17 Days Best China & Tibet Tour with Yangtze River Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Lhasa / Chengdu / Chongqing / Yangtze River / Shanghai

Overview

This is a leisure China vacation – you will travel each destination at leisure time, transfer mostly by air, enjoy private service from your own tour guide and driver… In 17 days, you will explore 7 top tourist destinations in China: Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing, Yangtze River and Shanghai. Not only the grand history and culture, but also the magnificent natural sceneries of China will be brought to you in this tour.

17 days and 16 nights
Private tour
Departure: Flexible
Theme: Culture, Photography, Family
Suitable:

Highlights

  • Start your China trip from Beijing and end at Shanghai, making fully use of these two cities’ convenient international arrival/departure;
  • Immerse yourself in China’s rich history in Beijing and Xian;
  • Experience authentic Tibetan culture and Buddhism at the “Roof of the World” – Lhasa;
  • Take a relaxing cruise down the beautiful and majestic Yangtze River;

Itinerary

Day 1 Beijing Arrival

Welcome to the capital city of China! Upon arriving at the airport/train station, you will be met by your local tour guide, and then drive to your downtown hotel in Beijing City. After the hotel check-in, you are free to take a rest or explore around on your own.

Day 2 Beijing ( B, L )

China has more than 4000 years’ history of Imperial Social System, while Beijing is the best place in China to experience the magnificent history and culture of ancient China. Today your guide will pick you up in the hotel after your breakfast, then start the wonderful ancient China culture and history tour!

You will firstly get to the world’s largest plaza – Tian’anmen Square. The grandiose Tian’anmen Gate was the place where the chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China to the world. Passing through Tiananmen Gate, you will enter the splendid Forbidden City, the previous home to 24 emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties for 600 years. Magnificent architectures, intricate ornaments and touching legends make it a must-see of China. In the afternoon, head to visit the stunning and exquisite Summer Palace, and be amazed at the vast ensemble of lakes, gardens, temples, and palaces, together as a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. While in Qing Dynasty, it was the personal summer retreat for the royal families. It is made up of front hill, back hill and Kunming Lake. You will see splendid halls and pavilions in the front hill, while in the back hill, you will enjoy quiet and natural beauty.

After the sightseeing, you will be taken back to your hotel for rest.

Optional Recommended Night Activity: 1) watch an exciting Chinese Kungfu Show at Red Theatre which usually starts at 7:30 pm; 2) enjoy a famous Beijing Opera Show at Liyuan Theater between 19:30-21:00.

Day 3 Beijing ( B, L )

Hiking the Great Wall is one-in-a-lifetime thing to do for most travelers. Today, you are going to accomplish the Great Wall dream. You will be escorted about 70km from the downtown Beijing to the world-famous Mutianyu Great Wall which has fewer tourists compared with Badaling Great Wall. At the same time, it is the best Great Wall section to view the delicately beautiful scenery while appreciating the grandness of the Walls. After arriving at the ticket office, you will take a cable car to the walls of Mutianyu, and then hike about 2 hours on the Great Wall.

After the Mutianyu Great Wall hiking, you will drive back to the city. On route, take a sidetrip to the solemn Ming Tombs of ancient emperors in Ming Dynasty. Wander along the Sacred Road, a tranquil royal path featured with statues of divine animals and officials; also take an adventure to the mysterious Underground Palace. Before getting to your hotel, you will also make a stop at the Beijing Olympic Village to take some pictures of the world-famed “Bird’s Nest” and the “Water Cube” from the outside.

Optional Recommended Activity: enjoy a dinner of authentic Peking Roasted Duck at Quanjude Restaurant.

Day 4 High Speed Train to Xian from Beijing ( B, L )

After breakfast, you’ll go to marvel at one of the greatest masterpiece in Chiense architecture history – the Temple of Heaven, where the ancient emperors used to preside at various rituals for a national good harvest in ancient times. Today, the outer area of the Temple of Heaven is a public park for locals to gather to play Taichi, fly kites, chatting… while the inner area is the historical site for tourists to learn about the ancient Chinese history and culture. Later move on to visit the most famous Hutongs which are some old alleys with traditional architecture originated from Yuan Dynasty (CD 1271~1368. Today, there are still many local Beijingers living in these old quarters, while in the Qing Dynasty (CD 1636~1912), there were even some noble royal families resided here. You can wander leisurely around these narrow alleys to experience the original features of people’s living in old time, or take a relaxing rickshaw through. Lunch will be arranged at a local family who lives in Hutong.

