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Your Position: HomeChina ToursYangtze Cruise Tours12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise
  • Forbidden City
  • The Bund
  • The Terracotta Army and Horses
  • Three Gorges Dam
  • Badaling Great Wall
  • Bell Tower
  • Ciqikou Old Town
  • Oriental Pearl TV Tower
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  • Panda Room in Chongqing Zoo
  • Summer Palace
  • Yuyuan Garden
  • Ancient City Wall
  • Goose Neck Park
  • Jade Buddha Temple
  • The Temple of Heaven
  • Nanjing Road
  • Shaanxi Provincial Museum
  • Hutong Tours in Rickshaw
  • Ming Tombs
  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center
  • Shanghai World Financial Center
  • The Sacred Way
  • Tiananmen Square

You can click to see the attractions included in this tour itinerary.

12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

Tour Code: YCT12
Tour Duration: 12 Days
Destination: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Yichang
Tour overview: Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai are some of the most spectacular cities in the world, and this tour combines them, along with a cruise down the Yangtze River. You will visit the splendor of ancient Beijing, and explore its modern pulse. In Shanghai, you will see the combining of Chinese and Western culture and history that make it so special, and in Xian, capital of more than 10 ancient Chinese dynasties, you will see the Terracotta Warriors and much more. On your Yangtze Cruise, you will relax on your luxurious floating cruise ship as you pass through the Three Gorges.

  • Tour Summary
  • Day by Day Itinerary
  • Reviews
12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise 12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise 12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise 12 Days Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai Essence Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Tour Dates Destinations Services Provided Meals Included
Day 1 Shanghai Arrive in Shanghai, be met and transferred to hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
/
Day 2 Shanghai Full day visit to Yuyuan Garden , Jade Buddha Temple , Oriental Pearl TV Tower , The Bund , Nanjing Road . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Jin Jiang Hotel Shanghai Holiday Inn Downtown Shanghai Jin jiang New Asia hotel Shanghai
B,L
Day 3 Shanghai Morning visit to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center , Shanghai World Financial Center .In the afternoon, be transferred to airport for flight to Yichang. Arrive in Yichang, be met and transferred to the dock and pre-board the ship. The ship departs Yichang at 22:00. Details... B,L
Day 4 Yangtze Cruise Shore excursion to Three Gorges Dam (08:00-11:00). Details... B,L,D
Day 5 Yangtze Cruise Shore excursion to Lesser Three Gorges (08:00-12:00). Details... B,L,D
Day 6 Yangtze Cruise Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City (09:00-11:00). Details... B,L,D
Day 7 Chongqing/Xi'an Arrive in Chongqing at 09:00 AM, be met at the dock and visit Ciqikou Old Town , Goose Neck Park , Panda Room in Chongqing Zoo .Then be transferred to airport for flight to Xi'an. Arrive in Xi'an, be met and transferred to hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Hotel Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square Mercure on Renmin Square Xian Ibis Xian
B,L
Day 8 Xi'an Full day visit to The Terracotta Army and Horses , Big Wild Goose Pagoda , Bell Tower . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Hotel Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square Mercure on Renmin Square Xian Ibis Xian
B,L
Day 9 Xi'an/Beijing In the morning, visit Ancient City Wall and Shaanxi Provincial Museum .Then be transferred to airport for flight to Beijing.Arrive in Beijing, be met and transferred to hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B,L
Day 10 Beijing Full day visit to Tiananmen Square , Forbidden City , The Temple of Heaven , Hutong Tours in Rickshaw . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B,L
Day 11 Beijing Full day visit to Badaling Great Wall , Ming Tombs , The Sacred Way , Summer Palace . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Wangfujing Sunworld Hotel Beijing Redwall Hotel
B,L
Day 12 Beijing Free at leisure till be transferred to airport for your flight departure. Details... B
1. Normally hotels allow a maximum of 3 adults per room with an extra bed, at extra charge. Some hotels will allow three adults and a small child.
2. Tour price is indicative only, please enquire for a detailed quotation.
3. More people more discounts. Please enquire for more details.

Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Price Include

A. Entrance fees:To scenic spots as listed above in the itinerary.
B. Meals: All meals as specified in the itinerary.
C. Private Transfers: Among airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in the above cities by the private air conditioned vehicle.
D. Guide and Driver: As outlined in the itinerary, a well selected English-speaking guide and driver will accompany you throughout the entire tour in that city. They do not fly with you from one city to another.
E. Hotels: Hotel Based on two persons sharing one room with twin beds. All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
F. Luggage Transfers: Between airports and hotels.
G. Service Charge & Government Taxes.
H. Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
I. Arrangements: The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Exclude

A. Entry or Exit China International Airfare or train tickets.
B. Visa Fees.
C. Excess Baggage Charges.
D. Personal Expenses: Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the itinerary.
E. Meals: Any meals which are not specified with "B", "L" or "D".
F. Single Room Supplement.
G. Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
H. Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.

Day 1 Shanghai Arrival

Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement

Arriving in Shanghai, you will be greeted by our local guide and then transferred to your hotel by a private air-conditioned car. For the rest of the day you will enjoy some leisure time.

Day 2 Shanghai (B, L)

Shanghai (B, L)

Sightseeing: Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Oriental Pearl Tower, the Bund, Nanjing Road  

Today we will start the day with a visit of Yuyuan Garden, a beautiful garden in the south of the Yangtze River. Wandering through it, you will find pavilions, corridors, streams, courtyards as well as many other natural features.

Then we head to the Jade Buddha Temple. The old-time and classical architectural style makes the temple unique and inimitable in this modern city. Both, the Sitting Buddha and the Recumbent Buddha are carved with whole white jade. If you're lucky, you can watch the monks serving a ceremony in a side room.

After lunch, we will visit the Oriental Pearl Tower, the highest TV tower in Asia, which creates a picture of 'twin dragons playing with pearls'. The entire scene is a photographic jewel that excites the imagination and attracts thousands of visitors all year-round.

Afterwards, you will take a walk to the famous Nanjing Road and the Bund. They are among the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai and therefore a must-see when visiting Shanghai.

 

Day 3 Shanghai / Yichang (B)

Shanghai / Yichang (B)

Transfer via: Flight on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, The Shanghai World Financial Center.

This morning, we will first visit Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, which is the first kind of exhibition center in China showcasing a city's development. It showcases the past, the present and the future of the development of the urban planning of Shanghai.

Then we will move to visit the Shanghai World Financial Center, it is a supertall skyscraper in Shanghai, China. It is a mixed-function office-based skyscraper combining offices, business, hotels, sightseeing and conferences. With 101 floors above ground level and soaring to a height of 492m, this project embodies Mori Building's original "Vertical Garden City" concept and incorporates the company's vast know-how and experience.

After lunch, you will be transferred to airport to take the flight to Yichang. Arriving in Yichang, be met and transferred to the dock by our local guide to pre-board the ship. Your cruise will start at about 22:00.

Day 4 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Three Gorges Dam

(09:00-11:30) Shore excursion to Three Gorges Dam Site.
(12:45) Passing through Xiling Gorge.


Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project undertaken by man. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction will be competed in 2009. It will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom. Tourists can get access to the top of the dam.

Day 5 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Shennong Stream

(08:00-12:00) Boat excursion to Shennong Stream.
(13:00-15:30) Wu Gorge
(17:30-18:00) Qutang Gorge

Shennong Stream
is another tributary of the Yangtze River, and its fast-flowing, crystal clear water runs southwards through deep gorges. The stream races past large and small karst caves, flocks of swallows, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls, three-colored springs, rapids, the ancient plank path, a suspended coffin in the cliff, groups of ancient tombs and marvelous karst formations.

Day 6 Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Yangtze Cruise (B, L, D)

Sightseeing: Fengdu Ghost City

(8:30-10:30) Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City.

Fengdu
, with fantastic temples of underworld demons and gods, is constructed on the Mingshan Hill by the river band. It is known as the "Ghost City" and is a place for punishing the devil and awarding the good.

