Are you in the USA?   Click to switch to Trafalgar's USA website

Highlights of China and The Yangtze 2014

Map and routeZoom In

Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of ChinaThe Temple of Heaven in Beijing, ChinaShanghai, ChinaGiant PandasYangtze River, ChinaThree Gorges along the Yangtze River, China
Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China
Shanghai, China
Giant Pandas
Yangtze River, China
Three Gorges along the Yangtze River, China
  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Rating: Read Reviews
  • Brochure: Asia 2014
  • Style: Regional
  • Description: Explore the sacred and regal historical sites of Beijing. Tour the Forbidden City and walk the famous Great Wall of China before travelling by rickshaw through the Hutongs of Old Beijing to enjoy a Be My Guest lunch of traditional Chinese cuisine. Discover the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an and visit the Temple of Heaven with a Local Expert. Cruise along the magnificent Yangtze River, ready to experience the lively streets of modern Shanghai. Why not extend your trip with a few days in Hong Kong? See our extensions page for options.

Guest Experiences

Find Out More

Hear it from the people that matter the most – our guests. Read trip reviews, ask questions, view photo galleries and connect with others on your trip before you go. Already been? Write your own review here!

Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1


    Depart from your home gateway city, bound for Beijing.

  • Day 2


    Welcome to Beijing! Upon arrival, your Travel Director will escort you to your luxurious hotel and will be on hand to greet you and answer any questions you may have about the exciting days ahead.

    Hotel: Ritz-Carlton Beijing (D)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 3


    Begin your exploration of Beijing with a Local Expert starting at Tiananmen Square, which is both the centre of contemporary civic life and the gateway to the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it is surrounded by monuments to Chairman Mao and the Communist revolution that transformed China following World War II. Stroll through the square and enter the Forbidden City, the 250-acre precinct of the emperors. Begun in the 15th century, it grew to encompass palaces and gardens, quarters for the imperial family, and offices for bureaucrats. The complex houses innumerable treasures of the Qing and Ming dynasties. Later, embark on a unique tour by rickshaw through the Hutongs, the historic neighbourhoods of Old Beijing. Stop outside a traditional courtyard home where you join a local family for a Be My Guest lunch featuring traditional Chinese cuisine. This evening, enjoy a succulent Peking Duck Welcome Reception dinner with wine - a must during any visit to Beijing.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining / Welcome Reception)

  • Day 4


    Walk along a section of the legendary Great Wall with a Local Expert, a UNESCO-designated site that has been one of the man-made wonders of the world since it was originally built in the 6th century to keep out invaders from the north. Back in Beijing, spend the evening enjoying a spectacular show at the Red Theatre that combines kung fu prowess with acrobatics and dance; it's the best performance in town.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

  • Day 5


    Start the day touring the Temple of Heaven (or Altar of Heaven) with a Local Expert, a UNESCO-designated site completed in the 15th century that symbolises the relationship between heaven and earth - and the emperor's place within that cosmography. A masterpiece of architectural and landscape design, it influenced architecture throughout China for centuries. Visit the giant pandas in Beijing Zoo. After lunch, fly to the ancient city of Xi'an. Get settled at your hotel before savouring a Highlight Dinner at a local restaurant featuring traditional dumplings.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Highlight Dinner)

    Hotel: The Hilton Xi'an (D)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 6


    Venture out with a Local Expert during a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the legendary army of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses in Emperor Qin Shi Huang's subterranean tomb. Twenty-four centuries ago, China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was entombed with a vast army of soldiers and horses made of clay. The tomb complex lay undisturbed until the 20th century, when it became one of the most astonishing archaeological finds ever recorded. Only about 8,000 of the life-size Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have been excavated; no one knows for sure how many more figures remain concealed. Later, enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the old city wall, which protected Xi'an's inhabitants from its invaders. Enjoy a Highlight Lunch with a noodle making demonstration. This evening, indulge in a Tang Dynasty Highlight Dinner and cultural performance featuring music, dance, and traditional costumes with a special backstage visit.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Lunch / Highlight Dinner)

  • Day 7


    With a Local Expert, visit the seven-story Big Wild Goose Pagoda, sacred to Buddhists since the seventh century; tradition says throwing coins from the pagoda's windows brings good luck. Then, fly to Chongqing, boarding your luxurious ship to begin your Yangtze River cruise.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

