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Home China City Tours Beijing Tours China Tours Including Beijing 13 Days Essence China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

Tour Overview

If you have a two-week vacation and want to explore some of the essential attractions in China, then this 13-day China tour with Yangtze River cruise is highly recommended! It’s an ideal journey through China, taking you to some of the most impressive destinations, such as Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, the Yangtze River region, and the bustling metropolis of Shanghai.

Our professional guides will lead you to discover China’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, Xi’an City Wall, to have a close-up view of adorable pandas, to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the majestic Yangtze River, and to feel the modern charm and traditional history of Shanghai.

Travel destinations: Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, Yangtze River, Shanghai
Suitable for: First-timers, Family
Tour type: Private

Highlights of this tour:

1. Follow the traces of history, wandering through imperial sites such as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.
2. Get amazed by the most scenic part of the Chinese Great Wall when hiking the less-crowded Mutianyu.
3. Take a Hutong tour by rickshaw to see daily life of Beijing people.
4. Explore the three pits and marvel at the life-size army of Terracotta Warriors.
5. Have fun observing how the lovely pandas sleep, play and eat bamboo.
6. Enjoy a leisure Yangtze River cruise to admire the unique scenery of the Three Gorges and the magnificent Three Gorges Dam Site.
7. Experience the contemporary allure and historical richness of Shanghai by touring Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Road, Former French Concession, and the Bund.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Beijing, the capital of China, is the starting city of this China tour with Yangtze River cruise! Upon your arrival at Beijing Airport, our local tour guide will greet you at the arrival hall and accompany you to your downtown hotel in a private, comfortable vehicle. The remainder of the day is yours to recover from the long flight. If you feel like to explore the nearby areas, you can get practical suggestions from your guide.

    Meal: N/A

    Accommodation: Beijing

  2. Today, you will enjoy a cultural and historical exploration of Beijing. Your first stop is Tian'anmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world and an iconic symbol of China. From there, you will be guided to walk to the Forbidden City, aka the Palace Museum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Inside its grand halls and courtyards, you will admire the exquisite architecture, intricate decorations, and imperial treasures.

    In the afternoon, head to the Summer Palace, a vast imperial garden that served as a retreat for emperors during the hot summer months. You can wander through the pavilions, halls, and lakeside gardens, appreciating the harmony of nature and architecture. If you are interested, you can choose to take a boat tour on Kunming Lake to enjoy another perspective of the Summer Palace (at an additional cost).

    In the evening, you have the option of watching a Chinese Kung Fu Show where skilled performers demonstrate martial arts techniques and acrobatics (extra charge).

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Beijing

    Tiananmen Square Beijing
    Tiananmen Square in Beijing

  3. Today, you will embark on a Great Wall tour of China in Beijing. After breakfast, your driver will escort you to the longest section of the Great Wall in China - the Mutianyu Great Wall. Mutianyu is one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall, known for its dense watchtowers and scenic beauty. You can choose to take a cable car to ascend and descend the wall or, if you're up for the challenge, hike up or down to experience the wall's grandeur and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

    After lunch, transfer to the Ming Tomb. On the way to the Ming Tomb, you will pass through the Sacred Way. The Ming Tomb is the place where 13 emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) were buried. On the way back to the downtown center, we will visit the Bird's Nest (Olympic National Stadium), which is the main assembly hall of the 29th Olympic Sports Games in Beijing at the year of 2008.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Beijing

    Hike the Mutianyu Great Wall
    Hike the Mutianyu Great Wall

  4. In the morning, visit the Temple of Heaven, a complex of religious buildings where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties once held ceremonies to pray for good harvests. Here, you can marvel at the stunning architecture and peaceful surroundings. One highlight is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests with its blue tiles and golden roof.

    After that, you will be guided to explore Beijing Hutongs, traditional narrow alleyways that offer a glimpse into the old way of life in the city. You will have the opportunity to visit a local family's house and learn about their daily routines and traditions.

    Your Beijing tour in China ends here. Then, your guide will see you off at the Beijing West Railway Station for a 5-hour high-speed train ride to Xi'an. Upon arrival, the local guide will meet you and escort you to the hotel in the downtown area. Check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Xi'an

    Beijing Hutong Local Family
    Visit a local family in a traditional hutong

  5. The tour guide and driver will pick you up in your hotel lobby at 08:00-09:00 am. The Xian tour of China starts at the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, an archaeological site where you will witness thousands of life-size clay soldiers, chariots and horses guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of Qin (259-210 BC). Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and learn the fascinating history behind this ancient army from your knowledgeable guide. After the visit, you have a chance to see the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum in the distance.

    In the afternoon, continue to visit Banpo Neolithic Village (1 hour visiting time). This New Stone Age site, dating from approximately 5,000 to 4,000 B.C., is one of the most complete examples of a Neolithic agricultural settlement in the world. After the whole day's tour, transfer back to your hotel at around 16:30.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Xi'an

    Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xian
    The Life-size Terracotta Warriors and Horses

  6. Today's adventure begins with the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This ancient Buddhist structure, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, stands as a symbol of ancient Xian. You will admire its delicate design and intricate carvings, and learn about its role as a pilgrimage site for Buddhists over the centuries. Next, we'll move on to the Ancient City Wall. Built during the Ming Dynasty, this well-preserved structure offers a glimpse into the city's past. You can opt for the exhilarating experience of biking along the wall, enjoying both the historical architecture and modern cityscape.

