Yangtze River Cruise and Panda Family Tour
12-Day Beijing, Chengdu, Yangtze River Cruise, and Shanghai Tour
The megacities of Beijing and Shanghai combine their rich history with some very unique experiences: visit a local family in their classic hutong home and meet adorable pandas at the Panda Breeding Base. A leisurely cruise along the Yangtze rounds off the family vacation.
- Walk or hike on the Great Wall of China
- Be welcomed by a local family and enjoy dumplings with them
- Taste the delicious Beijing Roast Duck for dinner
- Meet the cuddly pandas in the Panda Breeding and Research Center
- Unwind during the Yangtze River cruise tour
- Test your courage at the glass sky deck on top of the highest building in Shanghai
Olivia Tian, a sunshine tour guide!
In October, my friend Amy booked a tour with Chinahighlights, Olivia Tian was our guide in Beijing, she is such a sweet n happy person to be around, not only she gave us the best guide service, also very accommodating, alter the plan as per our interest, took us to very local shopping n food district. Above all, she takes awesome pics, very patient!! Thank you so much for such pleasant 5 days in BJ, look forward to see you when we are back in China, Olivia!!more
Dec 2023, Venture216019
One whole of a good experience !
Kevin was always making flexible arrangements for us making sure we meet our needs. Kevin also walked us to our desired restaurant daily making sure all are well before he left. Kudos to the whole team. Highly recommend ?more
Dec 2023, Cornelius C
China is Amazing Wonders that do not stop coming at you.Great country
Great job,Loved every minute of it,Ethan did an amazing job,True Ambassador of China,Just like the Chinese people,Friendly, dignified and hardworking,Very happy.China Highlights exceeded expectations and then some,I will never even think of travelling with another company.more
Dec 2023, Philip Sardar /Maps10321171537
Wonderful trip to Beijing and Xian
Had a great trip to bejing n xian. Our guide lily liu is so well versed in english and we have no worry here at all. We managed to dine in great halal restaurants though out our trip. Highly reccomended to all muslims travellers.more
Dec 2023, Efen Reyes
Great experience, highly recommended!
Additionally, she helped me with all my personal needs like getting a SIM card, finding an ATM, shopping, dining, checking in at the train station, hotel, suggested a couple additional very entertaining art events. Was also punctual and spoke good English.more
Nov 2023, Wayne S.
Excellent tour with Tom from China Highlights
We used China Highlights for the 3 days of our Beijing trip. Tom was a fantastic guide. Very knowledgable with excellent English. He was able to accommodate changes to our tour at short notice, allowing us to make the most of our limited time. Couldn’t recommend highly enoughmore
Nov 2023, Ross
Wow this tour was honestly the best tourI have ever taken! Our guide Simon Yao was simply superb! His English was excellent and he was very easy to talk to. He was personable and friendly but not overpowering or overbearing. Very knowledgeable about history. Thankfully the weather was good so we were not super hot !Finally at the wall we were amazed by it's beauty and grandeur. It really is something and pictures don't do it justice.more
Nov 2023, Annika M
Excellent two day visit to Great Wall
Our guide ‘Mark’ was incredible. So friendly, knowledgable and funny. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see two different parts of the Great Wall (one of which at night which was magical) and our hotel stay in Gubei was wonderful. Highly recommend to anybody visiting Beijingmore
Nov 2023, James_Wolstenholme
Great Experience from start to finish!
Jack was my guide and his local knowledge and English skills were fantastic. He was punctual, friendly and willing to flex as we went about our tour. Couldn’t recommend China Highlights more!more
Nov 2023, Scott Smith
Helen in Beijing - thanks for paying great attention to details, for your small surprises for the children every day, for selecting amazing restaurants, and leading wonderful walking tours. Your cheerfulness added to our enjoyment.more
Nov 2023, Kamila
Great day out with Mark, thanks China Highlights!
