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Cultural China & Tibet with Yangtze River Cruise & Hong Kong & Mongolia

24 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: First Class

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  • Avalon Journeys Club members save 5% off the cruise/land price. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Hong Kong, China
Welcome to exciting Hong Kong! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in. (Breakfast)
Day 2 Hong Kong
This morning’s sightseeing begins with a cable-car ride up to Victoria Peak for panoramic vistas of this one-of-a-kind port city. Drive by Repulse Bay, a popular beach area, then to the Aberdeen fishing village for a SAMPAN RIDE on the harbor. Next stop is STANLEY MARKET, a narrow street jammed with stalls offering clothing, arts, and crafts. Tonight, consider an optional sunset cruise on Hong Kong’s magnificent harbor. (Breakfast)
Day 3 Hong Kong
Take advantage of a full free day to explore this exciting city. You may wish to join our optional excursion to view the giant Buddha on the island of Lantau. Shopping is a highlight of Hong Kong with markets, malls, and shops to fit any taste and budget. Your local host will be happy to suggest ways to make the most of your day. (Breakfast)
Day 4 Hong Kong–Shanghai
Fly to Shanghai. (Breakfast)
Day 5 Shanghai
Start your day with a stroll along the Bund, the city’s riverfront boulevard lined with historic buildings, housing, banks, and trade houses. Then, visit YU YUAN GARDENS, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, and a SILK FACTORY to learn about the silk-making process. For lunch, a traditional DIM SUM feast awaits. Meaning “to touch your heart,” dim sum was originally a snack but has transformed into a full meal with a wide variety of steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and more. Afterward, enjoy time at leisure. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special welcome dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Shanghai
This morning, visit the SHANGHAI MUSEUM, featuring stunning displays of ancient bronze, jade, and ceramics. Then, take a WALKING TOUR of the former French Concession, once Shanghai’s leading residential and retail area. Today, the qualities that made the area so popular endure—from quaint, tree-lined streets and exquisite architecture to charming shops and fashionable restaurants and bars. Along the way, see the famous Art Deco Cathay Theatre, explore the narrow lanes of Xintiandi, and visit Fuxing Park, where locals play chess, dance, practice tai chi, and more. The afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, be entertained by a spectacular ACROBATIC SHOW. (Breakfast)
Day 7 Shanghai–Yichang (Embarkation)–Yangtze River Cruise
Today, fly to Yichang and board the Century Legend for a 4-night CRUISE through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Join your traveling companions for a PRIVATE WELCOME RECEPTION including cocktails and snacks. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 8 Cruising: Xiling Gorge–Three Gorges Dam Site
This morning, perhaps wake up early for a tai chi session on the Sun Deck. Later, cruise through the Xiling Gorge, the first of the Three Gorges. Then, visit the THREE GORGES DAM SITE, the largest dam of its kind in the world. After lunch, sail through the Three Gorges ship locks, and enjoy time at your leisure on the ship. Take a swim in the pool or simply enjoy the passing scenery. This evening, the Captain hosts a welcome party, followed by dinner and a special performance by the ship’s crew. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Cruising: Wu Gorge–Shennv Stream–Qutang Gorge
This morning, sail upstream through the second of the three gorges—Wu, known for its quiet beauty and forest-covered mountains. You can nearly touch the perpendicular walls rising from the riverbanks as your Captain negotiates this narrow gap. Then, disembark for a BOAT EXCURSION down the Shennv Stream. Along the way, see picturesque scenery and the mysterious hanging wooden coffins. Before returning to your ship you will also board a wooden boat on a smaller section of the stream, where the crew will sing songs as you glide across the stunning deep emerald-green waters surrounded by densely forested hills. After a late lunch on the ship, sail through Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic gorge and the last of the famed three gorges. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. You may choose to take an optional shore excursion to Baidi Cheng, known as the “White Emperor City,” to see the Baidi Temple. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
NOTE: Depending on river conditions, the boat excursion may be on the Daning River.
