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Classic China with Yangtze Cruise and Chengdu

Style: First Class | Pace: Comfortable

China's exquisite natural splendor takes center stage on this epic journey from the cityscapes of Beijing to Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai to the meandering Yangtze River along whose bamboo and lotus blossom-clad gorges we sail through en route to an unforgettable encounter with the rare giant pandas of Chengdu.

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Overview

China's exquisite natural splendor takes center stage on this epic journey from the cityscapes of Beijing to Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai to the meandering Yangtze River along whose bamboo and lotus blossom-clad gorges we sail through en route to an unforgettable encounter with the rare giant pandas of Chengdu.

  1. Board your overnight flight to Asia (not included).

  2. Welcome to Beijing. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and settle in before meeting your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetizers.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Novotel Peace
  3. Begin your visit to this great capital city by exploring one of the world's largest public areas, Tiananmen Square, home to the National Museum of China, the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Great Monument to the People's Heroes. Pass through the south gate to the magnificent Forbidden City, a 180 acre complex of courtyards, palaces, pavilions and gardens. It served as the imperial palace for emperors and their households for more than 500 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch continue to another UNESCO Heritage Site - the stunning Temple of Heaven, visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven. This evening, enjoy a succulent Peking Duck Regional Meal - a must during any visit to Beijing.

    meal(s):BB, L, RM
  4. Travel outside the city and look down upon the Chinese countryside from your perch on top of the Great Wall, which is actually a collection of fortifications built and rebuilt from the 5th century B.C. to the 16th century, to defend against nomadic invaders like the Mongols. Walk the Sacred Way to the remnants of the Ming Tombs, the once-lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Both places are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    meal(s):BB, L
  5. Spend the morning at leisure, before embarking on a unique tour by rickshaw around the ancient alleyways of the courtyard Hutong residences. Stop at the home of a local family for a delicious Be My Guest lunch of traditional Chinese cuisine followed by a visit to a charming tea house, where a Local Specialist prepares and serves tea, while explaining the historic tea making ritual. This afternoon indulge in a relaxing foot massage, a Cultural Insight, at the Foot Reflexology Center.

    meal(s):BB, BG
  6. This morning fly to the city of Xi'an. Later visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks and one of the Silk Road UNESCO listed sites.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Wyndham Grand Xi'an South
  7. During term-time, meet the children and teachers at a local primary school. Perhaps learn a few words of Chinese from the children who in turn will be happy to practice their English. Afterwards, visit the legendary army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Emperor Qin Shi Huang's subterranean tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For lunch enjoy a delicious meal of traditional Chinese noodles and later continue with a visit to a Jade factory.

    meal(s):BB, L
  8. This morning your choice of activities gives you the chance to participate in a T'ai Chi Class, with a skilled Local Specialist, or take a cycle tour around part of the ancient City Wall of Xi'an. Continue on to a local restaurant for a Cultural Insight; watch a demonstration in the art of making dumplings, and afterwards enjoy sampling these for lunch. There are 21 different kinds of dumplings with a variety of fillings and different ways of cooking them. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Then, visit the impressive 88 storey Jinmao Tower which at approximately 420 meters high is the eleventh tallest building in Asia and offers great views over the city.

    meal(s):BB, L
    hotel:Hyatt on the Bund
  9. With a Local Specialist, take a stroll along Shanghai's famous 'Bund', the city's renowned waterfront, lined with former colonial buildings and modern sky-scrapers. Learn how marshland was turned into one of the most important trading hubs in the modern world. Continue to Old Shanghai, a little known treasure trove of winding streets and vibrant markets. Despite the rapid pace of development in the rest of the city, the established customs and lifestyle of this area have remained relatively unaltered. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping in the Old Town before continuing to visit a silk museum, a Cultural Insight. This evening enjoy a performance by the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.

    meal(s):BB
  10. Today is yours to explore Shanghai further, do some last minute shopping or take an Optional Experience to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town founded more than 1,700 years ago. In its heyday, Zhujiajiao was a bustling market town well known throughout the country. Today, old historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing Dynasty post office can still be found when strolling down the ancient streets and exploring the many bridges that crisscross its canals. In the afternoon enjoy some free time back in Shanghai before joining your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner.

