11 Days China Golden Triangle Tour with Yangtze River Cruise
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TOUR
- Start from the Beijing, the capital of China, with a mix of history and modernity. Hike up to the Great Wall for a panoramic sight of the vast land, stroll among imperial palace, parks, old hutongs for a full savory;
- Make a transfer to the ancient capital of 13 dynasties - Xian; marvel at the eighth wonder in the world - Terracotta Warriors and take a relaxing stroll or cycle on the Ancient City Wall for a panoramic view of Xian;
- Enjoy 4 days Yangtze River cruise from Chongqing to Yichang aboard a luxury 5 star ship with interesting arrangement everyday. Relax yourselves with endless scenic sightseeing along the beautiful Three Gorges;
- Have a nice wandering in the Oriental Paris - Shanghai which has been described as the “showpiece” of the booming economy of China. Explore its skyline, museums and historical buildings with western-meets-eastern cultures.
Sampling Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1 Beijing ArrivalPick you up at the airport / railway station and escort you to the hotel
Ni Hao! Welcome to Beijing, the capital of China as well as a city combining both modern and traditional architecture. You’ll be met by our local guide at the arrival hall of Beijing airport / train station and escorted to your hotel in Beijing downtown by a private, comfortable and non-smoking vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to explore this ever-changing megacity.
Tips: If you want to explore near your hotel, please feel free to ask practical suggestions from our experienced tour guide.
Day 2 Beijing (B, L)Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Today, you’ll deeply explore the rich history and culture of imperial Beijing. Enjoy a brief visit to the most important landmark - Tian’anmen Square where Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. The square is surrounded by grand buildings including the Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Monument to the People’s Martyrs and the Forbidden City.
Walking through the Tian’anmen, you’ll visit one of the world’s five most important palaces - the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of Qing Dynasty (1420 to 1912) with 24 emperors lived. The complex is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world which consists of 980 buildings with 9,999 rooms. You’ll follow the central axis to visit Meridian Gate, Gate of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Supreme, Hall of Middle Harmony, Hall of Preserving Harmony and other gates, halls and gardens.
After lunch, you’ll drive to the western outskirts of Beijing to Summer Palace, the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. Listed as World Heritage Site, Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, pavilions, halls, temples, gardens and bridges. Spend some enjoyable time strolling around Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake and Long Corridor and feast your eyes with beautiful landscape.
Optional activities: 1) In the evening, you can watch a fascinating Kung Fu Show in the Red Theater (Hong Ju Chang) which usually starts at 19:30; 2) Enjoy the classic Beijing Opera at Liyuan Theater during 19:30~21:00.
The Landmark of Beijing - Tian'anmen Square
Enjoy Panoramic View of Forbidden City
Longevity Hill & Kunming Lake of Summer Palace
Day 3 Beijing (B, L)Mutianyu Great Wall, Sacred Road, Bird’s Nest & Water Cube
After breakfast, drive about 70km to witness one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Wall. Visit the Mutianyu, a less crowded yet well-preserved segment of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It will more than live up to all of your expectations! This great wall, linking Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west, was served as the vital military strategic point in the ancient time. Moreover, Mutianyu section is the “longest great wall in China” so far and since protection work is well done here, tourists can now see its original appearance and enjoy the real ancient culture of great wall. Also, spectacular natural scenery in Mutianyu Great Wall always impresses visitors here for its abundant vegetation. You’ll take a cable car to ascend the Great Wall, then hike the most beautiful and interesting part of Mutianyu. It's a wonderful experience to climb up its rising towers to enjoy scenic views and take brag-worthy photos of the wall wriggling along mountain ridges. After the exciting time, descend Mutianyu Great Wall by cable car. (Note: If energy permits, you can hike up or down which takes about 40 minutes to climb steps. Please tell your likes to your travel consultant.)
Continue your trip to Sacred Way, a 7-kilometer-long passage leading to the Imperial Tombs of 13 Emperors of Ming Dynasty. The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, who came from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Way, also would return to Heaven through this road. Take a walk through the largest archway in China and Great Palace Gate and you’ll see the magnificent stone guard of 12 sets of mythical animals and 12 officials. Then drive back to Beijing city and take a short stop at the Beijing Olympic Village to view its famous Bird’s Nest and Water Cube from the outside.
Optional activity: 1) Enjoy an exciting and safe toboggan ride (about 2~3mins) down Mutianyu Great Wall; 2) After the whole day’s tour, treat yourself a great dinner to taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck at Quanjude.