Day 7 Chongqing / Xi'an (B, L)

Chongqing / Xi'an (B, L)

Transfer via: Flight on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Ciqikou Ancient Town, Goose Neck Park, Panda Room

(09:00) Disembark in Chongqing.

Arriving in Chongqing, you will be met at the dock by our local guide and visit Ciqikou Ancient Town. Dated back to the late Ming Dynasty, The buildings have been restored and well preserved. Along the streets, restaurants, souvenirs shops and local snacks are located. There are several tea houses that feature daily performances of traditional Chinese music

You will have a walk around the Goose Neck Park. This park has a good view of the city and the roiling Yangtze River. A great mural of the Yangtze River shows the pre-dam water levels and elevation marks signifying the displacement of the local population, as well as the land area that has been and will be covered when the dam is completed.

Later you will visit Panda Room in Chongqing Zoo to meet the lovely pandas.

Then you will be transferred to airport for flight to Xi'an. After your arrival there, you will be met and transferred to hotel by our local guide.

Day 8 Xi'an (B, L)

Xi'an (B, L)

Sightseeing: Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower

Today you will experience the highlights of Xi'an. After breakfast, you will depart you're your hotel. You will visit the amazing 2000-year-old Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. Regarded as the 8th Wonder of the World, the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Over 2,200 years ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, ordered the construction of a vast army of Terra-cotta warriors in search of immortality. After his early death they were buried with him to protect his empire.

Another highlight today is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Situated in the south of Xi'an city, it is one of the main constructions in the famous Buddhist temple-Da-Ci-En Temple. There, the well-known Buddhist Master Xuanzang (Monk Tripitaka) stored his collection of classic Buddhist artifacts brought from India in Tang Dynasty. Now it is the Landmark of Xi'an.

Then we will go on to visit the Bell Tower, which is the best-preserved and best-known one among many. The Bell Tower was built in 1384. In early mornings of ancient times it had the mission of ringing the bell and giving the correct time to the whole city, hence called "The Bell Tower". With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.

Day 9 Xi'an to Beijing (B, L)

Xi'an to Beijing (B, L)

Transfer via: Flight on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Ancient City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum


In the morning we will visit the Ancient City Wall. You will experience a half-hour's hike along the Ancient City Wall. You will experience a half-hour's hike along the Ancient City Wall. It is the largest and best preserved present city wall in ancient China and is probably the best military battlement in the world. If you want to, you can rent a bicycle for a ride on top of the spectacular city wall. The wall was built in the Tang dynasty (618 -907) and enlarged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

You will continue to visit the Shaanxi History Museum. It is a magnificent architectural complex in the Tang Dynasty style. The Museum possesses a treasure of 113,000 historic and cultural artifacts unearthed in Shaanxi, and it covers an area of 1,100 square meters for exhibition

Afterwards you will take the flight to Beijing. After you arrived in Beijing, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by our local guide.

Day 10 Beijing (B, L)

Beijing (B, L)

Sightseeing: Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace

This morning our tour will begin with a visit of the Temple of Heaven, which was completed in 1420, and expanded over the years by two Qing Dynasty Emperors. It was the place where the Emperor came every winter solstice to worship heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. With the three blue-tiled cone-shaped roofs, a unique wooden and blue-tiled structure built without a nail, it has become a worldwide symbol of Beijing.

After lunch, we will go on our city tour to visit Tiananmen Square, the symbolical heart of China and gathering place for the masses. It is the biggest public square in the world, which can hold one million people.

From here we will walk across the Golden River Bridge to visit the Forbidden City and experience the ancient Emperor's daily life. For 5 centuries Chinese emperors carried out their administration here. With almost 10,000 rooms, it was the centre of the Ming and Qing dynasties, a massive complex of palaces, pavilions, courtyards and gardens where 24 emperors used to live. Forbidden City was the largest palace in the world, and in the past it was indeed a forbidden place for commoners. Your tour here will include private access to the Emperor's palace.


