2008 China


Day 01 October 18:
Depart Seattle for Shanghai on Korean Air 026 at 2:30pm
Day 02 October 19: Shanghai
Arrive in Shanghai Arrive in Korea at 5:50pm Depart on Korean Air 895 at 7:05pm, arrive in Shanghai 8:00pm. We will meet our local guide and transfer to the 4.5 star deluxe Hengsheng Peninsula International Hotel, tel:021-61205888. Take a shower and stumble into bed.

Day 03 October 20: Shanghai
Discover the heart of old Shanghai at the 16th century Yu Garden. Experience the classical architectural details and a maze of walkways and reflecting pools. Surrounding the garden, enjoy the bustling 200 year old marketplace full of traditional crafts & arts. Stroll along the “Bund”, the legendary waterfront promenade with the most impressive skyline in the Far East – from 1920’s neoclassic bank buildings fully restored to their original glory, to the ultra modern 1380 feet Jinmao Tower: China’s highest building. The modernistic Oriental Pearl TV tower looms in the background.Tour the famous Jade Buddha Temple. Here resides over 70 monks and is home to two rare Buddha statues carved from one entire piece of white jade brought from Burma in 1882. Then visit a local family home – chat with family members and have a first hand insight of Chinese city life. At a kindergarten, enthusiastic youngsters will present their amazing talent. After dinner, attend the world famous Acrobatic Performances! B/L/D (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
Day 04 October 21: Shanghai–Hangzhou Suzhou
Enjoy a scenic coach ride through lush rice fields, passing villages, towns and markets to Hangzhou. A well known line of ancient Chinese poetry says “in heaven above there is Paradise, on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. Today these two most scenic cities along the ancient Grand Canal still live up to this reputation. Hangzhou in particular, has been the inspiration for poets and artists. Enjoy a cruise on the serene and picturesque West Lake. Immerse yourself in the romantic allure by strolling along the lake’s causeways surrounded by forested mountains often shrouded in mist. Tour the 1,700-year-old Lingyin Temple: “The Temple of Spirit Retreat”, one of China’s most famous religious grounds once housing 3,000 monks within its 18 pavilions and 75 temple halls. Feilai Feng is a beautiful peak that inspired 380 Buddhist sculptures and 700 carved inscriptions found in the Lingyin Temple. Feilai Feng translates to “the Peak that Flew from Afar.” The highlight will be a visit to the world renowned Dragon Well Tea Plantation, where the legendary Longjing tea is picked and processed by hand. The first picked tea leaves of the new harvest were once reserved solely for the Emperor and transported to him via the Grand Canal. Learn about the proper way of harvesting and brewing. Enjoy the Chinese Tea Ceremony and sample the best green tea to appreciate its color, smooth appearance, fragrant aroma and sweet taste. We will then climb the ancient Six Harmony Pagoda to enjoy a breathtaking birds’ eye view. Overnight at the 4 star deluxe WuYang Hotel, 0571-87218888. B/L/D
Day 05 October 22: Hangzhou–Suzhou
Scenic drive through the lush rice field of Eastern China to Suzhou often referred to as “Venice of the East”, a city of 2500 years old and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for her traditional gardens, ancient canals and silk production. The construction of the Grand Canal began at 1500 years ago for transporting goods to the northern capital of Beijing, a distance of over 600 miles. With prosperity came prestige as merchants and artisans plied their trades, and numerous elaborate gardens were built. Today we will board a wooden boat to cruise the Grand Canal, observing the bustling riverfront life. Then tour the Silk Spinning Mill where we will learn how silk is created from the mulberry munching silk worms to produce the thread and to be weaved into fine cloth. Marco Polo once reported that so much precious silk was produced in Suzhou that every citizen was clothed in it. Highlights of the day will be a tour of the Garden of Master of Fishing Nets – intriguingly designed with changing scene at each turn, complete with miniature lakes, pagodas, man made hills, pavilions & bridges, it is regarded as one of China’s best antique gardens. Also explore the National Embroidery Institute, where artists present the amazing double side embroidery frequently used as China’s state gift to world leaders. Check in at the 5 star luxurious Aster Hotel, tel:0512-68291888. B/L/D
Day 06 October 23: Suzhou–Yichang
A scenic one hour coach ride takes us to the Shanghai domestic airport for our flight to Yichang. Upon arrival, we will drive through this new city to board the 4.5 star deluxe cruise ship, M. S. Splendid China or similar class. After you settle into your cabin, check out amenities onboard – this is one of the most luxurious vessels on the Yangtze. All cabins are outside with picture windows. There is a shopping arcade, sauna, massage, banquet hall, indoor & outdoor observation decks, beauty salon, library…..etc. During the cruise we can enjoy complimentary lectures on Chinese history, calligraphy or paintings, and take morning Taichi lessons led by the master. Our vessel will stay in port during the night and set sail early in the morning. B/L/D