Bird’s Nest in Summer
Summer Scenery of Mutianyu Great Wall
Day 4 Beijing & High Speed Train to Xian (B, L)Temple of Heaven, Beijing Hutongs; 5 hours high speed train to Xian
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to Temple of Heaven, an imperial complex visited by the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. Know the symbolism of “Heaven” and “Earth” and explore the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. Enjoy the vivid life by visiting the surrounding park to see locals playing Taichi, flying kite, dancing, writing water calligraphy, and others.
Next, get back to the traditional part of Beijing to hop on a rickshaw to explore Beijing Hutongs and the culture of quadrangle dwellings. Shuttle among different Hutongs to get a feel of the old Beijing lifestyle, pass various antique shops and different boutiques and truly feel the historical change of Beijing.
After the tour, you’ll be escorted to Beijing West Railway Station for a high speed train to Xian (about 5hrs). The local guide will pick you up at Xian North Railway Station and escort you to your hotel. The rest of today is free on your own to explore this ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties.
Old Alley of Beijing Hutong
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests of Temple of Heaven
Day 5 Xian (B, L)Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter
In this morning, drive about 40km to the Eighth Wonder of the World - Terracotta Warriors and Horses which was founded in 1974 by local farmers and later listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Get into the living historical classroom to witness one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world. Visit the three pits containing more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses and know the history of Qin Dynasty (221-207BC), the emperors and the funerary art.
Next, drive back to Xian downtown for some leisure time on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved existing ancient city wall in China. This rectangular city wall is 13.75km in length, 12m in height and 15-18m in width which takes about 4 hours’ walking for the circuit. Standing on the ancient wall, you can enjoy panoramic view of Xian City. Then, you’ll be followed a trip to Muslim Quarter where you can taste different local food and snacks and explore Muslim culture.
Optional activities: 1) Take a relaxing cycling trip on the Ancient City Wall (about 2 hours); 2) Enjoy a brilliant Tang Palace Dance Show (usually from 20:00 to 21:00) after a hearty dumpling dinner.
Mighty Terracotta Warriors
Relaxing Cycling on Xian Ancient City Wall
Day 6 Xian & High Speed Train to Chongqing & Board Yangtze Cruise (B)Da Cien Temple, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda; 5-hour high speed train to Chongqing
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll head to Da Cien Temple with a history of 1350 years. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with seven-story at a height of 64.5 meters is the famous building in the temple. This pagoda was built by the famous Buddhist master Xuan Zang (the prototype character for Tang Seng in the famous Chinese novel “Journey to the West”) to preserve precious Buddhist relics, scriptures and figures of Buddha he bought back from India during the early Tang Dynasty. (Please note: It charges extra 30 Yuan to visit or climb up the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.)
Next, take an educational trip to Shaanxi History Museum with more than 370,000 pieces of cultural relics. Ramble in the modern exhibition halls to appreciate the relics such as bronzes, porcelains, terracotta armies, paintings, murals, currencies dating back from the Zhou to the Tang Dynasty period (1100BC to 907AD).
After tour, your guide and driver will escort you to the train station for your a high speed train to Chongqing (about 5 hours). In the late afternoon, you’ll be transferred to Chongqing Chaotianmen Port to board your ship during 18:00~21:00. Your 4-day relaxing downstream Yangtze River cruise will sail at 21:00!
Tips for boarding: 1) Please call the ship one day ahead or at least in the morning on the boarding day to have clear idea about which pier you are going to use; 2) There are 13 sub-pier of Chongqing Chaotianmen Port that tell the exact pier to your driver to avoid too much walking; 3) The boarding time and departure piers may change based on the ship line, water level, season, weather and other factors. Please pay attention to the important info your travel consultants sent to you before your boarding.
Shaanxi History Museum
Chongqing Chaotianmen Dock
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Day 7 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)Shibaozhai Pagoda, Captain’s Welcome Party
In this morning, wake up leisurely and enjoy the gentle sunshine shining over the tranquil Yangtze River. You can either follow the Taichi master to play Taichi on the sundeck or enjoy a cup of coffee to stretch your mood to start your beautiful day. It will be colorful and interesting no matter you stay onboard or go shore excursions at river stops.
