Solar Eclipse (2009) in China - the schedule by Mark Sukhija

The total solar eclipse of 22nd of July 2009 will be the longest eclipse of the 21st Century being 6 minutes 38 seconds at the point of maximum eclipse. We will be viewing the eclipse from Qiantang River Tidal Bore viewing area with Journeys Worldwide.

Current eclipse plans

For 2009, I will be rejoining the members of the Astronomical Association of Queensland and Dick Cijffers of Journeys Worldwide with who we travelled to the total eclipse in Libya.

We have booked on Journeys Worldwide tour "CH3" - one of four tour extensions which Journeys Worldwide offer in addition to the the core Eclipse trip.

We will be arriving in Chengdu a day before the rest of the group on the 9th of July 2009. The Leshan Grand Buddha and the Panda Breeding Centre are both on our schedule. We'll spend three nights in Chengdu at the Sichuan Hotel.

We're in Lhasa for three nights to a visit to the Potala Palace and the 1,300 year-old Jokhang Temple. The Potala Palace, a full 13-storeys above a 130 meter high hill is sure to be a highlight of the trip.

We arrive in Lanzhou by overnight train from Lhasa. We're leaving Lhasa after breakfast and arrive in Lanzhou the following morning. This is quite a journey as we approach 5,000 meters across the Tibetan Plateau and we're told that the train has been especially equipped with oxygen should passengers require it. We only have a short stay in Lanzhou to see the local museum to view a 2nd Century BC plate depicting Bacchus - the Greek God of wine which was found 90km from Lanzhou. We're going to take an early evening flight to Chongqing. In Chongqing we will try to visit the Ciqikou Ancient Town and the Arhat Temple or the the Dazu Rock Carvings.

After a solitary night in Chongqing, we will spend 3 nights on a Yangtzee River Cruise for three nights. The cruise will take us through The Three Gorges Dam area on ship President 4. We're goint to be able to visit some of the largest locks in the world and we'll be able to visit the dam wall - which is part of one of the worlds largest engineering projects in the world.

We will disembark from our cruise in Yichang and visit The Interpretation Centre. If we have time, we will briefly visit Wuhan before embarking on our flight to Hangzhou to join the rest of our group. In Hangzhou we will stay in the Ramada Plaza Hotel.

In Hangzhou, we intend to visit the West Lake and surrounding areas. The West Lake is reputated to be one of the most beautiful lakes in China.

Eclipse Day - 22nd July 2009

For eclipse day itself, we will be at the Qiatang River Bore. The duration of totality, commencing at 09:34, at Qiatang is expected to be 5 minutes 40 seconds in duration. The Tidal Bore Viewing Area is around 90 minutes from Hangzhou itself and the eclipse itself will end at around 11:00.

It is expected that there will be an impressive tidal bore which is often several meters high and we hope this will be an excellent ending to the longest eclipse in over a century.


After the eclipse, we head to Suzhou which is known as one of the major silk producing areas of China. Suzhou has been at the centre of Chinese Silk production for 2,500 years. We will visit the Suzhou Silk Museum. We also expect to visit a Silk Factory to see the Silk Production process.

After Suzhou, we will spend two nights in Shanghai. We will travel to Shanghai by train. We will, of course, visit the Bund amongst other Shanghai highlights. We will be having a farewell meal with the AAQ and the rest of our group.

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Further reading

Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu

Chengdu - three day stay in Chengdu - Travelogue from Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple during our 18 day trip to China

Visit to Chongqing - Travelogue from our time in Chongqing during an 18 day trip to China

2008 eclipse in Nunavut, Canada - Information on and about the 2008 total solar eclipse section in Nunavut, Canada

2008 Solar Eclipse Path - Path information for the 2008 total solar eclipse, including an orthographic view

2008 Total Solar Eclipse - the post-mortem - Total Solar Eclipse in 2008 - post-mortem

2008 Total Solar Eclipse travel information - Travel ideas for the Total Solar Eclipse in 2008

Barnaul - Getting to and from Barnaul

Nadym - Getting to and from Nadym

Nizhnevartovsk - Getting to and from Nizhnevartovsk

About Mark Sukhija

Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook