18 Nights | Grand China & the Yangtze
An in-depth exploration of China’s rich history and extraordinary cultural wonders.
Your journey starts in Beijing, with tours of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Walk along the Great Wall—the world’s largest man-made structure—and marvel at the Temple of Heaven, a Ming Dynasty masterpiece. Tour the city’s atmospheric and ancient hutongs via rickshaw, enjoy lunch in the home of a friendly local family, and take a cruise on Shichahai Lake, once part of the imperial pleasure gardens.
Fly to Xi’an to see the Terra-cotta Warriors—a UNESCO-designated army of more than eight thousand life-sized soldiers and horses carved from stone that has drawn visitors from around the world. Visit the “water villages” of Tongli and Suzhou, stroll through the Humble Administrator’s Garden, and learn about the intricate art of Suzhou-style embroidery. Then it’s onward to Shanghai, China’s largest city, renowned for its architecture, dim sum, and acrobats. Enjoy tours of the Shanghai Museum and the Old Town quarter, and stroll along the waterfront Bund.
Your Yangtze River cruise will wind through the narrow and dramatic Three Gorges, a spectacular region with mist-shrouded mountain peaks and strange limestone karsts. Visit the Shibao Pagoda and take a smaller boat along the Shennong Stream for an up-close view of the area. In Guilin, you will visit the city’s zoo, home to giant pandas that are delightful to watch. Cruise the Li River through Guilin’s ethereal landscapes—recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site—a Chinese scroll painting come to life. Visit a tea plantation and explore Reed Flute Cave, where colored lights transform stalactites and stalagmites into a surreal visual spectacle. Conclude your journey in Hong Kong, which presents a fascinating blend of East and West, ancient and modern.
Who will enjoy this cruise/tour
This 18-day cruise/tour is designed for travelers looking for an in-depth experience of both ancient and modern-day China. In addition to must-see sights—Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, the Great Wall, and giant pandas—your adventure includes 5 days on the Yangtze River and the scenic Three Gorges, the Li River and ethereal landscapes of Guilin, classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou, and 3 days in cosmopolitan Hong Kong.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the sleek and contemporary Conrad Beijing hotel.
Featured Excursions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, foot massage, and Peking Duck Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine
Begin your exciting discovery of China with a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. You’ll stroll through the square and enter the nearly two-hundred-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its characteristic red walls and yellow tile roofs. After your tour, relax with a traditional foot massage; later, indulge in a Welcome Dinner of succulent Peking duck with wine.
Featured Excursions: The Great Wall and kung fu show at Beijing’s Red Theatre
There is no sight in China more iconic than the UNESCO-designated Great Wall. Spend some time exploring and walking along the wall before enjoying lunch at the foot of the wall, amid the lovely pine and cypress forests. Back in Beijing, your eventful day continues with a spectacular show that combines kung fu prowess with acrobatics and dance at Beijing’s famous Red Theatre
Featured Excursions: Temple of Heaven, hutongs tour with home-hosted lunch, and boat ride on Shichahai Lake
Visit the 15th-century Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO-designated site that symbolizes the relationship between heaven and earth—and the emperor’s place within that cosmography. Next, you’ll take a rickshaw tour of the hutongs, the old neighborhoods where you can still see traditional quadrangle houses built around courtyards. You’ll share a traditional lunch with a local family. Afterward, relax on a rowboat ride on the mesmerizing Shichahai Lake.
Beijing, fly to Xi'an
Featured Excursions: City Wall and Tang Dynasty dinner show
Fly to the ancient Tang Dynasty capital of Xi’an, where you’ll see the massive defensive wall built around Xi’an by the first Ming emperor in the 15th century. In the evening, indulge in a lovely traditional dinner—complete with chou-jiu, a milky rice wine served warm—and a cultural performance that re-creates the music, folk dances, and traditional costumes of the Tang Dynasty.
Featured Excursions: Museum of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses and traditional dumpling banquet
One of the most astonishing archaeological finds of the last century, the life-sized Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses were made more than 22 hundred years ago to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. About eight thousand of these figures have been excavated, and some are displayed at a museum dedicated to the incredible find. At the end of your day, delight in a traditional Xi’an dumpling banquet, where each dumpling is a delectable work of art.
Xi'an, fly to Shanghai, Tongli, Suzhou
Featured Excursions: Tongli tour and evening performance
Fly to Shanghai, then tour charming Tongli, the “Venice of the East,” where elegant homes and enchanting teahouses line the many canals. Continue to Suzhou and settle into the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel. In the evening, experience a music and dance performance in one of the city’s world-renowned classical Chinese gardens.
