14 Day Highlights Of China & Luxury Yangtze Cruise

From 8,900 USD/Person 14 days / 13 nights Based on 2 travelers

Trip overview

  • Discover the hidden halls in the Forbidden City.
  • Visit a less crowded part of the Great Wall.
  • Tour Beijing's atmospheric Hutongs for a fascinating look into Old China.
  • Marvel at the legacy of the army of terracotta warriors
  • Travel back to hundreds years ago in an exquisite ancient garden.
  • Experience the historic, cultural and architectural marvels of Shanghai
  • Sample and savor crispy Beijing roast duck
  • Enjoy the stunning landscapes and Chinese life along the waterway
  • Visit the Ghost City of Fengdu, and three giant Gorges
  • Visit the only place in the world where you can feed a giant panda.
  • Enjoy 4 nights on the luxury Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer cruise
  • Visit the striking Three Gorges; Qutang, Wu and Xiling
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Tour itinerary

Day 1: Arrive In Beijing

Ni hao! 你好 Welcome to Beijing, the capital city of China.  On arrival, our private driver will transfer you to your hotel. Checking into your accommodation and you will have the rest of the day to relax, or if desire and time permits, you will be taken to explore the 798 Art District, a former industrial area that has been transformed to a neighborhood with shops and galleries with works by both established and budding artists. Overnight in Beijing.

Preferred: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (5*)

Day 2: The Forbidden City & Hutong (B, L)

After your heaty breakfast at hotel you will begin your day with a visit to the Tia'anmen Square, the symbol of new China and the largest city square in the world where the ancient imperial palaces with 500 years history have been best-preserved and well-kept. You will get inside to watch close-up the impressive  Hidden Halls to understand deeply of the history. Stop over at a local restaurant to sample your luch with the famous Peking Duck. Watch the exquisite cutting skills of the chef, taste crispy duck skin, and learn how to eat it in the correct way. After lunch, you’ll be chauffeured around traditional hutongs in a pedicab, or rickshaw. Hutongs are narrow alleys with stone shophouses and courtyard mansions, best explored at a leisurely rickshaw pace. Finish with a calligraphy lesson, taking time to appreciate the meditative qualities of this ancient art. Return to your hotel and you will stay in Beijing  tonight. 

Preferred: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (5*)

Day 3: The Great Walls & Temple Heaven (B, L)

Breakfast at your hotel. A sightseeing tour in China would not be complete without a trip to the Great Wall and today we will head North of Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, one of the less crowded and best preserved sections of the over 10,000-mile-long wall. You have the opportunity to hike along this amazing UNESCO-designated monument with your private tour guide. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant at the foot of the Great Wall before heading back to Beijing. After lunch, we will visit the Temple of Heaven, a sacrificial altar built in the Ming Dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage site features the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests - a three-gabled wooden building constructed without nails. You may arrive early to see the locals practicing martial arts and doing other activities that you may never see in your country. An option to visit the Summer Palace and enjoy sunset views over Kunming Lake. Overnight in Beijing

Preferred: Waldorf Astoria Beijing (5*)

Day 4: Fly To Xi'An (B, L, D)

Breakfast at your hotel and you will be transferred to the airport to fly to Xi'An, home to several historic landmarks and the last city on the Silk Road. Upon arrival you will see the Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets and 14th-century Great Mosque; a blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian. Finish your day with a dumpling-making demonstration followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Return to your hotel. Overnight in Xi'An.

Preferred: Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian

Day 5: Close-Up The Faces Of Warriors (B, L)

Breakfast at hotel and today you will be accompanied by an experienced tour guide to explore the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, built by the first Emperor of China in the third century BC, another UNESCO-listed site. After touring the mausoleum, head back to Xian, where you can ride a bicycle around the city walls, more than 50 feet wide in places.  Enjoy lunch before heading to the impressive Shaanxi Museum and the towering Wild Goose Pagoda. Return to your hotel, with time to relax. Overnight in Xi'An.

Preferred: Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian

Day 6: Xi'an, Fly To Chengdu (B)

Leisure enjoy your hearty breakfast at your hotel and then you will be accompanied by your tour guide and taken to the airport to fly to Chengdu. Free at leisure and overnight in Chengdu.

Preferred: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Day 7: Panda Sancturary & Sanxingdui Museum (B)

Breakfast at your hotel. This morning, we will drive from Chengdu into the Qingcheng Mountains (1.5hrs). Arrive at the Dujiangyan Panda Reserve and get ready for a full day of volunteering as a panda keeper. The first panda sighting in Dujiangyan was in 1953 and the center's primary goal is to increase the population of wild pandas in the area. During your day as a panda keeper you'll prepare the panda's food and learn how to care for these giant animals. We'll arrange for you to have lunch with panda base staff – they'll be happy to answer your questions about the challenges involved in reintroducing giant pandas to the wild. Next, you'll visit Sanxingdui Museum, a vast indoor and outdoor museum with bronze, gold and copper artifacts from the Sanxingdui Kingdom dates back 1,600 BCE. Return to your and stay overnight in Chengdu tonight.

