Day 1 Beijing
Fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital, then transfer to your hotel. After check-in, you have free time to relax.
Day 2 Beijing
After breakfast, visit massive Tiananmen Square, then cross the street and enter the Forbidden City. These elegant palaces, pavilions and landscaped gardens were for centuries open only to nobility. This afternoon, tour the 700-acre Summer Palace and ride a dragon boat across man-made Kunming Lake. Tonight, dine on local specialties. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Beijing
Today, take a ride to a very well-preserved section of the legendary Great Wall of China and stand on its famous ramparts. A local lunch is followed by a visit to the Sacred Way; there, you walk among huge stone sculptures flanking the tree-lined avenue to the Ming Tombs. Tonight’s optional evening entertainment features a Peking duck dinner followed by the artistry of performers from the famed Peking Opera, or dine and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Beijing & Xian
See traditional Chinese life during your rickshaw tour along Beijing’s hutongs (traditional neighborhood areas), then visit a silk carpet workshop. After lunch, fly to Xian, China’s legendary home of the Tang Dynasty from 618 to 907 A.D. Check in to your hotel and take some free time to relax or explore Xian on your own—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your activities. Dinner is served at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Xian
Today, tour Xian’s archeological wonder and see where thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors, each soldier and horse molded in incredible detail, were buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang. See the excavation facility and tour the museums where many of the items are displayed; lunch is served at the museum’s facility. Tour the majestic 7-story Big Wild Goose Pagoda on the way back to your hotel. Tonight, you have the option of experiencing the glory of the Tang Dynasty era at a banquet with traditional song and dance, or enjoy dinner at your hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Xian & Chengdu
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a panoramic tour to see some of Xian’s architectural features, such as the beautifully preserved city wall and south gate. Have lunch and proceed to the airport for a short flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival, visit one of the city’s traditional teahouses, which are very popular with the locals. Check in to your hotel and relax until dinner; dine in a local restaurant, then attend a presentation of Sichuan opera, a highly ritualized form that began during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) and is performed in the local dialect. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Chendgu
This morning’s excursion takes you to the Panda Research Base, where the giant panda and other rare animals, such as the red panda and the golden monkey, are cared for and bred. Founded in 1987 with six rescued giant pandas, the captive population has grown to nearly 100. This is now the largest facility of its kind in the world; take an in-depth tour and learn about its research and conservation efforts.
Proceed to the Sanxingdui Museum; have lunch and then explore artifacts from nearby archeological sites that date back to the Neolithic, Shang and Zhou periods. Study pottery made on a wheel nearly 5,000 years ago; highly sophisticated gold, bronze and jade objects from 3,000 years ago; and spectacular Shang and Zhou bronze pieces. Return to your hotel and relax over dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Chengdu & Lijiang
This morning, check out of your hotel and take a short flight to Lijiang, a prefecture in northwest Yunnan Province. Arrive midmorning and tour the home and workshop of renowned botanist Dr. Joseph Rock, who came to the area in the early 1920s to study the region’s plants and ended up making a comprehensive 27-year study of the area’s ethnic Naxi population. You will tour the house and see spectacular views of the nearby lake and mountains. Have lunch in Lijiang, then proceed to your hotel for check-in; the rest of the day is yours to relax or explore the town. Dinner is at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Lijiang
After a hotel breakfast, take a full day at leisure to explore Lijiang’s 800-year-old Dayan Town area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring traditional Naxi adobe houses, the Ancient Wall Gate and the Three Pagodas. Walk around the town’s narrow streets and lanes and alongside the picturesque canal. See the Baisha Fresco and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and visit Longquan Village, the traditional Naxi home. Catch glimpses of the dramatic layered sandstone peaks that surround the town and are said to be mystical. (B)
Day 10 Lijiang & Chongqing
After breakfast and a final free morning in Lijiang, fly to the mountain city of Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze. Check in to your hotel for a one-night stay and dine there; relax or explore Chongqing’s dramatic waterfront vistas. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Chongqing
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a dramatic drive to Dazu County where you have lunch in a local restaurant. Proceed to the Dazu Stone Carvings, an extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising 75 protected areas with some 50,000 statues and more than 100,000 carved Chinese characters dating back as far as the 7th century A.D. These images provide unprecedented insight into China’s culture and ways of life from the Tang through the Song Dynasties. Fortunately these carvings survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution and have only been open to foreign visitors since 1980.