We did a 1 day private tour with China Highlights to see Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Communication was great throughout - from trip planning/booking with Roger and from our guide Mark who contacted us the day before to confirm meet up time/location. Avoided a lot of the queues and definitely learned quite a bit of history from our guide Mark…thanks again! No language barriers/issues…highly recommended.more
Nov 2023, ykeezy
China Three (3) Cities Tours
To the tour guides, Ethan, Jason and Tony, you guys have made my visit an awesome and memorable experience. All the tour guides spoke english and communicated very effectively. They are knowledgeable about all the sites visited including, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Panda Breeding and Research Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, Hallelujah Mountains, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Tianmen Mountain. The tour guides ensured I got the most out of my time I stayed in the various cities Beijing, Chengdu and Zhangjiajie.more
Nov 2023, Kadar
13 days in China
We booked a 13 day’s tour of China with China Highlights. Our travel advisor, Ms Leah Zhou organised an itinerary that suited what we wanted. She was really helpful and patient will all our needs. Leah helped us organised our 30th Wedding Anniversary Dinner and my 60th Birthday celebration?? in Beijing. For this to be possible, she had to liaise with our guide in Beijing. The flowers and cake were a real surprise. My husband and I, were really touched at the good service provided by China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou. Thank you China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou for your constant care of your customers. I will certainly recommend China Highlights to my friends.more
Nov 2023, Eda Adams
Perfect Beijing experience
Covering all major sights our exploration of Beijing and surroundings was flawless guided by Lily, along with her knowledgeable and balanced information on Chinas culture and history. In particular, Lily was able to adjust the tour according to personal preferences, e.g. focus on photography, as well as suggesting additional activities like an impressive authentic artistic show. I highly recommend China Highlights as China tour operator and Lily Liu as excellent guide regarding the Beijing area.more
Nov 2023, Perfect Beijing experience
Our first trip to Beijing
Our tour guide was Lucy Yubo. She was awesome. Very friendly, informative and passionate about her job. We really enjoyed her company and guidance.more
Nov 2023, Sreelatha Reddy
Anne and Bob’s tour of Beijing
We did the China Highlights tour of Beijing with our excellent guide Mark and his driver. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Beijing highlights including the Lama Temple, the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple. The Summer Palace with the boat ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony were memorable also and the Mutianyu Great Wall was a highlight. We were impressed with Mark as a guide. He knew his history and he was kind and thoughtful. He took us to some excellent restaurants and we were introduced to some beautiful food. We enjoyed his company and will always remember him.more
Nov 2023, BendigoBob
Excellent end to end service
Helen is a positive, full of knowledge, experienced guide.She provided us an implacable service abd experience for 3 days .Highly recommendedmore
Nov 2023, Sariel Engel
Amazing Beijing Tour with Risa!
Risa gave us a wonderful tour of the city! She thoroughly explained the cultuaral importance of each exhibit while also educating us on the Chinese culture. Appreciated having this wonderful Beijing trip with Risa:)more
Nov 2023, Angelica M.
Amazing Beijing Tour With Risa!
We were very kindly received in Beijing by our tour guide Risa. She gave us a very thorough tour of the city and showed us wonderful places, while also explaining the important history/culture of China! Very beautiful city filled with many things to do and full of culture! This was very well planned and made it very easy for us to visit the city and foreigners:) Thank you Risa!more
Nov 2023, Angelica M
Do Beijing like a local
They organised my trip very quickly and efficiently. On the day, Anna was very friendly to me, my mum and my baby. Very accommodating to our needs. The car was immaculately clean and very comfortable. We visited everything we initially wanted and more. Also, Anna took us to the best meal we had in China. It makes a difference to have a local choosing the dishes!more
Nov 2023, Natali A
Your family adventure starts with a reliable private pick-up service: your personal guide and driver will take you to your hotel in a private van. Your guide will assist you with the check-in and take any stress away.
Tian'anmen Square is now separated from the Forbidden City by a multi-lane street, but in ancient times it was part of the Imperial Court. The Heavenly Peace Gate at the southern end is similar to the palace buildings. The Palace Museum, as the Forbidden City is also called, has some very interesting exhibitions in the side courts.
Our 'Hutong Experience' takes you to the narrow alleyways. During a visit to a local family, you will learn how to make dumplings and share a meal with them, while chatting about their life.
Good to know:
1. As well as making dumplings, many other interactive activities can be arranged in the hutongs area to enrich your day: learn traditional crafts like Chinese knot-tying and decorative paper-cutting, see a remarkable acrobatic display by a Chinese yo-yo master, and learn how to apply Beijing Opera facial makeup.
2. Night shows, such as the Kungfu Show at the Red Theater and the Acrobatic Show at Chaoyang Theater, are recommended to enrich your night. It is recommended to book with your guide a day before, or on the day, to allow flexibility.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is our choice for this epic experience because it is not only less crowded than the Badaling section but also has the most watchtowers. They add a pleasing rhythm to the wall as it disappears into the distance. A cable car ride allows you to arrive fresh and you can spend as much time as you like on the top.
On the way back in your private car you can have a rest while digesting the satisfying lunch from a great local restaurant — one that has hosted world leaders. The famous Beijing Roast Duck awaits you for dinner, and your guide will show you how to savor it according to Chinese customs.
Good to know:
1. Want to spend more time on the Great Wall and make the most of your time? No problem! We can arrange a picnic lunch including sandwiches, bread, cake, fruit, and coffee or milk for you to enjoy on the Great Wall.
2. To make the Great Wall tour more memorable, taking a toboggan to slide down it is an exciting option when the weather is nice. You can control the speed and a helmet will be provided to ensure your safety.
After a morning flight to Chengdu, your local guide will take you to track down some pandas. Panda Post is the only postal service in the world with the giant panda as its theme, where you can buy everything featuring the giant panda, from stamps, postcards, albums, and envelopes to toys and souvenirs. You can post lovely postcards to anywhere in the world. It also offers a special service to mail a postcard to yourself 10 to 20 years in the future.
After authentic Chinese-styled lunch, you will be transferred to Chunxi Road to take photos with the largest Panda Sculpture in China. Created by preeminent artist Lawrence Argent, this climbing wall panda is called "I Am Here!" It will be an interesting experience to capture the moment with this trendy landmark of Chengdu.
Chengdu People's Park is arranged at the end of the day to have a deep breath of fresh air. Verdant trees and various flowers make the traditional pavilions and buildings much more graceful. You can join the local people to experience the bustle and chatter of a local teahouse in this area.
Visit the home of giant pandas at Panda Breeding and Research Center, in the outskirts of Chengdu. Visit the nursery to see the highly successful breeding program, among the bamboo groves and shady walkways, and to view the pandas at rest or play. There is a panda museum where you can learn some information about giant pandas.
After lunch, you will visit the Jinsha Site Museum to travel back in time to ancient Chengdu. Located in northwestern urban Chengdu, the Jinsha Site Museum has been hailed as one of the major archaeological discoveries in China in recent years, where the 3,000-year old Sun and Immortal Bird (the symbol of Chengdu) was discovered.
You will feel Chengdu's relaxation in Jinli Street, a commercial street with a history of over 2,000 years. In this 550-meter street, you will feast on numerous Sichuan-style snacks, bargain for stylish local crafts, and imagine the bustling of the past with the rows of ancient-styled buildings.
Good to know:
In order to protect the giant pandas from becoming infected with the canine distemper virus, all the panda bases stopped public interaction with the pandas from January, 2015. Dujiangyan Panda Base has reopened the volunteer program as well as the program to take photos next to a panda since March, 2015. If you would like to join the Panda Volunteer Program or take photos with a panda next to you, we are happy to arrange a day tour to Dujiangyan Panda Valley for you.
After a buffet breakfast in the hotel, your guide and driver will escort you to the railway station to catch the bullet train to Chongqing. It takes about two hours and your private guide in Chongqing will be waiting to transfer you to the pier to board the cruise.
Good to know:
Snacks and wine can be pricey on the cruise. If necessary, your guide can take you to a supermarket in order to purchase some snacks and drinks.
Enjoy the scene of riverbanks passing by in leisure in the morning. In the afternoon, a short visit to Shibaozhai — a magnificent red pavilion providing a walkway to the top of the hill — allows for spectacular views of the area. An optional tour to Fengdu Ghost City awaits those who are interested in mystical matters.
A welcoming banquet and party ends the day, while you glide along the glistening river.
Two of the magnificent three gorges, Qutang and Wu Gorge, are passed through this morning, so be ready with a camera. The wonder of engineering, the vast ship locks, and the majesty of nature present themselves to you as you sit back and relax.
