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|Itinerary at a Glance
Beijing & Shanghai Express
|5||Shanghai & Beijing|
|9||Return to USA|
|Hong Kong Extension|
|12||Return to USA|
|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Shanghai, Beijing,Tiananmen Square, Badaling Great Wall|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
If you thought that China, one of the world's most attractive and popular destinations, was too expensive to visit this year, think again! Check out our new tour to China including Beijing and Shanghai, with direct air service from either Los Angeles or Houston.
Discover a wonderful mélange of impressive modern achievements within a rich and ancient culture, whose recorded history dates back 5,000 years. Start in Shanghai, often called the "Paris of the East". Spend a couple of days exploring this exciting city, or choose optional tour to Suzhou, the "city of gardens". Then fly to Beijing, fabulous capital city of China, and visit the Great Wall. There is also an optional post-tour extension to glittering, cosmopolitan Hong Kong. Reserve your spot today, because at prices this low, our Beijing & Shanghai Express departures will sell out quickly!
Sorry, there are no currently available tour dates.
Check approximate costs to depart from other U.S. cities. Alternate departure cities must connect via Los Angeles, CA.
You must check-in no later than 9 PM of the night before your scheduled departure.
Day 2: Shanghai. Arrive today in Shanghai, China's most modern city, often called the "Paris of the East." After passport control and customs, meet your guide and board your coach. En route to your hotel, enjoy a panoramic tour to Tian Zi Fang, a residential area in the French Concession made popular by small craft stores, coffee shops, trendy art studios and narrow alleys. Later, check in at your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Broadway Mansion Hotel Shanghai.
Optional Excursion: This evening, take advantage of an optional dinner followed by an exciting acrobatics show. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($35 per person, includes dinner).
Optional Excursion: Suzhou is China's well-known "city of gardens" where the art of gardening has evolved over more than 1,500 years. There were once over 200 gardens in the city, and an impressive 69 of them are still well-preserved today. You'll visit the Master of Nets Garden (1140 AD), which has been duplicated at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy a Rickshaw Tour among the local streets and river banks. After a boat ride through Suzhou's lovely Grand Canal and a visit to the local market, stop for lunch at a local market and experience the sights and sounds of China first-hand. Round out your day discovering how silk is produced at the Silk Reeling Factory ($85 per person, includes lunch).
Optional Excursion: Begin at the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art, which possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphy is known throughout the world. View the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a unique architectural addition to the Shanghai cityscape and one of the largest radio and TV towers in the world. Continue with a stroll along the waterfront along the Bund River. Other stops on this optional tour include the lively Xintiandi Bar Street and the picturesque French Concession. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($60 per person, includes lunch).
Day 5: Shanghai & Beijing. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to exciting Beijing, the historical and cultural capital city of China. Upon arrival, drive into the city for a panoramic tour of Beijing, including a stop at the historic Tiananmen Square. Accommodations: Beijing International Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Tonight, enjoy an optional Peking Duck dinner followed by the Legend of Kung Fu show, a special Shaolin Kung Fu stage performance that blends music, martial arts, and a moving story. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($53 per person).
Day 6: Great Wall of China. Depart after breakfast on a full day included excursion to the only man-made structure visible from the moon, the Great Wall of China. En route, view the Olympic venues, the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, and enjoy a visit to a jade factory with a presentation and some time for shopping. The Great Wall follows a ridge of barren hills and stretches at least 3,750 miles (6,000 km). Construction of the Great Wall, which spanned more than two thousand years, began between the 7th and 6th century BC and continued through the Ming Dynasty. The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth, but during the Ming Dynasty, bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs or by donkeys, mules and even goats, which had bricks tied to their heads before being driven up a mountain. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: After a long day exploring the Great Wall, relax tonight with a traditional Chinese foot massage. Let a massage therapist soak and kneed your worries away. Conclude the evening with a set menu dinner. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($45 per person, dinner included).
Optional Excursion: Enjoy some time at the Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing, where it served as the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and Qing Dynasties. Known as the Palace Museum today, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage site in 1987.
