15 Days Yangtze River Cruise Tour with Lhasa

15 Days Beijing-Xi'an-Lhasa-Chongqing-Yangtze River Cruise-Yichang-Shanghai

You may have many travel experiences, but do you want a different one that includes a Yangtze cruise to China? If you are planning to take a trip to China, please continue to read. As the mother river of this country, the Yangtze River has many tributaries to many cities, offering us a perfect route for a cruise tour. If you choose us, a Yangtze tour from Chongqing to Yichang will enable you to experience the grand sight of two gorges of the famous Yangtze Three Gorges. To provide you with a better travel experience, we will also arrange several shore excursions, from which you can learn more about Chinese culture. In addition, our itinerary includes some famous cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an. Lhasa, the sacred place in Chinese people’s eyes, is also a stop. You will have a short stay in each of them to feel the local atmosphere, visit famous attractions. Don’t hesitate! This Yangtze tour with Tibet is special enough to leave you with an unforgettable memory.

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

Hello! Welcome to China! Our guide will wait for you in advance at the airport, and then take you to the hotel for a nice rest. Beijing is the capital of China, and it couldn’t be better to start your Yangtze River cruise from this city. It has a permanent population of around 21.89 million and covers an area of 16,410.54 square kilometers. As an ancient city with a history of more than 3000 years, Beijing is rich in cultural relics. You are going to visit many popular world-famous tourist attractions, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Also, to help you know more about the past of this city, we arrange for you to visit Beijing Hutong. Are you ready to begin your exciting trip?

Day 2 Beijing
Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, Hutong,  Summer Palace

Your first stop is Tian’anmen Square on this day. The square covers 440,000 square meters and can contain 1 million people for a big gathering. October 1st, 1949 witnessed the opening ceremony of the People’s Republic of China. People who travel to Beijing will come especially to see this meaningful place, and you shouldn’t miss it.

Then, we will go to the Forbidden City (closed each Monday). It was the royal palace of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). As the world’s largest and best-preserved wooden ancient building, it now draws people from all over the world to come. Do you know why the number of rooms in this palace is 999 and a half? Legend has it that a person named Liu Bowen was asked by the emperor to build a palace with enough big rooms that could show the dignity of the emperor. But he dreamed about the Emperor of Heaven who hoped for him to tell his emperor that if the emperor wants to protect his country from suffering, his palace shouldn’t outnumber the one in Heaven. After hearing that, the emperor ordered Liu to figure out how to build enough gorgeous palaces less than 1000 rooms. To meet his demand, Liu decided the number of rooms was 999 and a half. Is it very interesting? Let’s go to see some of these rooms.

Before lunch, we will visit Jingshan Park, a royal garden in the past. You can see a locust tree in the park. It is said that the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty hanged himself here because of guilt after he ran away when the army invaded Beijing. You can stay here for a while before climbing up Jingshan to enjoy a broad view of the whole city.

In the afternoon, to help you feel local folk customs, we arranged for you to visit Hutong near Shichahai by rickshaw. A hutong is a place that carries the joys and sorrows of ordinary local people, enabling you to know more about the culture of Beijing. If you are interested in past stories here, you can walk into a house.  It’s a pleasure for local residents to tell you some.

Before the end of today’s visit, you will be led to Summer Palace, an ancient royal garden. Walking through the Summer Palace promenade with many beautiful pictures in it, we can arrive at Longevity Hill. Standing on the hill, you can have an overview of the garden, and maybe a tourist boat will appear in the lake. After arrival, what you need to do is hang around and relax.

The Forbidden City
Tian'anmen Square
Day 3 Beijing
Ming Tombs, Sacred Way, Chang Tomb, Badaling Great Wall

Today, the driver will drive westward to Ming Tombs. It is about 53 kilometers away from the center of Beijing, and we will arrive in one hour and five minutes. It is the imperial tombs of the Ming Dynasty. Upon arrival, we will first walk on the Sacred Way. It is a 7.3-meter-long path with several attractions. Now, I will choose one to introduce. The first building you can see is a dolmen with exquisite relief. You can stay for a while to observe. Walking through the path, we will arrive at Chang Tomb, the highlight of today’s itinerary. Here buried the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his empress. Since it is the largest one of all Ming tombs, visitors won’t forget to come here. It can be divided into three major parts, and in the second courtyard, you can visit Lingen Hall, the best hall using nanmu as its building material in China. It is the place that worships the two dead.

