The Easthampton Indoor Tennis Club and RMC travel presents its first annual vacation and tennis holiday to
with a cruise on the Yangtze River
April 20 – May 3, 2009
Hosted by Scott and Holly Rubenstein
A journey to China is a magical odyssey through more than 5,000 years of history, written and recorded, against a vast and stunning landscape. Discover firsthand the great diversity of this fascinating country, which is now a must-see for every traveler. We will visit three of China’s great cities. Shanghai, Xian and Beijing. We will walk atop the Great Wall. Stroll through Palaces where no commoner dared to enter. Travel through rural areas not yet touched by the 21st century. Dine on “real” Chinese cuisine. Meet local Chinese, who are among the friendliest of people and witness a remarkable culture up close. During our journey we will cruise on the mighty Yangtze River amidst awe-inspiring scenery, already changed by the Three Gorges Dam project.
Imagine having played a game or two in Shanghai or Beijing? Well on this very special holiday, there will be two tennis events as part of our tour in the 1st annual International EHIT round-robin tennis tournament.
In Shanghai: The Regent Hotel
The 53-story Regent Shanghai, with its spectacular architecture and design, premier location and
world-class facilities, is the newest luxury landmark in Asia's most dynamic and exciting city. Offering
strong personalized service and an ultimate sense of luxury, both synonymous with the Regent brand,
makes The Regent Shanghai a perfect destination for the world's most discerning travelers.
Xian: Sofitel on Renmin Square Xian
The Sofitel on Renmin Square Xian is located within the grounds of Renmin Square. A grand hotel that adheres to the local Chinese five-star platinum standard, makes it the most luxurious hotel in the region. The hotel incorporates several heritage buildings of historic importance and features 432 rooms, four restaurants and two bars.
Beijing: Shangri-La's China World Hotel
Ideally located in the heart of the city, the 716-room Shangri-La's China World Hotel is the leading address for distinguished business and government leaders as well as discerning travelers visiting the capital of China. It is an award-winning hotel with highly acclaimed restaurants and stands tall over the majestic China World Trade Centre complex, including the China World Exhibition Centre and shopping mall.
OUR CRUISE SHIP
The East King is a five-star Yangtze River Cruiser and features both comfort and luxury. The East King provides accommodations for 192 passengers in 64 cabins. Picture windows in each comfortably appointed stateroom offer breathtaking views of the scenery alongside the River. Facilities onboard include two restaurants, three bars and lounges. The East Queen also has a fitness center and spa, library, shops Internet access and same-day laundry service.
•Round-trip flights from New York to China
•Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
•Accommodations in Deluxe hotels
• Hotel taxes •Service charges at the hotel
•Deluxe Yangtze River cruise
•Additional meals as per itinerary
•Sightseeing tour as per itinerary
•All meals while cruising
•Welcome to China Dinner
•Terra Cotta Warriors Museum visit
•Peking Duck dinner
•Special Farewell to China dinner
•Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony
•Visit with a local family
•Special Jiaozi dumpling dinner
•Special Dim Sum lunch
•Two tennis outings during the tour
(B=Breakfast, L=Linch, D=Dinner)
1st Day, Monday, April 20: Depart for JFK
Departure in the early evening via the Hampton Luxury Liner for JFK.
2nd Day, Tuesday, April 21: To Shanghai
Depart a little past midnight for our connecting flights to Shanghai as we cross the International Dateline.
3rd Day, Wednesday, April: 22 In Shanghai (D)
Upon arrival in Shanghai we will be met at the airport by our special representative and assisted through immigration and customs. We will then be transported to our five-star deluxe hotel. Time to relax and get used to the time change. This evening we have our “Welcome to China” dinner at a local Shanghai restaurant.
