Yangtze River Cruise Tour with Ancient Capitals

9 Days Beijing/Xi'an/Chongqing/Yangtze River Cruise/Yichang

Do you want to embrace the splendid natural sceneries and experience the local customs of China? The 9 Days China tours including Yangtze river cruise can be the best option for you. Starting from Beijing, you will be fully nourished by Chinese culture. Along the journey, you will visit a lot of world-renowned scenic spots, such as Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. On top of that, you will be exposed to natural landscapes. You will board the best Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to enjoy the masterpieces of nature along the Yangtze River such as Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge. When the tour in China comes to an end, I am sure that this top Yangtze cruise tour will be in your memory forever.

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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

Welcome to Beijing, a flourishing metropolitan city where culture meets dynamism! Today may be your first day in China. You will start your Yangtze River Cruise Tour from Beijing! I am sure that you are very excited and eager to explore the beauty of the city. Well, our trip arrangements will never mess up your journey in China. Upon your arrival, our hospitable tour guide holding your name sign is waiting for you at the airport, and then you will be transferred to your hotel, where the tour guide is ready to help you if you have some problems.

Option 1

With a good rest, you can choose to visit Wangfujing Street, a place full of time-honored brands. People often say that only people who have visited Wangfujing can be the ones who have been to Beijing. Along the street, maybe the store that you catch a glimpse at has been through for nearly a hundred years. Zhang Yiyuan Teahouse is a case in point. Founded in the twenty-sixth year of the Emperor Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), it is the best place for you to relax, sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the special atmosphere of the tea culture. Of course, there is also a mixed assortment of luxury goods such as Gucci and Prada.

Option 2

You can also choose Sanlitun Bar Street to spend your nighttime. It is a gathering place for tastemakers, and there are varied kinds of bars including CLUB MIX, Destination, and Trinity Club. In this street, you can see the endless stream of luxury cars, the hordes of handsome men and beauties, and the bustling nightscape of the city. And whichever bars you opt for, you will be exposed to the cordial services, feeling the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Option 3

If you have a preference for delicacies, Qianmen Street is a good choice. It is a commercial street located on the central axis of Beijing. Quanjude Roast Ruck Restaurant that has a history of almost 155 years is located here! You can have a taste of the juicy roast duck. Are you worried about not knowing how to eat it correctly? Take it easy! The genial waiter will show you the most classical way to enjoy the delicacy.

Day 2 Beijing
Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, it is time for you to explore Beijing. First, we will visit the must-see place – the famous Tian’anmen Square, which is a spectacular sightseeing spot. With the Monument to the People’s Heroes at its center, the Square is encompassed by several tourist attractions such as the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Tian’anmen Tower. Covering an area of 440,000 square kilometers, it is one of the largest squares worldwide. In China, many great events once happened here. For example, the new China was born here on October 1, 1949. That day, the whole Beijing city turned out to celebrate such a grand ceremony on Tian’anmen Square.

The next destination is the Forbidden City (closed each Monday), which is the most magnificent and well-preserved palace and complex in today’s world. It was also where 24 Chinese emperors acceded the throne and were at the helm of the state. Can you think of an underground palace under the Forbidden City? Well, it is just under the garden of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility in the Forbidden City. The imperial palace of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) was located here. Archaeologists have found porcelain and other cultural relics in the hall of the Forbidden City, which has gone through the Yuan, Ming (1368-1644), and Qing dynasties. Therefore, it is also dubbed as “the Forbidden City Triassic” for its architectural style of three dynasties.

With a palatable lunch, you will go to the next sightseeing spot—the Temple of Heaven. Built in 1420, it opened as a public park in 1988. Do you know there is a path that even the Chinese Emperors could not walk? That is the Danbi Bridge in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. In ancient times, it was divided into three pathways which were respectively for the emperor, the god, and the ministers from its left to its right. But now, the Danbi Bridge has become a popular attraction where tourists can experience the path that only the emperor could take before. I believe that you may doubt why a “path” is called a “bridge”. That’s because there is a hole under the “path”, through which the tributes can be passed. In a word, the mystery and majesty of the Temple of heaven are waiting for your visit.

