12 Nights | Treasures of China and the Yangtze
Delve into China’s timeless cultural legacy on this exotic and unforgettable journey.
Begin your adventure in cosmopolitan Shanghai—China’s commercial center—home to dazzling architecture, delicious dim sum, and delightful acrobats. Experience them all first-hand, along with a visit to the excellent Shanghai Museum. Embark upon a scenic Yangtze River cruise that ventures into the heart of the Middle Kingdom and its stupendous Three Gorges, renowned for their rugged mountain peaks, shape-shifting clouds, and curious rock formations. Visit the Shibao Pagoda—a magical place reputed to make wishes come true—and enjoy a city tour of Chongqing and its wonderful zoo, where you’ll see giant pandas, China’s adorable ambassadors. Fly to Xi’an for a face-to-face encounter with eight thousand fierce Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, entombed 22 centuries ago to guard the spirit of China’s first emperor.
Then it’s onward to Beijing to see the Temple of Heaven. Adorned with extravagant patterns, vibrant colors, and intricate carvings, this gilded temple is a superb example of Ming Dynasty artistry. Visit the Forbidden City—the imposing former residence of China’s powerful emperors—and Tiananmen Square, the setting for many historic events and the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games, a spectacle that mesmerized viewers around the world. Dine with a local family and take a rickshaw ride through the city’s atmospheric hutongs—charming maze-like neighborhoods with a true nostalgic vibe. Conclude your journey with a walk along a scenic section of the 55-hundred-mile-long Great Wall, an experience you will rave about for years to come.
Who will enjoy this cruise/tour
Travelers looking to experience the incredible contrasts that China offers will find much to entice them on this 12-day itinerary from Shanghai to Beijing—tranquil temples, bustling mega-metropolises, iconic cultural treasures, and cuddly pandas—plus 5 days of spectacular Yangtze River landscapes.
You will visit the following 6 places:
Chongqing, formerly known as Chungking, is a major city in southwestern mainland China and one of the five national central cities. Administratively, it is one of the People's Republic of China's four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in western China. The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the sub-provincial city administration that was part of Sichuan Province. In 2007, the municipality of Chongqing had a population of 31.4 million. It has jurisdiction over 19 districts, 17 counties, and four autonomous counties. With an area of 82,300 km² (31,800 mi²), it is the largest direct-controlled municipality, larger even than one province and an autonomous region, as well as Taiwan. It is possibly the world's largest municipality by population and one of the largest by area.
Yangtze River is the largest in China and the third largest in the world after the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. It is about 3,964 miles in length. It stretches across eleven provinces and cities from west to east, including Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Finally it pours into the East China Sea at Shanghai.
Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is infectious. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden as well as the extensive Lujiazui skyline, many skyscrapers, and major museums including the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China. Go to its heart, The Bund, to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display, or watch the crowds go by in People's Square!
Beijing is a metropolis in Northern China, and the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the most populous cities in the world. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjing Municipality to the southeast. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. Beijing has a glorious past, but is by no means stuck in the past. Standing side-by-side with old Beijing's crimson palace complexes are the city's modern buildings, the super-modern Olympic Village, with the Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube; the dazzling shopping malls in Wangfujing Street and the colorful entertainment center of Houhai. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China!
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. It is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. Xi'an is, for certain, one of the most popular tourist destinations among foreign travelers. A tour to Xi'an is something that any tourist to China would not want to miss, as it serves as a window on China's ancient civilization.
A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the sophisticated Pudong Shangri-La.
Featured Excursions: Shanghai city tour, dim sum lunch, and Shanghai Acrobats performance
Long a bustling commercial center, Shanghai has become one of the world’s most exciting cities, brimming with spectacular skyscrapers designed by world-famous architects. In the morning, you’ll stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s famed waterfront promenade, and get a sense of its 19th-century roots. Then enjoy a traditional dim sum lunch at your hotel, after which you’ll have time to browse through the district’s intriguing shops. In the evening, a performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobats will dazzle you.
