China, one of the oldest nations in the world, has long been an attractive and exotic travel destination. Now travelers can experience all that China has to offer with a comprehensive, fully escorted, 15-day Best of China and Yangtze River Cruise tour, starting at $3,399, from Friendly Planet Travel.
The package includes round-trip flights from Los Angeles via Air China; comprehensive, escorted touring programs, including entrance fees; an English-speaking tour director and local guides; fuel surcharges, airlines taxes, and fees; all intra-China flights, transfers, and ground transportation; as well as deluxe and superior first-class hotels. The package also includes a four-night Yangtze River cruise aboard the Victoria Anna ship, which was newly renovated in late 2012 and includes amenities like two lounges, three bars, and a gym, lecture room, library, beauty salon, massage room, and gift shop. All cruise staff tipping is included and passengers are guaranteed outside balcony cabins on the executive level of the ship, which comes with many additional exclusive benefits.
The Best of China and Yangtze River Cruise tour begins in Shanghai, where travelers hop on the Shanghai Maglev Train, considered the most technologically advanced train in the world, to transfer to the city center. After lunch, travelers explore the Yu Garden. The next day, they enjoy a full-day city tour with visits to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, and the Bund, with a break for lunch. The tour finishes out the day with an exciting acrobatic show. From there, travelers visit Zhujiajiao village, a water town reminiscent of Venice, before flying to Yichang and embarking on a Yangtze River cruise.
The cruise begins with a visit to the Three Gorges Dam, a sail through ship locks and the Xiling Gorge, followed by an excursion through the Daning River Small Gorges. The ship continues sailing to Wu Gorge and the Qutang Gorge. Travelers will also visit the city of Fengdu, known as a “ghost city,” before arriving in Chongqing for a flight to Guilin, where they’ll tour the Reed Flute Cave and a sea-water pearl factory. The following day travelers enjoy a cruise on the Li River with lunch on board the boat.
Additional stops include Xi’an, to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner show, the site of the famous Terra Cotta Army, and a delicious dumpling lunch. The tour rounds out in Beijing, where travelers enjoy a rickshaw ride to explore the narrow streets of one of Beijing’s Hutong neighborhoods, a special Mongolian-style hotpot lunch, the Legend of Kun Fu show, and a city tour that visits the Temple of Heaven, a World Heritage Site; the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square; Beijing’s most famous (and delicious) culinary treat—Peking Duck; as well as a full-day excursion to the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs; and a farewell dinner.
Two optional post-tour excursions are also available. The four-day Hong Kong extension starts at $899, and the six-day Tibet extension starts at $1,499. Friendly Planet’s Best of China and Yangtze River Cruise tour is available on the departure dates of Aug. 6 and Oct. 29 for $3,399, and Sept. 3, Sept. 17, and Oct. 8 for $3,499 if booked by May 14.
Friendly Planet also offers several other programs to China including the 10-day Taste of China tour; 13-day Taste of China and Hong Kong tour; 10-day Beijing and Tokyo tour; the 11-day China Delight tour; and 14-day Beijing, Tokyo & Okinawa tour.
Friendly Planet Travel, www.FriendlyPlanet.com