Best of China with Yangtze Cruise
From 02/04/2023 to 22/10/2023
1 Welcome Reception.
1 Be My Guest.
1 Farewell Dinner.
2 Regional Dinners.
First class travel Highlights.
An expert Travel Director and professional Driver.
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted.
All porterage and restaurant gratuities.
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes.
Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals.
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras.
Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing.
Flight from Beijing to Xi'an and Yichang to Shanghai.
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys).
Optional Experiences and free time.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Say Ni hao to China Journey to the "Northern Capital" - a land of emperors, epic monuments and the cultural heart of China. On arrival in Beijing, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you can relax before meeting your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers.
Day 2 - Journey to the Great Wall Visit the iconic Great Wall of China at Juyongguan this morning - its stone ramparts and walls snaking thousands of miles into the distance to defend the empire against nomadic invaders since 5th century B.C. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and this evening for dinner indulge in a Regional Dinner of succulent Peking Duck - a must during any visit to Beijing.
Day 3 - Discover the Icons of Beijing Surround yourself with the grandeur of Beijing's landmark Great Hall of the People, Qianmen Gate and the mausoleum of Mao Zedong as you walk through one of the world's largest public areas, Tiananmen Square. Delve into China's imperial heritage, passing the south gate into the frozen-in-time Forbidden City - once home to emperors and their households and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, indulge in a relaxing foot massage at the Foot Reflexology Centre to ease you into an evening at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience.
Day 4 - Explore Beijing's hutong and onwards to Xi'an Navigate the ancient alleyways of the courtyard Hutong residences, weaving through lively neighbourhoods on the back of a traditional rickshaw. Stop at the home of a local family where you'll Connect With Locals, enjoying a Be My Guest lunch of traditional Chinese cuisine, then visit a nearby tea house. Here, you'll delve into the art of chayi, joining a Local Specialist who'll share first-hand the age-old ritual of tea-making. Leave Beijing behind, bound for Xi'an, an ancient departure point on the Silk Road.
Day 5 - Marvel at the legendary Terracotta Warriors Engage with the children and teachers of a local primary school (during term-time) where you will learn a few words of Chinese and MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) by donating much-needed supplies. Next, descend into the subterranean tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang to view his legendary army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, followed by a delicious traditional meal of Chinese noodles. Your final stop today is to a Jade factory where you'll admire the favoured stone of emperors, more precious to the Chinese people than gold.
Day 6 - Take the bullet train to Chengdu This morning, your choice of activities gives you an opportunity to join a Local Specialist in their T'ai Chi practice or embark on a cycle tour around part of the ancient City Wall of Xi'an. Get stuck in to the ancient art of dumpling making next, with an opportunity to sample the juicy results for lunch, then transfer to the railway station for your high-speed bullet train trip to Chengdu. On arrival in the hometown of the giant panda, you'll check in to your hotel and savour the leisurely pace of local life on your terms.
Day 7 - See the Giant Pandas of China Witness the ground-breaking work being done by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding this morning. Join a Local Specialist and learn how this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Experience supports the non-profit research breeding facility which rescues and protects the endangered giant panda, of which fewer than 2,000 remain. Afterwards return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 8 - Discover the cuisine of Sichuan Indulge in the bold and spicy flavours of local cuisine as you Dive Into Culture and learn about regional cooking practices at the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine. Learn how to crush chilli into powder using a Qing Dynasty pestle and mortar, then view ancient kitchenware, books and manuscripts faithfully recording the history of Sichuan culinary cultures. Immerse yourself in the intoxicating scents wafting through Restaurant Alley then, pay tribute to the Kitchen God before attempting to create your own culinary magic with the guidance of a local chef. Stomach and soul sated after a delicious encounter with Chengdu, you'll have an afternoon to relax, explore further or perhaps take the opportunity to do some shopping.