Onboard you will enjoy different kinds of cultural activities and entertainment, like attending a Yangtze River History and Culture Lecture to know deeply about the third longest river in the world, taking part in the Captain’s Welcome Party to make new friends, or having great fun at the wonderful evening shows with sing, dance and music.
Also, you will follow a local English-speaking tour guide and make a shore excursion to Shibaozhai Pagoda, a pearl of Yangtze River in Zhongxian County. Reputed as one of the eight extraordinary architectures in the world, this 12-story, 16th century red wooden pagoda leans against the side of the rocky and craggy hill about 200 meters tall. Climbing up to the top of Shibaozhai, you can not only visit the Buddhist temples and halls but also have panoramic view of Yangtze River. (Please note: Comfortable shoes are highly recommended since there will be many stairs to climb up the pagoda.)
Optional excursion: Have a shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City today with an extra fee. Called “the Homeland of Divine Comedy in China”, it consists of buildings, structures, dioramas and statues related to the afterlife in hell. Entering this “City of Ghosts”, you will know many mysterious stories about underworld and cruel tortures and different kinds of devils and Chinese demons. (Please note: the visit to Fengdu Ghost City requires much walking and comfortable shoes highly recommended!)
Shibaozhai Pagoda, a Pearl of Yangtze River
Play Taichi in the Morning on Sundeck
Fengdu Ghost City
Day 8 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)Three Gorges, Shennv Stream, Captain’s Farewell Party
Today you will sail through the spectacular Three Gorges! Follow the guide’s live interpretation and soak up the breathtaking gorge scenery passing by as you drift through Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge respectively.
On this day, take an enjoyable shore excursion to Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream), a tributary of the Yangtze River in Wushan County. You will be switched to a smaller boat to sail down this primitive stream running in a narrow side gorge where you will have close-up views of steep mountains and hanging coffins high on the cliffs as well as hear some of the local history. Besides, you will be entertained with local music and dance offered by the Tujia ethnic group.
In this evening, enjoy the well-prepared Captain’s Farewell Party with all your mates onboard and have a pleasant dinner together.
Optional excursion: Enjoy a shore excursion to White Emperor City today with an extra fee. Located at the entrance of Qutang Gorge, this excursions gives you the chance to know Romance of the Three Kingdoms and offers the best pot to appreciate the magnificent “Kui Gate”.
Breathtaking Autumn Scenery of Yangtze Gorge
Shennv Stream with Primitive Gorge Scenery
Breathtaking Wu Gorge Scenery
Day 9 Yangtze River Cruise to Yichang & Fly to Shanghai (B, L)Three Gorges Dam
After breakfast, you’ll go through a check-out procedure and disembark at Maoping Port. Then, take a morning shore excursion to visit the world-famous project - Three Gorges Dam. The dam is the largest hydropower station in the world with an annual energy output of 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours. The Three Gorges Dam includes three areas: the dam itself, a hydroelectric, and a system of locks. The height of the Three Gorges Dam is 185 meters (607 ft) above the sea level. The dam is about 2,300 meters (7,546 ft) long and about 115 meters (377 ft) wide. With a water capacity of 39.3 billion cubic meters, the dam will hold a huge reservoir which will efficiently prevent flooding in the middle and lower portions of the Yangtze River. (Optional experience: you can choose to sail through the world’s largest ship lift - Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift to very closely marvel at the huge dam which is a totally fresh and exciting experience for travelers.)
After the dam visiting, you’ll take the tourist bus arranged by the cruise company transferring you to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal around 12:30~13:30. In this afternoon, you will be escorted to the airport for a flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival, be met by our local guide at the arrival hall of the airport and escorted to your hotel in downtown area by a private, comfortable and non-smoking vehicle. Have a nice sleep in Shanghai!
Tips & Note: No matter you take Ship Lift or not, you’ll do check-out procedure and take your luggage away from the ship in this early morning. (1) Only dam visiting: you’ll take bus from Maoping Port to Three Gorges Dam for sightseeing. You’ll arrive at Yichang downtown around 12:30. (2) Dam & Ship Lift Experience: travelers who are interested in Ship Lift will first switch to a sightseeing boat to sail through the Ship Lift and then visit Three Gorges Dam Site. You’ll arrive at Yichang downtown area around 13:30.
Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift New Experience
World-famous Three Gorges Dam
Day 10 Shanghai (B, L)Shanghai Museum, Yu Garden & Bazaar, Shanghai World Financial Center, the Bund
After breakfast, you’ll take a full day to explore the west-meet-east, modern-blend-tradition culture of Shanghai. First, take an educational trip to Shanghai Museum, one of the Four Greatest Museums in China. From outside, you’ll appreciate the beautiful appearance in the style of “Ding” which symbolizes “a round heaven and a square earth”. While entering into the exhibition rooms, you’ll treat your eyes with large number of collections of historic relics from Bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphic works to jades, coins, furniture, seals, sculptures, etc.
Then, head to Yu Garden, a typical ancient Chinese garden in Jiangnan area similar to the classical Suzhou Gardens! This garden fully embodies the traditional design of Chinese architecture with jagged pavilions with elegant decorations, glittering pools with roving fish, and pine trees sprouting to the sky, all designed to refresh your mood and spirit. Adjacent to the garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar where you can savor tasteful local snacks and explore elaborate traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works.
Next, drive to Pudong New District to the third tallest building in China - Shanghai World Financial Center. Stand on the 100th floor (474 meters) to have panoramic view of Shanghai downtown, Huangpu River as well as nearby towering buildings. Later, take a wonderful stroll along the Bund with a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. Feel the perfect fusion of Chinese and Western cultures while at the same time take in the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes! (Note: If time and energy permits, you can have a nice walk along Nanjing Road to experience the modern atmosphere of Shanghai.)
Optional activities: 1) Take a relaxing Huangpu River night cruise to see the city’s most significant edifices and streets sparkling under the atmospheric cover of darkness (about 50 minutes); 2) Enjoy an entertaining and breathtaking Acrobatic Show at Shanghai Circus World or other acrobatic theatres (usually performs during 19:30~21:00).
Have Panoramic View on the Top of Shanghai World Financial Center
Walk through the Zigzag Bridge of Yu Garden
The Bund - An Exhibition of International Buildings
Day 11 Shanghai Departure (B)Jade Buddha Temple, Tianzifang
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll pay a wonderful visit to Jade Buddha Temple, the site of the largest Jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures. This peaceful kingdom of Buddhism hidden among modern blocks and dominating mansions is a great place for a nice break in this very busy city.
Next, you’ll be transferred to Tianzifang which is touristic arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated traditional residential area in the French Concession area of Shanghai. It is the typical tourist attraction to appreciate the preservation of local Shikumen architecture. In this place full of rich flavor of life, you can leisurely stroll along the clean old alleys to watch the daily life of local Shanghai people, savor a cup of drink at the open-air café, and find some interesting things in the novel shops to feel the international feature mixed with real Shanghai culture.
After the tour, your guide will escort you the airport / train station for your flight to next destination or home.
Jade Buddha Temple
Recommended Add-on Options
+ 2 more days to visit the city with best scenery under heaven - Guilin
Surrounded by karst peaks, Yangshuo is situated on the bank of Li River in Guilin. Yangshuo has long been renowned as a popular place for foreign tourists. It is said “guilin landscape tops those elsewhere, and yangshuo landscape tops that of Guilin”. Outdoor options are plenty here and West Street is a good place to explore.
+ 2 more days Chengdu Leisure Life Experience & Giant Panda Visit
Immerse yourself in the Land of Abundance and Hometown of Giant Pandas!
You’ll totally enjoy the ancient culture and slow pace of living when having close contact with the cute pandas in Chengdu Panda Base, sipping tea in the hundred-year-old teahouse in Renmin Park, seeking for Three Kingdom culture in Jinli Old Street, exploring Ancient Shu Civilization in Jinsha Site Museum...
+ 2~3 more days to step into the World Geological Park - Zhangjiajie
Reputed as “a miniature fairyland” and “a maze of nature”, Zhangjiajie is a surreal world with hundreds of grotesque peaks, beautiful waters, towering trees, deep valley, marvelous caves and exuberant forest. In Zhangjiajie, you’ll fully explore Zhangjiajie National Forest Park to catch the outstanding landscape and experience the world’s longest and highest glass bridge in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
- Entrance fees of the scenic spots as listed in the itinerary.
- Meals as specified in the itinerary.(Exceptions: If the western breakfast is not available in some of the hotels, breakfast would be either Chinese breakfast or Chinese and western breakfast.)
Hotels: Hotel Based on two persons sharing one room with
or a king size
bed; All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or
Please note double bed room is on request basis which is subject to Hotel's
and re-confirmation upon check-in.
Service, room facilities and breakfast might be not up to standard in some remote areas.
