Tour Itinerary of Essence of China with Yangtze Cruise
15-Day Shanghai, Guilin, Yangshuo, Chongqing, Yangtze, Yichang, Xian and Beijing Tour (CHT-114A)
In 15 days you will explore the essence of China, its man-made wonders; The Great Wall, the Entombed Warrior and super modern Shanghai and also natural wonders made in heaven. The mysterious formations on the Li River and the unforgettable Yangtze River cruise will create memories to last a lifetime.
- Tour Summary
- Full Itinerary
Place & Transport: Arrive in Shanghai, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Airport Transfer (Shanghai), A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group)
- A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group):
A Free CH cell phone package (one cell phone for one group) includes free rental for the cell phone and SIM card (Includes prepaid value of CNY 50), delivery and collection in China. Return the phone to your guide when you depart. For more about the cell phone rental service, please click cell phone rental information.China Highlights also provides a Wi-Fi package so that you can connect to the internet in China anytime and anywhere. Our 3G service provides speeds of up to 21Mbps on your smart phone, pad or laptop, so you can stay in contact. For more detail please visit Wi-Fi rental information .
Place & Transport: Shanghai
Today's Activities: The Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Yuyuan Garden, The Bund
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Home's Restaurant
- The Shanghai World Financial Center (40 minutes): Shanghai World Financial Center is located in Pudong District, reaching a height of 492 meters (1,615 feet). It is now a new landmark of prosperous Shanghai. It was the second tallest building in the world when it was completed in 2007. Its observation deck, at 474 meters (1,555 feet) above the ground, is currently the tallest in the world. The multi-function skyscraper consists of hotels, apartments, restaurants, shopping malls, offices and observation decks.
- Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (1 hour): A short walk across Renmin Square from the Shanghai Museum, this offers a fascinating insight into Shanghai's future. The 2nd floor has a giant walkaround model of the city, and other floors have great displays and interactive exhibitions.
- Yuyuan Garden (1 hour): Yuyuan Garden is located in the center of Shanghai old quarters. It was a private garden built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, with typical Chinese classic architecture and style. The complex covers an area of 2 hectares, with rockeries, pavilions, ponds and corridors. Yuyuan Garden is surrounding by a busy market place, where visitors can find everything from popular local snacks, handicrafts, antiques and souvenirs to some famous time-honored restaurants.
- The Bund (40 minutes): This 1.5-kilometer-long embankment runs along the western bank of Huangpu River. On its west side it is the "architecture gallery" with 52 well-preserved old European style buildings. Once the major trading and commercial center of old Shanghai, the Bund has now taken on new vitality, with futuristic developments, chic restaurants, top end shops and bars offer plenty to see and do-and by night it's magic!
- Home's Restaurant: Home's Restaurant is located near the Nanjing Road. It specializes in Shanghai cuisine using the best local ingredients. Smoked fish and red jujube with sticky rice are well known in Shanghai. The restaurant enjoys a great reputation with diners from many parts of China and abroad.
Place & Transport: Shanghai to Guilin, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Zhujiajiao Water Town, Zhujiajiao Cruise, Hotel to airport Transfer (Shanghai), Airport Transfer (Guilin)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Shanghai Caiyuan Hotel
- Zhujiajiao Water Town (1 hour): Shaped like a fan, Zhujiajiao Water Town has hundreds of years of history. Thousands of examples of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty architecture lie on the sides of the lakes and the 36 stone bridges retain their ancient style. The tour includes eight attractions: Tongtianhe (an ancient pharmacy), the historic Post Office, Yanyitang Art Gallery, the Chenghuang Temple, Shanghai Handicraft Exhibition Hall, Shanghai Quanhua Art Gallery, Yuanjin Temple and Kezhi Garden.
- Zhujiajiao Cruise (20 minutes): You have an opportunity to take a cruise on the river through the ancient town.it will take 20 minutes.
