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22-Day Hong Kong, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Yangtze, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing and Shanghai Tour

Classic Yangtze River Cruise and Panda Tour

Begin your journey in the vibrant metropolis of Hong Kong, then witness the surreal beauty of Guilin and Zhangjiajie's Avatar Mountains. Cruise along the majestic Yangtze River, explore the bustling streets of Chongqing, and encounter adorable pandas in Chengdu. Discover the ancient treasures of Xian, marvel at Beijing's iconic landmarks, and soak in the modernity of Shanghai. This comprehensive adventure offers an unparalleled blend of history, nature, and urban exploration.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Find the Hidden Halls in the Forbidden City

the Forbidden City

Explore a Top-Ranked Section of the Great Wall

walking on the Great Wall

Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"

Hallelujah Mountain

Witness the Famous Three Gorges of China

Yangtze River gorge

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Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

DAY 1 Hong Kong Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Hong Kong. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

DAY 2 Hong Kong to Macau | St. Paul, Mount Fortress

You'll be transported to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry pier for a comfortable high-speed ferry ride to Macau. Begin your Macau adventure at the iconic Ruins of St. Paul, followed by visits to Mount Fortress, Section of the Old Wall, and Leal Senado Square. Immerse yourself in local culture and shop for unique produce at sidewalk stalls. Savor a simple set lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, your city sightseeing continues with visits to the historic A-Ma Temple and, if time allows, a famous casino for some entertainment.

DAY 3 Hong Kong to Guilin | Victoria Peak

Your adventure begins with a visit to the iconic Victoria Peak, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city. As you ascend to the peak, enjoy a one-way trip on the Peak Tram, a fascinating 8-minute journey that provides a unique perspective of Hong Kong's impressive skyscrapers.

Next, delve into the rich maritime culture of Aberdeen, a world-renowned destination known for its fishing village traditions and delectable seafood. For an up-close encounter with this unique way of life, opt for a sampan ride (additional fee of HK$10–12).

Continue your exploration at Stanley Market, nestled near the picturesque beach. Once a quaint fishing village, Stanley Market now beckons with a diverse array of treasures, including Chinese-style artwork, luxurious silk fabrics, antiques, and plus-size clothing.

DAY 4 Guilin to Longsheng | Longji Rice Terraces

Discover the awe-inspiring Longji Rice Terraces, often referred to as 'Dragon's Backbone,' owing to their appearance as dragon-like ribbons on steep mountainsides. Crafted by local minority communities 600 years ago, these terraces stretch over 66 square kilometers.

Our journey takes us to Ping'an Zhuang Village, home to over 50 families and 200 residents. The village's rice fields span elevations from 300 to 1,100 meters above sea level. Be prepared for a moderately challenging hike, with cars parking outside the village and an hour-long ascent up a series of steps to the summit, offering panoramic views of the breathtaking rice terraces.

For those preferring a leisurely option, sedan chairs are available for hire from the parking area to the mountaintop (approximately CNY 350 per person for a round trip). Alternatively, if you have mobility concerns, we can arrange a car to transport you directly to the mountaintop (please request this in advance, noting that it may not be available during Chinese national holidays).

Don't miss the chance to learn the art of crafting Bamboo Stuffed Rice, a local culinary delicacy with a delightful bamboo essence. Engage with a local family and gain hands-on experience in making this delectable dish.

DAY 5 Guilin to Yangshuo | Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise: Guilin to Yangshuo (4-Star Boat). Embark on a memorable four-hour Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. Enjoy picturesque views around every river bend, from majestic limestone peaks to serene bamboo groves and rural landscapes. Witness farmers at work, water buffaloes, and traditional fishermen. Our choice is a newly operated 4-star boat for up to 80 passengers, featuring a buffet or semi-buffet lunch.

Discover the stunning countryside of Yangshuo, famous for its enchanting karst peaks, lush rice fields, and tranquil rural life. Admire the breathtaking natural beauty, including clear waters and vibrant bamboo forests, while also delving into local village life. Your guide will accompany you for a 1.5-hour journey covering 10-12 kilometers by bike. Alternatively, you can opt for an electromobile or private car at no extra cost.

Impression Liu Sanjie Show: Experience the spectacular Impression Liu Sanjie show, directed by renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Set along a 2-kilometer stretch of the Li River, this performance brings to life the legendary folk heroine Liu Sanjie. Enjoy a captivating tale of love, intrigue, and tragedy, complemented by music, lights, dance, and the river's natural beauty. Showtimes may vary by season, typically at 19:45-20:55 or 21:20-22:30.

DAY 6 Guilin to Zhangjiajie | Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave: Just 5 kilometers northwest of Guilin lies the magnificent Reed Flute Cave, named after the reeds found at its entrance used for crafting flutes and pipes. As Guilin's largest and most impressive cave, it stretches 240 meters in length, with a 550-meter tour showcasing a surreal world of vividly colored stalactites, stalagmites, stone pillars, stone curtains, and unique rock formations. The 40-minute guided visit involves navigating several steps, so watch your step as the cave is dimly lit, with guides using electric torches to illuminate the way.

Marvel at Elephant Trunk Hill: Elephant Trunk Hill, standing proudly at the confluence of the Li River and Peach Blossom River, serves as Guilin's iconic symbol. Its 55-meter height earned its name due to its striking resemblance to an elephant sipping water from the Li River through its trunk. The hill features numerous caves and a charming small pagoda at its peak.

Discover the Charm of Daxu Ancient Town: Situated approximately 18 kilometers southeast of Guilin along the Li River's banks, Daxu Ancient Town boasts well-preserved historic buildings, weathered bluestone pathways, and a rich traditional culture. It was a bustling hub for water transportation between Guangdong (Canton) and Guangxi, once counted among Guangxi's four renowned ancient towns. Enjoy a two-hour exploration of this picturesque old town.

DAY 7 Zhangjiajie | The National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Nature's Masterpiece. Explore Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its awe-inspiring landscapes shaped by centuries of erosion. Marvel at the unique pillar-like formations and lush forests, covering over 90% of the area. Discover captivating attractions like Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, Jinbian Stream, and Wulongzhai. Immerse yourself in local culture by visiting nearby villages inhabited by Tujia, Bai, Miao, and Hui ethnic groups.

Mt. Tianzishan: A Natural Spectacle. Experience the wonders of Mount Tianzishan, renowned for its misty peaks, stunning sunrises, moonlit nights, and snow-covered winter vistas. Explore over 80 natural platforms offering breathtaking views. Take a cable car to Tianzi Mountain, coordinating with your guide to avoid peak wait times.

Bailong Sightseeing Elevator: Ascend to New Heights. Ride the world's highest and fastest sightseeing elevator, the Bailong Sightseeing Elevator, reaching a height of 335 meters in just two minutes. Plan your visit with your guide to avoid peak wait times.

Yuanjiajie: Wonderland of Natural Marvels. Discover Yuanjiajie's natural wonders, including the famous Hallelujah Mountain, inspired by "Avatar." Capture stunning photos of the "First Bridge in the World" from the "Viewing Bridge Platform." To avoid crowds, embark on a morning journey around 5:00 with your guide. Explore Tianzi Mountain and Yangjia Valley for more natural marvels. Highlights include the iconic Hallelujah Mountain and Viewing Bridge Platform.

DAY 8 Zhangjiajie| The Grand Canyon with Glass Bridge

Today, our guide will lead you to visit Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, which is a stunning natural attraction that has recently been developed into a wonderland for visitors. It offers a combination of majestic mountains, flowing streams, intriguing caves, towering cliffs, and lush forests. One of the highlights of this scenic area is the world's longest and highest glass bridge. Imagine the thrill of walking on this bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground! It's definitely an experience you wouldn't want to miss during your tour.

If walking on the glass bridge isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. We have an alternative route that allows you to still enjoy the attraction without stepping on the glass bridge. However, if you decide to take on the adventure, please note that for safety reasons, carrying a camera on the bridge is not allowed. You can, however, bring your cellphone or GoPro to capture those unforgettable moments.

DAY 9 Zhangjiajie to Yichang | Tianmen Mountain

Tianmen Mountain Adventure: Glass Walkway and Cable Car. Experience the heart and soul of Zhangjiajie with a visit to Tianmen Mountain, the region's tallest peak. Prepare to be captivated by ancient trees, majestic karst formations, and winding roads etched into the cliffsides. Embark on a thrilling cable car ride that spans an impressive 30-minute journey from the city center to the mountain's summit, boasting the title of the world's longest cable car.