Day 10 Cruising: Shibaozhai
After breakfast, take a WALKING TOUR of Shibaozhai with its 400-year-old, 12-story, red wooden pagoda perched high on a cliff side. After lunch, the afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the ship and its many amenities. This evening, join the Captain for a special farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
NOTE: Depending on river conditions, an alternate shore excursion may be offered.
Day 11 Cruising: Chongqing (Disembarkation)–Lhasa, Tibet
After breakfast, bid farewell to your ship’s crew in Chongqing, China’s capital during World War II. The city sits high on a hill overlooking the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. Visit a local ZOO to see pandas before boarding your flight to the holy city of Lhasa, capital of the mystical Buddhist kingdom of Tibet. The rest of the day is free to rest and adjust to the 14,000-foot altitude. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 12 Lhasa
This morning, take a brief city tour, then visit the SUMMER PALACE of the Dalai Lama, featuring the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, take a special trip to a TIBETAN’S HOME that includes lunch before visiting a typical TIBETAN MONASTERY. The final stop today is a TIBETAN HOSPITAL, where you will learn about traditional Tibetan medicine and therapy. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Lhasa
Today, visit the imposing POTALA PALACE, once the center of the Tibetan government and the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Also, visit one of Tibet’s oldest shrines, JOKHANG TEMPLE, then spend time in the local BAZAAR. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Tonight, venture out to a local restaurant for dinner and a CULTURAL SHOW featuring traditional Tibetan music and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14 Lhasa–Xi’an, China
Today, fly to the city of Xi’an in central China. This evening, enjoy the “Tang Dynasty” DINNER SHOW, featuring a colorful assemblage of classical performances. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 15 Xi’an
One of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade, Xi’an today is an archaeological treasure trove. Sightseeing begins with the nearby DAYAN PAGODA, built in 652 AD. Next, visit the enormous tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974. Marvel at the legion of TERRACOTTA WARRIORS that has been guarding the burial site for 2,000 years. You will also enter the VIP VIEWING AREA for an up-close view of these life-size statues. During lunch, enjoy a NOODLE-MAKING DEMONSTRATION by a master chef and learn how Chinese noodles are made by hand. Then, visit the Xi’an City Wall South Gate and learn to write like a local during a traditional Chinese CALLIGRAPHY CLASS.  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 16 Xi’an–Beijing
Today, fly to Beijing, China’s capital city. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through one of Beijing’s HUTONGS, the city’s ancient alleys. Experience life in this historic neighborhood as you are invited into the courtyard of a family’s home for tea. You will also visit the TEMPLE OF HEAVEN. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 17 Beijing
Your full-day sightseeing starts with a visit to the FORBIDDEN CITY and its IMPERIAL PALACE, once the home of China’s great emperors. Nearby is 100-acre TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE, the largest public square in the world. After lunch, enjoy some time at your leisure. Tonight, attend a performance of the PEKING OPERA, a traditional form of Chinese theater including a behind-the-scenes look at the colorful makeup being applied to the performers. Alternatively, you may choose to attend the LEGEND OF KUNG FU SHOW. Here the performers use a fusion of kung fu, dance, and acrobatics to tell the story of a monk who studies Buddhism and kung fu his whole life and eventually becomes a Zen master. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 18 Beijing