4th Day, Thursday, April 23: In Shanghai (B/L)
We start our morning tour to Yu Garden, a classical garden in downtown Shanghai that boasts a history of over 400 years. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in the garden expresses the quintessence of South China landscape design from the Ming and Qing Dynasty. It's reputed to be the most beautiful garden south of the Yangtze River. Proceed to the Shanghai Museum featuring bronzes, ceramics, ancient Chinese paintings and handicrafts. Our morning sightseeing ends at The Bund, the birthplace of Shanghai. Cruise boats meander eastward along the golden waterway to the intriguing "three-layer waters" at the Wusong Mouth. The Bund is the most famous sightseeing spot in Shanghai. The Bund has always been closely linked with the development of Shanghai. The tour ends with a special Dim Sum lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own. Maybe go to the Silk Workshop & Museum where you will have a chance to see the complete process of making silk from silkworms and you’ll also be able to make purchases. Or explore Nanjing Road, China's premier shopping street. The three-quarter-mile-long Nanjing Road, starts at the Bund in the east and ends in the west at the junction of Jingan Temple and Yan'an West Street. It’s a must-see that attracts thousands of fashion-seeking shoppers from all over the world. Over 600 businesses on Nanjing Road offer countless famous brands, superior quality, and new fashions. Many food vendors line both sides of the street. Upscale stores include Tiffany, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill. For the Tennis Players, we will meet for our first tournament. Tonight you can try the many great restaurants in Shanghai or attend the Chinese Opera.
5th Day, Friday, April 24: To Xian (B/D)
The morning is free for independent activities before transferring to the airport for your flight to Xian. The balance of the day is free for shopping and independent exploration. This evening we’ll enjoy a special local Jiaozi dumpling dinner, well-known in this city.
6th Day, Saturday, April 25: In Xian (B/L)
After breakfast we visit the world-famous Terra Cotta Warriors. This is the reason most visitors come to Xian and it does not disappoint. Amazingly, the warriors are just one piece to attempt to reconstruct his empire for the afterlife. The tomb to the west is still to be fully excavated, and is said to include a full reconstruction of the ancient capital, complete with rivers and lakes. According to historian Sima Qian, over 700,000 workers were drafted for the project, and those involved in the construction of the tomb were rewarded with graves beside their emperor. Then onto the City Wall, which is not only the most complete city wall that has survived in China, but is one of the largest and most complete ancient military systems of defense in the world. We conclude the day’s touring by visiting a local pottery shop to see how the warrior is made and a place for great shopping (they will ship to the USA for you). The evening is free for dinner on your own.
7th Day, Sunday, April 26: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D)
Morning departure to the airport for our flight to Chongqing. On our transfer into the city we will visit the Chongqing Zoo, to view the famous pandas. Continue to Grand Hall, the architectural symbol of Chongqing built in 1951 and designed in the traditional symmetrical and beautifully proportioned style of Ming and Qing Dynasty palaces. Lunch at a local restaurant. Then on to the General Stilwell Museum. Joseph W. Stilwell was a famous four-star American General entrusted by President Roosevelt to come to China to serve as the U.S. Army Commander of the China-India-Burma Theater and Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek under the Allied Army. General Stilwell is acknowledged as being one of the most important figures in the history of Sino-US relations. It also features a wonderful exhibition of the famed “Flying Tigers”. We will have dinner at a local restaurant before boarding our cruise ship.
8th Day, Monday, April 27: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D
As we cruise on the river we will see the amazing reconstruction of whole towns that are being either removed (as they will be underwater as a result of the new dam) or being completely rebuilt as replacements. It’s an amazing site. Our first stop is the town of Fengdu, said to be the abode of devils. The famous 'Ghost City' is deserving of a visit to the Zhaohua Park located at the city center. Enjoy folk music performance organized by local seniors (you can also join the performance). Visit relocation farmer's family, experience the great changes on spot and we also have a chance to walk through the local food market.