Featured Excursions: Humble Administrator’s Garden and Embroidery Research Institute visit
Visit Suzhou’s UNESCO-designated classical gardens and marvel at the intricate designs at the Embroidery Research Institute. Afterward, you’ll settle in to the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, where you will enjoy dinner in the evening.
Featured Excursions: Shanghai city tour, dim sum lunch, and Shanghai Acrobats performance
Enjoy a tour along Shanghai’s famous waterfront promenade, the Bund, followed by a delicious dim sum lunch at your hotel. This evening, enjoy the Shanghai Acrobats.
Shanghai, fly to Yichang
Featured Excursion: Shanghai Museum
Visit the Shanghai Museum before your flight to Yichang, where you’ll board your comfortable ship.
Yichang, cruising the Yangtze River
Featured Excursion: Three Gorges Dam
Visit the Three Gorges Dam before setting sail along the Yangtze. Enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception with complimentary wine in the evening.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shennong Stream
Featured Excursion: Explore Shennong Stream
Board a small boat and cruise along the Shennong Stream, a stunning tributary of the Yangtze.
Note: Due to water conditions we may substitute a Lesser Gorges boat tour for the Shennong Stream boat tour.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai
Featured Excursion: Shibao Pagoda
Built into the side of a hill, the Shibao Pagoda has now become a colorful little island of its own. Make a wish and climb the stairs toward the temple at the
top; legend has it that the higher you climb, the better the chance of your wish coming true. In the evening, a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine will be served.
Chongqing, fly to Guilin
Featured Excursion: Guilin Zoo giant panda visit
Disembark in Chongqing and transfer to the airport for your flight to Guilin. Enjoy visiting the giant pandas at the local zoo before checking into the elegant Shangri-La Hotel.
Guilin, cruising the Li River, Yangshuo
Featured Excursion: Li River cruise
Cruise the serene Li River, where time seems to have stood still for centuries. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Guilin, fly to Hong Kong
Featured Excursions: Tea plantation visit and Reed Flute Cave
Visit a tea plantation, where you’ll learn about this vital Chinese export. Later on, marvel at the rainbow-colored stalactites in the Reed Flute Cave. You’ll then fly to Hong Kong and check into the esteemed Kowloon Shangri-La hotel.
Note: The Cruise/Tour Manager will not accompany you to Hong Kong. You will have the services of a local expert instead.
Featured Excursion: Exclusive Hong Kong Island tour with boat ride through Aberdeen Fishing Village
See the best of the island on your guided tour of Hong Kong, including Victoria Peak, the Aberdeen Fishing Village, and Stanley Market.
Depart Hong Kong
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
You will visit the following 8 places:
Hong Kong ("Fragrant Harbour"), officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River Estuary and the South China Sea. It is known for its skyline and deep natural harbour. It is a world-renowned shopping paradise, known for its tourist-friendly atmosphere and numerous options. The huge shopping malls of Central, Admiralty and the street fashion factory in Causeway Bay are reasons for many travelers to make their Hong Kong trips. Home to around 7.2 million Hongkongers and other nationalities, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated regions!
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. It is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. Xi'an is, for certain, one of the most popular tourist destinations among foreign travelers. A tour to Xi'an is something that any tourist to China would not want to miss, as it serves as a window on China's ancient civilization.
Beijing is a metropolis in Northern China, and the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the most populous cities in the world. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjing Municipality to the southeast. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. Beijing has a glorious past, but is by no means stuck in the past. Standing side-by-side with old Beijing's crimson palace complexes are the city's modern buildings, the super-modern Olympic Village, with the Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube; the dazzling shopping malls in Wangfujing Street and the colorful entertainment center of Houhai. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China!
Yangtze River is the largest in China and the third largest in the world after the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. It is about 3,964 miles in length. It stretches across eleven provinces and cities from west to east, including Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Finally it pours into the East China Sea at Shanghai.
Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, situated on the west bank of the Li River, and bordering Hunan to the north. Its name means, "Forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. With its marvelous limestone scenery, Guilian is renowned as one of the most beautiful places on earth and is one of China's most popular tourist destinations.
Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is infectious. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden as well as the extensive Lujiazui skyline, many skyscrapers, and major museums including the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China. Go to its heart, The Bund, to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display, or watch the crowds go by in People's Square!