Take in the highlights of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, and enjoy a cruise of the Yangtze River. Plus, venture to Lhasa, set high on a Himalayan plateau, for an insider's look at Tibet's Buddhist culture.

Starting at: $7,387 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Great Wall of China  The Potala Palace in Lhasa  The breathtaking gorges of the Yangtze River  A panoramic view of the Forbidden City  Beijing's Forbidden City   The Great Wall of China  The Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xi'an  Monks amid the mountain landscape of Tibet  Young Tibetan monks  Prayer wheels at Lhasa's Potala Palace  Potala Palace, Lhasa  Prayer flags in Tibet  Detail of the Dazu Rock Carvings, a World Heritage site  China's Yangtze River  Pavilion in the Yu Yuan gardens of Shanghai  Yu Yuan (gardens) of Shanghai  The renowned Shanghai Museum

Classic China Featuring Tibet

Including a Yangtze River Cruise

19 days from $7,387 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Take in the highlights of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, and enjoy a cruise of the Yangtze River. Plus, venture to Lhasa, set high on a Himalayan plateau, for an insider's look at Tibet's Buddhist culture.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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Best quality and attention to detail at a great price! 

- Dick S.

I met so many interesting people on this tour. We bonded exceptionally well with each other and with the study leader and tour director. I will certainly use Smithsonian in the future. 

- Mary Jeanne C.

This trip was so much better than our expectations (and they were high). My husband hesitates traveling abroad, but we both were totally captivated. Every night on tour, we celebrated the day!

- Christina T.

If you want to learn about the history, culture, and art of China and Tibet, I highly recommend this tour!

- Richard T.

Amazing journey! The quality of our expert and guide were unparalleled in our experience!

- Kathleen S.

This was our first organized tour, and we were a bit wary of how it would work. Our wariness was unwarranted. As the tour went on, we were happier and happier with our decision. We now fear that no future tour will measure up to this one.

- Jim S.


See All Journeys Dispatches ››


Sep 13 - Oct 1, 2018 Departure
Robert Foster

Robert Foster

Robert W. Foster has been fascinated by Chinese culture since he first read a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching in high school. Since that early encounter with a strikingly unfamiliar worldview, he has spent his academic career developing a better understanding of the history of one of the world's great civilizations. After receiving a B.A. in History from Kenyon College in Ohio, Foster pursued graduate work at Harvard University, where he earned his Master's degree in East Asia Studies (1990) and his Ph.D. in Chinese History (1997), during which time he was an exchange student at Peking University (1990-1991). Since 1997, he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of History at Berea College, where he created the Asian Studies program. Although his courses at Berea focus on Chinese and Japanese history, Foster has also developed a broader understanding of the cultural interactions throughout East Asia and between China and Central Asia. Foster has been a participant in National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes on the Silk Road sponsored by the East-West Center in Hawaii and seminars on modern China at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. Foster has worked to make Chinese culture more accessible to a Western audience. He has translated key Classical Chinese texts, has written on China's relation to the Silk Road, on Confucian philosophy, and on the modern use of Confucian imagery in the PRC and Japan. Recognizing the value of directly engaging Asian cultures, he has taken student and faculty groups to the Peoples' Republic of China and Japan. He has served as Smithsonian Lecturer in China and has led workshops on Asia with organizations as diverse as the U.S. military and secondary school educators in Kentucky.

Oct 11 - 29, 2018 Departure
Rose Lee

Rose Lee

Rose E. Lee is an art historian, curator, and editor of Asian art whose focus is on the material cultures and societies of North Asia. With a working knowledge of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, she has lived and worked in Asia for over twenty years. Formerly a curator of Chinese art at the Denver Art Museum and the National Palace Museum of Taipei, Rose also taught Chinese art history at Colorado College and Soochow University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and edits exhibition catalogs and journal articles on Asian art.

Apr 3 - 21, 2019 Departure
Robert Shepherd

Robert Shepherd

Robert Shepherd is a visiting associate professor of international affairs at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he teaches courses on international development, human rights and ethics, contemporary Chinese society, and environmentalism. He is also editor of the journal Critical Asian Studies and an area studies course coordinator for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Shepherd spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Dipayal,  Nepal, three years teaching at a United Nations training institute in Beijing, China, and two years helping design and implement a national technical training program on Java, Indonesia. He has also led study-abroad programs to China and Tibet for George Mason University and George Washingtion University, worked with the "Semester at Sea" program, and conducted field research in rural Nepal and China. Dr. Shepherd's articles on the interactions of culture and tourism, cultural heritage issues, and international development has appeared in various publications, most recently the International Journal of Cultural Policy, the Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Annals of Tourism Research. He is the author or co-author of four books, including Faith in Heritage: Displacement, Development, and Religious Tourism in Contemporary China (Left Coast Press, 2013) and Heritage Management, Tourism and Governance in China (with Dr. Larry Yu; Springer Press, 2012). His most recent book is an edited volume entitled,  Cosmopolitanism and Tourism: Rethinking Theory and Practice (Lexington Press, 2018).

May 2 - 20, 2019 Departure
Virginia Bower

Virginia Bower

Virginia Bower is an expert on Chinese art and archaeology. Virginia did her graduate study at Princeton University, and is now an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; she also teaches regularly at Rutgers University. She has contributed to numerous museum catalogs and exhibitions and is a co-editor of Chinese Ceramics: From the Paleolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010). She has lived in Taiwan and worked at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Virginia first visited China as a tour lecturer in the 1980’s and has returned many times on a wide range of itineraries sponsored by educational institutions, including the Smithsonian.

May 9 - 27, 2019 Departure
Ken Hammond

Ken Hammond

Ken Hammond is a historian with expertise in Asia and the cultural and intellectual history of China. As a professor at New Mexico State University, he also teaches courses on the history of Central Asia and the Silk Road and has taught at the China Studies Program in Beijing. Ken has a breadth and depth of knowledge as reflected in his 36-lecture series for “The Great Courses,” entitled From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History.

Ken also focuses on global and comparative history and is interested in urban history and cartography. He has published many articles on a wide range of subjects, including Chinese intellectual and political history and Chinese gardens. He received his Masters and Ph.D. from Harvard University in history and East Asian languages and has been a research scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing and at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden, the Netherlands. 

Sep 12 - 30, 2019 Departure
Edward McCord

Edward McCord

Edward A. McCord is Professor of History and International Affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Professor McCord received his B.A. in history from Marian College (Indianapolis) in 1973.  He then went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese history from the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Power of the Gun: The Emergence of Modern Chinese Warlordism (1985) and Military Force and Elite Power in the Formation of Modern China (2014), and has published numerous articles in professional journals on Chinese military-civil relations.  Before coming to George Washington University, he taught for eight years as an assistant professor at the University of Florida.  He now teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the George Washington University on Chinese history and the uses of history in international affairs.  He is also a frequent lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute and the Smithsonian Institution's Campus on the Mall program. He is currently Vice Dean for the Elliott School of International Affairs.