Yangtze River | China
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Classic China & Yangtze Cruise - 13 Days map

From bustling Beijing to Shanghai, be astonished as you capture the diverse spirit of China’s most iconic cities. Walk along the best-preserved section of the Great Wall and marvel at the battle ready Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an before learning about the Great Pandas struggle for survival in Chengdu and soaking up the natural splendor of the mighty Yangtze River & Three Gorges Dam.

Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Chengdu – visit the famous Giant Panda Research Base – one of the best places in the world to see the Giant Panda, and Jinli Old Street
Great Wall of China – hike to Mutianyu section of Great Wall. Optional cable car and toboggan rides available
Big Goose Pagoda – take in the architectural marvel of one of China’s most famous Buddhist pagodas
Hutong – explore Beijing’s old lanes on Rickshaw tour and dine with a local family
Yangtze River Cruise – cruise down the third longest river in the world from Chongqing – Yichang on an all-inclusive river cruise
Acrobatics – watch a stunning acrobatics performance in Shanghai
Beijing – roam the streets of China’s fascinating capital. Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, 798 art zone, Jade Carving Factory
Xi’an – wander along the ancient city walls and visit China’s oldest and largest mosque
Terracotta Warriors - walk among the famous UNESCO listed Terracotta warriors made to protect the emperor in the afterlife
Three Gorges – climb to the viewing platform and marvel at the worlds largest dam
Shanghai – stroll through Shanghai’s futuristic city. The Bund, Yu Garden, Silk Factory and Xintiandi district


12 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 3 dinners
All relevant transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles
Local guides for scheduled sightseeing in Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Yichang and Shanghai. Unescorted travel between cities
Tour of Giant Panda Research and Breeding Centre
Rickshaw ride through Beijings Hutongs
Chinese dumpling cooking class
9 nights 4 star hotels and 3 nights Yangtze River Cruise (superior cabins)
Arrival airport transfer on day 1 from Beijing Capital Airport
Second class high speed train tickets with allocated seating next to each other: Beijing - Xi'an, Xi'an - Chengdu, Chengdu - Chongqing, Yichang - Shanghai
Chinese acrobatic performance
Entrance fees to all sites in this itinerary

Not Included

International flights and visa
Optional activities (not included in this itinerary). Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature
Mandatory service charge of CNY150 per person by the cruise company, to be paid locally to the boat company
Tip for your tour guide is not included in the Tip Kitty. We suggest USD$3-5 per day, per traveller for a job well done, however the amount is up to you


This tour is perfect for travellers looking for;
- Smaller group size (max 16).
- Travellers preferring not to use the overnight sleeper trains, includes day trains only.

Day 1


Welcome to China! Arrive into Beijing Capital Airport where you’ll be transferred to our hotel in the buzzing metropolis of Beijing. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the city. For dinner we would be happy to arrange a Peking duck meal, a must try!
Overnight: Beijing

Day 2

Tiananmen Square & The Forbidden City

We begin our day travelling to Tiananmen Square, one of the oldest and largest city squares in the world, and the heart of Beijing. We take some time to walk through and admire the square, home of the mausoleum of Chairman Mao and striking Monument to the People’s Heroes. Dominating the square is the world-famous Forbidden City, the largest collection of ancient wooden structures, and the centre of power for five centuries. Step back in time as you wander through the magnificent courtyards and admire the impressive interiors of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This afternoon we have the chance to explore the city’s Hutongs on a rickshaw ride along the banks of Houhai Lake and through the network of alleys and old back lanes of Beijing's former courtyard houses to gain insight to the city’s traditional way of life. We stop for a traditional lunch hosted by a local family before exploring the nearby Drum Tower. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

The Great Wall

After breakfast, we head north of Beijing to Mutianyu to walk the best-preserved section of the famous Great Wall, a cultural icon stretching some 6700 kilometers and constructed by at least 20 dynasties. Walk the northward route for the most spectacular scenery of verdant forests and sloping hillsides or the southward route for the grand Big Corner Tower & Zhengguan Terrace.

Afterwards, we stop at a local Jade Carving Factory to get an insight into the history of Jade in China and see some impressive carvings, before stopping at a farmer’s restaurant nearby for a spot of lunch. Return to Beijing for a short visit of the 798-art zone in the northeast corner of the city, admiring the work of local artists and passing the many galleries and art centres. Remainder of the day is free to continue exploring or sit back and relax with a beer at one of the local bars.
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Beijing to Xi'an

Beijing – Xi’an. Spend the final morning in Beijing exploring the colourful Summer Palace, a pristine imperial garden used by emperors to escape the heat of the summer. Walk through the landscape which appears to have been taken from a traditional Chinese painting, along the man-made Kumming Lake admiring the temples, gardens, pavilions and bridges. Entry to the complex of Summer Palace is included, for those that would like to further discover the area, why not opt to explore longevity hill and hall of dispelling clouds or enjoy a short leisurely cruise along Kunming Lake (book/payable locally).

Later, we board the bullet train with our lunch box, to Xi’an where we will be met by a local guide and transferred to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Terracotta Warriors & the Great Mosque

This morning we take a guided tour of one of the 20th century’s greatest finds – the Terracotta Warriors. Comprising over 8000 life size clay warriors and horses, standing in military formation, built to protect China’s first emperor in the afterlife. We also visit the Terracotta Warrior factory to learn more about the complex and lengthy production process of these incredible figurines. We stop for lunch before returning to the city to walk along the ancient city walls and take in the incredible views of the cityscape (a bike ride can be arranged for an additional fee).

Continue to the Great Mosque, China’s oldest and largest mosque combining Chinese and Middle Eastern designs into elegant structures and serene gardens, before finishing our afternoon with a stroll from the Muslim Quarter to Yongxingfang, browsing the bustling markets and sampling local street food along the way. Yongxingfang is famous for Shaanxi food and home to the bowl breaking ceremony. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

We have some free time this morning to explore the local neighbourhood close to the hotel before we meet in the afternoon for a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in the country, soaring 64 meters high, and housing religious artefacts taken from India. This evening we learn the art of making Chinese dumplings, a particular favourite in Xi’an, before enjoying the fruits of our labour for dinner.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

Xi'an - Chengdu

Xi’an – Chengdu. Board the bullet train to Chengdu this morning, home to China’s fury mascot. On arrival, we are met by a local guide and begin exploring this quaint city, witness locals playing Mahjong in the local tea houses or the footpaths, learn some traditional dancing and try some of the local tea. Take a stroll through Jinli Street to taste some traditional snacks before spending the remainder of the day at leisure. Perhaps watch a local shadow puppet show or some traditional performance art.
Overnight: Chengdu  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Chengdu - Yangtze River

Chengdu – Chongqing – Yangtze River Cruise. Chengdu, famous as the world leading, nonprofit organisation focusing on the research, breeding and conservation of endangered pandas. We are escorted through the centre by one of the keepers, who teaches us about the behaviour and health of the centres 80 fury residents. After lunch we board a bullet train to Chongqing, where we then board the Victoria cruise down the Yangtze River, the greatest river in China, at 9pm. Before boarding the cruise (if time permits) we can stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9

The Pearl of the Yangtze

Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. Today there is a shore excursion at no additional expense to Shibaozhai, a 200-meter hill standing tall along the bank of the river, to marvel at the incredible wooden pagoda. Depending on river conditions, an excursion to Fengdu can also be arranged for an additional fee. Take a stroll around this village which was built for families who moved here as a result of the rivers rising waters brought on by the Three Gorges Dam.
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

The Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges, the water control project on Yangtze River and a breathtaking sight is ours to explore today. The first gorge we pass, Qutangxia Gorge is the shortest and narrowest yet the most impressive. Here, the dramatic 1200m limestone peaks are often shrouded in mist and the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste.

Next comes Wuxia Gorge, which straddles Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers a spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally, is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges
Overnight: Yangtze River Cruiser  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11

Yichang to Shanghai

Yichang – Shanghai. Disembarking from our cruise in Yichang before lunch, we’re transferred to Yichang station where we take the bullet train bound for Shanghai. Upon arrival, we’re transferred to our hotel where we have the remainder of the evening to relax, or perhaps start exploring this futuristic city.
Overnight: Shanghai  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12

Shanghai Sightseeing

A city with a turbulent history and a promising future, Shanghai offers the best of old and new with grand colonial architecture engulfed by soaring skyscrapers. Today we embark on a guided tour, starting at the Bund we walk along the waterway until we reach Yuyuan Garden, a pristine classical Chinese garden and one of the four national cultural markets in the old town area. Stroll through the garden influenced by the classical Suzhou garden design as well as the traditional halls, towers, pagodas and pavilions.

After lunch, we visit a silk factory to learn about the life-cycle of the silk worm and how the silk is harvested and woven into fabric, before enjoying a leisurely walk down the cobblestone alleys of Xintiandi, where classical architecture meets modern aesthetics. This evening we enjoy a Chinese acrobatic performance.
Overnight: Shanghai  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13


Our Chinese adventure comes to an end today. Spend the morning at leisure to do some last-minute shopping or to enjoy some last minute optional excursions. Explore the China Art Palace, cycle through the French concession, or visit the Wet market and learn how to prepare Chinese noodles with a cooking class. We can arrange a departure transfer upon request or would be delighted to help you extend your stay in China and book more nights for you if you’re still not quite ready to head home.


The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.

5L Beijing Hotel , Beijing

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Well located in the Chaoyang district, the Beijing 5L Hotel enjoys access to the China World Trade Centre and 30 minutes from Beijing International Airport. Each modern guestroom features complimentary WiFi and a flat screen TV. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served daily in the onsite restaurant as well as Chinese dishes. The hotel also features a spa, wellness centre and garden so guests can unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel, Xi'an

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Located a stone’s throw away from the Ancient City Wall and Islamic Mosque, is the Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel. The hotel offers modern comforts in the heart of the city. Each air-conditioned guestroom features WiFi, a minibar and satellite TV. There is an onsite restaurant which serves a daily buffet or a la carte breakfast as well as a variety of Asian and Western dishes. During free time, guests can enjoy a relaxing massage or work out in the fitness centre.

Xinliang Hotel, Chengdu

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Situated in the Jinjiang district of Chengdu is the Xinliang Hotel. Each air-conditioned guestroom features a flat screen TV, kettle and toiletries. Guests can enjoy a variety of Sichuan and Cantonese dishes at one of the on-site restaurants or relax in the lobby bar or tea house. For those looking to unwind after a day of touring the hotel offers sauna, steam room and massages.

Victoria Lianna Cruise, Yangtze & Three Gorges

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 star cruise boat

Travelling in style down the Yangtze River is the Lianna cruise ship. Boasting high ceilings and large public areas this ship is perfect for a cruise down the Yangtze River. Cabins are 19msq and include cotton bed spreads and private balconies to enjoy the scenery. Guests can enjoy a variety of dishes at one of the restaurants on board.

SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund, Shanghai

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Located a stones throw from the Bund and Yu Gardens, the SSAW Boutique hotel is the perfect hotel for those looking to explore Shanghai. Each air-conditioned guest room features a minibar, safe and flat screen TV. Guests can borrow books from the hotel library or work up a sweat in the fitness centre. The hotel offers complimentary Italian tea and coffee which can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio which boasts stunning skyline views.

Golden River-view Hotel, Shanghai

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Golden Riverview is an elegant hotel with comfortable, spacious rooms tastefully furnished and offering guests broadband internet access. The hotel is equipped with quality facilities including a bar and restaurant, a business centre and health club.

At a Glance

Hotel Rating
4 star
Tour Guide
Yes - for all included sightseeing
Breakfast: 12, Lunch: 9, Dinner: 3
Minimum Age
15 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Dep. Transfer
No - Additional fee
Click to play videoTaihemen gate of the Supreme Harmony Imperial Palace at the Forbidden City in Beijing
Click to play videoCyclists on the old city walls in Xian
Yangtze Highlight
Click to play videoThe view across the Huangpu River to the modern cityscape of Pudong in Shanghai

The tour was good, all arrangements worked out well we had a total of 5 tour guides so difficult to comment one guide, all were on time explained the programme for the day with no problems

only comment I would give is the durations of the 4 train trips should be set out in the tour offer the last trip to Shanghai was 8.25 hours !

if I had known I would have taken an aeroplane

All in all a very good trip Many thanks

Gavin McLellan
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