Friday, September 09, 2011
IMAGINE TOURS / GRAND CHINA BIKE TOURS
2011 China's Yunnan & Tibet Cycling Tour with Beijing extension
September 8: ARRIVAL IN BEIJING. After clearing customs and claiming your baggage, your tour guide will meet you at the airport and you’ll transfer to our hotel, located in the heart of the city. You can join other arriving participants to do some sightseeing for a day at leisure. Overnight at a 4-star hotel Beijing [extra cost is $80 US per room].
September 9: BEIJING. Plan to arrive in China’s vibrant capital at least by mid-afternoon, but most flights arrive in the morning. This evening the group will enjoy a special Beijing Food tonight. Overnight at a 4-star hotel Beijing [included in tour fees].
Day 4: September 10. BEIJING. Start your day with a visit to the Forbidden City, the former seat of the emperors throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. It’s a true architectural masterpiece and home to the National Palace Museum. After lunch you'll visit the Summer Palace, built in classical Chinese style in 1750 as a royal recreational resort. Among its famous features are the 700-meter-long corridor with its wonderful Painted Gallery, the Marble Barge, and several magnificently painted pavilions and pagodas. Tonight you'll enjoy a mesmerizing acrobatic show. Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Beijing.Day 5: September 11. BEIJING. On today’s exciting excursion you’ll scale the ramparts of the legendary Great Wall, built 2600 years ago and extending over 3,700 miles. Walk atop this ancient wonder of the world, one of the two man-made structures seen by US astronaut Neil Armstrong from outer space. Next you’ll visit the Ming Tombs, the burial place of thirteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty and their families. Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Beijing.
Day 6: September 12. BEIJING / KUNMING. This morning we will fly to Kunming ( 07:35 -10:55), your tour guide will meet and transfer to our hotel. We'll have a city tour in the afternoon, if time permits. Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Kunming.
Day 7: September 13: DALI. We’ll have an early breakfast in hotel, then transfer by bus to Dali, home to over 1.5 million Bai minority people whose culture, crafts and warm hospitality create its renowned laid-back atmosphere. Lunch will be served in our hotel. In the afternoon we'll take our bicycles for a test ride and adjustments, then cycle to the Park of Three Pagodas and around the old town of Dali. There are plenty of places to explore or cafes to visit within the town's old city walls. Overnight at a 4-star hotel in Dali.
Day 8: September 14: DALI. This morning we cycle on the scenic and rolling road around the gorgeous Er Hai Lake (60km). The Cang Shan Mountains rise behind Dali city as we skirt the shores of this huge inland sea, passing through fishing villages and farming communities. A picnic lunch will be served on the road. Alternatively, visit the colorful Shaping markets and the preserved architecture of Xizhou. Overnight at 4-star hotel in Dali.
Day 9: September 15. LIJIANG. After breakfast at the hotel we'll cycle out of Dali city on the rolling and beautiful countryside. Experience the local rural life as we pedal through several Naxi and Yi minority villages on our way to Lijiang. We’ll have a picnic on the road and in the late afternoon transfer by bus to Lijiang. This UNESCO World Heritage site of ageless charm is home to the Naxi, an ancient matriarchal society descended from Tibetan nomads. Overnight at 4-star hotel in Lijiang.
Day 10: September 16: TIGER LEAPING GORGE. Today we head off along the Tibetan Highway for dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge, the world's deepest gorge. On the way we'll visit the ancient Stone Drum Town set on the first bend of the Yangtze River. Here the Yangtze makes sudden V-shaped bend, nearly 180-degrees, and creates beautiful views. At the river's bend stands Stone Drum (Shigu) Town, named after a drum-shaped marble plaque commemorating the victory of Lijiang's Naxi ruler over an invading Tibetan army. We cycle to the famous Stone Drum Town along a beautiful river (round trip 20 km), known here as the Jinsha River, then we continue to cycle about 40 km to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Here we can admire the majestic snow capped peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Mountain above us. We'll hike to the Gorge (round trip about 5 km). Overnight at Yi Xiang Hotel in the town of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Day 11: September 17: SHANGRI-LA. After our breakfast at the hotel we cycle 60km on a scenic and challenging road to Shangri-La (Zhongdian). We’ll stop for a picnic lunch on the road, and in the afternoon we cycle through beautiful Tibetan villages to Zhongdia. Visit the Songzanlin Monastery which was built 300 years ago under the instruction of the 5th Dalai Lama. Now there are still 800 monks and 3 living Buddhas inside.
Day 12: September 18: SHANGRI-LA / LIJIANG / CHENGDU. After our breakfast at the hotel we transfer back to Lijiang. We will pedal about 30 km to Yunshanping of Jade Snow Mountain. At this scenic spot a ski lift has been built with a view of the majestic snow capped peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain above us. Sightseeing at Yunshanping of Jade Snow Mountain. Later afternoon we'll will fly to Chengdu (17:40 -18:50). Meet and transfer to our hotel. Overnight at 3 star hotel in Chengdu.
Day 13: September 19: CHENGDU / LHASA / SHANNAN. Early morning we'll fly to Lhasa (06:30-08:30), our tour guide will meet us at airport and transfer to Shannan (Tsedang) by bus. On the way you'll enjoy spectacular scenery, driving through typical Tibetan villages and past Yak-skin boats cruising the Yalung Zangbo River. In the afternoon we'll cycle to Yumbulakhang Palace and Traduk Monastery. Overnight at 3-star hotel in Shannan.
Day 14: September 20: TO BE DECIDED
Day 15: TO BE DECIDED
Day 16: September 22: TO BE DECIDED
Day 17: September 23. XINING / GUANGZHOU. Early morning we will arrive in Xining, our guide will meet us and transfer to city center for breakfast. We'll have a city tour in Xining. In the afternoon we'll transfer to airport to fly to Guangzhou (16:50 --21:45). Meet and transfer to our hotel in Guangzhou. Overnight at 4-star hotel in Guangzhou.
Day 18: September 24. GUANGZHOU. Visit Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Memorial Hall of the Chen Family, Temple of Six Banyan Trees. Tonight enjoy the dinner with famous Cantonese local flavor. Overnight at 4 star hotel in Guangzhou. (B,L,D).
Day 19: September 25. HONG KONG. Breakfast at the hotel, then take an early express train to Hong Kong and transfer to hotel on your own by taxi. Overnight included at 3-star hotel in Hong Kong. Dinner is not included in tour package. Additional days in Hong Kong are an option (all Imagine Tours cyclists will stay an additional day).
Day 20: September 26. Imagine Tours cyclists depart. Breakfast in the hotel, then transfer to Hong Kong Airport on your own by shuttle bus from hotel. Depart for US and arrive in the US on the same day!
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
2:30 a.m. - Time I went to sleep
5:00 a.m. - Time I got up
1 stop - at Emily's Bakery for pumpkin muffins and sandwiches for the plane ride
8 a.m. - Time Saskia got me to San Francisco Airport
33 pounds - weight of my 1 checked suitcase! (with 50 pound allowance)
40 minutes - time to get thru security line
1 - thing I forgot so far: hairbrush
1 - thing I miss already but deliberately left at home: my cell phone
12 hours - flight time directly from San Francisco to Beijing (United)
133 - number of yuan, Chinese currency that I have (thanks Bobby!) About $20
16 hours - China is 16 hours ahead of Santa Cruz time - it's tomorrow there already!
Sunday, September 04, 2011