Day 9 - Board your Yangtze River Cruise Rub shoulders with the locals during a visit to People's Park with its beautiful Chinese gardens, lake and tea houses. Gain insights into the day-to-day lives of the locals who spend their free time in tranquil surrounds indulging in a leisurely game of mah-jong, a quiet nap or neck massage. Venture to lively Jinli Old Street next, crossing beneath the imposing archway into a world of intricate handicraft, paintings and calligraphy. Stroll along the narrow street whose fa?ades were modelled on the architectural style of a traditional old town in western Sichuan Province, then transfer to the railway station for a high-speed bullet train ride to Chongqing. Here, you'll enjoy a city orientation tour with dinner before boarding your Yangtze River Cruise.
Day 10 - Cruise the Great Yangtze River Disembark this morning for a short visit to Shibaozhai to admire its 12-storey cliff-top temple, built in the 19th century. Stretch your legs and climb up to the temple, tackling the red pavilion which leans against the side of the steep peak, now an island due to the rising waters of the Three Gorges Dam. Return to the Yangtze, cruising to Fengdu's 'Ghost City' to explore the mystical shrines, temples and monasteries that are dedicated to the afterlife.
Day 11 - Sail through the imposing Three Gorges Connect with your exquisite natural surrounds as you cruise gently down the Yangtze to the imposing Three Gorges. Squeeze through the narrow Qutang Gorge, admiring its dramatic vistas, before your journey takes you through Wu Gorge, renowned for its quiet beauty, forest-clad mountains, and cliffs so sheer the sun barely penetrates their precipices and finally, Xiling Gorge. A small motor boat will ferry you through the magical landscape of the Goddess Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze - its limestone cliffs covered in greenery provide a tranquil backdrop for your relaxing encounter with this mighty river.
Day 12 - Onwards to Shanghai View the engineering marvel that is the world's largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam, before disembarking your cruise ship and transferring to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival into China's biggest city, check into your hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 13 - Discover Vibrant Shanghai Shanghai's famous 'Bund' waterfront is the first stop on a day of sightseeing with a Local Specialist. Admire the ornate neoclassical colonial buildings and skyscrapers that have sprung up from this former marshland, then Dive Into Culture during a visit to a silk museum. Embrace the tranquillity of the famous Yu Garden next, with its pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters. Then, enjoy some free time for a local lunch of soup dumplings perhaps and shopping in the Old Town, a treasure trove of winding streets and vibrant markets that was once enclosed by the ancient walled city of Shanghai. Our final stop this afternoon is a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1928 after the original temple was destroyed during the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Admire the beauty of its precious jade Buddha statues made out of crystal-clear white jade, before you settle into an evening performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.
Day 14 - More Treasures of Shanghai Ascend to the 88-storey Jinmao Tower for panoramic views of the skyscrapers that loom over the most populous city on earth. Then embark on a walking tour with a Local Specialist through the Shanghai French Concession, for an exhilarating encounter with the opulent age of French colonial China. Wander through the narrow alleyways, past elegant villas and apartments dating back to the early 1900s when the territory was proclaimed a French settlement. Later this morning, you'll see where the First Conference of the Communist Party took place in Xin Tian Di, whose charming antique fa?ades hide a 21st century world of bars, caf?s, boutiques and theme restaurants. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure, letting the sights and sounds of Shanghai infuse every sense or consider joining an Optional Experience. Say a fond farewell to newfound friends this evening during a Farewell Dinner.
Day 15 - Farewell to China Our epic encounter with China at its end, take a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Sightseeing Highlights Explore Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Shanghai Visit the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, and the 'Bund' waterfront, Jade Buddha Temple and Jinmao Tower in Shanghai See local people practicing T'ai Chi in the morning, the Three Gorges Dam and the Shanghai Acrobats Cruise the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Connect with Locals Visit and have lunch with a local family in their home in one of Beijing's hutongs and gain a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lifestyle. Dive into Culture Indulge in a foot massage at the Foot Reflexology Centre. Dive into Culture Discover the traditions and techniques of dumpling making, indulging in an opportunity to sample them. Dive into Culture Learn about Sichuan cuisine at a cooking class in Chengdu and taste some of your creations. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) At the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, learn how your visit contributes to their conservation efforts to rescue and protect the endangered giant panda of which fewer than 2,000 remain. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) In Xi'an, you'll get to know the students and teachers at a local primary school, where Trafalgar donates much-needed supplies. Find out how your visit helps support their education in the local community.
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