Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders
Take an adventure through China's ancient and modern wonders. Travel from bustling Beijing, with its Great Wall, to ancient Xi'an and its Terracotta Warriors, cruising the Yangtze River en-route.
Your tour begins with a flight from London to Beijing, arriving into this bustling city on Day 2. On arrival, you have plenty of time to settle in to this wonderful country.
This morning begins with a rickshaw tour of Beijing's hutongs, or backstreets, known for their association with the city's history.
Later, enjoy a highlight of your holiday, with a visit to the iconic Great Wall of China. You visit the Mutianyu section of the wall, one of the best preserved and most visited parts of this worldfamous structure. This particular section is one of the oldest sections of the wall, and it was first built in the 6th century. After time to explore this magnificent piece of ancient engineering at your own pace, you return to Beijing, pausing en-route at the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube - examples of Beijing's modern architecture - for a photo opportunity. After a busy day exploring Beijing's best attractions, you enjoy a dinner of authentic Peking duck tonight.
Spend the morning exploring Beijing with a guided tour. Visit Tiananmen Square, the location of the now infamous 1989 uprising and, at over 4 million square feet, the largest city square in the world.
You continue this afternoon to the Forbidden City - a palace and garden complex once inhabited by the Chinese royal family, and now preserved as a testament to China's long history. The incredible complex was built on a grand scale, with 980 buildings spread over 180 acres housing the family, their staff and the royal guard from 1406 to the abdication of the last Chinese Emperor in 1912. Constructed to reflect the Purple Palace, where it was thought god resided in heaven, the Forbidden City's opulence is testament to the Emperor's role as a divine ruler.
Leave the capital behind this afternoon, as you board the high-speed train to Shanghai. On arrival, you are met by a local English-speaking guide, who takes you on a sightseeing tour. Discover the iconic Bund, part of the city's famously futuristic architecture, as well as the French Concession, where distinctive western architecture pays testament to the history of French colonialism in this region. There is also time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Nanjing Road, a largely pedestrianised thoroughfare and major shopping centre in Shanghai. Afterwards, dinner is served at a local restaurant.
Continue your tour of Shanghai on Day 5, with a visit to some of the city's hidden attractions. Yu Garden is an oasis of peace amidst Shanghai's lively streets, situated in the older quarters of the city. The extensive gardens are spread out over 5 acres, and have a serene feel, with the typical features of Imperial gardens created by China's former rulers - from ornate pavilions and tranquil pools filled with brightly-coloured fish, to curious stacked rockeries and decadent halls with traditional winged roofs. You also visit the Old City of Shanghai, the Chinese enclave that resisted the influences of the foreign concessions in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, and the Yuyuan Bazaar, a busy shopping quarter adjacent to the city's oldest street.
This afternoon, transfer to Maoping, enjoying China's excellent high-speed rail from Shanghai to Yichang, to board the Century Diamond or Sun cruise ship, for a journey by water through some of China's most dramatic and beautiful scenery.
Today, your scenic cruise along the Yangtze River begins. You take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam today, before your ship passes through the striking Xiling Gorge. On Day 7, the ship makes its way through the Qutang and Wu Gorges, both renowned for their beauty.
On Day 8 you visit Shibaozhao Pagoda.
Disembark from the ship today in Chongqing, where you board the high-speed train to Chengdu. On arrival, you take in the city's highlights, including the Wenshu Monastery, and lively Jinli Street.
On the morning of Day 10, enjoy a visit to the Panda Research Centre where more than 120 adorable giant panda cubs have been born over the years, before lunch at a local restaurant. Following this, you visit the beautiful Renmin Park, built in 1911 as 'the people's park'.
After breakfast, transfer to Xi'an, the ancient former capital of China, by rail. Tonight, sample some local specialities with a dumpling banquet for dinner.
On Day 12, you visit the incredible Terracotta Warriors, which were discovered on the outskirts of Xi'an in the 1970s. Later, return to the city for a guided tour, taking in a wealth of ancient sites - from the imposing city walls, to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the Great Mosque.
Board your scheduled flight from Xi'an to London Heathrow today. Your tour concludes on arrival in the UK.
Please note that we have cancelled all departures of our Discover China holidays in March or April. All customers have been notified. May departures are currently scheduled to run. We will continue to monitor the situation and update customers as information becomes available.
If you choose to cancel your holiday entirely outside of this period, our standard cancellation fee will apply.
We are taking bookings for August onwards.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Enahancing your tour
Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 9 verified reviews
Well organised, hotels good & tours good.
Great adventure, fantastic sights and experiences
Excellent tour, good local guides and a very helpful,patient and knowledgeable tout manager Jos Royle
A great experience and very well organised. Only let down by an awful restaurant (night 1 in Chengdu) - dreadful fare and food poisoning, the Art Hotel in Xian (very rude staff & and a breakfast box that went straight in the bin) and the Xian tour guide (Helen). On the 5 a.m. coach to the airport she talked continually in a load voice when everybody wanted to doze. She insisted on pressing us with the 'party line' on human rights in western China - not requested or welcome especially at 5 a.m.
well organised, excellent value for money
Our holiday was very good and well organised once we arrived in China. The last mnute hiatus with the Air China only a week before we were due to depart which menat we had to change our flights and book hotels and railway tickets ourseleves was a mess! We were dissapointed that so many of our fellow travellers on our tour took this trip because it was cheap - no real interest in China as a must-see distination and no real appreciation that the train journies were a special feature of the holiday for some of us.
Great experience for the price with so much included - use of local guides enhanced the experience - use of trains instead of planes for intercity travel made a big difference
Very hectic. Took extra places not on itinerary.Some hotels not very good breakfast experience,s. Poor hotel bars in one or two hotels.
Our tour coincided with May Day holiday week so crowded stations and tourist sites. Our visit to Shanghai was less than 24 hours. Very little free time apart from cruising the Yantze.
Great organisation and very knowledgeable local guides and tour manager
Take a whirlwind adventure through China’s ancient and modern wonders