After your visit, we take you back to Chongqing to embark your ship. Enjoy a joyous welcome aboard and festive meal. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Shibaozhai
Enjoy your first morning of scenic Yangtze River cruising; after lunch, stop for a visit to Shibaozhai Temple, a gem of Qing Dynasty architecture that was originally built high above the Yangtze. Back on board, attend the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner. Afterward, continue cruising through the night. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Three Gorges & Lesser Three Gorges
During breakfast, sail through the spectacular scenery of Qutang Gorge, the shortest and narrowest gorge. Board smaller boats for an excursion through the dramatic Lesser Three Gorges area. Return to your ship for lunch, and spend the afternoon cruising through Wu (Witches) Gorge. This evening, we sail through the Three Gorges Dam’s five-stage lock system and dock for the night. (B, L, D)
Day 14 Three Gorges Dam & Three Gorges
This morning, take a fascinating tour of the monumental Three Gorges Dam, completed in 2008—one of the world’s most amazing feats of engineering. Have lunch on board; this afternoon, sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the gorges. Cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
Day 15 Jingzhou
After breakfast, take a short ride to one of Jingzhou’s elementary schools, sponsored by Viking River Cruises. The children warmly welcome you, share songs, dances and photos and invite you into their classrooms—this is truly one of the journey’s highlights for many of our guests. Return to your ship for meals and scenic cruising. This evening is the Captain’s dinner and a cabaret evening showcasing some of your crew’s surprising talents. (B, L, D)
Day 16 Wuhan & Shanghai
Disembark and tour Wuhan’s Hubei Provincial Museum, filled with artifacts from archeological digs in the area. Your visit includes a concert played on replicas of ancient instruments found nearby, including a huge set of bronze bells. Proceed to the airport for your flight to Shanghai, China’s most modern metropolis. After checking in to your Shanghai hotel, the rest of your day is free; dinner is served at your hotel this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 17 Shanghai
Today, tour the Bund district, a waterfront row of banks and customs houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries in styles ranging from Gothic to Art Deco. Then, proceed to the Yu Garden in Old Shanghai. After lunch, visit the Shanghai Museum; see its ancient ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and other artifacts. Have a farewell dinner in a local restaurant, then admire the dexterity of Chinese acrobats at tonight’s performance. (B, L, D)
Day 18 Shanghai
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, extend your China experience with a fully escorted land package that includes 3 nights in bustling Hong Kong and 1 night in scenic Guilin. (B)
All This Included
Spend 18 days exploring some of China’s many faces, including 6 astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Sites. See Beijing’s Forbidden City, once open only to royalty, the lovely Summer Palace with its manmade lake, and a well-preserved section of the Great Wall. Journey to Xian to the excavation site of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors; proceed to Chengdu to experience Sichuan culture and artifacts and visit one of the area’s giant panda sanctuaries. Fly to Lijiang in Yunnan province to see its Old Town area and meet the fascinating and friendly Naxi people. Continue to Chongqing and walk amongst the Dazu Rock Carvings before embarking your ship for a 6-day Yangtze River cruise through the spectacular Three Gorges region. Disembark and spend some time in Wuhan before flying to Shanghai, where you stroll along the 19th-century waterfront Bund surrounded by views of this cutting-edge 21st-century metropolis.
17 included guided tours
5 nights in river-view veranda stateroom plus 3 nights in Beijing hotel, 2 nights in Xian hotel, 2 nights in Shanghai hotel, 2 nights in Chengdu hotel, 2 nights in Lijiang hotel, 1 night in Chongqing hotel
Most meals: 17 breakfasts, 15 lunches & 15 dinners
All intra-China flights
Accommodations on this Tour
Beijing: To be determined
Xian: To be determined
Chengdu: To be determined
Lijiang: To be determined
Chongqing: To be determined
Cruising: Cabin onboard Viking Emerald
Shanghai: To be determined
Pre and Post Add-ons
Post-Extension: Hong Kong & Guilin
4-night post-extension - $1,899 per person
Enjoy 1 night in mystical Guilin plus 3 nights in bustling Hong Kong on this fully escorted post-cruisetour package. From the shopper’s paradise of Hong Kong to the artistic landscapes of Guilin’s Li River, you will have time to explore the landmark sights. Includes a scenic boat ride in Guilin, a Hong Kong city tour and sampan ride in Aberdeen, 4 hotel nights and daily breakfasts.
Cabin upgrades are available.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.