Welcome to China and begin the Yangtze River cruise tour from Beijing! In the beginning, you will take great explorations to famous historical sites and appreciate picturesque natural landscapes. Then during the Yangtze River cruise from Chongqing to Yichang, the cruise ship you take will sail through the magnificent Three Gorges one by one. You will be blessed to enjoy well-equipped facilities onboard and get fully relaxed with a bracing ambience. Together with your family, you can participate in practicing Tai Chi and take exciting shore excursions to mystical spots like Shibaozhai Pagoda. Sailing through the precipitous cliffs and luxuriant mountains will deliver you a sense of flying. Meanwhile, you will be amazed at marvelous peaks and eccentric stones on both sides of the river. China tours with Yangtze River cruise will bring you to Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric station and clean energy base. At last, you will have great fun while visiting both modern buildings and ancient scenic areas in Shanghai.
Upon arrival, you will find our tour guide is waiting for you, holding a card with your name on it. Then you will be sent to the downtown hotel. After check-in, you can take a walk nearby and then have a good rest. So your Yangtze River Cruise Tour begins with a wonderful trip to Beijing.
After breakfast, the guide will take you to Tian’anmen Square, the largest downtown square in the world. Covering an area of 440,000 square meters, the square is paved with granite slabs, with highlights such as Monument to the People’s Heroes, Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, and the Great Hall of the People. However, Tian’anmen Rostrum on its north end is the most eye-catching. It was the front gate of the imperial palace in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1912) Dynasties, and it is known for its outstanding architectural art and special political status. Deemed as a symbol of the People’s Republic of China, it is where the founding ceremony of the country was held.
The next spot is the Forbidden City (closed on Monday) behind Tian’anmen Rostrum, the Ming and Qing imperial palace. Hailed as the chief of the world’s five great palaces (Forbidden City, Palace of Versailles, Buckingham Palace, the White House, and the Kremlin), it is the existing largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex. Built in 1420, it was where 24 emperors were crowned. The palace was designed to demonstrate the supremacy of imperial power. Entering the palace, you will be overwhelmed by a sense of solemnity.
In the afternoon, you are supposed to visit Hutongs, the quaint alleys unique to Beijing. During the visit, you will take a rickshaw tour and pay a Hutong family visit. With a history of over 700 years, Hutongs are passages formed by rows of closely connected quadrangles. The number of Hutongs almost exceeds one thousand. The Hutong can be as long as 6.5 KM and as short as 15.2 meters; while the widest one is 32.18 meters and the narrowest is 0.44 meters. The most zigzag Hutong has 19 bends. Enjoying a wide variety of features, they play an important role in locals’ life by separating downtown noises from quaint residential areas. You may hear some interesting stories that happened here during the Hutong family visit.
Next, you will go to 798 Art Zone. It was converted from the former address of old factories in the electronic industry. Well-known for the integration of contemporary art, architectural space, cultural industry, and the urban living environment, it is dotted with artist studios, galleries, art centers, design companies, and many bars. Famed musicians, authors, publishers, and many other obscure artists have come here for creation.
As the day-long trip ends, you will be sent back to the hotel.
Today, let us go outside downtown. The first destination is Chang Tomb, 50 kilometers northwest away from downtown Beijing. A one-hour drive will take you there. With a six-hundred history, the mausoleum remains intact and resplendent. Ling’en Hall was a shrine to Emperor Yongle and his empress. The floor is paved with golden bricks and 60 golden nanmu pillars hold the double-eave roof of 2,300 square meters. Among these rare pillars, the largest one has a diameter of 1,124 meters, being 12.58 meters high. There are hundreds of pieces of unearthed relics on display.