For the boldest adventurers, don't miss the Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway, an awe-inspiring platform extending a dizzying 1,430 meters above the ground. This 1.6-meter-wide, 60-meter-long transparent pathway offers both breathtaking views and spine-tingling thrills as you cautiously step across it. Often likened to the Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona, USA, this attraction promises an unforgettable experience.

DAY 10 Yangtze River | The Century Victoria Cruise

Start your day with a delightful morning coffee, tea, and pastries. Engage in a revitalizing Tai Chi exercise session. Indulge in a delicious breakfast buffet. Embark on a mesmerizing shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City (Included) and immerse yourself in its unique cultural offerings. Relish a satisfying lunch from the buffet. Delight in a delectable buffet dinner. Immerse yourself in the captivating night performance of "The War Fire of Three Kingdoms Show" in Zhongxian County.

DAY 11 Yangtze River | The Century Victoria Cruise

Enjoy your moning coffee, tea, and pastries followed by Tai Chi exercise. Breakfast (Buffet): Enjoy a variety of dishes.You can take other optional Tour: Visit the White Emperor City. Or juse enjoy the scenic cruising: take in the stunning Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge views.

DAY 12Chongqing to Chengdu| Three Gorges Dam

Today you will embark on a fascinating shore excursion to visit the Three Gorges Dam Site. Please note that the golf car fee of CNY10 per person is not included in the tour. After the excursion, transfer to Yichang by bus.

Optional Tour: If you choose to take the optional tour, disembark at Maoping Pier and enjoy a scenic sail through the Ship Lift. Afterwards, take a bus to the Three Gorges Dam Site.

DAY 13 Chengdu| The Panda Breeding and Research Center

Embark on an unforgettable journey in Chengdu with our one-day tour. Start by visiting the Panda Breeding and Research Center, where you'll witness the highly successful breeding program amidst bamboo groves. Explore the panda museum to learn more about these fascinating animals. Afterwards, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Jinli Old Street, sampling local snacks and discovering traditional architecture.

Don't miss the chance to visit the iconic "I Am Here" Panda Sculpture, a massive art installation that has become a trendy landmark. Indulge in the unique experience of Panda Post, where you can purchase panda-themed items and even mail a postcard to your future self.

End your day with a sizzling culinary adventure by trying the famous Sichuan Hotpot. Let your taste buds be tantalized by the numbingly spicy flavors of this traditional Chengdu cuisine. Our knowledgeable guide will be there every step of the way, ensuring you make the most of your trip. Prepare for an enchanting journey filled with giant pandas, cultural delights, and unforgettable experiences.

DAY 14 Chengdu to Xi'an | The Jinli Old Street

Jinli Old Street: Travel back in time at Jinli Old Street, the once-vibrant commercial heart of ancient kingdoms. Immerse yourself in the traditional Sichuan-style architecture, bustling markets, and lively atmosphere. Explore local arts and crafts, sample traditional Chinese goods, savor local delicacies, and even experience Starbucks, Sichuan-style.

Wenshu Monastery: Discover the serenity of Wenshu Monastery, a magnificent Zen Buddhist temple complex. Marvel at the exquisitely decorated halls housing a captivating collection of artworks, statues, and curios. Don't miss the popular vegetarian restaurant, offering delectable dishes. Relax at the teahouses, a perfect spot to observe the bustling crowd of worshippers.

DAY 15 Xi'an | Terracotta Army

Discover the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army, accidentally unearthed in 1974. This incredible army consists of over 7000 unique soldiers, archers, horses, and chariots in full battle array. Guarding Emperor Qin's tomb since 210 BC, these life-sized figures are an incredible sight. Explore the three protected excavation pits, housed inside massive hangars, and learn about their history at the excellent museum nearby. Photography is allowed (without flash), so don't forget your camera. Wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey.

Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to visit a local family workshop in the countryside. Learn firsthand from skilled artisans the intricate process of creating Terracotta Warriors. Have a chance to interact with the locals and discover fascinating details about how these life-sized warriors were made in ancient times. Gain insight into the most challenging steps of the production process while enjoying a unique cultural experience.

