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Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

Travel with designer, educator and author Ali Edwards on this tour of of China.

Cost
  • $5541.00 | per person

Jim West

Jim West

ScrapMap Founder

Reservations

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China China China China China China China China
China

Ultimate China : November 5 - 19, 2013

Package Includes

  • Round-trip airfare from the United States
  • First Class hotel accommodations
  • Private motor coach & driver
  • Most meals
  • All taxes
  • All transfers
  • Special events
  • Sightseeing as listed in the itinerary


Beijing & Xi'an Itinerary

Tuesday, November 5th

We begin our “Ultimate China Expedition” with a non-stop flight from the United States to Beijing, China. This is an overnight flight, and dinner will be served on-board the plane. D

Wednesday, November 6th

This morning we will be served a light breakfast snack on-board the plane before our arrival into BEIJING. Once we pass through customs and collect our luggage, we will be met by our local guide Charlie, who will escort us to our private motor coach and accompany our group through the entire length of our Beijing journey. We will then check-in at our luxurious and centrally located 5-star hotel and relax before enjoying a private dinner together. During our meal we will have an opportunity to meet each member who has joined us on this journey and hear about the great things we will experience throughout our trip with our scrapbooking educator, Ali Edwards. B, D

Thursday, November 7th

This morning following a full buffet breakfast at our hotel, we will depart for TIANANMEN SQUARE and the incredible FORBIDDEN CITY. Our knowledgeable guide, Charlie, will provide an extraordinary commentary as we leisurely walk from one area of the grounds to the other. Following our tour we will enjoy a tasty lunch before visiting one of the best known shopping places in all of Beijing, SILK ALLEY. Every day hundreds of vendors from all over China sell items ranging from Chinese silk to Tibetan textiles. You will feel like you have died and gone to shopping heaven as you stroll from vendor to vendor and floor to floor! It’s a fascinating place to practice your bargaining skills and buy unique items you’ll treasure forever. Charlie will provide information that will help you identify high-quality authentic goods from not-so-high-quality or -authentic goods. Later in the day we will all enjoy a special PEKING DUCK DINNER, sponsored by ScrapMap. Following dinner we will return to our hotel and the remainder of the evening is at your leisure. For those who might be interested, we will have a local tailor come to our hotel and fit anyone for clothing they would like to have custom made. B, L, D

Friday, November 8th

This morning, following an early breakfast, we will make our first stop at a Jade Carving Factory. Here we will have the opportunity to witness this ancient, Chinese art-form from master carvers. We will also have the opportunity to shop in their spectacular Jade showroom and purchase one-of-a-kind items. Following our visit, we will continue onwards until our arrival at one the most famous man made wonders of the world - THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. This massive engineering feat began in the fifth century B.C. to defend the Chinese empire against nomads from the north. You will have a first-hand opportunity to experience China’s magnificent past as you take your first steps on the wall and enjoy the spectacular views from high above. This moment is destined to be one of the highlights of your journey! Following our visit to the Great Wall, we will travel to the government owned Friendship Store where we will enjoy our tasty lunch. In the afternoon, we will venture to a Cloisonné Factory and learn the intricate techniques that are put into the creation of Cloisonné. Because today is quite full, and we’ve been on our feet all day, we have arranged a very special FOOT MASSAGE this evening, following dinner. Your tired muscles will be rejuvenated and you will enjoy blissful relaxation. This will bring our day to a most relaxing close. B, L, D

Saturday, November 9th

Today, following breakfast, we will visit the famous TEMPLE OF HEAVEN. This is one of the most photographed sights in Beijing. We will stroll through the lovely park, and take in all the sights and sounds of the local people. It truly is quite an opportunity to witness everyday life of the Chinese people on a Saturday morning. Near the temple, we will stop at an art store that features the work of local students. Here we can purchase original art at a fraction of the gallery prices. Our special lunch will take place in the HUTONG NEIGHBORHOOD. This ancient area of the city is a vivid contrast to the rapidly changing culture of the modern metropolis of Beijing. From there we will enjoy a ride in a traditional rickshaw and be taken to the home of a local resident. Here, our hostess will prepare a delicious lunch and show us how to make homemade Chinese dumplings. Following lunch, we will visit the famous PEARL MARKET, affectionately known as Dirt Alley, where we will have the opportunity to purchase fantastic jewelry and pearls. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. B, L, D

