Great Wall & Warriors Eclipse - 10 days

FROM USD $1,579

Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai. Experience the prime sights of China, taking in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, Terracotta Warriors, a partial Solar Eclipse, Shanghai Bund and Suzhou - an oriental Venice.

Day 1: Beijing
Saturday 09 January 2010. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Enjoy an arrival transfer to our hotel. Overnight - Beijing
This morning, we tour the centre of Beijing including the massive Tiananmen Square and the sprawling Forbidden City. Boasting some 9999 rooms, the city within a city was once the sole preserve of the Chinese emperors. Afternoon rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing and welcome dinner this evening. Overnight - Beijing (B, D)
Great Wall & Warriors Eclipse - 10 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Visit Beijing's Forbidden City on many of our China Tours
Today, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, where we can walk a section of the famous Great Wall. It’s a steep walk, but the photo opportunities are worth a million dollars! Continuing, we take a break for lunch and visit to a cloisonne workshop. Tonight enjoy an incredible acrobatic show. Overnight - Beijing (B, L)
Beijing - Xi’an. Strong stomachs today, if you are game to try a few unusual delicacies in the local street market. Later we visit the Silk Alley markets and the Summer Palace, set on Kunming Lake. A drive past the 2008 Olympic stadium commonly referred to as the ‘birds nest’ and aquatic centre. Overnight - Sleeper Train to Xi'an (B)
A Giant Panda lying on his back eating bamboo
Arrive Xi’an and transfer to hotel. We visit the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site. 7,000 Warriors stand battle ready and have done so for the past 2,200yrs. Try counting them! Visit to a clay workshop specialised in making replica figurines. Tonight, optional Tang Dynasty Bolt-on, with dinner and performance. Overnight - Xi'an (B, L)
Early this morning you can opt to undertake our Giant Panda excursion to the Shaanxi Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Centre a 2 hour drive from Xi’an. The centre was the first crested ibis breeding centre in China and further became a shelter for ill or injured Giant Pandas in the region. With an estimate of only 1000 - 3000 Giant Pandas remaining on the planet, the species in one of the world's most endangered mammals. China is home to the near entirety of this estimate with only 27 Pandas living abroad taking part in envitro fertilization and re-population programs. Of the Pandas remaining in China only 239 live in captivity. The Panda's at Louguantai are above this number and will be released back into one of the 40 designated Panda reserves once in full health.

There are also many other rare animals including golden monkeys, black bears, leopards, giant salamanders, white lipped deer, musk deer, vulture and owl.

Alternatively spend the morning at leisure before we take a casual bicycle ride on top of the 9 mile City Wall (no need to go the entire way around) and check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Overnight - Xi'an (B, D)
A couple watching the eclipse in China
Xi’an - Shanghai - breakfast. This morning you are able to sleep in, enjoy the hotel facilities, explore the area on foot or do as you please. Later we'll visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda complex - housing one massive Pagoda reaching up to the sky and a number of important ancient Buddhist manuscripts. As we walk the courtyards, temples and gardens you'll often see we often see many of the local monks going about their daily rituals.

After lunch we return to the Xian City Wall set up and sit poised and ready to witness the one of the most complete PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSES OF 2010. The moon will first touch the sun at 15.25pm, gaining its maximum magnitude at 16:51 obscuring 80.03% of the sun. At this time, elsewhere an Annular Eclipse is occurring. Here, the Sun - Moon alignment is perfect beneath the centre line. The moon is farther from the Earth than normal and hence its apparent size is not quite sufficient to cover the sun completely. Under the centre line the Moon would appear slightly smaller in diameter than the Sun and a thin ring of sunlight will remain visible around the dark silhouette of the moon.

Eclipse site co-ordinates 34° 12′ 00″ N, 108° 59′ 00″ E

From our eclipse location (not directly beneath the centre line) 80.03% of the sun will be covered. It is close to being that of an Annular Eclipse though not quite and hence the phenomena we will see is termed a partial eclipse. One of the best ones at that! The sun will seem to peek out from behind the moon in a thin extended crescent shape, two thirds to three quarters around the moons diameter. As the event unfolds the sky will change to a deep purple as the horizon falls into shades of orange and red.

15.25pm - The moon first touches the sun - start of the partial eclipse (1st contact).
16:51pm - The moon reaches its maximum magnitude and obscuration of 80.03%
18.06pm - The moon is no longer blocking the sun - end of the eclipse (4th contact)

After the performance and a wonderful grand finale to our touring in Xi'an we depart directly to board our overnight express train bound for Shanghai. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, L)
Visit the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai on your China Holiday
Shanghai. Focus your eyes on spectacular Shanghai. Perhaps China’s most modern city, its amazing Pudong skyline is stunning. We enjoy a tour of the many city sights including Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple and The Bund with a cruise on the Huangpu River. Overnight - Shanghai (B)
Today offers free time for you to explore the city your own way. Perhaps take the elevator to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV tower, visit the French Quarter or the Old City, or shop till you drop on Nanjing road or Taobao the equivalent of Beijing's Silk Alley. Overnight - Shanghai (B)
Day 10: Shanghai
Our tours concludes after breakfast and onward departure transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)

Nature of the partial eclipse

Please be aware that perfect viewing conditions of the eclipse cannot be guaranteed and there is a chance that cloud may obscure our views. Weather in Xi'an in January is usually cold and dry with an average temperature of 0°C. Despite the risk of cloudy skies, Xi'an is just above the centre path making it a favourable viewing spot for a partial eclipse.

Important, please note: Our Eclipse tours are designed for people who would like to experience the fascinating sights & sounds of China and have an amateur interest in astronomy, rather than for serious eclipse-chasers as there is no formal commentary given on the subject.

Tour Details
  • Starts in: Beijing / Ends in: Shanghai
  • Departs: 09 Jan 2010
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:9, Lunch: 3, Dinner: 2
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star
  • Tour Guide: Yes
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