Yin & Yangtze Eclipse - 14 days

FROM USD $2,749

Explore Beijing, the Forbidden city with its 999 rooms & climb the Great Wall. Add Xian, Terracotta Warriors, a cruise on the Yangtze witnessing the Annular Solar Eclipse & the stunning Three Gorges, oriental Suzhou & Shanghai.

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
After a short group meeting we embark on a sightseeing tour of the nation’s capital and home of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing and is a public arena for the people and stage for Chairman Mao mausoleum. Across from the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Perhaps today, he is looking at a different Beijing, one that is quickly entering the 21st century. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors, it was only opened after the last emperor was overthrown in 1911. Encompassing architecturally stunning temples and halls, the complex of the Forbidden city is an assault on the eyes. Later, we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys and old back lanes, we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life. Overnight - Beijing (B, D)
Yin & Yangtze Eclipse - 14 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Come and witness a snowy Great Wall of China at sunset on a China Holiday
Today, we drive to Badaling, where we can walk on a section of the famous Great Wall. A symbol of total Chinese genius, the Great Wall is a cultural icon. At least 20 dynasties were involved in its construction. Stretching some 6700 kilometres, we walk along just a small chunk of this massive masterpiece of human endeavour. Continuing, we take a break for lunch and visit to a cloisonne workshop. Tonight we attend a Chinese Acrobatic performance. Overnight - Beijing (B, L)
Beijing - Xi’an. At the Summer Palace on Kunming Lake, we view the lavishly decorated temples, halls and courts, reconstructed in 1902. The Long Corridor, a hand painted 730m covered walkway, offers gentle respite from the elements. This afternoon, even the most hardened nonshoppers can’t help coming away with a few goodies at the Silk Alley markets. Name-brand attire, bling-bling jewellery, knock-off handbags and shoes are popular acquisitions. Later we travel by train to Xi’an viewing enroute the Beijing 2008 Olympic Stadium and aquatic centre. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B)
A on the go tours China Eclipse group on their way to watch the Total Eclipse
Xi’an is Shaanxi Province is perhaps most famous for Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the 7,000 lifesized soldiers, some 2,200 years old, stand battle-ready in excavated pits under the cover of a modern protective hanger. We tour the archaeological site and the Terracotta warrior replica workshop. Tonight, we offer our Tang Dynasty dinner and show. Check out our Tang Dynasty bolton for more details. Overnight - Xi'an (B, L)
Xi’an - flight to Chongqing - Yangtze Cruiser. Early this morning you can opt to undertake our Giant Panda excursion to the Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Centre a 2hour 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). If time permits we can also check out the Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque. Late afternoon/ evening we enjoy an early dinner before flying (current flight time - 20:30pm) to Chongqing - the start point of our Yangtze River cruise. Overnight - Yangtze River Cruiser (B, D)
A Buddhist temple at the top of Mt Ming
Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south, and wending its way through eight very different provinces. The Upper reaches incorporating the Three Gorges are possibly the most spectacular and it is this part of the Yangtze we’ll see.

Sleep in or take a vantage point from the top deck lounger as our cruiser plies its way down stream. With breathtaking views and stunning scenery the hours pass easily. Normally, around 11am we reach the first, the smallest yet the most impressive of the the Three Gorges - Qutang Gorge. After lunch we'll disembark for 2 hours of sightseeing at the mythical Fengdu - 'Ghost City'. Taking a chair lift to the top of the Mt Ming we'll explore the complex of Tao, Buddhist and Confucianism temples, relics and sculptures. Perched toward the furthest extremity of Fengdu a 6 story high Fengdu Padoga offers 360 degree un-interupted views of the skyline and the great Yangtze below. It is here we'll set up and sit poised and ready to witness the ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF 2010.

Eclipse site co-ordinates 29° 34′ 00″ N, 106° 32′ 00″ E

An Annular Eclipse occurs when the Sun and the Moon are in perfect allignment. The moon is farther from the Earth than normal and hence its apparant size is not quite sufficient to cover the sun completely. Hence the moon appears slightly smaller in diameter than the Sun and a thin ring of sunlight will remain visable around the dark silhouette of the moon.

