ICONIC CHINA & THE MAGNIFICENT RIVER

Cruise down the Yangtze River in style and see China's most iconic sights: the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army and Shanghai's skyline.

Travel Highlights

  • Explore the capital Beijing and its mighty Forbidden City
  • Marvel at the Great Wall of China on a choice of excursions
  • Come face-to-face with the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army
  • Tour the mythical city of Xi'an and its vibrant Muslim Quarter
  • Journey down the mighty Yangtze River in style
  • Admire the mighty Three Gorges and discover life on the river
  • Be wowed by the bright lights of futuristic Shanghai
  • Discover the city's European heritage and local life

Journey Breakdown

Route Map

Click on a marker to read about each location.

The Yangtze Tour
Travel Itinerary

Beijing & Forbidden City
Day 1 - 4

Day 1 - Fly to Beijing

Day 2 - Welcome to Beijing

Day 3 - Special tour - Beijing's past & present

Day 4 - At leisure or optional tours

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 1 - Fly to Beijing

Depart on your overnight flight from the UK to Beijing.

Day 2 - Welcome to Beijing

Upon arrival you will be greeted by your guide at the airport, who will assist you with your luggage and will take a private transfer to your hotel for a four night stay. You will have the remainder of the day free to rest and recover from your flight and perhaps explore the local area near your hotel.

Day 3 - Special tour - Beijing's past & present

Our special tour of Beijing has been designed to give you a comprehensive overview on the history and modern day life of the Chinese capital. We will journey through the Dynastic and Communist history of China, before exploring two of its main philosophical systems to better understand local culture.

We start in the vast Tiananmen Square to learn about its historical significance and appreciate its communist style architecture and monuments. Generations of Chinese families line up to have their family portrait with Chairman Mao's image at one end, whilst his immense mausoleum sits at the other.

From here we will walk into the Forbidden City, home to 24 Chinese emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties for nearly 500 years. Throughout are sumptuously decorated palaces, gates and halls, linked by landscaped gardens, traditional pavilions and spacious courtyards. This is the best place in the city to learn about China's imperial roots.

We continue along the central axis of Beijing, heading north to climb Coal Hill, man-made to provide good Feng Shui for the Forbidden City. From here we get a panoramic view across the city and also appreciate the special architecture of central Beijing; the yellow rooftops of the imperial city, the large lakes and gardens amid which emperors relaxed, the grey roofs of the city's hutongs and the surprising abundance of verdant trees.

After lunch in a local restaurant, we will head to the little-visited Confucius Temple, dedicated to the philosopher whose ideas continue to play a key role in Chinese society. The quiet grounds are filled with beautiful structures and it is here that we can best understand how Confucius defended his ideas, how they eventually gained prominence and why they are still valid today.

Nearby is the Lama Temple, the largest Buddha temple outside of Tibet. This is a great place to see how Buddhism has once again gained acceptance in Chinese society, learning more about its teachings and belief system and how it fits together with Taoism and Confucianism.

If there is time and you wish to see it, we could catch the last Drum Show performance at the Drum Tower.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 - At leisure or optional tours

Today you will either enjoy a day at leisure in Beijing, or you could choose optional activities according to your particular interests. We have a number of different half and full day excursions to choose from, including:

  • Summer Palace & Old Summer Palace ruins
  • Temple of Heaven, local life & lesser-visited Beijing
  • Behind the scenes Hutong tour
  • 798 Art District
  • Beijing's Museums

Meals Included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodatoin

First Class

The Penta Hotel Tour - Holidays to Beijing & Great Wall

Penta Hotel

Described as a "neighbourhood lifestyle hotel", the Penta is a distinctive 4 star contemporary hotel, close to the Temple of Heaven and a short walk from the subway. The laid-back hotel offers 307 ensuite rooms in a minimalist style, including family rooms, as well as the use of bikes and maps to ex…

Deluxe Experience

The Red Wall Garden Hotel Tour - Holidays to Beijing & Great Wall

Red Wall Garden Hotel

This delightful boutique hotel is centred around a traditional courtyard in the historic Shijia Hutong, to the east of the Forbidden City and close to popular food and shopping streets. Rooms are a blend of classic and contemporary decor, with modern facilities, luxurious bedding and marble bathroom…

Great Wall of China & Ming Tombs
Day 5

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall of China

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 5 - Hike the Great Wall of China

