Yin and Yangtze - 16 Days


Departure dates

From 2022-09-03 to 2022-11-12

What's included

15 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 5 dinners (includes a Traditional Chinese meal in Beijing) .
11 nights 3 - 4 star hotels and 3 nights 5 star Yangtze River Cruiser.
1 overnight train: Beijing – Xi'an (4-berth soft sleeper cabin).
2 high speed trains: Xi'an - Chengdu and Yichang - Nanjing.
Chinese acrobatic performance.
Rickshaw through Beijing’s Hutongs.
Xi’an - bike ride on medieval City Wall.
Yangtze River cruise - Chongqing - Yichang via Three Gorges.
Suzhou - historic Grand Canal cruise.
Beijing Capital Airport arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer day 16 from Shanghai Airport.
Touring of Beijing, Badaling, Juyongguan, Xi’an, Nanjing, Chengdu and Suzhou.
Tour Guide escorted (for groups of 6 or more).
English speaking specialist guides at local sights.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles.

Itinerary / more information

  • Day 1 - Beijing Saturday. Huan ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Airport arrival transfer from Beijing Capital Airport to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day offers free time for you to independently explore this astonishing city.
  • Day 2 - Beijing After a short group meeting we embark on a sightseeing tour of the nation’s capital and home of the 2008 Olympics. Tiananmen Square, partly framed by illustrious Chang-an Avenue, is essentially the heart of Beijing and is a public arena for the people and stage for Chairman Mao mausoleum. Across from the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Up above the gate and looking out across to all his people, is Chairman Mao. Perhaps today, he is looking at a different Beijing, one that is quickly entering the 21st century. Heading back a few centuries, we step into the Forbidden City, the walled city of the former Chinese emperors, it was only opened after the last emperor was overthrown in 1911. Encompassing architecturally stunning temples and halls, the complex of the Forbidden city is simply spectacular.

    Later, we take rickshaws to explore the Hutongs of Beijing. As our trusty rickshaw driver peddles us through the network of alleys and old back lanes, we gain a fascinating snapshot of the city’s traditional way of life. This evening, we enjoy an eye boggling Chinese acrobatic performance. Swinging ropes, juggling hoops, spinning plates and human pyramids are just a few tricks these show stoppers pull out followed by a Welcome Dinner of Peking Duck.
  • Day 3 - Great Wall After a free morning to further explore the city, we drive beyond Beijing to Badaling, to walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Built in the Ming Dynasty, a 6m wide pathway makes a formidable defence, following the highest contours of a steep range of hills. This evening we spend the night at our quaint hotel near Juyongguan Pass, which offers views of the Great Wall.
  • Day 4 - Juyongguan Pass Juyongguan - Xi’an. We rise early this morning and head (5 min bus drive) to the Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass when it opens to beat the crowds. We have time to enjoy and explore the wall before visiting a Jade Carving Centre to learn about this ornamental rock and its importance in Chinese culture. After lunch we head back to Beijing. Free time is offered in the cavernous Pearl Market - an Aladdin's Cave of souvenirs, handbags and gadgets, before travelling by express soft sleeper train to Xi’an in Shaanxi Province.
  • Day 5 - Xi'an Arrival Xi'an. Today's highlight is the Terracotta Warrior archaeological site. Standing in battle-ready formation and numbering into the thousands, the Terracotta Army is Xian’s most popular sight and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, 13 years after the army was discovered. Built by local craftsman during the 3rd century BC for emperor Qinshihuang, the life-sized warriors and horses were designed to offer protection in the afterlife.

