Embrace the yin and yang of wonders old and new on this soul-enriching expedition.
Their names alone evoke the wonder and timeless allure of China: the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven. Wide enough for cavalry to ride along its crest, stretching from the Yellow Sea to China’s eastern border, the Great Wall is one of China’s legends. In Xi’an, 8,000 life-size Terra-cotta Warriors stand in formation, facing the enemies of an emperor who died 2,200 years ago. The red and white walls of the Potala Palace rise massively above Lhasa, and the floor of the gold-domed Jokhang Temple has been worn smooth by centuries of pilgrims reverently prostrating themselves before a seventh-century Buddha. Experience all of this on an adventure that also encompasses Beijing’s imperial palaces and exquisite gardens, Shanghai’s towering skyscrapers and the ethereal landscape of the Yangtze’s Three Gorges.
Arrive at the Beijing Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the opulent Ritz-Carlton Beijing. This stunning hotel is located in the heart of the city, where modernity, exemplary service and rich Chinese tradition seamlessly blend together.
The political and cultural capital of China and home to more than 20 million people, Beijing exemplifies everything visitors find most intoxicating about China. Spectacular ancient monuments contrast with ambitious modern high-rises, and traditional crafts flourish alongside booming international businesses—which you’ll discover today.
Today is a bucket list kind of day, as you stand at last atop China’s most iconic site—the Great Wall. You’ll also have tea at a traditional teahouse and take a rickshaw ride through the city’s ancient hutongs, where you’ll enjoy lunch.
Beijing, Fly to Xi’an
Leave dynamic Beijing behind today and head north to the lush lakeside Summer Palace, home to one of China’s most beautiful classical gardens. From there, plunge into the past in China’s first capital, where you’ll celebrate your first night in Xi’an with a traditional dumpling banquet.
Xi’an’s Terracotta Army has been called the 8th Wonder of the World, and it’s certainly the most extraordinary archeological find of the 20th century. You’ll also enjoy a traditional Tang Dynasty dinner show with fabulous food, music and vibrant costumes.
Xi’an, Fly to Lhasa
Today you’ll fly to Lhasa, the ancient cultural and religious epicenter of Tibet, where the majestic Himalayan peaks will make you feel like you’re on top of the world—figuratively and literally—in the world’s highest capital city.
Enter the hushed inner sanctum of the spiritual heart of the city, the Jokhang Temple, where you will have a rare opportunity to gaze upon the most sacred icon of Tibetan Buddhism—an ancient statue of the Buddha that legions of devout pilgrims journey vast distances to see in person.
The enormous hilltop Potala Palace is the first thing visitors see in Lhasa, and today you’ll have a chance to venture inside this vast and well-preserved site. It is said to contain a thousand rooms, including the private rooms where the Dalai Lama himself once resided.
Lhasa, Fly to Chongqing (Embark), Cruising the Yangtze River
Check out of your hotel and fly to Chongqing, the booming capital of western China, where you’ll board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai
Near Fuling, you’ll be offered the extraordinary chance to visit the 816 Underground Project, a giant nuclear installation, which the military started constructing in the mountains in the 1960s. It boasts 18 man-made caves, more than 130 roads and tunnels, and an almost 80-meter-high cave where the nuclear reactor was placed. The project was abandoned in a nearly finished state in 1984 before the manufacturing of plutonium-239 began.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shennong Stream
Today will be a highlight of your journey—a full day cruising the Yangtze River’s mystical, beautiful and completely mesmerizing Three Gorges and Shennong Stream.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Yichang (Disembark), Fly to Shanghai
The Three Gorges Dam was a project that involved relocating villages and submerged a number of cultural treasures behind the rising waters of the Yangtze. The dam itself is an engineering marvel you can see from an up-close perspective today.
An international economic hub, Shanghai has drawn entrepreneurs from all over the world for 150 years. But while Shanghai may be the “city of the future,” you can still find remnants of its history in Old Town and the area known as the Concessions, which you’ll discover today.
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your flight home, or extend your trip with a memorable optional extension to Hong Kong.
The newest ship on the Yangtze is a sanctuary of lavish features, with the largest cabins and suites on the river—all with private balconies, and a crew-to-guest ratio beyond compare (1:1 to be specific).