This 3-week in-depth China tour begins from the bustling city of Hong Kong, where you can take in marvelous skyline and enjoy the peaceful seascape. Then, a cruise down the picturesque Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo showcases the essence of the river scenery. After that, a closer look at the lovely giant pandas in Chengdu will definitely be one of the most memorable moments during the trip.
The 3-day Yangtze River cruise makes you feel like being in a scroll of landscape painting, offering you a special traveling experience. While in Zhangjiajie, grotesque stones and peaks will impress you. Besides, walking on Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge will leave a thrilling memory.
The itinerary also covers China’s Golden Triangle cities – Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing, where you will explore both the profound history and modern prosperity. A hike on Mutianyu Great Wall will certainly be an unforgettable experience during the journey.
Travel destinations: Hong Kong, Guilin, Yangshuo, Chengdu, Chongqing, Zhangjiajie, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing
Suitable for: First-timers, Family, Couple
Tour type: Private
2. Take a Li River cruise to enjoy the stunning Karst landscape along the way.
3. Experience a relaxing Yangtze River cruise to take in the magnificent scenes of Three Gorges.
4. See the cute giant pandas up close in Chengdu and experience the slow pace of life.
5. Admire Avatar’s Hallelujah Mountain and set foot on Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge.
6. Take a Huangpu River night cruise to view the dazzling night scene of Shanghai.
7. Witness “a huge army” coming from 2,000 years ago at Terracotta Warriors and Horses.
8. Walk into the Forbidden City to explore the luxurious life of ancient imperial family.
9. Take a hike on Mutianyu Great Wall to enjoy the splendid vista of the border in ancient times.
- Day 1: Hong Kong Arrival
Welcome to our 21-day China tour with Yangtze River cruise! Upon your arrival in Hong Kong, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the city, try local cuisine, or simply relax at your hotel.
If interested, you are highly recommended to take the renowned Star Ferry Water Tour at Tsim Sha Tsui Pier to enjoy the breathtaking skyline along Victoria Harbor. This 10-minute journey will unveil Hong Kong’s unique charm mixed with a strong sense of history and the technical feeling of the new era.
- Day 2: Hong Kong Tour (B)Admire Spectacular Skyline and Coastline in the City
After breakfast, your private guide will accompany you to take the famous Peak Tram to reach Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. Here, you can have a bird’s-eye view of the whole island at Sky Terrace 428.
Afterwards, head to the southern coast of Hong Kong Island to visit Repulse Bay, well-known as “Oriental Hawaii”. You can get full relaxation lying on the soft beach, listening to waves beating against the shore. Besides, many local tycoons built their villas around the beach, presenting a unique coastline in front of you. At noon, you can have lunch at a seaside restaurant.
In the afternoon, we will continue the trip to Stanley Market. Here you can find various souvenirs on sale, such as postcards, T-shirts, handicrafts, and jewelry. There are also many restaurants and cafes for you to taste local snacks and drinks.
- Day 3: Hong Kong to Guilin by Bullet Train (B)
After breakfast, your guide will escort you to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station for your bullet train to Guilin. After a 3.5-hour train ride, you will meet your private Guilin guide who will then transport you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax at the hotel or stroll along to get the first impression of Guilin.
- Day 4: Guilin - Longsheng (B+L)Take in Rural Landscape and Feel Ethnic Customs
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel and then take a 1.5-hour drive to Longji Rice Terraces. You will see large-scale terraced fields stretching along the hillside, like a cascading staircase. Your guide will show you the best spots to capture wonderful pictures of the rural landscape.
Then, further our exploration of nearby ethnic villages. We will go to Huangluo Yao Village first. It is praised as the “World’s No.1 Village of the Long-Haired” because over 60 local women keep long hair of over one meter long with the longest being 2.1 meters. As you explore the village, you can interact with locals to learn about the fascinating traditions and culture of the Yao people.
Next, proceed to Ping’an Zhuang Village. Besides seeing characteristic Zhuang residences, we will hike up to observation decks to capture awe-inspiring views of the surrounding terraces.
When the visit is over, you will be transferred back to the hotel in Guilin.
- Day 5: Guilin - Yangshuo (B+L)Immerse in Picturesque Scenery along Li River
Today, you will embark on a Li River cruise to enjoy the spectacular Karst landscape along the way. After breakfast, we will set off to take the cruise ship and start our sailing. Along the way, you will feast your eyes on the essential scenes of the river, such as Nine Horses Fresco Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal, and landscape on note CNY20.