Place & Transport: Guilin
Today's Activities: Reed Flute Cave, Fubo Hill, Elephant Trunk Hill
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at McFound Restaurant
- Reed Flute Cave (1 hour): Located 5 kilometers northwest of Guilin city, the Reed Flute Cave gets the name from the reeds used for making flutes and pipes that grow at its entrance. The cave is regarded as the largest and most impressive cave in Guilin. It is 240 meters long, and the length of the tour is about 550 meters offering a magic land of stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains, birds, plants and animals in fantastic shapes and colors. The visit lasts for 40 minutes and there are a lot of steps. Watch your step as the lights are dim. You guide will show you by electric torch.
- Fubo Hill: Fubo Hill is on the west bank of the Li River in the city center. Partially submerged in the river it was named after General Fubo of the Tang Dynasty who built Mayuan Temple on the hill. Because of its location and height, Fubo Hill can tame the waves and stop the surging waters which then form whirlpools. It is 213 meters above sea level and 62 meters above ground level. There are almost 350 steps to climb to reach top of hill and but then you can enjoy a birds eye view of Guilin city.
- Elephant Trunk Hill (40 minutes): Elephant Trunk Hill is located at the junction of Li River and Peach Blossom River. It is the symbol of Guilin with 55 meters high and got its name because its shape resembles an elephant with its trunk drinking from the Li River. The hill is pierced with many caves and topped with a small pagoda.
- McFound Restaurant: A restaurant which decorated in traditional northern style, with wheaten food of full aroma and household atmosphere of authentic culture, is warmly welcome for customers.
Place & Transport: Guilin to Yangshuo (Watch the Video )
Today's Activities: Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo.
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. (4 hours): A cruise along the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo is an unforgettable experience. As you take in the stunning scenery, there's something interesting to see at almost every bend in the river. Between spectacular limestone peaks you'll see graceful bamboo groves, farmers tending rice paddies, and lumbering water buffaloes pulling carts or cooling off in the river. You may see fishermen gliding along on their narrow bamboo rafts, and if you're very lucky you might see one of the famous fishing cormorants. Boats depart from various wharves, according to the height of the river at different times of the year.The Li river cruise is by a medium size boat which can accommodate about 140 passengers.
Place & Transport: Yangshuo to Guilin to Chongqing to Yangtze, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Yangshuo Countryside Cycling, Our guide and driver will escort you from Yangshuo to Guilin, Airport Transfer (Guilin), Airport Transfer (Chongqing), Cruise pier Transfer (Chongqing), Board the ship from 17:30 to 21:30 for overnight accommodation (dinner is not included).
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch
- Yangshuo Countryside Cycling: Experience the hustle & bustle of the Yangshuo traffic for 10 minutes before you escape onto the country roads, lanes and tracks of the distinctive and beautiful Yangshuo countryside. Biking alongside the paddy field and orchards that surround the famous mountains will give a fascinating insight into life in rural China. You will have a family visit on the half way. It is an opportunity to see a real country life and talk to the local farmers.
Place & Transport: Yangtze
Today's Activities: Shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City: 09:00–12:00.
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner
--Fengdu is where the devil lives, according to Chinese legend. They say that spirits go to heaven, and evil goes to Fengdu. The town is overlooked by Ming Shan Hill, home of Tianzi, the King of the Dead. The whole place has an eerie feel to it with deserted streets, tower blocks, empty shops and banks. The only people here are those who make a living from visiting cruise boats.
Place & Transport: Yangtze
Today's Activities: Shore excursion to the Lesser Three Gorges: 12:30–16:30. You have the option of visiting White Emperor City (260 RMB per person): 08:00–10:30.
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch, Chinese Dinner
--The Lesser Three Gorges are the three separate valleys of the Daning River: Dragon Gate Gorge, Misty Gorge and Emerald Gorge. These lie on the lower reaches of the Daning, which flows into the Yangtze. The gorges are truly spectacular. Sheer cliffs soar up towards the sky from the brown-green water. Mountain tops hover above the ribbon of mist, disconnected from their roots. Its "subtle mountains, clear waters, pretty rocks, dangerous rapids, sharp turns, fantastic caves, and stalactites in various shapes" create the timeless beauty that you see in Chinese landscape paintings. Monkeys, mandarin ducks and other water birds can be seen loitering on big boulders in this area. In addition to the wonderful natural scenery there are a number of historical places of interest along the way, such as a suspended coffin, boat coffin, and remains of ancient plank walkway.
