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17 Days China Paradise Tour with Tibet Discovery & Yangtze Cruise from $3,492

Encompassed China Highlights

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If you have enough travel time in the budget, this 17-day tour is definitely a great way to travel and see China. The tour covers all the highlights of China while letting you discover the splendid Chinese history at world heritage sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the home of the Terracotta Warriors. You will see and even hug the lovely Giant Pandas in Chengdu, relax on a Yangtze River cruise ship while enjoying the River’s fascinating views, and ease your spirit and curiosity at the holy Potala Palace in Lhasa and at various Buddhist ceremonies and festivals in Lhasa exhibiting the sacred Buddhist culture.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Visit the essential Chinese cultural and historical sites, learn about China on the way;
  • Immerse yourself in the breathtaking views along the Li River in Guilin;
  • Join the faithful Tibetans in discovering Lhasa, the holy land on the high plateau;
  • Relax with the beautiful scenery and leisure activities on the Yangtze River cruises.

Basic Trip Information

Travel Route:
Beijing / Xian / Lhasa / Chengdu / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai
Travel Length:
17 Days and 16 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-BTS-17
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCultureEcologicalPhotograph
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~4 Arrival & Beijing Tour

Two full days and a half day sightseeing covering the grand Tiananmen Square, historical Forbidden City, spectacular Temple of Heaven, manmade wonder Great Wall of China, royal park Summer Palace, traditional Hutong, etc.

Day 5~7 Xian Tour & Flight to Lhasa

Two full day to visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, leisurely walk on the Ancient City Wall, Bell & Drum Tower Square, Great Mosque and Muslim Quarter, explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaan’xi History Museum.

Day 8~10 Lhasa Tour & Flight to Chengdu

Two full days to explore the holy Lhasa, covering the grandiose Potala Palace, sacred Jokkang Temple, Barkor Street, delicate Norbulingka Park, and two major temples in Tibet – Drepung Monaster and Sera Monastery.

Day 11~12 Chengdu Tour & High Speed Train to Chongqing

One full day in Chengdu to meet the cute Giant Panda, then enjoy leisure time in Wenshu Temple, Renmin Park and Jinli Old Street. Next morning, take high speed train to Chonging, make a visit to Ciqikou Ancient Town and Three Gorges Museum.Then, be transferred to the Cruise pier, and board the ship in the late afternoon.

Day 13~15 Yangtze River Cruise & Flight to Shanghai

Explore the stunning scenery along Yangtze River, such as Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam and interesting excurtions to Shibaozhai, Shennongxi Stream, etc. Also relax yourself with rich activities on board.

Day 16~17 Shanghai Tour & Departure

Experience the great contrast of Shanghai by visiting the traditional Yu Garden and Jade Buddha Temple, modern and prosperous Jinmao Tower, Nanjing Road and the Bund, etc.

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Ni Hao! welcome to Beijing, the iconic city and capital of China! You will be met by our local tour guide at the arrival hall of Beijing Airport and escorted to your downtown hotel by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of the day is your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby areas, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Arrival Ideals: At present, there are many international and domestic flights to Beijing. Besides, you can take a high speed train to this capital city from Shanghai (5-6 hrs), Xian (5.5 hrs), Guangzhou (8-9.5 hrs), etc.

    No documents found.

Day 2 Beijing (B, L)

After breakfast, start to explore the historical face of Beijing with a brief visit to Tiananmen Square, now the largest city plaza in the world. Tiananmen Gate on the northern side of the square was the site where Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Stepping into the Tiananmen, you will see one of the world’s five most important palaces – the Forbidden City, a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties lived. Pass through various doorways in this magnificent structure to admire the beautiful and well preserved buildings decorated with yellow-glazed tile roofs, white marble bases and splendid colorful paintings.

After lunch, drive to the outskirts of Beijing to spend an enjoyable time in the Summer Palace, the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. Stroll around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges and corridors while feasting your eyes on the vast lotus in Kunming Lake and the colorful paintings in the Long Corridor.