Sunday, November 10th

After enjoying our breakfast this morning, we will visit the BEIJING ZOO. Here we will view the Treasure of China, the Giant Panda, along with over 600 species from around the world. After a delicious lunch we will then embark to an incredible SILK SPINNING FACTORY. No trip to China is complete without a visit to this extraordinary facility. At the facility, we will learn how silk is spun from the silk cocoon and eventually made into silk fabric. There will be time to shop in their large showroom for high-quality silk fabric and other silk items. Afterwards, we will visit the Summer Palace which has been labeled as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design.” Before arriving back at our hotel, we will take a moment to stop at the OLYMPIC VILLAGE for an opportunity to take pictures of the infamous “Birds Nest,” along with other recognizable buildings and structures. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. B, L, D

Monday, November 11th

This morning, following a very early breakfast, we will check out of our hotel and board a flight to the city of XI’AN. The capital of a dozen ancient dynasties, Xi’an is one of the world’s cultural treasures. Upon our arrival, we will be met by a local guide and driver who will take us to see the famous TERRA COTTA WARRIORS. Life-size infantrymen, archers, military officers and their horses, all rendered in exquisite detail, guard the tomb of the first emperor of China. This is truly an extraordinary spectacle, and one that will be most memorable. We will enjoy a delicious lunch at the museum restaurant and later in the afternoon we will check into our luxurious 5-star hotel. Tonight we dine on a sumptuous dinner of special dumplings and enjoy a terrific show, Tang Dynasty Song and Dance Troup. The troupe will perform music and dances that originated in China’s Tang Dynasty more than a thousand years ago. Don’t forget your cameras; this is certain to be a special evening that you will not want to forget. B, L, D

Tuesday, November 12th

This morning, following a wonderful buffet breakfast, we will board our motorcoach to visit the WILD GOOSE PAGODA. Afterwards, we will board our flight to the city of CHONGQING where we will be met by our motor coach driver and local guide. We will enjoy a tour of the city, which includes a visit to General Stillwell’s Museum. Following the tour, we will have lunch at a local restaurant before driving to our luxurious cruise ship, the President Prime, located on the YANGTZE RIVER. Once onboard, we will be shown to our cabins to unpack for our stay for the next three nights. Later, we will enjoy dinner and have a brief orientation about the cruise itinerary. B, L, D

Wednesday, November 13th

Today, following a buffet breakfast, we will disembark the ship to participate in a 2-hour tour of the “Ghost City” called FENGDU. We will take a cable car up Ming Mountain and visit the Ghost Temple. Legend is that Ming Mountain is one of the 72 graveyards for Taoism; Tao believes when people die their spirits will gather here. There are temples and statues all over the mountain and there will be time to take photographs and learn more about this ancient civilization. We will return to our ship for lunch and sail through the first and second gorges. Tonight, our ship will sail on the calm waters of the Yangtze River. B, L, D * Some tours are optional and an additional cost.

Thursday, November 14th

This morning, following a delicious buffet breakfast, our ship will dock at SHENGNONGXI, and we will take a small boat to explore the beautiful stream called “Lesser Three Gorges.” The Lesser Three Gorges is one of the most exciting and famous stops on the Yangtze River. It is often called the "highlight" of the cruise, and maybe even throughout the whole China trip. The Lesser Three Gorges refers to the three separate valleys of the Daning River, namely the "Dragon-Gate Gorge", "Misty Gorge" and "Emerald Gorge". Here sheer cliffs and steep mountains rise on either side, creating a natural fine-arts gallery that unveils nature’s scenic wonders unfolding on both banks of the river. Clear water flows between precarious precipices and peaks covered with lush green trees and bushes. Here you can board a small ‘junk’ and enjoy the spectacular views while experiencing a water-borne sensation like you never have before. Its “subtle mountains, clear waters, unique rocks, dangerous rapids, sharp turns, fantastic caves, and stalactites in various shapes” characterize the natural landscape in the Lesser Three Gorges. Monkeys, mandarin ducks, water birds and fish can be seen in their natural habitat as we journey through. In addition to the continuous natural scenery there are a number of historical places of interest along the way, such as suspending coffin, boat coffin and remains of an ancient plank walkway. The area has been fashioned as one of the key nature reserves in China and has become a favorite tourist attraction. We will board our ship in the middle of the day and relax as we sail through the last gorges. The evening is free at your leisure to sit on the top deck of the ship and look at the millions of stars as you sail in the moonlight. B, L, D * Some tours are optional and an additional cost.

