A Passion for China

China Travel Service uses expertise to serve up exciting itineraries for 2003

By: Robert Carlsen

San Francisco-based China Travel Service is boosting its Yangtze River cruise offerings for 2003 in anticipation of the damming and flooding of the river, which begins this summer near Wuhan and continues to 2009.

William Li, marketing manager, said all the tour operator’s Yangtze River programs this year are selling well. Most itineraries include sightseeing tours prior to boarding the river vessels for a 3- to 4-day cruise, which provides a broad experience on land as well as water.

One of the company’s more unique programs this year was a tour to the Ice Sculpture Festival in Manchuria, which will be repeated in January 2004. Li said several travel agents were invited to the departure earlier this month to get some word of mouth spreading among clients. “Consumers don’t know very much about this region,” he said, “so we wanted travel agents to see it firsthand before offering it to their clients.”

This tour to northeast China starts with several days in Beijing for traditional sightseeing, followed by a flight to Changchun. Clients stay at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. The next day, clients board a train for Harbin, where the festival is held.

Li said CTS will again participate in the Hong Kong Tourist Association road shows this year.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of some of CTS’ new programs and old favorites for 2003:

The new 10-day Scenic Wonderland tour departs from Guangzhou and visits Tunxi, Huangshan, Wuhan, and Chongqing. A three-night Yangtze River cruise, via Orient Royal Cruises, is included. Optional extensions to Kunming and Guilin are available.

A morning connection flight from Guangzhou to Tunxi, the gateway to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), is followed by a visit to a nearby ancient town where most of the buildings date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. The next day, clients ride on a cable car to the summit of Yellow Mountain, and the next two days clients can hike and explore the mountainous region.

The Yangtze River cruise, following a brief city tour of Wuhan, features a look at the Three Gorges Dam project, the Xiling Gorge, Shennong Stream, Wu and Qutang gorges and Shibaozhai (Precious Stone Fortress), the site of an unusual 12-story pavilion built against a sheer rectangular cliff during the Ming dynasty.

After disembarking at Chongqing and enjoying a city tour, clients fly back to Guangzhou.

Rates start at $1,825 per person, double, land only, and $2,480 with air from the West Coast on China Southern. Ten departures are available from March to November.

A Yangtze River cruise is also a part of the popular 13-day China Favorites tour, departing from Beijing and visiting Xian, Chongqing, Wuhan and Shanghai, with optional extensions to Guilin and Hong Kong.

Clients take in some usual and unusual sites in Beijing, including the Summer Palace, the Great Wall (at Mutianyu), the Hutongs (old city), Prince Gong’s Palace and the Drum Tower.

In Xian, clients view the terra cotta warriors at the Archaeological Museum, the Neolithic village of Banpo, and attend a Tang dynasty dinner show.

A four-night Yangtze River cruise is followed by a flight to Shanghai to visit the Jade Buddha Temple and the Children’s Palace.

Land-only rates start at $2,075 per person, double; air inclusive rates start at $2,590.

For clients who want to visit the Great Wall in-depth, CTS has an eight-day Great Wall Hiking Tour that’s a bit more physically challenging than the normal two- to three-hour visit.

From Beijing, clients drive to Huangyaguan and check into the Great Wall Hotel at the foot of the Wall. Other Wall visits are made at Simatai, Jinshanling (highlighted by 67 Ming-era towers just 10 kilometers apart), Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng and Juyongguan.

After a free day in Beijing, clients return to the West Coast.

Rates start at $900, land only.

And China Travel Service’s seven-day Hong Kong Cultural Kaleidoscope tour takes in a number of free, optional activities, including feng shui and tai chi classes, antique hunting on Hollywood Road, a jade appreciation class, an architecture tour, a Chinese tea class at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and a Cantonese opera appreciation class.

Rates start at $600 per person, double, land only, and $1,275 with air from the West Coast via Cathay Pacific.


China Travel Service was established in Shanghai in 1928. It has 30 affiliate offices in Hong Kong and more than 300 affiliate offices throughout mainland China as well as representatives throughout Asia.

Departures are guaranteed based on 2 participants traveling together.

Commissions start at 10 percent.

CTS USA is a member of USTOA.


E-mail: info@chinatravelservice.com

Web: www.chinatravelservice.com.