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China's Silk Road and Great Wall - 15 Days
Silk Road & Great Wall



Departure on April 23, 2013; Return on May 7, 2013

$4,825 per person Land and Air from West Coast
$3,325 per person Land Only including internal air/land Transportations
$865 per person single supplement
Prices include Government Taxes and Fees.
Highlights: Climb the Great Wall at Jinshanling in Beijing, a uniquely representative section retaining original features of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. Travel to Shanhaiguan Pass, the eastern end of the Great Wall where it meets the Yellow Sea; fly west to the provincial capital of Lanzhou, on the Yellow River, and climb White Pagoda Hill; travel overland to the ancient hub city of Wuwei on the fabled Silk Road; explore the historic (5,000-year-old) city of Zhangye, rich in natural beauty; journey through the last pass of the Great Wall C Jiayuguan; visit Dunhuangs grottoes, where a trove of archaeological discoveries have been preserved in sand for thousands of years; arrive in Xian, the ancient capital of the central kingdom; and, finally, fly to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, where you visit the Yu Garden and walk along the Bund, an amazing contrast of the old and new Shanghai.  

Day 1, April 23, Monday - USA/Beijing
Depart the USA gateway city via Cathay Pacific Airways for Beijing. En route, cross the International Dateline.

Day 2, April 24, Tuesday - Beijing
Arrive in Beijing and transfer to your hotel. (Changan Grand Hotel or similar)

Day 3, April 25, Wednesday - Beijing
Enjoy a full-day excursion to the Great Wall at Jinshanling on the outskirts of Beijing, an area of the Wall that is far less crowded than other areas. Constructed on the steep ridge of a mountain, the Wall here retains the original construction and appearance from the Ming Dynasty. Climb the Stairway to Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers., and walk to the Wangjinglou Tower, the General Tower, the Black Tower and the Taochun Tower. A cable car has been constructed to take visitors to the highest point along the wall. In the evening, return to the city and enjoy an amazing Peking duck dinner. (B/L/D)


Day 4, April 26, Thursday - Shanhaiguan Pass
In the morning, travel by train for two hours to Shanhaiguan Pass. On arrival, visit the beginning of the Great Wall at the Old Dragon's Head. This part of the wall is very well preserved and extends into the Bohai Gulf of the Yellow Sea. Explore the First Pass Under Heaven or Zhendong Tower. Visit the Temple of Mengjiangnu, Jiaoshan Mountain, Longevity Mountain and Yansai Lake. Return by train to Beijing. (B/L)

Day 5, April 27, Friday - Beijing/Lanzhou
Take a morning flight to Lanzhou, once known as the Golden City and a vital stop on the ancient Silk Road. The capital of China's Gansu province, Lanzhou is located on the banks of the Yellow River in a valley between the mountains. The Bingling Grottoes, also known as the Bingling Temple, are a series of Buddhist caves that are situated on a not easily accessible cliff face, some 80km from Lanzhou. At some point the caves were named the Thousand Buddha Caves, despite the fact that there have never been more than 200 grottoes. The total at present is 183. These are some of the oldest caves in China and thankfully, despite their age, they still contain many well preserved statues and murals. Although a little out of the way, the grottoes are a day trip that should not be missed. (B/L/D) (Lanzhou Legend Hotel or similar)




Day 6, April 28, Saturday - Lanzhou/Wuwei
Today travel overland (about 4 hours) to Wuwei, the ancient city of Liangzhou, which served as a hub between central and western China. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, explore the Han Tomb of Leitai, a large brick-chambered tomb from the late Eastern Han dynasty. The tomb was discovered by local farmers in 1969. Among other valuable artifacts, 99 bronze warriors and horses were excavated from here, including the famed bronze galloping horse, which can be seen at the Gansu museum. The tomb is located in Leitai Park, where you visit the Confucius Temple of Wenmiao, which occupies a central position in a magnificent and palatial Ming dynasty structure. The province's largest and best-preserved complex dedicated to Confucius, Wenmiao now houses the Wuwei museum. (B/L/D) (Wuwei Tianma Hotel or similar)

Day 7, April 29, Sunday - Wuwei/Zhangye
After breakfast, drive to Zhangye by coach (about 3.5 hours). An important commercial port on the ancient Silk Road, with abundant water and grass resources, Zhangye is one of four counties in Hexi (west of the Yellow River) area. En route to Zhangye, stop to view ruins of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. Visit historical and cultural sites, such as Giant Buddha Temple, home to China's largest reclining Buddha. Also, visit the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower, the Sui Dynasty Wooden Pagoda, which is one of Zhangye's five-elements temples, and the Blackwater State and Tombs Complex of the Han Dynasty. (B/L/D) (Zhangye Huachen Hotel or similar)