This afternoon, we will visit the well-known Badaling Great Wall, 69 kilometers away from downtown. To arrive here, we will move westward for around one and a half hours with the help of drivers. The Great Wall was built to ward off invaders. So, after arrival, you can see many lookout posts and shooting mouths, from which soldiers can shoot and keep a lookout. Otherwise, they can easily be shot in the war. Also, every 300 meters, a tower can be found. They were very helpful in information exchange in battle. The magnificent project is not only a symbol of China, but also a wonder in the world. You are lucky to feel its glorious scene today.

 Chang Tomb
Badaling Great Wall
Day 4 BeijingXian
Temple of Heaven, From Beijing to Xian by train

This morning, we will take you to the Temple of Heaven, your last stop in Beijing. It is the place where the emperor worships heaven and prays for a good harvest in the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. There is a lot to visit. When we walk to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests from the Circular Mound Altar, we will pass by a 360-meter-long road, the only path for the emperor to arrive in the past. This section is Danbi Bridge. Many visitors tend to ask why to name it a bridge because it is actually a passway. To solve your puzzle, we have to give another relevant story. At that time, cattle and sheep as sacrifices will be sent to a fixed place to slaughter before sacrifice. They have to pass through a door that is like an overpass. It is said that the door is built above the path we are walking to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. That’s why we call it Danbi Bridge instead of Danbi Road.

After leaving the Temple of Heaven, you will take the estimated high speed train G57 14:00/18:24 to Xi’an. Our guide will pick you up when you arrive, and take you to the hotel for a good rest. It will be a great shame to omit Xi’an on your China tour since it is an important birthplace of Chinese civilization. Collectively, the city was the capital of more than ten dynasties and the start point of the Silk Road. With an area of 10,108 square kilometers, it has about 12.95 people living here permanently. You are going to visit the well-known Terra Cotta Warriors, having more knowledge about Chinese culture. Also, you will have a chance to taste the delicious local cuisine.

Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Day 5 Xi’an
Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Mosque, Muslim’s Quarter

After breakfast, the driver will drive westward to Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. It is about 40 kilometers away from the center of Xi’an, and 50 minutes later, we will arrive. As it is one of the Eight Wonders of the World, I guess you might have heard it. The Terracotta Army is a kind of funeral object, and you will see many pottery figurines in the shape of chariots, horses and soldiers. After arrival, you will be surprised by the high skill of artisans at that time as almost every figure is unique. People even know which units the pottery soldiers belong to based on their expressions, gestures and clothes. The US vice president Robert A. Mundell praised it by saying that this is a real miracle and deserves a visit from people around the world. Let’s go see it by ourselves!

In the afternoon, you will continue your trip by visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda. As the earliest and largest quadrangle and pavilion-style pagoda built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it is a must-go place in Xi’an. Master Xuanzang built it to store the Buddhist statues and scriptures he brought from India. At first, it had only five floors. After five rebuilding, it became the pagoda we see today, having seven floors. If you don’t feel tired, why not climb to the highest floor to enjoy a broader vision of the whole city.

The Great Mosque will be your next stop. With four courtyards in total, you will find that its design style is Chinese style, while the ornaments inside are decorated strictly according to Islamic custom. That’s the greatest feature of this mosque. In the fourth courtyard, there is a hall that can hold around a thousand people to worship. When you come, you can pay more attention to pictures here. Each of them is different.

After that, you may feel hungry, and we will take you to Muslim’s Quarter, a famous snack street in this city. Walking on the 500-meter-long street, you can discover many delicious local snacks. Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup is very popular among visitors, so remember to have a taste. It can warm your stomach, and give you a feeling of satiation than other food.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Day 6 Xi’anLhasa
From Xi’an to Lhasa by flight

Today, our guide will send you to the airport to help you take the estimated flight MU2335 11:10/14:25 to Lhasa. After arrival, you will see your local guide waving to you. Then, you will be transferred to the hotel where you can have a nice rest. Lhasa is the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, covering an area of 31,662 square kilometers with 867,891 people living here permanently. The city gained its popularity thanks to pleasant scenery, distinct customs, and a strong religious atmosphere. In Chinese people’s eyes, it is a sacred place that can purify one’s soul. Sunshine time here is more than 3000 hours a whole year, and that’s why it is also called the “Sunshine City”. In this part, you are going to visit the global-known Potala Palace as well as local temples, making your whole trip to China more interesting.