9th Day, Tuesday, April 28: Cruising the Yangtze (B/L/D
Today we sail through the Gorges. First is the Qutang Gorge that finds the river carving its way between sheer precipices of overhanging mountains on both sides. It is the shortest, narrowest and rockiest of the three gorges. Qutang Gorge is abundant with historical relics and cultural heritage, and is home to one of the earliest human cultures ever discovered in Asia. Here one can see the original site of the famous Fenbi Wall, the ruins of ancient cliff roads and the Mengliang Steps before the expected high water levels caused by the Three Gorges Project forces the government to move them to higher ground. Passing through wondrous Wu Gorge, home of the twelve peaks of the Wu Mountains, we experience a meandering landscape of dazzling peaks and rocks, forming a whimsical gallery of natural beauty. Shennong Stream is located in this gorge. It comprises of Parrot Gorge and Dragon Boat Gorge with breathtaking scenery. Sailing through the treacherous gorges with lush pine and translucent water, we see spectacular sights like ancient plank roads, ancient cave coffins, aqueous caves, rainbow fountains and rare animals like macaques and mandarin ducks. It is also perfect to experience the culture of Tujia nationality.
10th Day, Wednesday, April 29: Conclude our cruise and on to Beijing (B/L/D).
Our ship arrives at Yangjiawan ("Yang Family Bay") a mini port exclusively for cruise ships to visit the Three Gorges Project (TGP). Opened in 1997 after the first damming, the port is located at the north bank of the Yangtze River, connected to the south bank by the graceful Xiling Bridge. We drive to the Tanziling (Jar Ridge), on top of the mountain overlooking the whole project where we will explore this vast construction. One of the largest programs ever undertaken in the world, the Three Gorges Project will forever change the face of the Yangtze River as we know it today. The project is designed to be built in three phases and is scheduled for completion in year 2009. Measures have been taken to preserve and move the historical and cultural relics found along its banks; however many scenic spots will be adversely affected. Unfortunately, the most dramatic section of the river, "the heart of the Yangtze" will eventually be drowned by the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, We then transfer to the airport for our flight to Beijing. After time to refresh ourselves at our hotel, we will have a special Peking Duck and then to a nearby theater for an incredible show of Chinese Acrobatics.
11th Day, Thursday, April 30: In Beijing (B)
After breakfast, we visit the Great Wall where we will see one of the most astonishing feats of human endeavor and is the only manmade object visible from the moon. Construction of the Great Wall began in the seventh century BC and was extended through many dynasties. We will walk on the Great Wall’s Ju Rong Guan Section. Return to Beijing for the balance of the day free for independent activities including the chance to visit the local Flea Market … six blocks of some of the most amazing shops and local “yard sales.” For the Tennis Players, you will enjoy the hotel’s indoor courts.
12th Day, Friday, May 1: In Beijing (B/L)
We start our day of touring at The Temple of Heaven that was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves "The Son of Heaven", they dared not to build their own dwelling. Then to Tian’anmen Square located in the heart of modern Beijing. Reputed as the largest square in the world, it can hold 500,000 people. The founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China was held here on October 1, 1949, which climaxed with one million people gathering to hear the late Chairman Mao Zedong proclaim the birth of New China. Our touring ends at The Forbidden City, also known as The Imperial Palace. It’s a maze of palaces built between 1417 and 1420 as the residence of the emperor. It has 9,000 halls and rooms containing many precious relics. It is the largest palace in the world and one of mankind’s major cultural legacies. We will have lunch at a special Noodle Restaurant. Lots of fun and good too!! Dinner on your own.
13th Day, Saturday, May 2: In Beijing (B/D)
Today is free to explore Beijing on your own. It’s a great time to go to the nearby Silk Alley, a multi-story building holding every conceivable knock-off from watches, to clothes to cameras, to pens and more, PLUS some great bargains on “name” products. In the late afternoon, it’s off to Hutonga, a really unforgettable experience! Roaming through Beijing's old, narrow streets called Hutongs, we travel by old fashioned rickshaw to visit 'siheyuan', the old quadrangles. Here we will visit a local family and chat about the daily life of the Chinese family. The balance of the day is free before we depart for our “Farewell to China” dinner.
14th Day, Sunday, May 3: To JFK (B).
Depart to the Beijing International Airport for our connecting flights home and as we cross the International Dateline again, we will arrive the same day at JFK.
Note: Itinerary is correct at time of printing and is subject to changes beyond our control.