Day 8, April 30, Monday - Zhangye/Jiuquan/Jiayuguan
This morning, drive from Zhangye to Jiayuguan Pass (about 3.5 hours). Upon arrival in Jiayuguan, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit Jiayuguan Pass, the first pass at the western end of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty. Jiayuguan Pass was of strategic importance on the ancient Silk Road, serving as an influential center for cultural exchanges between east and west. Also, visit the Overhanging Wall, an important part of the defensive work of Jiayuguan Pass. Climb up to the top of the Wall for a bird's-eye view of the desert stretching before you, with the oasis of Jiayuguan in the foreground and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. (B/L/D) (Jiayuguan Great Wall Hotel)


Day 9, May 1, Tuesday - Jiayuguan/Dunhuang
After breakfast, pay a visit to the Wei and Jin dynasty tombs to appreciate the largest subterranean art gallery in the world. This brick tomb group features vividly colored murals. Then drive to Dunhuang (about 4 hours), the center of trade between China and its western neighbors in ancient times. (B/L/D) (Dunhuang Hotel or similar)

Day 10, May 2, Wednesday - Dunhuang
Today's highlight is a visit to one of the most famous archaeological discoveries at the beginning of the 20th century, the Mogao Grottoes. Also known as the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, this is the largest, best-preserved and richest treasure house of Buddhist art in the world. See the magnificent art, manuscripts, and treasures filling the grottoes, which were carved out in the 4th century at the time of the Mongolian conquest. The grottoes show an uninterrupted history of Chinese painting over a period of nearly a thousand years. Explore Crescent Lake, a natural wonder in the Gobi Desert that is encircled by Echoing Sand Mountain. Each time the wind blows, there is a sound from the mountain, and when there is a breeze, the sound is like musical instruments. At the foot of the hill, you may want to take an optional tour or sunset camel ride (at your own expense). (B/L/D)



Day 11, May 3, Thursday - Dunhuang
Today, travel southward to see the remains of the Yangguan Pass or Sun Gate. Yangguan Pass was a vital stop from Dunhuang to Xinjjiang during the Han Dynasty. Then walk to the Yumenguan Pass, another important stop along the Silk Road. On this hike, pass by the Great Wall ruins from the Han Dynasty. Along the way, see Sanlongsha Devils' City, the Wild Camel Valley and much more. (B/L/D)


Day 12, May 4, Friday - Dunhuang/Xian
Take a morning flight to Xian, the end of the fabled Silk Road and capital of the central kingdom. Transfer to your hotel on arrival. Then tour the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, originally built in the Tang Dynasty, where you can sometimes catch a water and music show in the square below. This evening, enjoy a delicious dumpling dinner. (B/L/D) (Hyatt Hotel)

Day 13, May 5, Saturday - Xian/Shanghai
Travel to the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, the first emperor of all China. View the life-size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations, replicas of what the imperial guard would have looked like during the Qin Dynasty. Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Many have been restored to their former grandeur. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your departure to Shanghai. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. (New World Mayfair Hotel) (B/L)


Day 14, May 6, Sunday - Shanghai
Enjoy a full-day tour of Shanghai. Visit the Jade Buddha Temple, which draws from the Pure Land and Chan traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. The temple, which started with two jade statues from Burma, also includes a larger reclining marble Buddha from Singapore. Walk through the temple and discover the Chamber of Four Heavenly Kings, the three Golden Buddhas in the Grand Hall and the Jade Buddha Chamber. Then wander through Yuyuan Garden to explore one of the finest scholars gardens in China. See Grand Rockery, featuring peaks, cliffs, winding caves and gorges of huangshi stone. Also, see the Heralding Spring Hall and the Inner Garden; Jade Magnificence Hall, furnished with rosewood pieces; the Lotus Pool; and Ten Thousand-Flower Tower. Then view the many historical buildings along the Bund, a wide street curving for a mile along the west banks of the Huangpu River. The Bund has been called the museum of international architecture. (B/L)

Day 15, May 7, Monday - Shanghai/USA
Transfer to the airport for your departure via Cathay Pacific Airways and arrive in the States the same day. Or, you may take an optional Hong Kong Extension. (B)


Hong Kong Extension - 3 Days



May 7 - 9, 2013

$360 per person Land Only
$220 per person Single Supplement

Day 15, May 7, Monday - Shanghai/Hong Kong
Transfer to the airport for your departure via Cathay Pacific Airways and arrive in Hong Kong. Transfer to your hotel. (B) (Grand Harbor Hotel)

Day 16, May 8, Tuesday - Hong Kong
A morning sightseeing tour introduces you to the highlights of this bustling city including Stanley Market, Aberdeen's floating restaurants and sampan dwellers, and a panoramic view of city and harbor from atop Victoria Peak. Afternoon free. (B)

Day 17, May 9, Wednesday - Hong Kong/USA
Transfer to the airport for your departure via Cathay Pacific Airways and arrive the States the same day. (B)


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