Yangtze River Cruise Tour with Shangri-La

13 Days Chengdu-Lijiang-Shangri-La-Kunming-Guilin-Yangshuo-Chongqing-Yangtze River Cruise-Yichang

The itinerary of China Tours with Yangtze River Cruise is elaborately designed. You are able to spend almost three days on the cruise. Don’t be afraid that you will be bored during these days. There will be two captain’s banquets held on the boat at night and it’s the best place for you to make new friends. In addition, the scenery along the river is very attractive. First, you will take a Li River Cruise to go to Yangshuo. During this period, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Li River. On the second day, you will start your China Yangtze River Cruise from the Chaotianmen Dock in Chongqing. Besides admiring the scenery of the Yangtze River, you are able to go ashore to visit the “Jade Emperor” and the “Ghost City” in Fengdu. You will also explore the splendid three gorges and the world-famous Three Gorges Dam. This tour will certainly satisfy you. We are looking forward to your coming!

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Chengdu Arrival
You will arrive in Chengdu and we will take you to the hotel for a good rest

Welcome to Chengdu, China! Once you’ve touched down, your local guide will pick you up at the airport and then take you to your hotel.

Free Time Suggestion:

If you want to travel in Chengdu today, you can go to the Kuan Zhai Alley, which has a history of more than 300 years. It covers an area of 66,590 square meters. And there are over 70 courtyards. The Kuan Zhai Alley is a real portrayal of life in Chengdu. The local people have enjoyed the relaxing pace of life in this place since ancient times. In the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), rich people often wandered the Kuan Zhai Alley holding their birdcages. At the beginning of the 20th century, various parties were always held by prominent officials and eminent personages in this place. Now local people and visitors like enjoying the leisure time by ordering a cup of tea or coffee here.

Day 2 Chengdu
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, People’s Park, Wuhou Temple, Jinli Street,

This morning, you will go to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. In the 1980s, it only had six hungry and sick giant pandas. However, by the end of 2020, it had 215 healthy giant pandas. In 1998, it was regarded by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) as a legendary world. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding creates a garden for giant pandas. There is a panda hospital, nursery house, feeding area, research center, as well as many luxury panda “villas” in this garden. You will see giant pandas of different ages live here and enjoy their lives. When you visit this base, you may see some giant pandas being asleep on the branches of the trees; some just sitting there and eating bamboos; or some chasing a ball happily. You will never be bored to look at these giant pandas.

After lunch, we will take you to People’s Park. It was built in 1911 with an area of 112,639 square meters. By 2020, it has more than 70 types of trees, like Lindera touyunensis, Celtis Sinensis, and other kinds of trees. In the People’s Park, there is a Bonsai Garden, which covers an area of 2,600 square meters. It is located in south-central People’s Park. Walking in this garden, you will see more than 200 potted plants, such as elms, ginkgos, and pines. Besides, you may also see a beautiful lotus pond with water lilies, lotus flowers, sweet sedges, and other aquatic plants.

Then you will visit the Wuhou Temple, which covers over 150,000 square meters. Wuhou Temple was built in 221 in memory of Zhuge Liang. Wuhou means Wu Marquis in Chinese, which is the title of Zhuge Liang. He is a statesman and strategist, prime minister of the Kingdom of Shu in the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280). Entering the Hall of Zhuge Liang, you will see his statue in the middle. The statues of his son and his grandson are standing next to him. In Chinese folklore, Zhuge Liang is a symbol of wisdom and resourcefulness. He invented many things, such as mines that are made from bamboo tubes and gun powder, the Kongming lantern that is a kind of weather-proof portable lantern, and Zhuge Drum that is used to cook in the daytime and beat as a combat alert at night.

Next, you will go to Jinli Street. It has a total length of 550 meters and covers an area of more than 30,000 square meters. Since the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC), Jinli Street has been well-known throughout the country as an old trading street. You may see some people selling chopsticks, different types of tea, lanterns, and so on. Besides, you may see some people making clay figurines, sugar paintings, and paper cuts. In Jinli Street, there is an old well called Adou Well. Adou is the pet name of Liu Chan. He is the last king of the Kingdom of Shu in the period of the Three Kingdoms. There is a story about the name of the well. After Adou’s father, Liu Bei died, Adou would go to visit his father’s tomb every year. After each visit, Adou would stop next to this well and have a rest. Later, the local people were used to calling this well “Adou Well” .