After lunch, you will be taken to Mutianyu Great Wall, 47.5 kilometers northeast away from Chang Tomb. Within about one hour, the most beautiful section of the Great Wall will be in your sight. Located among layers of lush mountains, Mutianyu Great Wall is also the longest section of the Great Wall. As a defensive system with many watchtowers, it acted as an important role in defending Beijing City against invasion in ancient times. You have three choices to climb up the wall. First, take a fully-enclosed cable car upward and downward, which is suitable for the elderly. Second, take an open-air chairlift all the way, a good choice for tourists without any difficulty in walking. The last choice is to take a chairlift upward and take a toboggan downward, which is funny.
After check-out, the guide will send you off at the airport, the estimated train G571 09:22/15:06 will take you to Xi’an. Upon arrival, the guide in Xi’an will take you to the hotel and help you with check-in. Then you can have a good rest.
Covering an area of 10,752 square kilometers, Xi’an has a permanent population of more than thirteen million. As the capital city of 13 dynasties, the city was designated World’s Historical City in 1981. It’s the cradle of the Chinese nation and the Chinese civilization; meanwhile, it is also the starting point of the Silk Road.
After breakfast, you are scheduled to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, 41 kilometers northeast away from downtown Xi’an. After a 50-minute drive, you will reach the great museum. As the largest ancient military museum in China, it has three pits housing terracotta warriors and horses. They are burial objects of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (259 BC-210 BC), demonstrating the formation of the army, including the cavalry and the infantry. Surprisingly, the facial expressions of each warrior and even the horse are different. By appreciating them, you will have a glimpse into the splendor of the great dynasty that first unified ancient China in history.
After lunch, you will go to Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Erected in 652, the 64-meter high pagoda was located in Ci’en Temple. It’s a seven-storey pagoda made of wooden bricks, housing Buddha statues, Buddhist scriptures, and Buddhist relics that monk Xuan Zang brought from India. It is where Xuan Zang completed the translation of Buddhist classics, boasting an important historic value. It’s said that long time ago, there was little food in the temple, and a little monk was starving when he found that flock of gooses was flying over the temple. He began to pray if only he could eat the goose meat. At that moment a goose fell in front of him. He was terrified and rushed to tell other monks what had happened. They all felt sorry for the death of the goose, so they built the pagoda and buried it there. The pagoda thus got the name – Big Wild Pagoda.
Next, you will be taken to City Wall, the existing largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Completed in 1378, it is a symbol of Xi’an. Being 12 meters high and 15-18 meters wide, the wall encompasses a rectangular ancient city area with the Bell Tower and Drum Tower at its center. It has 18 doors, which are vital to the defense of the city, with the exception of one door. Wenchang Gate is the only gate that has nothing to do with military defense. It was named after a god of wisdom in an ancient Chinese legend. Many people come here to touch the gate, hoping they can get more wisdom.
Today, it’s time to say goodbye to Xi’an. After breakfast, you will be sent off to take the estimated flight 3U3251 06:45/08:35 to Jiuzhaigou.
The tour guide will pick you up at the airport and take you to Huanglong National Park, 33 kilometers southeast away from the airport. Within 50 minutes, you will see the park with an area of 650 square kilometers. It is blessed with colorful calcified ponds, radiant icebergs, zigzag alpine valleys, and mystical forests, which are together known as four wonders. Being 3.6 kilometers long and 30-170 meters high, Yellow Dragon Valley crosses through the lush forests just like a huge flying yellow dragon. First, you will take a cable to get Wanglong Platform, the best place to look at icebergs with jaw-dropping views. Next, you will walk to Five-Color Ponds. They are formed by 693 calcified ponds of different shapes. Then you will visit Huanglong Ancient Temple. It’s said that a yellow dragon helped locals prevent floods, so the temple was built to commemorate it. At last, you will go down the mountain on foot. Surely, being surrounded by chirping birds and fresh air, you will feel fully relaxed.
Then you will take the car to leave for Jiuzhai Valley, 102 kilometers south away from Huanglong National Park or a two-hour drive. The guide will help you check in the hotel.
1. In some scenic areas with an altitude of more than 3,500 meters, you may have altitude sickness. It’s better to take a slow walk. If you have any discomfort, you can breathe in oxygen from oxygen bars in the scenic areas.
