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The vast land of China is yours to explore on this comprehensive adventure, which includes China’s most impressive landmarks and a grand introduction to the nation’s culture.

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
14 days From $3,195 per person
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2022 Tour code: GR-CYGA-22

About the tour

From the Great Wall of China to the Yangtze River, China is brimming with amazing sites to behold. This 14-day voyage begins the vibrant city of Beijing, and from here, we embark on excursions to places like Tiananmen City, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven. The tour continues to Xi'an by train, and here we enjoy a look at the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and savor a traditional dumpling dinner. As the trip moves to Chengdu, the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute offers a rare glimpse at Asia's most majestic animal. We travel the Yangtze River and make stops in Yichang and Wuhan before arriving in the bustling city of Shanghai. The culture of this city is simply unbelievable, and we soak it in through a guided tour and visits to famed landmarks. Unforgettable experiences await at every turn on this tour.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Beijing

Arrive in the dynamic Chinese capital of Beijing and transfer to your hotel. Beijing is one of the world's greatest cities, with futuristic skyscrapers situated beside ancient wonders. Meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at your hotel for a welcome drink followed by dinner. Overnight Beijing. 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City

Today we discover the sights and sounds of China's vibrant capital. We begin by visiting the impressive Tiananmen Square, which, at over 4 million square feet, is the largest city square in the world. This incredible public space also acts as the gateway to the Forbidden City, which we visit next. The palace complex was built in the 15th century as the Imperial household; now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's fascinating to discover with its historic pagodas and traditional Chinese palace buildings.

We continue to a local tea house, where we have the chance to experience one of China's oldest traditions in authentic surroundings before we explore the sprawling Summer Palace, set in a beautiful spot surrounded by lakes and gardens. Overnight Beijing. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 - The Great Wall of China

We visit the world-famous Great Wall of China today. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this masterpiece of Chinese workmanship stretches thousands of miles from the Gobi Desert to the Korean border, through deserts and mountain passes, and across plains and plateaus. We visit the Mutianyu section, a beautifully preserved stretch which offers incredible views over the seemingly endless mountain scenery. After ascending by cable car, we have the chance to walk along the wall and admire the sheer scale of one of the greatest human-made wonders of all time.

We continue to a cloisonne factory for a guided tour, learning about the intricate art of Chinese enamel cloisonne, which is made by embedding gold or powdered minerals on ceramics. We also see the Water Cube and the Bird's Nest, the main arenas used in the 2008 Olympic Games. We end the day with a delicious Peking duck dinner, a traditional local dish that's been popular in the city since the Imperial era. Overnight Beijing.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 4 – Temple of Heaven & Train to Xi’an

We begin our day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven, a beautiful edifice in central Beijing. In the afternoon we leave Beijing behind, and join the rail service to Xi'an, experiencing the fast, sleek and modern trains that China is known for. Our journey on the high-speed train takes us through the beautiful landscapes of rural China.

After transferring to our hotel in Xi'an, the evening is free to begin exploring on your own. Perhaps walk a section of the city's walls, a great vantage point from which to get a real insight into life in the city. Or visit the Muslim Quarter, where you can mix with locals while sampling some delicious traditional snacks. The street is famous for its cuisine, and it bursts with life on an evening, with its bustling street food stalls surrounded by traditional red lanterns and bright neon lights. Overnight Xi'an. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Terracotta Warriors

Today we discover the famous Terracotta Warriors - one of the world's most fantastic archaeological finds. The 6,000 figures - some with horses or chariots, but all with unique features - were buried in 210 BC, yet only discovered in 1974 by local farmers. The life-sized statues were built as part of an elaborate tomb of the Qin Emperor, believed to protect him in death just as his real army had in life. Built on an incredible scale, the soldiers - all grouped in rank order - are a truly breathtaking sight. Later, we discover more of the walled city of Xi'an, taking in the Great Mosque, the largest mosque in China. We also see the city's lively bazaar and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, which dates to the 8th century and is a leading example of Tang Dynasty architecture.

