Kathryn Thornton MS '77, Ph.D. '79, Professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science and Astronaut

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Special Family & Children Pricing Also Available (See below.)

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China—a complex and intoxicating landscape of serene countryside and vibrant cities—is yours to discover on this 12-day trip. Join us as we explore wonders including the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the home of the terracotta warriors. We will also be introduced to the spectacular images of the karst mountains rising from the rice paddies that have inspired artists for ages. We will cruise the Yangzi River and be introduced to the river’s culture with stops in daily ports of call before concluding our journey in Shanghai. In Shanghai, we will visit museums housing centuries of Chinese art and see how the modern city balances traditional architecture with more modern influences.

Program Highlights

  • Experience the traditional courtyard homes and alleyways in the Houhai District via pedicab, and eat lunch in a local families’ home.
  • Fly kites with a Chinese kite master at the Temple of Heaven, a stunning complex used by emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
  • Enter the gates of the Forbidden City and marvel at its collection of antiquities and treasures.
  • Come face-to-face with the adorable and playful Giant Pandas in Beijing.
  • Visit the Summer Palace, a vacation destination for the imperial family during the Qing Dynasty. Cruise on Kunming Lake and walk the Painted Gallery, the longest garden walkway in China.
  • Walk along the Great Wall of China, a miraculous structure that spans 3,700 miles through 16 provinces.
  • Explore the 2,300 year old tomb of China’s first emperor Qingshihuang and see the thousands of terracotta warriors that still guard him in the afterlife.
  • Ride bikes on the ancient City Wall in Xian, the longest and oldest City Wall in the country.
  • Cruise the Yangzi River and view the spectacular Three Gorges Dam.
  • Enjoy the entertaining atmosphere of Xintiandi in downtown Shanghai.


Kathryn Thornton MS '77, Ph.D. '79, Professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science and Astronaut

Prior to joining the School of Engineering and Applied Science faculty, Kathryn Thornton served for 12 years as an astronaut based at the Johnson Space Center, where her duties included a term as head of the Education Working Group in addition to participation in space missions. On June 5, 2010, Kathy was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. For her work on the Hubble Telescope repair project and other missions she was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and other honors. Kathy is the second American woman to walk in space and logged 975 hours in space, more than 16 million miles in orbit and 21 hours of extravehicular activities. Before becoming a member of the space program, she co-authored more than 30 scientific publications and was a staff physicist for the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center. She is currently interested in the development of educational programs to improve the teaching of science and mathematics from kindergarten through high school and in methods to encourage more women to enter these fields. She is also exploring the history of space flight.


1 -

U.S. – Beijing

Depart the U.S. for a non-stop flight to Beijing.

2 -


Arrive in Beijing and transfer to the hotel. (Meals aloft)
Accommodations at the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel in the heart of downtown by Tiananmen Square.

3 -


In the morning, tour the Temple of Heaven, one of the finest cultural expressions of the Ming Dynasty. The Temple of Heaven represents the most advanced principles of architecture available at the time and serves as the ritual center of the imperial government. Fly kites in the open Temple ground with a Chinese kite master.

Next, explore Beijing’s picturesque Houhai district, where well-preserved courtyard homes and narrow hutong alleys border tree-lined lakes. Tour the district by “pedicab” for a closer and more engaging experience of traditional Chinese life.

For lunch we will break into small groups to dine in local families’ homes.

In the afternoon, stop by Beijing Zoo and visit the pandas. Coming face-to-face with these beautiful giants will be a real treat.

Then visit the beautiful grounds of the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was built in 1888 for the Empress Dowager Ci Xi, using funds originally intended for the Qing Imperial Navy. Saunter through the exquisite royal gardens and cruise on lovely Kunming Lake. Also walk the Painted Gallery, the longest garden walkway in China, famous for its lake views.

This evening savor the imperial city’s most famous delicacy Peking duck at the luxurious China Lounge Restaurant. Breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D) are included in the day’s program. (B,L,D)

4 -


In the morning visit Tiananmen Square, located right next to our hotel.

Then we head to the Forbidden City, the abiding symbol of imperial China. Truly one of the great achievements of civilization, its construction employed hundreds of thousands of workers between 1406 and 1420. We’ll marvel at its expansive architecture, the magnificent imperial gardens, and the many museums of Chinese antiquities and treasures within the complex.

Stop by the Olympic Village to marvel at the new stadiums made famous by the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Herzog & de Meuron designed the National Stadium–the “Bird’s Nest” and the firm PTW designed the National Swimming Center–the “Water Cube.” Not content to remain mere observers here, we have the opportunity to swim in the beautiful “Water Cube” where swimmer Michael Phelps won his 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics.

Tonight is free, and dinner is on your own. You may choose to go to a performance at the new National Grand Theatre. Designed by the French architect Paul Andreau, the “Big Egg” took 10 years to construct. With three grand theatres inside and 25,000 titanium plates and 15,000 glass panels outside, it is the most expensive theatre ever built in the world. (B,L)

5 -


This morning, you will visit the Beijing Martial Arts School where students from all over the country learn traditional martial arts.

