19 January 2017
14 nights fr £3049ppIncludes flights
Unwind in Macau before you take in the very best of China
On this superb 14 day Three Gorges Discovery tour you not only enjoy a cruise along the mighty Yangtse River you also see lots of the other highlights of this magical country. Beginning in the capital city Beijing and ending in Shanghai, you experience something new every day. Travelling by road, rail, ship and plane, you will visit the stunning Great Wall, walk around Tiananmen Square and into the Forbidden City, see the incredible Terracotta Warriors at Xian and even the famous giant pandas at Ghendgu.
On arrival at Beijing International Airport you will be met by one of our experienced tour representatives and taken to your city hotel. Relax and settle in before attending an introductory talk in the hotel where you can meet other members of your group and learn about all the marvellous things you will be seeing and doing over the next 14 days. The rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own and get a feel for China's capital city.
Begin your exploration of this impressive capital city. Walk through vast Tiananmen Square and pass through the beautiful Gate of Heavenly Peace to enter the splendid Forbidden City. Then head into one of Beijing’s few remaining ‘hutongs’ or traditional lanes in the backstreets, stopping at a family home for lunch before hopping on rickshaws for more close-up glimpses of local life. Take a short stroll to the city’s famous Drum Tower and this evening explore the Wangfujing night markets.
This morning travel to Mutianyu, 56 miles north-east of Beijing, to visit the country's most famous attraction - the Great Wall of China, which was built more than 2,000 years ago and extends 3,107 miles from the east coast to the Gobi Desert in the west. Take the cable car up to the Wall from where you can walk or climb sections admiring the panoramic views and reflecting on the enormity of the material and labour required for its construction. Back in town tonight, you can feast on Beijing’s famous roast duck.
See one of China’s most iconic temples, the sacred Temple of Heaven, which is located within a vast park. In the early mornings the area is alive with tai chi enthusiasts, dancers and performers reciting Beijing opera. From here head to the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall and, in the afternoon, drive to the north-west part of the city and visit the magnificent Summer Palace, with its temples, pavilions, gardens and decorated corridors. Later you are taken to the railway station for an evening journey by high-speed train to Xian.
Today enjoy a tour of this culturally diverse and very exotic Chinese city. Xian is located close to the banks of the Yellow River and was the starting point for the world’s most famous trade route - the Silk Road. On today’s city tour also visit the impressive Old City Walls, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Xian’s Muslim Quarter to see the Great Mosque. Take some time to walk through this area to enjoy its lively street markets. This evening you have an opportunity to sample Xian’s famous local dumplings at a restaurant.
Start with a stroll through Xian’s City Park which is alive with people exercising and enjoying activities like tai chi, ping-pong, badminton and even ballroom dancing. Then take a short drive east to the remarkable Army of Terracotta Warriors - one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. Still under excavation, these thousands of life sized warriors and horses were only unearthed in 1974 after being buried for 2,000 years. Then, after a great day's sightseeing, head to the airport for your flight to Chengdu.
Rise early this morning to visit the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base, just a short drive out of Chengdu and one of the highlights of this region. The base is a fascinating place to observe the pandas and you can see the younger ones at play which is always a source of much entertainment. You may be lucky enough to see newborn pandas who are usually kept in incubators. After lunch take a break in the peaceful gardens of Dufu’s Cottage and at the end of the day stop at the bustling People’s Park and visit a teahouse.
After a leisurely start to the day, transfer to Chengdu railway station for a journey by high-speed train to Chongqing, on the banks of the mighty Yangtze River. On arrival, you might like to try a traditional hotpot meal before making your way to the river port to board the boat for your cruise through some of the Yangtze River's most spectacular landscapes. Your cruise departs Chongqing at approximately 9pm this evening, so plenty of time to relax on board or explore the port area before you set sail.
Leave the industrial surrounds of Chongqing behind and pass small towns whose existence is tied to the waters of the Yangtze. Your first stop is Shibaozhai. Meaning precious stone fortress, this impressive structure is built against a steep hill on the banks of the Yangtze River. Rising to a height of more than 12 stories, every floor of this architectural gem is dedicated to famous generals of the Three Kingdoms period, local scholars and renowned Chinese poets. This evening enjoy a buffet dinner on board.
Rise early to admire the magnificent river landscapes as your boat passes through the towering cliffs and mountains of the first and second gorges, Qutang and Wu Gorge. Then take an excursion to Shennv Xi and travel on a small craft for about 12 miles to see its narrow gorges. Surrounded by beautiful peaks, many protected species live here. Return to the ship and enter the third of the main gorges, Xiling Gorge. Tonight join the Captain's Banquet as the ship sails through the mighty five level lock to moor downstream.
Take an excursion to visit the incredible site of the Three Gorges Dam Project before sailing on to Yichang, where you disembark and take an afternoon flight to your final destination, Shanghai. Once known as the Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai has emerged again as one of Asia’s most important cities. On arrival you are taken to your hotel and in the evening you can head across the river to the business district of Pudong for magnificent views of the city at night from the top of China’s tallest building.
Eat breakfast as the locals do at one of your guide's favourite spots. Today your city tour takes you to the historical riverfront area known as the Bund - Shanghai’s former ‘Wall Street’ and home to an impressive collection of 1920s neoclassical buildings. Then head off to one of the oldest neighbourhoods near the serene Confucius Temple and visit the lovely Yu Garden and wander through the backstreets. Tonight you are off to the theatre to see the world famous Chinese acrobats in a mind-bending performance.
Head out to the suburbs to the charming old world atmosphere of nearby Zhujiajiao, a traditional water canal town. You walk along Great North Street and see sites like the great Qing Post Office. Zhujiajiao's network of waterways, old wooden houses, arch stone bridges and narrow paved laneways are the perfect setting for your short peaceful canal cruise. Back in Shanghai this afternoon you have time to see more of the sights or go shopping along the famous Nanjing Road. Tonight join your group for a farewell dinner at a restaurant.
Today your wonderful 14 day Three Gorges Tour around China comes to an end. You can opt to stay on in Shanghai for a few more days and see more of the sights, take an onward flight and experience another part of this fascinating country, or begin your journey back home, taking with you so many great memories that will live with you forever, having had so many wonderful experiences.
Classic fr £2697pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated