16 Days China Cruise Tour with Golden Triangle Visits

Cruise the Most Beautiful Rivers in China

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This tour offers you a wonderful experience in the thriving mega city Hong Kong & Shanghai, a fantastic cruise on the spectacular Yangtze River, a relaxing trip to Guilin, the most beautiful landscape under the heaven. And your tour will be more exciting with cultural explore in the ancient city Beijing & Xian.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Start your lifetime China vacation from the Pearl of the Orient – Hong Kong;
  • Experience the West-Meet-East in the largest metroplis of ChinaShanghai - Yu Garden, The Bund, Nangjing Road;
  • Take a flight from Shanghai to explore the pleasant and spectacular landscape - Yangshuo Countryside and Longji Rice Terrace;
  • Enjoy the magnificent Three Gorges Views from a luxury Yangtze River Cruise Ship .
  • Explore the world-famous UNESCO heritage sites in Beijing and Xian - Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from $3,060
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Hong Kong / Shanghai / Yichang / Three Gorges / Chongqing / Guilin / Yangshuo / Xian / Beijing
Travel Length:
16 Days and 15 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-HY-17
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCultureCyclingPhotograph
Departure:
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~2 Arrival & Hong Kong Tour

A half day to appreciate the magnificent skyline of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak, spend some casual time in Repulse Bay and Stanley Market . Then take a flight to Shanghai.

Day 3~4 Shanghai Tour & Flight to Yichang

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. Then take a flight to Yichang.

Day 5~8 Yangtze River Cruise & Flight to Guilin

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 9~11 Guilin Tour & Flight to Xian

Take a relaxing Li River cruise from Guilin city to Yangshuo old town, then explore the amazing countryside landscape around Yangshuo. Before departing to Xian, go to see the beautiful Longji Rice Terrace.

Day 12~13 Xian Tour & High Speed Train to Beijing

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 14~16 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 Hong Kong Arrival

Ni Hao, welcome to Hong Kong, Pearl of the Orient! Your local guide is ready to pick you up at the arrival hall of the airport, and transfer you to hotel. The rest of today is to recover from long flight, or explore this vibrant and bustling metropolis on your own.

Free Time ideas: It is one of the most popular things to do in Hong Kong to spend ten minutes riding the humble Star Ferry which sails between Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island( daily 6:30am-11:30pm). From the ferry, you can enjoy the breathtaking skyline of Hong Kong especially in the evening when the Symphony of Lights begins. 

  • Victoria Harbor Take Star Ferry Cruise Through Victoria Harbor

Day 2 Flight to Shanghai from Hong Kong (B)

After breakfast, start today’s half day tour with a visiting to Hong Kong’s symbol - Victoria Peak. An exciting tram will take you to this highest peak in Hong Kong (552m). Walk through the verdant woods to explore hidden old buildings left by the old Hong Kong. Also ascend to the observation deck to sweep the magnificent Hong Kong skyline and tranquil harbor views.

Continue to take a trip to Repulse Bay. Known as the Hawaii of Orient, the Repulse Bay is the most beautiful sand beach with long coastline, soft sand, clean water and appropriate temperature. After the leisure break in Repulse Bay, proceed to the Stanley Market. Browse fancy petty commodities in various little stores, or just order a cup of coffee or beer at the seaside café or pub, a great way to spend time away from the maddening crowds.

In the afternoon, your tour guide will escort you to the airport for your flight to Shanghai (about 2.5 hours). Be pick up at the airport by your tour guide, then transferred to check in your hotel in downtown.

Optional transfer: you can also take a high speed train directly from Hong Kong West Kowloon Station to Shanghai which starts only at around 11:00 a.m. and rides about 8.5 hours. Besides, if there is no Hong Kong to Shanghai high speed train tickets available, you can transfer more flexibly first by bullet train to Guangzhou South Station for about 1 hour or to Shenzhen North Station for about 15-20 minutes, since there are more train options in Guangzhou and Shenzhen every day. And then take a high speed train to Shanghai for about 7-8.5 hours. Please tell your travel expert if you are interested, and they will adjust your tour arrangement accordingly.

  • Panoramic View from Victoria Peak during Daytime Panoramic View from Victoria Peak during Daytime
  • Hong Kong Stanley Market Busy Stanley Market for both Locals and Travelers

Day 3 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 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 4 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 Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal (or Yichang East Railway Station) for a bus arranged by the cruise company heading to Maoping Port for embarkation. Your lifetime Yangtze River cruise starts!

Embarkation Tips: (1) The Shanghai to Yichang flight in the afternoon is not always available every day. If there is no such flight, to embark your cruise ship on time, you will have to cancel your visit to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai and change your transfer to Yichang with 2 optional arrangements. (a). Take the early morning flight (around 7:30 a.m.) to Yichang to have a half-day tour. After the city tour, your guide would escort you to take the arranged bus to the port for Yangtze River cruise embarkation; (b). Take a morning bullet train (about 6-7 hours) from Shanghai to Yichang, and after arrival, take the arranged bus to the port for Yangtze River cruise embarkation. (2)All the cruise companies will arrange free transfer service at Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal or Yichang East Railway Station during 16:00~21:00. You could choose either one to take the tourist bus to Maoping Port. If you take a train arriving at Yichang East Railway Station, you can take the bus at the exit directly. (3) The boarding time and departure piers may change based on the ship line, water level, season, weather and other factors. Please pay attention to the important info your travel consultants sent to you before your boarding.

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center with Visitors
  • Jade Buddha Temple Jade Buddha Temple
  • Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal Nightview Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal Nightview

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.

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. If you like, you can take an optional experience to sail through Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift, the largest and the most sophisticated ship lift in the world, which takes only 40 minutes with fresh insight into the dam project.

