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Home China City Tours Beijing Tours China Tours Including Beijing 17 Days Yangtze River Cruise with Panda & Tibet Visit

Tour Overview

This 17-day Yangtze River cruise allows you to experience classics including China’s national treasure giant pandas and Tibet before and after the cruise.

From Beijing, you will explore historic sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. In Xi’an, we take you to visit the Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall, and experience the Muslim quarter. From there, you’ll fly to Lhasa to discover the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Park. In Chengdu, meet adorable pandas and explore cultural attractions. Sailing along the Yangtze River includes visits to the Shibaozhai Pagoda and the Three Gorges. The trip concludes in Shanghai with highlights – the Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden and the Bund.

Highlights of this tour:

1. Walk the ancient halls of the Forbidden City in Beijing, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with imperial treasures.
2. Stand atop the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and take in panoramic views of this awe-inspiring feat of engineering.
3. Marvel at a magnificent archaeological wonder in Xian, Terracotta Warriors.
4. Explore the spiritual wonders of Lhasa, including the majestic Potala Palace and sacred Jokhang Temple.
5. Witness the adorable giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
6. Sail through the breathtaking Three Gorges, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural scenery, and experience the tranquility of Shennv Stream.
7. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Shanghai, from the bustling Nanjing Road to the stunning skyline along the Bund.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Welcome to our 17-day Yangtze River Cruise! Upon your arrival in Beijing, you will be warmly welcomed by our representative at the airport. They will assist you with the transfer to your hotel, ensuring a smooth start to your trip.

    Once you check in at the hotel, take some time to relax and recover from your journey. You can explore the nearby area at your own pace.

    Meal: N/A

  2. Today, you will enjoy a cultural and historical exploration of Beijing. Your first stop is Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world and an iconic symbol of China. From there, you will walk to visit 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 can admire the exquisite architecture, intricate decorations, and imperial treasures. Next, you will visit Jingshan Park, where you can climb to the top of the hill for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City and Beijing's skyline.

    Jingshan Park Beijing
    Forbidden City View from Jingshan Park

    In the afternoon, you will visit the Summer Palace, a vast imperial garden that served as a retreat for emperors during the hot summer months. 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.

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

    Meal: B+L

  3. After breakfast, we will drive to the magnificent Mutianyu Great Wall, the longest section of the Great Wall in China. It 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.

    Mutianyu Great Wall
    Mutianyu Great Wall

    Afterwards, we will transfer to visit the Sacred Way, an impressive path leading to the Ming Tombs, where you can appreciate the intricate stone statues and majestic archways. On your way back to Beijing, you will pass by the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, the iconic stadiums of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and have the opportunity to view them from the outside.

    Meal: B+L

  4. In the morning, you will 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.

    Beijing Temple of Heaven
    Temple of Heaven

    Afterwards, explore the 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 home and learn about their daily routines and traditions.

    Your Beijing trip 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: B+L

  5. Today, you'll explore the rich historical treasures of Xi'an in depth. Your first stop is the world-famous 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.

    Terracotta Army
    Terracotta Army

    After lunch, drive back to the city to visit the Bell and Drum Tower Square, a historic cultural hub located in the heart of the city, showcasing the iconic Bell and Drum Towers that once served as important timekeeping instruments.

    Next, head to the Great Mosque, a splendid architectural marvel blending Chinese and Islamic styles. It stands as a symbol of cultural integration, peace, and religious harmony in the city. You will also experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Muslim Quarter, a bustling area known for its various street food. Explore the narrow streets and try some local delicacies such as Roujiamo (Chinese hamburger), Soup Dumplings, Mutton and Bread Pieces in Soup, and Liangpi (cold noodles).

    In the evening, you can watch an optional Tang Palace Dance Show, a vibrant performance that showcases traditional music, dance, and costumes, accompanied by a hearty dumpling dinner. (pay extra)

    Meal: B+L

    Xian Food Biang Biang Noodles
    Biang Biang Noodles in Muslim Quarter

  6. After breakfast, your Xian tour continues to the Da Cien Temple, a Buddhist temple famous for its Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. This pagoda is the symbol of Xi'an, and from the top, you can see a panoramic view of the entire city (note that if you choose to climb up the pagoda, there is an additional cost). Next, you will be guided to visit the Shaanxi History Museum, which displays a large collection of artifacts and relics from the Neolithic to the Qing Dynasty. The museum's architecture reflects the Tang Dynasty style, presenting a magnificent and grand appearance. The exhibition layout inside the museum is thoughtfully arranged, employing modern display techniques to provide visitors with a more immersive understanding of the history and culture of Shaanxi.

    After lunch, your guide will lead you to the Ancient City Wall, a well-preserved fortification that encircles the old city of Xi'an. You can choose to take a leisurely walk or rent a bicycle to explore the wall and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

    In the evening, you are free to explore the vibrant city of Xi'an. The North Square of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a popular spot with breathtaking night views. Here, you have the opportunity to witness the world's largest musical fountain, dancing gracefully to enchanting melodies.