Day 07 October 24: Yangtze Cruise: Three Gorges Dam
The Yangtze River originates on the Tibetan Plateau and traverses a distance of 3900 miles before flowing into the East China Sea near Shanghai. It is the third longest river in the world. With over 700 tributaries, the Yangtze has been the lifeline and major commercial thoroughfare in China. Our cruise will stop at Sandouping – the site of China’s most ambitious engineering project, the massive Three Gorge Dam. Walk on the dyke to get a close look at this massive 17 year project. Once completed, the dam will be 610 feet high and over a mile wide. The hydro electrical power plant will be driven by the world’s largest turbines and have the generation capacity of 18 nuclear power plants. A reservoir 372 mile long will be created, flooding thousands of towns & villages; 1.5 million people will have to be relocated. Entire cities, along with precious topsoil are brought to higher elevations. Centuries old lifestyles are altered forever. This afternoon our cruise enters the majestic Xiling Gorge – the first of the magnificent Three Gorges, sailing through narrow cliffs and dramatic vistas. For the next 150 miles, the Yangtze forces its way through a spectacular barrier of solid limestone ridges. Tonight enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Banquet. B/L/D
Day 08
 October 25: Yangtze Cruise: Smaller Gorges
Another day of incredible views awaits us upon entering Wu Gorge. See softly layered peaks forming a surreal backdrop as the ship courses through the rugged canyons. Wu Gorge, celebrated for twelve misty peaks soaring above, has inspired Chinese painters and poets throughout the history. We will change to a smaller motorized boat for an excursion to the smaller gorges of Daning River or Shennong Stream. Navigate through the crystal emerald water surrounded by deep lush gorges and high peaks with heavy vegetation. Notice the ruins of the ancient plank road built along the cliff face and the mysterious hanging coffins of the local Ba people. Sometimes one can see groups of monkeys appearing from the dense forest near the water. Return to the cruise ship and enjoy a dinner featuring local cuisine and onboard entertainment. B/L/D
Day 09 October 26: Yangtze Cruise: Fengdu
Sail into Qutang Gorge, the shortest and narrowest of the Three Gorges, arguably the most spectacular section. Today’s shore excursion calls for Fengdu – the legendary “City of Ghosts”. Walk up the hill to inspire the interesting collection of ancient shrines & temples dedicated to the gods of the underworld, depicting the “after death” experience. (Based on water & weather condition, this excursion may be replaced by a visit to Wanzhou – a fascinating town with bustling market & museum, or Shibaozhai – an ancient 12 storey wooden pagoda built along a sheer rock cliff amidst the mighty Yangtze). B/L/D
Day 10 October 27: Chongqing–Xian
Our remarkable Yangtze River cruise ends at the mountain city of Chongqing – China’s largest metropolitan area with a population of over 30 million. Enjoy a rare opportunity to see the Giant Pandas at the Chongqing Zoo. Also stroll down the street of one of China’s best preserved active old towns. Explore Ming and Qing dynasty courtyard homes; listen to traditional music while sipping tea at a local teahouse. Next stop is the General Stillwell Museum – during WWII, Chongqing was China’s wartime capital and the U.S. General Joseph Stillwell was the Commander of the US Forces here. His former office and residence have been preserved as a museum housing rare war time photos & documents of the General as well as the famous “Flying Tiger”. Fly to Xian and check in at the 4 star deluxeKing Dynasty Hotel, tel:029-88659999. Enjoy the evening at leisure. B/L/D
Day 11 October 28: Xian
Welcome to Xian – a capital for the Middle Kingdom for 11 dynasties, once among the world’s largest and richest cities, with a population exceeding one million in the 10th century. Today’s program calls for a visit to one of China’s greatest archeological discoveries – the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses. Undisturbed for 2200 years, over 6000 life sized clay soldiers each with different costumes & facial expression, stood underground in battle formation guarding the tomb of China’s First Emperor. In 1974, while digging a well, a local farmer uncovered the first of three massive earth and timber vaults. The extensive excavation is still in progress today. Unearthed are life sized terra cotta warriors, each individually sculpted, with the physical characteristics of the humans they were modeled after. Also found are archers, infantrymen, horses and an exquisite bronze imperial chariots. You will see the circular vision movie depicting the history & secrets of the site. This afternoon tour the City Wall – one of the best preserved in China. It is from here the legendary Silk Road begins, linking the Middle Kingdom and the Empire of Rome with trades of Silk & Tea. Highlights of the day will be a walk into a visit to local farmers’ home. Chat with peasants and their family members to gain close contacts and first hand insight of the true rural village life in China. Tonight, savor the local delicacy with a specially prepared Dumpling Banquet! After dinner enjoy a lavish Tang Dynasty Cultural Performances. B/L/D