After visiting the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace will be your next tourist destination. Founded in the Emperor Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, it has integrated artificial construction with the natural landscape, covering an expanse of 2.97 square kilometers. It was a place where the emperor and Empress Dowager Cixi enjoyed the beautiful view of Kunming Lake. In this imperial garden, you will be captivated by sundry historical masterpieces with the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake at its center. The Long Corridor, in particular, stretching from the Inviting the Moon Gate in the east to the Shizhang Pavilion in the west, is 728 meters long. With over 14,000 paintings, the Long Corridor can be called the gallery. Its various paintings mainly focus on landscape, bird-and-flower, and the stories from the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Forbidden City
Tian'anmen Square
Day 3 Beijing
Chang Tomb, Mutianyu Great Wall

This morning you will visit Chang Tomb, one of the Ming Tombs. Located in northwestern Beijing, it is 50 kilometers away from the Forbidden City. You will spend around 1 hour getting there by car. The scenic area is mainly composed of Mausoleum Gate, Ling’en Gate (Gate of Eminent Favor), Ling’en Hall, and Minglou (Soul Tower). Upon your arrival in the Ling’en Hall, you will marvel at its spectacularity. With only 60 golden nanmu pillars underlying the hip roof of double eaves, Ling’en Hall still has strong resistance to earthquakes. Among the pillars, the largest one owns a diameter of 1.12 meters and a height of 12.58 meters. Ling’en Hall also has a strong resistance to earthquakes. It can be considered as a unique architecture in the world at large. It was said that men who offered sacrifices to the god here could be blessed by the former emperor.

After enjoying lunch, you will be taken to the Mutianyu Great Wall, around 40 kilometers as the crow flies from the northeast of Chang Tomb. It takes about 1 hour to get there by car. As one of the most fascinating sections of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall is a popular spot where a Chinese comedy called If You Are One (2010) was shot. When you arrive at the foot of the Mutianyu Great Wall, three ways of going up and down the Mutianyu Great Wall are offered to you. The first one is the cable car that is the best suited for the elders because of its closed room. Another choice is the chairlift. Though it needs some strength, you can enjoy yourselves along the way. Of course, it is also an interesting idea that you choose chairlift and toboggan respectively on the way up and down. When you get on the Great Wall, there are 20 beacon towers in total in front of you, of which the 14th one is the best place to appreciate its grandness. Standing at the viewing platform of the 14th beacon tower and looking westward, you will find that the Great Wall is just like a dragon through the lush greenery.

Mutianyu Great Wall
Chang Tomb
Day 4 BeijingXi’an
From Beijing to Xian by train

The three-day journey in Beijing comes to an end. And you will start new travel in another place today! After enjoying breakfast, you will be transferred to the high-speed railway station where you will take the estimated train G571 09:22/15:06 to the next destination—Xi’an, the capital city of central China’s Shaanxi province. On this train, we will offer you a palatable lunch box containing fruits, milk, sandwiches and so on. Upon arrival in Xi’an, our amiable tour guide will take you to the hotel and handle the check-in for you. Then you can have a rest.

Covering an area of 10,108 square kilometers, Xi’an is characterized by its rich history. Its awe-inspiring architectures such as the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum stand as living evidence of the colorful cultural essence of China. As the capital of thirteen dynasties, Xi’an is also a place where the Silk Road starts.

Option 1

If you have no idea what the grand Tang Dynasty (618-907) is, you must visit Grand Tang All Day Mall, enjoying its glowing night lights. There is a variety of shows, which have five categories. They are the interpretation of the grand Tang Dynasty, thematic performances, float parades, performance art, and music performances. Tumbler show, belonging to performance art, attracts numerous tourists. The show is played by a beauty in Tang-style apparel dancing to the melody with a fan in her right hand. Seeing this scene, you will feel that you have been in the court banquets of the Tang Dynasty, where a large-scale song and dance performance is presented.