    Meal: B+L

    Xian City Wall Bike Riding
    Bike Riding on the Xian City Wall

  7. After breakfast, your driver will escort you to catch a flight to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Upon arrival, the local guide will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Along the way, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Lhasa River, one of the five major tributaries of the Yarlung Zangbo River.

    Meal: B

    Tibet Lhasa River
    Lhasa River

  8. Today, your guide will take you on a spiritual and cultural journey in Lhasa. Your first stop is the Potala Palace, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perched on the Red Hill, it serves as the political and religious center of Tibet. Here, you can explore its various chambers, including the White Palace and the Red Palace, discovering grand halls, small chapels, and revered artworks of Tibetan Buddhist art. Your guide will provide insights into the history and cultural significance of the Potala Palace.

    Potala Palace in Lhasa
    Potala Palace

    In the afternoon, we will visit the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred and significant temple in Tibet, drawing pilgrims from all over the region. You can explore the intricately designed chapels and witness the faithful engaging in prayer rituals. (Note: Photography is not allowed in the chapels of the monastery, so please adhere to this rule during the visit.)

    Afterward, take a leisurely walk along Barkhor Street, renowned as a pilgrimage circuit and commercial center in Lhasa, with a history spanning over 1300 years. Encircling the Jokhang Temple, this bustling market allows you to browse unique Tibetan handicrafts or join local believers in walking clockwise along this circular route.

    Meal: B

  9. Today's exploration takes you to Norbulingka Park, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Here, stroll through lush gardens adorned with vibrant flowers and traditional Tibetan architecture. You can also explore a variety of palaces and pavilions, each with its unique history and cultural significance. Next, drive to Drepung Monastery, one of the largest monastery complexes in Tibet, often mentioned alongside Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery as the three great monasteries of Lhasa. Follow your guide to explore the expansive grounds and appreciate the intricate murals and sculptures decorating the monastery. Gain insights into the rich history that shaped Drepung Monastery over the centuries.

    Then, continue your spiritual journey to Sera Monastery, the latest of Lhasa's three major monasteries, with a history of about 600 years. The temple is known for its unique tradition of monastic debate. You will witness lively and intelligent debates among the monks in the monastery courtyard. In addition, you will also enjoy a large number of cultural relics in Sera Temple, including Buddhist statues, Thangkas (traditional Tibetan paintings), scriptures, and ritual objects.

    Meal: B

    Tibet Lhasa Sera Monastery
    The monks are debating in Sera Monastery

  10. After breakfast, bid farewell to Lhasa and then catch a flight to Chengdu, the home of cute giant pandas. Upon arrival, the local driver will transfer you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or prepare for tomorrow's trip.

    Meal: B

  11. In the morning, your guide will take you to the northern suburbs of Chengdu to visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where the environment is quiet and suitable for pandas. The base is committed to the protection and research of giant pandas and has made outstanding contributions to the global conservation of giant pandas. Here you can see pandas of different ages up close, from newborn cubs to adults, and learn about their habits and conservation knowledge.

    Afterwards, you will explore Wenshu Temple. As the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu, it features beautiful gardens and intricate architecture set amidst towering ancient trees. You'll admire Buddhist statues crafted from iron, bronze, stone carvings, jade sculptures, and colorful figurines, providing insights into the profound and expansive world of Buddhist culture, all within a tranquil and harmonious environment.

    Chengdu-Pandas
    A Lovely Panda

    Continuing your cultural exploration, you will visit People's Park, where you can drink tea, relax, and witness locals engaging in various activities such as dancing and playing musical instruments. Finally, stroll along Jinli Old Street, a vibrant pedestrian street lined with traditional-style stores, tea houses, and street food stalls.

    In the evening, you can enjoy a delicious hot pot dinner/Sichuan cuisine or watch a fascinating Sichuan Opera Face Changing Show. (Optional Activities)

    Meal: B+L

  12. After breakfast, 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, your first stop is Ciqikou Ancient Town, with a history of 1,800 years. The town preserves numerous ancient buildings and traditional features from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Here, you'll find tea houses, street food stalls, and numerous shops offering exquisite handmade crafts. Take some time to explore this charming area with its traditional architecture and narrow streets.

    Afterwards, visit the Three Gorges Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the region. Finally, head to Hongya Cave, a unique architectural complex with shops, restaurants, and great views of the city.

    In the evening, you will be escorted to Chaotianmen Dock to board your Yangtze River cruise, usually between 18:00 and 20:00.