The afternoon is dedicated to Shennong Stream, with rushing waterfalls and an ancient plank path leading to suspended coffins in the cliff. You also have the option of visiting the White Emperor City.
In the evening, the crew of the ship will entertain you with their performances.
Three Gorges Dam is the highlight of the day, and a visit to the top of the dam gives great photo opportunities. After arriving in Yichang, you will be taken to the airport for a transfer flight to Shanghai. Your guide in Shanghai will escort you back to the hotel for a good rest.
Shanghai is a collision of new and old. Visit the new part of Shanghai in the morning and go to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall to have a fascinating insight into Shanghai's future and the Shanghai World Financial Center which has the tallest glass observation deck in China. Lunch is a meal of Cantonese food in beautiful surroundings with a nice view over the Bund.
In the afternoon, travel back in time to the old part of Shanghai: the famous Yuyuan Garden that was built during the Ming Dynasty. A market street near Yuyuan Garden is an exciting experience where crowds of people buy local snacks, handicrafts, antiques, and souvenirs.
According to former clients' experiences, they highly recommend having a free day in Shanghai to shop in Nanjing Road or wander around the Bund, where the spectacular skyline is said to rival that of New York.
The following options are recommended to fill your free day:
Water town day tour: Dozens of picturesque water towns around Shanghai have inimitable scenery with their black-awning boats, arched bridges, tilted eaves, and their interesting local dialects. Zhujiajiao (40 minutes away) and Xitang (one hour away) are recommended. Choose one and escape into the tranquility of ancient China.
Day tour to Suzhou or Hangzhou: Hangzhou is one hour away via a high-speed train. It was considered to be like heaven on Earth in ancient China. It is famous for its picturesque view of West Lake. If you are interested in ancient Chinese gardens, Suzhou is only about 30 minutes away via a high-speed train or 90 minutes by private transfer. The ancient gardens in Suzhou represent the highest art and architecture of ancient China and you can also take a boat across the ancient Grand Canal.
-Local Interactive Options
Three-hour in-depth visit to Shanghai's old alleys: Experience the real lifestyle of the Shanghainese. Enjoy lunch and chat with some locals in their home. Visit the local market and even learn how to speak Shanghainese.
Two-hour Shanghai sidecar experience tour: In this fabulous and unique tour, you will discover Shanghai in a different and exciting way. The sidecar driver and guide will be a Westerner who has lived in China for years and can introduce you to Shanghai from different angles.
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, your guide and driver will make sure you get to the airport on time and without any stress. Say goodbye to China and take the lovely memories home.
Good to know:
To experience the development of modern China, the Maglev Train is recommended as it is the fastest train in China. The average speed is 300 km/h (186 mi/h) and it takes only 10 minutes to reach Pudong Airport. The service runs between 6:45am and 9:40pm.
1. Tailoring your tour
This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we are happy to help you arrange with our professional knowledge and experience.
(1) Hotels with a convenient location and swimming pool are recommended. Please note that a swimsuit/trunks and swimming cap are required to enter the swimming pool.
(2) If you prefer other hotel options: economical choices, Chinese-style hotels, home stay, apartment, or would like to book the hotels on your own, please feel free to inform us and we will be happy to adjust the details.
(3) Most hotels in China allow at most three people in one room. If there are more than three people in your group, we will check if there is family room available or do our best to arrange interconnecting rooms or adjoin rooms.
Lunches at popular local restaurants are included for you in order to taste authentic Chinese food. Your guide will assist you with ordering dishes loved by both adults and children. Most families enjoy eating local Chinese food as there is plenty of variety and different flavors, and the food is so much better and different from the Chinese food served back home. Some children may prefer Western food or have some special requirements for meals. Please inform us and we will do our best to cater to your needs
4. Car Seats, Stroller, and Baby Crib
To maximize the safety of your children, we can arrange for car seats to be fitted at your request during the private transfers in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. A baby stroller can be provided in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. For a baby under two years old, we will inform the hotel to arrange a crib for you. No extra cost is needed. The number of car seats, strollers, and cribs are limited. Please inquire and confirm early to reserve them.
5. First Aid Kit
We all know how active kids can be. In case of some small injury, our guides will take a first aid kit with them during the tour, including alcohol prep pads, sterile gauze sponges, and bandages.