Optional activities: 1) You can watch a wonderful Kungfu Show in the Red Theater (Hong Ju Chang) which usually starts at 19:30; 2) Enjoy the classic Chinese art performance of Beijing Opera at Liyuan Theater between 19:30-21:00.

  • Tiananmen Square Tiananmen Square
  • Forbidden City Forbidden City
  • Summer Palace in Beijing Summer Palace

Day 3 Beijing (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 70km to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Great Wall. Visit the Mutianyu, a less crowded yet well-preserved segment of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It will more than live up to all of your expectations! You can take a cable car or an enjoyable 40 minute walk to set your feet on the historic Great Wall. Then climb up its rising towers to enjoy scenic views of the wall as it wriggles along mountain ridges and you take brag-worthy photos.

Continue your trip to Ding Tomb, the mausoleum of a 13th century emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Follow your tour guide to observe its geomantic arrangement as well as visit the underground palace for a closer observation. Then drive back to Beijing City and take a short stop at the Beijing Olympic Village to view its famous Bird’s Nest and Water Cube from the outside.

Optional activity: After the whole day’s tour, treat yourself a great dinner to taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck at Quanjude.

  • Mutianyu great wall The Magnificent Mutianyu Great Wall
  • Ding Tomb Ding Tomb
  • Bird's Nest Bird's Nest

Day 4 Beijing – Xian (B,L)

After breakfast, drive to the imperial site of the Temple of Heaven. Originally a site used to pay homage to Heaven and pray for good harvests, it is now a bustling place where locals take part in traditional activities such as Tai Chi, dancing, kite flying, water calligraphy, and others.

Then get back to the central city to hop on a rickshaw to experience the Beijing Hutongs – small alleys made by neighboring quadrangle dwellings. Shuttle among different Hutongs to get a feel of the old Beijing life style, visit various antique shops and small boutiques, and truly feel the historical changes of Beijing.

Your Beijing tour is now about to end. Your tour guide will see you off at the Beijing West Railway Station for a high speed train trip to Xian (about 5 hours). You will be picked up by your tour guide at Xian North Railway Station and escorted to your hotel in Xian. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.

  • Temple of Heaven in Beijing Temple of Heaven
  • Hutong Hutong

Day 5 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 40km to discover one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world – the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, built by the first emperor of China Qin Shihuang to protect him in his afterlife. Over 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots, buried in 3 pits for more than 2,000 years until uncovered by a local farmer in 1974, form an ancient military army with complete battle units of infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Emperor Qin Shihuang but also by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans.

After lunch, return back to Xian for some leisure time at the Bell & Drum Tower Square, where the biggest and most intact Bell Tower and Drum Tower in China stands. Then head to the Great Mosque, a very special place made up of a group of buildings that include multi-story buildings, towers, pavilions and palaces with Chinese style decoration on the outside and Muslim style decoration on the inside. This visit is followed by a relaxing wander around bustling and lively Muslim Quarter, a place where you can try different local snacks and explore Muslim culture.

Optional activity: Enjoy a wonderful Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm) after a hearty dumpling dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Terra Cotta Warriors Terracotta Warriors
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 6 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, head to Da Cien Temple, a famous Buddhist sutra translation site during the Tang Dynasty. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is the most famous building in the temple. The pagoda, rising to a height of 64.5 meters, was built by the famous Buddhist master Xuanzang to preserve classic scriptures he bought back from India during the early Tang Dynasty. Xuanzang was the prototype character for Tang Seng in the famous Chinese novel “Journey to the West”. (Note: It costs an extra 30 RMB if you want to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda)

Next is an educational visit to the Shaanxi History Museum where you can ramble in the modern exhibition halls to appreciate historic relics such as porcelains, paintings, and currencies dating from the Zhou to the Tang dynastic periods (1100BC to 907 AD).

In the afternoon, you will take a wonderful stroll on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Enjoy panoramic views of modern Xian while you leisurely examine this well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circuit of nearly 14 kilometers.

Optional activity: Take a relaxing cycling trip on the Ancient City Wall.