    Xian City Wall Cycling
    Our customers ride on the City Wall in February 2023

    After that, you will visit the Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square for one hour. The last stop is the Muslim Quarter, a hub of the Muslim community in Xian City. Many special local products and snacks can be found along this street. You can enjoy preserved meat, casserole, and various noodles. At the end of the Xian day tour, transfer to the train station for a fast train to Chengdu.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Chengdu

    Xian Muslim Street
    Muslim Quarter

  7. In the morning, your China tour in Chengdu starts at the exciting Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, renowned for its efforts in the conservation and breeding of the endangered giant pandas native to China. Here, you can explore the living environment of giant pandas, learn about their habits, and witness the feeding process up close. Your guide will take you through the extensive area, share information about giant pandas, and assist you in capturing photos.

    After lunch, take a walk in Jinli Old Street. That street used to be one of the oldest and busiest commercial streets in Shu Kingdom. On that street, visitors will see some typical elements of the Chengdu lifestyle, e.g. tea houses, taverns, bars, local snacks, handcrafts, local specialties, etc. The rest of the time is free for you. People's Park is a good place to relax, where you can sip tea, relax, and witness locals engaging in various activities like dancing and playing musical instruments.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Chengdu

    Chengdu Pandas
    Baby pandas in Chengdu Giant Panda Base

  8. In the morning, your guide will transfer you to Chengdu Eastern Railway Station, where you will board a 2-hour high-speed train to Chongqing. Once you arrive in Chongqing, the local guide will take you to Ciqikou Ancient Town, where you can find many ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Take time to explore tea houses, taste street food, and visit shops offering exquisite handmade crafts.

    Next, take a guided tour of the Three Gorges Museum, which houses a vast collection of precious artifacts, including archaeological finds and historical relics from the Three Gorges region. The museum vividly showcases the history and culture of the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River.

    In the evening, you'll be escorted to Chaotianmen Dock to board your Yangtze cruise ship, between 18:00 and 20:00.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: On the Ship

    Ciqikou Ancient Town
    Ciqikou Ancient Town

  9. Wake up to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Yangtze River before attending a morning Tai Chi class on the deck of a cruise ship. Chinese Tai Chi is a kind of Chinese traditional martial art and an important part of Chinese traditional culture. Through slow and smooth movements, Tai Chi can enhance the strength and flexibility of the body and improve the fitness level of the body. Then, attend a history and culture lecture on the Yangtze River to learn more about the region. After that, you can enjoy a relaxing morning coffee.

    In the afternoon, you'll have a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, a magnificent 12-storey tower built into a mountain. Climbing it, tourists can not only enjoy the magnificent natural scenery, but also experience the unique Bashu culture by visiting the Heavenly Kings Hall, the white jade relief wall that tells the story of Guan Yu, who was a general deified as the god of war, and so on.

    In the evening, join the Captain's Welcome Party.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

    Accommodation: On the Ship

    Shibaozhai Pagoda
    Shibaozhai Pagoda

  10. After breakfast, our China Tour with Yangtze River Cruise will introduce the awe-inspiring Three Gorges as our cruise ship gracefully navigates the Yangtze River. Prepare to be enchanted by these towering geological wonders that create a breathtaking backdrop along the riverbanks.

    A special adventure awaits at Shennv Stream, where you will switch to a smaller boat for an intimate exploration of this pristine watercourse, surrounded by lush greenery. To add a cultural touch, enjoy an entertaining music and dance show performed by the local Tujia ethnic minority. Afterwards, sail back to the ship.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

    Accommodation: On the Ship

    Shennv Stream Boat Trip
    Take a smaller boat on Shennv Stream

  11. After breakfast, bid farewell to the captain and crew before disembarking to visit the Three Gorges Dam. This monumental engineering feat is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Spanning the Yangtze River, it has a total length of 2,335 meters and a dam crest elevation of 185 meters. You will learn about the construction of this massive project, its environmental impact, and its significance to the region.

    After the visit, transfer you to Yichang City and catch a bullet train to Shanghai, one of the most international cities in China. Upon arrival in Shanghai, a local guide and driver will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. Take some time to settle in and rest for the evening.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Shanghai

    Three Gorges Dam
    Three Gorges Dam

  12. You will be picked up by our tour guide from your hotel in Shanghai at about 07:30-08:00 and start to visit Shanghai Old Street which will be followed by Yuyuan Garden, a classical and famous ancient Chinese private official garden style in Shanghai boasting elegant pavilions, villa, lotus pond and bridges. As home to over 50 various buildings of different architectural styles, the Bund enjoys the reputation of "World Architectural Exhibition".

    Shanghai The Bund during the Day
    The Bund during the Day

    After lunch, your China tour of Shanghai continues to Shanghai Museum, home to an extensive collection of ancient Chinese artifacts, including bronzeware, ceramics, jade, calligraphy, and more. It serves as a treasure trove showcasing Chinese culture, allowing you to appreciate some of the most valuable cultural relics and gain insights into China's rich history. After that, head to Old French Concession, a residential area of Shanghai once designated for the French during the colonial period and now is popular with tourists and expats and appreciated for its cafes, tree-lined avenues, and houses. We will go back to the hotel by 17:00.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Shanghai

    Exhibits in Shanghai Museum
    Exhibits in Shanghai Museum

  13. After breakfast, your guide will escort you to the airport for your departure. Your 13-day Beijing Xian Chengdu Yangtze River Shanghai tour ends here! Bid farewell to China with cherished memories. Safe travels!

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: N/A

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.

Price Includes

  • 12 nights' accommodation;
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Meals listed in the itinerary;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Second-class train tickets and economic-class flights mentioned in the itinerary;
  • 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Flight/train tickets to Beijing / off Shanghai;
  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • All kinds of gratuities for guides, drivers & others.
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