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Drifting On A Headwind

By Jim Harlan

Adventures in travel!

Experience the wild adventures of the author as he travels in remote corners of the world. Read more...

Experts in travel to remote corners of the world

China Deluxe Tour

> Asia >> China

Featuring: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Terracotta Army, Shanghai, Xuanwu Lake, Taihu Lake, the Grand Canal, Suzhou, Hangzhou

Image source:

Length: 17 Days / 14 Nights

Itinerary Highlights:

DAY 1-USA/Beijing
Depart USA on transpacific flight to Beijing

DAY 2-Enroute
Cross the International Dateline

DAY 3-Beijing
Welcome to China! On arrival you will be met by a representative who will escort you to your hotel where you can relax after your long flight. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

DAY 4-Beijing
Begin your day with a visit to the Forbidden City, ancient residence of emperors and bastion of imperial power, forbidden to all but the highest nobility until opened to the public in 1949. Then continue on to Tiananmen Square. The leaders of China have used Tiananmen Gate as a podium from which to address the masses since ancient times. In 1949 Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic here, and more recently the square has been the center of democratic student demonstrations. Animal lovers should consider a visit to the Bejing zoo, home to the world famous pandas.

DAY 5-Beijing
You will start early on this full day excursion to some of China’s most famous sites. First visit the Ming Tombs, the final resting place of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Then it is on to the only man made structure visible from space, the Great Wall of China. Construction of this colossal 3,700 mile-long fence began around 220 B.C. as an effort to keep out Mongolian invaders.

DAY 6-Beijing/Xian
Travel day, fly to Xian and transfer to your hotel.

DAY 7-Xian
Begin today’s tour of China’s former capital with a visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda. Then you are off to witness the “eighth” wonder of the world, Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum and his Terracotta Army. See the 8,000 life size terra cotta soldiers and horses, hundreds of chariots and a large number of real weapons unearthed from underground vaults. After a long day of sightseeing relax in the Hua Qing Hot Springs.

DAY 8-Xian/Shanghai
Travel day, fly to Shanghai and transfer to your hotel.

DAY 9-Shanghai
Visit the Bund, the enchanting Shanghai waterfront, home to majestic trading houses of times past and a popular romantic destination when illuminated at night. During the day visit the Jade buddha Temple, home to artistic buddha figures and an active community of monks. During the Cultural Revolution a clever abbot saved this temple by hanging pictures of Mao on the bolted gates. In order to enter, the Red Guards would have had to tear down the pictures, a political crime that would have been punished by death. Relax in the afternoon with a stroll though the Yu Garden and tea in the famous tea house. If you have any energy left get some of your souvenir shopping done along Nanjing Road.

DAY 10-Shanghai/Nanjing
Travel day, journey by train to Nanjing and transfer to your hotel.

DAY 11-Nanjing
Today visit the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yatsen, leader of the 1911 Revolution, located at the southern foot of the Purple Mountain. Spend the rest of the day at Xuanwu Lake with its many inlets linked by causeways and bridges.

DAY 12-Nanjing/Wuxi
A pleasant train ride takes you to Wuxi where you will enjoy a cruise on beautiful Taihu Lake. Taihu Lake is one of China’s five biggest fresh water lakes, and Wuxi is referred to as a the “Radiant Pear”" on the lake. Look into taking your cruise on the dragon boat or reserving a boat banquet featuring fresh water fish and shrimp.

DAY 13-Wuxi/Suzhou
Travel to Suzhou by boat along the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is the world’s oldest and longest canal, far longer than both the Suez and Panama Canals. The Grand Canal has been in use as a commercial and transportation route since the time of the Sui emperor, Yangdi, in 581 AD. This trip is an ideal way to spend a lazy afternoon and learn about the famous canal.

DAY 14-Suzhou
Enjoy a full day tour of this charming city of canals and gardens, known as the “Venice of the East”. Visit Tiger Hill, a densely forested hill set in rural surroundings with a running stream at it’s base and pagoda at the top. Take a tour of the Embroidery Institute, producers of the famous Su Embroidery.

DAY 15-Suzhou/Hangzhou
Marco Polo once called Hangzhou the most enchanting city in all the world, today you will see this paradise for yourself. West Xi Zi Lake is responsible for most of the fuss, the beautiful shoreline has inspired artists for centuries. Hangzhou is also a renowned exporter of fine silk and teas, both excellent souvenirs.

DAY 16-Hangzhou
Today you’ll get your feet wet on a cruise of the legendary West Xi ZI Lake. The beautiful blue water is dotted with elegant stone bridges and charming pavilions. Afternoon sightseeing features the Lingyin Temple, home of the “Laughing Buddha”, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Dragon Well Tea Plantation for which the city is well known.

DAY 17-Hangzhou/Shanghai/USA
Goodbye! Early morning train takes you back to Shanghai where you board a flight for your return to the USA.

The above is a sample itinerary. Uncommon Adventures specializes in custom itineraries to suit your specific desires and needs as well. Please feel free to consult us to design an adventure of your own.

Uncommon Adventures specializes in unique adventure travel and expeditions to all corners of the world. Our well traveled staff is able to provide you with personal insights to the uncommon destinations on the planet.

Life is short! Start your adventure today.

Uncommon Adventures specializes in unique adventure travel and expeditions to all corners of the world. Our well traveled staff is able to provide you with personal insights to the uncommon destinations on the planet. Life is short! Start your adventure today.

Photography courtesy of Randy Harwood Photography.