(Beijing, Xi'an, Yangtze, Shanghai)
As the sun rises over the mighty Yangtze River, the traditional villages of mainland China slowly come to life as farmers tend the terraced hills and fisherman pull nets from the deep.
You’ll witness life on the Yangtze from the comfort of your cruise boat as you glide past rural scenes that could be centuries old. But first, your trip kicks off in the ancient city of Beijing where your private tour guide will reveal the secrets of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. Then you’ll discover the historic military might of the Great Wall of China and visit the sprawling Summer Palace that’s used as a royal lakeside retreat. More than 1000 years of history – including the imposing Terra Cotta Army – awaits in Xi’an before it's on to an unforgettable multi-day cruise of the Yangtze. Finally, marvel at the futuristic architecture of 21st-century Shanghai.
The Yangtze River truly is the lifeblood of rural China, and to know the river is to know the country. It’s a genuinely five-star experience with all the old-world glamour of cruising well preserved and combined with the most modern of amenities. Enjoy divine local cuisine, then retire to the deck with your favorite tipple to watch the changing landscapes of mainland China drift past. On dry land, the knowledgeable English-speaking guides present a side of China that you’ve only read about.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
You will be picked up from your Beijing hotel and taken on a half day private guided tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with a deluxe lunch. Tiananmen Square was built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty and was the front door of the Forbidden City. The present square stretches a vast 440,000 square meters and features Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. The Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex with 9,999 buildings across 74 hectares, surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten meter wall, and divided into two parts. The Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty reigned here until 1924.
Enjoy a private guided tour of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, located 45 miles northeast of Beijing. This section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles and holds a prominent place in Chinese military history. Construction started in the northern Qi Dynasty (550-577) and was restored in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). There is an abundance of natural springs, which feed a great variety of verdant plants and ancient trees. Built mainly from granite with 8 meter high walls and 5 meters wide at the top, the wall is notable for its 22 watchtowers that suggest a significant military importance. Next, you will visit The Summer Palace, a sprawling suburban compound used by royalty as their summer retreat and best known for its stunning grounds around Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace occupies an area of 294 hectares of which three quarters are water. Classically designed as an archetypal Chinese garden, it is ranked among the most noted gardens of the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Lunch is included.
Meet your driver for a train station transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Transfer from Beijing to Xi'an via the high-speed Bullet Train. The train ride is approximately 6 hours.
This morning you will visit the Terra Cotta Army with a private guide. The over 7,000 Terra Cotta life size warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are China's greatest archaeological excavation. They symbolically guard the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who was the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (246-209 BC). A deluxe lunch is included.
Fly from Xi'an to Chongqing. Flight time is approximately 1 hour.
Transfer between the airport and the pier with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
This evening you will board the luxurious Victoria cruiseship and depart at 9:00PM from Chongqing. By 10:00PM all passengers will have checked in, and you will overnight on the ship.
Today, you will take a guided shore excursion to either Fengdu or Wanzhou. Both are cities greatly affected by the Three Gorges Dam, and interesting places to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the Project on the local farming families. Visit the Daoist Temples and bustling markets of these charming river villages.
In the morning you will visit Wu Gorge, which is the most beautiful section of the Yangtze River, flanked by high peaks that are often capped by fog or clouds. The steep slopes of the gorge are green with trees and bushes. Also see Qutang Gorge, which is famous for its sheer and spectacular precipices, with uniquely beautiful rock formations in every direction. Visit the Shennong Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze River. With crystal clear water, this stream flows swiftly from north to south through deep gorges. A sampan tour will allow you to experience a high speed adventure along this unspoiled river. An arrow-like sampan glides through the four-kilometer-long Mianzhu Gorge and then enters the main stream of the Shennong. Next pass by Xiling Gorge, which starts at Badong County and zigzags for 76 kilometers down to the Nanjin Pass in Yichang. It is the longest part of the Three Gorges system with dangerous rapids like Xietan, Qintan and Kongling, collectively known as the Three Rapids of Xiling. The swift current carries boats down river at the rate of seven meters per second. It is a thrilling ride.