After the lunch, you will have some free time until be taken to catch a high speed train to Xian. Our local guide will be waiting for you in train station and escorting you to your hotel in Xian. The rest of day is free for you to explore the ancient city on your own.

Day 5 Xian (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 1.5 hours to witness the magnificent man-mad wonder – the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, which were interred to protect Qin Shi Huang (the first Emperor of China) in his afterlife. Over 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses with different looks and numerous bronze weapons compose a large-scale army system to reappear the majestic momentum of the Qin Army 2,000 years ago.

In the afternoon, drive back to Xian city to visit the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Built in Ming Dynasty as a military defense, the wall’s top is wider than its height to allow the army drill. Stroll on the top of the ancient wall and observe the modern Xian, emerge yourself in the charm of this ancient capital. Your next place is to go is the nearby Muslim Quarter, a place to satisfy your stomach with various delicious local foods and snacks. It is also a wonderful place for a leisure walking around.

Optional Recommended Activity: 1) biking for a while on the Ancient Great Wall; 2) enjoy a wonderful performance of Tang Palace Dancing Show (usually from 8pm to 9pm).

Day 6 Xian

Start today’s Xian tour with a visit to the landmark of Xian – Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This earliest and largest square pavilion style pagoda built in Tang Dynasty is a seven-layered pagoda with a height of 64.5m. The pagoda was first built to store the Buddhist sutras brought back from the Ancient India by Xuanzang (the prototype character of Tang Seng in the novel of Journey to the West). After that, move to Shaanxi History Museum, where collects over 370,000 pieces cultural relics of different dynasties, including bronzes, Chinaware, gold and silver wares, grave frescos, currencies of various dynasties, etc.

The rest time of today is free for your own to spend and get prepared for tomorrow’s flight to Lhasa.

Day 7 Flight to Lhasa from Xian ( B, L )

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport and take a flight to Lhasa (about 3.5 hours). Upon arriving at Lhasa Gongga Airport, you will be picked up by local tour guide at the airport hall, then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city in a private vehicle. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the local areas and acclimatize yourself to the air, temperature and high altitude of Lhasa.

High Altitude Acclimation Tips:1) go for some leisure walking to acclimate the high altitude but avoid strenuous activity after arrival; 2) you’d better not have bath, in case of catching a cold; 3) drink more water, and have some fruit; 4) have a good rest.

Day 8 Lhasa

Start today’s Lhasa exploration with an exciting visit to the landmark – Potala Palace which is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural building in the world. You will climb up the palace along the zigzag stone paths with white-and-red walls to the top of the palace where you can not only appreciate the exotic Tibetan-style architecture, but also get a great view of Lhasa’s urban areas, then walk into the inner space of Potala Palace to explore the stately chapels and learn about the history of the palace.

Continuing your exploration, you will then get to Jokhang Temple which is considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Each day, there are thousands of pilgrims coming from different places in Tibet to the temple to worship to the Buddha. This temple is also known as the “house of Buddha” because it keeps the precious Jowo Rinpoche, the life-sized (5 foot/1.5m) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. The last site for today’s exploration is the famous Barkor Street. It is a circular and wide street encircling the Jokhang Temple. The local people like to walk on the street for several circles usually in the late afternoon as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handcrafts.

Tips of today: 1) there are 1,080 steps up to climb to the top of Potala Palace, so don’t walk in a rush, which may cause high altitude sickness; 2) taking photos is not allowed inside the palace; 3) today you will be mainly outside, please bring some water, a hat, sun cream, and sun glasses with you.

