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Classic China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

15 Days

This 15 day tour has been carefully designed for the first time visitor to bring together the main historic attractions, lesser known UNSECO sites and a 5 star Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges. This exciting and stylish itinerary provides a cultural experience as well as a great holiday!

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    As you journey through the magnificence of China’s main historic cities, enjoy the added touch of a diverse selection of Chinese cuisine from our hand-picked restaurants including a converted school house near the Great Wall and a vegetarian lunch in a Buddhist Temple. Other special features include watching Giant Pandas at play in a protected reserve and the stunning cliff carvings of Dazu – rarely visited by foreign tourists – before relaxing in front of breath-taking views of the Three Gorges from the comfort of your private cabin balcony, as you sail on the premier fleet of the Yangtze River – the 5 star Victoria Cruise. Staying in superb accommodation in all locations, this tour ends in the exciting city of Shanghai with its massive sky-scrapers and glittering lights.

    Price includes
    Return international flights;
    Accommodation as listed on itinerary (twin/double share);
    5* Yangtze River Cruise;
    All domestic flights and land transportation;
    All excursions and sight-seeing entrance fees;
    Meals as listed (B, L, D);
    Taxes and surcharges

    Price excludes
    Single supplement where applicable (from £290 Hotels, £250 Cruise)
    Travel Insurance;
    Chinese Visas (we can provide this service for £190);
    Tips and gratuities

    Please follow this link to see our complete range of China Tours and Holidays

    route map


    Please don't hesitate to contact us about this tour
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  • Day 1: UK – Beijing (Meals on board)

    Your journey begins with an overnight scheduled flight to Beijing. For those who may experience jet lag, we recommend adding a pre-tour night in Beijing for a refreshing start to your holiday – from £39 per person (including breakfast). We can also offer flight upgrades, please enquire for options and supplement prices.

    Day 2: Beijing (Meals on board, D)

    Upon arrival into Beijing, you will be greeted by our tour manager and transferred to your hotel. Later in the day, there will be a relaxing cyclo-rickshaw ride through the traditional old city alleyways known as the Hutongs.

    This evening there will be a warm welcome dinner of contemporary Chinese cuisine at a stylish restaurant.

    Day 3: Beijing (B, L, D)

    The morning will be spent wandering around Tiananmen Square before you proceed through Tiananmen Gate to reach the Forbidden City. After exploring the main palace halls there will be the opportunity to see some of the more luxurious courtyards that were occupied by the Imperial Family. The royal theme is continued with a superb lunch of Imperial Cuisine – unique dishes that were once reserved for the Emperor and his family.

    During the afternoon you will journey to the Temple of Heaven. This impressive complex was used as a platform for the Emperor to request a bountiful harvest from the gods. Then you can explore the surrounding park, joining local Beijingers who gather to play music and games, to perform ethnic dances, or simply to chat about everyday life. The evening meal of Beijing cuisine will include the traditional Peking duck.

    Day 4: Beijing (B, L)

    The morning will be spent at a less well known part of the Great Wall. By avoiding the crowded areas, you will be able to quietly explore this more isolated section of the ancient frontier. Lunch will be provided in a neighbouring village before you return to the outskirts of the city and the Summer Palace. This is the place where the Emperors once resided to escape the severe heat of the Forbidden City during the summer months.

    While returning to the hotel, you will visit the location of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including the celebrated Birds Nest Stadium and Water Cube. The evening will consist of some free leisure time or the option of dinner and a thrilling Kungfu Show.

    Day 5: Beijing – Xian (B, D)

    After breakfast and check out there will be a short flight to Xian. This city was the capital of the Chinese Empire for many centuries and is one of the best places to find China’s ancient history. Upon arrival, you will explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda before checking into the hotel. Following some relaxation time, you will pay a visit to the Bell Tower – which was once used by the whole city as a means to tell the time. After this, you will proceed to one of China’s most distinguished dumpling restaurants for an outstanding Dumpling Banquet.

    Day 6: Xian (B, L)

    After breakfast, you journey to the globally acclaimed Terracotta Army that safeguards the eternal resting place of China’s first Emperor. We will view the three primary excavation sites as well as the museum before a buffet at the site’s finest restaurant. On the journey back to the city, you will pause to visit a workshop where replica statues are crafted as souvenirs.

    On arrival we explore the historic Moslem Quarter of the city. The origins of the community can be traced back to the ancient silk merchants who migrated from the Middle East and you may feel like you have been magically transported to a back street of Cairo! If time allows, you will visit the Chinese Mosque at the centre of the district, which closely resembles a Taoist Temple, before returning to the hotel.

    The evening will provide some free time to recuperate and pack for tomorrow’s travels or alternatively a dinner and a spectacular performance of music and dance from the Tang Dynasty.

    Day 7: Xian – Chengdu (B, L, D)

    Following breakfast and check out, you will board a flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival we journey to Leshan, to see the awe inspiring Grand Buddha. This vast statue is the largest of its kind; sculpted from the natural cliff face, its construction took more than a century. Once you have explored the statue and the surrounding area, we will head back to Chengdu. There will be time to rest at the hotel before a customary meal of Sichuan Hot Pot this evening. Sichuan Hot Pots are well known for their intense spices and a milder option can be arranged if preferred.

