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9 Days Beijing Shanghai Tour with Relaxing Yangtze Cruise

Brief Impression on China


This tour is designed for travelers who want to get a brief impression on China in a relaxing pace. In the capital Beijing, you’ll explore the stunning history and culture; with a Yangtze River cruise, you’ll sail along the central China to enjoy the gorgeous Three Gorges scenery as well as authentic lifestyle of Chinese people; in the metropolis Shanghai, you’ll be amazed how fast China is developing at recent years.

Highlights of this tour:

  • See the iconic sights of China in Beijing which also belongs to the splendid World Heritage Sites - Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties;
  • Take 4-day downstream cruise from Chongqing to Yichang in a relaxing pace to view Three Gorges scenery and the world-famous hydraulic engineering - Three Gorges Dam;
  • Be awed by the skyscrapers in Shanghai Pudong Area on the bank of Huangpu River, witness the fast development of China and get a new impression on China.

Basic Trip Information

from Request
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Beijing / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai
Travel Length:
9 Days & 8 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~3 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 4~7 Yangtze River Cruise & High Speed Train to Shanghai

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.

Day 8~9 Shanghai Tour & Departure

Experience the great contrast of Shanghai by visiting great collections in Shanghai Museum and explore the charming Yuyuan Garden, also discover the 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.

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.

  • Forbidden City Photographed by Our Customer Forbidden City Photographed by Our Customer
  • Woo's group visited Tiananmen Square Woo's group visited Tiananmen Square
  • Summer Palace Shot by Our Guest Nguyen Summer Palace Shot by Our Guest Nguyen

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’ll take a cable car to ascend the Great Wall, then hike the most beautiful and interesting part of Mutianyu. It's a wonderful experience to climb up its rising towers to enjoy scenic views and take brag-worthy photos of the wall wriggling along mountain ridges. After the exciting time, descend Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car. (Note: If energy permits, you can hike up or down which takes about 40 minutes to climb steps. Please tell your likes to your travel consultant.)

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.

  • Ding Tomb Ding Tomb
  • Kim - Mutianyu Great Wall Mutianyu Great Wall Shot by Our Customer Kim
  • Our customers visited Bird's Nest in 2019 Our customers visited Bird's Nest in 2019

Day 4 Beijing & Flight to Chongqing ( 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, also pay a visit to a local family’s home in the traditional Hutongs.

After the tour, Your Beijing tour is about to end. After lunch, you tour guide will see you off at Beijing Capital Airport and you will take 3 hours flight to Chongqing.

Upon arrival in Chongqing, you will be escorted to Chaotianmen Dock (朝天门码头) to board the Yangtze cruise ship between 18:00-20:00. Your memorable Yangtze River cruise will sail around 21:00!

More notes and tips regarding the Yangtze River Cruise’s embarkation:

  • 1. There are 13 sub-piers of Chaotianmen Dock and different ships will dock at different piers. Please check the info with your travel consultant and know where to board your ship at least one day beforehand.
  • 2. The boarding time and departure piers change based on the cruise line, water level, season, weather and other factors. Your travel consultant will ensure you have the departure time and boarding pier before boarding.
  • 3. Some cruises do not include dinner on the embarkation night, you can have dinner or buy some snacks at Chaotianmen Square before embarkation.
  • 4. Chaotianmen Dock is currently under refurbishment and does not have escalators, only wooden stairs. When embarking or disembarking at Chaotianmen, you may need to carry your luggage up or down the stairs. If you have difficulty with this due to physical constraints, please inform your travel consultant in advance. They can arrange for a luggage porter to assist you for a fee of 20-30 RMB per package.
  • Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock
  • Hutong Shot by Our Customer Taylor Hutong Shot by Our Customer Taylor
  • Temple of Heaven in Beijing Shot by Our Customer Temple of Heaven in Beijing Shot by Our Customer

Day 5 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 in Fengdu County. Fengdu County (丰都), a vital part of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region, boosts unique natural and cultural landscape, including Fengdu Ghost City (丰都鬼城), Mount Shuanggui (双桂山), Snow Jade Cave (雪玉洞), Jade Emperor Scenic Area (玉皇圣地), Xiaoguanshan Folk Residences (小官山民俗村), etc.

Out of all these sites, Fengdu Ghost City (丰都鬼城) is the most famous and attractive one. It is filled with mysterious tales of the underworld, brutal tortures, and various types of demons and Chinese devils. Entering this ghost city, you will find many statues of demons and vivid scenes of their perfidious activities. Some cruise companies arrange the site visit as an included, and others classify it as optional, which requires extra payment; you may check with your travel consultant while booking.

An Optional Excursion: Leaving Fengdu County, your cruise will reach and dock at Zhongxian County in the late afternoon, where a marvelous large-scale real landscape show is coming. The Feng Yan San Guo Show (烽烟三国) brings a cultural feast for Yangtze River cruise visitors to know the brilliant historical culture of the Three Kingdoms Period and the spirit of loyalty of great military officer Guan Yu (关羽). With amazing effects of lights, sounds, and special effects during the show, historical scenes seem to return vividly in front of you.