Explore the Ancient City Wall: The impressive city walls, ramparts, gates, and watchtowers date back to the 13th century and offer a captivating glimpse into ancient China's city defense. Built on the foundation of the original Tang Forbidden City, this well-preserved structure encloses the city center. You can choose to walk or rent a bike or electric cart (additional cost) to enjoy a 14km circuit with stunning views of the city on both sides.

Experience China's Traditional Costume (Hanfu): Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by wearing Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han Chinese. Discover the rich history and significance of Hanfu during a one-hour guided tour in an ancient academy. Learn about different Hanfu styles and ancient etiquette. Afterward, take a break, sip a cup of tea, and even try your hand at movable type printing. It's a unique opportunity to indulge in something special and memorable.

DAY 16 Xi'an to Beijing | The Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Visit the revered Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a significant Buddhist site set amidst the tranquil Da Ci'en Temple grounds. Built in the 7th century, this elegant brick pagoda was erected to house Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by Xuanzang (Tripitaka). Explore the temple complex, where you'll discover grand halls adorned with remarkable Buddhist statues and captivating murals.

Hanyang Tomb: Embark on a captivating journey to the Han Yang Ling Museum, located in the northern outskirts of Xian City, along the banks of the Wei River. This hidden gem, situated approximately 20 km from Xian, showcases an underground collection of figurines from an ancient Han Dynasty emperor's tomb. These smaller clay figures, created a century after the Terracotta Warriors, offer a unique perspective on history. Wander over glass floors, gazing at the well-preserved artifacts below, and gain insight into this lesser-known archaeological wonder.

Muslim Quarter: Discover the vibrant Muslim Quarter, nestled just 100 meters west of the Bell Tower in downtown Xi'an. Stroll along the charming 500-meter-long avenue paved with bluestones, where a myriad of unique stalls, souvenir shops, cafés, and bars await. Many of these establishments are owned and operated by the local Muslim community. Explore this bustling hub, which attracts tourists from around the world, offering a delightful shopping and culinary experience.

DAY 17 Beijing | The Forbidden City

Explore the Forbidden City: Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City served as the imperial residence for 24 emperors during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. This magnificent complex is the largest and best-preserved ancient imperial architecture in the world. Marvel at the grand square, halls, and gates, as well as the intricate gardens, courtyards, and living quarters. The Forbidden City houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions, offering a glimpse into the treasures of ancient China. Expect about 2 hours of moderate walking (2 kilometers). Please note that starting from April 1st, 2013, the Imperial Palace is closed every Monday afternoon.

Visit Jingshan Park: Once a part of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park underwent changes in the 1900s. Portions of the park were demolished to make way for a road, resulting in the loss of several gates and buildings between the park and the palace's rear entrance. However, the hill within Jingshan Park was created using earth excavated to construct the palace moat. On a clear day, climb the hill for breathtaking views of the Forbidden City and Beijing. It's a perfect spot to capture spectacular panoramic vistas.

DAY 18 Beijing | The Temple of Heaven and Mutianyu Great Wall

Visit the Temple of Heaven: Built in 1420 during the Ming dynasty, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings where emperors held annual ceremonies to pray for good harvests. The temple's park is lively, especially in the morning when local elderly people gather to sing, exercise, and practice tai chi. Covering 273 hectares in the southern part of central Beijing, you'll explore the park for about 1-1.5 hours (1.5 kilometers) with an easy-grade walk.

Explore the Mutianyu Great Wall: The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is highly rated on TripAdvisor for its picturesque scenery and beautifully-restored architecture. It is particularly popular among families due to its child-friendly facilities and multiple visiting options. Located about 1.5 hours' drive from downtown Beijing, this section offers a fully restored 2.5-kilometer stretch.

To save time, we arrange a round-trip cable car ride for you instead of climbing the stairs (which takes about 40 minutes). Once on the Wall, you'll have free time to walk around and take in the stunning views. We recommend hiking the "golden route" between the 14th and 23rd watchtowers, recognized as the most beautiful and interesting section by avid hikers. The hike typically takes approximately 2 hours. Afterward, descend and take a bus back to our vehicle.

Tips: If visiting the Mutianyu section, we recommend using walking sticks, especially for those with weaker legs or balance, as it can be helpful on some parts of the wall.