-Also known as the White Emperor City, Baidi City clings to the hills and cliffs of a peninsular jutting out into the river. It is a miniature city of temples and gates on Baidi Hill. The city is well known as "the Poet’s City", because it has been visited by many scholars in the past, who have left many literary relics. It is also known for two famous legends, "The Seven Hundred Connected Barracks were Burned", and "The Orphan who put Trust in Baidi City".
Place & Transport: Yangtze to Yichang to Xian, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Cruise pier Transfer (Yichang), Airport Transfer (Yichang), Airport Transfer (Xian), Shore Excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Site. Arrive in Yichang at 12:00.
--Three Gorges Dam, the largest water conservancy project ever undertaken by man and it has been a dream for several generations of Chinese people. The construction of the dam formally began in 1994. The body of the dam was completed in 2003, and the whole construction has been completed in 2009. It will be 2,335 meters long, 185 meters high, 18 meters wide on the top and 130 meters wide at the bottom.The tourists can get access to the top of the dam and enjoy different kinds of photo opportunities.
Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant(Qinling Branch)
- The Terracotta Warriors and Horses (2 hours): Discovered accidentally in 1974, this incredible army of over 7000 soldiers, archers, horses and chariots in full battle array has guarded Emperor Qin's tomb since 210BC. Each figure is unique, and the painstaking repair and excavation continues in 3 pits which are protected inside huge hangars. 1.5 hours from Xian, there is also an excellent museum and film about the history of the vaults. Photos (no flash) are allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Big Wild Goose Pagoda (1 hour): A major Buddhist site, the simple, elegant brick Pagoda stands in the grounds of the attractive Da Ci'en Temple. The Pagoda was built in the 7th century to house the Buddhist materials that Xuanzang (Tripitaka) brought back from his epic journey to India. The Temple complex has several large halls with some great Buddhist statues and murals.
- A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant(Qinling Branch): A Wa Shan Zhai Restaurant was established in 2004, mainly specializes in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine. It provides delicacy by using the material from Shanxi, obtaining a nationwide reputation from customers. It would be a nice choice to dine while traveling the nearby Terra cotta Warriors and Horses.
Place & Transport: Xian
Today's Activities: Shaanxi History Museum, Xian City Wall with Bicycle, Forest of Stele Museum, Great Mosque
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Qianzhou Restaurant (Xiao Yanta Branch)
- Shaanxi History Museum (1.5 hours): The history of Shaanxi is said to be the history of China, and this museum is quite simply one of the nation's best. Four major galleries in large, Tang-style buildings house a vast and impressive collection, beautifully displayed. Most of the item labels are in English, although some other information on the exhibitions is not, but your guide can help here. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Xian City Wall with Bicycle (1.5 hours): The walls, ramparts, gates and watchtowers form one of the oldest and most complete city defenses still around. Built in the 13th century on the foundations of the original Tang Forbidden City surrounding the city centre, it is a major landmark, and the best preserved, as well as the oldest and largest of the city defense systems in China. We operate this with bicycle. If the weather is not good for biking on the city wall, we will substitute a visit to the Bell Tower. Your guide will be very glad to take you the Bell Tower after you have been to look at the city wall.
- Forest of Stele Museum (1 hour): Forest of Steles in Xi'an was originally built in Northern Song Dynasty (1090 A.D.) when a large Confucian collection of steles cut in A.D. 837 - the oldest existing texts of the Confucian classics - was moved to it for safekeeping. All kinds of calligraphy and scripts tell stories, poems and reports from around the Empire. Other exhibits include early sculptures and objects from Imperial tombs.
