This locally escorted tour is the perfect introduction to the highlights of this fascinating country. The tour covers the major tourist destinations all unique in their own individual ways.
Imperial Beijing is full of historical treasures. Start with the world’s largest public square, Tian An Men Square after which experience a return to the days of the Imperial Dynasties by visiting the Forbidden City, also known as the ImperialPalace. The Hutongs of old Beijing with their narrow alleyways will reveal a lifestyle still active but no longer generally in vogue.
The Great Wall of China will never disappoint the visitor with its stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Walking on the wall is an exciting experience. The beautiful Temple of Heaven is where the Imperial Emperors used to worship and the SummerPalace is the retreat to which they escaped from the heat.
Next stop is Xian, the ancient capital and old walled city with its famous Terra Cotta Warriors discovered not so long ago although they are 2,000 years old. Also a visit to a local rural farming community will be unusual. One evening, enjoy the Tang Dynasty Show.
Sub tropical Guilin is one of China’s most beautiful cities. As you cruise the Li River you will marvel at amazing mystical landscapes.
A highlight will be a 4 day cruise along the mighty Yangtze River. The beautiful fiord like terrain is extremely impressive. Your cruise ship will slowly meander through spectacular scenery.
The final stop is Shanghai, a city which combines the traditional with the contemporary. Enjoy a walk on the Bund and a performance of the world renowned Acrobatic Show. A day to Suzhou, one of China’s most beautiful cities is included during your stay. You will enjoy visits to an ornamental garden and an embroidery factory as well as have a cruise along the network of interesting canals.
Welcome to China. You will be met by your local representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or take a stroll through this bustling capital city.
You will begin today’s touring by visiting Tian’anmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world. Later, visit the Forbidden City, whose acres of splendid 15th century halls and pavilions, graced with imperial treasures, now comprise the Palace Museum, Treasure Gallery and Imperial Garden. Enjoy a Chinese lunch in a beautiful setting near Tian’anmen Square. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to experience the back streets of Beijing, known as the Hutong, on a pedicab (rickshaw) ride. This evening is at leisure.
The Great Wall
Today you will visit the magnificent Badaling section of the Great Wall of China, located approximately one and a half hours northwest of Beijing. The Badaling section was built in 1505, along with a military outpost reflecting the location’s strategic importance. This section is one of the best preserved, easiest to traverse and most visited areas of the Great Wall. Enjoy stunning views as you stroll along this seemingly endless piece of history, which winds its way far into the distance. Arrive back at the hotel in the late afternoon for a rest or perhaps some nearby shopping. Tonight, enjoy an authentic Peking Duck dinner.
Beijing to Xian
This morning, visit the beautiful Temple of Heaven, a complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer for good harvest. There are usually many locals practicing Tai Chi here and you will get a chance to practice Tai Chi with a Tai Chi master yourself! After lunch, visit the prestigious Summer Palace where past emperors and empresses spent their time enjoying the vast gardens and man-made lake. This afternoon fly to the ancient capital of Xian (included), a veritable treasure trove of Chinese culture.
Visit the thousands of life-sized terracotta warriors which have been on guard for 2,000 years. The incredible individually sculpted warriors, discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers, have been touted as the archaeological find of the century. This afternoon you will visit the Grand Mosque, one of the most renowned mosques in the country, and the Muslim quarter. Tonight enjoy a traditional dumpling dinner and Tang dynasty performance.
Xian to Guilin
This morning, embark on a tour to the Huxian Village, famous for its farmers’ paintings, where you will be greeted by a traditional Lion Dance and gain insight into the art and traditions of this rural area. Afterwards travel to the airport for a short flight to Guilin (included), one of China’s most picturesque cities. The landscape has been an inspiration to Chinese painters for centuries, with its breathtaking limestone mountains, tree-lined streets, rice paddies and the meandering Li River.
Li River Cruise
Today cruise the Li River, one of the most mystical landscapes in the world. The river meanders through steep hills and green fields offering spectacular views. Lunch is served on board. After the cruise, you will have some time to shop, stroll, bicycle or people-watch in the many cafes in the beautiful town of Yangshuo. Later, return to Guilin.
Guilin to Chongqing
Take a morning flight to Chongqing (included) and upon arrival, visit the famous Panda Zoo, home to the giant Panda. Continue on to the educational Three Gorges Museum which takes you through the history of the Three Gorges Dam and Yangtze River. Board your Century cruise ship early this evening and settle in to your cabin. Embarkation will take place between 5:30-9:30pm.
Fengdu and Shibaozhai
Early this morning, take part in morning Tai Chi as you cruise downstream. Relax on deck and observe Chinese farm and village life. The first port of call is Fengdu, known as the “City of Ghosts”. Take an optional shore excursion to Ghost City and the many temples in Fengdu which house silent ghost devils (additional cost). This afternoon, visit Shibaozhai, or “Stone Treasure Fortress”, a 12-storey wooden structure located on a steep hill on the south bank of the Yangtze. Back on board, enjoy a welcome party with your captain this evening.
The Three Gorges
Today, you will arrive at the Three Gorges, one of the most spectacular sights in China. Qutang Gorge is known for its rugged and magnificent scenery, Wu Gorge for its twelve peaks, and Xiling Gorge for being the largest of the three. This morning, you might choose to take an optional shore excursion to Baidicheng, or “White Emperor City” (additional cost), or simply relax on board. This afternoon, take a sampan boat excursion to visit Shennong Stream and the lesser gorges. Tonight, enjoy more on board entertainment. Your vessel will pass through the Yangtze ship locks around 10:00pm.
Yichang to Shanghai
After admiring the natural beauty of the gorges, today you will have a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric power station, completed in 2012. Afterwards, sail through the eastern section of the Xiling Gorge, disembarking in Yichang at 1:00pm. From here, either fly from Yichang to Shanghai, or transfer by train to Wuhan and fly from Wuhan to Shanghai. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this photogenic city.
Today’s sightseeing includes a visit to the elegant Yu Yuan Garden in the heart of Old Town, bustling Nanjing Road, the legendary Bund, and the Shanghai museum. This afternoon is at leisure for your own exploration. Tonight, enjoy a Chinese acrobatic performance, one of China’s oldest arts. You will be amazed by the performers’ marvelous acts of strength, flexibility and gravity-defiance.
Today you will make a daytrip to Suzhou, known as the “Venice of the East”. Visit the Humble Administrator’s ornamental gardens, explore the historic Pingjiang Road district and take a cruise on the Grand Canal. Stop in Tongli Village before returning to Shanghai for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport by high-speed Maglev magnetic train for your onward flight.
- 10 nights’ first class and deluxe hotel accommodation
- 3 nights’ onboard cruise accommodation with balcony
- Guided touring/overland travel/transfers as per itinerary
- Domestic flights within China including taxes
- Meals as indicated