2. There is no restaurant in the scenic areas, and you’d better take some food or snacks along with you.
After breakfast, let us begin the day-long trip to Jiuzhai Valley. As a World’s Natural Heritage Site, the picturesque valley is a 50-kilometers long ravine, covering an area of 650.74 hm2. Its name Jiuzhai means nine villages in Chinese, representing the nine Tibetan villages located there. Besides rare and precious wildlife like pandas, it boasts colorful lakes and magnificent waterfalls. Long Lake is the longest lake there, with luxuriant trees on both sides. Without any water outlet, it surprisingly has never dried up with melted ice on high mountains as its water source. Nuo Ri Lang Waterfall is the widest waterfall in China, and it’s a shooting location of the famous TV drama Journey to the West.
Sightseeing buses are waiting at the entrance of the valley, and there are bus stops near the scenic spots. Tourists can get off the bus and go to all scenic areas on foot and take a bus to the next spot. The tour guide will make a tour route for tourists according to different circumstances so that they can explore the beauty of the valley at a comfortable pace. The classic tour route is as follows: take a bus to Nuo Ri Lang Waterfall; then you will be transferred to Zachawa Valley to visit Long Lake and Five Coloured Pond. Next, you will go to Rize Valley to explore Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake, Pearl Shoals, Mirror Lake, etc. Then, you will return to the tourist center at Nuo Ri Lang Waterfall, and go down Shuzheng Valley to the entrance of the park. Along the way, you will visit Rhinoceros Lake, Tiger Lake, Tiger Lake, and Sparkling Lake.
After the exploration, the guide will take you back to the hotel for a rest.
1. It’s better to put on comfortable sneakers and sportswear.
2. You are supposed to have lunch at Nuo Ri Lang Center with limited kinds of food, and you can take some food along with you in case you are not used to the food offered.
After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport to board the estimated flight 3U8620 13:35/14:35 to Chengdu. When you arrive, the local tour guide will send you to Wenshu Monastery. As one of the key Buddhist temples in China, the monastery is a Buddhist mecca with a combination of Buddhist relics, ancient gardens, worship and sightseeing, and religious study. Covering an area of about 54,666 m2, it has over 190 halls and rooms, and more than 300 Buddhist statues. Set up during 605 to 617, it was destroyed twice. It’s said that the sight of red light was seen the relics of the monastery in 1644. Then the soldiers sent to check up on it saw Manjusri Bodhisattva appearing in the red light. Therefore, the monastery was rebuilt and renamed after Manjusri Bodhisattva (Manjusri means Wenshu in Chinese).
When you finish the visit, you will be sent to the hotel.
his morning, you will go to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, 10 KM away from downtown Chengdu. As one of the important bases for the protection of rare and endangered wildlife, this spot is a breeding base for giant pandas, red pandas, black-necked cranes, white storks, white swans, black swans, mandarin ducks, and many other animals. There are about 300 varieties of higher plants and over 90 kinds of birds in the base. Besides rich fauna and flora, it boasts the ingenious integration of natural landscapes and beautiful artificial sights. Here you will see various rare and endangered animals living a carefree life.
After lunch, let us go to Jinsha Site Museum (closed on Monday). Located in Jinsha Village, Chengdu City, Jinsha Site dates back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (1600 BC- 256 BC). It was the capital city of the ancient Shu Kingdom, the center of ancient civilization in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River from 12th century BC to 7th century BC. The discovery of the Jinsha site brought forward the datable history of the city of Chengdu to 3,000 years ago, and is thus regarded as the beginning of Chengdu's urban history. Covering an area of 300,000 m2, the museum was built on the original location of the Jinsha site in 2007 with a large number of unearthed historical relics on display such as ivories, gold vessels, jade ware. It consists of five parts, namely the relics hall, exhibition hall, cultural relics protection center, garden area, and visitor center. In the relics hall, you can see the progress of archaeological excavation and know more about the grand sacrificial activity that happened here.
