Potala, Lhasa


The tour was both rewarding and enlightening. This page is left up for reference.


CHINA 2001
A Soft Adventure Tour
October 10-November 2, 2001

Harlan Hague


No matter how many years you have traveled, no matter where you have traveled, you will eventually go to China. A motherland of cultures, language, art, literature, and religions, China is one of the essential destinations on the Compleat Traveler's list. Writing
This is the year to visit China--2001. Join us on a 24-day tour that includes the best of China. We will criss-cross the country, from Lhasa to Beijing, from Chengdu to Shanghai. Our itinerary will satisfy both  the person who will make this their only visit, and the person who wishes to see the regions that were missed on previous trips. Inevitably, it will also serve to whet the travel appetite of others to go again to this fascinating country.

The Itinerary

Days 1-2 U.S.-Beijing
     Fly from the U.S. to Beijing, a daylight flight Lose a day en route by crossing the international dateline. We'll recover the day on the return flight to the U.S. Transfer to our hotel.
Diaoyutai Hotel                                  In-flight meals

Day 3 Beijing
     After an orientation meeting, we will see Beijing's famous Tiananmen Square and tour the Forbidden City where twenty-four emperors lived from 1402 to 1911. After lunch, visit the Temple of Heaven. Our welcome dinner features roast Peking duck.
Diaoyutai Hotel                                            B,L,D

Day 4 Beijing
     This morning we drive to the Great Wall, perhaps China's best-known landmark, at Badaling. Afterwards we walk the Sacred Way to visit the tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors. If there is time, we may drop by a cloisonné workshop.
Diaoyutai Hotel                                             B,L,D

Day 5 Beijing-Shanghai
    This morning visit the magnificent Summer Palace, the summer retreat for emperors, empresses, and their court. After lunch, fly to Shanghai, the "Paradise of Adventurers" in past centuries and China's commercial center today.
Jin Jiang Hotel                                              B,L,D

Day 6 Shanghai
     Our full day of sightseeing includes the old town, Children's Palace, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the Bund (waterfront). If you wish, skip some of the included tour and enjoy free time to explore on your own. You might wish to go to the Shanghai Museum, shop for freshwater pearls, or just relax at a café. After dinner, attend an exciting acrobatic show (included).
Jin Jiang Hotel                                              B,L,D

Day 7 Shanghai-Suzhou- Shanghai
     Full-day excursion to Suzhou by bus. Our tour will include visits to a silk spinning factory, the Institute of Embroidery, and the Garden of Master Fishnet. We'll take a boat ride on the Grand Canal to view the traditional houses alongside and the life of the local people. Return to Shanghai before dinner.
Jin Jiang Hotel                                              B,L,D

Day 8 Shanghai-Wuhan-Yangtze cruise
     Fly to Wuhan. Visit the Bonsai Garden and a museum renowned for the musical instruments found in a 2,500-year-old tomb. If time permits, we'll visit a carpet factory. Board the riverboat to begin our cruise on the Yangtze River.
Riverboat                                                       B,L,D

Day 9 Yangtze Rivercruise/ Yueyang
     Land excursion to the Yueyang Tower, dating from the time of the Three Kingdoms (220-265 A.D.).   Afternoon activities on the boat. Enjoy the Captain's welcome-aboard cocktail party this evening. Traditional Chinese cultural show after dinner.
Riverboat                                                        B,L,D

Day 10 Yangtze River cruise/new dam site
     Pass the Gezhouba Dam this morning. Enter the Xiling Gorge and visit the new Three Gorge Dam site. Beginning in 2003, when the dam is closed, much of what we see on the Yangtze cruise will be gradually be inundated. Continue through the Wu Gorge, famous for its towering twelve peaks.
Riverboat                                                        B,L,D

Day 11 Yangtze/Lesser Three Gorges
     Disembark and transfer to motorized sampans to tour the Lesser Three Gorges. Return to the riverboat and pass through the Qutang Gorge.
Riverboat                                                         B,L,D

