Yangtze Sampler Small Ship Cruise + Tour

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Yangtze Sampler Small Ship Cruise + Tour

Tour Description:

Delight in our 5-star hotels and China’s finest all-balcony Small Ship - and let our expert Chinese Trip Leader bring you deeper inside the history and culture of their native land. And with never more than 16 guests, our exclusive cultural encounters and pre-paid premium shore excursions promise experiences you won’t find on other tours.

Map for Yangtze Sampler Small Ship Cruise + Tour
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Dates & Pricing

Thursday 13 Jun 24 — Wednesday 26 Jun 24Starting at $6,599 Get a Quote
Thursday 05 Sep 24 — Wednesday 18 Sep 24Starting at $6,899 Get a Quote
Thursday 19 Sep 24 — Wednesday 02 Oct 24Starting at $6,899 Get a Quote
Thursday 10 Oct 24 — Wednesday 23 Oct 24Starting at $6,899 Get a Quote


Day 1 - Welcome to Beijing
On arrival at the airport, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to our luxurious hotel in the heart of the capital.

Day 2 - In + Around Beijing
Your expertly guided, full-day exploration begins in Tiananmen Square. Covering more than 100 acres with a scale reminiscent of Moscow’s Red Square or the Piazza San Marco in Venice, it ranks as one of the grandest public plazas in the world. Then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty emperors as you explore the magnificent palaces, courtyards and pavilions of the sprawling Forbidden City #WHS#.   Then explore by rickshaw through the narrow lanes of a Hutong, one of the citys few remaining enclaves of traditional, centuries-old courtyard homes. After lunch, tour the resplendent Summer Palace . Set on wooded hills surrounding a tranquil lake, this assemblage of pavilions, palaces and gardens offers a fascinating look into Imperial life long ago. From April to November, our tour of the Summer Palace includes a boat ride on Lake Kunming, a delightful and tranquil way to experience the palace’s architectural landmarks and sublime natural beauty. Tonight’s festive Peking Duck banquet is accompanied by wine and local beer.  Meals B+L+D

Day 3 – The Great Wall
The Great Wall #WHS# stretches for nearly 4,000 miles across northern China - its oldest sections dating back more than 2,000 years when various states and dynasties first began to build these defensive walls. A few centuries after these earliest sections were constructed, Emperor Qin Shihuang consolidated them into a single, massive fortification to guard his empire against Hun invaders from the north. Succeeding emperors maintained, reconstructed and built anew, and much of what is seen today is the result of work that was done during the Ming Dynasty. As a result the wall is not uniform throughout its length; situated farther from the capital than other parts of the Great Wall, the section at Mutianyu draws fewer visitors and is celebrated for its many defensive towers and splendid setting amidst the rugged mountains. Ascending by cable car, youll walk atop the Great Wall here at Mutianyu as our expert guide shares dramatic stories of its past. For lunch today, well take you to the famous Brickyard Restaurant, conveniently located nearby. Back in the city, the rest of your afternoon and evening is free to enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B+L  

Day 4 – Fly to Yichang + Embark your Yangtze Cruise
This morning, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Temple of Heaven #WHS#; it’s a resplendent example of Ming Dynasty design and engineering that also offers fascinating insight into ancient Chinese beliefs in numerology and cosmology. The temple’s tranquil grounds are the perfect place for our specially arranged private class with a Tai Chi Master. After sightseeing, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to the river city of Yichang. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the pier to board the Yangzi Explorer, China’s finest river ship. Settle in to your balcony stateroom and refresh before dinner is served in the Explorer’s elegant restaurant. Choose from a tempting array of international and regional Chinese dishes, accompanied by free-flowing wine. Meals B+L+D

Day 5 – Xiling Gorge + The Three Gorges Dam
Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi exercises and then breakfast.   Today we’re in the start of the Three Gorges at Badong where the Yangtze converges with  the Qingjiang and Shennong Rivers. In one of nine of what are now referred to as China’s ‘Forest Oxygen Bars,’ or natural areas that generate fresh air for their surrounding regions, we’ll be encompassed by the three mountains of Wushan, Wuling and Daba. By motorcoach this morning, we’ll enter this beautiful environment of forest, springs and caves. When we reach Wuyuan Cave, we’ll board a wooden sampan and float on a river through the cave itself. At the end of this gentle ride, we’ll enjoy the unique and renowned green tea of this region, Enshi Yulu, which will be brewed from a mountain spring along with delicacies from the local Tujia Tribe.   We return to ship for a lunch of authentic local cuisine. Later this afternoon, the Yangzi Explorer will navigate through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the river’s Three Gorges. Then as the river widens and sweeps through groves of orange and pomelo trees, you’ll experience the tranquil side of life along China’s mightiest river. Tonight’s Captain’s Welcome Reception is followed by dinner and then entertainment in the Tang Theater. Meals B+L+D