Option 2

As a brilliant facet of Chinese culture, local Chinese cuisines are found scattered everywhere. Take Muslim Quarter as an example. It is full of various local delicacies including flatbread in mutton soup, glutinous rice and jujube cake, and biangbiang noodles. I’m sure that you are curious about the biangbiang noodles. There is an interesting story explaining its origin. A destitute scholar came into a noodle restaurant where the owner made a sound of “biang” while making noodles. Suffering from hunger and cold, the man ordered noodles even if he had no money. After enjoying the food, he was asked to pay for it. The poor man came up with an idea that he wrote a Chinese character pronounced by Chinese pinyin “biang” as a payment for the noodles. The owner agreed because there had been nobody that could write the Chinese character pronounced “biang” before. However, the scholar made it. That’s how the food got its catchy name – Biangbiang noodles. So, when you come to Muslim Quarter, you can’t miss this special delicacy!

Day 5 Xi’an
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Old City Wall

This morning, you will leave for Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum after breakfast. Located in northeastern Xi’an, it is around 40 kilometers away from the downtown area. It takes about 1 hour to get there by car. Crowned as one of the world wonders, the Terracotta Army served as tomb protectors for the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC). There are 3 pits in total, where countless terracotta warriors are buried. The pits are numbered following the chronological order of their discovery. Among them, Pit No. 1 is the largest one, which is home to 210 soldiers with weapons. Pit No. 2 consists of archers, infantrymen, horsemen, and chariots while Pit No. 3 serves as a headquarter of the entire army. Best of all, all the terracotta warriors and horses are life-size, with none of the faces the same.

After lunch, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda will be your next destination. As a 7-storey brick pagoda, it is visited by millions of tourists each year. Legend has it that when Master Xuanzang was traveling to the west to India, he got lost in the Gobi Desert and kept circling around in the desert. When he was running out of food and water, he found a small oasis. As he sat down to rest by a small lake in the oasis, suddenly 2 geese flew in to drink from the lake. Xuanzang said to the geese, "I am Xuanzang, a monk of the Tang Dynasty. I am on the way to the west to get scriptures and I lost my way here. If you can lead me out of the Gobi Desert, I will return to Chang'an and build a pagoda to thank you." The two geese nodded to him, and then led Xuanzang out of the Gobi Desert. After successfully returning to Chang'an from India, Master Xuanzang did not forget his promise and built a pogoda to express his gratitude to the two wild geese. That’s why the pagoda got its name—Big Wild Goose Pagoda. If you are interested in the Pagoda, you will know more about it when you visit this scenic area.

Next, you will visit the Old City Wall. As the best-kept city wall in China, it has been standing for almost 700 years. Among the four corners of it, only one in the southwest is round. Legend has it that the round one was built in the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties while the other three were built in the Ming Dynasty. When you are on the City Wall, you can take a walk or rent a bike to appreciate its grandness. Both single and tandem bikes are available. Meanwhile, on the City Wall, you will feel the collision between tradition and modernity. Inside the Old City Wall are traditional houses that are lower than the City Wall while outside stand skyscrapers.

City wall
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Day 6 Xi’anChongqing
From Xian to Chongqing, Ciqikou Ancient Town

After two enjoyable days in Xi’an, you will be scheduled to take the estimated train D1971 09:05/13:42 to Chongqing. On this train, we will also offer you a lunch box including milk, fruits, desserts and other instant food. You can enjoy them for lunch. 

As one of the four municipalities in China, Chongqing has a reputation for being the Mountain City. With varied delicacies and natural landscapes, the city attracts a large number of tourists. It is also where you start to experience the highlights of the China tours including the Yangtze River cruise! You will go on the Three Gorges cruise to admire the wild nature, deeply impressed by the lucid waters and lush forests along the Yangtze River.

When you arrive in Chongqing in the afternoon, the local guide will pick you up to one of the most attractive sightseeing spots—Ciqikou Ancient Town. Stuck in the west of the city center, it abounds in porcelain, thereby enjoying worldwide fame. When walking on the stone slabs road in Ciqikou Ancient Town, you will see the old buildings on both sides, feeling local culture and customs in Chongqing of the old times. You can also visit an ancient temple with a history of more than 1,000 years in this town—Baolun Temple. Legend has it that this Temple was where Emperor Jianwen in the Ming Dynasty lived in seclusion.