Day 12 Yangtze/Wanxian or Fengdu
     Shore excursion in Wanxian or Fengdu, depending on the condition of the river. Wanxian is a mountain city which will be partially flooded by the closure of the new dam. Fengdu, already known as the "Town of Ghosts," will be totally flooded. Captain's farewell dinner tonight.
Riverboat                                                         B,L,D

Day 13 Yangtze-Chongqing/ Chengdu
     Disembark in Chongqing after breakfast. Visit the People's Auditorium and the General Stilwell Museum. Drive by bus to Chengdu for our flight to Lhasa tomorrow. Alternatively, if a flight from Chongqing to Lhasa is available tomorrow, stay in Chongqing tonight.
Chongquing: Holiday Inn or Chengdu: Jijiang Hotel                                                                         B,L,D

Day 14 Chengdu/Chongqing-Lhasa
    Fly to Lhasa, capital of Tibet, an enchanting city with important historical and cultural attractions. Transfer to our hotel. Free day to relax and let your body adjust to the altitude. Tibet isn't called the "Roof of the World" without reason.
Lhasa Hotel                                                     B,L,D

Day 15 Lhasa
     Today's highlight is a visit to the fabled Potala, the former winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Then we will see the Jokang Temple, one of Buddhism's holiest shrines. Afterwards, we'll stroll in the local market around Jokang Temple where hundreds of vendors sell a great variety of local handicrafts.
Lhasa Hotel                                                  B,L,D

Day 16 Lhasa
     This morning we will drive into the unique countryside of the high Tibetan plateau to visit farmers in their homes. In the afternoon, visit Nornulingka, the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama. During dinner, enjoy a Tibetan dance show.
Lhasa Hotel                                                 B,L,D

Day 17 Lhasa-Chengdu
     Fly to Chengdu.   Transfer to our hotel at lunch time. Balance of the day, relax and adjust to the lower altitude, or explore on your own.
Jijiang Hotel                                               B,L,D

Day 18 Chengdu-Xi'an
     Visit the Panda Sanctuary, an unforgettable experience. Pandas are native to this region. In the afternoon, fly to Xi'an. Transfer to our hotel.
Hyatt Regency Xi'an                                     B,L,D

Day 19 Xi'an
     View the magnificent terra-cotta warriors. Afterwards, visit the History Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. If time permits, we may drop by a jade carving workshop. A special dinner this evening is accompanied by a Tang Dynasty dance show.
Hyatt Regency Xi'an                                    B,L,D

Day 20 Xi'an-Guilin
     Stroll on the ancient city wall, and visit a lacquer workshop. Fly to Guilin, famous for its unique landscape. This evening, an optional boat tour is offered to watch fisherman using cormorants to fish in the Li River.
Royal Garden Hotel                                       B,L,D

Day 21 Guilin/Li River cruise
     Board a riverboat for a cruise on the Li River. Cruise through the beautiful landscape with its fantastic limestone peaks. We'll see villages, water buffalo, and paddy fields along the river and visit the market in Yangsuo. Our western-style dinner tonight is accompanied by a folk dance show.
Royal Garden Hotel                                    B,L,D

Day 22 Guilin-Guangzhou-Hong Kong
     After breakfast, fly to Guangzhou, formerly Canton, the southern gateway of China. Visit the Museum of Folk Arts, also called Chen Clan Family Temple. This afternoon, cruise to Hong Kong by catamaran. Dinner in Hong Kong on your own, an opportunity to use your imagination in this cosmopolitan city.
Regal Kowloon Hotel                                      B,L

Day 23 Hong Kong
     Our guided tour of four or five hours will visit Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Stanley Market, and Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter. An optional sampan tour in Aberdeen is available and recommended. The afternoon is free to explore or to enjoy tea with a view while reflecting on your China experience. The tour ends in the early afternoon. You'll appreciate the freedom to wander and enjoy this fascinating island. Lunch and dinner on your own
Regal Kowloon Hotel                                         B

Day 24 Hong Kong-U.S.
     Fly to the U.S. overnight, but arrive the same day. We recover a day by crossing the international date line.                                           B, in-flight meals

Note: All hotels are deluxe (5 star) except those in Chongqing and Hong Kong (4 star), and Lhasa (3 star, best available). In unexpected circumstances, a hotel of the same class may be substituted for those listed.


