Chengdu and Beijing (4 nights)

SHA 505-201
  • Chengdu
    • Panda Bear Research Center
    • Wenshu Temple
    • Sichuan Opera
    • Sanxingdui Ruins
    • Traditional Sichuan Hot Pot dinner
  •  Beijing
    • Great Wall of China
    • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
    • Home-cooked meal
    • Temple of Heaven
    • UNESCO Heritage Site: Summer Palace
Program Overview
Country: China
Depart: 02/01/2017 0900
Return: 02/05/2017 1700
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Capacity: Min 16 / Max 199
Program Fee
$1759 (early booking: $1659)

Field Work Conflicts
  • NRRT 320 International Issues in Recreation and Tourism
  • HIST 466 U.S.-China Relations Since 1800
  • IE 471 Children and Youth in Context
  • HDFS 302 Marriage and Family Relationships (Section 1)

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province (Chengdu has a population of around 7.8 million, Sichuan province has a population of 87.2 million), which is known as the “Heavenly State” (Tian Fu Zhi Guo). No wonder more than 70% of the world’s giant panda population lives here! The fertile landscape is supported by the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project that was constructed in 256 B.C. On your first full day, enjoy a walking tour through Kuanzhai Xiangzi, or Wide and Narrow Alleys where you will see the epitome of the old life of Chengdu City. Find peace of mind at the peaceful Wenshu Temple, a Buddhist temple, before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.

The day will conclude with a traditional Sichuan Opera. Unlike Peking Opera, which focuses more on Chinese history and folklore, Sichuan Opera is known for the exuberance of its acting, its humour, fire breathing and, most of all, face changing. Skilled actors wear up to two dozen intricately painted silk masks during a performance and can with a slight toss of the head or sweep of a hand instantly change from one mask to another!

The next day, visit the Giant Panda Research Center. The giant pandas that will soon be released back to the wild are in enclosures for a long enough period of time for them to adapt to the natural environment and recover their natural survival skills there until they can be released back to the wild. Spend the afternoon at the Sanxingdui ruins, a current archaeological excavation which continues to unearth new findings and questions.

Dinner will be a Sichuan hot pot. Known for its spicy food, this cuisine first took hold in Chegdu during the early 20th century among port workers and fishermen living along the Yangtze River. The slow and interactive process hot pot requires isn’t always intuitive to foreigners, so your guide will help you decide what to eat and show you how and when to cook it. This is one of the most authentic and delightful culinary experiences China has to offer.

Travel to Beijing and experience dinner of Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) with a local family. A lucky guest may find a coin in one dumpling that will bring good fortune to them for the New Year! Downtown, Tiananmen Square – the largest public square in the world – and the Forbidden City, or Imperial Palace, lead to a fascinating display of Chinese history in one of the best-preserved sites of Classical Chinese architecture. Later, stand on the Great Wall and watch it snake its way over the mountaintops, before taking a toboggan ride down. On the final day, before flying back to Shanghai, explore the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take in the sites of the beautiful gardens and Kunming Lake.


Day 1

  • Meet your guide and travel to Chengdu
  • Visit Kuanzhai Xiangzi, or Wide and Narrow Alleys
  • Visit the Wenshu Temple
  • After dinner, enjoy watching a Sichuan Opera at Shufeng Yayun Teahouse

Day 2

  • Spend the morning at the Great Panda Bear Research Center
  • Explore the Sanxingdui Ruins
  • Sichuan Hot Pot Dinner

Day 3

  • Travel to Beijing  
  • In the afternoon, visit Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, and explore Beijing’s hutongs via rickshaw
  • Dumpling (Jiaozi) dinner with local family

Day 4

  • In the morning, explore the Temple of Heaven
  • After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Great Wall of China (1.5hours driving distance to Great Wall)
  • Retire to your hotel after dinner at a local restaurant

Day 5

  • Spend the morning at the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • After lunch, fly back to Shanghai, and return to the ship

Meals Included


Special Note

It will be COLD in Beijing. Be prepared with warm clothing and footwear.