  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Xian Shaanxi History Museum To Explore the Spectacular Heritages of Ancient China
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall

Day 7 Xian & Flight to Lhasa(B)

Today is free until your guide escorts you to catch your flight to Lhasa (about 3hrs). Upon arrival, a tour guide will pick you up at the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel in downtown Lhasa while you enjoy the stunning views along the Yarlong Tsangpo River.

After check in, the rest of the day is for you to acclimate to the high altitude and weather of Lhasa. You should avoid strenuous physical activities during this period since this may cause high altitude sickness. 

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Day 8 Lhasa (B)

After breakfast, start an incredible day of exploration in Lhasa city. The grandiose Potala Palace will be the first site to discover. After more than 1300 years of historical changes, this colossal Palace still dominates the skyline of Lhasa city. The Palace is the political and religious center of Tibet and has served as the governance and preaching site for the Dalai Lama. Climbing up the sacred steps to the Red Palace and White Palace you will explore their marvelous interiors full of exquisite Thangkas, numerous Buddha statues, vivid wall paintings, and other works of Buddhist art.

In the afternoon, first visit the holiest Buddhist temple in Tibet, Jokhang Temple, where the 12-year-old-like Shakyamuni statue is consecrated. With a history stretching over 1,300 years, this temple combines the architecture styles of Tibet, China, Nepal and India. As a spiritual center of Tibet, Jokhang Temple attracts hundreds of devoted pilgrims to worship there every day. Outside the door of Jokhang Temple is the famous pilgrimage circle, Barkhor Street, where you can join faithful Tibetans in colorful attires walking the circle around Jokhang Temple.

  • Tibet Potala Palace Visit Potala Palace
  • Jokhang Temple Jokhang Temple
  • Meet Tibet Locals Meet Tibet Locals

Day 9 Lhasa (B)

After breakfast, we start our day with a visit to the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas and also the largest Tibetan garden – Norbulingka Park. The luxuriant trees and flowers, cool ponds and comfortable palaces make Norbulingka the best place for a summer retreat. Then drive about 5km westward to Drepung Monastery. This monastery used to play a crucial role in Tibet Buddhism as the school of the Dalai Lamas. As you walk along, immense temples and chapels leap to your eyes one after another. In its heyday, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Various Buddhist rituals are performed in the monastery during festivals, most famous being the ceremony of Buddha Display in the annual Shoton Festival. 

We will then visit the featured six hundred year-old Sera Monastery, famous for its grand ceremony of Buddhist debating and its beautiful temples with sensational icons, murals and history.

  • Monks at Drepung Monastery Entrance Monks at Drepung Monastery Entrance
  • Norbulingka Norbulingka Park
  • Monks Debating at Sera Monastery Monks Debating at Sera Monastery

Day 10 Lhasa & Flight to Chengdu (B)

Today is free for you to explore Lhasa city until your tour guide transfers you to the airport for your flight to Chengdu. 

Welcome to Chengdu, hometown of the Giant Panda! You will be met by our local tour guide at the arrival hall of Shuangliu International Airport and escorted to your downtown hotel in a private vehicle. The rest of the day is on your own to relax.

    No documents found.

Day 11 Chengdu (B, L)

This morning you will make a memorable visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.  This facility is not only the most important panda scientific research center in the world, but also the home for more than 100 Giant Pandas. You will walk at leisure through the bamboo-framed paths and closely observe giant pandas of different ages eating bamboos, playing with each other, tumbling, and climbing trees. Be sure to not miss the chance to watch female pandas nursing their cubs in the nursery rooms! There is also a very informative Panda Museum where you can learn more scientific facts about Giant Pandas. Following the visit to this Panda base, you will be taken to a hidden spiritual Buddhist temple in hustling downtown Chengdu, Wenshu Temple, where you will marvel at the exquisite Buddhist architecture, soak in the reverent atmosphere, and wander on the temple’s peaceful paths. 

Chengdu is famous throughout China for its relaxing and leisurely pace and lifestyle, which will be demonstrated by a visit to the City’s Renmin Park. Sit down, order a pot of Chinese tea, have a casual chat with your friends and watch locals indulging themselves in different kinds of folk entertainment – napping, playing mahjong, disco dancing, and giving neck massages! Next will be an impressive visit to the famous Jinli Old Street. Time will steal away as you quietly walk on the lively streets full of delicious local snacks, delicate artifacts, interesting folk shows, and other activities.

