13 Days Scenic China Tour with Minority and Panda Visit
Chengdu / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming / Guilin / Yangshuo / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang
1. This price is based on a group (2 to 5 travelers) accommodated in 3-star hotel in lower seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your group members and traveling time. Usually more travelers, lower the price; higher price in high seasons, lower in low seasons.
3. This price is valid until February 28th, 2025.
Chengdu (2 nights), Lijiang (2 nights), Shangri-La (2 nights), Kunming (1 night), Guilin (2 nights), Chongqing, Yangtze Cruise (3 nights), Yichang
Highlights of the Trip
- Have a close look at the giant pandas in Chengdu
- Explore Yunnan minority culture in Lijiang, Shang-La and Kunming
- Take a Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo
- Enjoy a 4-day relaxing Yangtze River cruise from chongqing to Yichang
Day 1-2: Chengdu Arrival & Chengdu
Come to the Hometown of Giant Panda and explore the Land of Abundance by visiting Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Wenshu Monastery, Renmin Park and Jinli Old Street.
Day 3: Chengdu & Fly to Lijiang
In the morning, take a flight to Lijiang from Chengdu. After arrive in Lijiang, have an exploration in Lijiang Ancient Town by visiting Wanggu Tower, Lion Hill and enjoy more free time in the old towns.
Day 4-5: Lijiang & Transfer to Shangri-La
Have in-depth exploration in the minority kingdom. Visit Yuhu Village, Former Residence of Joseph Rock, Baisha Mural Paintings, Shuhe Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool Park and Naxi Dongba Culture Museum. See the First Bend of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge. Transfer to Shangri-La by car.
Day 6: Shangri-La
Have a full day in the on-earth paradise by visiting Songzanlin Monastery, Bitahai Lake and Shudu Lake. Get the rare chance to visit a local Tibetan family and experience hospitality of Tibetan people.
Day 7-8: Shangri-La & Kunming & Fly to Guilin
Take a flight to Kunming from Shangri-La and visit Stone Forest, minority village, West Hill and Dragon Gate. After Kunming trip, take a flight to Guilin.
Day 9-10: Guilin - Yangshuo - Guilin & Flight to Chongqing
Enjoy a Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. Visit the top attractions in Guilin like Elephant Trunk Hill and Reed Flute Cave. Fly to Chongqing from Guilin and board Yangtze River cruise at Chonqing Chaotianmen cruise port.
Day 11-13: Yangtze River Cruise & Yichang Departure
Enjoy the relaxing leisure life on Yangtze cruise, take shore excursions to Shibaozhai Pagoda, Shennv Stream and appreciate breathtaking scenery along Three Gorges - Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge. On day 13, you'll have an exciting tour to Three Gorges Dam Site before leave Yichang.
Full Itinerary Day by day
Day 1 Chengdu Arrival
Ni Hao! Welcome to Chengdu, the Hometown of Giant Pandas! You’ll be met by our local guide at the arrival hall of Chengdu airport / train station and escorted to your hotel in downtown area by a private, comfortable and non-smoking vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to explore this leisure city.
Optional activity: Enjoy the typical Sichuan cuisine (like Hot Pot) for dinner in a local restaurant.
Sichuan Local Cuisine - Hotpot
Day 2 Chengdu (B, L)
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, drive about 15km to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (simply Chengdu Panda Base). This base is not only the most important panda scientific research center in the world, but also the home for more than 100 Giant Pandas. Walk through the verdant bamboo-framed path, gain fascinating insight into the progression of baby pandas to young adult pandas to adult pandas, and admire the delicate newborns in a special infant panda area. Continue to enrich your memory to observe the adolescent pandas between the age of one and five eating bamboos, playing with each other, tumbling and climbing trees. Listen to the importance of this vital maturity period and capture photographs of these enchanting and endangered creatures as they relax in their natural environment.
After the memorable panda visit, get to the largest and best-preserved Buddhist monastery - Wenshu Monastery located in bustling downtown Chengdu. Walking in the quiet spiritual temple, you’ll marvel at the exquisite Buddhist architectures and precious Buddhist statues, scriptures and relics.
Later, pay a visit to Renmin Park to truly feel the essence of leisurely pace and lifestyle of Chengdu. Sit down, order a pot of fragrant Chinese tea, have a casual chat with your friends in a-hundred-year-old teahouse, watch local indulging themselves in different kinds of folk activities, like napping, enjoy special ear cleaning, playing Mahjong, dancing and doing water calligraphy! Next will be an impressive trip to the famous Jinli Old Street, a lively paradise full of delicious local snacks, delicate artifacts, interesting folk shows and other activities. Time will steal away as you explore along the old streets!