This morning you will take a shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Project, which is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by mankind. This great dam, the largest of its kind in the world, provides China with tremendous power generation and flood control services. Visitors see the panorama of Three Gorges from the highest point of the building site, the exhibition house, natural scenic spot Maogongshan and Huangling Temple.
Arrive into Yichang and disembark the Victoria cruise at 1:30PM. Continue on your journey through China!
Fly from Yichang to Shanghai. Flight time is approximately 2 hours.
Today’s full day private guided tour takes you to the Shanghai Museum, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the Yu Gardens and includes a deluxe lunch. The Shanghai Museum is a authentic treasure house of ancient Chinese art and houses about 120,000 precious relics. Bronzes, pottery, paintings, and calligraphies are distinctive features of the museum's collection. The next sight is the Jade Buddha Temple, which is one of the most popular sights in Shanghai containing rare white jade Buddhas brought from Burma in the nineteenth century. Yuyuan Garden is the largest of Shanghai's ancient gardens with architectural styles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The garden has six areas, each designed in a different style, of which the Grand Rockery located in the center is the most popular.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing showcases the city as a unique reflection of the many changing facets of contemporary Chinese culture, where ancient cultural sites vie for space alongside high-rise buildings and an intricate freeway system. This Beijing lodging is just minutes away from several popular attractions, such as Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, and the Forbidden City. The world-renowned services at the Park Plaza Wangfujing Hotel Beijing ensure that guests enjoy a warm and personalized stay. Enjoy their amenities, including a gymnasium and massage center. The Park Plaza Wangfujing Hotel features three on-site restaurants that offer a range of cuisines. Enjoy Asian dining at Ooodle, international dishes at Bloo Dining, and a menu of light fare at First Lounge Bar.
The heritage of Xian and the classic French hospitality of Sofitel combine to create a stunning hotel welcoming travelers to the heart of the city. Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square is located very centrally within the Xian city walls near many historical sites including the Bell Tower Drum Tower Great Mosque and Forest of Steles. The airport and Terra Cotta Warriors are both a 45-minute drive. All luxury hotel rooms, suites, and apartments indulge with modern conveniences. Explore Mediterranean flavors and Moroccoan Chinese Brazilian and Japanese cuisines in the 5 elegant restaurants in addition to 2 inviting bars and lounges. For more leisurely pursuits, guests can enjoy the services of Touch Spa with the swimming pool Jacuzzi and state-of-the-art fitness center.
Victoria's Cruise ships are specially designed to navigate the Yangtze River, and are all officially rated five stars by the China National Tourism Administration, its highest rating. Enjoy all the comfort and elegance of river cruising, attentive and professional staff, delicious onboard meals and spectacular scenery from every stateroom and public area. The Victoria fleet offers over 5 ships offering passengers cozy accommodations and impeccable service. China has one of the world's great culinary traditions. You will experience the joys of Chinese cuisine, expertly prepared with fresh high quality ingredients. Victoria's award-winning dining experience is reflective of China's evolving culinary landscape, with a fusion of Chinese and western dishes. Meals are served in a single-seating Dynasty Dining Room. Sumptuous Western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. An elegant Captain’s Farewell Banquet is served on the final night of the cruise. In addition to the main Dynasty Dining Room, Victoria Cruises offers a separate a la carte dining room on all the ships.
Discover unmatched hospitality, an unbeatable location and luxurious amenities at the new Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Center. Located in the heart of downtown, our Shanghai hotel is within walking distance to Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, People's Square, the Bund and the metro station. Premier among Shanghai hotels, we are the perfect place to unwind when traveling for business or leisure. Enjoy international cuisine and local favorites from our chefs as they prepare various choices at our five restaurants and lounges. After a day in the city, take a dip in our indoor pool, visit our fully equipped gym or have a relaxing massage at our spa. Among hotels in Shanghai, amenities include a business center, 24-hour room service and concierge. More than 2,000 square meters of dedicated event space await with two pillar-free ballrooms and seven additional meeting rooms.
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on, from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
Stay in the know: Subscribe to our newsletter to have our hand-picked trips & specials delivered to you!
Please enter a destination