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October 12 – October 29, 2010

We will spend 15 nights in China after the first week in October (the National “Golden Week” holiday) and return to the USA before the Geological Society of America meetings in Denver.  In the itinerary below, after the description of each day is the city where we will stay that night and the meals included: B/L/D

Tue, 12   The group gathers in LAX or JFK for departure just before midnight. Cross Dateline and lose a day on the 13th.
Thu, 14   Arrive Hong Kong early in the morning and feel the rhythms of the Orient.  Mary will escort the LAX group to our hotel and Dwight will wait at the airport to meet the JFK group who arrive a little later.  We will all unite at our hotel.  Although we will not be able to get into our rooms that early in the morning, the Salsbury YMCA (a very nice hotel) is one of the few hotels in Hong Kong that has a swimming pool.  Consider packing your swimsuit in your carry-on!  There are showers at the pool for freshening up, even if you do not want to swim.  There is a cafe for an early lunch before we board our tour bus at noon to explore Hong Kong.  Highlights which include Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, and Repulse Bay with an option to cruise around the harbor on a local junk.  Group dinner this evening.        Hong Kong, D
Fri, 15   Breakfast at our hotel.  Morning in Hong Kong for exploration on your own.  An afternoon flight to Guilin and transfer to the Universal Hotel in Guilin for 4 nights.        Guilin, B
Sat, 16   Awake in this bustling city grown around legendary and spectacular karst towers. Orientation talk on China and Chinese karst before starting to explore Guilin and vicinity.  Dwight will take those with a special interest in caves to Chi Hsing Yan (Seven Star Cave), a large show cave for over 1,000 years while Mary will take those who prefer to sample the above-ground features of the park. We will regroup for lunch together.  In the afternoon the karst folks can go with Dwight to the classic type-example of a Chinese foot cave complex at Chuanshan Cave (Tunnel Hill), an interesting and pretty cave that was discovered while digging a fall-out shelter in the 1970’s. Others can join Mary and another guide for non-caving activities.  A “welcome to the karst” dinner in the evening.        Guilin, B/L/D
Sun, 17   A highlight of our trip is the 12-km-long Guan Yan (Crown Cave) river system, a spectacular show cave.   We will board our chartered bus and travel south along the eastern side of the Li River to the cave entrance.  Lunch in the village of Caoping before driving through spectacular karst above Crown Cave, visiting Xi Tangcun lakes at Xitang and looking down through karst windows to segments of the Crown Cave underground river system.  Return to Guilin. An optional evening show, Dreaming Li River, enlivens our evening with good dancing and acrobatics.        Guilin, B/L
Mon, 18   A special visit to the Karst Research Institute and Museum and introduction  by Prof. Yuan.  Wonderful exhibits illustrate Chinese karst.  After lunch the hard-core can go with Dwight and someone from the Karst Institute to a local wild cave.  Although everyone may want to go to the Karst Institute, those who wish to forego the wild cave experience can go with Mary and another guide to other Guilin attractions.        Guilin,  B/L/D
Tue, 19   Up early for breakfast and put our luggage on a truck to go to Yangshuo.  We board a boat for a trip through the most spectacular portion of the Li River karst.  Lunch is on the cruise boat, and we’ll reach Yangshuo about 2 PM.   NOW, in this small village on the banks of the Li River, you are surrounded by stunning Chinese tower karst!  We check into our hotel and are reunited with our luggage for 4 nights in Yangshuo.Yangshuo has developed a tourist section on the river that offers outdoor cafés, cobbled stone lanes, and great people watching.  Cormorant fishing with locals is an evening option.        Yangshuo,  B,L,D
Wed, 20   The rural village of Xingping is first on our list today.  The options are to visit Lotus Cave with Dwight or take a boat with Mary a short distance down the Li River to the ancient fishing village of Yu Cun.  Lunch will be in Xingping.  More sight-seeing through the karst, with the option to bicycle back to town.  Tonight will be the spectacular Night Show on the Li River (Impression Liusanjie) – a remarkable and very unusual professional performance really beyond your expectations!        Yangshuo, L
Thu, 21   This morning we will travel southwestward to a complex foot-cave system inside Shuiyan hill.  We will pass Moon Hill on the way and return to Yangshuo for lunch on our own. We have considerable flexibility for the afternoon and for tomorrow that we will discuss in Yangshuo.  We can split into two or more groups.  Options include bicycling or taking various small conveyances around the local countryside (as mentioned above), a somewhat "wilder" developed cave, and various cultural opportunities, such as learning some of the rudiments of Chinese calligraphy or Tai Chi.        Yangshuo
Fri, 22   Today we visit another spectacular show cave, Silver Cave, south of Yangshuo and return for lunch in Yangshuo.  The afternoon options are similar to yesterdays.        Yangshuo
Sat, 23   We check out from our hotel in Yangshuo and fly to Chongqing, where we board our private bus for the drive southeast across the Yangtze to the “small” rural city of Wulong. The new road winds through karst that is much different from that around Guilin and Yangshuo.  We will check into our hotel that will be our base of operations for the next few days. Breakfast and lunch on your own with a Welcome to Wulong dinner provided.        Wulong, D
Sun, 24   After breakfast in our hotel, we will spend the day exploring the Wulong Karst UNESCO World Heritage Site starting  with the San Qiao Natural Bridges Geopark and the Longshuixia Karst Fissure Gorge (a huge unroofed cave system with a 100-m tall, 1-km long, residual cave: Baiguo Dong). Return to Wulong.        Wulong, B/L/D
Mon, 25   We will explore the caves and karst along the Furong Jiang (River), including the Furong Dong show cave and the reservoir.        Wulong, B/L/D   
Tue, 26   After breakfast, we take our bus back to Chongqing for an afternoon of touring and checking into our hotel studio room complete with kitchen and small living room area.  Sights focus on WWII history with a personal view of General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell touring his home and office on the hill overlooking the Yangtze River.  Across the street is the Flying Tigers Museum with photos and memoirs of this unique and successful flying squad of Americans and Chinese pilots.  In a nearby park we will find the home of Chiang Kai-Shek.  Today it houses antiques for sale from families who were displaced by the Yangtze River Dam.  Tonight a Hotpot Dinner, the signature cuisine of this region.        Chongqing, B/D
Wed, 27   An orientation to the Yangtze River Valley begins at the new Three Gorges Museum.  Models and artifacts tell the story with well-designed demonstrations of the Dam.  For lunch and a touch of the past, we go to the reproduced "Old Town".  Narrow streets and lively vendors make this a fun venture as well as a shopping delight full of bargains.  Last chance for all those gifts you didn't buy.   Dinner is on your own, but we'll find a nearby restaurant for the group.        Chongqing, B
Thu, 28   The morning is free for a walking tour of the neighborhood of our hotel, including the popular pedestrian shopping district that rivals major cities for stores and upbeat life, as well as the new Chinese pavilion on the river close by.  Afternoon flight to Hong Kong.        Hong Kong, B
Fri, 29   A free morning in Hong Kong on your own for your interests.  Afternoon flight to the US of A and home, arriving the same day and gaining the day lost coming over.        B

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS:  From Chongqing, a Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges or an extended stay in Hong Kong.  Post-tour travel to Beijing and the Great Wall, Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors, or elsewhere in China can also be arranged.  If there is enough interest from karst enthusiasts, we would take a small group to visit the Mother Of All Collapse Dolines (Xiaozhai Tienkeng) in Fengjie County south of the first of the Three Gorges.


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