Day 7 Lhasa
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

Today, your first stop is Potala Palace. In the seventh century, the ruler of Tibet ordered its construction for princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty, who married here. It is the largest palatial architecture that is located at the highest altitude in the world, covering an area of more than 360,000 square meters. The scene of a red palace surrounded by a white palace makes the whole building more magnificent, as if it is the embodiment of holy and pure. In the palace, many murals record the development of Buddhism in this place. You should really come to feel its beauty.

This afternoon, we will first visit Jokhang Temple. It is situated in the center of the old city area of Lhasa. Its history can be dated back to 1350 years ago, and now it has emerged as a famous Buddhist temple, drawing many followers to come. Around 1300 years ago, Lhasa was a wilderness with many lakes and marshes. One of the ruler’s concubines tried many times to build a temple to house a Buddhist statue she brought from her hometown. But she failed again and again until princess Wencheng came and thought out a method after an analysis of local terrain. According to the princess, its terrain is like a witch lying on the land, and her heart is in the center of Lhasa, where a lake can be found. The lake is composed of the blood of the witch. To build such a temple, they had to control the witch by filling the lake and then beginning the project on it with stones and soils carried by goats from the nearby mountain. You can see stone goats in the temple because the concubines asked artisans to carve in memory of the goat’s contribution to this project.

Our next stop is Barkhor Street, the most booming business street in Lhasa. A restaurant named makye ame is a place that you shouldn’t omit. The name is derived from a love poem written by a local famous Tibetan poem Tsangyang Gyatso. It is said that it is also the name of his lover, and the restaurant was their rendezvous. Let’s enter into it to have a look.

Jokhang Temple
Potala Palace
Day 8 Lhasa
Tibet Museum, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka Park

Tibet Museum (closed each Monday) is your first destination today. Visiting it is a good chance to know more about local culture. Its design style combines the features of local architecture and modern buildings, providing visitors a good travel experience. The exhibition hall consists of four parts, including prehistoric culture, indivisible history, culture and art, folk culture. You will be given enough time to observe them.

After lunch, we will head for Sera Monastery, one of the six major monasteries of the Tibetan Buddhism Gelug school ( the school emphasizes strict adherence to commandment). One hot attraction here is a statue of a local guardian deity whose appearance is like a horse head. We will take you for a visit. If you are lucky enough, watching a debate of monks about Buddhist knowledge will add more pleasure to your tour.

Then, your last stop is Norbulingka Park, the summer palace in Lhasa. The Tibetan-style garden is the largest artificial garden with the best view and most historical sites in Tibet. It is a place where the Dalai Lama (local religious leader) spends a hot summer and deals with affairs. You can come into the bedroom of the 14th Dalai Lama. It retains the way it was, but you can also see some modern decorations, such as sofas, radio. From the appearance of his tub and shower, we can know that what he used at that time was already high in quality.

Norbulingka Park
Sera Monastery
Day 9 LhasaChongqingYangtze River Cruise
From Lhasa to Chongqing by flight

Today, your guide will take you to the airport in Lhasa, and you will take the estimated flight 3U8634 10:30/12:55 to Chongqing. Upon arrival, you can see your local guide waiting for you. Then, you will be transferred to Chaotianmen Dock.  Going aboard the cruise means a new beginning to your Yangtze River cruise. The Yangtze River is the mother river of the Chinese nation. With hundreds of tributaries extending to many regions in China, it is 6387 meters long, ranking third in the world. The cruise we take is the best one in Chongqing. It has four floors in total, and on the fourth floor, an outdoor sightseeing platform attracts many people to come. Remember to capture the beautiful night scene with your camera. The third floor is a function room and it can hold 160 people for a party. If you want to have a rest, just go to the second floor. We haven’t arranged dinner for you, so if you are hungry, come to the first floor. Usually, the cruise will set sail at 9 pm.

Day 10 Yangtze River Cruise
Fengdu "Jade Emperor", Fengdu "Ghost City"

After getting up, you can exercise by doing Tai Chi. Remember to enjoy the breakfast we prepared for you. After that, you will begin your shore excursion in the morning. Fengdu "Jade Emperor" is a place you shouldn’t miss. You will visit many halls here, each of which holds a close reference to traditional Chinese culture. For example, there is a hall named Dimu, a deity in Taoism who is in charge of the earth and mountains under heaven. In Chinese people’s eyes, she created all creatures in the world. So, they worship her at the bottom of their hearts.

If it is not enough to satisfy your desire to know more about traditional Chinese culture, why not pay extra and come to Fengdu "Ghost City"? Legend has it that this place is the ultimate destination of ghosts, which means your short journey here will be very thrilling. Based on their imaginations of buildings in the world of the dead, Chinese people built many temples and halls in this town. When you come to the Hall of Gratitude to worship Mulian (a Bodhisattva who is known for filial piety), you will see a dog in his lotus pedestal. Can you believe the dog is his mother? She was sent to hell after death due to her profanity towards Buddhism. To save his mother, Mulian was asked to entertain monks with a large diversity of food on the 15th of the 7th lunar month, later known as the festival of Obon. After leaving hell and several reincarnations, his mother turned into a dog. That’s the story about the hall.

After lunch, it’s up to you about the destination because we haven’t made plans for you. While in the evening, a Captain's Welcome Reception is arranged to allow you to exchange travel experiences with other people on the cruise. You can enjoy a buffet here.

Fengdu Jade Emperor
Fengdu Ghost City
Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise
Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Goddess Stream

Today, doing Tai Chi for a while will energize you again. Our cruise will sail by two gorges in the morning. Qutang Gorge is the first one. Although being the shortest part of the Three Gorges, it has gained fame because of steep mountains, narrow waterways and torrential water. Next is Wu Gorge, the part that most deserves an appreciation of the Three Gorges. The cruise has to turn frequently according to actual sailing conditions. It feels like moving in a tortuous gallery as the view all the way is as beautiful as the pictures. Deep canyons, grotesque rocks, high mountains with mist shrouding on them... You need to see it with your own eyes. A buffet will be provided for you.

In the afternoon, we will visit Goddess Stream by a smaller ship. The 15-meter-long stream wins visitors’ affection because of its pristine beauty. While the ship is moving forward, you can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery with abandon. The lake is placid, in which you may see several pairs of mandarin ducks whispering. Putting your hands on the water, you can feel the coldness in your bones. Believe me, you will be lost in the beauty of nature.

After that, we will take you to attend the Captain's Farewell Banquet.

Qutang Gorge
Goddess Stream
Day 12 Yangtze River CruiseYichangShanghai
Three Gorges Dam, from Yichang to Shanghai by train

After breakfast, your following Yangtze cruise tour will start with a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Site. It is the major project of the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Power Station, the world’s largest hydroelectric project. Standing on the 185 sightseeing platform, you can see how majestic the dam is while overlooking. Have you ever taken a ship elevator? TGP Ship's elevator is the world’s largest-scale elevator ship project that adopts the most complicated skill in terms of engineering. Many visitors choose to experience this item, as it will offer them an impressive board sightseeing. The spectacular view can’t be recreated by words, so you need to feel it by yourself. It’s our pleasure to remind you that the item is not free, don’t forget to pay after boarding if you want to enjoy other non-free services on it. Then, you will go to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal by shuttle bus. The guide will be waiting for you at the terminal, and then take you to the station. You will take the estimated high speed train D954 14:06/20:21 to Shanghai.

When you arrive, you will see the guide who will transfer you to the hotel. Located in eastern China, Shanghai, as a coastal city, is an estuary of the Yangtze River. So, we decided to pick it as your last stop on the Yangtze River cruise tour. The metropolis features a blend of Chinese culture and western culture. You are going to visit many historical sites, some of which now show charming modern flavor.

The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam
Day 13 Shanghai
Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, Shanghai Old Street, Shanghai Tower, The Bund, Nanjing Road

This morning, Jade Buddha Temple will be your first stop. Although located in the busy downtown area, the temple is famous for its tranquil environment. The hot attraction in Shanghai was built by a monk named Huigen to house the Jade Buddha he brought from Myanmar. Today, it is more than a tourist attraction. It is now an important place to receive foreign guests, playing an important role in international exchanges of this city. The temple imitates the design style of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), having three parts in total. If you want to worship Buddha Shakyamuni (the father of Buddhism), come to the Grand Hall, where the Buddha sits in the middle of it. In the sunk panel above the head of the Buddha, you can see many interesting pictures describing the born story of Shakyamuni.

Stepping out of the temple, we will go to Yu Garden (closed each Monday). The word “Yu” means pleasing and peace in Chinese, which also shows the purpose of building such a garden: a person named Pan Yunduan wanted to please his father, so he built it. In building a typical classical garden, it is common to use bridges to make the whole layout have more layers. Standing on Jiu Qu Bridge (a bridge with 9 zigzags) you can have different views of scenery in the garden. It is designed with high skills, as evidenced by the different degrees in each zigzag. Also, you will find different flowers being carved in every crooked section. Almost all visitors won’t forget to have a walk on it, so remember to come here.

Then, to help you feel the beauty of Old Shanghai, we will lead you to Shanghai Old Street. All buildings here retain the style of the past. While wandering in narrow alleys, you can buy souvenirs in shops, watch performances in theaters, and have some tea in a local tea house. The above activities aren’t included in our itinerary, so you have to pay extra if necessary.

After lunch and a short rest, you will climb Shanghai Tower, a landmark in this city. It takes only 55 seconds to send you to the sighting platform on the 119th floor by elevator. Upon arrival, remember to take photos from different directions, and share them on your Instagram.

The Bund is the symbol of Shanghai. You should come to see buildings of different styles here. Moreover, you can experience the sightseeing tunnel, the first pedestrian tunnel crossing a river in China. Thanks to the application of an automatic control system, the driverless sightseeing cars take only 5 minutes to carry tourists to and from the Huangpu River. If you are interested in it, you need to pay extra.

Nanjing Road is your last stop today. Given your need to shop, we decided to take you to this business street. East Nanjing Road provides goods with acceptable prices, while on West Nanjing Road, you can buy luxuries and enjoy high-end consumption services.

After that, we will take you back to the hotel.

the Bund
Nanjing road
Day 14 Shanghai
Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, French Concession, Tianzifang Market

This morning, we will visit Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, a destination that is 49 kilometers away from the center of Shanghai. The driver will spend around 53 minutes driving eastward to arrive. It is a typical southern water town, where you can not only wander to relax, but also visit many cultural relics. In an ancient town, it is inevitable to walk on a bridge. There are 36 stone bridges, each of which retains its past styles. Of them, the Fangsheng bridge is best known by people. It is said that in the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, local monks would hold a grand ceremony on the bridge to pay homage to life by putting live fish into the river. And that’s how the bridge got its name. Many people will especially stay here for a while after knowing the story.

After that, we will head for the French Concession. It is the largest and the best-developed one among all the concessions governed by France in old China. Here is a park named Fuxing Park, the only garden that retains the classical style of French garden in Shanghai. You may see people playing chess and swords here with a high spirit.

Then, keep walking until you arrive at Tianzifang Market. It will be a great shame if you don’t stay here longer to have leisure. The street draws many young people thanks to its strong atmosphere of art. While hanging around the alleyway, you will find that there are many creative shops. Why not come in to buy some souvenirs? Or, you can choose to enjoy your free time by having a coffee in any coffee shop here. All in all, the slow life of local residents will also inadvertently bring you to slow down, learn how to relax.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town
Tianzifang Market 
Day 15 Shanghai Departure
You will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home

Today is the end of your 15 Days Yangtze River Cruise Tour with Lhasa. It’s our great pleasure to accompany you during your China tour, and now we have to say goodbye. After taking you to the airport, the guide will help you board the plane.

Author: Jiang Bingya

This tour ends here
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