Optional Activity:

If you are hungry at night and want to taste local food, Sichuan hotpot will be a good choice for you. It is extremely popular in China, especially in Chengdu. When you sit down in a hotpot restaurant, you can order some vegetables, meats, seafood, etc. Then put them into the hotpot and eat them when they are well-cooked. You can choose spicy or not spicy hotpot as you wish. But if you want to try both, your requirement will also be met because there is a special pot that is divided into two parts. So, you can taste two different flavors.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Wuhou Temple
Day 3 ChengduLijiang
From Chengdu to Lijiang by flight

There is no activity this morning. You can wander the streets in Chengdu to explore the daily life of local people. After lunch, your guide will drive you to the airport. Then you will take the estimated flight CA4265 13:30/15:00 to Lijiang. Your local guide will pick you up at the airport and then take you to the hotel.

Day 4 Lijiang
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Spruce Meadow, Blue Moon Valley, Baisha Village, Baisha Mural Paintings, Shuhe Ancient Town

After breakfast, we will drive north for about 44 minutes(20 kilometers) to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Although the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is located in the 27°03′-27°40′ north latitude, it is covered with snow all year round. There are 13 peaks on this mountain. Its main peak is called Shanzidou, which is the highest peak with an altitude of 5,596 meters. Shanzidou is so steep that no one can climb to its top.

You will take a cable car to the Spruce Meadow which is at the mountainside of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The Spruce Meadow is a large meadow hiding in the dense spruces. It is 3,240 meters above sea level. If lucky, you may see pretty girls in colorful folk costumes dancing and singing in this place, which is a wonderful scene for you.

After going down the mountain, you will go to the Blue Moon Valley. It is a crescent-shaped valley with clear blue lake water, from which it got its name. Here, you will see magnificent snow mountains, clear lake water and a beautiful valley. If you take some pictures of it and upload them to your Facebook, you will certainly get many likes.

After Lunch, you will visit the Baisha Village. It is the birthplace of Chieftains Mu and used to be the political, economic, and cultural center of Lijiang. The largest lama temple of Lijiang is located here. The temple has magnificent ancient buildings, such as Wenchang Palace and Dajibao Palace. In this place, you will also see the Baisha Mural Paintings with a history of more than 500 years. From the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), people started to draw the Baisha Mural Paintings, which were completed in the Qing Dynasty. The mural paintings include various elements, such as running horses, blooming lotus flowers, forests, and fields. These mural paintings have bright color, unique styles, and life-like figures, showing the mixed religious culture hundreds of years ago.

Then you will go to the Shuhe Ancient Town, one of the earliest settlements of the Naxi minority. It used to be an important town along the Tea-horse Ancient Road. In ancient times, people from all directions would pass this town and have a rest temporarily. After that, they left and went to different destinations with their goods. Today, standing on the Square Market of the Shuhe Ancient Town, you will see one of the oldest markets in this place. Both of its length and width are about 30 meters. There are five roads radiating from this market in every direction. This market used to be the trading center of the Shuhe Ancient town. Wandering in this market, you will hear the sound of streams because almost every building is next to a stream. Next, your guide will take you back to your hotel.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Blue Moon Valley
Day 5 LijiangShangri-La
First Bend of the Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge, from Lijiang to Shangri-La by bus

After breakfast, it will take you about 2 hours and 43 minutes to Shangri-La, which is located at the north of Lijiang. The distance between them is about 173 kilometers. However, before arriving at Shangri-La, we will first stop at the First Bend of the Yangtze River. It is 1,850 meters above sea level. After the Yangtze River flows down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to Yunnan province, it makes a turn of more than 100 degrees from south to east within a short distance in Shasongbi village, Shangri-La county. There is a stone pillar called Yujiang Stone in this place (Yujiang means Dayu’s general in Chinese. Dayu is a legendary king in ancient China who was famed for his contribution in flood control). The stone is about 10 meters high. It’s said that in ancient times, the flood couldn’t be discharged because it was blocked by a mountain. So, Yu asked his general to chisel a hole in the mountain. But the mountain was so hard that the general couldn’t make it after three days’ endeavor. So, the general used his head to bump against the mountain frequently and finally made a hole. However, the general died without a complete head. Later, Dayu ordered to make a stone statue of his general to commemorate him.

Next, we will drive for about 2 hours to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is located 70 kilometers northeast of the First Bend of the Yangtze River. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in China and has a drop of 3,900 meters from the top to the bottom. The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stands on its south side and the Haba Snow Mountain stands on its north side. In the narrowest part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, there is a huge stone standing firmly in the raging torrent. It is said that a tiger could easily jump across this gorge by stepping on this huge stone. That’s why the local people call it “Tiger Leaping Gorge”.

After lunch, we will drive northwest for about one hour and 43 minutes to Shangri-La. It is 103 kilometers away from the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Shangri-La covers an area of 11,418 square kilometers. There are more than 200 rivers and about 298 lakes in this place. It has a population of about 180,400. The special foods here include highland barley cakes, yak jerky, buttered tea, etc.  

Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 6 Shangri-La
Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park

This morning, you will visit the Songzanlin Monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Yunnan Province. In 1670, local people started to build the Songzanlin Monastery, which cost 2 years. There are many treasures in the Songzanlin Monastery, such as golden lamps, silver censers, and Tibetan thangkas. There is a lake in front of the monastery and you may see some ducks swimming in the lake. After entering the Songzanlin Monastery, you may see many red-beak crows circling around. Local people believe they are divine birds. 

After lunch, you will go to the Pudacuo National Park. Its altitude is over 3,500 meters and covers an area of 1,313 square kilometers. Its annual mean temperature is about 5.4℃(41.72℉). In July, the hottest month, its monthly mean temperature is 13.2℃(55.76℉). But in January, the coldest month, its monthly mean temperature is -3.8℃(25.16℉). So, make sure that you wear appropriate clothes when you get there. Besides, there are many special animals in the park, such as Black-necked Cranes, Clouded Leopards, Hairy-fronted Muntjac, and Woolly Hare. It’s said that there is a kind of ancient fish called Diptychus chungtiensis Tsao in the Pudacuo National Park. It has 3 layers of lips and always lives at the bottom of the lake. It’s not easy to see them. So, Tibetans believe it will be so lucky if a person sees this kind of fish.

Songzanlin Monastery
Potatso National Park
Day 7 Shangri-LaKunming
From Shangri-La to Kunming by flight, Stone Forest

Today, we will escort you to the airport and you will take the estimated flight MU5932 08:50/10:05 to Kunming. Your local guide will pick you up at the airport.

After lunch, we will drive for about 74 minutes(85KM) to Stone Forest, which is situated in the southeast of Kunming. The Stone Forest is regarded as the “wonder of the world”. About 300 million years ago, this place was covered by the sea. Later, for the crustal movement, the sea disappeared and the land appeared. It is an important geological relic of karst landform and covers 350 square kilometers. You will see many tall and pillar-like stones scattered in this place. The shapes of these stones are very interesting. You may see a stone, which looks like an elephant standing on a hill; or a stone looks like a wings-spread phoenix; or a stone looks like a roaring lion. After admiring the stones, you will go back to your hotel and have a rest.

Stone Forest
Stone Forest
Day 8 KunmingGuilin
From Kunming to Guilin by flight, Longji Rice Terrace Field 

After breakfast, your guide will take you to the airport and you will take the estimated flight MU7857 08:55/10:35 to Guilin. Your Guilin guide will wait for you at the airport. Then your guide will take you to have lunch.

Next, your guide will escort you to the Longji Rice Terrace Field that is located 78 kilometers north of downtown Guilin. It will take you about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there. The Longji Rice Terrace Field has a history of more than 2,300 years. In the Qin Dynasty, local farmers had started to plant rice in this place. At present, this place is full of rice terrace fields. You will see rice terrace fields almost everywhere, like the valleys with swift currents, the tops of mountains with high altitudes, the area next to the forests, or area in front of the cliffs. At the end of today, your guide will take you to the downtown area and escort you to your hotel.

Longji Rice Terrace
Longji Rice Terrace
Day 9 Guilin
Li River Cruise, Yangshuo West Street

This morning, you will take the Li River Cruise to Yangshuo and you will have lunch on the ship. The foods are different in different levels of ship. We will arrange a three-star ship for you and you will be provided with packed lunch. But if you want to have a Chinese buffet, please contact us and we will arrange a four-star ship for you. Whenever you take the Li River Cruise, you will see beautiful scenery. If it’s sunny, you will see the calm river glistening in the sunlight and the reflection of green hills. If it’s rainy or foggy, the mountains on both sides will show you a sense of mystique.

After enjoying the Li River in the ship, you will visit Yangshuo West Street. It is a pedestrian street in the center of an ancient town in Yangshuo. It’s almost 800 meters in length and about 8 meters in width. With a history of more than 1,400 years, it’s the oldest and most prosperous street in Yangshuo. The old buildings here are preserved well. You will see old stores, ancient temples, ancient pavilions, etc. on Yangshuo West Street. Since the 1950s, many famous people have visited here, such as William Jefferson Clinton, Richard Milhous Nixon, and Mrs. Thatcher. Jimmy Carter, former president of America, once rode a bike with his wife along this street. After visiting the street, your guide will take you back to your hotel in Guilin.

Optional Activity:

At night, you can watch the show which is called Impression Liu Sanjie. This special show is not performed in a theater but in the Li River scenery area. Its director is a famous Chinese director, Zhang Yimou who is also the director of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Impression Liu Sanjiu shows the daily life of local people. In this show, Liu Sanjie is a beautiful heroine who is good at singing. You will hear wonderful songs of Liu Sanjie and enjoy graceful dance in this show against the real Li River and peaks. It will be a marvellous visual feast under gorgeous spotlight.

Li river
Yangshuo west street
Day 10 GuilinChongqing
From Guilin to Chongqing by train, Yangtze River Cruise

Today, your guide will take you to the airport and you will take the estimated train G2856 11:27/16:00 to Chongqing. Your Chongqing guide will pick you up at the airport and directly take you to the Chaotianmen Dock. Then you will start your Yangtze River Cruise. As the third-longest river in the world, the Yangtze River is 6,387 kilometers long. It rises in Qinghai Province and empties into the East China Sea. There are many water conservancy projects along the Yangtze River. For example, the world-famous Three Gorges Dam Hydro Electric Power Plant is located here. And the Gezhouba Dam, 47 meters high is the first hydropower station in the Yangtze River. The government pays attention to the environmental protection in the Yangtze River. On March 1, 2021, the Yangtze River Protection Law start to take effect, which is used to protect its environment.

Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise
Fengdu “Jade Emperor”

Today, you can get up early and practice Taijiquan(an internal martial art) in the morning. Today you will have a shore excursion to Fengdu “Jade Emperor”. It covers an area of 40,000 square meters and is located in the Fengdu county. There are many Taoism-related attractions in this area. In Taoism, Jade Emperor governs all the gods. Chinese people believe that he is the emperor in Heaven. There is a legend about the Jade Emperor. It’s said that he used to be the crown prince of a kingdom. After his father passed away, he succeeded to the throne. Later, he gave up the throne and started to be a pious Taoist. After many years’ practising in Taoism, he became a god. However, he didn’t become the Jade Emperor immediately until he passed through 3,000 difficulties.

Optional activity:

An additional shore excursion to Fengdu “Ghost City” is also provided. This place is located at the northern bank of the Yangtze River. There are many Chinese-hell-related attractions, like statues, buildings, etc. in this area. Among them, the Bridge to Hell is a famous attraction in the “Ghost City”. It was built in the Ming Dynasty. And it is located on the hillside of the Ming Mountain. Chinese people believe that everyone has to pass the Bridge to Hell after they die. And then they will forget everything happened to them and get rebirth. Besides, gods will help kind people pass the bridge, and push bad people off the bridge. Then you will have a buffet lunch on the ship. At night, you can attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception.

Fengdu “Jade Emperor”
Fengdu “Jade Emperor”
Day 12 Yangtze River Cruise
Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Goddess Stream, Captain’s Farewell Banquet

This morning, you can still learn Taijiquan from the teachers. Today, the ship will pass through the Qutang Gorge. As the shortest one among the Three Gorges(Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge), it is only 8 kilometers in length. The peaks on both sides of the Qutang Gorge are precipitous, which seem like being cut by huge knives. Besides, the watercourse in this gorge is the narrowest, which makes the mountains on both sides be more closer.  

Then you will see the Wu Gorge which is 46 kilometers in length. There are twelve famous peaks on both sides of the Wu Gorge. The Goddess Peak is one of them. There is a stone pillar on the top of the Goddess Peak, and the stone pillar is like a young woman who stands gracefully. Legend has it that, one day, Yaoji, the youngest daughter of Queen Mother of the West(immortal queen in charge of all female immortals in Daoist mythology of China), found that the people lived around the Wu Gorge area were suffering from the flood. So Yaoji came to this area to help human beings to control the flood. When the flood was under control, Yaoji didn’t leave but continued to protect the people in this place. She often stood on the top of a peak to observe the river situation, so this peak was called “Goddess Peak” gradually.

In the afternoon, you will take a small boat to have a shore excursion to Goddess Stream. The Goddess Stream is close to the Goddess Peak and is 15 kilometers long with swift currents. This stream is so narrow that you can only visit here by a small boat. You will see many various-shaped peaks along the banks of the Goddess Stream. For example, you may see peaks looked like a flying phoenix, a huge green screen, or a Buddha’s palm. At night, you can attend the Captain’s Farewell Banquet to enjoy the last night of the cruise on the Yangtze River.

Three Gorges
Goddess Stream
Goddess Stream
Day 13 Yichang Departure
Three Gorges Dam, you will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home

After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at the dock and take you to visit the Three Gorges Dam. It is 3,335 meters long and 185 meters high. It was built in 2006. In 2018, its hydropower station generated 100 billion megawatt, which broke the world record. Besides, the Three Gorges Dam has played important role in flood control. The Three Gorges Dam can store over 22 billion cubic meters of water. It can cut down and delay flood peaks effectively. The Three Gorges Dam is of great significance in protecting 15-million people and 15,333- square-kilometer farmlands in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River from flood. After visiting the huge dam, your guide will take you to the Yichang Airport. Your Yangtze River Cruise tour will be finished today. It’s time for you to go home. Welcome to China again!

The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam

Editor: Xinli Zhang

Proofreader: Yan Liu

This tour ends here
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