DAY 19 Beijing to Shanghai | Hutong Tour and Summer Palace

Take a Hutong Tour in Xicheng District: Explore the historical maze of Hutong, a network of old alleyways with traditional single-story courtyard houses. Hop on a rickshaw for a ride through the narrow alleys and visit a local family. Then, take a walk on the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge) and discover the unique thresholds of the courtyards. It's a fascinating glimpse into Beijing's traditional neighborhoods.

Learn to Apply Facial Makeup for Peking Opera: Experience the art of applying facial makeup for Chinese traditional opera. This intricate art form showcases exquisite patterns of vibrant colors and delicate lines, achieved through brush painting and hand techniques. Under the guidance of an expert teacher, try your hand at applying makeup to a mask, and even choose the makeup for your favorite character. It's a truly immersive cultural experience.

Discover the Summer Palace with Boat Ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony: Located about 9 miles (15 kilometers) from downtown Beijing, the Summer Palace is China's largest and best-preserved royal park. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural landscapes and cultural wonders that have earned it the title of 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. Explore the park on foot for approximately 2 kilometers (2 hours). Please note that certain areas, such as Longevity Hill and the opera recital area, may require an additional fee for entry.

Tips: Keep in mind that specific areas within the Summer Palace, such as Longevity Hill and the opera recital area, may require an additional payment for entry.

DAY 20 Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden and the Bund

Yuyuan Garden: Step into the heart of Shanghai's old quarters and immerse yourself in the enchanting Yuyuan Garden. Dating back to 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, this private garden showcases quintessential Chinese classic architecture and design. Explore the sprawling 2-hectare complex, complete with picturesque rockeries, pavilions, serene ponds, and meandering corridors. Surrounding the garden is a bustling marketplace, where you can indulge in a delightful array of local snacks, peruse handicrafts, discover antiques and souvenirs, and savor the offerings of renowned time-honored restaurants.

The Bund: Stroll along the iconic 1.5-kilometer-long embankment of the Bund, tracing the western bank of the Huangpu River. On the western side, you'll find a captivating "architecture gallery" featuring 52 impeccably preserved European-style buildings. Once the epicenter of trade and commerce in old Shanghai, the Bund has undergone a dramatic transformation. Today, it exudes a vibrant energy, with futuristic developments, trendy restaurants, upscale shops, and bars. Whether by day or night, the Bund offers a spellbinding experience.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower: Marvel at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of the world's tallest TV towers renowned for its distinctive spherical design. This architectural masterpiece graces the east bank of the Huangpu River, gazing across at the Bund's historic charm. Explore the Shanghai History Museum located on the tower's first floor, featuring four major exhibition units that delve into Shanghai's multifaceted history, modern era, and recent revolutionary past. Please note that during the tourist high season (July-September), expect crowds and potential wait times of up to an hour.

Jade Buddha Temple: The Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1918, holds a special place in the hearts of local residents. Its main treasures are two exquisite Buddha statues brought by sea from Burma. These statues, carved from rare single blocks of white jade and adorned with precious stones, are a sight to behold. Within the temple's walls, you'll find a vibrant atmosphere teeming with monks, devoted worshippers, and curious visitors alike. Explore this spiritual haven and soak in the serene ambiance.

DAY 21 Shanghai | Zhujiajiao Water Town

Shikumen: Explore Shikumen, or "stone gate" houses, where 80% of Shanghainese grew up before the 1990s. Today, Shikumen has transformed into a vibrant hub filled with bars, tea houses, and entertainment centers. Don't miss Wu Li Xiang, a small exhibition showcasing old Shanghainese home furnishings.

Zhujiajiao Water Town: Shaped like a fan, Zhujiajiao Water Town boasts centuries of history. Wander the lanes lined with Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture and cross 36 stone bridges that exude ancient charm. This tour covers eight must-see attractions, from the ancient pharmacy Tongtianhe to the serene Kezhi Garden.

Zhujiajiao Boat Ride: Embark on a captivating Zhujiajiao Boat Ride, a highlight of Shanghai tours. Drift along, taking in the tranquil yet bustling water town. In just 20 minutes, you'll pass by major attractions like Tongtianhe, the historic Post Office, Chenghuang Temple, and more. The boat comfortably seats up to six passengers.

DAY 22 Shanghai Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Shanghai Pudong Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

Tour Price

FromUS5,500 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Tour code: cht-cx-72

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