Classic Cities & Yangtze

E-403: 12 Days Private Tour of Shanghai - Yichang - Yangtze River Cruise - Chongqing - Xi'an - Beijing
Tour Type: Private Partially guided Tour, any part of the itinerary can be customized other than the Yangtze River Cruise.
Guide & Driver: English-speaking guide & experienced driver for specified guided tours
Accommodation: 3-star decent hotels, with the option for your own choice

Tour Features:
    With essential parts like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Army Museum with a guide plus some free days for local sightseeing downtown. This itinerary is designed particularly for clients who are on a limited budget and enjoy a measure of independent travel with our professional suggestions.
From $1449 per person Free Inquiry
Day 1 Arrival in Shanghai
As one of the most developed metropolises in China, Shanghai is comparatively easy to explore on your own, so we do not include guided services in this city. Upon arrival, please find your own way to the hotel we have booked for you.

There are several ways to get from the airport to your hotel. If your flight lands in the Pudong Airport (PVG), you can take subway Line 2 and get off at Guanglan Road, go to the opposite to continue your trip to People's Square Station, then change to subway Line 1 (Fujin Rd. Direction) and get off at Hanzhong Road after 2 stops. From the exit, walk about 5 minutes to your hotel. The Maglev train also runs between Pudong airport and Longyang Rd. Metro Station. The standard class ticket for a single trip is CNY50 per person and it only takes 8 minutes. From Longyang Road you will need to take a taxi to your hotel that will cost around CNY50 - CNY60 per cab.

If your flight lands at the Hongqiao airport, the subway is the most economical choice. Take Subway Line 10 to South Shaanxi Rd. Stop and change to Line 12 to Hanzhong Rd. Station. From the station you can easily find the hotel. Of course, you may prefer to take a taxi especially if you have a lot of luggage. It will cost around CNY200 per cab from Pudong airport and CNY100 per cab from Hongqiao airport to your hotel.

Accommodation: Golden River-view Hotel
Day 2 Shanghai
After breakfast in your hotel, you can start your sightseeing today. Here is our suggested itinerary for you that includes the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, Yu Garden and the Bund. We suggest you go first to the Urban Planning Exhibition Center, which is a good introduction to the city. You can rent a personal Audio Guide for CNY20 or hire a professional English-speaking Guide for CNY200. Allow about one hour for your visit. To get there, you can go to Hanzhong Road Station to take subway Line 1 for 2 stops and get off at People's Square. Come out from Exit 2 or 3 and then you will see the museum.

After that, take subway Line 8 (Shendu Highway Direction) for two stops to Laoximen Station, change to Line 10 (Xin Jiang Wan Cheng Direction) for one stop to Yuyuan Station and exit at Exit 1 to Cheng Huang Miao (City God Temple) area. Yu Garden is located in the center of Cheng Huang Miao area. There are many restaurants, snack shops and cafes where you can have lunch.

After lunch, you can go to the “postcard” of Shanghai - the Bund. Return to Yuyuan Station to take subway Line 10 to East Nanjing Rd. Station. Leave through Exit 1 and walk east along the pedestrian street for about 15 minutes, you will reach the Bund. We highly recommend the one-hour Huangpu River night cruise that costs CNY100 per person. If you are tired after so much walking, we suggest you consider taking a taxi back to your hotel (about CNY25 per cab). Your train ticket from Shanghai to Yichang will be delivered to your hotel today, so please remember to pick it up from reception.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 3 Shanghai to Yichang by Bullet Train
Today you will take a bullet train from Shanghai to Yichang on your own. Walk to the Subway Station at Hanzhong Road and take subway Line 1 (Fujinlu Direction) for one stop, get off at Shanghai Railway station. Normally the train departs from Shanghai Railway Station at 09:30, however, please do check the departure time when you get the ticket. In order to get to the railway station at least one hour before the train departure, you should leave the hotel before 08:00. So, you should get up earlier and have a big breakfast. You are also suggested to buy some food and bottled water the day before at a nearby supermarket to take on your 7-hour train journey. Although there is a dining car available on the train, the food is simple and the quality not as good as that at a normal restaurant.

