|Day 1||10/12||Departure from San Francisco to Chengdu|
|Day 2||10/13||Flight to Chengdu (observe timezone change)|
|Day 3||10/14||Chengdu: Arrive in Chengdu
Early morning arrival around 6am, hotel check-in later in the afternoon.
Breakfast: Chengdu dumpling restaurant followed by a tea ceremony at a local tea house and a hands-on dumpling cooking class.
Lunch at the celebrated Chen Mapo Tofu restaurant where you will sample the classic Mapo Tofu dish of Sichuan.
An afternoon visit to Wuhou Temple, the residential memorial of Zhuge Liang, legendary strategist of the Three Kingdom Period. Learn the complex, tumultuous history of China’s warring period and its lasting impact on Chinese culture. Afterwards, drop by the nearby district known for its artisans and displays.
Hotel check-in, settle in and relax a bit before dinner at a traditional Chengdu Hotpot restaurant. Changing Face and other traditional performances.
It’s Panda Day! After breakfast board your coach and head to the world famous Giant Panda Research Center, home to the largest population of giant pandas in captivity. Watch the giant pandas (and their babies) frolic in their well-appointed habitat.
Lunch will be at a restaurant featuring local specialties. Take a walk through the historical Chunxifang shopping district.
End the day with a stroll along Chengdu’s well-known‘Wide and Narrow Alleys’, where street food and other colorful activities are always on display. Dining at a modern Chengdu cuisine restaurant.
|Day 5||10/16||Huanglongxi Old Town
A day of culinary contrasts. In the morning visit Huanglongxi, legendary old town of many unique storefronts featuring local delicacies created from recipes perfected over 17 centuries. Proprietors of many of these food stalls are eager to give impromptu demonstrations. Expect street theater with a culinary twist.
After lunch there’s time to roam the ancient streets where we find many arts and craft artisan shops. Souvenirs, anyone?
Leisure mid-afternoon departure and return to Chengdu. Evening visit to one of the most innovative commercial dining meccas in Chengdu. Admire its fabulous cuisine as well as its modern, efficient kitchen management system.
After breakfast, travel by coach to historical Pixian outside Chengdu and visit the Sichuan Culinary Museum, where thousands of years of Sichuan cuisine and other regional Chinese cuisines are put on display.
The museum is a unique enclave that encapsulates the true essence of Chinese cooking in its entirety and its integrative role in Chinese culture.
Enjoy a cooking demonstration at the museum followed by lunch. Return to Chengdu for dinner.
|Day 7||10/18||Leshan & Pujiang
After breakfast, your coach takes you to the acclaimed Leshan Giant Buddha, the tallest stone-carved sitting Buddha in the world. Along the way see the area’s historical temples and pagodas.
For lunch, experience the region’s famous Tofu Banquet and sample numerous delicious ways one can prepare a simple dish of tofu.
An afternoon visit to the Moon Artist Colony of Pujiang. Be a part of the creative artistic environment and watch talented artists as they paint, sculpt, and shape their pieces of art. Enjoy a local home style dinner in Pujiang.
|Day 8||10/19||Pujiang & Pingle
A morning visit to a Pujiang tea farm with an educational tour on how tea is planted, nurtured, harvested and processed. Proper Chinese tea etiquette is demonstrated in the tea center’s showroom. Be entertained by a performance of ‘Kung Fu Tea’ by local tea masters.
Your tea experience continues with a tea banquet lunch at a local restaurant. Learn how tea can be a flavoring ingredient in cooking, as well as a beloved beverage.
After lunch, travel to a nearby historical town where bamboo inspires artists and craftsmen in their renderings, from high-end decorative items to every day practical utensils for the kitchen. Spend the night at a quaint local country inn in Pujiang.
After breakfast, travel by coach to Dujiangyan, the water irrigation system that prevented floods and created the rich soil which has enabled Chengdu and its surrounding areas to thrive for over 2,000 years.
After lunch in Dujiangyan, return to Chengdu city. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are free for shopping and dining.
|Day 10||10/21||Flight Home or Extension to Xian
Coach transfer to airport for departure home or continue your adventure in Xi’an.
Morning flight from Chengdu to Xi’an.
Visit to the historical City Wall and fortress. Constructed back in the Ming Dynasty, it is the most complete city fortress in China today. After lunch, visit many of Xi’an’s town squares and fountains, and take a stroll along Xi’an’s local streets where street food is the main attraction.
For dinner, experience a delicious dumpling feast where the restaurant features over 100 different types of dumplings.
A Day of Ancient Chinese History in Xi’an.
Visit Tang Dynasty palaces and royal baths. Spend the afternoon at the world renowned Terra Cotta Museum where an entire Imperial Army, along with their weapons and chariots, still stand guard to the Emperor’s tomb.
An evening to remember: the extraordinary Tang Dynasty performance (Chang Hen Ge 长恨歌) featuring over 300 performers in traditional Tang Dynasty dress.
|Day 12||10/23||Flight Home
Coach transfer to airport for departure home.