- Great Mosque (1 hour): In the heart of Xian's Muslim quarter, close to the city centre, this is one of the largest Islamic mosques in China. Remarkable for the combination of Chinese architecture with Islamic practice, the courtyards align from east to west facing Mecca. The pavilions, halls and gateways are wonderfully decorated, and this is an active place of worship for the Hui descendants of Silk Road traders and travelers.
- Qianzhou Restaurant (Xiao Yanta Branch): Qianzhou Restaurant is well-known for its local flavors and ingredients originating from Qian County. The style, Qianzhou Four Treasures is considered to be famous nationally. The specialties are of ancient origin from the Tang Dynasty and leave customers with great culinary memories.
Place & Transport: Xian to Beijing, Flight No. TBA
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian), Airport Transfer (Beijing), Hutong Tour in Xicheng District, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Beijing Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant
- Hutong Tour in Xicheng District (1 hour): Hutong is a maze of historic alleyways with old single storey traditional courtyard houses, which are now fast disappearing. In this one hour tour, you can hop on a rickshaw to ride through the narrow alleys as well as visit a local family then walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and find out about the different thresholds of the courtyards.
- The Forbidden City (2.5 hours): The Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors between 1368 and 1911.This "city within a city" is a World Heritage Site, and is the largest and the best preserved ancient imperial architecture complex in the world, with great square, halls and gates contrast with intricate halls, gardens, courtyards and quarters. The exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, are all important treasures of ancient China.
- Tiananmen Square (50 minutes): Tian'anmen Square is the largest city square in the centre of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several key events in Chinese history. As the world's largest city square and enduring symbol of China's national pride, it is surrounded by many imposing buildings including the Heavenly Gate (entry to the Forbidden City), Museums, government buildings and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum.
- Beijing Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant: Ba Guo Bu Yi Restaurant is located near Summer Palace in Haidian District. It serves authentic Sichuan cuisine with its traditional Chinese style decor. Recommended dishes include sweet and sour fish, fried pork with celery and Kungpao Chicken.
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: The Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car), Temple of Heaven
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant
- The Mutianyu Great Wall(with round way cable car) (2 hours): This less-crowded section of the Great Wall is a about 2.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing. A cable car takes you to a good section (avoiding a very steep climb), where you can walk along the wall, through the watch towers and enjoy superb views as it snakes across the hills and mountains. You can return by cable car, walk down or walk along the wall for about an hour to descend by chairlift. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.
- Temple of Heaven (1.5 hours): Built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties visited for annual ceremonies of pray for good harvests. Located in the south of Central Beijing, it covers an area of 273 hectares. Temple of Heaven was enrolled as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.
- Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant: Xin Shuang Quan Restaurant is near Great Wall of Mutianyu section. This garden style restaurant serves farmhouse dishes, specializing in rainbow trout, sturgeon and salmon. The fabulous taste will leave you with great memories.
Place & Transport: Beijing
Today's Activities: Summer Palace with boat Cruise and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, 798 Art District, Exterior visit of Beijing Olympic Stadiums(Bird's Nest and Water Cube)
Meals: Breakfast, Chinese Lunch at Xibei Restaurant
- Summer Palace with boat Cruise and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony (2 hours): The palace is about 12 kilometers northwest of the city center and is equally as famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is called 'Yiheyuan'(Garden of Nurtured Harmony) in Chinese. It is the best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China and one of Beijing's premier attractions. It is also possible to cruise on the lake which takes 10 minutes by the ferry boat.
- 798 Art District (1.5 hours): Since 2002, the large number of artists' studios and contemporary art institutions began stationed here, and rented a scale of idle factories, and gradually developed into a gallery, the Arts Centre, artists'studios, design companies, fashion shops, bars and other catering space. The 798 Art District has promoted to the nation's largest and most influential international arts in recent years.