Day 9 Lhasa ( B )

After breakfast, you will firstly go to visit the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in the ancient time, and now is a public park. It is famous for its Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai lamas with grandiose Tibetan architecture style. Next, drive several kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. Drepung, in Tibetan, means “prosperity”. Since its establishment, Drepung Monastery has always been one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. In its heyday, there were more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders used to study here, especially the Dalai Lamas. So Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.

In the afternoon, you will be taken to another famous monastery in Lhasa – Sera Monastery. It is famous for the spectacular “Buddhism Debating”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the Buddhist doctrines with supplemented gestures, which is thought to be helpful to facilitates better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the “Buddhism Debating”, you will be transferred back to the city. The rest time is your own free time to rest.

The Etiquette of Visiting Monastery: 1) you shouldn’t wear short and uncover shoulders; 2) taking off your sunglasses and hat before entering the chapels; 3) taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.

Day 10 Flight to Chengdu from Lhasa (B)

Today is free for you until you are transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Chengdu. Upon arrival at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, your local guide will meet and escort you to your downtown hotel. The rest of today is free at your leisure to explore this leisure city.

Day 11 Chengdu ( B, L )

Chengdu has three famous features – Giant Panda, History and Leisure Living Pace. Today, you will go to explore these tree features one by one. First is to visit the lovely Giant Pandas in Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which is the No. 1 thing to do in Chengdu. You will leave your hotel early and drive about 30 minutes to the panda base so that you can catch up the great moments of pandas, such as feeding, playing, climbing tree, etc. There are different enclosures for pages of different ages, such as all around to see baby pandas, 1 year-old pandas, teenage pandas, and older pandas. Beautiful walking paths will lead you to visit the enclosures from one to next. Enjoy the happy time with pandas.

The second place to visit is the sacred Wenshu Temple which is hidden peacefully among the modern mansions. This temple is the most popular Buddhist temple in Chengdu region. It has beautiful traditional ancient architecture. The atmosphere is calm and quiet, some people are praying. There is a little garden and the monastery is very colorful and decorated.

Lastly, you are going to explore the leisure living peace of locals at Renmin Park and Jinli Street. Renmin Park, or People’s Park is the place for locals to go for a relaxing walk, meet friends, or have a cup of tea. While Jinli is the “street of tourists”. You can wander on the traditional old street to absorb the special atmosphere of Chengdu, taste local snacks, watching a performance, etc.

Day 12 Chengdu - Chongqing ( B )

This morning, you will take a high speed train to neighboring Chongqing from Chengdu. After arriving at Chongqing, you will be met by local guide and go to visit a famous ancient town in Chongqing – Ciqikou. It used to be a old harbor and bustling residential areas for rich merchants in Chongqing. Here the exquisite houses of Ming and Qing dynasties’ style are everywhere. Next, you will go to next site – Three Gorges Museum, a large modern museum where you can learn the history and culture of the Three Gorges Dam Project.

In the afternoon hours around 4~5pm, you will be taken to Chaotianmen Port to board your Yangtze River Cruise Ship. Available Check-in hours are from 6pm~9pm. The majestic Yangtze River Cruise now starts!

Boarding tips: 1) different cruise companies use different piers for boarding; 2) the cruise company may alter the boarding hours and locations for the possible change of weather, season, cruise lines, water level, etc.

Day 13 Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )

Wake up in the morning, and go to enjoy a wonderful breakfast on the ship. The rest time of this morning is free for you to explore the relaxing onboard life on the ship – you can go to enjoy a leisure morning coffee, learn to play Taichi, attend an interesting lecture introducing about the culture and history of Yangtze River, etc. Of course don’t miss the majestic Yangtze River landscape passing by.

In the afternoon, you will disembark the ship to have a shore excursion to the spectacular Shibaozhai Pagoda which is one of the Eight Most Fantastic Architectures in the World by the Discovery Channel. It is a 12-storey, 200 meters’ tall pagoda made of red wooden, and leaning against a lofty cliff. Climbing up to the top of the pagoda, you will get a fascinating panoramic view of Yangtze River.

Optional shore excursion: if you don’t want to spend all you morning time on the ship, you can choose to take a shore excursion to Fengdu Ghost City (with extra charge). It is a great place to learn about traditional Chinese Hell and Ghost Culture.

