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Spellbinding cities & sights

Join us for an unforgettable journey combining ancient and ultramodern man-made sights, and some astounding natural wonders.

Beginning amid Shanghai’s glass and steel, you'll tour China's most iconic sites. Cruise along the ageless Yangtze, through a land as rich in myth and legend as it is in startling, spectacular scenery, to the engineering marvel of the Three Gorges Dam. Laid-back Chengdu, home to Giant Pandas, ancient Xi'an with its astonishing Terracotta Army, and centuries-old Beijing provide yet more unforgettable sights, before your holiday draws to a close back in Shanghai.

What does this price include?

  • A canal cruise in Suzhou, and a visit to the old city and Silk Embroidery Institute
  • A four-night, five-star, full-board Yangtze river cruise
  • 10 lunches and eight dinners, including a ‘Peking Duck’ dinner
  • Return flights to Shanghai
  • All internal flights in China
  • High-speed train journeys from Chongqing to Chengdu, Chengdu to Xi’an, Xi’an to Beijing and Beijing to Suzhou
  • A Shanghai city tour and a visit to the Pearl Tower
  • Entrance to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre in Chengdu
  • A guided city tour of Xi'an
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Fly overnight to Shanghai.

  • Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel, before enjoying a guided introduction to this amazing city. The colonial grandeur of the buildings that line the west bank of the Huangpu River, on the famous Bund, hint at past glories, and are now surrounded by the modern city's gigantic skyscrapers.

    Your tour will include a visit to the rocket-shaped Pearl TV Tower, which surveys the city, and the fascinating Shanghai City History Museum.

  • This morning, you'll tour Shanghai's Old City, at the heart of which is the 16th-century Yuyuan classical Chinese garden, with its pools, walkways and bridges - a haven amongst the bustling bazaars and street markets.

    After a fascinating day, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Yichang, to meet your five-star ship and begin your Yangtze cruise. Spend three unforgettable days enjoying the ever-changing vistas from your ship, as you cruise the mighty Yangtze River. Rest and relax on board, join early morning Tai-Chi sessions and hear the legends of the Three Kingdoms.

  • Today you'll visit the immense Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectricity project - a controversial feat of engineering that has wrought drastic change on the riverscape. You'll then sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the Three Gorges, which together stretch over 200km and vary from 100 to 300 metres in width.

  • The 'Small Three Gorges' on the Daling River are a stunning backdrop for an excursion by boat, today. Sail through Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge, admiring the sights of one of China's most dramatic regions. Though changed forever by the Dam's construction, the landscape retains the spectacular grandeur of its 900-metre cliffs and jagged peaks.

  • This morning's port of call is the 2000-year-old 'Ghost City' of Fengdu, a place shrouded in ancient legend and Taoist teachings about the afterlife.

    For your last evening on board, join the Captain for a Farewell Dinner and crew show.

  • Disembark in Chongqing, and enjoy a guided introduction to one of modern China's fastest-growing cities. Visit the contrasting 100-year-old streets of Ciqikou and explore beautiful Goose Neck Park, before boarding a fast train into Sichuan province and the relaxed, modern city of Chengdu, where you'll stay for the next two nights.

  • In Eastern Sichuan's capital, modern developments contrast with the traditional tea-houses and colourful shops of old Jinli Street. One of the highlights of your stay in Chengdu will be a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre, where you'll be able to learn about these wonderful creatures and the steps being taken to ensure their future survival.

    Dinner this evening will give you an opportunity to sample traditional Sichuan cuisine.

  • Travel to China’s ancient capital for a two-night stay. Upon arrival, you'll visit the imposing, preserved walls and fortifications of this fascinating city, see the Great Mosque in the Muslim Quarter and the city's Tang dynasty monuments.

    This evening, enjoy a traditional Dumpling Dinner.

  • An unforgettable day awaits, as you visit the legendary Terracotta Army - some 8,000 lifelike foot-soldiers, horsemen and charioteers discovered in 1974, and now one of the world's greatest tourist attractions. Close by, the yet-to-be-excavated tomb of emperor Qin Shi Huang is said to contain a vast underground city.

    You'll complete your tour of Xi'an's ancient treasures with a visit to the Small Goose Pagoda, before an evening in the city.

  • This morning, board a high-speed train north to Beijing, where you'll spend the next three nights. Once here, celebrate your first evening in the city with a traditional Peking Duck dinner.

  • Today you'll take a guided tour of the Chinese capital. See Tiananmen Square, Chairman Mao’s tomb, the Great Hall of the People, the museums of Chinese History and the Revolution, and the great Imperial Palace (the iconic Forbidden City). In the Palace's ceremonial halls and living quarters, you'll gain an insight into the extraordinary lives led by the 24 Chinese emperors who called it home.

    This afternoon, you'll also visit the tranquil Summer Palace at Yiheyuan.

  • The Great Wall of China is famously (though not entirely accurately) the only man-made structure visible from space. Travel to Badaling, where, amid steep, forested hills, part of the wall has been lovingly restored, and it's easy to appreciate the immensity of this marvellous feat of engineering. Your day will also include the opportunity to see the exterior of the amazing 'Bird's Nest' stadium from the 2008 Olympic Games.

    This evening, why not join an optional excursion to the world-famous Beijing Opera, to discover its mix of song, dance and acrobatics?

  • Step back in time, this morning, on a walking tour of the ancient hutongs, Old Peking's fast-disappearing labyrinth of narrow alleyways and hidden courtyard houses, before bidding farewell to Beijing to catch a high-speed train to Suzhou.

  • With its treelined waterways, UNESCO-listed classical gardens and its silk-trade associations, Suzhou is a breath-taking treasure chest of sights and history. Discover the old city, visit the beautiful Lingering Garden and the Silk Embroidery Institute, and enjoy a canal cruise as this fascinating place is brought to life by your guide.

    Late this afternoon, drive south to Shanghai where you'll have the chance to enjoy an optional night cruise.

  • Transfer to the airport, early this morning, for the daytime flight home at the end of a wonderful holiday.

Prices

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Hotels

Classic China and Yangtze River Cruise Touring Hotels

You will be staying in a series of comfortable hotels that are conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

Further Information

  • Tours departing in 2019 will follow a different itinerary, starting in Shanghai, but travelling to Suzhou en route to Beijing, along the Yangtze, to Chongqing, then to Xi'an before returning to Shanghai. The places visited, and the content of the tour, will remain the same.

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
  • The tour includes full-board accommodation except for Days Four and Six, when only breakfast and lunch are included.
  • Please note that optional excursions during your cruise can be booked on board, and are not available in advance.
  • The water level of the Yangtze can change. If the level becomes too high or too low your ship's sailing schedule may have to change, and the ship's crew reserve the right to do this at any time.
  • British citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for six months beyond the entry date to China. A visa is also required for entry to China. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. The current visa charge is £151 for British Citizens.
  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
  • All outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
  • You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
  • Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
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