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Tibet and Yangtze cruise

16 days

Shanghai - Yangtze River cruise - Chongqing - Lhasa - Xi'an - Beijing

A trip to the Tibetan city of Lhasa, on the "roof of the world' is the highlight of this tour that also includes a Yangtze River cruise plus the Great Wall, Terracotta Army and the exciting modern city of Shanghai.

A select group tour based on 4- and 5-star hotels and 5-star Yangtze cruise boat, with most meals included. All cabins aboard the boat have private balconies.

Jokhang temple, Lhasa Yangtze River, Three Gorges

Guaranteed departure dates with minimum of 2 passengers

Day 1  Depart London Heathrow or regional airports.

Day 2  Arrive Shanghai. Met on arrival and transfer to 4- or 5-star hotel. Rest of the day free.

Day 3  Full day city sightseeing tour of Shanghai, to include the Yu Garden - a traditional house and garden in old China town district; the famous Bund or waterfront with its European-style former banks and trading houses; and the Shanghai Museum with its rich collection of art and antiques. Then take a boat trip on the Huangpu River that flows through Shanghai, giving you the best view of the city's modern striking skyline. (B, L)

Day 4  Transfer to airport for flight to the central city of Yichang. On arrival, transfer to join your 5-star deluxe Yangtze River cruise boat from American Victoria Cruises for departure later that evening (B, L)

Day 5 to 7  Yangtze River cruise upstream through the dramatic Three Gorges, including shore excursions to the ship elevators of the Three Gorges dam, the wooden pagoda of Shibaozhai and trip in small boats through the smaller gorges of the Goddess Stream, one of the Yangtze's tributaries. (B, L, D)

Day 8  Arrive Chongqing in the morning. Transfer to airport for flight to Lhasa. Met on arrival and transfer to 4-star Gang Gyan Hotel or similar. Rest of the day free to acclimatise to high altitude. (B)

Day 9  Visit to the famous Potala Palace, the centre of power of Tibet's former Dalai Lama rulers. Also visit the Jokhang Temple, Tibetan Buddhism's most sacred shrine, and the surrounding streets of Barkhor Square thronged with pilgrims and visitors. (B, L)

Day 10  Excursion to two of the greatest monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa: Sera and Drepung. Then visit the Norbulinka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. (B, L)

Day 11  Transfer to airport for flight to Xi'an, capital of China for many centuries. Transfer to the 4-star Somerset Xindicheng Xi'an Hotel or Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel or similar. (B, L)

Day 12  Full day excursion to the Terracotta Army, created by China's first emperor over 2,000 years ago to guard his tomb for eternity. Return to Xi'an city to see the rich archaeological collections of the Shaanxi Historical Museum Enjoy a 'Tang Dynasty' music and dance show in the evening evoking the sights and sounds of old China, together with a delicious speciality dumpling dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 13  In the morning visit Xi'an's impressive medieval city wall, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda , Grand Mosque and the atmospheric streets of the surrounding Muslim Quarter, originally settled by Arab and Persian traders over 1,000 years ago. Also visit a workshop creating replica warriors using traditional techniques before transfer to railway station for high-speed train to Beijing. Transfer to Holiday Inn Express Dongzhimen or similar. (B, L)

Day 14  Start the day with a visit to Tiananmen Square, followed by the Forbidden City - the complex of buildings in the heart of Beijing that was the centre of power for China's rulers for over 400 years. Explore both the grand halls and some of the smaller rooms and courtyards that housed the imperial family. Then visit the imposing Temple of Heaven where emperors prayed for good harvests. Also visit a shop selling freshwater pearls. In the evening enjoy the warm atmosphere of a dinner featuring that delicious local delicacy Peking duck. (B, L, D)

Day 15  Full day excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, about 1.5 hours drive north of Beijing. The wall here is not so busy at some other sections and is very scenic as its winds its way down the mountainside. Includes cable car up to the wall. Walk along part of the wall and explore the many fascinating aspects of this iconic symbol of China's past. En route to the wall pass the 2008 Olympic stadium, known as the 'Bird's Nest' and the 'Water Cube' - the national aquatic centre. Also visit a workshop carving items from jade, a stone of special significance to the Chinese. (B, L)

Day 16  Transfer to airport for flight back to UK, arriving later the same day. (B)


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