Imperial China and the Yangtze River
12 days / 11 nights
The full day by day detailed Itinerary
Day 1, Beijing
Arrive at Beijing airport where you will be met and transferred to the centrally located five-star Regent Hotel (or similar) for a two-night stay. As we enter a fascinating world steeped in ancient tradition today is spent at leisure as you explore this captivating city or barter for souvenirs in the bustling local markets. (Meals today are at your own arrangements)
Day 2, Beijing - The Great Wall
Today is dedicated to exploring the sights and sounds of Beijing. Our tour includes Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the world, and then as we explore the exquisite magnificently restored Forbidden City it is easy to imagine the life of the privileged Emperors that lived here with their numerous concubines. Our afternoon sightseeing takes us to The Great Wall of China - one of the few man-made structures visible from outer space and perhaps the most evocative symbol of Chinese skill and precision. Our welcome banquet is hosted in an authentic Peking Duck restaurant, where we can experience the true taste of China.
Day 3, Beijing
This morning we visit the Temple of Heaven, the grandest of the four great temples situated in Beijing. We then board our private train, the Shangri-La Express. There is plenty of time to settle into our comfortable cabins before enjoying a sociable drink and dinner with new friends.
Day 4, Xian - Terracotta Warriors
Our fascinating journey of discovery takes us to Xian, the former Imperial Capital of China. Here we will explore the ancient city walls and Great Mosque, one of the oldest and largest in China. Time permitting, we will take a stroll through the historic Muslim quarter with its quaintly winding lanes. We dedicate several hours to visiting the world famous Terracotta Warriors, discovered by peasants only 30 years ago. The 6,000 terracotta figures and their horses, buried with the First Emperor of Qin in 210 BC, are one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century.
Day 5, Chengdu
Today we can relax onboard as the Shangri-La Express continues its journey to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and the centre for traditional Chinese medicine. This area is also home to the Giant Panda, an incredibly rare creature which we can see at close quarters at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Institute.
Day 6, Chongqing
Chongqing is situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. We have a full day to explore the labyrinthine streets of this bustling city, perhaps most famous for its hot Sichuan cuisine and world famous hotpot dishes. As we enter the old part of this city we will come across street vendors and restaurants where we can experience these exciting and spicy delicacies. Late afternoon sees us transferring to a five-star Victoria Cruises river boat for our three-night Yangtze River cruise through the dramatic scenery of the Three Gorges.
Day 7, Three Gorges Cruise - Fengdu
This morning we take an off board excursion to the Fengdu Ghost City situated on Ming Mountain. Its 75 temples and numerous sculptures tell the story of 'sinners' who were forced to live out their own personal hell for eternity. Alternatively, we may visit Shibaozhai, perched precariously against a rectangular cliff, where we will see the stunning twelve-storey Quing Dynasty wooden temple. In the afternoon we sail through the Chongqing region enjoying the ever changing river scenery.
Day 8, Three Gorges Cruise
First we enter the shortest but most dramatic of the three gorges, Qutang Gorge with steep, imposing mountains on either side of the 5 mile (8km) stretch. Then we travel through the deep 27 mile (44km) Wu Xia Gorge from where we make a short trip in a smaller boat to the shallow, clear waters of the Shennong Stream. We then continue along the western stretch of the Xiling Gorge. At 43 miles (70km) this is the longest and deepest gorge and perilous peaks tower towards the sky reaching heights of over 4,000 ft (1,500m). In the evening we arrive at the Three Gorges dam and wait our turn to descend through the locks.
Day 9, Three Gorges/Yichang
Today we visit the Three Gorges Dam project and cruise along the eastern stretch of the Xiling Gorge before our lunchtime disembarkation in Yichang. This afternoon we rejoin the waiting Shangri-La Express and spend the afternoon on board, where we can learn a few words of Chinese or enjoy drinks with friends.
Day 10, Guilin
The haunting otherworldly beauty of Guilin is legendary. Our entire day is devoted to exploring some of the finest scenery in the world along the Li River. Our unforgettable day features a cruise on the river amongst the outlandish karst rock formations that give this area its distinctive appearance. We also visit the 600,000 year old Yudi Lan (Reed Flute) Cave on the outskirts of the city.
Day 11, Kowloon, Hong Kong
After lunch, we arrive in the city of Guangzhou situated on the Pearl River and bid farewell to the Shangri-La Express. We then take our reserved seats on the high speed train to Kowloon. We are then transferred by bus to the five-star Harbour Plaza hotel (or similar) for a one-night stay. The final evening is spent saying our goodbyes to our fellow travelling companions at the Farewell Dinner.
Day 12, Hong Kong
This morning we take a sightseeing tour of Hong Kong. In the afternoon you can explore the city at your own pace, perhaps visiting one of Hong Kong's exclusive shopping streets. You will be transferred to Hong Kong airport for your afternoon/evening flight. Meals today are at your own arrangement.
Note: Prices are per person in USD and include all taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change without notice. Please reconfirm at the time of booking. We suggest adding trip insurance to any and all bookings.
Visa Information: Currently British citizens will require single entry visas for China, Russia and Turkmenistan & double entry visas for Uzbekistan & Kazakstan. Please allow at least 2 months to obtain your visas. Other nationalities should see their local consulates for visa information. Please note that all visa requirements are subject to change. Terms and conditions Click here for details
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