River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing
Arrive at any time and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a first taste of Chinese cuisine with a Peking Duck welcome dinner. (1D)
Day 2 Beijing
Start the day early with a lesson in tai chi, led by a local expert at the historic Temple of Heaven. After, continue exploring the key sites of Beijing including the famed Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. (1B)
Day 3 Beijing/Xi'an
Take a walk along the 500-year-old Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Spend time exploring the towers, views, and the magnificent structure of this unique wonder. In the evening, board an overnight sleeper train to Xi'an. (1B)
Day 4 Xi'an
Arrive early into Xi'an where we take a leisurely bike ride along the ancient city walls. Then enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at the historic Gao’s Grand Courtyard House. Visit backstage, interact with local artists, and enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry. This evening, explore the vibrant Muslim Quarter and local markets then opt to try some of the best street food in China. (1B)
Day 5 Xi'an
Visit the famed Terracotta Warriors — an archaeological wonder built over 2,000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. After, visit a local village for lunch. Opt to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner banquet in the evening. (1B, 1L)
Day 6 Xi'an/Lhasa
Fly over the Himalayas to Tibet. Settle into our Lhasa hotel, our home for the next three nights, before setting out on an orientation walk with a local guide through Barkhor Square. (1B)
Day 7 Lhasa
Enjoy a guided visit to the Potala Palace and the Tibetan Medicine Institute to learn more about Tibetan spirituality and culture. Also visit a tangka academy to observe this ancient and intricate art form, considered sacred to Buddhists. The works usually depict a deity, scene, or mandala and are tied directly into Buddhist teaching and meditation. (1B)
Day 8 Lhasa
Visit sacred Jokhang Temple and the historic Sera Monastery, one of the great Tibetan Universities famed for its open debates among monks on the Buddhist doctrines. Later take a cooking class with a local chef and make (and eat) Tibetan momo beef dumplings. (1B, 1L)
Day 9 Lhasa/Chengdu
Fly to Chengdu and sample the famed and fiery Sichuan cuisine for dinner in the evening. (1B, 1D)
Day 10 Chengdu/Chongqing
Visit the Panda Breeding Centre to learn about and observe these gentle animals. Later, catch a train to Chongqing and board a luxury riverboat for the first night on the Yangtze. (1B)
Day 11 Yangtze River
Cruise the Yangtze River with daily shore excursions that can include Fengdu, Shibaozhai, or Wanzhou; sailing through Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges, or Shennong Stream, and sailing through Three Gorges dam ship locks. Relax in comfortable cabins and enjoy onboard activities such as tai chi, tea tasting, and Chinese calligraphy classes. (1B, 1L, 1D)
Day 12 Yangtze River
Cruise the Yangtze River with daily shore excursions that can include Fengdu, Shibaozhai, or Wanzhou; sailing through Qutang Gorge/Wu Gorge, Daning River Small Gorges, or Shennong Stream, and sailing through Three Gorges dam shiplocks. Relax in comfortable cabins and enjoy shipboard activities such as tai chi, tea tasting, and Chinese calligraphy classes. (1B, 1L, 1D)
Day 13 Yangtze River/Shanghai
Enjoy a tour of Three Gorges Dam (dependent on river conditions) before flying to Shanghai. (1B)
Day 14 Shanghai
Enjoy free time to explore this vibrant city on your own. Opt to visit Yuyuan Gardens, the Shanghai Museum, or catch the famed Shanghai acrobats in performance this evening. (1B)
Day 15 Shanghai
Depart at any time. (1B)
River Cruise Highlights
Enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry
Learn how to make Tibetan momos (beef dumplings)
Get up close and personal with pandas at a Sichuan breeding centre
Take in Thangka art at a Tibetan academy in Lhasa
Cruise the mighty Yangtze River on a luxury riverboat
All This Included
Explore China like an insider on this 15-day adventure across its awe-inspiring interior. Go for a walk on the Great Wall, explore the bustling city of Beijing, and meet pandas at a breeding centre in Sichuan. Glimpse daily life in Tibet and cruise the incredible Yangtze River on a riverboat. Cycle atop the city walls of Xi’an, and face its standing army of terracotta warriors before eating lunch with a local family. Venture into the heart of the country, and find the pulse of China.
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Temple of Heaven Tai Chi, Beijing National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Chinese Shadow Puppetry, Xi'an National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Tangka Painting demonstration, Lhasa National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Dumpling-Making Lesson, Lhasa Carte Blanche: Shanghai
Tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven
Visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
Bike ride along the Xi'an city walls
Orientation walk through Xi'an's Muslim Quarter and street markets
Tour the museum of the terracotta warriors
Orientation walk in Barkhor square
Tour of Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, and the Tibetan Medicine Institute
Sera Monastery visit
Visit a panda breeding centre
Yangtze River cruise
Three Gorges Dam tour
All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Hotels (10 nts), soft-sleeper overnight train (1 nt), Yangtze riverboat (3 nts).
14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners.
Transportation: Train, minibus, cruise boat, small canal boat, ferry, bicycle, plane, walking.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO), local guides.
Accommodations on this Tour
Hotels (10 nts)
Soft-sleeper overnight train (1 nt)
Yangtze riverboat (3 nts)
Small group experience; Max 15, Avg 10.
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.