    Hotel: M/V Century Paragon

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 8


    Though the Yangtze is almost 5648 kilometres long, the 120 kilometres known as the Three Gorges is famous for its unrivalled scenery. Every view is a picture straight out of China’s iconic water-colour illustrations. The ship will stop at Shibao Pagoda, a colourful temple built into the side of a steep hill that is now an island as a result of rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam. Explore the site with a Local Expert. Tonight, raise a glass during a special Captain’s Welcome Reception.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Welcome Reception)

  • Day 9


    Get a close-up view of the breath-taking landscape as you board a small boat with a Local Expert and cruise along Shennong Stream, a tributary to the Yangtze. Karst caves pock the high cliffs surrounding you, and monkeys play on the shores of the sparkling clear waters. Later in the day, your ship will navigate the enormous Three Gorges Dam locks. Tonight, enjoy a festive on-board Captain's Farewell Dinner.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Farewell Dinner)

  • Day 10


    Disembark today with a Local Expert and visit the world's largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam, which is designed to control flooding on the Yangtze and provide electrical power to a vast swathe of the country. Its scale is a tribute to national ambition, but its location has caused controversy. Then catch a flight to Shanghai, where you'll settle into your deluxe room at your hotel and relax over dinner.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

    Hotel: Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai (D)

    Hotels are subject to change.
  • Day 11


    With a Local Expert, stroll along the Bund, Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade, and admire the view of the Pudong district with its spectacular skyscrapers. After savouring a tasty and traditional Dim Sum Highlight Lunch, you'll have time to browse through the shops in the district. In the evening, be dazzled by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobats.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast / Highlight Lunch)

  • Day 12


    Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your vacation with a few days in Hong Kong? See our extensions page for options.

    Meal(s): (Buffet Breakfast)

What's Included

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest Get a glimpse into Chinese life during a visit to a Hutong family in Beijing for a delicious lunch featuring local cuisine.
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Local Expert Enjoy the company of a Local Expert throughout your itinerary.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • BeijingVisit Tiananmen Square; tour the Forbidden City; walk the Great Wall; see the Temple of Heaven; discover the giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo; experience an evening of kung fu at the Red Theater; explore the Hutongs by rickshaw.
  • Xi'anExplore the excavations of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses; visit the City Wall; enjoy the stunning Tang Dynasty cultural show.
  • Yangtze RiverCruise along the Yangtze through the Three Gorges; voyage down the Shennong Stream aboard a small riverboat; visit the site of the Three Gorges Dam.
  • ShanghaiVisit the Bund and enjoy an acrobatic show.


  • 10 buffet breakfasts
  • 9 Lunches:
    • Be My Guest Hutong family lunch in Beijing.
    • Traditional Dim Sum Highlight Lunch in Shanghai.
    • Noodle making demonstration and lunch in Xi'an.
    • 3 lunches on board the Century Paragon.
    • 3 lunches.
  • 8 evening meals:
    • Welcome Peking Duck dinner with wine in Beijing.
    • Traditional dumpling Highlight Dinner in Xi'an.
    • Tang Dynasty Highlight Dinner and cultural performance Xi'an.
    • Captain's Welcome Reception on board the Century Paragon
    • 1 dinner on board the Century Paragon.
    • Captain's Farewell Dinner on board the Century Paragon.
    • 2 dinners.

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by air-conditioned coach.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • Complimentary keepsake photo and map.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.

Airport Transfers

  • For full details on transfers, please click here.
  • These prices are LAND-ONLY and are correct at the time of the website going live, however prices are subject to confirmation at the time
    of booking.
  • All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Conditions page. Conditions can be found in the footer under Information.
  • Early Payment Discounts are not available on all Trafalgar trips and some trips may be excluded.  Book early to avoid disappointment as the number of seats available at discount prices are limited.  The Early Payment Discount icon will be indicated on the Pricing and Availability page of the selected trips where this Early Payment Discount is applicable. 
  • It is important that you book your Trafalgar trip from your own country/region. For reasons why, please click here.
  • Hotels are subject to change.
  • * For single travellers purchasing the twin-share option, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 
  • ^Twin-share option not available for trips to South America., Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey.

Join the Conversation