It is a unique experience to have a daytime train trip and we hope you enjoy the scenery along the way. The train arrives in Yichang at 16:16 if it is on time. Your personal guide will meet you at the railway station exit. We suggest you have dinner before boarding the cruise ship. Your guide will recommend a good restaurant for you and then drive you to the Three Gorges Tourist Center and help you check-in your luggage. Then you will take a shuttle bus arranged by the cruise ship company to the pier to board your cruise ship. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: President No.7/No.8 with balcony
Day 4 Yangtze River Cruise
The cruise ship will set sail early in the morning. After having buffet breakfast in the dining hall, we suggest that you go up to the sun deck to view the first Gorge as you pass through. Xiling Gorge is the longest of the three gorges and has the most beautiful natural scenery along the river. Lunch is served on board and you will be assigned to a table in advance. In the afternoon, there will be a two-hour shore excursion in smaller groups to the Three Gorges Dam, the largest water-control project in the world. After you return to the ship there will be time if you want a short rest in your room. A welcome dinner will be held at around 18:00. After dinner, there will be a lively evening party. The programs are created and performed by the crew themselves. We hope you enjoy the party.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Yangtze River Cruise
After your buffet breakfast in the morning, you will have an exciting excursion to Shennong Stream. Differing from the majestic and grand landscape of the main river, the scenery along the Shennong Stream is elegant, graceful and peaceful as the stream narrows and becomes clearer. First you will take a sightseeing boat for about 40 minutes, and then you will change to a pea boat that will take you even further upstream. The boat tracker will show you the primitive way of towing a boat, and the local guide is happy to sing a folk song for the passengers. You will return to your ship in time for lunch. After lunch you will have the opportunity to view the gorgeous Wu Gorge and precipitous Qutang Gorge

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Yangtze River Cruise
The last onshore excursion is to Shuangguishan National Forest Park. It has been a famous place of interest since the Song Dynasty and a great number of writers and poets have been attracted here. Here you can also see old pavilions and temples commemorating important historical moments and some of the great people who have visited the place. For the remainder day, you can either relax in your cabin, or enjoy the view on the deck, or attend some scheduled cultural activities for free. Tonight, there will be a farewell party after dinner.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Chongqing to Xi'an by Flight
Our travel consultant Abbey with her guests
The ship is scheduled to dock at around 09:00 in the morning. Follow the check-out procedure announced by the Cruise Company. Your Chongqing guide will come on board and meet you in the lobby to take you on a brief city tour.

First, you will visit the Panda House in Chongqing Zoo. The lively panda is a national treasure and is loved by people at home and abroad. Then you will visit the Ciqikou Village. This is a historical street with buildings mainly in Ming and Qing architectural styles. The village is bustling with shops, where you can see many traditional crafts, such as refining sugar, making dough figures and Sichuan Face Painting. You will find various traditional snacks and tea houses here too. Lunch is on your own today. Ask your guide for recommendations of where to eat. This is a good place to try Sichuan cuisine which is hot and spicy. Please let your guide know in advance if you do not like this kind of food.

After lunch, we will take you to the airport for your flight to Xi'an. The local guide will meet you outside the baggage claim area of the airport. A private transfer will take you to the hotel we booked, and you are free for the rest of the day.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Days Inn City Centre Xi'an
Day 8 Xi'an
Terracotta Army
China is one of the world's four major ancient civilizations and Xi'an was once the imperial court for 13 dynasties. It is definitely an ancient historical city with a rich cultural heritage. This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to visit the magnificent Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum which is described as the Eighth Wonder of the world. The site is a burial pit for the first Emperor, Qinshihuang. Here you will find a large underground army, the Bronze chariots and horses and many kinds of weapons. The miraculous construction not only astonishes people for its sheer size, but also the superb craftsmanship of the ancient people who created it. Lunch is on your own expense. Your guide can recommend a local restaurant. 

After lunch, we drive you to the downtown area to visit the Provincial History Museum and then to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the pagoda is located in Jianfu Temple. With its quiet and beautiful grounds, the temple is a great place to relax. Your guided tour in Xi'an ends when we drive you back to the hotel. Your guide will give you your train ticket to Beijing before saying goodbye to you. Once you get the ticket, please double check the departure time.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 9 Xi'an to Beijing by Overnight Soft Sleeper Train
Local people playing Tai-chi in the City Wall Park, Xian
Today is by your own arrangement. This is a suggested itinerary. After having breakfast in your hotel, check out and store your luggage with the concierge. Walk south along the street for 20-25 minutes until you arrive at the South Gate of Xi'an City Wall. The 12-meter-high wall was built to protect the imperial city. If you like to bicycle, you can rent one for CNY40 and ride on the wall. A deposit of CNY200 per bicycle is required. A short Warrior Parade Performance is held in the Barbican of the South Gate at 10:30 and 16:30. Do not miss it if your time allows. Leave the City Wall via the south street. Here there are many restaurants to choose from for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Bell and Drum Tower. The Bell Tower is located in the city center just 5 minutes walking distance from your hotel. The ticket office for the Bell Tower is in the underground passage. A joint ticket for the Bell and Drum Towers is CNY40 per person. The Drum Tower is in the north-west side of Bell Tower. Behind the Drum Tower is the Muslim street, where you can taste local snacks, buy some local souvenirs and prepare some fast food and water for your dinner on the train.