Day 12 October 29: Xian – Beijing 
This morning we will fly to Beijing to be met by our local guide and transfer to the 5 star luxurious Grand Metropark Hotel Beijing, tel:010-83529999. Our tour begins at the magnificent Forbidden City, a 9999 room compound, once the royal residence of the imperial family for over 500 years. 24 Emperors from Ming & Qing Dynasties called this city home. Experience the architectural splendor of the palaces, ceremonial courtyards and private quarters. Walk through the Gate of Heavenly Peace under the famed portrait of Chairman Mao where one enters Tiananmen Square – the largest public plaza in the world capable of holding a million people. Stroll across its vast area and see an assortment of historical buildings, monuments and museums, including Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the Great Hall of the People – home of the National People’s Congress.After dinner, enjoy an interesting Peking Opera Culture Performance.B/L/D
Day 13 October 30 :Beijing
A scenic drive through the countryside takes us to the most famous monument in China – the Great Wall. The “original” wall was built in 5th century BC to keep out foreign invaders. Construction continued for centuries, eventually linking up the walls of the former independent kingdoms. The Great Wall meanders through China’s northern mountain ranges from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert – a distance of over 3500 miles. You will enjoy ample time walking the wall at your own pace to take in the enormity of this ancient edifice. Then tour an arts & crafts factory to observe the meticulous labor intensive methods, aimed at creating some of the most unbelievable art pieces. This afternoon visit the tranquil Summer Palace – a beautiful imperial resort complete with sprawling encampment of temples, lakes and pavilions. Stroll along the exquisitely painted 728 yard “Long Corridor” winding beside the picturesque Kunming Lake to a beautifully decorated marble boat moored for centuries. B/L/D
Day 14 October 31: Beijing 
No tour of Beijing would be complete without a visit to the Temple of Heaven – the most magnificent structure in the imperial capital, representing the pinnacle of ancient Chinese architecture. See the massive round shaped wooden Qinian Dian (Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests), constructed without the use of a single nail. Its three levels are covered with deep blue tiles that symbolize the color of heaven. The roof is supported by 28 pillars: the four largest ones in the center represent the four seasons and the double ring of 12 represents the 12 months, and the traditional divisions of the Chinese day, each comprising two hours. Here is also the best place in Beijing to watch early morning enthusiasts of Taichi, Gongfu (Kungfu), calligraphy, ballroom dancing, badminton, Peking opera and kite flying…… This afternoon ride a Rickshaw through Beijing’s old Hutong – a network of centuries old courtyard homes and narrow alleys that once linked the traditional city. Passing through maze like alleyways, you will see locals go about their activities. Then visit an old courtyard home and chat with residents – clash of new and old are apparent. With the capital’s changing landscape and massive developing scale, “Hutong”, along with the centuries old life styles are disappearing fast.This evening savor a specially prepared local flavor farewell dinner – Peking duck, cooked to crispy perfection. B/L/D
Day15 November 01: Beijing – USA 
This day concludes our China adventure with a transfer to the airport and the long flight home. Depart Beijing on Korean Air 852 at 11:55am., arrive in Korea at 2:50pm. Depart Korea on Korean Air 025 at 6:25pm, arrive in Seattle at 12:30pm

Laurence Barker
Charlie & Sara Lewis
Carrol Smith
Donita Lincoln
Gretchen Quinn
Sue Edwards & Jim Ernest
Liz Diesner
Beverly Baucum
Pam Bainbridge & Jeanne McCann
Patsy & Dale Meyers
Careylin Dryden
Laurence Barker
Johnny R. Ponder
Suzanne Acone
Antoinette Acone & Gail Jarratt
Joe Di Dio & Bob Terhune
George Beddingfield & Roxie Montesano
Greg & Judy Parks
Laura Robinson & Judy Vallery
Angela Muligano & Ron Schneider
Jacque & Katherine Wyatt
Rudy & Genny Estrada
Carol Frawley & Betty Pritchard
Darby Stacey & Gail Smith
Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins