Classic China & Yangtze River Cruise

Classic China & Yangtze River Cruise

Purpose: Discovery, Culture, History
No. of days: 12 days - 11 nights
First & Last Cities: Beijing,, Shangai
Other cities: Xian, Chongqing, Yangtze River, Shibaozhai, Yichang
Starting cost: $3,605
Tour highlights:
  • See the oldest and the newest that China has to offer
  • Climb upon the ancient ruins of the Great Wall
  • See the Terracotta Warriors built over two millennia ago
  • Embark on a Yangtze River cruise that will
  • Pass by the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project
  • Travel to Shanghai, where the futuristic skyline will take your breath away!
Day 1: Beijing
Beijing, the capital of China, lies just south of the rim of the Central Asian Steppes and is separated from the Gobi Desert by a green chain of mountains, over which The Great Wall runs. Modern Beijing lies on the site of countless human settlements that date back half a million years. Homo erectus Pekinensis, better known as Peking man was discovered just outside the city in 1929. It is China's second largest city in terms of population and the largest in administrative territory. The name Beijing - or Northern Capital - is a modern term by Chinese standards. It first became a capital in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), but it experienced its first phase of grandiose city planning in the Yuan Dynasty under the rule of the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, who made the city his winter capital in the late 13th century. Little of it remains in today's Beijing. Most of what the visitor sees today dates from either the Ming or later Qing dynasties. Huge concrete tower blocks have mushroomed and construction sites are everywhere. Bicycles are still the main mode of transportation but taxis, cars, and buses jam the city streets. Upon arrival at the Beijing airport, please proceed to the luggage area to claim your checked bags. Our local representative will assist you to board deluxe air-conditioned vehicle waiting outside the terminal building and transfer you to your hotel.
Day 2: Beijing (Temple of Heaven)
This tranquil park is often a favorite stop for visitors to Beijing, as it provides them with an authentic look into local life in this city. On any given day, it is possible to see enthusiastic groups of Beijingers practicing Tai Chi, playing traditional instruments, or singing Peking Opera. The grounds consist of a sequence of buildings and altars set in beautiful groves of cypress trees. Learn more about the fascinating history behind this massive, circular structure and see local life unfold before your eyes in this very special visit to the Temple of Heaven. Then transfer to Hongqiao Pearl Market for shopping, before having an Old Beijing Noodles lunch at a local Chinese restaurant Beijing Noodles (Zhujiangmian) with Soybean Sauce is a treat not to be missed. Although customarily made from diced pork fried in a thick brown bean sauce, most restaurants now just use ground pork. The noodles should be hand rolled. Delicious and filling for a snack or a meal, this dish is a favorite in Beijing homes. Then, head to Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of one of the world’s largest public squares, measuring over 109 acres. As you walk from the southernmost part of the square all the way down its length, you will pass several monuments, including the mausoleum that houses Chairman Mao’s remains. The northern gate of the square features a portrait of the PRC’s founding father, and is also the gate through which you will enter the Forbidden City. Enter the Forbidden City and walk in the steps of emperors (closed on Mondays) The Forbidden City was completed in 1420, and was home to 24 emperors, the last of which left Beijing in 1924. The entire imperial complex is reputed to have 9999 rooms, which at its peak housed up to 10,000 people, including the imperial family, 3000 eunuchs, as well as maids and concubines. Discover for yourself why the 170 acres were forbidden to common people as you stroll through what is arguably the best-preserved example of classical Chinese architecture in the world.  Enjoy a delicious Beijing Roast Duck dinner at one of the best Peking duck restaurants in the city. This local delicacy is made using a recipe from China’s imperial era, and is prized for its crispy, rich skin. The meat is rolled into thin pancakes with scallions, cucumber and sweet and salty bean sauce. Don’t worry if your chopstick skills need some work, as these tasty creations can be eaten by hand! [B/L/D]
Option [1] Palace Museum Porcelain Collection
The Palace Museum’s Chinese porcelain collection is one of the finest in the world. Located in the Wenhua Hall in the Forbidden City, the collection covers a floor space of 1,770 square kilometers. Over four hundred of the most remarkable antiques have been selected from nearly 350,000 pieces, spanning thousands of years from the Neolithic Age to modern times.
Option [2]: Kung-Fu Show.
Experience a Chinese Kung Fu evening show, one of the top attractions in Beijing. Marvel at the skill of some of China’s top Kung Fu practitioners. Includes hotel pick-up and drop off and the services of an English-speaking guide
Day 3: Beijing
In the morning travel to the less-visited Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the great wonders of the world (With cable car up and down) The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world. In fact, the length of all Chinese defense walls built over the last 2000 years is approximately 31,055 miles, while the Earth’s circumference is only 24,845 miles! Explore the much quieter Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which was first begun in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557) and finished in the 17th century. The 2.5-kilometer stretch of the Wall allows you to walk along its storied length for over an hour and visit twenty-two watchtowers, should you so choose. Not only will you walk along this wonder of the world yourself, but you will also see it from above during a breathtaking cable car ride to the top (Cable car tickets are included in cost of tour). Lunch at local restaurant. Transfer back to the city. On the way, if traffic allows, stop to take in the view of the iconic “Bird’s Nest”– the Beijing National Stadium– and “Water cube” –National Aquatics Center, host to many spectacular events of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The entrance fees for Bird's Nest and Water cube are not included. Dinner per your own arrangement. [B/L]
Day 4: Beijing, Xian
In the morning visit one of the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in the world. The Summer Palace is one of the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in the world. In the 18th century, Emperor Qianlong enlarged and embellished it, only to abandon it a few years later. The grounds today are stunning, as is the lovely Kunming Lake, which occupies more than three quarters of the total area. Enjoy a boat ride before walking the Long Corridor, a over 2,388-foot hall featuring 8000 paintings collected by the Emperor during his travels around the country. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Includes one soft drink or non-alcoholic beverage Afternoon transfer to the railway Station and take the high-speed train to Xian (G87 2:00 PM-6:40 PM) 2nd class seats. Unlock the secrets of China’s ancient civilizations in a city that countless emperors once called home. See the rows upon rows of Terracotta Warriors with your own eyes, and walk along the glass floors of the Hanyang Tombs to see the treasures archaeologists have unearthed below. Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Dinner on your own arrangement. [B/L]
Day 5: Xian (Terra Cotta Warriors)
One of the world’s greatest archaeological finds, the Terracotta Warriors were discovered quite by chance in 1974 by a group of peasants digging a well outside of Xi’an. These sculptures of soldiers, chariots and horses were funerary statues made to accompany China’s first emperor to the afterlife over 2100 years ago. Legend has it that it took 100,000 men 38 years to create the soldiers, which all vary in rank, posture, height, uniform and facial features. It is believed that here are still thousands of warriors and hundreds of horses and chariots buried in the three pits discovered so far. However, further excavations have been halted while researchers try to find a way to preserve the colorful paint that covers the statues from disintegrating once exposed to air. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Includes one soft drink or non-alcoholic beverage In the afternoon enjoy a relaxing walk on Xian City Wall. The city walls of Xi’an are some of the oldest and best preserved in all of China, and can be dated back to the 2nd century BC, when Xi’an was the capital of the country. The existing walls were completed in 1370 AD, and are about 9 miles in length and are still surrounded by a deep moat to this day. Since 1993, the Xi’an city walls have played host to a world-famous marathon where participants run along the entire length of the wall several times; however, on this tour we’ll take a more leisurely pace to appreciate the spectacular views and rich history of this ancient structure followed by walk through the Muslim Quarter.  For over 1300 years, Muslims have been an integral part of the community in Xi’an. The city’s Hui ethnic group traces their roots back to Persian and Arabic traders, who settled here at the eastern end of the Silk Road. Stroll through this unique and fascinating area of the city, and see the ways in which Central Asia has influenced the development of Mainland China. Built in 742 AD, the Great Mosque is still used today as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims. Its construction and architectural style is almost indistinguishable from a Chinese Buddhist temple, but look closely and you will see the Arabic script and Islamic motifs that decorate the mosque. The main axis of the mosque is aligned in a very non-Chinese east to west direction in order to face Mecca. Transfer back to your hotel and dinner on your own arrangement. [B/L]
Option [3]:  The Tang Dynasty Show
Also known as "Music & Dance Dinner Show in Xian" is hosted at the "Tang Dynasty Palace", which is a leading entertainment theatre & dinner restaurant in China. This legendary venue offers visitors an opportunity to indulge themselves in exotic Chinese entertainment and Cantonese delicacies
Day 6: Xian, Chongqing, Yangtze River Cruise
In the morning visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which was originally built in 652 AD during the Tang dynasty. It houses some of the most important sutras and figurines of the Buddha, brought over to China from India by the famous monk Xuanzang. Dim Sum lunch at De Fa Chang with one glass of soft drink. The most famous cuisine in Xi’an is the dumpling, and there are more varieties of this bite-sized delicacy than you have likely ever imagined before. Sample more than twenty different types of dumplings at this banquet meal, and be amazed by the unique and delicate flavors of these tasty treats! Afternoon transfer to Xi'an Airport and take the flight to Chongqing, a port city with the largest municipal area and population in China. It is situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers in southwest China. With an area of 31, 800 square miles, Chongqing shares borders with the provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Shaanxi. Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to the dock to board one of Victoria Cruise Series - Superior Cabin at 2nd floor (twin room). Depart Chongqing (9:00 PM). Dinner on your own. Overnight on board [B/L]
Day 7: Yangtze River Cruise (Shibaozhai Shore Excursion)
Take a shore excursion to Shibaozhai, with its impressive wooden pagoda, appropriately named “The Pearl of the Yangtze”. Shibaozhai, which literally translates to, “Precious Stone Fortress,” is an extremely steep, rocky hill standing about 660 feet tall. A red pavilion with nine floors leans against the side of the hill, and provides a walkway to the temple located at the top. Depending on river conditions, an alternate excursion may be substituted by Fengdu,, a relocation village built for families who have moved as a result of the Yangtze’s rising waters brought about by the Three Gorges Dam. Additional optional Shore Excursion to Fengdu’s “Ghost City” (river conditions permitting), known for its statues of ghosts and devils on Mingshan Hill. Overnight on board. [B/L/D]
Day 8: Yangtze River Cruise
Cruise through the Three Gorges, “Small Gorges”, and Ship Locks Enter the Three Gorges, one of nature’s most extraordinary sculptures. Today you will pass through the first two—Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge. Qutang Gorge is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. The 25-mile long Wu Gorge is known for its quiet beauty, forest-covered mountains, and cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices. Transfer to another vessel for a relaxing excursion through the attractive gorges of Goddess Stream. Depending on river conditions, an alternate excursion may be substituted to the gorges of Shennong Stream. Enter Xiling Gorge, the longest (41 miles), and the deepest of the Three Gorges. In the evening, sail through the Three Gorges Dam ship locks. Additional optional Shore Excursion to White Emperor City (river conditions permitting), an ancient city overlooking the western end of Qutang Gorge. Overnight on board. [B/L/D]
Option [4]: Shore Excursion White Emperor City
White Emperor City or White Emperor Temple is a favored shore excursion site for Yangtze River cruises. Located in Fengjie, Chongqing, it has a series of outstanding cultural and historical relics shown to all visitors, and also is the best place to admire the view of Kui Gate of Qutang Gorge.
Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai
Arrive Huang Ling Miao (8:00 AM). Morning visit to the Three Gorges Dam. Arrive Yichang. Disembark after lunch* (1:30 PM). The incredible Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Center project is the largest water conservation initiative ever undertaken by man, and has created many “firsts,” such as being the most efficient dam in the world for flood control, the most difficult construction project ever completed, and the largest hydropower project on earth. Enjoy a guided shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam in the morning before disembarking in Yichang. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Includes one soft drink or non-alcoholic beverage. After lunch, transfer to Yichang Airport and take flight to Shanghai. Shanghai, Hu for short, is situated on the estuary of Yangtze River of China. It is the largest industrial city in China. Covering an area of 2,239 square miles, Shanghai has a population of 18.7 million, including 2 million floating population. Originally, Shanghai was a seaside fishing village and in time its gradual development led to it being granted County status on August 19th, 1291 during the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Hence this day became the anniversary of the founding of Shanghai. Today's Shanghai is a multi-cultural metropolis with both modern and traditional Chinese features. Bubbling Shanghai shows off every aspect of her unique glamour. Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Dinner on your own arrangement. [B/L]
*Itineraries and times are subject to change according to river conditions.
Day 10: Shanghai
In the morning meet your guide and visit Shanghai’s Old Town and Yuyuan Garden Four hundred years ago, a merchant spent almosttwenty years—and all his life savings—to build a garden in order to please his parents in their old age. “Yu” means peace and health in Chinese. Over the past several centuries, the Yu Garden has been restored and reopened several times, but has almost always been in disarray. In 1956, the Shanghai city government took over and restored it to its former splendour, making it a peaceful oasis in the heart of bustling Shanghai. Outside the garden gates, the Old Bazaar is the perfect place to strike a bargain or chat with locals selling a variety of wares and souvenirs. Lunch enjoy Shanghai Cuisine at Yu Shanghai Restaurant (near Yu yuan Garden) with one soft drink. Afternoon visit the tallest building in China, the Shanghai Tower, a mega-tall skyscraper located at the core of Pudong’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Area in Shanghai. The structure is 2,073 feet tall, which makes it the tallest building in China, and the third tallest in the world. The unique design of the tower's glass facade, which completes a 120° twist as it rises or about 1° per floor, is intended to reduce wind loads on the building in order to withstand Shanghai’s frequent typhoons. The Tower sports 121 floors above ground and 5 floors underground, with an observation deck on 119th floor, 1,811 feet above ground. The elevator goes up at record speed and takes less than a minute. Explore Xintiandi and the charming art district of Tianzifang. This fashionable pedestrian street is composed of traditional Shikumen (“stone gate”) style houses that now serve as boutique shops and restaurants. Tianzifang, once an unassuming laneway in a factory area, has been transformed into the art district of Shanghai. Here you will find many art galleries, private studios, craft shops, and some of the most charming bars and cafes in Shanghai. Visit Shikumen Open House Museum in Xintiandi Shikumen-style houses were once the main type of residence in Shanghai, but are disappearing slowly with the modernization of the city. The Shikumen Open House Museum is a well-preserved Shikumen house from the 1920s that displays furniture and articles for daily use during that time. Dinner on your own arrangement. [B/L]
Day 11: Shanghai
In the morning transfer to the beautiful water town Zhujiajiao, includes boat ride. Founded over 1700 years ago, Zhujiajiao started out as an ancient water village and bustling market town. Located at the confluence of several local rivers, it is still home to about 60,000 people today. Stroll along its centuries-old streets and explore the many ancient bridges crisscrossing its canals, or take a boat ride to discover the town’s unique character and charm. Enjoy lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, including one non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. Then discover the Shanghai Museum, one of the best museums in China. This museum contains one of the finest collections of ancient Chinese art and antiques in the world. The distinctive building was designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel, and contains 11 permanent and 3 rotating galleries. The museum has over 120,000 priceless pieces in its collection, including bronze, jade, ceramics, calligraphy, sculptures, paintings, furniture, imperial seals, and ancient coins. Then transfer to your hotel and free at leisure. Dinner on your own arrangement. [B/L]
Day 12: Shanghai, USA
In the morning transfer to Shanghai Pudong Airport for your departure flight.
[B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner






Tour includes
  • Transfers by private vehicle where indicated
  • 11 nights’ accommodation:
    • Beijing – 3 nights
    • Xian  - 2 nights
    • Cruise  - 3 nights
    • Shanghai - 3 nights
  • Meals
    • Breakfast daily
    • 10 lunches
    • 3 dinners
  • Yangtze Cruise
  • Economy class airfares:
  • Xian/Chongqing
  • Yichang/Shanghai
  • Including all taxes and fuel charge
  • 2nd class train seats Beijing/Xian
  • Sightseeing as listed in private vehicle
  • English Speaking Guides
  • Bottled water provided on transfers and sightseeing
Not included in tour
  • Airfare between the US and China
  • Meals or drinks other than specified as included
  • China Visa processing and issuing visa fee
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature (minibar, phone call, laundry, etc.),
  • Tips or gratuities to guides/drivers/porters/hotel, restaurant or boat staff, etc.
  • Entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities

Hotels in your Tour

Category Hotel Name Tripadvisor
First Class
Beijing Kapok 4
Xi'an Bell Tower 3.5
Yangtze Victoria Cruise* 4
Shanghai Riverview 3.5
Beijing Sofitel Central 5
Xi'an Grand Park 4
Yangtze Victoria Cruise* 4
Shanghai New World 4.5
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking.
* Cruise cabins are Standard for First Class and Deluxe options


Tour Pricing

Season 2 Pax 2-5 Pax 6-9 Pax Single Suppl.
First Class
Jan '20 - Mar '21 $5,059 $4,025 $3,605 $1,239
Jan '20 - Mar '21 $5,359 $4,325 $3,905 $1,465
Prices are per person and may change without notice.
China National Day (1-7Oct) & Chinese New Year Period – subject to supplement
* Arrival in Beijing must reflect Yangtze Cruise available Sailing dates.
1. The itineraries of Yangtze Cruise are subject to change due to the conditions of climate, water level & navigation channel, especially in December, January & February.

Transfer from Beijing Daxing Airport (PKX)
Season 2 Pax 2-5 Pax 6-9 Pax
Jan '20 - Mar '21 $65 $49 $35
Prices are per person and may change without notice.
Tour Code: CN02PEK20TE


City Description Price
Beijing Palace Museum Porcelain Collection $9
Kung Fu Show $69
Xian Tang Dynasty Show $75
Yangtze Cruise Shore Excursion White Emperor City $79

Prices are per person and may change without notice.