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China, the Yangtze River & Hong Kong

16 days with Tauck  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Welcome to Beijing
Tauck's China travel adventure begins at the Waldorf Astoria Beijing. A transfer is included upon your arrival from Beijing Capital International Airport to the Waldorf Astoria Beijing in the heart of the city, where a taste of local specialties awaits at tonight's welcome reception followed by dinner. (D)
Day 2 The Great Wall and the Hutongs in Beijing
Besides being the only man-made structure visible from space, the Great Wall of China tops most travelers' lists of the Earth's must-visit places. And today, you'll not only visit it, but experience it in more ways than one – riding a gondola up to the highest point of its Badaling section, walking down to the bottom along an ancient stone path, and having lunch with views of this architectural wonder spread out all around you at the Commune by the Great Wall. This afternoon, gain some insights on the city's centuries-old hutongs – unique traditional neighborhoods threatened by ongoing urban development – when you take a private tour of a hutong – ride a rickshaw and visit a local family in their home. Dinner is on your own tonight in Beijing. (B, L)
Day 3 Temple of Heaven to Tiananmen Square
As Tauck's China travel adventure continues, you'll visit a grand example of traditional Chinese architecture – Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a round, three-tiered wood structure intricately decorated with gold leaf and colorful designs; try to imagine a long-ago time when the emperor and his entourage would travel here in secret processions from the Forbidden City to hold solemn ceremonies asking the gods for a bountiful harvest. Learn the moves from the locals as you take part in a Tai Chi racquet lesson in one of the Temple's beautiful parks. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll explore the legendary Forbidden City itself, where Imperial China's emperors dwelt for centuries; tour the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony, the Hall of Preserved Harmony, the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the Imperial Garden and more. Just beyond the Forbidden City, continue to Tiananmen Square, a witness to much of modern Chinese history and home to Mao Zedong's mausoleum; view his portrait hanging above the "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Dine at your choice of fine restaurants at the hotel this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 4 On to Xi'an, one of China's oldest cities
Today's China travel begins with a morning flight to the ancient city of Xi'an; set at the eastern end of the Silk Road, it's one of the country's oldest cities and served as the capital during the Han, Qin, Tang and other early dynasties. Upon arrival you'll visit an amazing place – the Han Yang Ling Underground Mausoleum. Known locally as "the most underrated tomb in Xi'an," it was undisturbed for about 2,100 years before opening to the public in the last decade. You'll find an amazing collection of cultural relics in this unique underground "museum" that depict life as it was during the Western Han Dynasty. Dine at your leisure at the hotel this evening. (B, D)
Day 5 Terra Cotta Warriors & Shaanxi History
Get the inside story of Xi'an's amazing Terra Cotta Warriors – 8,000 individualized, life-size terra cotta statues of soldiers who stood guard at the underground tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, for more than 2,000 years – as you visit the site today with Tauck. They were discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, and are now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site! View the incredible statues, tour the site's museum, and get the scoop on future plans for their preservation during a talk with one of the museum's leading staff members. Enjoy a traditional dumpling lunch at a local restaurant. Continue on to the Shaanxi History Museum, whose splendid collection of more than 350,000 artifacts illustrates the story of ancient China's feudal dynasties, many of which had their capitals here in Xi'an. (B, L, D)
Day 6 On to Guilin and a cruise on the city's canals
Fly to Guilin, among China's most picturesque places, whose landscapes have inspired poets and artists for centuries. After checking in and relaxing at bit at your hotel, the Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin, set out on an evening cruise through the center of the city along its delightful canals. As you cruise, you'll pass under bridges built to resemble some of the world's most famous spans, including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and the Tower Bridge in London; enjoy a demonstration of cormorant fishing along the way. Dinner is à la carte this evening at your hotel.  (B, D)
Day 7 A Li River cruise & a cooking lesson in Guilin
Spend the morning on a private Tauck cruise along the storied Li River today; feast your eyes and your soul on tranquil groves, fishermen on bamboo rafts, breathtaking limestone peaks and views of traditional village life that seem to be lifted from an ancient Chinese scroll painting! Following your cruise, attend a cooking lesson on local cuisine – then eat what you helped make for lunch! Dinner is à la carte this evening at your hotel in Guilin. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Chongqing Zoo & your Yangtze River cruise
Following a morning flight to Chongqing and a visit to the Chongqing Zoo, board Yangzi Explorer to continue your China travel adventure with a memorable three-night cruise through the Three Gorges of the mighty Yangtze River. Dine aboard ship this evening before setting sail on your cruise, bound downstream (eastbound) to Yichang. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Onboard fun & a relocation village visit
Visions of knobby, mist-shrouded mountains steeped in the mystique of old China travel with you as you experience the Yangtze from dawn to dusk aboard the recently renovated Yangzi Explorer, one of the finest and roomiest ships on the river. Start your day with Tai Chi exercises, and attend on-board demonstrations on proper Chinese tea preparation and dumpling-making as you cruise. Shore excursions after lunch aboard the riverboat include stops at Fengdu, China's ancient "Ghost City," or (depending on river conditions) Wanzhou, and a visit to a "relocation village," where you'll meet local families whose traditional homes and land were affected by the Three Gorges Dam project. Celebrate with Yangzi Explorer's Captain and crew at the Captain's welcome reception and dinner this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Pavilions and pagodas along the Yangtze
