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, Enjoy a traditional noodle dish in a local restaurant then continue your exploration off the beaten track in Beijing.
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.
Beijing to Xian
See one of China’s most iconic sights, the magnificent Summer Palace, with its temples, pavilions, gardens and decorated corridors. Later you are taken to the railway station for your afternoon journey by high-speed train to Xian.
There's time for a visit to the famed city walls of Xian on arrival before your free evening in this fascinating city of Western China.
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. You'll start your day with a visit to the world famousArmy 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. On today’s city tour also visit 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.
Xian to Chengdu
Another exciting journey by high speed train today from Xian to Chengdu. On arrival you will get to experience the laid back lifestyle of the Chengdu teahouses in the People's Park. The evening is free for you to explore the city at leisure.
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 visit the Wenshu Temple.
Chengdu to Yangtse Cruise
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.
Yangtse Cruise to Shanghai
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.
Your final high speed train of the holiday will take you from Shanghai to the beautiful city of Suzhou, known also as the Venice of the East. A highlight of your day is the visit to Suzhou Museum, renowned for one of China's best collections of calligraphy and traditional art.
Return by train to Shanghai and say farewell to China with a wonderful dinner.
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.