Day 14 Yangtze River Cruise ( B, L, D )

Today you will be bestowed a vision feast because the ship will sail through the famous Three Gorges which are the most stunning landscapes along the Yangtze River. They are Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge. Qutang Gorge stretches 8km from White Emperor City to Daxi Stream with sharp width changes of watercourse. There are continuous peaks lining along the gorge; Wu Gorge is famous for its deep valleys, wide horizon, rising mists and giant mountains with a length of 45km. Xiling Gorge is the section of Yangtze River where the brilliant Three Gorges Dam was constructed on. It is featured in rapid shoals, cliffs, streams, springs and karst caves.

In the afternoon, you will go to have an excursion tour to Shennv Stream (Goddess Stream) which is a secluded branch of Yangtze River. A smaller Chinese-style sightseeing boat will then take you to sail through the quiet and narrow stream and explore pleasant sceneries. In the clear days, you can see the Hanging Coffins on the cliffs. After the sailing, enjoy an entertaining local music and dancing show. Lastly sail back to board you Yangtze cruise ship.

In the evening, a Captain’s Farewell Party (dinner) will be organized for all passenger on the ship. Enjoy the happy party time. At around 11pm, you will experience the interesting process of sailing through the Three Gorges Dam Five-Stage Ship Locks.

Optional shore excursion: In the morning of today, there is an optional shore excursion to White Emperor City (with extra charge) where travelers can learn about Three Kingdoms Culture.

Day 15 Yangtze River Cruise & Flight to Shanghai from Yichang ( B, L )

After breakfast, disembark the ship and take a sightseeing bus to visit the Three Gorges Dam which is known as the largest hydropower station in the world. It took about 18 years to complete the major parts of the dam project. In 2014, the Three Gorges Dam generated 98.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) and had the world record. In addition to generating electricity, the dam also has increased the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity and reduced the potential for floods downstream.

After visiting the Three Gorges Dam, you will return back to your ship for a follow-up sailing to Yichang Port (Taohuacun Port or New Century Port in Yichang City). Be prepared for your check-out procedure and disembark the ship. A tour guide will pick up you and transfer you to Yichang Sanxia Airport to take a flight to Shanghai. Your Yangtze River Cruise ends.

Day 16 Shanghai ( B, L )

Today, your wonderful Shanghai journey starts with a visit to Shanghai Museum, resembling an ancient Chinese Ding vessel with round dome and square earth base which symbolizes the Chinese philosophy. It is one must-see attraction in Shanghai famed for its countless treasured cultural collections, including bronze, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, jade, seal and some other shining exhibits, tracing back to as long as 5,000 years ago. This charming museum will guide you through the craft of millennia as well as the pages of Chinese history.

Your next stop in Shanghai is Yu Garden. The private garden built in Ming Dynasty fully shows the architecture and design style of classical Chinese gardens with delicate pavilions, clear ponds and artificial hills. Next, you will walk leisurely through the Yuyuan Bazaar which is full of tasteful local snacks and elaborate traditional Chinese handicrafts and art works, and locates right next to the Yu Garden.

After exploring Chinese old history and classical garden architecture in Shanghai, you will drive to Lujiazui and take a look at Shanghai at present. Ascending to the tallest skyscraper in Asia – Shanghai Tower and overlooking from the view deck on the 126th floor, a prosperous and majestic Shanghai will reveal its true face in front of you.

Then, stroll along Nanjing Road, you will be surprised how this paradise for shoppers satisfy your shopping demand. At the east end of the road appears the famous Bund, the symbol of Shanghai situated in the river bank of Huangpu River. Walk along the Bund, feel the perfect fusion of Chinese culture and Western culture, and seize the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes.

Optional Recommended Night Activity: take an enjoyable ship cruise on the Huangpu River to enjoy the beautiful night view of Shanghai.