- Transportation: Flights or train as listed in the itinerary.
- Sightseeing As listed in the Itinerary will be escorted with English-speaking guide;
Service of local guide and van is for a maximum of 8 hours
the full day individual
* Please note that our English-speaking guide and driver provided for you in each city or area will not fly with you from one city to another.
- Private Transfers between airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in each city or area by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver and English-speaking guide as listed in the itinerary.
- Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & Government Taxes.
- Luggage Transfers between airports, trains and hotels.
- Flights (Economy class) not as listed in the itinerary.
- Accommodation not as listed in the itinerary.
- Visa Fees: Please make sure that you have got your valid passport and visa before your entry to China. We can send you a free official invitation letter to assist you in obtaining your visa after the reservation deposit is received.
- Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
- Meals not listed in the itinerary.
- Personal expenses such as room service, internet charge, laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional activities, etc.
- Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
- Excess Baggage Charges.
- Life Tourist insurance. Please kindly note that the full coverage travel insurance from your country of origin should be purchased in advance on your own.
- Optional activities.
Read what other travelers think about this China trip / Yangtze cruise trip. We only accept reviews from actual, confirmed travelers who purchased the tour / activity from us, so you can be sure the reviews are unbiased and authentic.
It was an experience. Thank you for all your efforts!
It was great! Thank you.
- Vaiani - April 11, 2023‚ ,
Yes, we are back home. We had a great time. My favorite part was the service, especially. The English-speaking staff. They worked really hard to make our trip enjoyable. We upgraded (ship was not full) to an executive floor. That was a good decision.
The tours, were interesting, even. If the weather did not always cooperate.
Food-wise, I really appreciated the excellent coffee and the quality of the red wine!
We will be sure to recommend you to others. Thank you.
- Sandra - April 6, 2023‚ ,
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Essential China Travel Information & Service
To help you have a further understanding of your tour, we provide some essential travel information like your tour guides, drivers, private cars/vans, accommodations and meals that you could know more about how is your China Yangtze cruise tour going. All the experience will be vivid and memorable in any time in any destination.
Your Private Tour Guide
The tour guides in all destinations are qualified, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and responsible!
All of our guides in every destination are locals. They will be greeted you punctually upon arrival at airport, train stations or cruise ports. And escort you to your hotel and tourist attractions and make you have full understanding about the local life, scenic spots as well as show you the fun places for more featured activities and things to do according to your time and interests.
“All our guides, especially those who we had a chance to spend more time with (Guilin, Chengdu, Lijiang, Zhangjiajie) were great. Always very accommodating, punctual and attentive.” - Review from Zane, Canada
Your Private Driver & Car
Taking our private transportation will make you comfortable, relaxed and worry free!
All our drivers are licensed with many years’ driving experience. They are always polite, friendly and helpful, glad to offer more service you may need during the transfer. Our vehicles are air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and expertly maintained. We use different types of cars/vans to guarantee your comfort. Besides, there is need to worry about your luggage for we use vehicles with extra space for your luggage.
"With respect to the drivers, we can state that they are excellent drivers and very friendly. They are pleasant with smiling face and helpful too." - Review from Pedro Corro‚ USA
Comfortable & Homelike Hotel
In each destination, we guarantee you a comfortable stay!
The hotels we choose are based with star rating, great location, well-pointed facilities and high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot and you could decide where to stay on your own. When taking a Yangtze River cruise, you are guaranteed a comfortable cabin or suite with private balconies to enjoy breathtaking scenery.
“All the hotels were comfortable and in good locations. The food was generally good with a wide choice of both western and Chinese choices for breakfast. The room sizes even with the extra bed for Jessica were also fine.” - Review from McHale, USA
Dining, Meal & Local Food
On Yangtze River cruise, you are offered three meals (usually buffet with western and Chinese dishes) each day. In other cities of China, breakfast and lunch usually are included in your tour packages. You’ll dine in local restaurants, follow local customs and enjoy local dishes. The food quality and dining environment will suit for your taste. If you have any suggestions or special requirements (vegetarian or food allergies), just let your travel consultants and guides know. They will arrange the suitable food and restaurants for you. Recommended evening dining options are: Peking Roast Duck in Beijing, Dumpling Dinner in Xian, and Hot Pot in Chengdu etc.
“We had very good breakfasts in all the hotels and were given a substantial lunch every day.” - Review from John, United Kingdom
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