We will disembark at Yangshuo, a charming riverside town surrounded by karst peaks. You can explore the town any way you like, such as cycling along the Ten-Mile Gallery, taking a bamboo raft on the Yulong River, or visiting West Street to taste local cuisines and buy souvenirs.
If interested, you are recommended to enjoy a great musical – Impression Liu Sanjie, with the actual landscape as its setting, to make your private Yangshuo tour more memorable. In the performance, you can get to know local fishermen’s lives and the folk customs of minorities. (Optional)
- Day 6: Guilin to Chengdu Tour by Flight (B)
After breakfast, your guide and driver will transfer you to Guilin Airport for your flight to Chengdu - the hometown of giant pandas. Upon arrival, your private Chengdu guide will welcome you and accompany you to the hotel.
The rest of the day is free for your arrangement. It is recommended you take a walk around with your family or friends to feel the prosperity of the city.
- Day 7: Chengdu Padan Tour (B+L)Close Contact with Giant Pandas
We will start the day with Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. It is a paradise for panda lovers, containing over 100 giant pandas from newborn cubs to adult pandas. Seeing these lovely creatures eating bamboo or playing with each other can definitely melt your heart.
After that, a half-hour drive will take you to Wenshu Temple, a Buddhist monastery with 1,400 years of history. Numerous believers come here to pray for good luck and happiness. Its profound culture and serene atmosphere will make you feel touched.
Then, we will visit People’s Park. Here, you can sip tea with locals to engage in their slow way of life. Finally, take a stroll along Jinli Old Street, a vibrant pedestrian street lined with traditional-style shops, tea houses, and food stalls.
In the evening, you can treat yourself to authentic Sichuan cuisine, or take a rest at a tea house and enjoy a face-changing show in Sichuan Opera. (Optional)
- Day 8: Chengdu to Chongqing by High-Speed Train (B+L)Chongqing Highlights & Culinary Experience
In the morning, your guide will transfer you to Chengdu Eastern Railway Station for your 2-hour high-speed train ride to Chongqing.
Upon arrival, your private Chongqing guide will meet you at the exit and then accompany you to Ciqikou Ancient Town, well-known as the paradise of Chongqing cuisines. You will get a feast with various local snacks, like fried dough twist, spicy skewered food, glutinous rice cake, and roasted pork knuckle.
Next, continue our trip to the Three Gorges Museum, where you can get a wealth of information about the Three Gorges and Yangtze River, including its climate, plants and animals, history and culture, as well as locals’ life. Finally, we will proceed to take pictures of Hongya Cave, a large-scale stilted building considered as the landmark of Chongqing.
At the end of the trip, you will be escorted to Chaotianmen Dock to board your Yangtze cruise ship between 18:00 and 20:00.
- Day 9: Yangtze River Cruise (B+L+D)Being in the Midst of the Splendid River Scenery
The marvelous Yangtze River Cruise starts today! You will participate in a variety of activities onboard and a morning Tai Chi Class will be the first to awaken your body. Following the instructions, you will feel stretched and relaxed with every move. Then, a lecture on the Yangtze River enables you to learn the history and culture of the region. After that, you can enjoy a relaxing morning coffee.
Later, you’ll have a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, a magnificent 12-storey tower embedded in a giant rock in the center of the river. Climb to the top of the tower along a wooden staircase and you will enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the surroundings.
The ship stops by Fengdu Ghost City in the morning, which was first built 2,000 years ago to present the underworld according to Chinese legends. If interested, you can pay a visit to the attraction for an additional fee. (Optional)
- Day 10: Yangtze River Cruise (B+L+D)Enjoy the Magnificence of Three Gorges
Today's cruise ship will sail past the awe-inspiring Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge. As the ship gracefully navigates the Yangtze River, prepare your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery along the way.
A special adventure awaits at Shennv Stream, where you will switch to a smaller boat for an intimate exploration of this pristine watercourse. An entertaining singing and dancing performance by local Tujia ethnic minority will make your trip more memorable. Afterward, you will sail back to the ship.
In the evening, please dress properly to join the captain's farewell party.
We will have a short stay at White Emperor City in the morning. This ancient city boasts rich legends and architectural wonders. Hiking up to the top, visitors can see the landscape on note CNY10. If interested, you can visit here for an additional fee. (Optional)
- Day 11: Yichang to Zhangjiajie by High-Speed Train (B)Admire the World’s Largest Water Conservancy Project
After breakfast, disembark at Maoping Port to visit Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project in the world, 2,310 meters long and 185 meters high. It has not only improved the flood control capacity of the Yangtze River, but also provided a stable power supply. Please follow your guide to view the huge dam from different angles.