Continue to the Gaobeidian Village, a picturesque community where you will visit a local market in the village. Later, if it is not during a holiday season, visit a typical Chinese school or kindergarten to see for yourself how children are taught in China. The highlight of this very special tour is an opportunity to join a village family in preparing and sharing a traditional Chinese dinner. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($65 per person, includes lunch & dinner).
Day 8: Beijing. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore on your own. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: This full day tour starts with a 30 minute Chinese Tai Chi Boxing lecture in English, followed by time to practice the skills acquired during the lecture. Next, enjoy some time at the Summer Palace, the quintessential Chinese garden, and a UNESCO World Heritage site ranked among the most noted classical gardens of the world. Proceed to the Temple of Heaven, the most holy of Beijing's Imperial temples, where Chinese Emperors came to worship heaven and pray for a good harvest, since a bad harvest could be interpreted as the Emperor's fall from heavenly favor and threaten the stability of his reign. The 6-meter-high walls surrounding the temple take a square shape to the south and a semi-circular one to the north. The main buildings in the temple are circularly shaped. This architecturally unique pattern represents an ancient belief that heaven was round while earth was square. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress trees, expresses a harmonious atmosphere as if heaven and earth are integrated into one. Continue to the Panda Zoo, dedicated to the preservation of this endangered (and adorable) species of bear, of which only about 2000 remain in the wild. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($70 per person, includes lunch).
Optional: Peking Opera and Mongolian Hot Pot Dinner with Chinese liquor ($53 per person, includes dinner).
Day 9: Beijing/USA. Bid farewell to Beijing and to China today as you transfer to the airport for your flight back to the USA. Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA. If your schedule permits, take advantage of an optional extension to Hong Kong! Breakfast provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our post-tour extension to Hong Kong. You'll return to the U.S. 3 days later than return dates shown on the Dates & Prices tab.
Day 9: Beijing & Hong Kong. Bid farewell to Beijing as you transfer to the airport for your flight to cosmopolitan Hong Kong. A former British colony perched on the edge of mainland China, Hong Kong is a fascinating city of contrast—a place where East meets West; where the modern blends with the traditional; where shiny skyscrapers stand next to narrow alleys crammed with traditional vendors' stalls; where new technology flourishes alongside ancient Chinese customs. With its glorious harbor, excellent shopping, renowned restaurants, and some of the best nighttime skylines in the world, Hong Kong has it all. You'll be transferred to your luxurious hotel located in the bustling heart of Kowloon, near the scenic harbor and the "Golden Mile," Hong Kong's famous shopping district. Accommodation: Park Hotel Hong Kong. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Hong Kong. Your morning tour of Hong Kong Island features a ride to the top of Victoria Peak for a magnificent city and harbor view. Descend and continue to Repulse Bay and Aberdeen fishing village, a community of some 600 colorful floating homes. Conclude your tour with some time for shopping. The afternoon is yours at leisure for independent sightseeing in the city.
Tonight, we recommend an optional dinner cruise aboard the Hong Kong Bauhinia, where you'll enjoy a fabulous buffet dinner, live music, and stunning nighttime views of the glistening harbor. Breakfast provided.
Or, take advantage of a unique optional excursion to the former Portuguese colony of Macau, situated on a corner of the Pearl River Delta. Although it was officially returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, Macau maintains a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. You'll see in the European-style architecture, pastel-colored buildings, open air plazas, and abundance of Portuguese wine. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Hong Kong/USA. Your final day in Hong Kong is at leisure for shopping, strolling or taking photos. Later, transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the U.S. via Beijing. Your memorable journey to China comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today.
To take full advantage of your visit to China, we offer a variety of optional excursions available for purchase locally. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels—all our optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. See our detailed itinerary above for full descriptions of each excursion.
Optional Excursions Available Locally:
I have just returned from a great trip to Shanghai and Beijing. Our local Shanghai guide, Tracy, was so gracious, charming and knowledgeable about everything. Our national guide, Peter, was very organized and efficient. He was able to adjust elements of the trip according to weather and traffic changes without missing anything. He kept a running commentary on all aspects of Chinese history and current life. We were very impressed with his ability to make us welcome and informed. He is the best I have encountered anywhere. I highly recommend this trip.
Ron Alexander, Beaumont, TX