Asia Transpacific Journeys Announces New Itineraries Beginning May 2007 Along China's Silk Road

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"China’s Silk Road: History’s Great Thoroughfare" exemplifies two decades of exploring Asia, of assembling shards and shadows of the past into a story trail that can help us explain how and why civilizations come and go.

Asia Transpacific Journeys (ATJ) announces a new itinerary along China’s Silk Road, from the company that has delved into the heart and soul of one Asian destination after another for nearly 20 years.

“'China’s Silk Road: History’s Great Thoroughfare’ exemplifies two decades of exploring Asia, of assembling shards and shadows of the past into a story trail that can help us explain how and why civilizations come and go,” says Marilyn Downing Staff, CEO.

Remote desert outposts, large cities and rustic villages, Uyghur, Kazak and Kyrgyz peoples, pastoral walks, multiple religious traditions, tombs and temples, markets and bazaars are part of the potpourri available for the first time through ATJ for small groups of up to 16 guests. Leading the trips will be two of ATJ’s team of professionals, which was recently recognized by Conde Nast Traveler as offering exceptional knowledge and service.

ATJ will conduct two departures in 2007 and two in 2008 along China’s Silk Road. The 14-day itineraries are May 6-19 and Sept. 9-22 2007 and May 4-17 and Sept. 7-20 2008.

The land cost of $5,195 per person (double) includes luxury accommodations in Beijing and Xi’an, Western China’s best available lodging, expert tour leadership, most meals including local beer, medical and evacuation insurance, and more. Internal air is approximately $900 and international air approximately $1,300. Single supplements are $800.

THE ITINERARY

This adventure begins in Beijing and ends in Shanghai. Internal flights transport guests to Urumqi (in Mongolian “beautiful pastures”), the capital of Xinjiang, a huge western province home to lush pastures populated by herders and 13 distinct ethnic minorities. Guests sample Uyghur cuisine and overnight in Kazak yurts before flying to Kashgar, still intact from Marco Polo’s time, an intoxicating, marvelous confluence of Indian, Persian, Arabian and Chinese cultures layered one on top of the other. On another day the ruins of whole cities are underfoot as the trip skirts the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert to Karghilik and Yarkand. A highlight is the Sunday Bazaar in Hotan, with bread and steaming nutmeg tea on offer as well as sheep, goats, horses and camels.

In Jiya the 2nd Century comes alive while watching the making of traditional tie-dye raw silk called atles. Dunhuang, one of the great points of convergence along the Silk Road is the next stop, where tree-lined streets are thoroughfares for Mongolian ponies and locals wear traditional dress. From here guests explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mogao Caves, an incredible repository of Buddhist culture: thousands of artifacts are contained therein, including murals, carvings, paintings, embroidery, hand-written texts on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, historic records, accounting books, letters and court records in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Falu, Sute, Hetian and Huihe languages. Finally, a must see on the itinerary is an additional UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian.

TOUR LEADERS

Dr. Stephen Halkovic holds a Ph.D in Inner Asian Studies, specializing in Mongolia/Tibet/China, from Indiana University where he taught for 14 years. While teaching at IU, he led summer tours to Soviet Central Asia, Mongolia and China. Since the ‘80s he has led 100 trips to China, over 50 to Mongolia, and more than 15 to Tibet.

Ari Bond, born and raised in Southeast Asia and educated in Europe, studied languages and geography. He has acquired native fluency in eight languages, and a working knowledge of many others, including several Asian languages. He has planned, managed and directed tours and expeditions for more than 30 years on all seven continents, including pioneering trips throughout Asia.

Asia Transpacific Journeys has been crafting private Custom Journeys and Small Group Trips to the Asia/Pacific region since 1987.

Says CEO Downing Staff: “Our intimate, in-depth style promotes cross-cultural understanding, encourages environmental sustainability, and fulfills long-held personal dreams.” She notes that ATJ’S regional expertise also makes ATJ the operator of choice for dozens of America’s most demanding universities and museums.

For 2007 ATJ’s ever-expanding itineraries of 18 Small Group Trips and Custom Journeys encompasses 20 countries in North Asia, South Asia, SE Asia and the Pacific. Some trips also support global conservation and cultural preservation. ATJ’s own non-profit Asia Transpacific Foundation, established in 1998, works with rural Asian communities to provide clean drinking water through locally made ceramic water filters.

For more information please call toll free 800-642-2742.

Press contact:

Sara Widness

802 234 6704

Please ask for hi-res jpegs and additional itinerary details.

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