The GREAT WALL OF CHINA once stretched 4,000 miles across China’s barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. Head north to a village where the Great Wall is well preserved and walk along the wall to enjoy sweeping vistas of this mammoth fortress. This evening is the perfect finale to a great touring adventure as you’re hosted to a special PEKING DUCK FAREWELL DINNER at an award-winning restaurant in your hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 19 Beijing–Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Today, fly to Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia. After some time in the hotel, enjoy a city tour that includes Sukhbaatar Square and Zaisan Hill, offering sweeping views of the city. Next, visit the NATIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM with a rich collection of exhibits covering the history and people of Mongolia. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 20 Ulaanbaatar–Gobi Desert
Early this morning, fly to the Gobi Desert. Covering most of southern Mongolia, the Gobi is the world’s fourth-largest desert. Visit EAGLE VALLEY NATIONAL PARK and marvel at stunning mountain scenery and the Gobi Glacier. The Gobi supports more than 300 varieties of flora and fauna and several endangered species, including the Snow Leopard and the Bactrian Camel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 21 Gobi Desert
This morning, stop at the largest SAND DUNES in the region en route to Bayan Zag. Here, explore the CEMETERY OF DINOSAURS, where the world’s best-preserved dinosaur skeletons and their petrified eggs were excavated. Then, visit a CAMEL BREEDERS CAMP to learn about the nomadic lifestyle and culture, and to try some traditional food. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 22 Gobi Desert–Ulaanbaatar
Fly back to Ulaanbaatar early this morning. Upon arrival, visit the BOGD KHAN WINTER PALACE and the GANDAN MONASTERY. With more than 150 monks in residence and numerous temples, it is the most important Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. This evening, enjoy a MONGOLIAN FOLKLORE PERFORMANCE featuring traditional musical instruments, throat singing, and dances. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 23 Ulaanbaatar–Beijing, China
Today, return to Beijing and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (Breakfast)
Day 24 Beijing
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 4-night cruise from Yichang to Chongqing in a Deluxe Stateroom with two lower beds, private facilities, and balcony
  • Hong Kong: cable-car ride up Victoria Peak; sampan ride on harbor; visit Stanley Market; Host service during your stay
  • Shanghai: sightseeing including headsets; visit the Bund, Yu Yuan Gardens, a silk factory, and the Shanghai Museum; dim sum lunch; walking tour of the French Concession; see an acrobatic show
  • Yichang: begin your Yangtze cruise; private welcome reception
  • Three Gorges Dam Site: sightseeing of the impressive dam site
  • Shennv Stream: boat excursion down one of the Yangtze’s lesser gorges
  • Shibaozhai: walking tour
  • Chongqing: visit a local zoo to see pandas
  • Lhasa: visit the Summer Palace, a Tibetan’s home including lunch, a Tibetan monastery, a Tibetan hospital, Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and a local bazaar; cultural show with traditional Tibetan music and dance
  • Xi’an: calligraphy class; sightseeing including headsets; visit the Terracotta Warriors including the VIP viewing area and Dayan Pagoda; noodle-making demonstration; “Tang Dynasty” dinner show
  • Beijing: hutong tour by rickshaw; sightseeing including headsets; visit the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Imperial Palace, Tian’anmen Square, Great Wall; Peking Opera performance or Legend of Kung Fu Show; Peking Duck farewell dinner
  • Ulaanbaatar: visit the National History Museum, Bogd Khan Winter Palace, and the Gandan Monastery; Mongolian folklore performance
  • Gobi Desert: visit Eagle Valley National Park, sand dunes, Cemetery of Dinosaurs, and a camel-breeders camp
  • Special experiences by local entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your experience.
