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Grand China

19 days with Scenic  Rating: Deluxe

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  • Military members and their spouses save 5% off this cruise. This offer does not apply to certain extensions. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.

River Cruise Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing
Ni Hao and welcome to China. On arrival you will be welcomed by your Scenic Representative and transferred to your home for the next four nights, your hotel is located within walking distance to the Silk Markets. Begin your amazing discovery of China with a Peking duck welcome banquet at the highly acclaimed restaurant, Duck de Chine. (Dinner)

Day 2 Beijing
Today visit China’s most iconic attraction – the Great Wall at Mutianyu, one of the lesser visited sections of the Great Wall. The dramatic scenery provides a picture-perfect backdrop to the Great Wall as it snakes through the mountains and countryside. Standing on the ancient ramparts is the only way to fully appreciate this magnificent structure, built more than 2,500 years ago.

Freechoice: Attend the 200-year-old Peking Opera for music, vocals, mime, dance and acrobatics or the spectacular Kung Fu Show, a martial arts spectacular of Kung Fu, dance and acrobatics. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3 Beijing
Wander through Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public squares and home to the Great Hall of the People and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum before entering the mysterious Forbidden City. Home to the Imperial families during the Ming era, the Forbidden City, with the towering portrait of Chairman Mao looming above, will astound you with its size and the beauty of the many Imperial Palaces, elegant gardens and pavilions within. Afterwards enjoy lunch with a local family in a traditional home in the hutongs before taking a rickshaw ride through these atmospheric old, narrow, winding alleyways to witness traditional Chinese life in a city. Later you have free time for that last minute visit to the Silk Markets.

Finish the day as you started, overlooking the Forbidden City. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a drink and take in Beijing at dusk.

Freechoice Dining: Choose between contemporary Asian, Western or modern epicurian cuisine. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4 Beijing
Freechoice: Indulge in a shopping spree at the Silk Markets or wander the bustling morning markets and hunt for ingredients for a wonderful interactive cooking class with lunch. Alternatively, discover the unique holistic approach and jealously guarded secrets of traditional Chinese medicine, combined with a wellness lunch.or visit the incredible 15th century Temple of Heaven, a great example of Ming architecture.  In its surrounding parklands, witness the local people socialising, exercising and enjoying their relaxation time.

Later, explore the landscaped beauty of the Summer Palace which dates back to 1750 in its use as a royal garden for the royal families to relax and entertain in.  Discover its beautiful gardens and pavilions and enjoy cruise on Kunming Lake. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 5 Beijing > Xi’an
Today, fly to Xi’an, the ancient capital for eleven dynasties and east end of the Silk Road. Delve into Xi’an’s historical past and enjoy the panoramic views as you navigate either by walking, by push bike or electric buggy, the city’s walls originally built in the 14th century. Later, check into historically located hotel in Xi’an for a two night stay. Tonight enjoy the Tang Dynasty Cultural Show with dinner. Witness a grand performance of traditional songs, dances and colourful costumes from the Tang Dynasty. This spectacular cultural show features more than 145 performers on stage together with a classical Chinese orchestra. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 Xi’an
Gaze at Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s amazing Terracotta Warriors in the company of a museum curator. More than 2,000 years old, these terracotta warriors and horses were created to protect the tomb of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang and were only discovered by a local farmer late in the 20th century. (VIP viewing platform closed indefinitely for major repairs)

Enjoy a stroll around the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Thanksgiving Temple or retire to your hotel across the road to prepare for this evening’s highlight.

Be treated to a special private viewing of ancient artefacts at a local museum.  Savour a refreshing drink and learn more about Shaanxi Province history from the museum’s curator. Continue your refreshments overlooking the splendid Big Wild Goose Pagoda at sunset. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 7 Xi’an > Yichang Yangtze River Cruise
Visit a local painter’s home in nearby Hu Xi’an County, famous for its rural peasant paintings. You’ll learn about his art and enjoy lunch with his family – a wonderful way of drawing closer to China’s culture, and its people.

Fly to Yichang to join your cruise ship, the Yangzi Explorer. Upon boarding enjoy your first à la carte dinner including wine and beer, as you can with every lunch and dinner whilst on board your cruise. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 Yangtze River Cruise
Inspect the Three Gorges Dam project site and experience the ship locks in operation. Later, sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the Three Gorges while sampling afternoon tea delights. Tonight enjoy the Captain’s reception. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 Yangtze River Cruise
Explore the dramatic gorges of Shennong Stream by longboat (sampan). Later, traverse Wu Gorge, known for its quiet beauty, forest covered mountains and sheer rock walls, and Qutang Gorge the shortest, narrowest and most dramatic of the gorges. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 Yangtze River Cruise
Join an insightful excursion to Fengdu. Tonight, mingle at the ‘Taste of China’ gala dinner in your finest Chinese outfit. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise > Chongqing > Chengdu
Disembark and tour around Chongqing, the largest municipality in southwest China and the ancient town of Ciqikou, known for its porcelain. Then experience China’s new high-speed train network to Chengdu, the laid back and spicy capital of Sichuan and home to China’s national symbol the Giant Panda. Settle in for a two night stay at your luxurious hotel.

Freechoice Dining: Dinner is a delicious choice between traditional Sichuan cuisine at Shang Palace or a Western steak or burger at Mooneys Irish bar or international fare at Café Z. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12 Chengdu
Observe some of the many programs being implemented to protect the endangered giant panda and their habitat before being treated to an enchanting close encounter with rare giant panda cubs. You’ll even get to hold these endangered creatures, truly a moment to cherish.