The next spot is Kuanzhai Alleys, a famous historical and cultural street in Sichuan Province. Deemed as one of the most beautiful streets in the province, Kuanzhai Alleys are dotted with ancient quadrangles built in the Qing Dynasty. With an area of 200,000 m2, these alleys are comprised of Wide alleys, Narrow alleys, and Well alleys. Wide alleys present the life in old Chengdu with traditions and folk customs displayed in the life experience pavilion. Featuring courtyard culture, Narrow alleys boast exquisite bars, western restaurants, and cafes. Two 500 m-long walls are the highlight of Well alleys. One is a wall depicting cultures in different dynasties and the other focuses on folk customs.
After that, you will be sent back to the hotel.
Today, you will leave for Chongqing where you can enjoy China river boat cruises. After breakfast, the guide will take you to board the estimated Train G8685 09:06/10:31.
Upon arrival, the local guide will take you to have lunch. Then you will go to visit Ciqikou Ancient Town. Built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the ancient town is an important ferry terminal in the region, boasting a unique landform comprised of one river, two springs, three mountains, and four streets. Enjoying various cultures, it has grown up to be a flourishing scenic area with traditional exhibition events like Sichuan opera and oil manufacture. There is an adorable sculpture of a mother holding a little boy who is peeing. It is said that the second emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Jianwen, fled to this town after being ousted from the throne by his uncle, who was exhausted and very sick. Being chased by the soldiers sent by his uncle, he could not go to see a doctor. One night, an immortal told him in a dream that he could get healed by drinking a little boy’s pee. So next day, he found that a peeing kid in his mother’s arms. Immediately, he put a bowl to hold his pee. Later on, he got well and the sculpture was thus made to commemorate the interesting story.
Then you will get on the Three Gorge cruise ship, and the guide is supposed to get off after helping you deal with boarding procedures. The boarding time ends at 20:30 and the ship sets off at 21:00. You will spend a good time on the well-equipped ship tonight. There are many entertainment areas aboard such as the fitness center, reading room, and movie center.
This morning, you can get up after a long sleep. Then you can have a buffet breakfast or participate in practicing Tai Chi (a kind of traditional Chinese shadow boxing). After that, it would be a great pleasure to enjoy a cup of coffee and do some reading on deck if you like. Being surrounded by gorgeous mountains on both sides of the river, you can feel refreshed with embracing breezes blowing across your face.
Today, you will have a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, known as the "Pearl of the River”. With a history of over 400 years, the 12-storey pagoda is a wood structure with a great hall on the top and its eaves on each floor look like the outspread wings of a huge bird. The 56-meter-high building snuggles up to a boulder, which is said to be a five-colored stone left by Nüwa (a goddess in Chinese mythology). Legend has it that at the beginning of the world, the sky collapsed and the world fell into great havoc. Finally, Nüwa succeeded in restoring the order of the world by patching the broken sky with five-colored stones. You can also see historical relics in the showroom in the Shibaozhai Pagoda.
At lunchtime, please enjoy the hearty buffet.
Next, you can visit Fengdu "Ghost City" (with surcharge) or other scenic areas according to the cruise ship you’ve booked. Located in Fengdu County of Chongqing City, Fengdu “Ghost City” has a history of almost two thousand years. It’s famous for various buildings and structures built on the base of ancient Chinese beliefs of the land of hell. It’s said that when people die, their souls will float to the Ghost city to face judgment according to what they have done in life. Good people will go to heaven while evil people will be punished severely. Actually, ǖthe “Ghost City” is an art treasury with the integration of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
Tonight, the captain will hold a welcoming cocktail party. Besides delicious desserts and fruits, you can enjoy prime wines and dance to the luscious music.
Today, the ship will sail through Three Gorges. In the morning, you will see Qutang Gorge first. Although this eight-kilometer-long gorge is the shortest among the Three Gorges, it is the most magnificent one, featuring precipitous cliffs and raging torrents. At the western entrance, it’s less than one hundred meters wide, with steep precipices on both sides, looking like a great gate.
At noon, the ship will arrive at Wu Gorge. With lush mountains and marvelous peaks on both sides of the river, Wu Gorge is famous for its picturesque scenery. Being 46 kilometers long, it seems a long gallery on the zigzag river shrouded in mist.
In the afternoon, you will have a shore excursion to Shennü Stream. With a length of 15 kilometers, the fast-flowing stream is shallow and narrow. There is a long virgin valley off the beaten track, which is an ideal place to explore. You will see gorgeous scenes and find some pristine residents living there.
At dusk, you will reach Xiling Gorge, the longest one of the Three Gorges. Boasting eccentric stones and peaks, the gorge has many smaller gorges in it, known as the gorge of gorges. Inspired by the beautiful scenery, many famous Chinese poets composed excellent poems to praise this enchanting gorge.
After the appreciation of the gorgeous natural landscapes, there is a farewell dinner to be held by the captain tonight. You will enjoy a delightful dinner and watch some exciting shows.
Today, let us enjoy the last section of the top Yangtze cruise tour.
After breakfast, you will take the shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam. Being 2,309 meters long and 185 meters high, the dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric station and clean energy base. It has a dozen of functions such as power generation, shipping, irrigation, and flood control. Its total reservoir capacity is 39.3 billion m3 and its discharge capacity reaches 100,000 m3 per second. You will have an optional experience of the ship lift (with a surcharge). The ship lift is the world’s largest one with the most difficult technology. With a maximum lifting weight of over 15,500 tons, it can lift a ship to 113 meters high. By taking it, you can have a magnificent view upward.
When the cruise tour ends, the guide will pick you up at the cruise ship center and take you to have lunch downtown. Then you will be sent to Yichang East Railway Station to get on the estimated train D954 14:06/20:21 to Shanghai.
Upon arrival, you will be taken to the hotel.
Welcome to Shanghai! In the morning, you are scheduled to visit Jing’an Temple. Dating back to 247, it’s the oldest temple in Shanghai. Covering an area of 22,000 m2, the temple has three halls as its main buildings, housing priceless paintings and calligraphy works. In the bell tower is a 3.3-meter-high bell of 7.3 tons. Beside the tower is a bubbling spring, known as the “Sixth Spring of the World”. It is made of 666 granite pavers, with one stone at the bottom weighing 6,000 tons. Here you can feel the serenity separated from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.
Next, you will go to Yu Garden (closed on Monday). With a history of over four hundred years, it was once a private garden in the Ming Dynasty. Covering an area of over 20,000 m2, it has over 40 ancient buildings. There are six main scenic areas, featuring rock-work, pavilions, bridges, ponds and porches. Besides, the garden boasts a great amount of greenery, including ancient trees and huge bonsai. There is a ginkgo tree aged over 430. You will be amazed at the unique beauty of this typical Chinese garden.
After that, you will be taken to visit Shanghai Old Streets. Entering the street, you will feel like you are on a time travel. It is an 825 meters long street brimming with traditional folk culture. It’s divided into two sections. The east section maintains features of residential dwellings in the late Qing Dynasty while the west section is characterized by buildings with black tiles and white walls. There are various delicious snacks on the street. The pear syrup candy is an acquired taste. It’s made of fritillaria cirrhosa, pinellia ternate, wolfiporia cocos, and white sugar, so it has a high medicinal value. Sweet dumplings with black sesame fillings look like white quail eggs in the bowl. When you bite it, sesame juice will flow down to the throat while glutinous rice wrapper lingers in the mouth and its aroma will immediately float into your nose.
