Fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city, then transfer to your hotel.* See the modern financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city.
This morning, tour Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views. Spend some time at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. After lunch in a local restaurant, tour the Shanghai Museum. Dine locally before seeing the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe from the best seats in the house. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, prepare for your flight to Wuhan. Upon arriving, transfer to your ship docked close to Wuhan’s historic waterfront. You are welcomed aboard with a Western meal. (B, L, D)
Today visit the Hubei Provincial Museum, where you hear the chimes of ancient bronze bells and view fascinating relics from 400 BC. Return to the ship and set sail this evening. (B, L, D)
After a morning of sailing, arrive in Jingzhou. Visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises where you are greeted and entertained by the children. (B, L, D)
This morning, cruise through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. After lunch, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam, where you learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. Return to your ship and sail through the 5-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. Dock overnight at Badong. (B, L, D)
During breakfast, cruise through Wu (‟Witches”) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Goddess Stream. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, then spend the afternoon sailing through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Dine aboard. (B, L, D)
This morning, visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. Tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Enjoy Yangtze River scenery as you cruise this afternoon and through the night. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and enjoy a brief tour of Chongqing, the largest city in western China and an important inland port. Visit the Chongqing Zoo to see the giant pandas and other exotic species. After lunch in a local restaurant, fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 AD, this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods, spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. This evening, have dinner and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. See the thousands of life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors, archers and infantrymen that were buried with him, each man and horse molded with its own distinctive features. Walkways provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire necropolis where the Terra Cotta Army was discovered in the 1970s. After lunch, you have free time to further explore Xian. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era. (B, L, D)
Today, fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital, whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years. Check in to your hotel and dine there; enjoy free time this evening. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, travel to the Badaling Hills. There, you behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. This 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications was built and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century AD, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its winding pathways and marvel at the panoramic views from its ramparts.
After a lunch of local specialties, visit the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions and camels leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel, or enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner, the region’s famous dish. (B, L, D)
This morning visit the enormous Tiananmen Square, which can accommodate over 1 million people. Then, tour Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Made up of nearly 1,000 buildings, it is the world’s largest surviving palace complex. Walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls.
After lunch in a local restaurant, take some free time to explore Beijing on your own or do some shopping. Enjoy your dinner this evening, or attend The Legend of Kung Fu for a beautiful display of this performance art, which has roots that date back 4000 years. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, continue your China journey with 3 nights in Hong Kong. (B)