Wander through the old quarter of town and visit Jinli Street, one of the oldest commercial streets in China, and the second century Wuhou Temple, a shrine to Sichuan's ancient Shu past and the heroes that made the Shu Kingdom legendary during the Three Kingdoms Period. Tonight, be entertained by a performance of Sichuan Opera, a 300 year old tradition adapted from Chinese legends and stories. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13 Chengdu > Guilin
Commence your day with a flight to Guilin. Situated on the Li River and surrounded by spectacular karst scenery, Guilin is one of China’s most picturesque regions and its breath-taking scenery has attracted famous poets and artists for thousands of years. Admire the iconic Elephant Trunk Hill and colourful Reed Flute Cave before settling in for the evening at your elegant hotel in Guilin. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14 Guilin > Yangshuo
Discover why the Li River has been listed by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ten water wonders during your leisurely cruise along the most picturesque section to Yangshuo. Along the way, soak up the beauty of the jagged green limestone karst scenery, small fishing villages and farmers tending their rice fields. Later stroll around the Old Town before settling back at your luxurious accommodation in Yangshuo for a two night Special Stay. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 15 Yangshuo
Freechoice: Venture into the countryside to discover a rural way of life rarely encountered by tourists. You can choose to explore the 300-year-old Liugong village, and other surrounding farms and villages, or visit Fuli, the hometown of China’s iconic painted paper fans. You’ll even get to meet a master of the art and try your hand in creating your own souvenir.

This evening, witness the amazing Impression Liu Sanjie Show which uses the Li River as its stage and is choreographed by Zhang Yimou, who directed the spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 16 Yangshuo > Guilin > Shanghai
Relax this morning in the beautiful surrounds of your hotel before flying to cosmopolitan Shanghai. Travel on the high speed Maglev (magnetic levitation) train, capable of reaching speeds of over 430kms per hour, then enjoy a three night Special Stay at your iconic hotel located on the famous Bund. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 17 Shanghai
Stroll along the Bund and its lively waterfront, admiring the 1930s European colonial architecture. Compare its heritage buildings to those in Yu Gardens before enjoying a delicious lunch of dim sum, a Shanghai speciality. Afterwards cross the Huangpu River to the modern side of Shanghai, Pudong and admire the view of the city from Shanghai Tower, the recently completed and second tallest building in the world.

Tonight marvel at the agility and skill of the renowned Shanghai Acrobats. This amazing show blends Chinese acrobatics with state-of-the-art multimedia technology and innovation and is sure to be a highlight. (
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18 Shanghai
Freechoice: Encounter amazing treasures, including bronze pieces, ceramic and calligraphy on your visit to the Shanghai Museum, one of the largest museums in China with a collection of more than 120,000 treasures. Then wander through People’s Square, the large public square adjacent to the museum, which was part of the horse racing course of Shanghai, before exploring the French Concession district. Finish at Xintiandi, an area characterised by 1920s style shikumen buildings transformed into trendy clubs, restaurants and boutiques. Alternatively, visit Zhujiajiao - the ‘Venice of Shanghai’, a water town with a rich canal life and a wealth of traditional buildings and bridges dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911).

Later, spend your free time exploring Nanjing Road, with its wealth of shopping opportunities for those last minute gifts before enjoying your farewell dinner in the company of your fellow travellers. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 19 Shanghai
It’s the end of a journey you’ll look back on fondly for years to come. (Breakfast)

Tour Map
All This Included
This 19 day journey from Beijing to Shanghai is filled with visits to lands that time forgot. Authentic flavour, ancient culture - wonder at every turn.

From old timber houses on narrow cobbled streets to cormorant fishermen applying their fascinating techniques, this itinerary is your opportunity to discover a China many modern travellers don’t get to witness first-hand.

It’s the China beyond Beijing and Shanghai – a charming wonderland where ancient crafts are still applied in the time-honoured fashion. On this journey, you’ll get to embrace all the natural wonder on offer too, from rivers that snake through beautiful rolling landscapes to striking limestone outcrops that evoke images of old oriental watercolour paintings. There’s something both strange and familiar about the places you’ll visit, at once thrillingly new and comfortingly recognisable. That is part of their allure, and their wonder. As you’ll soon discover yourself, there’s nothing fabricated about this land. It’s always been there, waiting patiently for you drop in for a visit. So why wait any longer?
  • Peking duck dinner
  • Great Wall of China, Freechoice
  • Lunch in private home, Sundowners over Tiananmen Square, Freechoice
  • Freechoice, Summer Palace
  • Xi’an Wall
  • Enrich - Terracotta Warriors and private museum visit
  • Enrich - Lunch in painter's home Embark cruise
  • Three Gorges Dam Project Captain’s Reception
  • Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge
  • Fengdu Gala Dinner
  • Ciqikou Ancient Town Sichuan dinner
  • Enrich - hold panda at the Giant Panda Breeding Centre
  • Luodai Ancient Town
  • Li River cruise
  • Freechoice, Impression Liu Sanjie Show
  • Maglev Train
  • City sightseeing tour
  • Freechoice activities
  • Farewell
  • 46 meals including 18 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches and 13 Dinners
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer
  • Itineraries are subject to change.
  • 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.

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