or, join an excursion to Lantau Island. Embark on a ferry ride through the city’s bustling harbor to discover this island of pristine beaches, traditional fishing villages, soaring mountains and Ngong Ping 360.
New Lantau Island Tour $119* pp
When you first arrived in Hong Kong, you may have noticed that in this city where “east meets west,” mountains rather than high-rises dominate the view—especially to the south, where a giant Buddha sits perched on a hilltop. This is Lantau Island, a quirky island replete with temples, rugged mountain paths and wandering cattle. On this full-day excursion, you'll visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. You'll also enjoy a cable car ride over the island and the South China Sea.
Say joi gin as you board your flight home
Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Board your flight home.
Passport & Visa
In order to enter China (as well as Hong Kong on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home and at least two blank pages. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter China. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours). If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There is some risk of the following diseases in China, mostly concentrated in rural areas: dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. Travelers should make sure to wear protective clothing and insect repellent when outside, particularly in forested or rural areas. Sun protection is also highly advisable. No vaccinations are required for entry. However, it’s always advisable to check with your health-care provider at least eight weeks prior to departure for recommendations and the latest updates on requirements. For updated information on travel in this area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Protection at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877- 394-8747) or visit its website at www.cdc.gov/ travel and view the sections on East Asia.
Important Health Tips
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:
1. Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
2. Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
3. Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.
The diversity of Chinese cuisine reflects China’s long history. With each dynasty, new recipes and cooking styles emerged. The food on tour will introduce you to many of the country’s “Eight Cuisines”— Shangdong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui. Sichuan cooking features three peppers (Chinese prickly ash, pepper and hot pepper), three aromas (shallot, ginger, and garlic), seven tastes (sweet, sour, tingling, spicy, bitter, piquant and salty) and eight flavors (fish-flavored, sour with spice, pepper-tingling, odd flavor, tingling with spice, red spicy oily, ginger sauce and home cooking). Hunan cuisine stresses the use of oil, dense color and techniques that produce crispness, softness and tenderness as well as savory flavors and spices. Popular dishes include stewed fins, fried fresh cabbage with chestnuts and Dong Anzi chicken. Along the Yangtze River, you may sample Ahhui cuisine. Some traditional Ahhui dishes include braised turtle with ham and Fuliji grilled chicken.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Beijing and depart from Shanghai (Hong Kong for extension) Internal flights from Beijing to Yichang, Chongqing to Xi’an and Xi’an to Shanghai. All other included transportation is by private motor coach or river boat.
Clothing & Packing Tips
Please note that, depending upon the season, China’s climate can change drastically as you move from one destination to the next. Due to the varying climates on your trip, we advise that you pack in layers. Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is also recommended for shore excursions and exploring the cities. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and rainwear are advised. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Please contact your airline directly for more information on your airline’s baggage allowance. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be select times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage. Please note: On internal flights included on tour, you may be charged for any baggage over 20 kilograms (44 pounds).
Chinese money is called Renminbi (RMB), which means “People’s Currency.” The popular unit of RMB is yuan. Better rates of exchange are available in China, because exchange rates are fixed throughout China. In Hong Kong, the currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$). We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping. The cruise line will automatically bill a flat service charge of 150 yuan (equal to $22.50 USD/CAD) to each passengers’ credit card upon check-in. (Please note: Currency rates can fluctuate.) This charge will cover tips to the onboard crew, including housekeeping and restaurant staff. Tips for the river cruise guides are not automatically billed. The cruise line recommends approx $5-6 USD/CAD per person, per day.
Imperial China-Wonderful trip, Wonderful Tour Director
Our trip through China and the Yangtze River was all that I could have asked for. The Tour Director, David, was excellent. He took good care of us, always making sure we had everything we needed to feel safe, comfortable, and excited about what we were experiencing. He provided in great detail all of the information we needed to understand everything we saw, and always in a format that held our attention. His sense of humor was really great, with humorous stories, comments, and quick come backs. He carefully monitored the food we were served, substituting dishes to make sure it would be something that would give us a good cultural experience but not so different that we would not enjoy it. And he provided us with opportunities beyond those offered by the basic tour and optional excursions that greatly enhanced our trip experience. I think the tour director is the most important element of a tour.
But in addition to David, the tour was also excellent due to the great variety of geographic locations in China provided in the basic itinerary and the variety of cultural experiences provided in the optional excursions, the very comfortable hotels, the good food, the high quality of the local guides, and the general sense of security that the Go Ahead Tours Company always gives us.