The Cruise

Our cruise is aboard a ship of Victoria Cruises, based in New York. Victoria Cruises is the only line on the Yangtze River that is owned and operated by an American company. See their web site for a description of the ship's facilities and activities. Our tour will be booked into standard cabins, all outside with picture windows, lower berths, television and private baths. Upgrades are available at extra cost.


  • Round-trip airfare from San Francisco
  • Hong Kong departure tax
  • All internal air and ground transportation in China and air and ground transfers
  • Baggage handling, including tips
  • Sightseeing by air-conditioned motorcoach
  • Top English-speaking guide in each city
  • Deluxe hotels as noted
  • Victoria Cruises riverboat, the only Yangtze River cruise line operated by an American cruise company
  • Daily full American breakfast buffet
  • Chinese cuisine at included lunches and dinners, with western selections on the Yangtze River cruise
  • Shore excursions along the Yangtze River
  • Small group size
  • Admission fees for included sightseeing
  • ChinaPlus Frequent Traveler Credit towards your next trip with ChinaPlus--5% of the list price of the tour

Not Included

  • U.S. departure tax of $65
  • Travel insurance
  • Chinese visa
  • Airport taxes within China Note: The taxes are not included because the amounts may change. The tour leader will collect the entire amount in Beijing and will pay the tax for the group at each airport. You will be notified of the approximate amount before departure.
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Food and drinks not itemized on the included menu
  • Any items of a personal nature


Tour arrangements are handled by ChinaPlus, one of the most respected and reliable China specialists. Chris C. Lee, the founder and owner of ChinaPlus, was a pioneer in establishing international travel in China. He emigrated to the United States in 1990. Like her husband, Ping W. Lee is a native of China and a U.S. citizen and was intimately involved in the travel industry in China before coming to the U.S in 1988. Both Chris and Ping hold master's degrees earned in the U.S. The Lees continue their leadership in China tourism by sending small escorted groups to China on programs that are meticulously planned and often personally escorted by them. Those who have traveled to China with ChinaPlus invariably rave about the experience. The Lees will be happy to send a list of people who have traveled with ChinaPlus, along with contact information. If you wish to contact ChinaPlus directly, write to them or call toll free at 888-868-8811.

The tour is being organized and escorted by Harlan Hague, Ph.D., a writer and retired history professor, with over fifteen years experience in organizing and escorting tours. For information on my background and experience, see my web site and descriptions of tours that I have done and that are upcoming. I can also send a list of people who have traveled with me. I always have repeat members in my tour groups. If you have any questions, please write to me.


$4,689 from San Francisco
Single supplement $1,100*

Low add-on fares from other cities available.

*The single supplement of $1,100 ensures single accommodation for the entire trip. If you express a willingness to share a room and we can find a suitable roommate, you will not pay the single supplement. If we cannot find a roommate, a single supplement of $900 must be assessed for the land portion of the tour. The cruise company will try to find a suitable roommate for the Yangtze cruise. If they cannot, there will still be no single supplement for the cruise.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is strongly recommended. On receipt of your application, ChinaPlus will send a brochure, describing the travel insurance offered by Travelex, if you request the brochure on your application. The insurance of course is optional, and travelers are free to purchase insurance from other carriers, if they wish.

Note: insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions usually require that the insurance be taken out within 7-14 days of making your initial trip deposit. Investigate if you are concerned about coverage for a pre-existing condition. Also ask the insurance company for their definition of a pre-existing condition. It varies.

ChinaPlus is a member of The National Tour Association, which provides a $250,000 coverage against default of the travel company.

Ready to enroll?

If you are ready to sign on, read the ChinaPlus Conditions, then print the ChinaPlus application, and fill it out, following the instruction at the bottom of the Conditions page. Please write to me at the same time so I can welcome you to the group.

If you have questions, please write to me.

Join us!