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 6 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
  • Shennv Stream Shennv Stream

Day 7 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!)

  • Shibaozhai Pagoda Shibaozhai Pagoda

Day 8 Flight to Guilin from Chongqing (B)

After breakfast, your ship will arrive at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port around 09:00. Be prepared for your check-out procedure and disembark. Your local tour guide will meet you at the pier and escort you to visit the Chongqing Zoo. If you haven’t seen Giant Panda yet, you could take this great chance to have a closer contact with the cute panda bears here. This zoo, surrounded by beautiful mountains with abundant natural scenery, is also the home to more than 6,000 animals of over 200 different species in total, such as golden monkeys and South China Tigers. Later, move to next highlighting site - 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.

In the end, you tour guide will take you to the airport for flight from Chongqing to Guilin. Upon arrival at Guilin Airport, be met by tour guide and escorted to your hotel in Guilin. The rest time is free for you to recover from flight or explore nearby.

  • Visit Ciqikou Old Town Visit Ciqikou Old Town
  • Chongqing Zoo Chongqing Zoo

Day 9 Guilin Li River Cruise & Yangshuo Town (B, L)

As the declaration in Chinese textbook” Guilin’s landscape is the best under heaven”, today you will explore this best landscape starting with a relaxing sightseeing cruise along the Li River to the beautiful Yangshuo Town. Along the 84-kilometer cruise, dazzling scenery will overwhelm your eyes like a vast endless Chinese painting of winding river, green limestone karst mountains, fascinating countryside views.

After about 4 hours’ cruise, disembark in Yangshuo Town, and check in your hotel. Take a short break, immerse yourself into the stunning countryside views and relaxed atmosphere and be enthralled by the patches of paddy fields nestling under green hills and near the mirror-like river, with farmers cultivating the soil with their water buffalos.

This evening is for you to walk leisurely on the ancient West Street to experience how the western culture and Chinese culture perfectly and peacefully coexist here. Whether you want to enjoy a cup of drink in bar, taste some local food, or just experience the relaxing atmosphere, you get it here.

Optional activity: watch the splendid evening performance of Impression Liu Sanjie with the Li River itself as the stage, which was directed by famous director – Zhang Yimou (usually performs for an hour between around 19:45 and 22:20).

  • Yangshuo Yulong River Landscape Yangshuo Yulong River Landscape

Day 10 Yangshuo - Longsheng Rice Terrace (B, L)

In this morning, you’ll be driven about 150 kilometers (about 4 hours) to witness one of the most beautiful rice terraces in China - Longji Rice Terrace, an amazing feat of farm engineering rising up to 1000m high in Longsheng County. There are several featured Zhuang and Yao minority villages along the road and you’ll take a visit to the special Huangluo Yao Village, the First Village of Long Hair in the World, where you can see women in red ethnic clothes with very long hairs (the longest can reach up to 1.7 meters).

Later, continue your drive to a beautiful 600-year-old Zhuang Village - Ping’an and check in your hotel located near the rice terraces. After some rest, start to explore the breathtaking views. The rice terrace is layer upon layer, like the changing ladder created by nature leading to the blue sky, forming a majestic painting between heaven and earth. From Ping’an, you can hike on the cobbled paths built among terraces to catch the best landscape. Climb up to the great lookouts at Seven Stars with Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers from which you can get superlative views of terraces and villages. Hike half day around, then back to Ping’an for dinner and accommodation. 

Good to Know:

1. Best time to visit: Longji Rice Terrace can be visited all year round. Go mid-April to late June for mirror-like irrigated terrace and rice transplanting scene; go July to mid-September for green terraces; go late September to early-November for golden and harvest scene; or go late December to early February for silvery terraces.

2. Walking: When arriving at Ping’an Village, you can only be dropped at Ping’an Village Tourist Center parking lot that you need to walk about 900 steps to your hotel. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended!

3. Luggage carrying: For the aged or travelers who are lack of physical strength, you’d better hire a local porter to help carry your heavy luggage to the hotel (pay extra expense on your own).

  • Golden Rice Terrace Fields  (Late September ~ Early October) Golden Rice Terrace Fields (Late September ~ Early October)
  • Green Longji Rice Terrace (June ~ August) Green Longji Rice Terrace (June ~ August)
  • Huangluo Yao Village - the First Village of Long Hair in the World Huangluo Yao Village - the First Village of Long Hair in the World

Day 11 Guilin & Flight to Xian ( B, L )

When you wake up in the fresh air of peaceful morning, you may forget where you are. You can go to watch the magnificent sunrise from a great location on the terraces. The rest time of this morning is free on your own to have fun - you can take some leisure walk around and experience local ethnic culture in the villages, or, make full use of the wonderful chance in such a perfect place to take some beautiful photographs.

Lastly, your tour guide will take you to airport to catch your flight to Xian (about 2hrs). Be met at the airport and transferred to your downtown hotel in Xian.

  • Sunrise in Longji Rice Terrace Sunrise in Longji Rice Terrace

Day 12 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, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China
  • Muslim Snack Street Muslim Community

Day 13 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). (Note: Shaanxi History Museum may be replaced with other activity or attraction because of crowding tourists during July ~ early September and China’s National Day during Oct.1-Oct.7. You may check details with your travel consultant.)

The rest of today is free until you  get escorted to take a high speed train to Beijing (about 4.5hrs), the capital city of China. You will be welcomed by local tour guide at airport, then be escorted to check in your downtown hotel.

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

Day 14 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 15 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.

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

Day 16 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, truly feel the historical changes of Beijing, also pay a visit to a local family’s home in the traditional Hutongs.

Your Beijing tour is now about to end. You will be escorted  to the airport to catch your flight to your next destination or home.

  • Temple of Heaven Tour Temple of Heaven
  • Hutong Family Hutong
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