    Meal: B+L

    Chongqing Hongya Cave
    Hongya Cave

  13. Your Yangtze River cruise journey starts with a variety of activities. You can participate in a Tai Chi class to experience this traditional Chinese martial art. Tai Chi is an important representative of Chinese traditional culture, originating from ancient Chinese philosophical thoughts, emphasizing both internal and external cultivation. Through slow, continuous movements and breathing exercises, it aims to achieve physical and inner well-being. Afterwards, you'll attend a lecture on the history and culture of the Yangtze River region to learn more about the area. Following that, you can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery on the deck and enjoy a relaxing morning coffee.

    Yangtze River Cruise
    Yangtze River Cruise

    In the afternoon, take a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, a magnificent 12-storey tower built against the mountains, standing at a height of 56 meters. You will admire the twelve zodiac sculptures, the white jade bas-reliefs telling the story of Guan Yu (a general deified as God of War) during the Three Kingdoms period, and the oldest existing building in Shibaozhai, the Heavenly Kings Hall. Climbing the Shibaozhai, you'll not only have panoramic views of the stunning natural scenery but also experience the unique charm of Bashu culture. If interested, you can choose to pay an additional fee to visit the Fengdu Ghost City, known for its bizarre folklore and distinctive architecture.

    Meal: B+L+D

  14. Today, the cruise will sail through the breathtaking Three Gorges, one of China's most famous natural attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including Wu Gorge, Qutang Gorge, and Xiling Gorge. You'll be amazed by the spectacular canyon scenery. The cruise continues to the Shennv Stream, where you can transfer to a smaller boat and sail down the stream, getting up close to the pristine beauty of the region. You will also enjoy an entertaining music and dance show performed by the local Tujia ethnic minority.

    Shennv Stream Boat Trip
    Take a smaller boat on Shennv Stream

    Afterwards, sail back to the ship. As an optional activity, you can visit White Emperor City, a historical site with panoramic views of the river. In the evening, join the Captain's Farewell Party.

    Meal: B+L+D

  15. Your Yangtze River cruise is coming to an end today. After breakfast, pack your bags and check out. Disembark at Maoping Port, and then you will visit the world-famous Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Follow your guide to explore the dam and learn about its impressive engineering feats. If you happen to visit on a clear day, you may witness a beautiful rainbow amid the mist created by the massive waves during the dam's discharge.

    Three Gorges Dam
    Three Gorges Dam

    After the visit, the cruise company will arrange a bus to take you to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal. From there, a local guide will escort you to Yichang East Railway Station, where you'll catch a high-speed train to Shanghai.

    Meal: B

  16. Today, you will embark on a cultural exploration of Shanghai. Shanghai Museum is your first stop. Established in 1952, this large museum of ancient Chinese art has three floors and houses over 140,000 precious artifacts, with a focus on bronze ware, ceramics, calligraphy, and painting. Get insightful explanations about the history and facts of the museum's artifacts. The Shanghai Museum frequently hosts temporary exhibitions and special events, providing visitors with additional cultural experiences.

    Next, transfer to visit Yu Garden, a classical Chinese garden with beautiful pavilions, rockeries, and ponds. Adjacent to the garden is Yuyuan Bazaar, where you can shop for traditional Chinese crafts and enjoy local snacks.

    Shanghai Yu Garden
    Yu Garden

    Then, you will be guided to ascend the iconic Shanghai World Financial Center, which consists of 101 floors above ground and 3 floors underground, with observation decks on the 94th, 97th, and 100th floors offering panoramic views of the entire city. Continue your Shanghai trip to Nanjing Road, which, over more than 100 years of development, has witnessed the creation of various architectural styles. Known as "China's No. 1 Commercial Street," Nanjing Road is a symbolic thoroughfare of China's modernized commerce. It hosts numerous high-end shopping centers, renowned brands, local delicacies, as well as many famous historical buildings and cultural landmarks.

    Finally, visit the Bund, a waterfront promenade showcasing a blend of architectural styles from different eras. In the evening, you can opt for a relaxing Huangpu River night cruise to admire the glittering cityscape from the water.

    Meal: B

    Shanghai Huangpu River Night Cruise
    Huangpu River Night Cruise

  17. After breakfast, you will visit the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center, which is dedicated to showcasing the powerful propaganda posters of China's past. You can explore a collection of vintage posters, offering insights into the country's history, politics, and culture through over 400 thought-provoking and visually striking exhibits.

    Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center
    Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center

    Then, explore Tianzifang, a creative block full of artistic vibes. Stroll through the narrow lanes, and appreciate well-preserved Shikumen architecture. This area houses many studios of artists and creative professionals, offering opportunities to savor coffee, purchase handmade crafts, and enjoy art exhibitions.

    Your 17-day Yangtze River Cruise tour ends here. Your guide will see you off at the airport for your onward journey home or to your next destination.

    Meal: B

Tour Price ($=USD)

From $2879 P.P, which is based on a private tour for 2 people. The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel.

 

Price Includes

  • 16 nights' accommodation;
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary (B=breakfast / L=lunch / D=dinner);
  • Private land transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Economy-class domestic flights or second-class high-speed trains as listed in the itinerary;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Flights 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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