The optional excursion to Hong Kong was also fantastic. The tour director, Joyce, was excellent, and although we only had a couple of full days there, we felt that so much was packed into those two days we had experienced what would probably have taken us a week to do on our own.
In China at Last!!!
This tour fulfilled a life-long desire to go to China. It is truly amazing how much of the country we covered in only 2 weeks. China is a complex country and our tour guid made it understandable. He explained all aspects of the society, e.g. politics, religion, art, and language. The itinerary was perfect and covered everything I had ever wanted to see and some things I did not even know about.
Well worth the jet lag
Tour Director well organized and provided good historical perspective. Accommodations good and food
exceeded expectations. Well planned overview that touched key highlights.
A View of China
I just returned from our whirlwind tour of China. What a fascinating place! Beijing was hustling and busy, and I enjoyed seeing Tia'amen Square and the Forbidden City. The ride in the Dragon Boat at the Summer Palace was fun. And the trip to the Great Wall was thrilling! I really enjoyed the Yangtze River Cruise. I love nature and scenery, and we were treated to lots of it during the cruise. I also liked the food on the boat, and the staff was very friendly and adorable. I wished we could have had more time at the zoo in Chongquing, but I did like getting to see the pandas. The terra cotta warriors were amazing. Shanghai was my favorite city..very clean, lots to see, and just beautiful.
Andy, our tour director, was just great, so helpful and humble. He was so proud of his country, and passionate about showing it all to us.
I would say that this tour is very active and fast paced. It is rated a 4, and I believe some of the older travelers were not fully aware of the pace expected. When booking a tour, travelers need to be made aware of the walking, hiking and climbing expected. I would recommend this tour, but only to those able to stay on the move!
Tour Director Extrordinair
During our recent tour to China, it became obvious that our tour director Andy, was going to be a good one. He was very informative, kept us updated on upcoming events; dinners, trips & sights we were seeing. He took excellent care of us every step of the way. On the 5th day, we had a family emergency and my sister and I had to return home immediately. As soon as we imformed Andy of the problem, he immediately got on the phone with the travel agency and started getting arrangements made. He handled all this as efficiently as anyone could have and arranged for two other travel agents to help us. Daniel in Yichang and Evelyn in Shanghia. They helped us with hotels and transportation to and from airports and stayed with us right up to the security gate at Shainghai. We were in great hands and were kept informed of each step of the journey home. Evelyn even helped me shop for two remaining souvenirs for my grandchildren.
Two words of advice; Buy the trip insurance & be prepared to pay for the flights, hotels, etc on your way home. The Insurance will reimburse you.
New face of China
This China Tour makes my 6th trip. All previous five trips arranged by GoAhead Tours which I have taken are
very much satisfied. This time, China Trip was an excellent trip too. Among other things I was so amazed by "Great Wall" and "8,099 life-sized warriors" in Xi'an. And I also was so impressed by Summer Palace
and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Yangtze River Cruise is another good experience. I was so surprised by
so many apartment buildings being built in almost all big cities and by so many cars running on the roads.
I felt that the economic power of China is evident and remarkable. I recommend any one to take a trip
to China without hesitation to see the past and present China.
Finally, I do express Many Thanks to our Tour Director and Local Tour Guides.
Wonderful people, controlling government.
Imperial China & The Yangtze River May 2013
If you are looking to EXPERIENCE China and not just see China, this is the tour for you. If you are lucky enough to have our Tour Guide (David) then you are in for the experience of a lifetime. The sights, food, culture and eductional aspects of this tour are over the top. David our tour director made this one of our most safe and informative trips EVER. The local guides add a local flavor that is unmatched in world travel. Shirley, our local guide in Xi'an, made us feel like we were living in the time of the Terracotta warriors. WOW!! Personally my desire to visit China was mainly to see the Great Wall in person but thanks to David, Shirley and the many other Chinese people that this tour exposes you to, the Great Wall was only a small part of my experience. I had no idea how many different types of Chinese food existed but after 14 days of between 15-20 different dishes per day, I now know that Chinese food is very different from "American" Chinese food If you want the Chinese (Middle Kingdom) experience of a life time, this Tour is for you. Did I say WOW!!!! This was our first experience with Go Ahead Tours but it will definately not be our last. (Mark - Tucson, Arizona USA)
If you want to experience the real China this is the tour you should take! You have to go to know! I had an amazing time! My experience has changed my thoughts of China forever. I would highly recommend this tour. Amazing sights, sounds and food!
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China Yangtse River tour
I had a wonderful time in china. I will have fond memories for a very long time. Our guide was excellent. I llearned alot. It has prompted me to learn the language. I started class last night.