One of the highlights of your China holiday will undoubtedly be the chance to walk along the Great Wall of China. In our own personal experience, the best way to experience the true majesty and atmosphere of the wall is to begin a hike at one of the lesser-visited parts, seeing the wall in its wild and untamed state. One such hike begins at the Zhenbeikou watchtower, a two hour drive north of Beijing, and ends at the popular Mutianyu section, where the wall has been restored and cable cars provide an easy way to exit. This is a great way to combine a wild and restored section. The hike lasts around 5 miles, starting with a fairly arduous climb through a forested area. Although tricky in places, it will be appropriate for most visitors and provides breathtaking views throughout, often with no other visitors in sight!

Great Wall alternatives: Another wild section, with easier initial access is Gubeikou, which also allows you to exit the Wall at different points, should you wish to cut short the hike. Jinshanling is the most beautiful and atmospheric of the restored parts, with wonderful views and less tourists. Visiting Mutianyu by itself (no hiking) is a shorter experience and so allows time to visit the impressive Ming Tombs on the way back to the city, resting place of 13 Chinese emperors from the Ming dynasty. We do not recommend a visit to Badaling as this gets extremely busy and provides little of the true essence of the Great Wall.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Xi'an & Terracotta Army
Day 6 - 7

Day 6 - Fly to Xi'an

Day 7 - See the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 6 - Fly to Xi'an

Today you will be transported to the airport for your flight to the ancient city of Xi'an. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, with time at leisure in the afternoon.

Once the starting point of the legendary Silk Road and a capital for eleven dynasties, Xian has retained a great deal of its mystique and boasts an impressive array of sights, which we will explore over the next two days.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 - See the 8,000 strong Terracotta Army

We begin today with a visit to the famous Terracotta Army, just outside Xi'an. 8,000 individually sculptured clay warriors, horses and archers proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder in three large excavated pits, protecting the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang. At first it is the sheer number that overwhelms, but on closer inspection you begin to notice the extraordinary level of detail that went in to them, with each figure seemingly sporting a different expression and hairstyle. It's not hard to imagine this as a real army in waiting, awakening at the slightest hint of danger. Afterwards we can visit the home of the farmer who accidentally discovered the Terracotta Army.

In the afternoon we return to the city and explore the Muslim Quarter. We will visit a traditional courtyard mansion, owned by a former official during the Ming Dynasty. Dating back 400 years, the property shows the wonderful architectural style of the time and offers cultural activities and demonstrations including shadow puppetry and paper cutting. Following this there will be time to explore the temple and the lively food market.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodatoin

First Class

The Mercure on Renmin Square Tour - Holidays to Xian & Terracotta Army

Mercure on Renmin Square

The Mercure hotel has become a fixture of Renmin Square, alongside landscaped gardens and historic buildings. With over 100 well-equipped and tastefully decorated rooms and suites and a wonderful location right in the heart of ancient Xi'an, this 4 star hotel is a popular choice amongst visitors. 

Deluxe Experience

The Sofitel on Renmin Square Tour - Holidays to Xian & Terracotta Army

Sofitel on Renmin Square

This modern 5 star hotel curves gracefully along the side of the historic Renmin Square, right in the heart of this ancient city and within easy reach of the Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Great Mosque and the Forest of Steles. 178 spacious rooms are equipped with modern facilities and special touches, suc…

Yangtze River Cruise
Day 8 - 10

Day 8 - Fly to Chongqing & board cruise ship

Day 9 - Shore Excursion to Shibao Pagoda

Day 10 - Dramatic Three Gorges scenery

Day 11 - Three Gorges Dam & fly to Shanghai

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 8 - Fly to Chongqing & board cruise ship

Today you will fly south to Chongqing and board your luxury cruise vessel, either the Century Paragon or Century Legend (deluxe) or the Century Sky or Sun (first), for the start of your three night cruise down the Yangtze River, the third largest in the world. The ship departs around 9:30pm.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 - Shore Excursion to Shibao Pagoda

Sit back and relax on the sun deck or observation lounge as you watch the dramatic scenery begin to roll by and enjoy the on-board facilities, including cultural lectures, a library and guided Tai Chi. There is a delightful shore visit to the remote pagoda-like Shibao Zhai temple, sat in a cliff-face on a verdant island. Enjoy an evening dinner and cultural show. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 - Dramatic Three Gorges scenery

