Day 1 USA – Guilin
Our adventure to a far away land begins as we board a wide body jetliner bound for China. Spend the night aboard the plane as it crosses the Pacific and lands at Hong Kong where the group transfers to a flight that will take us to Guilin, China.
Day 2 | En route
The jetliner traverses the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, crossing multiple time zones and the international dateline. Depending on seasonality, China is 15 to 16 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Day 3 | Arrive Hong Kong – Guilin
Our flight arrives in Hong Kong where we transfer to a flight that takes us to Guilin. At Guilin we are met and transferred to our deluxe accommodations to catch up on some rest after the long flight. Guilin has an urban population of 600,000 and is located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southwestern China. It is a city of tremendous historical and cultural heritage and is most famous for its natural scenery. Our sightseeing tour of Guilin begins in earnest tomorrow.
Day 4 | Guilin – Yangshuo (AB, L, D)
A meandering river cruise down the Li River is a delightful way to savor the serene, fairy-tale scenery of Southern China as it passes by. We may even catch the fascinating sights of fishermen practicing their trade with cormorant birds! Lunch is served aboard. Our riverboat arrives at the town of Yangshuo, where we take a stroll along its main shopping boulevard, Xijie. Local conditions permitting, tonight after dinner we will attend “Yinxiang Liusanjie,” an exciting special effects show performed on the banks of the Li River.
Day 5 | Yangshuo – Guilin (AB, L, D)
With a population of less than 300,000, Yangshuo is quaint town situated on a small plain with the Li River on one side and numerous karst peaks surrounding it. These days it is a favorite resting place for backpackers from around the globe. Our group will take a tour around town, then head back to Guilin by motor coach for a brief city orientation tour. In the evening, we attend a special performance of Minority Folklore Dance.
Day 6 | Guilin – Kunming (AB, L, D)
Kunming is one of the most modern cities in Southwestern China. It is known as the “EternalSpringCity” as it has the mildest, best year-round weather in all of China. Upon arrival we either begin our city tour (we’ll be returning here) or take the rest of the day at leisure, largely dependent on arrival time.
Day 7 | Kunming – Lijiang (AB, L, D)
This morning we journey by flight to Lijiang, the cultural center of the Naxi Minority. Lijiang has beautiful landscapes and has been designated by the United Nationals as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Gaze in wonder at the sights and sounds of this ancient city as we walk down the cobblestone streets preserved for over 700 years. We see that the Naxi way of life has changed very little over time. A short motor coach ride away is Black Dragon Pond, where we take a leisurely stroll around the pristine natural surroundings.
Day 8 | Lijiang (AB, L, D)
The highlight of the day is Jade Dragon Mountain, the mythical mountain worshipped by the Naxi as a deity. The bus drops us off at the base where we board chair lifts to access higher regions that afford a beautiful view of the famed ThirteenPeaks. Our rest stop on the way to JadeDragonMountain is BaishaVillage, the ancient capital of the NaxiKingdom.
Day 9 | Lijiang – Shangri-la (AB, L, D)
Embark early morning on the arduous motor coach ride to Shangri-la. Made famous by James Hilton’s 1933 novel “Lost Horizon,” Shangri-la has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, a permanently happy place isolated from the outside world. At the midway point of the journey to Shangri-la we stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge, descending over 200 steps for the best view from the banks of the Yangtze River. Upon arrival at Shangri-la, we enjoy dinner with a Tibetan family, being careful to observe the local customs and traditions which often including singing and dancing!
Day 10 | Shangri-la (AB, L, D)
Rise early in the morning as we venture to SongzanTemple, the largest Lhamasery existing outside of Tibet and also known as “Little Potala Palace.” Journey later by motor coach to Napahai, a beautiful scenic spot that typifies how Shangri-la blends harmoniously with Nature, worshipped by the Tibetan Minority. After visiting SuoduLake, we return back to our hotel for dinner.
Day 11 | Shangri-la – Kunming (AB, L, D)
Board a flight back to Kunming. Upon arrival we visit Western Hill and LakeDian, a large, mile-high freshwater lake situated in the suburbs of Kunming. Check in and freshen up before taking dinner at the hotel this evening.
Day 12 | Kunming (AB, L, SD)
Today we visit the StoneForest, marveling at the natural stone “trees.” Many tall rocks apparently shoot forth from the ground, taking the form of trees and creating an illusion of a stone forest. Created by ancient winds and water erosion over millions of years, the StoneForest is a remarkable region of limestone cliffs and peaks. In evening we’re in for a special treat of Yunnan Specialties followed by an exciting Minority Culture Show.
Day 13 | Kunming – Hong Kong (AB)
Depart Kunming and head towards Hong Kong, the “Asia’s WorldCity.” Ceded to Great Britain resultant from China’s loss in the Opium Wars, Hong Kong remained a British colony until its return to China in 1997. For almost two centuries, the free port of Hong Kong has acted as a highly industrialized center of international commerce, a city where East meets West. Naturally, it today possesses a distinctive personality that is a perfect blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel and enjoy what remains of the day at leisure.
Day 14 | Hong Kong (AB)
A half day tour takes us around Hong KongIsland and up to VictoriaPeak by cable car. Here, we are presented with the best panorama of both Kowloon and Hong Kong and the harbor between them. The city tour continues with a visit to the large, open-air Stanley Market as well as the floating community at Aberdeen where hundreds of junks and sampans serve as home to thousands of people. After our tour, the rest of the day is spent at leisure.
Day 15 | Hong Kong (AB)
Enjoy the entire day at leisure. Spend time strolling the shopping paradise of Asia. Tired of shopping. Take an optional Sunset Harbor Cruise with Dinner in the evening or take a day-excursion to nearby Macau.
Day 16 | Hong Kong – USA
Bid China a fond farewell as we board our homebound international jetliner.