We will continue by visiting the Summer Palace. Equally famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is called 'Yiheyuan' (Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. Until nowadays, it is the best preserved and the largest imperial garden in China. You will regret it if you leave Beijing without having visited this grand imperial garden.

Day 11 Beijing (B, L)

Beijing (B, L)

Sightseeing: Badaling Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Sacred Way, Hutong in rickshaw

After experiencing the royal lifestyle, today we will be transferred to the surrounding countryside of Beijing and visit the Badaling Great Wall, the pride of China and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Whereas Genghis Khan contemplated it as a military obstacle, Richard Nixon described it as one of humankind's greatest achievements. You will be able to climb and walk one of the best preserved sections of the 2,000 years old ancient wall, admiring the splendid mountain views. Bring a jacket and layer- although it is breezy, the climbing is tough. So be in a good shape!

In the afternoon we will visit the legendary Ming Tombs, which are situated at the foot of Heavenly Longevity Mountain, Changping, northwest of Beijing. Since there are 13 Ming emperors buried there, this place was called the 13 Ming Tombs. You will walk along the Sacred Way, a road guarded by stone statues on both sides, as the ancient emperors did to hold a memorial ceremony for their ancestors.


Continue, we will experience a unique Hutong tour by rickshaw. Hutongs are a kind of ancient city alley or lane and are very typical for Beijing. Most of them can be found close to the Forbidden City, and many were built during the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing. Today, the Hutong is a living museum of Beijing history showing the traditional lifestyle of Beijing people.

Day 12 Beijing Departure (B)

Transfer via: Flight on your own arrangement

Today will be free for your own purposes, until our guide will escort you to the airport for your next destination.

Comment on our service from Annette Esselborn, Germany

We had a wonderful day. The tour was well organized. We would also book it again with you. The tour guide was awesome! A big praise. She patiently answered all the questions, was funny, responded to the group. That was really great.

Hello Sandy,

 

Thank you for your request. We had a wonderful day, even though we experienced exactly the snow on the Chinese wall. The tour was well organized. We would also book it again with you.

 

The Ming Tombs were interesting, but of course the Great Wall of China was the highlight for us. And despite the snow, it was an experience. Somewhat hectic was the climb from lunch (by the way very, very delicious!) But I know that this was only due to the weather that day.

 

The tour guide was awesome! A big praise. She patiently answered all the questions, was funny, responded to the group. That was really great.

If I come back in 2 years with a group, we would like to book again the same tour (maybe without snow ....) with the same tour guide.

 

Our heartfelt thanks!

Viele Grüße

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Comment on our service from Nancy Tuksaudom,USA

Each and every city was thoroughly explored with the wonderful guides and drivers that you arranged for us.  We also enjoyed every hotel that you reserved for us. We especially enjoyed each guide, their knowledge, courtesy, and personality! We had a thoroughly wonderful time in China and thank you for all the work you did to plan it for us.  Should we ever visit China again, we will contact you to assist us!

 

Hi Sandie!

Thanks for your email! We are both doing fine and have happy memories of the time we spent touring China, thanks to you! 

We are home now (since early February) and planning our next trip in Mexico for April.

  

We totally enjoyed our time in China, despite the fact that it was cooler than we had planned for/expected. Each and every city was thoroughly explored with the wonderful guides and drivers that you arranged for us.  We also enjoyed every hotel that you reserved for us, as we did the flights, as well. The only semi-negative comment was that the Guilin hotel heat situation was sub-par. 

We especially enjoyed each guide, their knowledge, courtesy, and personality! They often showed us much more than we expected and worked very hard to make all connections efficiently, etc. 

  

I did complete feedback forms for each guide in each city. I hope that they forwarded them to you. They were likely to be more thorough than what I just wrote to you. 

The bottom line, though, was that we had a thoroughly wonderful time in China and thank you for all the work you did to plan it for us.  Should we ever visit China again, we will contact you to assist us! 

If you ever visit Seattle, Washington, please let me know and I/we will show you around our beautiful city and environs. 

Thanks again!  