Optional activity: In this evening, watch Sichuan Opera and be entertained by Sichuan performing arts using stick puppets, face masks, fire spitting, rolling lights, folk music, acrobatic and dance in Shufeng Yayun Teahouse (usually performs during 20:00~21:30).
See Lovely Giant Pandas in Chengdu Panda Base
Enjoy some leisure moment in Renmin Park
Explore Three Kingdom Culture in Jinli Old Street
Worship in Wenshu Monastery
Day 3 Chengdu & Flight to Lijiang (B)
After breakfast, you'll be escorted to Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to take a flight to Lijiang (about 1.5hrs). Welcome to Lijang, a very impressive ancient city! Your guide and driver will meet you at the arrival hall at Lijiang Sanyi Airport and transfer you to the hotel.
In this afternoon, have a rest in your hotel and continue your trip in Lijiang Ancient Town. Enjoy a panoramic view of this fascinating old city from Wanggu Tower, the landmark building of Lijiang. This pure wood building was built at 33 meters tall on the top of Lion Hill where you could also overlook Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.
Lijiang Old Town
Day 4 Lijiang (B, L)
Today, your guide and driver will escort you Yuhu Village which is located in the south of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. When walk around this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone house, naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, a wooden fish is hunging in the middle of the roof, the kids playing…Then you get to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who is an Austrian-American Botanist came in Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years.
After that, visit the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings at Baisha Village. Painted over 1000 years ago, the murals combine the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Naxi people displaying the life stories of the Tibet Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism. Then, followed a trip to Shuhe Ancient Town - a component of Lijiang Old Town listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.
Later, head for Black Dragon Pool Park and the Naxi Dongba Culture Museum where you can learn Naxi pictograph character and explore the rich Naxi minority culture in the museum.
Black Dragon Pool Park
Day 5 Lijiang & Transfer to Shangri-La (B, L)
you’ll be driven to the old town of Shigu (Stone Drum) to see the Iron
Chain Bridge which the Red Army used to cross the river during the Long March
in 1930s. Then head to marvel at the stunning First Bend of the Yangtze
River and have a little challenging trek to the famous Tiger Leaping
Later, you’ll drive to Shangri La, about 100km. You’ll enjoy the enchanting natural scenes on the way.
First Bend of the Yangtze River
Day 6 Shangri-La (B, L)
Today is a full day to explore the on-earth paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.
You’ll visit the Songzanlin Lamasery to be touched about how the simple Tibetan keeps their pure and religious belief in this temporal world. Later take a leisurely walk beside the beautiful Bitahai and Shudu Lakes, feel marvel for the nature’s masterpiece.
After that, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family and experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people.
Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La
Day 7 Shangri-La & Flight to Kunming (B, L)
Free until being escorted to the airport
for your flight to Kunming. After arriving in Kunming, transfer to visit
the renowned Stone Forest, the “First Wonder of the World”. You’ll
marvel at its natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate
formations. You feel like come into a “stone world’.
Afterwards, visit a minority village of Sani People, to admire their colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures. You’ll have a nice chance to listen to the touching love story of Ashima told by local old people.
After the tour, transfer back to Kunming downtown.
Kunming Stone Forest
Day 8 Kunming & Flight to Guilin (B, L)
In the morning, pick you up at your hotel. First, head to the Flower Market, Kunming is a city of “flower”.
Then go to visit the West Hill, looking like a beautiful young lady lying beside Dianchi Lake. Stop by to see the magic Dragon Gate.
After the tour, be transferred to the airport and take a flight to Guilin. Upon arrival, be met at the airport and transfer to your hotel in Guilin.
Dragon Gate on West Hill
Day 9 Guilin Li River Cruise & Yangshuo Town (B, L)
“East or West, Guilin’s landscape is the best”. After breakfast, you’ll begin today’s sightseeing by taking the 84-kilometer relaxing Li River cruise to Yangshuo County. Cruising on the Li River, you’ll be like sailing along a hundred-mile scroll with numerous green mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, oases, shoals as well as idyllic countryside views. You won’t miss the gorgeous karst scenery depicted at the back of the new edition 20 Yuan banknote.
After the 4-hour cruise, you’ll disembark in Yangshuo Town. Check in your hotel and take a short break. Then, immerse yourself into the stunning countryside views and relaxing atmosphere and be enthralled by the patches of paddy fields nestling under green hills and near the mirror-like river, with farmers cultivating the soil with their water buffalos.
