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12 Days Classic China Tour with Yangtze Cruise from $1,978

Real China Discovery

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With a more relaxed pace, you’ll see everything from bustling city to tranquil Yangtze River by a relaxing cruise and spend some days stepping back to ancient capitals, exploring the incredible historical wonders and imperial sites, really getting under the skin of China. This trip, from East China, middle China to North China, presents not only the CLASSIC sights, but also authentic aspect of China - both old and new, historical and modern.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Take a leisure upstream Yangtze River cruise to view the majestic Three Gorges Dam and breathtaking Three Gorges;
  • See man-wonders and magnificent cultural relics to recall the glorious days of the ancient China, and get the new image of China by visiting the metropolitans.

Basic Trip Information

Travel Route:
Shanghai / Yichang / Yangtze Cruise / Chongqing / Xian / Beijing
Travel Length:
12 Days and 11 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-SY-12
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotograph
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~3 Arrival & Shanghai Tour

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.

Day 4~7 Yangtze River Cruise & Flight to Xian from Chongqing

Explore the stunning scenery along Yangtze River, such as Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam and interesting excursions to Shibaozhai Pagoda, Shennv Stream, etc. Also relax yourself with rich activities on board. After disembarking in Chongqing, visit Three Gorges Museum and Ciqikou Ancient Town.

Day 8~9 Xian Tour & High Speed Train to Beijing

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

Day 10~12 Beijing Tour & Departure

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.

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Shanghai Arrival

Ni Hao! Welcome to Shanghai, the biggest metropolis of China!

Upon arrival, you will be met by local tour guide at the arrival hall of the airport and escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

    No documents found.

Day 2 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, 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). 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);  2). Enjoy an entertaining and breathtaking Acrobatic Show at Shanghai Circus World or other acrobatic theatres (usually performs during 19:30~21:00).

  • The Bund: Famous 'Museum of Architecture' The Bund: Famous 'Museum of Architecture'
  • Beautiful The Bund Beautiful International Buildings at The Bund
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Shanghai Yu Garden
  • Shanghai World Financial Center Shanghai Full View from Shanghai World Financial Center

Day 3 Shanghai & Flight to Yichang ( B, L )

Before your departure, you will make fully use of your time to explore two more great sites in Shanghai - the Urban Planning Exhibition Center and Jade Buddha Temple.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is a fashionably designed modern museum, themed with “City, Citizens, Environment and Development”. It vividly displays how Shanghai developed from a swampy fishing village into the most vibrant and biggest cosmopolitan city of China. 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.

Owning the largest jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures, the Jade Buddha Temple is a peaceful kingdom of Buddhism hidden among modern blocks and dominating mansions. 

In the afternoon, your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to Yichang (2hrs). Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to Yichang Port to board your ship during 18:00-24:00. Your lifetime Yangtze River cruise starts! (Please note: the boarding time and port changes based on Yangtze cruise ships, water level, season and weather, etc. Your travel consultants will tell you the detailed time and port before your boarding.)

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Jade Buddha Temple Jade Buddha Temple

Day 4 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.

Today’s highlight is an afternoon 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 Chongqing. Then about 17:00 o’clock in the evening, you can watch the fascinating process of passing the ship through the Three Gorges Dam Five-stage Ship Locks.

Optional excursion: take shore excursion to the Tribe of Three Gorges in the Xiling Gorge which charges extra fee. It has lovely scenes everywhere - waterfalls, boats, fishermen, laundry girls washing in the stream, a mock wedding ceremony…Take an easy boardwalk in the valley to enjoy impressive scenery and explore the life and customs of Bai people of this region.

  • Three Gorges Dam The Magnificent Giant Three Gorges Dam
  • Yangtze River Cruise Yangtze River Cruise
  • Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise A Lifetime Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise

Day 5 Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )

Today you will sail through the spectacular Three Gorges! You will relax 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). You’ll be switched 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. During this side trip you will be entertained with local music and dance offered by the Tujia ethnic minority.

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.

  • Gorgeous Three Gorges Scenery Gorgeous Scenery of Three Gorges
  • Qutang Gorge Qutang Gorge
  • Wu Gorge Wu Gorge
  • Shennv Stream Shennv Stream

Day 6 Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )

In this morning, you will 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!)

In this evening, enjoy Captain’s Farewell Party with all the mates onboard and cherish your last night on the relaxing Yangtze River cruise.

  • Shibaozhai Pagoda Shibaozhai Pagoda

Day 7 Chongqing & Flight to Xian ( B, L)

In the morning, your ship will arrive at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port around 09:00 where you will go through a check-out procedure and disembark. Upon arrival, 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 the tour, your guide and driver will escort you to Chongqing Jiangbei Airport for your flight to Xian (about 1hr and 25mins). You will be picked up by your tour guide at Xian Xianyang Airport and escorted to your hotel in Xian. The rest of the day is on your own to explore this ancient capital of China.

  • Ciqikou Old Town Ciqikou Old Town

Day 8 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 to 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 and walk leisurely on the well-maintained city wall which is 12 meters high and 18 meters wide with a total circle 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 Amazing Terracotta Warriors with 2000 Years History
  • Xian Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall
  • Muslim Quarter Visit Muslim Quarter to Enjoy Some Snacks

Day 9 Xian & High Speed Train to Beijing ( 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).

The rest of today is free for you until get escorted to catch a high speed train to Beijing (about 5hrs), the iconic city and capital of China! You will be met by local tour guide at the Beijing West Railway Station and escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to relax.

  • Big Wood Goose Pagoda Big Wood Goose Pagoda
  • Shaanxi History Museum Shaanxi History Museum

Day 10 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 Magnificent Tiananmen Square in Beijing
  • Beijing Fobidden City Forbidden City
  • Summer Palace Beautiful Kunming Lake in Summer Palace

Day 11 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 Green Mutianyu Great Wall during Summer Days
  • Ding Tomb Ding Tomb
  • Water Cube Water Cube

Day 12 Beijing Departure ( B )

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.

After the tour, your Beijing tour is about to end. Your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to next destination or home.

  • Temple of Heaven The Splendid Temple of Heaven in the Ancient Capital Beijing
  • Hutong Family Hutong
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Mama and Baby of Panda
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Panoramic View of Yangshuo Town
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  • +2 days Chengdu City Break & Giant Panda Visit
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