After lunch, you will head to the Former French Concession, one of the most luxurious areas in old Shanghai. As an epitome of the top-end lifestyle in the 1930s, the concession remains a quaint artistic place with old buildings and ancient plane trees. You can find many different kinds of people living here, including creative youth, amiable old ladies, and social influencers. No matter how old you are or what you do, you will find a good place to have fun in this area. There are many popular cafes, restaurants, bars, and grocery stores to explore and you may forget all annoyances there.
Next, you are supposed to visit Shanghai Tower, a huge skyscraper. Covering an area of 433,954 m², the tower boasts 119 storeys on the ground, and 5 floors of basements. It has the fastest lift in the world and you can reach the top floor within 55 seconds by taking the lift from the ground. In addition, the 118th and 119th floors serve as sightseeing areas and 360-degree aerial halls provide panoramic views of Shanghai. In the functional experience area called “Top of the World”, you can enjoy sightseeing, drink in a compact bar, and eat in a restaurant.
In the end, you will be sent back to the hotel.
Today, let us continue to explore the magic city. After breakfast, you will be led to Zhujiajiao Water Town, 50 kilometers southwest away from Yu Garden. In 58 minutes of drive, you will see the ancient town. As a typical ancient town in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Zhujiajiao Water Town is hailed as the “Greatest Town of Shanghai”. It consists of nine old streets with a total area of 47.44 KM2. Situated at the juncture of Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, and Shanghai City, it is blessed with advanced transportation. Dianshan Lake flows across this 400-year-old water town and 36 quaint stone bridges amplify its antiquity. The most famous bridge is Fangsheng Bridge spanning the Caogang River, known as the “First Bridge in Shanghai”. It’s said that the bridge was built by a monk. Being eager to do something good for locals, he was always lost in deep thinking to find a good way to help them. One day, he saw crowds of people waiting for ferries on both banks of the river. He came up with a good idea that he could raise money and build a bridge to facilitate the traffic. Thus, the bridge was set up and people began to release captured fish or turtles on it to commemorate the monk. Fortunately, you are supposed to get on a wooden boat and appreciate this picturesque town on it for about 10-15 minutes.
At noon, you will have lunch in the town. Then the tour guide will send you back downtown to visit the Bund, 48 kilometers northeast away from Zhujiajiao Water Town. An about 53-minute-drive will take you to the spot. Located beside the Huangpu River, the Bund became a British concession in 1844 as the starting point of the development of Shanghai as a city in modern times. On the west side of the 1.5 kilometer-long area stands 52 buildings of different distinct architectural styles, known as exotic building clusters. One of them is the customs complex completed in 1893. The bell on its top has been 93 years old and it is the largest bell in Asia. Opposite the building is the Waterfall Bell. This modern bell has ten steps used to form a long waterfall. It shows the time of main cities worldwide with Arabic numerals. The two bells built in different ages work together to remind us that we should cherish time and be punctual.
The last stop of the tour is Nanjing Road, the first commercial street in Shanghai since it opened as a commercial port. Being 5.5 kilometers long, the road is divided into two sections. The east section is a commercial area of affordable products. About 150 years ago, the first hippodrome in Shanghai was built on this road and many foreigners rode horses on the street. But now it is dotted with various time-honored stores and malls. The stores with the highest rents in China lie on the west section of the road. It’s the most luxurious and fashionable street in Shanghai, featuring luxury goods and high-end individualized consumption. Modern huge buildings, luxurious hotels, and flourishing malls add much splendor to the road.
Today, it’s time to say goodbye. The guide will take you to the airport and help you with check-in. We hope you’ve had an unforgettable tour in China.
Author: Wu Hongmei
Proof Reader: Lexie
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About your child or infant, please contact us for a discounted price.
We started with a few days in Beijing & ended in Shanghai, from where we visited the Forbidden City and Great Wall. In between we visited Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Panda Base, Shanghai Disneyland.
We had a wonderful holiday in China which will remain long in the memory. China is a breathtakingly beautiful country full of splendid temples and palaces, mountains and rivers, peaceful rural scenes and bustling shopping streets.