Encounter the Great Wall of China at the extraordinary rampart at Mutianyu, a rugged section of the wall that offers easy access by foot or cable car. As is usually the case, the Great Wall presents a visual experience that dramatically exceeds visitors’ expectations. Construction of a few miles of the wall on such jagged peaks seems near miraculous, but the rampart stretches for 3,700 miles and passes through 16 provinces.

Lunch is at Xiaolongpu Restaurant at the foothill of the Wall. The restaurant is famous for farmers’ fresh produce and local flavors.

Tonight we enjoy dinner at Ken De Rouge Restaurant. (B,L,D)

6 -


This morning, fly to the ancient Tang dynasty capital of Xian, formerly known as Changan. We visit the extraordinary 2,300-year-old terracotta warriors in the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qinshihuang. The warriors still stand on the original site where they were discovered by farmers in 1974. The “royal hope” can be intuited in this vast army for it was intended to defend the emperor in the afterlife.

Our day concludes with a dumpling banquet at Defachang Dumpling Restaurant, where we’ll feast on over twenty kinds of Chinese dumplings, a Xian specialty.
Golden Flower Shangri-la Hotel (B,L,D)

7 -


This morning relax in or enjoy an optional bike ride on the ancient City Wall in Xian, the longest and oldest City Wall in the country.

Later, explore Shanxi History Museum with artifacts spanning many dynasties.

Fly to Chongqing in the afternoon.

Following dinner we board the Victoria Cruises ship. (B,L,D)

8-9 -

Yangzi River Cruise

Travel downstream through the spectacular Three Gorges (called Qutang, Wu, and Xiling), enjoying the dramatic scenery and beautiful vistas as they appear. Along the way, disembark the ship to enjoy activities offshore. Tour Fengdu Ghost City and see the breathtaking Lesser Gorge Danninghe. Then come face to face with the spectacular Three Gorges Dam at Sandouping. The largest construction site in the world is also China’s latest effort to tame the Yangzi River. (B,L,D)

10 -


Disembark the ship in Yichang after lunch. Fly to Shanghai in the late afternoon and transfer to our hotel.

Tonight is free and dinner is on your own. In the evening you may explore Xintiandi in downtown Shanghai. Designed by MIT architect Ben Wood, Xintiandi is a $200 million two-block “entertainment environment” stuffed with modern restaurants, clubs, cafes and boutiques, accessorized with old bricks, stone gates and ornately carved wooden balconies from the dense warren of old courtyard houses that previously filled those blocks. Xintiandi proved so successful a model for urban redevelopment that it spawned at least dozens of duplicates across the country. (B,L)

Accommodations at the Jinjiang Tower in the heart of the French Concession by Xintiandi

11 -


After breakfast, tour Yuyuan Gardens in old Shanghai and absorb the Chinese traditional garden ambiance.

Visit the Shanghai Museum and viewing its wonderful collection of Chinese bronzes, jade, pottery and ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, old coins, and furniture.

Lunch at Lv Bo Lang Restaurant featuring famous Shanghai dim sum.

Take the elevator to the top of the new World Financial Center, the highest building in Asia, for a bird’s eye view of Shanghai, both the new Pudong and the old Puxi districts.

Later ride on the famous German technology Maglev Train (magnetic levitation train) speeding at 260 miles an hour and takes only 8 minutes to the Pudong Airport, normally an hour’s drive by car!

Enjoy the farewell banquet at the elegant Xi Family Garden Restaurant famous for Shanghai cuisine. After dinner, stroll along the Bund, viewing the beautifully decorated colonial buildings along the Huangpu River. (B,L,D)

12 -


After breakfast transfer to the Pudong Airport for your flight to U.S. Arrive in the U.S. on the same day. (B, meals aloft)


  • The Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel in the heart of downtown by Tiananmen Square
  • The Golden Flower Shangri-la Hotel
  • Victoria Cruise Ship
  • Jinjiang Tower in the heart of the French Concession by Xintiandi


10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinner

Program Fees

$3990 per person, double occupancy, land only.

Special Children’s Pricing:

For children 17 yrs and under sharing a triple room $3490    (3rd person only)
For children 17 yrs and under sharing a double room $3590

Non-Special Children’s Pricing: Double the price.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1450 per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

  • All group domestic land and air transportation in China
  • Group airport transfer for international arrival and departure
  • All sight-seeing, cultural activities, and meals listed on tour
  • Double occupancy accommodations in first class hotels
  • Double occupancy accommodations on Victoria Cruise ship
  • China Advocates’ national tour director (at 10 passengers or more) and local guides
  • Chinese airport taxes and gratuities to local guides and drivers on the main tour
  • Domestic air ticket (coach class) of Beijing/Xian/Chongqing, Yichang/Shanghai

Does not include:

  • Trip cancellation, lost baggage, or medical insurance
  • Meals not listed on tour
  • Visa processing fee
  • Gratuities for the National Tour Escort and gratuities on extensions
  • International and domestic U.S. airfare
  • Private airport transfers for passengers arriving and departing outside of the group transfer time.