More notes and tips regarding today’s itinerary:

  • 1. Even sailing the same route through the Three Gorges, different cruises would have different shore excursion arrangements. The sites abovementioned refer to common and most frequent situations. The specific itinerary of the day depends on the ship you booked.
  • 2. Physical demands and dressing tips: Comfortable shoes are highly recommended since there will be a long distance walking at Fengdu Ghost City and many stairs to climb up at Shibaozhai Pagoda!
  • Peter's Family - Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise Peter's Family enjoyed a leisure break on Yangtze River Cruises
  • Shibaozhai Pagoda Shibaozhai Pagoda

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

Today, you will sail through the essential section of the Yangtze River - Three Gorges (三峡)! You shall relax on the sun deck and soak up the breathtaking gorge scenery passing by as you drift through Qutang Gorge (瞿塘峡) and Wu Gorge (巫峡). While the ship cruises toward the mouth of the Gorges, especially at Kui Gate (夔门), you’ll hear the wind whistling fiercely and witness the rolling hills stretching towards the skyline, leaving you marvelling at nature’s ingenious workmanship.

Today’s shore excursions would mainly be arranged at counties along the Three Gorges, in Fengjie (奉节), Wuxian (巫县) or Badong (巴东). Different cruise companies draw up different itineraries. But in general, most luxury Yangtze River cruise companies, such as Century Cruises, Victoria Cruises and Yangtze Gold Cruises, etc., would port in Fengjie in the morning and offer an optional shore excursion (required extra payment) to the White Emperor City (白帝城). This famous ancient “Poem City” is mentioned in about 1,400 Chinese poems. A tour through the scenic area tells a touching story of Liu Bei (刘备) entrusting his son to his prime minister, Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮). What’s more, the Viewing Platform in the scenic area is the best place to take a photo of the top representative landscape of the Qutang Gorge, Kui Gate, the same scenery on the background of the CNY 10 Note.

Cruise journey continues. In the afternoon, your cruise will stop at Wu Gorge. You will take a shore excursion here by switching to a smaller boat to sail down a 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. Shennv Stream (神女溪), Shennong Stream (神农溪) and the Lesser Three Gorges (小三峡) are the frequently-chosen ones.

This evening, you’ll enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Party with all your mates and appreciate or join the fascinating dance show to spend a wonderful night.

More notes and tips regarding today’s itinerary:

  • 1. Besides the shore excursions mentioned above, two newly pop-up sites selected by cruise companies have gained high recognition from guests: Three Gorges Summit (三峡之巅) and Goddess Sky Road (神女天路). Both are constructed on mountaintops for customers to enjoy the panoramic view of the natural splendor!
  • 2. Different cruises have different shore excursion arrangements. The specific itinerary of the day depends on the cruise you booked.
  • Our Guest Lone with a Yangtze River Cruise Our customer Lone took a photo with a Yangtze River Cruise
  • Shennv Stream Shennv Stream

Day 7 Yangtze Cruise and High Speed Train to Shanghai from Yichang ( B )

After breakfast, you’ll begin to check out and disembark at Maoping Port. Today’s highlight is a morning excursion to Three Gorges Dam (三峡大坝), the world’s largest hydropower project, located in the middle of Xiling Gorge near Yichang. You will marvel at this gigantic dam from different angles, learn more about the background history of the Three Gorges Dam Project and enjoy the beautiful surrounding landscape and scenery. If you like, you can take an optional experience to sail through the Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift (三峡大坝升船机), the largest and the most sophisticated ship lift in the world, which takes only 40 minutes with fresh insight into the dam project.

After the dam visit (around noon), you’ll take the bus arranged by the cruise company heading to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal (宜昌三峡游客中心) for leave. Here you will be pick up by our local guide be transferred to Yichang East Railway Station for a high speed train to Shanghai.

After arrival in Shanghai, our local tour guide will pick you up at the train station, 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.

Disembarkation Tips: No matter you take Ship Lift or not, you’ll check out and take your luggage away in this early morning. (1) Only dam visiting: you’ll take bus from Maoping Port to Three Gorges Dam for sightseeing, and then arrive at Yichang downtown around 12:30. (2) Dam & Ship Lift Experience: travelers who are interested in Ship Lift will first switch to a sightseeing boat to sail through the Ship Lift and then visit Three Gorges Dam Site. You’ll arrive at Yichang downtown around 13:30. (3) Ship Lift Note: During the peak season, the ship lift operation is in full swing. In some instances, you may not be able to find a seat and may have to stand. If you are worried about how the crowds might affect your experience, it is advisable to think carefully before joining the program.

  • Three Gorges Dam The Magnificent Giant Three Gorges Dam
  • Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift
  • Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal

Day 8 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. To help you learn about the history and facts about the relics in the museum easily, an Audio Explanation Device will be prepared for you. 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).

  • The View of Lujiazui from the Bund -  Our Guest Laszlo The View of Lujiazui from the Bund, Shot by Our Guest Laszlo
  • Yuyuan Bazaar Shot by Our Customer Paul Yuyuan Bazaar Shot by Our Customer Paul
  • Jinmao tower The Landmark Supertall Skyscraper of Modern Shanghai

Day 9 Shanghai Departure (B, L)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you will pay 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.

Next, you will be transferred to Tianzifang which is touristic arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated traditional residential area. It is the typical tourist attraction to appreciate the preservation of local Shikumen architecture. In this place full of rich flavor of life, you can leisurely stroll along the clean old alleys to watch the daily life of local Shanghai people, savor a cup of drink at the open-air café, and find some interesting things in the novel shops to feel the international feature mixed with real Shanghai culture.

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

  • Woo's group visited Jade Buddha Temple Woo's group visited Jade Buddha Temple with China Discovery
  • The Reclining Jade Buddha in Jade Buddha Temple The Reclining Jade Buddha in Jade Buddha Temple
  • Spend  Leisure Time at the Mazy Lanes of Tianzifang Spend Leisure Time at the Mazy Lanes of Tianzifang
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