While cruising the Yangtze, view centuries-old pagodas and temples built against steep-sided cliffs, ancient roads and terraced fields along the river’s edge. Today you'll navigate through Qutang and Wu Gorges, explore Shennong Stream on a private Tauck shore excursion via sampan, and enjoy shipboard activities including a calligraphy lesson and an entertaining crew show as Yangzi Explorer cruises through Xiling Gorge, largest of the Three Gorges, this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 11 The Three Gorges Dam & on to Shanghai
Sail into Yichang through a series of locks adjacent to the site of the Three Gorges Dam, one of the world’s largest construction projects. Following your private visit to the site and lunch aboard the ship, disembark and fly to Shanghai, one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities. You'll spend three nights at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, a landmark hotel on Shanghai's premier waterfront promenade boulevard, the Bund. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Shanghai sights & an acrobatic show
Today you'll explore Shanghai's famous waterfront Bund. First up, visit the historic and harmonious Yu Gardens, whose original grounds and temple date back to the 1550s; the word yu translates to "peace and health." Pathways wind through rock gardens and bamboo stands, and stone bridges cross pools filled with bright carp. Have lunch today at the charming "M on the Bund" – and then tonight, watch from premium seating as the daring acrobatic performers of Shanghai's acclaimed ERA show entertain you. A day to remember... a China travel experience to savor. (B, L)
Day 13 Shanghai past to future & a dining treat
You'll get a good introduction to Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Center, showcasing the city's future urban development through detailed models and multimedia displays. Explore the center's exhibits on this historic port city's past, present and future, including a mock-up of 1930s Shanghai; a huge model of what the city might look like in 2020; a 360-degree, 3-D film and more. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, displaying 120,000 works of art and artifacts. After lunch on your own in the Xintiandi neighborhood, you'll have time to explore the area – and on a guided walk, learn about its vanishing traditional stone-gated shikumen homes. This evening, a special experience – dinner at the wonderful restaurant Jean Georges Shanghai, known for its cuisine and views. (B, D)
Day 14 On to remarkable Hong Kong
A morning flight takes you to continue your China travel in legendary Hong Kong. Spend the rest of the day and evening exploring the city as you please from your world-class InterContinental hotel, ideally located in Kowloon; enjoy lunch and dinner on your own today. (B)
Day 15 Hong Kong from many perspectives
You'll experience this fascinating city from different perspectives today – by ferry, by double-decker bus, and on a funicular tram ride up Victoria Peak, then have lunch at a local dim sum restaurant. The rest of the day is free to explore the city as you please. Hong Kong abounds with street stalls selling everything from sneakers to silk, tropical birds to exotic fish; your hotel is in the Kowloon section, right in the heart of this shopper's paradise. We invite you to join us and celebrate an incredible China travel experience at our farewell reception and dinner tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 16 Bound for home
Your China travel adventure ends in Hong Kong, where you'll catch your return flight home. A transfer is included from the InterContinental Hong Kong to Hong Kong International Airport; you should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)
Tour Map
All This Included
Eastbound – Picture a China travel adventure that takes you behind the scenes at ancient treasures, exotic gardens, architectural masterpieces and compelling UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors... includes a memorable cruise through the Yangtze River's Three Gorges aboard the Yangzi Explorer... and is filled with exclusive experiences such as an insider experience in Beijing's hutongs – including a visit with a local family. Throughout China travel is unique – by rickshaw in Beijing, by sampan in Shennong Stream, via funicular up Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, and by gondola and on foot along the Great Wall. Meet a conservation expert at the Terra Cotta Warriors museum in Xi'an, and families at a Three Gorges Dam relocation village along the Yangtze. There's no end to the enriching discoveries you'll make on this comprehensive China travel experience! 
  • 3-night Eastbound Yangtze River cruise aboard the Yangzi Explorer – Westbound trip includes a 4-night Yangtze River cruise
  • Insider experience in Beijing’s disappearing hutongs including a rickshaw ride and a visit with a local hutong family
  • Private talk with a conservation expert at the Terra Cotta Warriors museum in Xi’an
  • Special visits to the Han Yang Ling Underground Museum and the Shaanxi History Museum
  • Introduction to Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Center
  • Unique dining experiences at local restaurants
  • Performance of Shanghai's daring, hi-tech ERA acrobatic show
  • Sampan ride on Shennong Stream during your Yangtze cruise
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 37 meals (15 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 12 dinners) with gratuities to ship staff, local guides, taxes, service charges, admission fees and porterage
Accommodations on this Tour
Beijing: Waldorf Astoria Beijing
Xi'an: Shangri-La Hotel, Xi'an
Guilin: Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin
Cruising: Cabin onboard Yangzi Explorer
Shanghai: Fairmont Peace Hotel
Hong Kong: InterContinental Hong Kong
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • On tour airfare of $1,200 to $1,300 is not included.
  • The following dates are small group departures averaging 24 Tauck guests: April 27, May 25, September 7 & 28 and October 19.
  • Eastbound tours of October 19 & 26 will stay at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong on nights 14 & 15.
  • 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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