Day 17 Shanghai Departure ( B )

The first place to visit for today is the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center where multiple media, such as photography, models, videos, machines, etc, are used to help visitors to learn about the past history, present facts and future plan of Shanghai. Then come to the next site – Jade Buddha Temple which has the largest jade Buddha in the world and numerous religious artifacts, ancient statues and Buddhist scriptures. It is a pure land hidden in the crowded and modern metropolis. In this Chinese Zen-Buddhist temple, you can take a view of the featured Song-style architectures and watch the people praying – quite distinctive from the atmosphere of Tibetan monasteries you will see.

The rest of today is free for you to spend until your tour guide and driver take you to catch your flight/train to next destination.

Important Notes:

  • 1. Tibet Permits
    There are several permits required to visit Tibet. Tibet Entry Permit, issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, is the most important one which has to be obtained before your trip because you must have it to take your flight/train to Tibet. To get the permit, you have to book a Tibet tour with us, and send us your passport and Chinese visa about 20 days in advance, and then let us apply for the permit (all Tibet permits can only be applied by travel agency). If you travel to other prefectures like Shigatse, Nyingchi, Shannan, etc, you also have to obtain an Alien Travel Permit. If you travel to Mount Everest, you have to obtain a Border Permit.
  • 2. Available Months to Visit Tibet
    Generally speaking, months from April to October are recommended. Other months are usually very cold, and possible have heavy snow, especially in regions like Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Namtso Lake, etc.
  • 3. High Altitude Sickness
    The average altitude of Tibet is about 4000 meters above the sea level (Lhasa: 3700m; EBC: 5200m; Namtso: 4718m). You may suffer a bit from High Altitude Sickness in the beginning days of your Tibet trip if you haven’t had rich high plateau travel experience. But don’t worry too much, the high altitude can be acclimatized usually in 2~3 days. Our suggestion is to take a physical examination and get suggestions from your doctor, and also bring some medicines to prevent from High Altitude Sickness before your trip. While in Tibet, you should keep warm all the time, avoid strenuous activities, drink more water and eat more vegetables and carbohydrates. You’d better not take showers during the first two days after your arrival at Tibet. If you don’t feel well, get help from your tour guide or go to the hospital without any delay.
  • 4. How to Go to Tibet
    In this tour, you will take a flight to Lhasa from Xian. Currently, Xian usually operates 3~5 non-stop flights to Lhasa each day. We suggest you take flights in the morning so that you will be able to arrive at Lhasa early and have more time for acclimation. It takes about 3~4 hours to get to Lhasa by flight. Xian also offers several trains to Lhasa which takes about 32 hours to get to Lhasa. (Other popular gateway cities are Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Kunming, Shanghai, Xining)
  • 5. Packing and Wearing Ideas
    Firstly you can’t forget your passport and Chinese Visa. A large backpack and a smaller one are recommended (the smaller one can be used for daily activities). Also bring the necessary medicine you need. Other stuffs like sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block are recommended.
    As for wearing, you are suggested to dress in layers (both thin and thick jackets). Down jacket is necessary in Spring and Autumn. A pair of durable and comfortable shoes is necessary.

Price & Inclusion

17 Days Best China & Tibet Tour with Yangtze River Cruise
Price for 2 Adults
US $0
Discount
US $

Total
US $0

Meals

Transportation

Price Includes

  • Domestic flights within China.
  • Yangtze River Cruise ticket.
  • Private professional English-speaking tour guide.
  • Private vehicle and Luggage Transfers.
  • All necessary Tibet travel permits.
  • All accommodations, based on double-occupancy. Medium standard accommodation with attached bathroom on twin sharing basis. Guesthouse or tent in remote areas.
  • Meals noted in the itinerary as “B,L,D”.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary.
  • Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & government taxes.
  • Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance

Cancellation by Customer

  • 30% of total package price should be deposited once the booking is confirmed
  • Cancellation received less than 72 hours prior arrival date or No show: full charge the total package rate
  • Cancellation received from 4 days to 14 days prior arrival date: 50% of total package tour charged
  • Cancellation received from 15 days to 20 days prior arrival date: 10% of total package tour charged

Children Policy

  • For infant (<02 years old): FOC except domestic ticket cost
  • 02 – 11 years old without bed: 50% adult rate
  • 02 – 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
  • 02 – 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate