Day 1 | Highlights: Welcome reception
Ni Hao and welcome to China. On arrival you will be welcomed by your Scenic Representative and transferred to your hotel located on the famous Bund, for a luxurious three night Special Stay. Relax and settle in until you meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers this evening for your tour briefing, followed by your Welcome Shanghainese Dinner.
Day 2 | Shanghai Highlights: City sightseeing tour
Stroll along the famous Bund and its lively waterfront, admiring the 1930s European colonial architecture. Compare its heritage buildings to those in Yu Gardens before enjoying a delicious lunch of dim sum, a Shanghai speciality. Afterwards cross the Huangpu River to the modern side of Shanghai, Pudong and admire the view of Shanghai from Shanghai Tower, the recently completed and second tallest building in the world. From here experience the speed of the Maglev train before returning to your hotel.
Day 3 | Shanghai Highlights: Freechoice; Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe
Encounter amazing treasures, including bronzes, ceramic and calligraphy on your visit to the Shanghai Museum, one of the largest museums in China with a collection of more than 120,000 treasures. Then wander through People’s Square, the large public square adjacent to the museum, which was part of the horse racing course of Shanghai, before exploring the French Concession district. Finish at Xintiandi, an area characterised by 1920s style shikumen buildings transformed into trendy clubs, restaurants and boutiques. Alternatively, visit Zhujiajiao - the ‘Venice of Shanghai’, a water town with a rich canal life and a wealth of traditional buildings and bridges dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911).
Day 4 | Shanghai > Yichang >Yangtze River Cruise Highlights: Embark cruise
Rise early for your flight to Yichang. Today you will enjoy a tour of the less visited Chexi Town to view the well preserved Tujia Minority community and experience their local customs. Later savour afternoon tea at Yichang Crowne Plaza, before transferring to your cruise ship, the Yangzi Explorer for your four-night Yangtze River Cruise. Upon boarding enjoy your first à la carte dinner including wine and beer, as you can with every lunch and dinner whilst on board your cruise.
Day 5 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights: Three Gorges Dam Project, Captain’s Reception
Inspect the Three Gorges Dam project site and experience the ship locks in operation. Later, sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the Three Gorges while sampling afternoon tea delights. Tonight enjoy the Captain’s reception.
Day 6 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights: Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge
Explore the dramatic gorges of Shennong Stream by longboat (sampan). Later, traverse Wu Gorge, known for its quiet beauty, forest covered mountains and sheer rock walls, and Qutang Gorge the shortest, narrowest and most dramatic of the gorges.
Day 7 | Yangtze River Cruise Highlights: Fengdu, Gala Dinner
Enjoy an insightful excursion to Fengdu and the relocated village. Tonight mingle at the Taste of China gala dinner. Be sure to dress in your finest Chinese outfit.
Day 8 | Chongqing > Lijiang Highlights: Pandas at Chongqing Zoo
Disembark in Chongqing, the largest municipality in southwest China and visit Chongqing Zoo where you’ll get to see the rare and treasured giant panda before flying to the World Heritage-listed town of Lijiang. Complete with elaborate wooden houses lining the cobbled streets and bridges stretching over glimmering waterways, Lijiang is a charming town which you can explore directly from your perfectly located hotel during a three night Special Stay.
Day 9 | Lijiang Highlights: Black Dragon Pool, Lijiang old town; Freechoice Dining
Today, wander around the picturesque Black Dragon Pool. Return to Lijiang’s World Heritage-listed Old Town and wander the cobbled streets on your orientation walk. The old city is criss-crossed with canals and the market is crowded with local Naxi women in traditional dress.
Day 10 | Lijiang Highlights: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Park
This morning drive to the nearby Baisha Frescoes and a Naxi village before observing the Impressions Lijiang outdoor cultural show, showcasing the traditions and lifestyle of the local minority people. In Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Park, ride a gondola up to Spruce Meadow to witness the stunning views and savour the gentle walk through the alpine scenery.
Day 11 | Lijiang > Shangri-la (Zhongdian) Highlights: Tiger Leaping Gorge, Enrich - Tibetan local family
Drive to Shangri-la via the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge and uncover the secret of the ancient story that surrounds its name. Previously known as Zhongdian, life has changed little in Shangri-la over time and yaks continue to wander through the surrounding fields and Tibetan houses line narrow streets
Day 12 | Shangri-la (Zhongdian) Highlights: Enrich - Songzanlin Monastery meditation
Experience a private meditation session with a Lama at the 17th century Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan. The roofs are made of gilded copper and the main halls are decorated with magnificent murals depicting Buddhist legends.
