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11 Days China Golden Triangle Tour with Yangtze River Cruise from $1979

Classic China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

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As one of the most classic tour itineraries, this tour is recommended for the first time visitors to China. It provides a great perspective to observe China's yesterday, today and tomorrow. In this tour, you will discover the most important historical cities in China - Beijing & Xian, and numerous cultural relics can be found here. Besides, Shanghai is the great destination to experience the fast development of China. What's more, you can relax on a luxury ship on Yangtze River.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Great chance to experience the most famous ancient capitals in China - Beijing and Xian;
  • Witness the tremendous development of China by visiting Shanghai, the most developed city in China;
  • Enjoy a leisure onboard living on luxurious cruise on the beautiful Yangtze River cruise.

Basic Trip Information

Travel Route:
Beijing / Xian / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai
Travel Length:
11 Days and 10 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-BYS-11
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotograph
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 5~6 Xian Tour & Flight to Chongqing

One full day to visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, leisurely walk on the Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter. Before leaving for Chongqing, explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Shaan’xi History Museum.

Day 7~9 Yangtze River Cruise

Board your ship in Chongqing, the rlaxing Yangtze River cruise starts. Explore the stunning scenery along Yangtze River, such as Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam and interesting excursions to Shibaozhai Pagoda, Shennv Streem, etc. Also relax yourself with rich activities on board.

Day 10~11 Shanghai Tour & Departure

Experience the great contrast of Shanghai by visiting the traditional Yu Garden and Jade Buddha Temple, modern and prosperous Shanghai World Financial Center, 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.

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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 & Flight to 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. 

Till now, your Beijing tour is about to end. Your tour guide will see you off at airport for a 2-hour flight journey to Xian. You will be picked up by your tour guide at Xian Xianyang International Airport 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 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. 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 activities: 1) Take a relaxing cycling on the Ancient City Wall; 2) 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
  • Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 6 Flight to Chongqing from Xian (B, L)

Today, you will be free until your guide picks you up in the airport and take 1.5 hours flight to Chongqing. Upon arrival, the local guide will meet you at the Arrival Hall of the airport, and then your guide and driver will take you to visit Ciqikou Ancient Town - it was Chongqing's old harbor and was once the residential houses of many of Chongqing's rich merchants, where you can still see lots of Ming and Qing dynasty architecture, local shops, tea houses, local Sichuan street performance and so on. Later, move to next highlighting site - Three Gorges Museum, the largest monographic museum representing the history & culture of Three Gorges Project and its origins.

After the tour, you’ll be transferred to Chongqing Chaotianmen Port to board your ship during 18:00-20:00. Your lifetime Yangtze River cruise sails at 21:00! (Please note: the boarding time and pier change based on Yangtze cruise ships, water level, season and weather, etc. Your travel consultants will tell you the detailed time and pier before your boarding.)

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

Day 7 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 8 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)

On this day, you’ll sail through the spectacular Three Gorges - Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge. Relax on the sun deck and soak up the breathtaking gorge scenery passing by.

Take enjoyable adventure to primitive Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream) in the Wu Gorge. You’ll switch to a smaller boat sailing down the beautiful stream in a narrow gorge and get close-up views of high mountain peaks and hanging coffins in the steep cliffs. Entertain yourselves with local music and dance offered by the Tujia ethnic minority.

In this evening, enjoy Captain’s Farewell Party with all the mates onboard. About 23:00, you can watch the process of passing through Three Gorges Dam Five-stage Ship Locks.

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

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

Day 9 Yichang & Flight to Shanghai from Yichang (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 10 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 activity: 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).

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

Day 11 Shanghai Departure (B)

Wondering why Shanghai became a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city from a shabby fishing village? This morning’s tour to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center will give you a full explanation to that question, besides that, you’ll have an overview of the ambitious plan for future.

Next is a wonderful visit to Jade Buddha Temple. Owning the largest jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures, the very pure land in the crowded downtown is a quiet place for nice break in this busy city.

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

  • 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

+2 days Chengdu City Break & Giant Panda Visit

Chengdu is famous for Giant Pandas and its idyllic slow pace of daily living.

During this trip, your tour guide will company you to explore the top recommended attractions in Chengdu one by one to experience its authentic culture and history. First of all, take an exciting visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Then move to Renmin Park to enjoy a cup of traditional Chinese tea in the Renmin Park; Learn about Buddhism culture in Wenshu Temple; Experience traditional Chengdu life in Jinli Old Street...

Mama and Baby of Panda
+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
11 Day Beijing Shanghai with Yangtze tour map

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  • +2 days Chengdu City Break & Giant Panda Visit
    +3 more days to explore all Guilin Highlights (Li River, Yangshuo and Longji)

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