With this comprehensive itinerary we take you on a journey that captures a true sense of the vast diversity of China. From the famous historic sights of Beijing and Xian, we move on to the rural landscapes of Longsheng before relaxing in our mountain side resort near the small town of Yangshuo. From the beauty of the lime stone mountains and the Li River, we move on to a Giant Panda Reserve, the colossal Leshan Buddha and the ancient hidden cliff carvings of Dazu before sailing in style on the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges. From the ancient artistic beauty of Suzhou, we end in the modern cosmopolitan city of Shanghai with all the excitement it has to offer. With superb accommodation and excellent culinary experiences, our Grand China Tour will show you the magnificence of China.
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
Single supplement where applicable (from £395 Hotel, £250 Cruise)
Chinese Visas (we can provide this service for £190);
Tips and gratuities
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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. We can also offer flight upgrades, please enquire for 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 bicycle-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 day opens with a walk around the iconic Tiananmen Square, before you travel through Tiananmen Gate and arrive at the intriguing Forbidden City. You will have the chance to investigate the main palace halls in addition to some of the more intimate courtyards that the Imperial Family used to live in. The royal theme is continued with a superb lunch of Imperial Cuisine – unique dishes that were historically only served to the Emperor and his family.
In the afternoon you will proceed to the Temple of Heaven, a place where it was once believed the Emperor could converse directly with the gods. There will be the opportunity to spend some time in the nearby park which local Beijingers now use for playing games and music, performing ethnic dances, or simply chatting about daily life.
This evening there will be a traditional banquet of Beijing cuisine, including Peking duck.
Day 4: Beijing (B, L)
This morning, you will journey north to a more remote part of the Great Wall. By escaping the crowds of tourists, you will have plenty of time to peacefully discover this more secluded location of the historic boundary. You will stop for lunch in a close by village before returning to the suburbs of the city and the Summer Palace, where the Emperors resided to avoid the extreme summer temperatures of the Forbidden City. (Note: We offer a Picnic lunch on the Great Wall where the weather permits)
On the journey back to the hotel, you will have a chance to see the famed Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube. This evening there will be some free time to relax and pack for tomorrow’s travels or the alternative of some dinner and a celebrated Kungfu Show.
Day 5: Beijing – Xian (B, D)
Breakfast and checkout are followed by a flight to Xian. This city was regarded as the focal point of the Chinese Empire for centuries and is the best place to investigate China’s ancient past. On arrival, you will go to explore the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and then transfer to the hotel. After some recuperation time, we pay a visit to the Bell Tower – historically, this was used by the whole city to tell the time. Then there will be a brief walk to one of China’s most celebrated dumpling restaurants for an appetising Dumpling Banquet.
Day 6: Xian (B, L)
Following breakfast, we will travel to the internationally renowned Terracotta Army that protects the tomb of China’s first Emperor. There will be time to explore the three principal excavation sites in addition to the museum before we stop for a buffet lunch at the location’s best restaurant. While travelling back to the city, you will stop off at a workshop where craftsmen create replica statues for souvenirs.
After returning to Xian, we walk through the heritage filled Moslem Quarter of the city. This community dates back to the earliest silk traders who journeyed from the Middle East and it may almost feel like you have drifted into a back street of Cairo! Time permitting, we stop by the Chinese Mosque in the heart of the district, which resembles a Taoist Temple, before returning to the hotel.
During the evening, you can choose between some free leisure time or the opportunity of dinner and a stunning exhibition of Chinese music and dance from the Tang Dynasty.
Day 7: Xian – Guilin (B, L, D)
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, we travel to the Longsheng (Dragon’s Backbone) Rice Terraces, a beautiful collection of paddy fields cultivated on the mountain sides and home to a mixture of Miao and Zhuang minority communities. After a soft trek through the surrounding hillsides, lunch will be served in a local family-run restaurant. Next, we travel to Guilin and our hotel. Later in the day, we stop by the Reed Flute Caves, enjoy dinner and take in an evening demonstration of Cormorant Fishing.
Day 8: Li River Cruise – Yangshuo (B, L)
After a leisurely breakfast and checkout, we board our cruise on the Li River. From this ferry wharf in Guilin, over the next few hours we sail directly through some of the most stunning mountain scenery that Guilin has to offer. A lunch of local produce will be served on board as you meander towards the enchanting rural town of Yangshuo. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel conveniently located near the bustling hub of West Street. The rest of the afternoon will be free at leisure for you to explore the local market places and shops.
In the evening there will be and optional excursion to see the outstanding Impressions Sound and Light Show. This stunning performance of dance and music takes place on the river with the mountains as a natural back drop.