Nancy and Pricha (Tuksaudom)

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Comment on our service from Gracie Chan, USA

We had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU! Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

 

Hello Sandy,

Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for being patient. Here's what we thought of the trip.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU!

Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. It was great to have their help dealing with hotel checking-ins and transportation details. It was very convenient and helpful. Having to move in and out of hotels daily and trying to catch all those train on time are very stressful ~ A big "Thanks" for all their help.  

I want you to know that we consider Jackie Zhang (our guide for Zhangye & Dunhuang) to be the BEST of all the guides we encountered on this trip. She is enthusiastic, meticulous and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell that she enjoys her job tremendously!

         

My observation ~ Most "Foreign Visitors" don't always have a base knowledge of the history of the places they are visiting. A SHORT & CONCISE explanation is better than a long and winding narrative. It should not be assumed that one formula works for everyone. Some visitors are more knowledgeable than others and vice versa.

We enjoyed all the sights we visited on this trip tremendously. That said, there are some room for improvements.

The one disappointment for me was the visit to Qinghai Lake. It was too commercialized. It would have been so much better if we were able to stop by the lake area BEFORE the visitor center where it was much more pristine and unspoiled. After all, we are there to take it the natural beauty of the area after all.

Our guide and driver was most accommodating when we asked them to stop by the side of the road in order for us to photograph herds of YAK and sheep. It was the highlight of the trip for me! I am sure other visitors will feel the same way.

My suggestion ~ Maybe some sort of arrangements can be made with local farmers that owned land along the Qinghai lake for a short stop over in your future tours? This way, your visitors can have wonderful opportunities to photograph and experience the scenery and lifestyle of the local people.

My observation ~ In Turpan, the Turpan Museum would have been a BETTER choice than the visit to the Karez well system (Kan'erjing Museum). There is really nothing much to see here.  

The International Grand Bazaar was also a bit of a disappointment, it was too touristy. I think we would find it much more interesting if we have the opportunity to visit a local street market instead.

We rode a donkey cart at the Flaming Mountains. It was great fun! I think this should be included in the future and its a great way to help the local make some extra money too. You agree?

Hotels ~ We still prefer staying at International Brand hotels. We really liked the Sofitel Hotels (in Xian & Xining) and the Sheraton in Urumqi.  

We find the service and breakfast food selection available at the local brand hotels are still somewhat lacking compared to the International Brand hotels.

Food ~ We had some amazing and some mediocre food on this trip. The quality of the meal is inconsistent. I guess it depended a lot on your local tour coordinators?    

I hope our observations and honest suggestions are helpful to you. Please do not consider this is as criticism of our trip but as suggestions for improvements. We had lots of fun and we hope you'll be able to attract more visitors to your tour. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

I have attached the "corrected" photo and an extra one taken at the Flaming Mountains. You have our permission to include all three of the photos along with the following review to your website. I will write a review for TripAdvisor.com later.

Regards,

Gracie.


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Comment on our service from Sergey Shunailov, Russia

It is impossible to find any imperfection in the service. Nice guide with good English and nice driver. Thanks a lot. If I'll have free time in my next trip to China I'll use again only your company.

Dear Sandy,

Nice to hear from you. The one day Beijing tour was fine. It is impossible to find any imperfection in the service. Nice guide with good English and nice driver. Thanks a lot.

If I'll have free time in my next trip to China I'll use again only your company.

Best regards,

Sergey


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Comment on our service from Thomas Anthony Lucker, USA

It was great and the guide was tremendous!

Hi Sandy,


It was great and the guide was tremendous.  I had a great time in Kaifeng. I think we have another tour coming up quickly on the 26th to Luoyang.  :)  


Tom

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Comment on our service from Robert William Miller, USA

It was a good trip.  The sites were very interesting and unique.

It was a good trip.  The sites were very interesting and unique.   The Dazu museum was very interesting since did not know there were so many of the grottoes in China and other countries as well. We didn’t take lunch but asked rather to see another grotto.  Would recommend going to the small grotto and then the larger one and then museum in that order.

Rob Miller

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