Shanghai, fly to Yichang
Featured Excursion: Shanghai Museum
Begin the day with a visit to the Shanghai Museum, a stunning contemporary structure that houses treasures of Chinese art, including ancient bronzes from the Shang and Zhou periods, exquisite jades, calligraphic works from many dynasties, and Ming and Qing furniture. Then you’ll fly to Yichang, where you’ll board your comfortable ship.
Yichang, cruising the Yangtze River
Featured Excursion: Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric project, and it is changing the landscape and the economy of the nation. It is designed to both generate power to fuel China’s economic growth and control flooding on the Yangtze. You’ll visit this astonishing feat of modern engineering before setting sail along the most scenic section of the Yangtze, the Three Gorges. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception with complimentary wine.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shennv Stream
Featured Excursion: Explore Shennong Stream
You’ll get a close-up view of the breathtaking landscape as you board a small boat and cruise along the Shennong Stream, a tributary to the Yangtze. Karst caves pock the high cliffs surrounding you, and monkeys play on the shore beside the sparkling waters.
Note: Due to water conditions we may substitute a Lesser Gorges boat tour for the Shennong Stream boat tour.
Cruising the Yangtze River, Shibaozhai
Featured Excursion: Shibao Pagoda
Shibao Pagoda, whose red walls and yellow gate are a Yangtze River landmark, was built into the side of a hill in the 18th century. Although the temple is twelve stories tall, only its top three stories tower above the tor. Make a wish and climb the stairs; legend has it that the higher you climb, the more likely it is that your wish will come true. In the evening, a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine will be served.
Chongqing, fly to Xi’an
Featured Excursions: Chongqing city tour with zoo visit, and traditional dumpling banquet
Disembark in Chongqing, the booming capital of western China. As part of your city tour, you’ll visit the giant pandas at the Chongqing Zoo. In the afternoon, you’ll catch a flight to the ancient city of Xi’an, where you’ll settle into the serene Shangri-La Xi’an hotel and savor an extraordinary dumpling banquet in the city widely considered the birthplace of this famous Chinese food.
Featured Excursions: Museum of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, City Wall, and Tang Dynasty dinner show
Twenty-two centuries ago, China’s first emperor was entombed with a vast army of soldiers and horses made of clay. The tomb complex lay undisturbed until the 20th century. Only about eight thousand of the UNESCO-designated Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses have been excavated thus far, which you’ll visit at the museum. Then you’ll see the massive defensive wall built around Xi’an in the 15th century. During the evening, indulge in a traditional dinner served with rice wine and a performance that re-creates the music, folk dances, and costumes of the Tang Dynasty.
Xi’an, fly to Beijing
Featured Excursion: Temple of Heaven
Today, you’ll catch a flight to Beijing and visit the UNESCO-designated Temple of Heaven, before checking in to the exquisite Ritz Carlton.
Featured Excursions: The Great Wall and kung fu show at Beijing’s Red Theatre
Start the morning off with a visit to one of the nation’s most iconic sights, the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Great Wall of China. Walk along the top of the wall to appreciate just how formidable a barrier it would have been to the nomadic mounted warriors who confronted it over the centuries. Back in Beijing, spend the evening at the Red Theatre, taking in a spectacular show that combines kung fu prowess with acrobatics and dance.
Featured Excursions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, hutongs tour with home-hosted lunch, and Peking Duck Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine
The last full day of your China adventure begins in broad Tiananmen Square, which is both the heart of modern Beijing and a gateway to the wonders of imperial China. Chairman Mao’s mausoleum borders the square, as does the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site you’ll visit today.
Your next stop will take you to the backbone of Old Beijing—the ancient residential lanes known as the hutongs. Hop aboard a rickshaw for a behind-the-scenes tour of these historic neighborhoods, where you can still see the region’s traditional courtyard homes. You’ll be invited to join a family in their home for a delicious traditional lunch. In the evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner of succulent Peking duck with wine, a signature dish of the city since imperial times.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home or continue your adventure with our memorable optional extension in Hong Kong.