Optional activity: In the evening, watch a wonderful performance at the Sichuan Opera which includes folk opera, face changing, fire spitting, rolling lights, and other delightful entertainment. (usually starts at 8pm and last 1.5 hours)

  • Lovely Pandas in Chengdu Lovely Pandas in Chengdu
  • Wenshu Temple Wenshu Temple
  • Jinli Old Street Jinli Old Street

Day 12 Chengdu & Take High-speed Train to Chongqing (B, L)

This morning, you will be transferred to Chengdu Eastern Railway Station to take the high speed train to Chongqing (about 2hrs). Upon arrival at Chongqing Northern Railway Station, you will be met by our tour guide and then go to visit Ciqikou Ancient Town - Chongqing's old harbor and once the site of the residential houses of many of Chongqing's richest merchants.  Here you can still see exquisite Ming and Qing dynasty architecture, visit local shops and tea houses, watch local Sichuan street performances and undertake other interesting activities. After this you will be taken to the next highlight site, Three Gorges Museum, a large monographic museum presenting the history and culture of the Three Gorges Dam Project and its place in Chinese history. 

After the tour, you’ll be transferred to Chongqing Chaotianmen Port to board your cruise ship between 18:00-20:00 that evening. Your once-in-a-lifetime Yangtze River cruise sails at 21:00! (Please note: the boarding time and departure piers change based on the ship line, water level, season, weather, and other factors. Your travel consultants will ensure you have the actual departure time and boarding pier before your boarding.)

  • Chongqing Chaotianmen Port Chongqing Chaotianmen Port
  • Ciqikou Old Town Ciqikou Old Town

Day 13 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)

In the morning, wake up leisurely and enjoy the gentle sunshine shining over the tranquil and beautiful Yangtze River. It will be colorful and interesting whether you decide to stay onboard or go ashore at river stops. 

Onboard you will enjoy different kinds of activities, like practicing Tai Chi on the boat’s sundeck, drinking a relaxing morning coffee, attending a Yangtze River history and culture lecture, or taking part in the Captain’s Welcome Party and evening shows. 

Next follow a local guide and make a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, one of the “Pearls” of the Yangtze River. A gem of Chinese architecture, this 12-story, 18th century red wooden temple on the northern bank of Yangtze River is an architectural delight full of legends and beautiful stories. (Note: Comfortable shoes are highly recommended since there will be lots of stairs to climb up!)

Optional Excursion: Take a shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City for an extra fee. Called the “City of Ghosts”, it is endowed with mysterious stories about underworld and cruel tortures and different kinds of devils and Chinese demons. Entering this ghost city, you will find many statues of demons and vivid scenes of their perfidious activities. (Note: Once again, the visit to Fengdu Ghost City requires much walking and comfortable shoes are again highly recommended!)

  • Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise A Lifetime Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise
  • Shibaozhai Pagoda Shibaozhai Pagoda

Day 14 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)

Today you will sail through the spectacular Three Gorges while relaxing on the sun deck and soak up the breathtaking gorge scenery passing by as you drift through Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge respectively. 

In Wu Gorge you will take an enjoyable adventure to primitive Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream). Switch to a smaller boat to sail down this beautiful stream running in a narrow side gorge where you will have close-up views of high mountain peaks and hanging coffins on the steep cliff faces. After watching an entertaining music and dance show of local Tujia ethnic minority, sail back to your ship.

In the evening, you will firstly enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Party with all your mates onboard, and then watch the fascinating process of passing the ship through the Three Gorges Dam Five-stage Ship Locks at 23:00 PM.

Optional Excursion: Take a shore excursion to White Emperor City for an extra fee. Located at the entrance of Qutang Gorge, this excursion offers the best viewing spot to appreciate the magnificent Kuimen Gate. 

  • Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze River Cruise
  • Shennv Stream Shennv Stream

Day 15 Yichang & Flight to Shanghai (B, L)

Today’s highlight is a morning excursion to Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, located at the middle of Xiling Gorge near Yichang. You will marvel at this gigantic dam from different angles, learn more of the background history of the Three Gorges Dam Project and enjoy the surrounding beautiful landscape and scenery. 