- Exterior visit of Beijing Olympic Stadiums(Bird's Nest and Water Cube) (1 hour): Located at the north end of the central axis of Beijing City, with a large area of 1215 hectares, it contains National museum, exhibition area, Olympic Village and Olympic competition avenues. Approximately 31 venues are used in Beijing Olympics, including National Stadium, the Bird's Nest and National Aquatics Center. You will explore the park, but it doesn't include going inside the Bird's Nest and Water Cube.
- Xibei Restaurant: Xibei Restaurant brings Chinese North western cuisines to Beijing with cultures from Manchus, Mongolians, Chinese Muslims and Hans.
Place & Transport: Depart Beijing, Flight not included
Today's Activities: Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing)
Excellent Local Guides
We selected the most experienced tour guides in each city. They are all very professional and flexible during the tour with oustanding knowledge of all the sites and history.
Our Luxury Car for Families
We use the modern air-conditioned luxury cars for families or 2-3 persons. The comfort and safety of our customers is of utmost importance, so we ensure that all of the vehicles that we use are well-maintained and always very clean.
Comfortable People Carrier for Small Groups
We use only air-conditioned small buses for small groups of 4-7 persons. Our drivers are very nice and careful with over 5-year drive experience.
- Entrance Fees:
To scenic spots as listed in the itinerary.
- Phone Rental Package:
Rental cost for the cell phone and SIM card for use in mainland China, and at least 30 mins of FREE international calls.
All meals as specified in the itinerary.
If the restaurant indicated is not available on the day, your guide will arrange another restaurant from our list of approved restaurants. Breakfast is usually a western style buffet. We endeavor to ensure that a choice of western and Chinese breakfasts is supplied, however there may be occasions when only a Chinese breakfast is available in some remote locations.
- Private Transfers:
Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in Shanghai, Guilin, Chongqing, Yangtze, Yichang, Xian, Beijing by private air conditioned vehicle with a driver and English-speaking guide (as listed above).
Your comfort is our priority! Click here to get a description of the vehicles that we use for our tours.
As outlined in the itinerary an English-speaking guide and driver will be provided in each city, who will remain with you throughout your time in that city. A new guide and a new driver will meet you at each city on your tour, to provide you with the best local knowledge available.
Hotel fees are based on two people sharing one room with twin beds.
All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
- Yangtze River Cruises:
The price quoted for a Yangtze River Cruise includes all meals onboard, and all land excursions including the smaller cruise fee to Lesser Three Gorges or Shennong Stream. (Optional land excursions are available for a few ships which will be specially noted.) The price does not include any incidental charges, including room service, mini bar, laundry, and drinks and bar charges, tipping, etc.
The Pre-boarding Fee includes overnight accommodations on the ship the night before departure and breakfast in the morning.
Shanghai To Guilin Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
Guilin To Chongqing Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
Yichang To Xian Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
Xian To Beijing Transfer via: Flight, TBA (Our arrangements)
- Airport Tax for Domestic Flights
Airport Tax and Fuel Fee for Flights if applicable
- Service Charge & Government Taxes:
The insurance is China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance.
Click here to learn more about the insurance coverage and the sum insured.
- Luggage Transfers:
Between airports/cruise piers and hotels.
The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
- International Airfare or Train Tickets to enter or leave China.
USA-CHINA/CHINA-USA: China Highlights has negotiated special discount fares (restrictions apply) for selected flights operated by Air China from major US and China gateways. We are able to offer these special deals to confirmed customers. Discount US to China Flights
- China Entry Visa Fees.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
Passengers holding an adult fare or half fare ticket are entitled to a free baggage allowance of 20kg, for economy class. Total weight of carryon baggage for each passenger may not exceed 5kg. The size may not exceed 20x40x 55cm. More
- Personal Expenses:
Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the tour itinerary.
Any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary.
- Single Room Supplement:
Important note for those who choose to pay a single room supplement fee: The fee only covers hotel single room supplements; it does NOT include use of a single cabin on the Yangtze River Cruise. Standard Yangtze River Cruise prices per person are based on 2 people sharing 1 cabin unless otherwise specified. If you would like to request a single cabin on the Yangtze River ship, please contact us to check cost and availability.