Afterwards, the cruise company will arrange a bus to take you to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal. The local guide will meet you there and then escort you to Yichang East Railway Station, where you'll catch a high-speed train to Zhangjiajie. Upon arrival, your private Zhangjiajie guide will pick you up and accompany you to check in the hotel.
- Day 12: Zhangjiajie Natural Tour (B+L)Experience the Uncanny Workmanship of Nature
After breakfast, we will set off for today’s exciting sightseeing in Zhangjiajie, starting with Tianmen Mountain. A cable car ride will take you to the hillside and our hiking starts there. You will gain a thrilling experience walking along Glass Skywalk, as you feel like you’re walking in the air with stunning scenery below. You will also marvel at the symbolic Tianmen Cave, a natural arch going through the heart of a cliff. You need to climb 999 steps to approach it.
Our next destination is Yellow Dragon Cave, a dazzling underground world boasting densely distributed stalactites as well as deep and serene underground rivers. Thousands of years have cultivated these stalagmites and stalactites into various shapes, turning this place into a magical underground palace.
Once the sightseeing finishes, your guide will accompany you to check in at a hotel in Wulingyuan.
- Day 13: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (B+L)Walk on the World’s Highest and Longest Glass Bridge
After breakfast, your guide will escort you to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, a natural oxygen bar featuring lush greenery, crystal streams, and waterfalls. You will not miss the chance to set foot on Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge suspended across the dramatic canyon. It is the world’s highest and longest glass bridge, enabling you to take in vistas of the valley floor.
In the afternoon, we will further our exploration of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its awe-inspiring sandstone pillars that seem to defy gravity. We will take a cable car ride to Huangshi Village, located atop one of the peaks in the forest park. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the whole area and capture wonderful pictures of the unique peak forest.
Today’s tour is filled with adventure and natural beauty. When it ends, return to your hotel in Wulingyuan to relax and recharge.
- Day 14: Zhangjiajie to Shanghai Tour by Flight (B+L)Venture to “Hallelujah Mountain” in Avatar
We will start today’s trip with Yuanjiajie. You will be arranged to take the Bailong Elevator up there. The elevator is of 335 meters high but only takes 2 minutes to reach the top.
As you ascend cliffs in Yuanjiajie, you’ll be amazed by the surrounding karst landscape, especially the famous Avatar’s Hallelujah Mountain and a natural stone bridge stretching over two peaks. You might come across lovely wildlife while hiking, like monkeys, squirrels, and various birds.
Afterwards, hop on a sightseeing bus to Tianzi Mountain, which was once an underwater world billion of years ago. Seen from the top, towering peaks there look exactly like countless giant swords pointing straight into the sky. This majestic scenery will create another memorable moment for your tour of China.
At the end of the day, you will be transferred to Zhangjiajie Airport for your flight to Shanghai. Meet your welcoming Shanghai guide upon arrival and then check in a downtown hotel.
- Day 15: Shanghai Day Tour (B)City Exploration Blending History and Modernity
Your private Shanghai tour begins with the Shanghai Museum. It serves as a treasure trove allowing you to appreciate some of the most valuable cultural relics and gain insights into China’s rich history.
Following this, we will explore a classical garden, Yuyuan Garden. It exemplifies China’s traditional aesthetic principles with ancient-style buildings, artificial hills, ponds, trees, and flowers intricately decorating the whole area. Besides, in the surrounding Yuyuan Bazaar, you’ll discover a variety of local specialties and savor authentic Shanghai cuisines while exploring.
Then, we will visit the iconic Shanghai World Financial Center, a towering skyscraper offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city. After taking great pictures there, we will continue our trip to the prosperous pedestrian street, Nanjing Road.
Today’s last stop is 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 on both shores. (Optional)
- Day 16: Shanghai to Xi’an Tour by Flight (B)Feel the Charm of Special Shikumen Architectures
Before leaving for Xi’an, we still have a whole morning to create more memories for your private Shanghai tour. We will cover 2 cultural landmarks, Jade Buddha Temple and Tianzifang.
Located in the middle of bustling blocks, Jade Buddha Temple has a history of around 120 years, giving you a peaceful serenity against the surroundings. Tianzifang, on the other hand, captivates visitors and artists with its unique Shikumen architecture and artistic ambiance. Here, you can appreciate the city’s old buildings and immerse yourself in Shanghai’s distinctive charm. Tianzifang is also home to numerous specialty shops and cafes, offering you the pleasure of shopping and leisure during your exploration.