    We also visit a clay workshop specialising in making replica figurines of the Terracotta Warriors, followed by the vibrant Muslim Quarter. Tonight, we welcome you to join the optional Tang Dynasty Show, which includes dinner, a traditional performance and transfers (bookable locally).
  • Day 6 - Xi'an Xi’an - Chengdu. This morning we enjoy a leisurely bike ride atop the Xi’an City Wall. Dating back to 1370 the 12m-high walls are some of the few remaining urban fortifications still standing in China today and after extensive restorations the City Walls offer ample opportunities from which to explore Xi'an. Our final stop for today is one of Xian’s most iconic landmarks, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

    Late this afternoon we take a high speed train to Chengdu. Reaching speeds of up to 300km per hour the journey is an experience in itself!
  • Day 7 - Panda Research Base Wake up with a visit to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. First opened in 1987 with just six pandas, after years of successful breeding projects the population now stands at over 80. Visitors can learn all about a panda's development and see both baby and adults pandas as well as the smaller red pandas. Later we visit the Wenshu Monastery, built during the Qing Dynasty. The temple is a hidden gem with few tourists visiting and a stop must be made at the delightful teahouse located inside the temple grounds. The evening is spent at leisure. On most nights Sichuan Opera is performed at the Shufengyayun Theatre.
  • Day 8 - Chengdu Driving to Leshan our morning is spent exploring the UNESCO-listed Great Buddha, which is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers below it. We return to Chengdu and the remainder of the day is at leisure.
  • Day 9 - Chengdu Chengdu - Chongqing - Yangtze River Cruiser. This morning we transfer to Chongqing (approx 2 hours), the start point for our exciting Yangtze River cruise. Before boarding the cruise (if time permits) we can stroll along Chongqing’s People’s Square, in the city centre.
  • Day 10-11 - Yangtze & Three Gorges Yangtze River cruise. Good morning from the River Yangtze! At 6340km in length, the Yangtze is the 3rd longest river in the world, neatly dividing China into north and south and wending its way through eight very different provinces. The Gorges are a breathtaking sight!

    The first gorge we pass, Qutangxia Gorge is the shortest and narrowest yet the most impressive. Here, the dramatic 1200m limestone peaks are often shrouded in mist and the river shoots through the narrow entrance with great haste.

    Next comes Wuxia Gorge, which straddles Sichuan and Hubei Provinces. Lined by twelve sheer peaks, Wuxia offers a spectacular vista for some 45km. Finally is Xiling Gorge, the longest at 75km and which comprises seven smaller gorges. During our cruise, we mayalso sail through the new ship locks of the impressive Three Gorges Dam.

    Whilst cruising, shore excursions are offered at no additional expense to Shibaozhai and Shennong stream, with its unique scenery and four natural gorges. Drift serenely along the stream in small, open ‘pea pod boats’ (water levels dependant), looking out upon lush greenery, jagged peaks and ancient villages of the Tujia people - one of the local ethnic minorities.
  • Day 12 - Yichang Yichang - Nanjing. Disembarking from our cruise in Yichang at approx 11:00am. After lunch, we take a high speed train bound for Nanjing (approx 6 hours) reaching speeds of over 310km. Hotel check in and evening free in Nanjing.
  • Day 13 - Nanjing Nanjing. Spend the morning at leisure before we enjoy lunch and embark on our afternoon city sightseeing tour. Former capital of the Ming Dynasty and capital of Republican China, from 1911 - 1949, Nanjing holds a rich history of both ancient and modern China. We visit the Fuzi Miao (Temple of Confucius) and the Mausoleum of Dr Sun Yatsen as part of our guided tour of the city. Lastly today, we will also visit the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre, which is a moving experience that charts the atrocities committed at this very site.
  • Day 14 - Suzhou A short train journey East is Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The charming city boasts extensive waterways and canals dotted with traditional bridges, houses and gardens. A cruise on the Grand Canal exposes Suzhou’s beauty, as does our exploration of the Lingering Garden.
  • Day 15 - Shanghai Suzhou - Shanghai. Today we travel by road to bustling Shanghai where the remainder of the day is at leisure. Perhaps visit the Plaza tower, French Quarter, The Bund or the Old City.
  • Day 16 - Shanghai Sunday. Tour ends after breakfast and included onward transfer to airport.
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