Next will be a wonderful stroll along the oldest street in Yangshuo - West Street with a history of more than 1400 years. On this 800-meter-long “Foreigner’s Street”, you’ll experience the perfect collision of Chinese and Western culture as well as taste some delicious local snacks and enjoy the cool atmosphere in a bar if you like.
Optional activity: In this evening, enjoy a spectacular open-air show “Impression Sanjie Liu” directed by the famous director – Zhang Yimou in a vast amphitheater with the stage being the river and mountains in front of you (usually performs for an hour between around 19:45 and 22:20).
Idyllic Countryside Scenery in Yangshuo County
Beautiful Li River Landscape
Day 10 Yangshuo - Guilin & Flight to Chongqing & Board Yangtze Cruise (B, L)
In the morning, you’ll be transferred back to Guilin in a comfortable vehicle (about 1.5~2hrs). Then, take a trip to visit the symbol of Guilin - Elephant Trunk Hill. It is named after its unique shape of a giant elephant stretching its trunk to Li River and boozing. You’ll spend some time appreciating the green mountains, clear water, fantastic caves and beautiful rocks in this park.
Next will be a visit to Reed Flute Cave, the Art Palace of Nature! Getting into the majestic underground cave, you’ll see a large number of stalactites, stalagmites and other rock formations as well as enjoy the light and sound show.
After the tour, your guide and driver will escort you the airport for your flight to Chongqing (about 1.5hrs). Upon arrival, 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.
Reed Flute Cave, the Art Palace of Nature
Chongqing Chaotianmen Port for Yangtze Cruise
The Famous Elephant Trunk Hill
Day 11 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)
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!)
Breathtaking Autumn Scenery of Yangtze Gorge
Shibaozhai Pagoda, a Pearl of Yangtze River
Fengdu Ghost City
Day 12 Yangtze River Cruise (B, L, D)
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”.
Enjoy Gorge Scenery on Sundeck
Shennv Stream with Primitive Gorge Scenery
Magnificent Qutang Gorge
Breathtaking Wu Gorge Scenery
Day 13 Yangtze Cruise to Yichang & Yichang Departure (B)
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. Here you’ll be picked up and escorted to Yichang Airport / train station for your flight or train to next destination.
Tips & Note: No matter you take Ship Lift or not, you’ll do check out procedure 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.
Departure Ideas: You can take flights from Yichang Sanxia Airport to Shanghai, Xian, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, etc. Or you can take high speed trains from Yichang East Railway Station to Wuhan (about 2hrs), Shanghai (about 8hrs), Beijing (about 7.5hrs), Hangzhou (about 7.5hrs), Chengdu (about 7hrs), Guangzhou (about 7hrs) and more cities.
Yichang Maoping Port for Embarkation & Disembarkation
World-famous Three Gorges Dam
Recommended Add-on Options
+ 3 more days to explore the capital city of China - Beijing
Get into the imperial capital city whose story goes back at least 3000 years.
Beijing’s opulent royal palaces, temples and magnificent walls and gates make it the first tourist destination in China. A wealth of history, both ancient (Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace) and more recent (Tiananmen Square, Bird’s Nest & Water Cube) will inspire your imagination. A visit to the Great Wall, the longest manmade structure in the world, is absolutely essential.
+ 2 more days to explore the Ancient of Heart - Xian
Explore the glorious past in the ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties!
With a history of over 3000 years, Xian is the birthplace of Chinese civilization and capital of most important dynasties in early Chinese history. It is known as the eastern terminus of the famed Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army along with many other historical sites, like Ancient City Wall, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and so on.
+ 2 more days to visit the largest metropolis in China - Shanghai
Experience the past, present and future of China all at once!
The Huangpu River splits Shanghai into two districts: Pudong and Puxi. The Pudong skyline with stunning tall buildings like Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and Oriental Pearl TV Tower gives you a flourishing scene of modern Shanghai. On the Puxi side, walk along the Bund to get a taste of old Shanghai. What a huge contrast!
- 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.
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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If you have some ideas or suggestions for this tour, please feel free to talk with our professional, experienced and enthusiastic travel consultants now.
They’ll help you modify the China Yangtze cruise tour and itinerary from time to time until you are totally satisfied.
What travelers said about Yangtze cruise tour
I would definitely recommend your service to others who have an interest in exploring China....Reviewed on January 10, 2024