    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. Today leave Shanghai behind as you transfer to the airport for your flight to Yichang. On arrival have dinner in a local restaurant before transferring to the port to embark on your Yangtze River cruise.
    meal(s):BB, D
    hotel:Victoria Selina (cruise ship)
  12. Start your morning with a leisurely cruise towards the world's largest hydroelectric project, the Three Gorges Dam. Disembark for a tour around the colossal dam, which is designed to both generate power to fuel China's economic growth and to control flooding on the Yangtze. Later observe this amazing feat of modern engineering, as you pass through its' five level double lock system from the comfort of your ship. Witness the beautiful scenery passing on both shores as you sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest and the deepest of the Three Gorges.

    meal(s):BB, L, D
  13. After breakfast board a sampan to see a tributary of the Yangtze River, the Shennv Stream, up close and personal. Return to the ship for lunch and for the long awaited breathtaking scenery of the most revered part of the Yangtze River - the 120km. known as the Three Gorges.

    meal(s):BB, L, D
  14. This morning take a shore excursion to visit Shibaozhai with its wooden temple on the top of a 200 meter tall cliff. Take the opportunity to have a bit of exercise by climbing up to the temple via the red pavilion which leans against the cliff and serves as a pathway. Return to the ship to continue enjoying the stunning scenery and your last day on board. Spend a peaceful night docked at Chongqing where the cruise finishes, ready for an early disembarkation the next day.

    meal(s):BB, L, D
  15. After breakfast disembark the cruise in Chongqing and take the high speed bullet train to Chengdu - the hometown of the giant panda and a city famous in China for its leisurely pace of living. Later visit People's Park (also known as Renmin Park) for a stroll around and some people watching, a Cultural Insight. See how the locals spend their leisure time playing mahjong, dancing, napping in a tea-house, practicing calligraphy with water on the sidewalk, enjoying a neck massage and even having their ears cleaned. The park features several Chinese gardens, a beautiful lake, the Railway Protection Movement Monument, and local tea houses. This evening perhaps choose to take part in an Optional Experience.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Crowne Plaza
  16. This morning join your Local Specialist for a visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding; a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals which was established in 1987. It's mission is to rescue and protect the endangered giant panda species which currently have a population of less than 2000. After lunch return to the city center and visit the Wide and Narrow Alleys; two parallel pedestrian streets with 45 courtyards along them. One of Chengdu's historical and cultural areas which dates from the Qing Dynasty, and is today a beautifully restored upscale entertainment and nightlife area with restaurants, teahouses, and stores selling local handicrafts and other keepsakes. Later continue to Jinli Old Street to be immersed in the lively local atmosphere. The buildings are modeled on the architectural style of a traditional old town in western Sichuan Province and exhibit an ancient charm. Stroll along the narrow street to find old-world stores, each with their own unique style, selling Shu Embroidery, lacquer products, handicrafts, calligraphies and paintings of celebrities.
    meal(s):BB, L
  17. Today visit the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine and learn about traditional Sichuan cooking practices for a Cultural Insight. Have a go at crushing chilies into powder using a Qing Dynasty pestle and mortar, view ancient kitchenware, books and manuscripts faithfully recording the history of Sichuan culinary cultures dating back more than 3,000 years. Visit Restaurant Alley to catch a glimpse into the dining experiences of the past. Also see the shrine of the Kitchen God to perhaps leave an offering before trying your hand at cooking a few of the dishes under the guidance of the chef. Enjoy eating your creations for lunch before returning to your centrally located hotel. The afternoon is yours to relax, explore further or do some last minute shopping.

    meal(s):BB, L
  18. Transfer to Chengdu Airport for your onward flight.
    meal(s):BB
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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Intra-Air Included

    Prices include economy airfare for any intra-trip flights required by this itinerary. For trip specific terms and conditions, please refer to the Dates & Prices tab.

  • Important Visa Information

    Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.

Thank you for your interest in this tour. If no dates are displaying, please call our reservations line at 1-877-622-9109 for more information

Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements. Visas cannot be issued upon entry to the country. 

Flights: Prices include internal airfares and taxes for flights: Beijing to Xi'an, Xi'an to Shanghai, Shanghai to Yichang.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1920.

Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip. 

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Special Discounts: At times we offer discounted departures. These discounts are valid for new bookings only and are not combinable with any other discounts other than our Past Traveler Discount and $100 AARP Member Discount. Other restrictions may apply, please call for details.

Print Itinerary

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Meal Summary

16 nights, 16 buffet breakfasts, 10 lunches, 7 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure
  • As per Classic China itinerary plus:

Cultural Insight

  • Learn about Sichuan cuisine at a cooking class in Chengdu and afterwards get to taste your creations

Local Specialist

  • in Chengdu

Sightseeing Highlights

  • As per Classic China itinerary plus:
  • City Tour of Chengdu
  • Cruise the Yangtze River
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Intra-Air Included

    Prices include economy airfare for any intra-trip flights required by this itinerary. For trip specific terms and conditions, please refer to the Dates & Prices tab.