Friday, November 15th

Following a delicious breakfast, we will have an opportunity to visit the extraordinary Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world! We will view a model on the dam site and hear more about the fascinating and remarkable undertaking of the flooding of the Yangtze River to accommodate this unbelievable endeavor. At the completion of this tour, we will board our cruise ship and sail to YICHANG, where we will disembark the ship and drive to the nearby airport for our flight to one of the most exciting cities in the world- SHANGHAI. Shanghai’s recent growth and economic expansion are staggering, and we will find ourselves caught up in the excitement and energy of this burgeoning metropolis. Upon our arrival at the airport, we will go directly to our luxurious 5-star hotel where we will check into our rooms and relax. Tonight we will all enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. B, L, D * Some tours are optional and an additional cost.

Saturday, November 16th

This morning following breakfast, we will visit the YUYUAN GARDEN, located in the old part of the city of Shanghai. This will be a relaxing morning, filled with beauty, history and fascination. We will have lunch at a local restaurant and then travel to an ARTS & CRAFTS CENTER, where we will enjoy fantastic shopping opportunities. Our day will also include a stop at the JADE BUDDA TEMPLE and the BUND, a place where esteemed modern architects have built an eclectic collection of some of the world’s boldest buildings. We will also visit PUDONG, the financial center of new China. This evening we will enjoy one of China’s greatest entertainment spectacles: the world famous SHANGHAI ACROBATIC SHOW. B, L, D * Some tours are optional and an additional cost.

Sunday, November 17th

Today following breakfast, we will board our private motor coach for a short journey o the city of SUZHOU, a small and peaceful city based around a system of canals. Suzhou is often referred to as the “Venice of the East.” Today we will visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden. This garden is based on water, with many rockeries grounded in the ponds. Surrounding the ponds there are numerous pavilions, terraces, halls and studios. This beautiful landscape has preserved its structure since the Ming Dynasty. It represents the historical characteristics and achievements of south-east China's private gardens. After our visit, we will enjoy lunch together at a local restaurant and take a BOAT RIDE on the Grand Canal in the afternoon. Following our boat ride, we will visit a local SILK SPINNING FACTORY, where we will once again have an opportunity to shop for silk fabrics and learn more about the production process. Later this afternoon, we will visit the Institute of Suzhou Embroidery, located in the Villa of Secluded Beauty, a garden known for its elegant architecture and beautiful scenery. Here we will see how the Chinese arts of gardening and embroidery complement each other. Suzhou embroidery has a history that spans centuries, and is characterized by gorgeous patterns, elegant colors, and rich and meticulous stitching. We will see examples of this art form and watch artisans at work. Tonight, we will have dinner at a local restaurant, followed by a FOOT MASSAGE for those who are interested. B, L, D * Some tours are optional and an additional cost.

Monday, November 18th

Today is a complete day of leisure. Partake in the many shopping opportunities, the unique and fascinating places to visit, or some other adventure you have been awaiting to take. Tonight, we will enjoy a “farewell dinner” at a local restaurant and bring our Ultimate China Expedition to a close. B, D

Tuesday, November 19th

This morning we will check out of our hotel and take the train (the fastest train in China) to the Shanghai Airport. Our luggage will transfer separately, so we don’t have to worry about taking our large suitcases with us. We will check in at the airport and fly back to the United States. Lunch and dinner will be served onboard the plane during our flight. B, L, D


Itinerary and pricing are subject to change. Some restrictions apply. Space is limited and on a first-come first-served basis. Please read our Terms and Conditions before placing deposit. Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Insurance is available and highly recommended. This tour is fully refundable until final payment has been made. Gratuities of 10 Euro per day per person are not included with this pricing and will be collected at final payment time.