Preferred: The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Day 8: Chongqing - Yangtze River Cruising (B, L, D)

Breakfast at hotel and join your private guide to get acquainted with the highlights of Chengdu including an exquisite Daoist Temple and the lush People's Park. Then, head for the railway station for your high-speed train to Chongqing where you'll begin your Yangtze cruise. This afternoon, board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer for your cruise downstream to Yichang. After you’ve settled into your cabin you can join your fellow guests in the Explorer Bar. The large windows allow you to enjoy the night-time cityscape of Chongqing as we sail deeper into the Three Gorges region of the mighty Yangtze River. Tonight, we will host an optional embarkation dinner* followed by a welcome safety briefing and talk on the 816 Underground Project, before we depart Chongqing.

Preferred: Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer

Day 9: Cruising, Yangtze River Cruising (B, L, D)

Consider rising early to take part in some traditional Chinese exercise on deck, before tucking into the buffet breakfast. This morning there will be a shore excursion to Fengdu - an old river town, explore the 'Ghost City', a collection of shrines, temples and monasteries that celebrates the afterlife. Lunch will be served back onboard as you continue cruising downstream. This afternoon a range of activities are on offer, including reflexology, Chinese painting and calligraphy. Oh and there is also a delicious afternoon tea to nibble on. This evening the ship's captain will host a reception followed by an a la carte dinner and a variety show.

Preferred: Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer

Day 10: The Three Gorges, Yangtze River Cruising (B, L, D)

It will be early this morning that the ship enters the first of the Three Gorges - Qutang. There will be time for breakfast before reaching Wu Gorge, where you will drop anchor at the Shennong Stream. Here, onboard a local sampan (longboat) poled by a Tujia boatman, you will explore this spectacular riverine gorge. Return to the ship for lunch, before sitting back to view the Xiling Gorge. Later, there will be a lecture about China and a 'Taste of China' dinner.

Preferred: Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer

Day 11: Yichang. Fly To Shanghai (B)

Enjoy breakfast before arriving at the Three Gorges Dam Site and Exhibition Centre. Fully completed in 2015, the dam spans 1.2 miles and is 180 metres tall, and is the world's largest and most expensive engineering project. As controversial as the project has been, it is still a breathtaking sight. Disembark the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in Yichang at around midday. Met by a local representative and then you will be transferred on our private vehicle to the airport to take a flight to Shanghai. Private transfer to the city where you will check in to your accommodation. Evening is free. Overnight in Shanghai.

Preferred: The Peninsula Shanghai

Day 12: Yu Gardens, The Bund Shanghai (B, L)

Breakfast at hotel and today is spent with an interesting day tour to see the best of Shanghai. You will visit the 16th-century Yu Garden, with its picturesque pavilions and streams, and stroll in Old Town. After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the French Concession Area, popular for its cafés, tree-lined avenues and Tudor houses. Next you’ll pay a visit to Shanghai Museum where you will see a rare collection of Chinese art and antiquities, spanning more than 5,000 years. Return to the city and later, set off on a guided walking tour of the Bund, the famous waterfront area where magnificent views of the skyline await. Overnight in Shanghai.

Preferred: The Peninsula Shanghai

Day 13: Free At Leisure, Shanghai (B)

Your 2-week China tour is coming to the end, enjoy your free day and do something you want to make your holiday unforgettable. 

Optional tour to visit Suzhou (! hour by car)

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel before heading to Suzhou’s Historic Gardens. Dating back to 770 BC,  the Classical Gardens of Suzhou were mostly built by scholars, and feature key design features such as pavilions, pagodas, hills and rivers. After wandering these tranquil grounds, you’ll be immersed further in Chinese history with a trip to Suzhou Museum, housing ancient art, craft, calligraphy and more, in a complex designed by legendary architect I. M. Pei, which is a work of art in itself. Overnight in Shanghai.

Preferred: The Peninsula Shanghai

Day 14: Depart Shanghai (B)

Breakfast at the hotel and bid farewell to Shanghai today as you are met by your driver and will be taken to the airport to board your flight to next destination. End of service.

Trip Inclusions

  • 7-night hand-picked accommodation throughout
  • Daily breakfast served at hotels
  • Other meals as mentioned in the tour
  • Private transportation with drivers throughout
  • Entrance and admission fees per itinerary
  • Scheduled on-tour airfares are included
  • Train travels per itinerary
  • Boat/cruise as mentioned on the tour
  • Bottled water while traveling on tour
  • 24/7 hotline staffed by knowledgeable service personnel
  • Local knowledge, expertise, suggestions, and support throughout tour
  • All government taxes and service charges
Trip Exclusions
  • Visa arrangements if any
  • International airfares to/from China
  • Other meals which are not mentioned
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • All medical and travel insurance coverages
  • Tips and gratuities

NOTE: The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements. Click to email us or use the booking form to customize your own vacation.

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