The phenomona will begin at 15:20pm, when the moon will first touch the sun. The moon will then continue to creep over and pass in front of the sun till it reaches the start of annularity at 16:46pm. Annularity will last for approximately 8 minutes, during which the moon will reach it's maximum magnitude at 16:51pm with a maximum obscuration of 82.5% and continue through to 16:54pm. As the event unfolds the sky will darken to a deep purple colour and resemble that of twilight and the horizon will take on hues of bright orange and red resembling that of a brilliant sunset.

15.20pm - The moon first touches the sun - start of the annular eclipse (1st contact).
16:46pm - Annularity begins (2nd contact)
16:51pm - The moon reaches its maximum magnitude and obscuration of 82.5%
16:54pm - Annularity ends (3rd contact)
18.07pm - The moon is no longer blocking the sun - end of the eclipse (4th contact)

* please note: the above timings are estimated, based upon the eclipse statistics for Chongqing. Feng Du ghost city is located 171km east on Chongqing on the north bank of the Yangtze.

Once the event has come to an end, returning to our cruiser we'll continue on our journey down stream Overnight - Yangtze River Cruiser (B, L, D)
A group in pea body boats on Shennong Stream
This morning there is an optional shore excursion to the White Emporer City with city wall and temple dating back to the 1st century. Upon returning its a short sail to the first of the Three Gorges. Qutangxia Gorge, the shortest and narrowest of the three offers dramatic 1200m limestone peaks often shrouded in mist as the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste. An hour later we pass Wuxia Gorge straddling Sichuan and Hubei Provinces lined by twelve sheer peaks. Wuxia offers an awesome vista for some 45km.

This afternoon offers a boat trip to Shennong stream a handicraft class and a talk on Chinese Kite Making for those interested. Overnight - Yangtze River Cruiser (B, L, D)
Yangtze River cruise - Yichang - Wuhan. This morning we will disembark the cruiser and take a short drive by private coach to the Three Gorges Dam construction site. The Three Gorges Dam is the largest dam in the world, as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge and twice as tall, capable of generating 18 gigawatts of hydro-electric power and expected to become fully operational by 2011.

Returning to our river boat and cruise onward to the third of the great gorges - Xiling Gorge. Xiling the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges. Afterward we enjoy lunch and prepare for disembarkation at Yichang around noon. We travel onward to Wuhan (approx 4 hours drive)and have dinner at a local restaurant before boarding our overnight train bound for Nanjing. Note: there will be limited time to freshen up before taking our overnight train journey. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, L, D)
Day 10: Nanjing
Arriving into Nanjing, hotel check in and the remainder of the morning at leisure. This afternoon we'll set out to explore the former capital of the Ming Dynasty. We visit the Fuzi Miao (Temple of Confucius) and the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre. A moving experience that charts the atrocities committed at this very site. We visit the Mausoleum of Dr Sun Yatsen – a father of modern China and revered nearly as much as Chairman Mao. Overnight - Nanjing (B)
Visit Shanghai and it's stunning skyline on a personalised China Holiday
Day 11: Suzhou
Nanjing - Suzhou. A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the Humble Administrator’s House and Garden. Overnight - Suzhou (B)
Suzhou - Shanghai. An hour’s journey bring us to bustling Shanghai. Remainder of the day at leisure, maybe head out for a spot of shopping on Nanjing Road or in the French Quarter. After dark, try the landmark Peace Hotel (formally known as the Cathay Hotel, built with the fortunes of the real estate savvy Sassoon family in the 1920's) located on Bund for a drink and an evening of Jazz. Overnight Overnight - Shanghai (B)
Day 13: Shanghai
Today is free for you to explore Shanghai your way. The day is free day for you to explore. Perhaps visit the Oriental Pearl TV tower, the Jade Buddha Temple, French Quarter or the Old City. Overnight - Shanghai (B)
Day 14: Shanghai
Friday 22 January 2010. Shanghai - breakfast. Our tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport. (B)

Nature of the annular 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 or haze may hinder visibility.. Never the less the Yangtze River is directly below the centre line and the Fengdu Padoga at the top of Mt Ming offers 360 degree un-interupted views of the skyline.

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:13, Lunch: 5, Dinner: 5
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star
  • Tour Guide: Yes
The On The Go Theatre
Discover the highlights of China on one of our group tours