We enjoy a dumpling-making lesson this afternoon, learning all about how to make delicious local dumplings. We sample this tasty local specialty this evening as we sit down to a traditional dumpling banquet for dinner. Overnight Xi'an.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 6 – To Chengdu by Train

Our day begins with a shopping stop, where you may find some lovely jade products and jewelry. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel on the new high-speed rail service from Xi'an to Chengdu. Dinner this evening is at our hotel. Overnight Chengdu.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute

Today we visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute, which is spread out over 200 acres and is now home to more than 100 of these magnificent creatures. The project allows us to see the giant panda, an enchanting and rare creature, at close quarters in a near-natural habitat setting. We then return to Chengdu for some sightseeing. We see the Wenshu Monastery, one of China's finest Buddhist structures, as well as the historic teak buildings on Jinli Street. Overnight Chengdu. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 - Tea Tasting & the Yangtze River

We head to Renmin Park, or the People's Park, this morning. Boasting artful landscaping, bonsais, and two tea houses, this park is the venue for various local cultural activities. Afterwards, we enjoy a traditional aspect of China with a tasting in one of the local tea houses. Later, we transfer to the station for the high-speed bullet train service to Chongqing, situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Here, we board our luxurious 5-Star Century river cruise vessel for our three-night cruise along the Yangtze River and its dramatic scenery. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 – Fengdu

We start the day with tea, coffee and pastries, then we rejuvenate ourselves with a Tai Chi session on board. After the ship moors, there is an option to visit the Fengdu ghost town (payable locally), a temple complex dedicated to the afterlife. This afternoon we visit the stunning Shibaozhai Pagoda, rising twelve stories up a sheer cliff face. This evening, we attend the Captain's Banquet on board and enjoy a cabaret performance by the crew. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 – Yangtze River Cruise

There is an option of visiting the temples of the White Emperor City (payable locally) this morning. Our cruise then continues through the scenic locales of Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge, before we make a shore excursion to Shennong Stream. Here, the cliff sides soar steeply away from the near-emerald waters of this beautiful waterway, a truly breathtaking sight. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 – Three Gorges Dam/To Shanghai

We disembark at Yichang today, where there's an optional tour of the Three Gorges Dam (payable locally). After lunch, we take a flight to Shanghai, where we spend three nights. One of China's most exciting and contemporary cities, Shanghai is a city in which old collides with new; the Bund region harks back to the emergence of the city in the 1920s, while the east of the city boasts an ultra-modern vibe with a booming financial district. Overnight Shanghai. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 – Shanghai Sightseeing

Today's guided tour of Shanghai takes us to the city's historic Yu Gardens, where we enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. We also visit the bazaar, where we stroll amongst traditional shops selling a host of enticing goods, and through streets where vibrant street performers play. After lunch in a local restaurant, this afternoon we visit the Jade Buddha Temple, a beautiful, tranquil temple and active Buddhist monastery. Overnight Shanghai. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 13 – Shanghai Museum & French Concession

Today takes us to the Shanghai Museum to admire the fascinating Chinese artefacts found in the collections here, including ancient coins from the Silk Road. Next, we head out to explore the Bund, seeing the waterfront that is bordered by some of the iconic buildings that define futuristic Shanghai.

We have a little free time on Nanjing Road, one of the world's most famous shopping streets, to look around and grab lunch. Afterwards, we visit the beautiful French Concession, a former foreign settlement full of leafy boulevards and European-style buildings. This evening we round off our stay in lively Shanghai with a cruise along the Huangpu River, taking in the brightly lit cityscape while we enjoy dinner onboard. Overnight Shanghai.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 14 – Tour Conclusion

Your tour concludes after breakfast with a private transfer to the Shanghai airport.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that throughout your tour you will need to be able to transfer your own luggage on and off each train we travel on as porterage is not included.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing

Novotel Peace Hotel, Beijing

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Tibet Hotel, Chengdu

Tibet Hotel, Chengdu

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Pullman Shanghai Jing'an, Shanghai

Pullman Shanghai Jing'an, Shanghai

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Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian

Grand Mercure Renmin Square, Xian

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Train

Chinese Railways

Ship

Century river cruise ship

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Global Rail Adventures Brochure

Global Rail Adventures Brochure

The definitive guide to our 2021/22 Global Rail Adventures

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