Eclipse Tour #2 : From China’s Great Wall to the Gobi Desert (Beijing - Xian - Dunhuang - Jiayuguan)
Our second 2008 China eclipse program will take you along China’s Great Wall, starting in Beijing, continuing to Xian and Dunhuang and ending on China’s Great Wall Western Front in Jiayuguan. This tour will take you through four magic Chinese Provinces.
Beijing, China’s capital and host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, will be the starting and ending point of your journey.
After visiting the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City, we will proceed to the Great Wall, just some 100 km away form the capital. Another highlight will be the Unesco World Cultural Heritage of Chengde, the former Qing Dynasty capital. We will then fly to Xian and admire the Terra Cotta Army, considered the "eighth major miracle in the world".
Our journey continues to Dunhuang, also named the "Pearl" of China’s Silk Road. From here, we will proceed to Jiayuguan, the Gateway to the Ancient Chinese Empire. This will be our major hub for our eclipse viewing program. Some 100 km away, passing by cotton fields and China’s Space Program location, we will enjoy 1 minute and 50 seconds of totality in our specially built day camp in the Gobi Desert. After the eclipse, we will celebrate with a Gala Dinner in the typical Eclipse-City fashion with our Chinese hosts.
You will be accompanied by our multilingual staff, international astronomy experts, and of course, bilingual local guides. All hotels are self-inspected 3 or 4 star hotels, depending on the visited locations.


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Itinerary [1.1 MB]
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Program 2 : 9-day tour from Beijing (China)
Friday July 25th - Saturday August 2nd 2008
2,490 € p.p. (single supplement policy applies)
Day 1: Friday, July 25th 2008 - Beijing First Impressions
Arrival in Beijing from your home country. Depending on your arrival, we will pick up at the airport and bring you to your hotel.
In the afternoon we will drive you into your first Beijing impressions : visit of the Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven.

Day 2: Saturday, July 26th 2008 - Forbidden City and Great Wall
Beijing - visit of the Forbidden City with its palaces; in the afternoon drive to the Great Wall (130 km outside of Beijing), the famous 13 Ming tombs and "Avenue of Souls".

Day 3: Sunday, July 27th 2008 - The Eight Outer Temples of Chengde
After breakfast we will drive to Chengde. Some 230 kilometers (140 miles) away from Beijing.
Chengde has plenty of sceneries. The Mountain Resort and Eight Outer Temples are listed as the world cultural heritage sites, which have contributed towards Chengde being one of famous cities in the world.
The Mountain Resort of Chengde, located at Chengde City Hebei Province, is the largest imperial garden in modern China. The Mountain Resort, also a summer resort, is an important location of wonderful scenery and pleasant climate. Grand palaces, delicate temples, peculiar mountains, exquisite pavilions and tranquil waters are full of beautiful things in your eyes. You will have the choices of walking, hiking, climbing, riding and boating inside the garden.
As this city is such a nice location, we will stay spend the night here and enjoy Dinner in our 4 star hotel.

Day 4: Monday, July 28th 2008 - From Chengde to Xian
Today is travel day. After breakfast, we will head back to Beijing and take our flight to Xian the "Eternal City". Dinner is taken at our hotel in Xian.

Day 5: Tuesday, July 29th 2008 - Xian, Eternal City and Terra Cotta Warriors
Xian is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the southern part of the Guanzhong Plain. With the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north, it is in a favorable geographical location surrounded by water and hills.
The cultural and historical significance of the area, as well as the abundant relics and sites, help Xian enjoy the laudatory title of ‘Natural History Museum’. We will definitely visit the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, which is praised as ‘the eighth major miracle of the world’, the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, which is listed on the World Heritage List, and the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), which is the largest and most intact Ming Dynasty castle in the world.
The night life in Xian has a unique glamour. Traditional ways include enjoying the night scenery around the Bell Tower, taking part in a Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, strolling on the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square and watching the music fountain performance. All in all, any experience in this ancient city will bring you fun and possibly a little surprise!
After a long day, we take a late flight to Dunhuang, the "Pearl" of China’s Silk road in the Northwestern Province of Gansu. Late Dinner is taken at the hotel.

Day 6: Wednesday, July 30th 2008 - Dunhuang, the Pearl of China’s Silk Road
After breakfast we will start our day with the visit the Mogao Grottoes. These well preserved caves span a period of one thousand years, from the 4th to the 14th century, and visually represent with vivid detail the culture of medieval China.
We will then visit the Crescent Moon Lake, where the oasis meets the desert. The spring-fed lake is set amidst towering sand dunes from where you can take in a spectacular view of the green oasis surrounded by an endless desert landscape. You can make a (steep) climb up the massive singing sand dunes for a great view of Crescent Moon Lake.
Eclipse day is approaching, thus we take a late bus drive to Jiayuguan, where we will overnight for the next days. Late dinner at Jiayuguan is taken.

Day 7: Thursday, July 31st 2008 - Jiayuguan and the Western Great Wall Front
The Gateway to the Ancient Chinese Empire, the site of the fort that marks the western end of the Great Wall in Gansu Province. Owing to its strategic position, it has the name of "fort of the border" and "domination of the Great Wall", with a long and venerable history dated back to the 2nd century B.C. and beyond, the last real outpost of the Great Wall.
The Overhanging Great Wall is an extended part of the Jiayuguan Pass, and was once an important component in the medieval military defense system. Winding through the Gobi dessert to the steep Black Mountain (Hei Shan), the wall appears to hang over the cliff and block the vital pass of Shiguan Xiakou, which is how it got its name.
We will end our Great Wall program by taking you the Jiayuguan’s Great Wall Museum. At this point, you should be an master expert on China’s Great Wall history and architecture.
Before dinner is served, you may want to take part of an international astronomy lecture and get the latest information about eclipse-day.

Day 8: Friday, August 1st 2008 - Eclipse Day : 1 Minute and 50 Seconds of Totality
After breakfast, we will head for our specially built day camp in the Gobi Desert, just two hours drive away. We have been there ourselves inspecting this site in October 2006. It is stunning, no clouds and it is all there for you : lunch and beverage service, camel riding, hot air balloon and much more.
Now you want to find your own spot. There is ample of space in the Gobi Desert. This location offers more than 1 minute and 50 seconds of totality along with the best weather prospects along the 2008 totality path.
Back at our Jiayuguan hotel, you may want to freshen up, change and get ready for our Eclipse Gala Dinner and Show.

Day 9: Saturday, August 2nd 2008 - The Day After the E-Day
After a typical Eclipse-City breakfast, we will head back for Beijing, where you shall connect to you home destination or continue on you own.
Scheduled arrival in Beijing afternoon hours.

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Note :
There is no Beijing program availability after the eclipse due to the Beijing Olympics starting August 8th 2008. If you require a Beijing Olympic package please get in touch with us at or simply consult the official web site at
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Last update on February 26, 2007.