Day 13 | Shangri-la (Zhongdian) > Lhasa Highlights: City sightseeing tour, Freechoice Dining
Welcome to the ‘rooftop of the world’ with an average elevation of 4,900 metres, the Tibetan plateau is the source for several of the world’s most important rivers (and Scenic cruising options), including the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers. The scenery and the isolation is truly spectacular. After a brief orientation tour, the day is yours to enjoy as you wish in order to acclimatise to the elevation. You’ll spend three nights in Lhasa.
Day 14 | Lhasa Highlights: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple
The extraordinary Potala Palace, once the winter home of the revered Dalai Lama, dominates the skyline with its immense walls. Explore the incredible maze of corridors and more than 1,000 rooms, including the Red Palace and the White Palace. Explore the 1,300 year old Jokhang Temple, one of the oldest and most sacred in Tibet. Immerse yourself in the culture and history of this spectacular golden roofed temple which is always awash with pilgrims, the smell of butter lamps and incense. Then join the pilgrims as they wander along the holy Barkhor Circuit surrounded by colourful markets. Enjoy a Tibetan buffet dinner followed by a performance of traditional singing and music.
Day 15 | Lhasa Highlights: Freechoice, Sera Monastery
Discover the largest monastery in Tibet, Drepung Monastery founded in the 15th century and once housed up to 10,000 monks or visit the Tibet Museum and Norbulingka, the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama, with its parks and gardens. Or delight in a visit to a peaceful place for studying Buddhism, Anitsamkung Nunnery, the only nunnery in Lhasa. Sit down at a tea house to taste tea and mingle with the local people.
Day 16 | Lhasa > Xi'an Highlights: Tang Dynasty Show
Fly to Xi’an, the ancient capital for eleven dynasties and east end of the Silk Road. Delve into Xi’an’s historical past and enjoy the panoramic views as you navigate either by walking, push bike or electric buggy, the city’s walls originally built in the 14th century. Later, check into your hotel for a two night stay. Tonight enjoy the Tang Dynasty Cultural Show with dinner. Witness a grand performance of traditional songs, dances and colourful costumes from the Tang Dynasty. This spectacular cultural show features more than 145 performers on stage together with a classical Chinese orchestra.
Day 17 | Xi'an Highlights: Enrich - Terracotta Warriors and private museum visit
Gaze at Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s amazing Terracotta Warriors in the company of a museum curator. More than 2,000 years old, these terracotta warriors and horses were created to protect the tomb of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang and were only discovered by a local farmer late in the 20th century. (VIP viewing platform closed indefinitely for major repairs)
Day 18 | Xi'an > Beijing Highlights: Enrich - Lunch in painter's home, Freechoice Dining
Visit a local painter’s home in nearby Hu Xi’an County, famous for its rural peasant paintings. You’ll learn about his art and enjoy lunch with his family – a wonderful way of drawing closer to China’s culture, and its people.
Day 19 | Beijing Highlights: Great Wall of China , Freechoice
Today visit China’s most iconic attraction – the Great Wall at Mutianyu, one of the lesser visited sections of the Great Wall. The dramatic scenery provides a picture-perfect backdrop to the Great Wall as it snakes through the mountains and countryside. Standing on the ancient ramparts is the only way to fully appreciate this magnificent structure, built more than 2,500 years ago.
Day 20 | Beijing Highlights: Freechoice, Summer Palace
Indulge in a shopping spree at the Silk Markets or wander the bustling morning markets and hunt for ingredients for a wonderful interactive cooking class with lunch. Alternatively, discover the unique holistic approach and jealously guarded secrets of traditional Chinese medicine, combined with a wellness lunch.or visit the incredible 15th century Temple of Heaven, a great example of Ming architecture. In its surrounding parklands, witness the local people socialising, exercising and enjoying their relaxation time.
Day 21 | Beijing Highlights: Forbidden City, Sundowners, Peking Duck dinner
Wander through Tiananmen Square, one of the world’s largest public squares and home to the Great Hall of the People and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum before entering the mysterious Forbidden City. Home to the Imperial families during the Ming era, the Forbidden City, with the towering portrait of Chairman Mao looming above, will astound you with its size and the beauty of the many Imperial Palaces, elegant gardens and pavilions within. Afterwards enjoy lunch with a local family in a traditional home in the hutongs before taking a rickshaw ride through these atmospheric old, narrow, winding alleyways to witness traditional Chinese life in a city. Later you have free time for that last minute visit to the Silk Markets.
Day 22 | Beijing Highlights: Farewell
It’s time to bid farewell to China.