  • Dim Sum lunch
  • Lunch in Tibetan's home
  • Rickshaw ride through Hutongs
  • Peking Opera or Kung Fu show
All This Included
This exciting vacation introduces you to the rich history, scenic wonders, and cultural treasures of China and Tibet. Start in exciting Hong Kong. Take a cable-car ride up Victoria Peak for panoramic views and a visit of Aberdeen fishing village for a sampan ride on the stunning harbor. Free time on your own gives you a chance to explore the many markets, taste some authentic Chinese food, listen to the sounds of the city, or take an optional excursion. In Shanghai, walk along the Bund, see stunning displays of ancient bronze and jade at the Shanghai Museum, and enjoy a traditional dim sum feast. You will also attend a high-flying acrobat show and take a fascinating walking tour through the former French Concession where tree-lined streets and Art Deco architecture transport you to a bygone era. Then, fly to Yichang and begin your Yangtze River cruise with a private welcome reception. Shore excursions include a walking tour of a riverside community to see its beautiful pagoda, a tour of the Three Gorges Dam site, and a small boat cruise on the emerald-green waters of Shennv Stream. Travel to Lhasa, Tibet’s mystical capital, for visits to a local family home for lunch, a local bazaar, and the imposing Potala Palace, former winter home of the Dalai Lama. You will also dine in a local restaurant and be entertained with traditional Tibetan music and dance. In Xi’an, see the famed Terracotta Warriors up close from a special VIP viewing area and learn how to write ancient Chinese calligraphy. Next, in Beijing, visit the Forbidden City with its Imperial Palace, sample authentic Peking Duck, and walk along the incomparable Great Wall of China. You will also explore one of the city’s ancient alleys by rickshaw and experience a cultural performance at the Peking Opera or the Legend of Kung Fu show. Last stop is Mongolia. In Ulaanbaatar, visit the National History Museum, Gandan Monastery, and enjoy a Mongolian folklore performance. Venture into the Gobi Desert, where you’ll visit Eagle Valley National Park, the Cemetery of Dinosaurs, and marvel at the largest sand dunes in the region. You’ll also visit a camel breeders camp to learn about the nomadic lifestyle and try some traditional food. Return to Beijing for a final overnight.

These are just a few of the many highlights offered on this spectacular vacation.
  • American breakfast daily, 13 lunches, 15 dinners including a welcome dinner in Shanghai and a Peking Duck farewell dinner in Beijing
  • Modern comfort and elegant design.
  • Unique cultural experiences.
  • Reserved seating for evening entertainment.
  • Exclusive welcome reception with cocktails and snacks.
  • Complimentary regional wines, beer, and soft drinks at dinner.
  • Maintain your routine in the fitness center.
  • Modern bathrooms with bathtub and shower.
  • Remarkable service.
  • English-speaking crew.
  • Exclusive shore excursions for Avalon passengers with Local Guide.
  • Deluxe Stateroom with 266 sq. ft. of indoor living space.
  • Private balcony with additional 35 sq. ft. of living space.
  • Headsets for all sightseeing in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai.
  • 24-hour access to the Executive Lounge with complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the Executive Lounge (when signal available).
  • Breakfast and Lunch buffets in VIP restaurant featuring Western & Chinese cuisine.
  • Dinner in VIP restaurant (excludes Captain’s farewell banquet) with your choice of a buffet featuring Western and Chinese cuisine or an à la carte menu.
  • Captain's farewell Chinese banquet in the main dining room.
  • And, much more.
Accommodations on this Tour
Hong Kong: Kowloon Shangri-La
Shanghai: Fairmont Peace Hotel
Cruising: Cabin onboard Century Legend
Lhasa: Shangri-La Hotel
Xi'an: Shangri-La Hotel

Beijing: Fairmont Beijing
Ulaanbaatar: Shangri-La Hotel
Gobi Desert: Dream Gobi Ger Camp
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Nights per person in Hong Kong:
April 14-30 & November: in single room $376; in twin room $193; in triple room $167
May 1-October 9: in single room $330; in twin room $171; in triple room $152
October 10-31: in single room $502; in twin room $257; in triple room $210

Extra Nights per person in Beijing:
Monday-Thursday: in single room $238; in twin room $125; in triple room $116
Friday-Sunday: in single room $194; in twin room $103; in triple room $102
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only starting at $2,956. Required intra-vacation air segments are: Hong Kong/Shanghai; Shanghai/Yichang; Chongqing/Lhasa; Lhasa/Xi’an; Xi’an/Beijing; Beijing/Ulaanbaatar; Ulaanbaatar/Gobi Desert; Gobi Desert/Ulaanbaatar; Ulaanbaatar/Beijing. Air prices were effective on April 6, 2016, and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher. 
    Gratiuities to ship’s crew, Local Guides, and drivers are included in pricing above.
  • This trip is for travelers who are fit. You will visit regions reaching almost 14,000 ft. in elevation.
  • Accommodations in the Gobi Desert are in traditional Mongolian gers with private bathroom and shower facilities.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.

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