|Itinerary at a Glance
|3||Temple of Heaven &
|4||Great Wall of China|
|7||Hangzhou & Shanghai|
|8||Shanghai & Chengdu|
|9||Panda Research Center & Xi'an|
|Hong Kong Extension|
|11||Xi'an & Beijing|
|Departures||July – September 2013|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX); other gateways on request|
|Highlights||Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Summer Palace, Chengdu Panda Research Center, & Terra Cotta Army plus optional Hong Kong post-tour extension|
|Travel Style||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
China is one of the world's oldest nations, with recorded history dating back 5,000 years. At the same time, it's a modern dynamo, a fast-rising star on the world stage. It boasts the world's fastest high speed train, which is outpaced only by its amazing economy.
Join our China Delight tour and experience China's most iconic cities, Beijing and Shanghai, and their fascinating sites. You'll visit the amazing Great Wall of China, imposing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Temple of Heaven as well as the Yu Garden and other sites of Shanghai. Then, you'll go "off the beaten track" with a visit to gorgeous Hangzhou, often called the "Venice of China" because of its lovely canals and romantic West Lake, where, like Marco Polo, you'll have a chance to see, touch and even buy some gorgeous silk. Visit Chengdu and its Giant Panda Research Center and fabulous People's Park, a wonderful gathering place where locals sing karaoke, dance, play cards, drink tea, even practice Tai Chi. Then it's off to Xi'an, home to one of the world's most important archaeological treasures: the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers including more than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots and horses buried there to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor. But don't wait too long to reserve your spot. At prices this low, our China Delight tour will sell out quickly!
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All prices, fees and deposits are per person, subject to change at any time, and not guaranteed until we receive your final payment.
|Departures & Prices*|
|Thu||May 16||2013||Sun||May 26||2013||$2399||Departed|
|Thu||Jul 25||2013||Sun||Aug 4||2013||$2799||$2399||Available|
|Wed||Aug 21||2013||Sat||Aug 31||2013||$2799||$2399||Available|
|Thu||Sep 19||2013||Sun||Sep 29||2013||$2899||$2499||Available|
* Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and include airfare and Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee. Prices do not include excess baggage fees, extensions or optional items. Prices in orange reflect an early booking discount for bookings made by 6/18/2013.
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
Reservations for triples are possible for this tour.
|China Visa Fee1|
|China Visa Fee for CA, AZ, NM & HI residents (paid separately)||+$170|
|China Visa Fee for residents of all other states (paid separately)||+$185|
1. All visitors to China must obtain a visa. Comprehensive visa instructions will be included in your confirmation packet.
|Optional Excursions Package|
|Optional Excursions Package||+$165|
|Hong Kong Optional Extension|
|Hong Kong Post-Tour Extension1|
|All other departures||+$999|
|All other departures||+$399|
1. This extension requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate. Flights for the extension must be confirmed separately by the airlines, which typically takes 3-5 business days after you place your booking. We will notify you immediately when confirmed.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||included|
Coming from somewhere else? Before you book, ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities.
Check approximate costs to depart from other U.S. cities.
To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.
Day 2: Beijing. Arrive today in Beijing, China's historical and cultural capital. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy your first night in China at leisure. Accommodations: Kempinski Hotel Beijing.
Day 3: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City & Summer Palace. After breakfast, board your touring coach for a full day of sightseeing. Start with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a World Heritage Site. In ancient China, the Emperor of China was regarded as the "Son of Heaven", who administered earthly matters on behalf of, and representing, heavenly authority. Next visit Tiananmen Square, which was originally built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty. At 440,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square is the largest open square in the world. It was here that the People's Republic of China was proclaimed by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949. Continue on to 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.
After lunch at a nearby local restaurant, continue to the Summer Palace, literally translated as the Garden of Nurtured Harmony, which started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Here artisans lovingly reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The garden served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, and in December 1998 it became another World Heritage Site in Beijing, with UNESCO declaring it an "outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole."
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 ($53 per person). Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 4: 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, 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.
Conclude your visit at the Sacred Way, an ancient road linking the Ming Tombs, the burial site of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. A massive stone archway, built in 1540 at the southern end is decorated with designs of clouds, waves and divine animals. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Shanghai. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China's most modern city, often called "Paris of the East." Today you will visit one of Shanghai's oldest attractions, the Yu Garden, which was constructed between 1559 and 1577 and is a beautiful example of a classical Chinese garden. Continue to 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. Later on, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure for independent exploration.
Optional Excursion: Tonight, enjoy an optional acrobatics show with dinner, an award-winning performance including the talents of China's best acrobatic artists. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($38 per person). Accommodations: Jin Jiang Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Enjoy an optional excursion to Suzhou which includes lunch. 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, and the Lion Forest Garden (1342 AD), named by Buddhist monks for its jagged rock formations resembling dancing lions. Next, visit a local market and then enjoy a boat ride through Suzhou's lovely canals. Continue to the National Embroidery Institute, established in 1957 to preserve and further the study of silk embroidery, an important activity in Suzhou for more than 1,000 years ($85 per person). Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Hangzhou & Shanghai. This morning after breakfast, transfer to Hangzhou by bullet train. Hangzhou is famous for its natural beauty and is commonly referred to as the "Venice of China". Here you will visit the Six Harmony Pagoda which sits adjacent to a park with replicas of the world's most famous pagodas. Continue along the Qiantang River to West Lake, Hangzhou's most famous scenic sight. Explore ancient Hefang Street then stop to marvel at a lavish mansion built in 1872 by billionaire Hu Xueyan, the founder of the Chinese Herbal Medicine Company and the richest man in China during his time. This afternoon return to Shanghai. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 8: Shanghai & Chengdu. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu, considered China's "Land of Milk & Honey". Explore the ancient streets of the city and learn about its rich agricultural and economic history at the Jinshan Museum where you will see the excavation sites where hundreds of relics have been uncovered. After an introduction to Chengdu and China's Sichuan Province, transfer to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure.