After this excursion, it is back to your ship to continue your cruise to Yichang. Your ship will arrive at Yichang Port around 12:30 where you will go through a check-out procedure and disembark. You will be picked up by our local tour guide at the port and escorted to visit the Yichang Museum. From there you will drive to the Yichang airport and take your flight to Shanghai. 

After arrival in Shanghai, our local tour guide will pick you up at the airport, and escort you to your hotel for check in. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this cosmopolitan and lively city.

  • Three Gorges Dam The Magnificent Giant Three Gorges Dam

Day 16 Shanghai (B, L)

You will take a full day of sightseeing to explore both the past and present of Shanghai. Your first stop is Shanghai Museum, one of the Best Four Museums in China. This modern museum, with a round top and a square base which symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as "round sky, square earth", has collected many international-standard exhibits of bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, jade from more than 5,000 years ago to the Qing dynasty. Then you will take an interesting visit to Yu Garden, a shining star among all the ancient Chinese gardens in Jiangnan. This garden fully embodies the traditional design of Chinese architecture with jagged pavilions with elegant decorations, glittering pools with roving fish, and pine trees sprouting to the sky, all designed to refresh your mood and spirit. Adjacent to the garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar where you can savor tasteful local snacks and explore elaborate traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works. Next, you will drive several kilometers to enjoy a panoramic view of the modern face of Shanghai from the 100th floor (474m) of “the Eye of Shanghai” Shanghai World Financial Center

You will then be transferred to another popular landmark of Shanghai, Nanjing Road, a shopping paradise as well as a great place to take a wonderful walk to experience the modern atmosphere of the City. Lastly, you will stop at the Bund, originally a simple towpath for transporting goods but now transformed into a feverish trading district. You will stroll along the Bund, seeing and feeling the perfect fusion of Chinese and Western cultures while at the same time taking in the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes! 

Optional activities: 1) Attend an entertaining Acrobatic Show, including breathtaking “balls of death” acts, chair balancing, hula hoops, juggling of benches, walking in the air, and other breathtaking performances (usually performed during 19:30~21:00); 2) Take a relaxing Huangpu River night cruise to see the city’s most significant edifices and streets sparkling under the atmospheric cover of darkness (about 50 minutes).

  • Jinmao tower The Landmark Supertall Skyscraper of Modern Shanghai
  • the Bund The Bund in Shanghai
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Shanghai Yu Garden

Day 17 Shanghai Departure (B)

Have you wondered why Shanghai developed into a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city from what was originally a shabby fishing village? This morning’s tour to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center will answer that question fully while also giving you an overview of the City’s ambitious plans for future. The Center is a fashionably designed modern museum, themed with “City, Citizens, Environment and Development”. Different usages of photography, models and interactive multimedia displays make your visit enjoyable and entertaining. The best features are the old rare photos of landmarks, such as the Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, during the international settlement, and the large scale model showing the detailed layout of Shanghai.

Next is a wonderful visit to Jade Buddha Temple, the site of the largest jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures. This peaceful kingdom of Buddhism hidden among modern blocks and dominating mansions is a great place for a nice break in this very busy city.

In the afternoon, your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to next destination or home.

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Jade Buddha Temple Jade Buddha Temple
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Recommended Add-on Options

+3 more days to explore all Guilin Highlights (Li River, Yangshuo and Longji)

Guilin, the darling of tourists!

Guilin is famous for having the best landscape under Heaven which can be seen in three most popular places - Guilin, Yangshuo and Longsheng. Only 3 days are needed to get them all in a single trip. You will visit the essential sites in the city, enjoy a relaxing cruise along Li River, and have a pleasant time of countryside exploration in Yangshuo Town. Another highlight is the unique trip to Longji Terrace which is an ideal place for experiencing ethnic culture, hiking and photography.

Panoramic View of Yangshuo Town
17 Day Beijing Lhasa Chengdu Shanghai with Yangtze tour map

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