Day 9: Yangshuo – Chengdu (B, D)
This morning, there will be the option of a cookery class which features a trip to a local food market. Experience the hustle and bustle of locals haggling for their daily shop before learning more about traditional Chinese cookery methods. For those who prefer something a little more tranquil, a motor buggy trip (or bicycle ride) into the country side will be arranged.
In the afternoon, we transfer back to Guilin Airport and fly to Chengdu. On arrival, transfer to dinner and the hotel where there will be leisure time for the rest of the day.
Day 10: Chengdu (B, L, D)
This morning, we travel directly to Leshan to view the Grand Buddha. This giant statue is the largest of its kind. Carved out of the natural cliff face, it took over a century to complete. After exploring the statue and surrounding area, we return to Chengdu, where we visit a community temple and take afternoon tea in a park with the locals. There will be time to freshen up at the hotel before this evening’s dinner of traditional Sichuan Hot Pot. Sichuan Hot Pots are famous for their fiery spices and a milder alternative will be available for those who prefer.
Day 11: Chengdu – Chongqing (B, L)
This morning we visit the world famous Panda Breeding Research Institute, a sanctuary dedicated to the preservation of the unique species. We will view both the Giant and Red Panda enclosures, the nursery and the visitors centre. There will also be the opportunity to explore the wider enclosures and gardens on your own. From here, 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 12: 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 13 and Day 14: Yangtze River (B, L, D on both days)
Over the next two days, we travel in style with the 5* Victoria Cruise Company (not the 4* cruise of the same name) – the premier cruise line on the Yangtze River. This premium fleet features a series of larger contemporary vessels that include new or newly rebuilt ships with enhanced facilities. All cabins have private balconies allowing uninterrupted privacy for enjoying 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: http://www.victoriacruises.com/
Day 15: Yangtze River – Suzhou (B, L, D)
After breakfast, there will be an excursion to the 3 Gorges Dam Visitors Centre before return 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 transferring directly to the garden city of Suzhou. In the evening there will be time to relax after dinner.
Day 16: Suzhou (B, L, D)
Suzhou is considered the home of high culture, charming gardens and delicate silks. Today you will encounter all of those. Our first trip is to the Lingering Garden which is more intimate and less crowded than some other gardens in the city. Then you will continue to the West Garden Monastery to discover the extraordinary Hall of the 500 Arhots. Time permitting, you will also have an opportunity to meet with some of the monks.
After lunch, we move on to the NO.1 Silk Factory where you can learn about how the practice of silk weaving has changed throughout history. Along with discovering more about how the cocoons of the modest silk worm are transformed into some of the finest fabrics known to man.
After a chance to refresh yourself at the hotel and dinner, we journey to one of Suzhou’s oldest and most picturesque gardens. Then you will enjoy a night of entertainment with six short artistic spectacles including conventional music, theatre and opera which are all acted in front of the impressive backdrop of pavilions and courtyard gardens.
Day 17: Suzhou – Shanghai (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, we catch a two hour coach ride to the modern metropolis of Shanghai. Our first destination will be the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall where a grand scale model portrays the city in 2020. After a lunch of traditional Shanghai Dimsum, we move onto the exciting Yuyuan Bazaar where there will be the chance to search for bargains and barter with the local street sellers.
After some time to freshen up at the hotel, we will take an afternoon stroll along the Bund and stop off at the Shanghai Gallery of Art to see the exhibits of some of China’s most progressive modern artists.
Dinner will be followed by an excursion to see the night life of the former French Concession. There will be a tour of the most fashionable area of Xintiandi, before you can decide whether to return to the hotel or to enjoy some drinks at one of the elegant wine bars.
Day 18: Shanghai – UK (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
Guilin: 4+* Bravo Hotel or 4* Plaza and 4* New Century Hotel
Chengdu: 4* Tianfu Sunshine Hotel
Chongqing (Dazu): 4* Ramada West Hotel
Yangtze Cruise: 5* Victoria Cruise Company
Suzhou: 4* Pingjiang Lodge
Please don't hesitate to contact us about this tour
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Depart UK Arrive UK Price pp from Book 06/08/2016 23/08/2016 £3555 10/09/2016 27/09/2016 £3515 08/10/2016 25/10/2016 £3515 22/10/2016 08/11/2016 £3515 08/11/2016 25/11/2016 £3515 18/03/2017 04/04/2017 £3495 08/04/2017 25/04/2017 £3565 05/08/2017 22/08/2017 £3595 09/09/2017 26/09/2017 £3565 07/10/2017 24/10/2017 £3565
Please don't hesitate to contact us about this tour
Make an Enquiry
The Grand China Tour with Yangtze Cruise
This extended 18 day itinerary brings together the main features of our “Classic China” and “Highlights of China” tours and includes the historic sites as well as the magnificent countryside of Guilin and a 5* Yangtze River Cruise through the Three Gorges.