2009 Emi Shan China Total Solar Eclipse
China and Tibet | July 13 - July 30, 2009
On July 22, 2009 a total solar eclipse will pass through China. On that date Sirius Travel Inc. will lead approximately 30 travelers to the sacred Buddhist mountain of Emei Shan. Perched above the world at an altitude of 3099 meters, we will stand in the centerline of the shadow of the Sun as it races past. We will start our journey in Beijing on July 13, 2009 and will proceed from there to visit X’ian, Chengdu, Leshan and Tibet. From the ancient Terra Cotta Warriors in X’ian to the natural beauty of the sacred Buddhist mountain Emei Shan and on to the breathtaking beauty of Tibet, this tour will be a wonderful adventure that will engage the most experienced traveler.
July 13, 2009
Arrive in Beijing (AB)
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
July 14, 2009
Full Day Beijing (AB, L, SD)
Visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Summer Palace. The Forbidden City was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Adjacent to the Forbidden City is Tiananmen Square. The square is 880 meters south to north and 500 meters east to west, a total area of 440,000 square meters, which makes it the largest open-urban square in the world. We will also visit the Summer Palace which is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. In the evening, we will enjoy a Kung Fu Show and sample the famous Peking Duck at our Welcome Banquet.
July 15, 2009
Beijing (AB, L, D)
Enjoy a full day excursion to the world famous Great Wall. In the evening, we will visit the ancient Astronomical Observatory of Beijing. Its rich history spans more than five hundred years, making it one of the most historically interesting observatories in the world.
July 16, 2009
Beijing - Xian (AB, L)
Visit the Ming Tombs in the morning. The harmonious integration of remarkable architectural groups in a natural environment chosen to meet the criteria of geomancy (Feng shui) makes the Ming and Qing Imperial Tombs masterpieces of human creative genius. Take an evening flight to Xian.
July 17, 2009
Xian (AB, L, SD)
In Xian, we visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, a Chinese style mosque, Terra Cotta Warriors and browse through the night market. The Qin Terra Cotta Warriors site near Xian has nearly 8,000 life-sized pottery warriors and horses in battle attire and formation. They have been buried for over 2,200 years their discovery is considered to be the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. Enjoy the famous Dumpling Banquet of Xian.
July 18, 2009
Xian (AB, L, D)
Visit the Two Wild Goose Pagodas. These two giant Buddhist pagodas date back about 1300 years to the Tang Dynasty. They are the only tall pagodas of the historic Tang era still standing. Also visit the Bell Tower and the prehistoric village of Ban Po. The Bell Tower, a remarkable symbol of ancient Xian, is the largest and best preserved among the existing bell towers in China. Ban Po, just east of the modern town, is a famous excavation in archeological circles, consisting of a complete Neolithic village.
July 19, 2009
Xian - Chengdu (AB, L, D)
Fly to Chengdu in the morning. Half day tour to Dujiangyan Irrigation System. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System, begun in the 2nd century BCE, is a major landmark in the development of water management and technology, and is still discharging its functions perfectly. This system controls the waters of the Minjiang River and distributes it to the fertile farmland of the Chengdu plains. The immense advances in science and technology achieved in ancient China are graphically illustrated by the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.
July 20, 2009
Chengdu (AB, L, D)
Morning visit to Giant Panda research center. The Chengdu Panda center is one of the best known panda breeding facilities in China and has been very successful at producing cubs. In the afternoon, we will visit the Sanxingdui Museum and learn about the culture that existed in the area of Chengdu between 2,800 to 800 BC. The museum houses some of the area’s most ancient remains excavated near the present city of Guanghan. Clues to this large and thriving culture were discovered by a farmer in 1929 and in the years since, more and more clues about the mysterious Sanxingdui are being unearthed. Silk Factory and Tea shopping after the museum.
July 21, 2009
Chengdu - Leshan - Emei (AB, L, D)
About 2 hrs drive from Chengdu to the Leshan Scenic Area where we will visit the cultural treasure of the Giant Buddha of Leshan, carved out of a hillside in the 8th century and looking down on the confluence of three rivers. At 71 m high, it is the largest Buddha in the world. We will then drive to Emei Shan and the Golden Summit.
The World Heritage Committee considers the area of Mt. Emei to be of exceptional cultural significance since it is the place where Buddhism first became established on Chinese territory and from where it spread widely throughout the east. Mount Emei is also notable for its exceptionally diverse vegetation, ranging from subtropical to subalpine pine forests. Some of the trees there are more than 1,000 years old. It is an area of natural beauty into which the human element has been integrated.
Overnight at Golden Summit Hotel. Please note that we will be spending the night at the summit.
July 22, 2009
ECLIPSE DAY! (AB, L, D)
“Totality! Where the Sun once stood, there is a black disk in the sky, outlined by the soft pearly white glow of the corona, about the brightness of a Full Moon. Small but vibrant reddish features stand at the rim of the Moon’s disk, contrasting vividly with the white of the corona and the black where the Sun is hidden. These are the prominences, giant clouds of hot gas in the Sun’s lower atmosphere. They are always a surprise, each unique in shape and size, different yesterday and tomorrow from what they are at this special moment.
You are standing in the shadow of the Moon.” (- adapted from Totality: Eclipses of the Sun)
Initial eclipse information at our observation site
( Longitude: E103 21 40 and Latitude: N29 43 55)
Maximum eclipse: approximately 01:12 UT
Duration: approximately 5:00 min:sec
We have selected to view this eclipse from the summit of Emei Shan which lies almost directly on the centerline of the eclipse path. Emei Shan is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China and has an elevation of 3099 meters. The views from the summit are spectacular and are usually clear of the clouds and fog of the low lying mainland at this time of year.
Mt. Emei & Golden Summit. Cable car down to the foot of Mt. Emei via Wannian Temple. Overnight at Golden Summit Hotel.
July 23, 2009
Mt. Emei - Chengdu (AB, L, D)
Return to Chengdu. Visit Wuhou Temple and Dufu’s Thatched Cottage. Dufu was a well-known poet in the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907A.D.). He was regarded as the “Father of Poems” because he used his poems as a weapon to reveal the exploitation of the poor by the Emperor. Sichuan Opera in the evening. Face changing is the highlight of the Sichuan Opera where performers will change more than 10 masks in less than 20 seconds!
July 24, 2009
OPTION A – Chengdu – Lhasa, Tibet (AB, L, D)
Transfer from airport to hotel. Spend the rest of the day getting used to the altitude.
OPTION B – Chengdu – Beijing – Home (AB)
OPTION B tour ends on this date – passengers will travel from Chengdu to Beijing, making connections with international flights in Beijing.
OPTION A tour will continue on to Lhasa, Tibet
July 25, 2009
Lhasa, Tibet (AB, L, D)
Visit Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery and Barkhor Street. Included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2000, the Jokhang Temple is located in central Lhasa and is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. The Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. Barkhor, the sacred pilgrim path, is also a marketplace where shaggy nomads, traders, robed monks and chanting pilgrims join together.
July 26, 2009
Lhasa, Tibet (AB, L, D)
Visit Potala Palace, Lobucalin and Tibetan History Museum. The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet.
July 27-29, 2009
ECLIPSE DAY! (AB, L, D)
Details to be determined
July 30, 2009
Lhasa - Chengdu - Home (AB)
Flights from Lhasa to Chengdu and back home.