After that, you will go to Chaotianmen Pier where you will board the Three Gorges cruise ship. Your guide will leave after helping you to check-in. Don’t forget the boarding time (before 20:30)! And the cruise ship will set off at 21:00. The ship is equipped with many facilities such as swimming pools, fitness rooms, theaters, and reading rooms. Besides, the staff are so friendly and cordial that you can ask for help when having problems.

Ciqikou Ancient Town
Ciqikou Ancient Town
Day 7 Yangtze River Cruise
Shibaozhai Pagoda

After a peaceful night, you can choose a table by the window to enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet, appreciating the engaging and elegant river panoramas. And then you can do some Tai Chi (a traditional Chinese physical exercise), drink a cup of coffee, or do some reading. All of these will help relax yourselves. 

Next, you can go on a shore excursion to visit Shibaozhai Pagoda.

Located on a small island in the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai Pagoda was built based on a boulder jutting out of a sheer cliff. On the top of the mountain behind this 12-storey Pagoda, there is a cave called Duck Cave that looks like a closed well. In ancient times, the cave shrouded by mist drew people’s attention. People wondered where the cave led down. Therefore, a duck with a mark was put into the cave. Soon afterwards, the duck showed itself in the Yangtze River, which demonstrated that the cave is connected with the Yangtze River. This is the origin of the name of the Duck Cave.

In the evening, the captain will hold a wine party to welcome your arrival. You can enjoy varied fruits, desserts, and drinks. All you need to do is have fun!

Day 8 Yangtze River Cruise[cruise]Yichang
Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, Xiling Gorge, Goddess Stream

Start the day with a breakfast buffet and then practice Tai Chi. After that, you will refresh yourselves.

As the cruise ship moves, the Three Gorges with splendid scenery will be in your sight, which respectively refer to Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge.

Among them, Qutang Gorge, the shortest one, is renowned for its stunning mountain sceneries. At the entrance of it, there is a strange cliff whose color differs from the others. It is pink. And it is called the Fenbi Wall (in Chinese fen means pink, bi means cliff), where many characters were carved by Chinese calligraphers. Among the calligraphy works, the oldest one could stretch back to the Song Dynasty (960-1297).

When arriving at Wu Gorge, you will board a small ship to visit the Goddess Stream. Set in the north of Wu Gorge, its name sounds grand and mysterious, conjuring up an image of a beauty. It holds secrets of a colorful and varied past. Legend has it that the Goddess Stream is the incarnation of the fairy who helped local people to control the flood. With odd peaks, lucid waters, flying waterfalls, serene forests, and engaging caves, the Steam is surprisingly fabulous. You are sure to be awed by what nature has produced.

At night, a farewell party will be held where you can watch various artistic performances. Remember to take some photos. You will miss these jocund times!

Three Gorges
Goddess Stream
Goddess Stream
Day 9 Yangtze River Cruise
Three Gorges Dam Site, you will be transferred to the airport and fly back to your sweet home

How time flies. Today is the last day of the Yangtze River cruise. After having the breakfast buffet, you will move to the Three Gorges Dam Site. As the world’s largest-scale water power project, the Three Gorges Dam is crucial to controlling floods, preventing droughts, and providing hydroelectric power for the central region of China. There is also an additional shore excursion. You can board a sightseeing-ferry sailing through TGP Ship’s elevator (with extra charge). As the most technologically challenging ship-lift, its maximum carrying capacity stands at over 15,500 tons. It can fetch you from the downstream to the upstream. You will be marvel at its magic!

And then you will go to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal by shuttle bus. Your tour guide will take you to Yichang Railway Station or Yichang Airport. That means the good times of 9 days in China are brought to an end. See you.

The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam

Author: Xie Peng

Proofreader: Lexie

This tour ends here
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