Extensions to Chengde, Guilin and Huang Mountain are available. Please call for Details.

Chengde Extension $990; Extension Single Supplement $490
Guilin Extension $1990; Extension Single Supplement $890
Huang Mountain Extension $1890; Extension Single Supplement $790

General Terms & Conditions

We have arranged a group flight through consolidator Airtreks. For pricing, please contact Airtreks directly at 415-977-7136 or at china-advocates@airtreks.com.
**If you are not arriving or leaving at the same time as the group flight, private airport transfers upon arrival in Beijing and departure in Shanghai are recommended and available through China Advocates. Call 1-888-333-2585**

Main Tour Includes: • Double occupancy accommodations in centrally located, first-class hotels • All meals listed, at fine Chinese restaurants specializing in regional cuisines or in private homes • All sightseeing, entertainment, and cultural activities listed in the itinerary • Chinese airport taxes • All group air and ground transportation within China • Airport transfers and porterage for travelers on the recommended International Group Flights • English-speaking Chinese local tour guides • China Advocates’ national tour director (with a minimum of 10 participants) • University of Virginia representative (with a minimum of 10 participants) • Gratuities to local guides and drivers • Preparatory material • •Beer, water and sodas at all meals; wine included at welcome and farewell meals.

Not Included: • Domestic U.S.A. and international airfare • Gratuities to national tour director • Gratuities on extensions • Airport transfers and porterage for independent travelers • Visa processing • Meals not included in the tour • Excess baggage charges • Travel insurance • Items of a personal nature

Travel in China
The schedule will be demanding with moderate physical activity. Travel in China requires good physical condition and health (special needs must be arranged for in advance and may result in additional costs), a spirit of adventure, a flexible attitude, and a sense of humor. The itinerary is subject to change and modification. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned, but alterations may still occur. Participants should be aware that no refunds will be made as a result of unforeseen changes, modifications, or delays.

China offers a wide variety of dining experiences and this program will take advantage of a broad range of Chinese food including Shanghai, Hunan, Sichuan, Canton, and Imperial regional cuisines. It may not be possible to accommodate special diets, except to the extent that one is able to select from the many dishes served.

Reservations: Bookings are subject to the terms and conditions mentioned in these sections. A contract has been entered into as soon as your booking is received and accepted. To confirm the reservation, a deposit of $700 per person is required. Credit card payment is accepted for deposit only; Final balance must be paid by check.
(Checks must be made to:
China Advocates
2339 Ocean Ave • San Francisco, CA 94127
Tel: 888.333.2585 • fax: 415.841.1790

Air: Air cancellations and penalties are based on each carrier and ticket. Be sure to review these policies before purchasing air via Airtreks. China Advocates, Inc. and University of Virginia are not responsible for any penalties incurred due to air changes or cancellations.

Group Air: A recommended group flight is available through AirTreks. This flight will include airport transfers on both arrival and departure. This flight is subject to availability and prices may vary depending on time of purchase.

Cancellations: No cancellation is valid until it is received in writing by the office of Cavalier Travels at the University of Virginia. Cancellation penalties are based on the date of receipt of written notice and are as follows: 91 or more days prior to departure, a cancellation fee of $500 per person is retained; 90-46 days prior to departure, $1,500 per person; 45-31 days prior to departure, $2,500 per person; 30-0 days prior to departure, no refund is made.
Cancellation penalties for additional hotel nights, hotel and cruise ship room upgrades, tour extensions, and any special arrangements, are as follows: 50-31 days prior to departure, 25% of cost is retained; 30-0 days prior to departure, no refund is made.

Responsibilities: China Advocates, Inc. acts only as agents for the various carriers for which tickets are provided and assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with the service of any train, vessel, carriage, aircraft, motor vehicle or other conveyance which may be used either wholly or in part, in the performance of their duty to the passenger. Neither will they be responsible for any act, error, or omission or for any injury, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned by a reason of any defect in any vehicles, or through neglect or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger, or for any hotel proprietor, hotel service or restaurant, or for any other person engaged in carrying out the purpose for which tickets or coupons are issued.
In the event it becomes necessary or advisable for the comfort or well being of the passengers, or for any reason whatsoever, to alter itinerary or arrangements, such alterations may be made without penalty to the operators. The right is reserved to withdraw any or all tours should conditions warrant, also to decline to accept or retain any passengers as members for the tours. In such instances, full or equitable amounts will be refunded. Refunds for unused carrier tickets may be only in accordance with the regulations of the carrier. CST 2064278-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. All legal questions will be settled within the jurisdiction of the County of San Francisco, California.

Visa: To obtain a Chinese visa, a passport is required that is valid for at least six months beyond the duration of the tour. Travelers are responsible for their own visas.

Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended and available. You will receive travel insurance information once you are confirmed on the program.

Itinerary is subject to modification.

Prices are current as of September 2012 and are subject to change without notice