The journey continues as the ship passes through the magnificent Qutang and Wu gorges, the first two of the famous Three Gorges. The landscape is marked by powerful steep mountainsides, covered in thick vegetation, which sink into the river and create a breathtakingly cinematic scene. In the afternoon you will take an excursion to the beautiful and more remote Lesser Three Gorges, visiting either the Shennv Stream or Shennong Stream, before experiencing the Three Gorges Dam, lowering some 600 feet as you pass through a series of locks.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 - Three Gorges Dam & fly to Shanghai

The final day of the cruise starts with an excursion to see the Three Gorges Dam up close and learn about this remarkable feat of engineering. You will then cruise through the breathtaking Xiling Gorge, the last and the longest of the Three Gorges. Disembark at Yichang around lunch time, before being transferred to the airport for your evening flight to Shanghai. There you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Learn more about the Yangtze River cruise experience

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodatoin

First Class

The Century Sun & Sky Tour - Holidays to Yangtze River Cruises

Century Sun & Sky

The sister ships Century Sky & Century Sun offer some of the best value luxury cruising on the Yangtze River. Attentive service, a range of on-board cultural activities, excellent Chinese and western dining options and a varied itinerary make these good choices for your trip. All bedrooms come w…

Deluxe Experience

The Century Paragon & Legend Tour - Holidays to Yangtze River Cruises

Century Paragon & Legend

Century Paragon and Century Legend are deluxe sister ships that took their maiden voyages in 2013, making them amongst the newest cruise ships on the Yangtze River. We feel that they offer guests outstanding value for a luxury 5 star standard cruise. The staff are extremely helpful and attentive and…

Shanghai
Day 12 - 14

Day 12 - Skyscrapers, local life & European heritage

Day 13 - At leisure or optional tours

Day 14 - Return flight to the UK

View Description

Itinerary Description

Day 12 - Skyscrapers, local life & European heritage

Shanghai is China's most developed mega city, a futuristic metropolis symbolised by its forest of towering skyscrapers. However, if you know which street to turn down, you can still find relics of a bygone era and the occasional oasis of calm.

Our special tour introduces you to Shanghai's rich history and local life, starting at the classic Yu Gardens. We admire the European buildings of the riverside Bund area, once known as the "Paris of the Orient" and enjoy a scenic boat ride on the Huangpu River. Take lunch in the French Concession before discovering the traditional houses of Xintiandi, now converted into upscale shops, restaurants and bars.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13 - At leisure or optional tours

Today you will be at leisure to explore on your own, or instead choose take an optional excursion to the classical gardens of Suzhou or to visit one of the region's ancient water towns.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14 - Return flight to the UK

Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Preferred Accommodatoin

First Class

The Shanghai Central Tour - Holidays to Shanghai

Shanghai Central

This popular 4 star hotel is situated close to the Bund and the People's Square in downtown Shanghai. 280 rooms are well-presented and equipped with good modern facilities. Should you wish to dine in, restuarants offer a choice between local Chinese and Cantonese dishes and western food. The hotel a…

Deluxe Experience

The Shanghai Grand Central Tour - Holidays to Shanghai

Shanghai Grand Central

Conveniently situated in the bustling heart of Shanghai, close to the historic Bund waterfront and the People's Square, the Grand Central offers 353 luxury rooms and suites, with excellent modern facilities. Guests can enjoy use of the indoor swimming pool, gym and sauna and choose between tradition…

Travel Details
Yangtze

What's Included

  • International return flights
  • 3 internal flight as shown
  • 12 nights accommodation as shown on the itinerary
  • 3 night Yangtze River cruise as described in the itinerary
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from airport
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides and private vehicle
  • Prices are per person based on two sharing a room
  • Prices for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter on request

Price Breakdown

Prices are per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Chinese New Year.

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Apr, Jun-Aug May, Sept-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - £2,788 £3,051 - £3,190 £3,517
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + £543 + £698 - + £667 + £890
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Apr, Jun-Aug May, Sept-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - €2,445 €2,761 - €3,147 €3,572
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + €652 + €838 - + €581 + €816
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates Nov-Apr, Jun-Aug May, Sept-Oct
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - $2,624 $2,966 - $3,147 $3,517
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - + $706 + $907 - + $867 + $1,212
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -

Booking Terms & Conditions

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