This 14-day itinerary is a fascinating combination of China from the Middle Kingdom to now with a four-day land tour of key sites and an 11-day voyage from Beijing (Tianjin) to Hong Kong with stops in Japan and Taiwan. It all begins with a tour of key sites including Beijing, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Terracotta Warriors of Xian. A day at sea gives guests a chance to recharge and prepare for a stop in Qingdao. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, this seaside town was colonized by Germany which brought the beer making tradition that sparked the creation of Tsingtao Beer, a perfect complement to local spicy noodle and duck dishes. The Tao religion also came into being here. Another day at sea allows time for pampering or a workout before an overnight stop in Shanghai.
Shanghai is a bustling city with towers along the Bund that rival any world capital, shopping for every taste and a culinary tradition with modern flourish. It is on to Ishigaki Island in Japan where swimming is not allowed, but glass bottom boats provide a window onto the colorful fish and distinctive blue reefs. Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is the next stop where old and new is definitely the order of the day. Participate in a Chinese Kong Fu tea ceremony, visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, The Confucius Temple or Taipei 101 which is not a class on world affairs but a 1,671-foot tall skyscraper. The tour concludes in Hong Kong packed with things to do and dim sum to sample, but the tram to Victoria Peak is a must for the expansive view.