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Grand China

19 days with Scenic  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing
Begin your amazing discovery of China with a Peking duck welcome dinner. Your home for the next four nights is located within walking distance to the Silk Markets. (Dinner)

Day 2 Beijing
Start your tour with a special highlight as you visit China’s most iconic attraction – the Great Wall at Mutianyu.

Freechoice: Spend an unforgettable evening at either the famed Peking Opera or the spectacular Kung Fu Show. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3 Beijing
Wander through Tiananmen Square and enter the mysterious Forbidden City. Afterwards, enjoy lunch with a local family in a traditional home in the hutongs before relaxing on a rickshaw ride through the ancient laneways separating these homes.

Finish the day as you started, overlooking the magnificent Forbidden City, as you enjoy a drink with your fellow travellers and soak up Beijing at dusk.

Freechoice: Choose between mixed Asian at Lost Heaven or Western dishes at The Cut. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4 Beijing
Freechoice: Indulge in a shopping spree at the Silk Markets or hunt for ingredients at the wet markets for a wonderful interactive cooking class. Alternatively, discover the jealously guarded secrets of traditional Chinese medicine or visit the incredible 15th century Temple of Heaven.

Later, explore the Summer Palace’s landscaped beauty and enjoy a cruise on Kunming Lake. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 5 Beijing > Xi’an
Explore Xi’an’s ancient city wall on foot, by bike or electric buggy. Tonight, enjoy a performance at the Tang Dynasty Cultural Show over dinner. You’ll spend the next two nights at your historically located hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 Xi’an
Gaze at Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s amazing Terracotta Warriors in the company of a museum curator, an incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about the restoration process.

Later, enjoy a stroll around the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Thanksgiving Temple.

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
Explore the maze of markets in the Muslim Quarter.

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.

Fly to Yichang to join your refurbished cruise ship at Maoping or Taohuacun Pier, the Yangzi Explorer. On board enjoy included wine and beer with your lunch and dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 Yangtze River Cruise
Inspect the Three Gorges Dam project site. Experience the ship elevator in operation (when available). Later, sail through Xiling Gorge while sampling afternoon tea delights. Tonight enjoy the Captain’s reception. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 Yangtze River Cruise
Explore the dramatic Bamboo Gorge and Shennong Stream by longboat (sampan) and then visit a local village of rowers. Later, traverse Wu Gorge, known for its sheer rock walls, and Qutang Gorge, the most dramatic of the three gorges. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 Yangtze River Cruise – Fuling
Enjoy an insightful excursion in Fuling to the ‘816 Underground Project’. This afternoon is at leisure in Fuling. Tonight, mingle at the Taste of China gala dinner. Be sure to dress in your finest Chinese outfit. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise > Chongqing > Chengdu
Disembark and tour around Chongqing and the ancient town of Ciqikou, known for its porcelain. Then experience China’s new high-speed train network to Chengdu, before settling in for a two night stay at your luxurious hotel in Chengdu.

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
A special day as you’ll enjoy an enchanting close encounter with rare giant panda cubs. You’ll even get to have a photo with 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. Tonight, be entertained by a performance of Sichuan Opera. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13 Chengdu > Guilin
Commence with a flight to Guilin. Admire the surrounding picturesque karst landscape, the iconic Elephant Trunk Hill and colourful Reed Flute Cave. Spend the evening in Guilin and enjoy an overnight stay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14 Guilin > Yangshuo
Enjoy picturesque vistas as you sail down the idyllic Li River to Yangshuo. 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. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 16 Yangshuo > Guilin > Shanghai
Relax this morning before flying to cosmopolitan Shanghai. Travel on the high speed Maglev train, then enjoy a three night Special Stay. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 17 Shanghai
Stroll along the famous Bund and compare its striking heritage buildings to those in Yu Gardens. Across the Huangpu River, explore the Pudong area and discover the modern China. Later, admire the view from Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in Pudong. Tonight, witness the renowned agility and skill of the Shanghai Acrobats. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18 Shanghai
Freechoice: Wander through the Shanghai Museum and People’s Square before exploring the French Concession and Xintiandi pedestrian dining and entertainment area. Alternatively, visit Zhujiajiao, a town with a rich canal life and a wealth of traditional buildings and bridges.

Later, spend your free time exploring Nanjing Road, with its wealth of shopping opportunities before enjoying your farewell dinner. (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
Enjoy an 18 day adventure from Beijing to Shanghai. Discover the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and a luxurious Yangtze River cruise.

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
  • Gala Dinner
  • Ciqikou Ancient Town, Sichuan dinner
  • Enrich - panda photo at the Giant Panda Breeding Centre
  • Reed Flute Cave
  • 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 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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