    Day 8: Chengdu – Chongqing (B, L)

    In the morning you visit the globally recognised Panda Breeding Research Institute, a sanctuary devoted to the conservation of these iconic animals. Our tour features all of the key attractions including the Red and Giant Panda enclosures, the nursery and visitor centre. There will also be free time to explore the larger enclosures and surrounding gardens by yourself.

    From here, you will board your express train journey to Chongqing. From the comfort of your first class seat, watch rural China whiz past on the two hour journey. On arrival in Chongqing, a late lunch will be served before transferring to Dazu (approx. 3 hours), where there will be free time for the rest of the day.

    Day 9: Dazu – Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)

    This morning we travel out to the steep hillsides of Dazu county to view an exceptional series of rock carvings dating from the 9th to the 13th century. This UNESCO world heritage site, rarely visited by foreign tourists, features thousands of statues remarkable for their aesthetic quality, their rich diversity of subject matter, both secular and religious, and the light that they shed on everyday life in China during this period.

    Later in the afternoon, we return to Chongqing for dinner before arriving at the ferry wharf to board our 5* Cruise ship down the Yangtze River. We depart around 9pm and overnight is spent on the ship.

    Day 10 & Day 11: Yangtze River (B, L, D on both days)

    Over the next two days, we travel in style with the US managed 5* Victoria Cruise Company (not the 4* Chinese managed cruise of the same name). This is the premier cruise line on the Yangtze River. The premium fleet features a series of larger contemporary vessels that include new or newly rebuilt ships with enhanced facilities. All cabins have private balconies for uninterrupted viewing the spectacular Three Gorges scenery. Other highlights include the Captains Cocktail Party, a side trip through the lesser gorges and off shore excursions to Fengdu and the 3 Gorges Dam. More information on the cruise can be viewed here:

    Day 12: Yangtze River – Suzhou (B, L, D)

    After breakfast, there will be an excursion to the 3 Gorges Dam Visitors Centre before returning to the ship. As the ship sails towards the ferry wharf at Yichang, there will be time to pack and have lunch before disembarking. Transfer directly to the 3 Gorges airport for a short flight before travelling to the garden city of Suzhou. In the evening there will be time to relax after dinner.

    Day 13: Suzhou (B, L, D)

    Suzhou is renowned for being a cradle of high culture, picturesque gardens and fine silks. Today you will encounter all of these. The first port of call is the Lingering Garden. This is a smaller and less tourist driven attraction than some of the gardens in the city, which really serves to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Next we move on to the West Garden Monastery to see the exceptional Hall of the 500 Arhots. There might also be the opportunity to meet some of the monks.

    After lunch, we head to the NO.1 Silk Factory where you will observe historical and modern techniques of silk weaving, as well as learning more about how the cocoons of the humble silkworm are converted into the finest material in the world.

    After you have the chance to freshen up and enjoy dinner, you will go to one of Suzhou’s oldest and most attractive gardens. Here, you will enjoy six short artistic displays which include traditional music, theatre and opera which are all performed against the background of striking ancient pavilions and courtyard gardens.

    Day 14: Suzhou – Shanghai (B, L, D)

    After breakfast we take a two hour coach journey to the ultra-modern metropolis of Shanghai. Our first stop will be the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall where a giant scale model depicts the city in 2020. After a lunch of traditional Shanghai Dimsum, we head to the lively Yuyuan Bazaar where there will be free time to hunt for bargains and barter with local street sellers.

    After time to freshen up at the hotel, there will be an afternoon stroll along the Bund and a visit to the Shanghai Gallery of Art to view works by some of China’s most cutting edge contemporary artists.

    After dinner we head to the vibrant night life of the former French Concession. Following a brief tour of the most popular area of Xintiandi, you will have the option to head back to the hotel or stay and enjoy a drink or two at one of the sophisticated wine bars.

    Day 15: Shanghai – Home (B, Meals on board)

    Today, you bid farewell to China with a transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
    Not ready to leave? Extra nights in Shanghai start at £39 per person (including breakfast) or you can choose from our range of exciting extension options.


    Beijing: 5* Oriental Bay International Hotel
    Xian: 5* Days Hotel and Suites
    Chengdu: 4* Tianfu Sunshine Hotel
    Chongqing (Dazu): 4* Ramada West Hotel
    Yangtze Cruise: 5* Victoria Cruise Company
    Suzhou: 3* Pingjiang Lodge
    Shanghai: 4+*Ambassador Hotel


    Please don't hesitate to contact us about this tour
    Make an Enquiry

  • Depart UK Arrive UK Price pp from Book
    06/08/2016 20/08/2016 £2899
    10/09/2016 24/09/2016 £2799
    22/10/2016 05/11/2016 £2799
    10/11/2016 24/11/2016 £2599
    18/03/2017 01/04/2017 £2699
    08/04/2017 22/04/2017 £2799
    05/08/2017 19/08/2017 £2899
    09/09/2017 23/09/2017 £2869
    21/10/2017 04/11/2017 £2869
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