China & the Yangtze

Discover China’s past and present — from historic
Beijing, to the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. Visit
the iconic Terra Cotta Warriors and giant pandas,
and explore the storied Yangtze River on an
all-balcony river cruiser.

Click for larger view.
Map for China & the Yangtze

Destination & Sightseeing


Day 1 - Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in the capital city of Beijing, China’s longtime seat of power, where you are transferred to your luxurious hotel.

Day 2 - Beijing
After your welcome briefing, participate in a private tai chi lesson taught by a master instructor at the Temple of Heaven, a stunning example of classical Ming period architecture. After lunch, take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square before exploring the imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.

Day 3 - Beijing
This morning, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a vast yet intimate neighborhood of small winding alleyways dating to China’s dynastic period. Then, travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Ride a cable car to the top of the wall to take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. After experiencing this wonder of the world, return to Beijing.

Day 4 - Xian
Fly to Xian, a modern city cloaked in over 3,000 years of history. Once the eastern terminus on the Great Silk Road, Xian has become a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Upon arrival, enjoy a Chef ’s Table noodlethrowing demonstration followed by lunch. Visit the old city’s Muslim Quarter with its teeming markets and beautiful Great Mosque, a 14th-century national heritage site. A blend of classic Chinese temple architecture and central Asian embellishments make it one of the most fascinating sites in Xian.

Day 5 - Xian
Today, accompanied by an on-site specialist, visit the excavation site of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the life-size army created during the Qin Dynasty to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife. More than 8,000 remarkably crafted soldiers are spread throughout three dig pits, each revealing a unique face. After lunch, stroll along the impressive ramparts of the City Wall. Tonight, gather for dinner.

Day 6 - Chengdu
Travel by bullet train to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. For lunch, enjoy a spicy Sichuan hot pot, a regional specialty. Afterward, immerse yourself in local life and culture at People’s Park, where area residents play traditional Chinese instruments, practice calligraphy and engage in tai chi. Then, learn about unique, centuries-old matchmaking techniques still in use today, before checking in to your hotel, where you observe a traditional tea demonstration.

Day 7 - Chengdu & Chongqing
Today, visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Enjoy the rare opportunity to observe these endangered creatures roaming freely in their specially designed habitat. Then, board a high-speed train for a ride through the Chinese countryside to Chongqing, where you embark on your river cruiser, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer,’ for a three-night journey to Yichang. Settle into your cabin as the ship sails downstream to the stunning Three Gorges region.

Day 8 - Cruising the Yangtze
Start your morning with tai chi on the deck before breakfast. Disembark in the small city of Fuling and enjoy a shore excursion, beginning with a visit to the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. Descend 150 feet underwater to see centuries-old rock carvings. Afterward, continue to a local market to gain insight into the region’s rich culinary culture. This afternoon, learn about Chinese traditional medicine and reflexology. Tonight, attend the Captain’s Reception.

Day 9 - Cruising the Yangtze
Early this morning, ‘Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer’ navigates the Qutang and Wu gorges before anchoring at Badong, where you board a ferry and travel up Shennong Stream. Transfer to “pea pod” boats poled by Tujia boatmen to view a scenic gorge. The Tujia are members of a local minority culture famed for their boatbuilding skills and keen knowledge of the Yangtze. Gain insights into their daily lives on a village visit. Return by ferryboat to your ship. Tonight, savor a “Taste of China” dinner, followed by onboard entertainment.

Day 10 - Yichang & Shanghai
This morning, disembark in Yichang and fly to Shanghai, stopping briefly to photograph the Three Gorges Dam, a project that resulted in the resettlement of 1.2 million residents of the cities submerged behind it. Upon arrival in Shanghai, transfer to your elegant hotel, located on the city’s historic Bund.

Day 11 - Shanghai
Explore dynamic Shanghai, where stunning modern skylines meet classic street markets and gardens. Walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s most popular promenade. Later, stroll the streets of Old Town and visit the 16th-century Yu Garden with its pavilions and streams. Enjoy lunch followed by an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a relaxing Scenic Sundowner at a local hot spot, observing the city’s lights and architecture.

Day 12 - Shanghai
Begin today by exploring the Shanghai Museum accompanied by its curator, viewing exceptional collections of historically significant art and housewares, including bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, jade, furniture and coins. Proceed to the Urban Planning Exhibition Center, where you marvel at an incredibly accurate and detailed model of the city housed there. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities. Walk Shanghai’s Historic Jewish Quarter and learn how it became a haven for Jews fleeing Europe in World War II. Explore the West Bund Art Center, the city’s rising art district, to view works by local and international artists. Savor a Street Food Tour, sampling local specialties, such as soup dumplings and steamed crab. Then, gather tonight for a festive farewell dinner.

Day 13 - Depart Shanghai
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for home or begin a Hong Kong Post-Tour Extension.

Travel Leaders IATA CLIA ASTA