It is not easy to catch a taxi in Xi'an especially during the rush hour from 16:00 - 20:00. We suggest you take a bus to Xi'an Railway Station. You can catch the double-decked bus number 608/616 from North Street Station. It takes about 30 minutes to arrive at Xi'an railway station. The sleeper train has four berths in one compartment and the door can be closed at night. You can put your luggage on the baggage rack or under the lower berths. The train attendant will give you a card and take your ticket when the train starts running. They will give the ticket back to you before your arrival in Beijing. Boiled water is available on the train and you can also buy bottled water from the train seller. The overnight train takes about 11 hours to reach Beijing. 

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight soft sleeper train
Day 10 Beijing
Forbidden City
Photo by our client Mr. Henry Northington
The train arrives in Beijing at around 07:20 if on time. After getting off the train, please go out of the station following the stream of people and the guide will wait for you at the exit with a sign bearing your name. Breakfast is by your own arrangement. If you like, you may ask your guide to take you to a local restaurant to try a Chinese style breakfast. 

Then your guide will take you to visit the Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City this morning. The Forbidden City was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Covering an area of 720 thousand square meters, it takes at least 2.5 hours to visit the main spots. After that, please arrange your own lunch. Your guide can recommend a nice restaurant at your request. To round off your tour for the day you are escorted to explore the Summer Palace. We will take you back to the hotel and hope you have a good night.

Accommodation: Days Inn Forbidden City Hotel
Day 11 Beijing
Summer Palace
Photo by our client Ms. Gillian
The Great Wall is one of the greatest world heritage sites and you should not miss it. Today, your guide will take you to visit Mutianyu, one of the most famous and spectacular sections of the Great Wall. It is more than 65 kilometers, so you need to make an early start. To save time, we will arrange a round trip cable car ride up onto the wall for you. Please bring your own lunch, or you can ask your tour guide to recommend a restaurant near the site for your meal.

On the way back we will stop near the Bird's Nest for you to take photos from afar. We will end our day with a visit to the Temple of Heaven. Your tour guide will say “bon voyage” to you in the hotel and wish you a safe journey home.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Day 12 Departure from Beijing
Your impressive exploration of China ends today. Please check out of the hotel before 12:00. There are two international airports in Beijing: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). To avoid any problem, please make sure from which airport your flight takes off. A taxi ride to the capital airport will take around one hour and to Daxing will take 1.5 hours. However, traffic jams have become more and more serious in Beijing, please take this into consideration when you plan your pick-up time.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
Tour Prices
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
  • Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
  • Any part of the itinerary e.g. tour length, activities & hotels can be tailored to your individual interests.
Price Includes
  • Domestic airfares & train fares
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfasts
  • Private guides and drivers on guided tours
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites on guided tours
  • Yangtze River cruise with full board
Price Excludes
  • International airfares
  • Transfers and entrance fees for free days
  • Entry Visa fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips or gratuities for guides and drivers
Why Travel With Us
Other level available for this itinerary:
Questions & Answers
Asked by brie from GERMANY | Jan. 10, 2019 07:13Reply
Arrival by cruise Shanghai terminal then flying to Frankfurt 144 applicable
then flying to Frankfurt 144 applicable?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joanne from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 11, 2019 00:19

If the departure country is the third one, you can enjoy the 144 hours visa free policy.
Asked by Catherine from MALAYSIA | Nov. 21, 2017 00:31Reply
Any taxi counters at Chongqing Jiangbei airport arrival hall?
Will be arriving at Chongqing around midnight with my daughter. Have checked with hotel and they do provide airport shuttle at CNY300 per trip which I find is abit on the high side. Appreciate some advise from fellow travellers who have been to Chongqing as to where can I get a taxi in the middle of the night.
Answers (1)
Answered by Robin from FRANCE | Nov. 21, 2017 21:17

Don’t worry, there are many taxies available at night. By the way, Shuttle bus line 1 to downtown area is available until the last flight. You may take it!
Asked by Maryam from USA | Apr. 21, 2017 01:16Reply
Which deck should I stay?
Hi, I am prone to seasickness. Which deck of Yangtze cruise is more comfortable for me?
Answers (1)
Answered by Sandy | Apr. 21, 2017 01:37

I have been on the Yangtze River Cruise and it is very stable, passengers will not feel they are on the river during the journey. However, if you have the heavy seasickness, I would like to suggest you stay at 3rd floor of the ship.
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