Optional Excursion: This evening, enjoy a very special and unique optional excursion during which you will see Sichuanese folklore performances plus a traditional Sichuan dinner. The performance showcases the magic of “Bian Lian", the traditional art of face-changing masks. Sit in amazement as the performers' colorful masks transform within the blink of an eye. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally ($80 per person). Accommodations: Sofitel Wanda Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Giant Panda Research Center & Xi'an. After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a morning visit to the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Center for an unforgettable experience. The research center is China's leading organization in the conservation of endangered species. Enjoy an included lunch and later this afternoon visit Chengdu's famous People's Park, where locals go to unwind, play games and enjoy nature. Later this evening, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Xi'an. Accommodations: Grand Mercure. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 10: Xi'an. After breakfast, board your touring coach and drive to the site of the famous Terra Cotta Army, among the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times. Except for its old City Wall, some 8 miles (12 km) around, Xi'an looks like any other large industrial city. However, it holds an important archaeological treasure, the Qin Army Vault Museum, home to the army of 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soldiers unearthed 25 miles (40 km) east of town. More than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots and horses have been uncovered - only a fraction of the total buried there to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor. Each soldier is based on an actual person of the time, and all segments of Chinese society are represented. After a delicious lunch, visit some of Xi'an's other important sites including the Tang Dynasty Arts Museum and Muslim Street.
Optional Excursion: This evening, enjoy an optional Tang Dynasty show including music, dancing, and a scrumptious dumpling dinner ($48 per person). Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 11: Xi'an/USA. Today, enjoy a morning tour of the Shaanxi Provincial Museum and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda followed by a delicious lunch. Later today, bid farewell to China as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Beijing. If your schedule permits, take advantage of an optional extension to Hong Kong! Breakfast & lunch provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our post-tour extension to 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. Passengers taking the Hong Kong Extension will return to the U.S. 4 days later than return dates shown on the Dates & Prices tab.
Day 11: Xi'an & Beijing. Today, enjoy a morning tour of the Shaanxi Provincial Museum and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda followed by a delicious lunch. Later today, bid farewell to Xi'an as you transfer to the airport to board your short flight back to Beijing. Upon arrival, transfer via hotel shuttle to your airport hotel for overnight. Accommodations: CITIC Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 12: Hong Kong. This morning, transfer via hotel shuttle to the airport for your flight to cosmopolitan Hong Kong. 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. Accommodations: Park Hotel Hong Kong or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Hong Kong. Enjoy the morning at leisure. Your afternoon 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.
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.
Optional Excursion: 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. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally. Breakfast provided.
Day 15: 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 Los Angeles later today. Breakfast provided.
To take full advantage of your visit to China, we offer a special discount package of optional excursions to other "must-see" sites. 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.
Optional Excursions Package Includes:
Package Price: $165 per person if booked and prepaid before final payment.
If you prefer not to book in advance, the individual optional excursions will be available from your guide once you arrive in China, at prices posted in our itinerary ($186 per person for all three). Other optional excursions, mentioned above in our itinerary, will also be available to you in China. Payment for optionals purchased in China must be made in cash (U.S. dollars or equivalent in Chinese currency).
We regret that we cannot accept bookings for the pre-paid optional excursions package within 75 days from departure or after final payment has been received.
Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.
No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on our China tours. You'll stay in Deluxe and Superior First Class, centrally located hotels that are noted for their amenities and service. All cabins aboard our deluxe Yangtze River Cruise are outside cabins with balconies, so you can enjoy the magnificent panorama as you sail through the massive gorges and vistas of the river.
Included Features: Your transfers as well as important visits to all the "must see" places in China are all included, not expensive extras as in other tours. Included meals include delicious Chinese specialties and, where available, Western foods. You will receive a free, comprehensive Friendly Planet China destination guide with plenty of restaurant suggestions, organized by cuisine and cost, so you have up-to-date spots to try on the evenings when dinners are not included.
Credit Cards or Cash: Whether you pay by check, money order or your favorite major credit card, your tour price on this tour is the same. No extra cost to charge your dream vacation to China.
Free Comprehensive Destination Guide: To help you prepare for your trip, you will receive a free, comprehensive Friendly Planet China destination guide - a Friendly Planet exclusive - filled with plenty of helpful information about the destinations themselves (including history and other fascinating facts), weather, tipping, local customs, how to dress, plus insider shopping, nightlife and restaurant suggestions, organized by cuisine and cost.
Personal Service: Most important of all, the extra ingredient that makes our tours stand apart from others—the wonderful, personal attention you'll receive from our friendly staff in the USA and our representatives in China —is completely free of charge. Compare our China programs to others, feature for feature. You'll see for yourself that ours are the very best value for money you'll find anywhere.
Each time I emailed with questions, it was answered within 24 hours. The information provided before the tour was excellent.
— Angela Lusk