  • Important Visa Information

    Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.

Print Itinerary

Reviews

Collins Lewis
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : It was a great trip. Rocky was tremendous as a tour guide.
Response from Grand European Travel:
That is fantastic to hear. Thank you for taking the time to write.
Monday, July 30, 2018
Vacation : It was worth the cost. I have not complaints.
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Intra-Air Included

    Prices include economy airfare for any intra-trip flights required by this itinerary. For trip specific terms and conditions, please refer to the Dates & Prices tab.

  • Important Visa Information

    Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Beijing

Legend Of Kung Fu Show

Adult Price: ¥295

The Legend of Kung Fu Show is a mix of traditional martial arts and modern theater. It is presented by a group of marvelous Kung Fu artists from all over China whose average age is only 17 but they have studied Chinese Kung Fu for many years. The story tells of a young boy who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master and attaining enlightenment. He takes the path of a monk in which he must face many obstacles both from this world and his own mind to overcome his fears and to become a true master of Kung Fu. During the 80-minute show, the artists do not speak but perform daring acrobatics and Kung Fu dance but there are English subtitles above the stage explaining the story line. Transfers to and from the Red Theater are included. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

Chengdu

Sichuan Opera

Adult Price: ¥365

Spend the evening at the ShufengYayun Sichuan Opera House to enjoy a colourful authentic Sichuan opera performance. There are many separate performances, all of which are introduced in English and these include a comedy show, fire spitting, a puppet show and the famous face changing show where actors switch between different masks to portray different characters. There is live music featuring a host of traditional Chinese instruments and it all takes place in a beautiful semi-outdoor courtyard setting. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

Shanghai

Half Day Zhujiajiao Experience With Lunch

Adult Price: ¥368

In the morning, drive to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town in the suburbs of Shanghai. With a history that goes back more than 1,700 years, the town is the best preserved among the four ancient towns of Shanghai. Today, historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found. The town is also blessed with small rivers shaded by willow trees, bubbling streams and traditional houses with ancient courtyards. The town has 36 bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, differing in shape, style and structure; from wooden to stone and marble. Take a paddle boat ride along the water to admire the distinct bridges, and then enjoy some free time to stroll through the narrow alleys and small food shops. The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soy beans and Zarou (lotus roots) as well as homemade candy and braised pork leg. There will be an opportunity to try some local food during the included lunch, before returning to Shanghai. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

Xi'an

Tang Dynasty Show With Dinner

Adult Price: ¥358

Enjoy a sumptuous Tang banquet followed by a wonderful performance of ancient music and dance which has graced the region for centuries. The show consists of 8 parts filled with vibrant costumes, colorful dances and traditional music. Under the ruling of the Tang Emperors from 618 to 907, China became the most powerful and prosperous country in the world. During this time the economy, politics and military strength reached an unprecedented level which influenced the culture of its neighboring countries. It was during this flourishing and peaceful period that exquisite Tang imperial feasts with music and dance emerged and developed. Step back in time and enjoy the delightful hospitality and performances of the Tang Dynasty. NB. The price shown is in Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Intra-Air Included

    Prices include economy airfare for any intra-trip flights required by this itinerary. For trip specific terms and conditions, please refer to the Dates & Prices tab.

  • Important Visa Information

    Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.

Print Itinerary
  • U.S. citizens traveling to China must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. Travelers visiting China will also need an entry visa.  We will send you application forms to complete to obtain your visa prior to departure. Visa costs and entry requirements can change at any time. Please visit travel.state.gov to learn more.

  • The currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB).  Yuan is the name of a unit of the renminbi currency – something may cost one yuan or 20 yuan.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in China. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine.  The history of Chinese cuisine dates back thousands of years and varies by region.  You’ll discover an array of specialties with the country’s “Eight Cuisines” – Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang.  Staples foods include rice, noodles and vegetables such as bok choy, bean sprouts, and watercress.  Dishes are usually flavored with things like fresh ginger, garlic and scallions, as well as chilies and dried mushrooms.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable clothes that can be layered to give you many options for how to dress in China’s various climates. A lightweight jacket will come in handy and study walking shows are recommended for sightseeing excursions. Keep in mind that your shoulders and legs should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • In China it is not common practice to leave a tip when dining out.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it is customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Intra-Air Included

    Prices include economy airfare for any intra-trip flights required by this itinerary. For trip specific terms and conditions, please refer to the Dates & Prices tab.

  • Important Visa Information

    Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements.

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