After that, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Xi’an. Upon arrival, your private Xi’an guide will welcome you and then accompany you to check in at a local hotel.
- Day 17: Xi'an Historical Tour (B+L)Delve into 2,000 Years of History of the City
Today, you will take a Xi’an historical day tour, starting with the renowned Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Over 8,000 life-sized clay soldiers, chariots, and horses have guarded the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang for more than 2,000 years. You will feel impressed by the grand spectacle in sight. At noon, we will have lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Then, drive back to Xi’an City to ascend the well-preserved Ancient City Wall. You can choose to take a leisurely walk or rent a bike to tour around the wall and capture wonderful pictures of the city.
Then, your guide will accompany you to stroll along the vibrant Muslim Quarter, well-known as the paradise for tourists to sample authentic Xi'an cuisine and snacks.
In the evening, you have the option to attend the Tang Palace Dance Show, which presents varied cultural life, luxurious palace life, and unique customs of the Tang Dynasty. You will also be treated to a hearty dumpling dinner there. (Optional)
- Day 18: Xi'an to Beijing by High-Speed Train (B)Explore Big Wild Goose Pagoda
In the morning, we will head to the center of Xi'an to visit Da Ci’en Temple, the most famous and majestic temple of the city, built by Emperor Taizong of Tang in 648 in memory of his mother. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda inside is the irreplaceable landmark of Xi'an. Climbing up the pagoda, you will embrace significant views of the surroundings.
Then, we will delve into China's profound history and culture at Shaanxi History Museum from the distant past to 1840. Over 370,000 precious cultural relics are displayed for you to feel the charm of Chinese civilization, especially bronzes, pottery figures, and Tandg tri-colored glazed pottery.
In the afternoon, your guide will transfer you to take a high-speed train to Beijing. The train journey takes about 5 hours, during which you can have a good rest. Upon arrival, your private Beijing guide will meet you at the exit and then escort you to your hotel.
- Day 19: Beijing Tour (B)Explore along the Central Axis of the Ancient Capital
We will start our rewarding Beijing tour with Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest city squares, surrounded by Tiananmen Tower, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the National Museum, and the Great Hall of the People.
Then, head northward to the Forbidden City, the residence of the royal family during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. You will marvel at magnificent palaces and halls, and try to imagine the luxurious royal life while viewing abundant imperial articles. Next, we will proceed to Jingshan Park to have a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Hill.
After lunch, we will spend the whole afternoon experiencing the recreational life of the imperial family in Summer Palace. Taking a boat ride on Kunming Lake could be a nice way to take in the picturesque scenery around you.
In the evening, you can attend a Chinese Kung Fu show, if interested, to enjoy the charm of Chinese martial arts by yourself. (at an additional cost).
- Day 20: Beijing Great Wall Tour (B+L)Great Wall Hiking Tour
Today, you will visit the magnificent Mutianyu Great Wall, which is the longest wall section in China, stretching out into the distance along the mountain ridge just like a giant dragon. It is recommended you take a cable car to ascend and descend the wall. Or, if you’re up for the challenge, you can explore the Great Wall on foot.
When the exciting hiking on the Great Wall ends, we will continue our journey to the Sacred Way, a serene path leading to the Ming Tombs, where you can appreciate intricate stone statues and majestic archways.
On the way back to Beijing, we will pass by Bird's Nest and Water Cube. Both are iconic stadiums of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We will have a short stay there to view the two stadiums from the outside and take pictures.
- Day 21: Beijing Departure (B)Experience Local People’s Traditional Lifestyle
After breakfast, we will start the last day’s tour with the Temple of Heaven, where emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties held ceremonies to offer sacrifices and pray for good harvests. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is the symbol of the whole complex. Prepare your camera to capture the magnificence of this architecture. You can even try some creative angles to find out its special beauty.
Afterwards, your guide will lead you to stroll along Beijing hutongs. These traditional narrow alleyways offer you a glimpse into the old ways of life in the city. You will have the opportunity to visit a local family and dig into their daily routines and traditions.
This is the end of your 3-week China tour with Yangtze River cruise. Your guide will see you off at the airport for your onward journey home. If you want to extend your China tour, we will be happy to offer you some suggestions.
Tour Price ($=USD)
From $3719 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.