Day 6 – Up Shennong Stream + Through the Three Gorges
Following breakfast, you’ll step off ship for one of two options that showcase the beauty of the surrounding Three Gorges mountains.   The first choice is an excursion to nearby White King Town where 365 stairs lead to a beautiful overlook of the area. We’ll return to the ship for lunch followed by a drive to another scenic view from the Three Gorges Summit. A small shuttle and easy 15 minute walk will lead to stunning views of the surrounding landscape.   The second choice for today is a guided and easy one kilometer (3/4 mile) walk along the beautiful Poetic Trail in Qutang Gorge. There are stopping points along the way before returning to the ship for lunch and a free afternoon. Meals B+L+D

Day 7 - Ashore in Fuling
A delightful morning onboard our 5-star ship is yours to do as you wish. You might learn about China’s thriving pearl industry or attend a workshop on painting and calligraphy.   After lunch, we’ll take a ferry to the ancient riverside town of Xituo where we’ll take a short walk of 180 steps to a shuttle.  We’ll be driven to the top of the village, called the ‘ladder to the sky,’ for spectacular views and then will descend for a total of 1,314 steps downhill and a return to the ship. Meals B+L+D

Day 8 – Disembark in Chongqing + Fly to Xian
Disembark the Yangzi Explorer after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Xian, Chinas capital for 13 dynasties. On arrival, youll be escorted to our 5-star Hilton Hotel, ideally located within the ancient defensive walls of the city. A+R guests will be upgraded to Club Room accommodations with access to the Lounge for cocktails and breakfast. This evenings congenial dinner features savory dumplings - a regional specialty and favorite.  Meals B+D

Day 9 – The Terra Cotta Army
Visit the Xian Museum this morning. Next, you’ll visit the Terra Cotta Army #WHS#. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers who were digging a well, this site is still regarded as China’s greatest archaeological discovery. It has been estimated that more than half a million laborers and craftsmen worked for nearly 40 years to complete the tomb and the thousands of terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots that were buried here to serve the Emperor in the afterlife. By special arrangement, you will meet with a local archaeologist - a great way to gain deeper insight into the history and discovery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our cultural culinary experiences today include a noodle-making demonstration at lunch and savory dumplings for dinner!  Meals B+L+D

Day 10 – Fly to Shanghai
We include today’s flight to Shanghai, regarded by many as one of China’s most cosmopolitan cities. On arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to our luxury landmark hotel. After time to refresh, join your expert guided for a guided walk along the elegant Bund Promenade, home to impressive architectural landmarks that reveal the city’s rich mercantile history.  Meals B

Day 11 – Shanghai Sightseeing
After breakfast, your guided city tour begins with the highly regarded Shanghai Museum, home to a vast collection of artifacts spanning millennia of Chinese culture, history and civilization. Here you’ll find breathtaking exhibits of ancient bronzes celadon pottery, precious jade, and exquisite Ming Dynasty furniture. After lunch, continue your touring in the French Concession. Tracing its history to the mid 1800’s, this historic quarter is distinguished by its atmospheric tree-lined boulevards and a nice ensemble of European style villas built in the 1920’s when this was one of Shanghai’s wealthiest residential areas.   Then fast forward to the 21st century as you continue your sightseeing in Pudong, famed for its ultra-modern skyscrapers like the Oriental Pearl Tower and the 128-story Shanghai Tower. Tonight, youll thrill to the daring feats and graceful artistry of the Shanghai ERA Acrobatic Show, a multimedia extravaganza that blends traditional Chinese acrobatics, martial arts, dance and music with spectacular costumes and cutting-edge technology.  Meals B+L+D

Day 12 - Excursion to Suzhou: The Venice of China
Traveling westward from Shanghai, today’s excursion takes you to Suzhou: an ancient city revered for its centuries-old canals, graceful bridges, historic structures—and, most notably, the exquisite gardens which have earned Suzhou its place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. With your informative guide, you’ll explore the Garden of the Master of Nets #WHS#. Originally laid out 1,000 years ago during the Song Dynasty, this classic Chinese garden is one of the city’s most refined with landscaped waterways, pavilions, meandering pathways and a delicate footbridge a mere 12 inches wide! Indeed, the diminutive Inner Garden was the model for the Ming Hall Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of  Art in New York City. Then explore other facets of Suzhou’s architectural legacy at the impressive Panmen Gate. Before returning to Shanghai, you’ll visit a local workshop to see and learn how silk is made. This evening, you’ll enjoy a congenial farewell dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Day 13 – Depart Shanghai
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward journey. Or why not travel on with us to Hong Kong?  Meals B